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UK Announces New Leave Policies
for Adoption and Child Birth

By Brad Duncan

Phyllis Nash (third from left), associate vice president for academic and student affairs, UK Chandler Medical Center, and co-chair of the UK Work-Life Task Force, discusses the new policies regarding use of sick leave for the adoption or birth of a child. Looking on are (left to right) President Lee T. Todd Jr.; Karen T. Combs, associate vice president for budget and administration, UK Chandler Medical Center, and co-chair of the UK Work-Life Task Force; and T. Lynn Williamson, director, UK Human Resources.

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"One of our goals at the University of Kentucky is to improve the balance between work and life of our employees. This is a great step toward that end. It is a greater benefit than any our benchmarks provide, and we are pleased to be able to offer this to our faculty and staff who give so much to this university."

-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
president,
University of Kentucky

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Lexington, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2002) -- In a groundbreaking move, University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr., took his first step toward improving the balance between work and life of UK employees by approving the use of accrued temporary disability leave (TDL), commonly known as sick leave, for time off during the adoption of a child. Also, TDL can now be used more extensively by a father for the birth or adoption of his child. The policy amendment is a more generous benefit than any provided by the university's benchmark institutions.

"One of our goals at the University of Kentucky is to improve the balance between work and life of our employees," Todd said. "This is a great step toward that end. It is a greater benefit than any our benchmarks provide, and we are pleased to be able to offer this to our faculty and staff who give so much to this university."

The revision allows both male and female employees to use up to a maximum of six weeks (30 working days) of accrued TDL for the adoption of a child. The previous policy, which followed the guidelines of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, stated that any employee who had been at the university for 12 months and had worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period could take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for one of four possible qualifying events, one of which was the adoption of a child. The employee could take any available accrued vacation time for such leave but was not allowed the use of TDL unless the adopted child was ill.

"This new policy certainly enhances the University's climate as a family friendly employer," said T. Lynn Williamson, director, UK Human Resource Services. "This new policy is extremely generous for employees adopting a child as well as for the fathers of children. It places the university in the forefront of the adoption and childbirth policies of our benchmark institutions."

UK policy also previously stated that male employees could take just five days of TDL for the birth of a child before using accrued vacation leave, but under FMLA could still have up to a maximum of 12 weeks unpaid leave. Under the new provision, that amount is increased to a maximum of six weeks (30 working days) of accrued TDL to increase the total amount of time an employee can remain in a paid status.

UK is not the first entity to address this particular work-life issue. In September, the state of California enacted a law that allows workers to be paid about 55 percent of their salary for six weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child from a pool of funds that is funded through employee payroll deductions.

However, UK's policy is more beneficial by not requiring payment from the employees and providing a means for receipt of 100 percent of their salary through use of their accrued TDL.


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