Maternity and Family Leave

Leave for to take care of family

Columbia provides time away from work for pregnancy, taking care of infants or children, assisting elderly parents, or other personal leaves related to your the health and support of your family.

Do you need to take a leave of absence for your pregnancy? Pregnancy-related Leave is considered a Medical (not work-related) Leave

Family Leave

Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides eligible employees with job-protected, partially paid leave up to 10 weeks in 2019 (up from 8 weeks in 2018) to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service. PFL is available to employees who work in New York State and satisfy the following eligibility requirements: 

  • Regularly work 20 hours or more per week for at least 26 consecutive weeks; or, 
  • Work less than 20 hours per week and have worked at least 175 days 

For more information on eligibility and benefits, visit:

Steps to request Paid Family Leave (if eligible):

  1. Reach out to your Departmental HR contact to request PFL and determine whether you would like to use any paid time off while on leave.
  2. Contact Cigna at 888-842-4462, available from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday.
  3. Complete all necessary paperwork as requested by Cigna.
  4. Cigna will inform you directly regarding the approval or denial of a PFL claim.
  5. All PFL payments will be made to you directly by Cigna unless you choose to use any of your paid time off.

*Note: If you are a member of the 1199 Clerical and Cafeteria union, please contact the Benefit Fund’s Member Services to file a PFL claim. By Phone: 646-473-9200, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST, Mon to Fri; or Online: www.1199SEIUBenefits.org.

Maritime Workers, Officers of Instruction and employees working out of state should contact the CUHR Leave Management Office.

Reminder: NYS has very specific requirements and time limits to submit documentation, so please be sure to follow all directions as instructed by Cigna.
 

    If you are eligible, the Family Medical Leave Action (FMLA) provides you with job-protected, unpaid leave to care for a specified family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition. This leave can be taken for up to a total of 12 weeks during any rolling 12-month period.

    FMLA is available to you if you have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous rolling 12-month period. 

    Please review the FLMA Policy for additional information.

    Steps to request Family and Medical Leave Act (if eligible):

    1. Your Departmental HR contact will complete and provide you the FMLA WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities. 
       
    2. Complete the FMLA WH-380F and/or and submit documentation confirming the family relationship to the CUHR Leave Management Office. The employee may provide either a simple statement or other documentation, such as the child’s birth certificate or a court document. It is the employee’s choice whether to provide a simple statement or other documentation. All documentation should be submitted to the CUHR Leave Management Office.

    If the leave of absence is unpaid (i.e. FMLA) or partially paid (i.e. PFL), substitution of paid time off is permitted by using vacation time, personal time and NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable.

      Columbia’s Parental Care Leave allows you to take an unpaid leave for up to six months. If you are a full-time officer, a benefits eligible part-time officer, or a NUSS employee, you are eligible to apply for this unpaid leave of absence if you have been employed by the University for three or more months. See the Parental Care policy for more information

      Request Columbia University's Parental Care Leave (if eligible):

      • The employee requesting Parental Care Leave must submit a written request to their supervisor and/or Departmental HR contact as far in advance as possible and indicate an anticipated return to work date.

      Information and policies on leave for faculty is available in the Columbia Faculty handbook.

      All union employees are eligible to apply for two types of leave to take care of a new child.

      Paid Family Leave (PFL)

      PFL provides eligible employees with job-protected, partially paid leave (for up to 8 weeks as of 2018) to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service. PFL is available to employees who work in New York State and satisfy the following eligibility requirements: 

      • Regularly work 20 hours or more per week for at least 26 consecutive weeks; or, 
      • Work less than 20 hours per week and have worked at least 175 days

      Please review the PFL Policy for additional information.

      Steps to request Paid Family Leave (if eligible):

      1. Reach out to your Departmental HR contact to request PFL and determine whether you would like to use any paid time off while on leave.
         
      2. Contact Cigna at 888-842-4462, available from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday.
         
      3. Complete all necessary paperwork as requested by Cigna.
         
      4. Cigna will inform you directly regarding the approval or denial of a PFL claim.
         
      5. All PFL payments will be made to you directly by Cigna unless you choose to use any of your paid time off.

      Note: If you are a member of the 1199 Clerical and Cafeteria union, please contact the Benefit Fund’s Member Services to file a PFL claim:

      Reminder: New York State has very specific requirements and time limits to submit documentation, so please be sure to follow all directions as instructed by Cigna.

      Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

      If you are eligible, FMLA provides you with job-protected, unpaid leave to care for a specified family member (spouse, child or parent)  with a serious health condition. This leave can be taken for up to a total of 12 weeks during any rolling 12-month period.

      FMLA is available to you if you have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous rolling 12-month period. 

      See the FMLA policy for more information. 

      Steps to request Family and Medical Leave Act (if eligible):

      1. Your Departmental HR contact will complete and provide you with the FMLA WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities form.
         
      2. Complete the FMLA WH-380F and/or and submit documentation confirming the family relationship to the CUHR Leave Management Office. The employee may provide either a simple statement or other documentation, such as the child’s birth certificate or a court document. It is the employee’s choice whether to provide a simple statement or other documentation. All documentation should be submitted to the CUHR Leave Management Office.

      If the leave of absence is unpaid (i.e. FMLA) or partially paid (i.e. PFL), substitution of paid time off is permitted by using vacation time, personal time and NYC Earned Sick Time, if applicable.

      Your Collective Bargaining Agreement should be consulted for additional information.

      SSA: Infant Care Leave

      If you are an SSA union member, an Infant Care leave allows you to take a leave without pay for infant care purposes in addition to the sick and non-occupational disability leave, however, it cannot exceed ten months in duration. 

      Infant Care leaves are available to you as an SSA employee if you have completed nine months of employment. Please refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for more information.

      Steps to Request lnfant Care Leave (if eligible):

      • An employee requesting Infant Care leave should submit a written request to their supervisor and/or Departmental HR contact as far in advance as possible and indicate an anticipated return to work date.


      1199 Clerical and Cafeteria: Child Care Leave

      If you are an 1199 Clerical and Cafeteria union member, Child Care leave allows you to take leave without pay for child care purposes in addition to the sick and non-occupational disability leave, however, it cannot exceed ten months in duration. 

      Child Care leaves are available to you as an 1199 Clerical and Cafeteria employee. Please refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for more information.

      Steps to request Child Care Leave (if eligible):

      • An employee requesting Child Care Leave should submit a written request to their supervisor and/or Departmental HR contact as far in advance as possible and indicate an anticipated return to work date.
         

      2110: Infant Care

      If you are an eligible 2110 union member, Infant Care Leave allows you to take a leave without pay for infant care purposes in addition to the sick and non-occupational disability leave, however, such leave shall not exceed ten months in duration. Upon return from your leave you will be returned to a job in the same or equivalent job classification.

      Infant Care leaves are available to you as a 2110 employee, if you have completed nine months of employment. Please refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for more information.

      Steps to request Infant Care Leave (if eligible):

      • An employee requesting Infant Care leave should submit a written request to their supervisor and/or Departmental HR contact as far in advance as possible and indicate an anticipated return to work date.

      Prior to returning to work, please reach out to the CUHR Leave Management Office as well as your Departmental HR contact to provide an update on your return to work. If you require further assistance, please contact the CUHR Leave Management Office to coordinate prior to your return to work.

      Personal Leave

      A personal leave is an unpaid leave of absence for personal reasons that are not covered by other types of leaves offered by the University/State, or for additional time beyond the allowed time of a University permitted leave. Typical reasons include illness in the family, education, and other compelling personal needs.

      Steps to Request Personal Leave (if eligible):

      1. For other types of leave which are neither PFL nor FMLA, eligible employees may consider requesting a personal leave of absence.
         
      2. An employee requesting Personal Leave must submit a written request to their supervisor and/or Departmental HR contact as far in advance as possible and indicate an anticipated return to work date. 
         

      Officers of Administration

      You are eligible to apply for an unpaid personal leave of absence. University policy allows you to take an unpaid leave for up to six-months. This type of leave is only granted in cases not covered by any other University policy, and requires the approval of both your department head and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources. Occasionally, substitution of paid time off is permitted by using your vacation, personal, or NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable. Twelve months of employment is required before you can apply for a personal leave.

      Non-Union Support Staff

      You are eligible to apply for an unpaid personal leave of absence. University policy allows you to take an unpaid leave for up to six-months. This type of leave is only granted in cases not covered by any other University policy, and requires the approval of both your department head and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources. Occasionally, substitution of paid time off is permitted by using your vacation, personal, or NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable. Twelve months of employment is required before you can apply for a personal leave.

      Union Support Staff

      Each Union’s Collective Bargaining agreement outlines the benefits available for personal leaves. A full description can be found in your union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)

      Prior to returning to work, please reach out to the CUHR Leave Management Office as well as your Departmental HR contact to provide an update on your return to work. If you require further assistance, please contact the CUHR Leave Management Office to coordinate prior to your return to work.

      Important Notices

      Important Notices

      The Leaves of Absence section is intended only to provide information and guidance for processing leaves for Columbia University Officers, staff and union employees. The writers of the content have exercised their best efforts to ensure accuracy of the information, but accuracy is not guaranteed. If there are any discrepancies between the information on the website, verbal representations and the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or applicable University policies, the CBAs and applicable policies will always govern. The information is subject to change from time to time. The information contained on the website is intended to provide examples and does not replace the CBAs or University policies.

      In addition to FMLA, other University policies and laws, if eligible, will run concurrently, including NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time.

      FMLA does not supersede any University policy or collective bargaining agreement that provides greater family or medical leave rights than the rights established under FMLA. Conversely, FMLA provides that the rights established for employees under FMLA cannot be diminished by any policy or agreement.

      The leave granted under FMLA generally is a lesser benefit than that available under various University policies and collective bargaining agreements. Because the University meets or exceeds FMLA requirements in many respects, this policy designates many existing types of leave as FMLA leave, so that the University leaves and the FMLA leave run concurrently.