Bringing a child into your family is an exciting and signficant life event that requires planning and re-organizing of time and priorities. It will undoubtedly alter your work-life balance to some degree, and being prepared for that will ease transitions, lesson stress levels, and improve your ability to handle your work responsbilities and your family/personal life.
URI offers a New Parent Support Group, which meets regularly. Check the News and Events on the Home Page for a schedule. Also, support for pregnant or new moms can be found through Families First Rhode Island, which offers free mentoring services, as well as drop-in social groups.
Whether you have had a baby or are adopting one, whether you are a mother or father, taking the time to be with your child and adjust to your new role is important. There are paid and/or unpaid leave options available to you, depending on your employment category. Following are the sections in the various union contracts related to parental leave:
- AAUP (UC article 21.6.2)
- ACT/NEA (PR 5.0661)
- C94 (PR 5.0661)
- MPA (BOG article 4.09)
- NON UNION CLASSIFIED (PR 5.0661)
- NON UNION NON CLASSIFIED (BOG article 4.09)
- NUFAC/POST DOCS (BOG article 4.09)
- PSA (UC article 20.6)
- PTAA (UC article 15.1.7)
- Registered Nurses (PR 5.0661)
Paid vacation, sick, and personal leave may also be considered during this time, although it might be preferable to save vacation time to use later with your family. Refer to the table of leave options by union here. Unpaid leave, through a written request to your supervisor, and/or use of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are also considerations.
Call Human Resources (874-2182 for non-classified personnel; 874-5268 for classified personnel) for more information about options specifically available to you.
Tips for Preparing for Leave:
- What kind of leave might you be interested in taking? Find out what leave options are available to you. You may want to arrange a combination of types of leave.
- Who to tell? It may be helpful to confide in a trusted peer for support while you make your plan. Tell your supervisor as soon as you can; try to give as much time as you can to facilitate effective department/unit planning.
- Develop 2-3 scenarios to suggest for coverage of your duties. Plan for your absence, and provide any information that co-workers might need while you are away, to ensure things continue to operate smoothly.
- Discuss your potential plans for your leave, including type and length of time away, and discuss possible work modifications.
- Present your situation professionally and confidently. Do not be apologetic or try to diminish your needs as a caregiver.
- While you should consider what the impact of your leave will be on your job and your co-workers, and plan for that, remember that a leave does not require you to “make up” lost time.
- Consider what will happen upon your return. You should not have extra work waiting for you, and you may be able to arrange modified duties, or some other flexible work arrangement.
- Prepare for your leave ahead of time, fill out all paperwork, leave directions for co-workers, etc., as unforseen circumstances (e.g., early labor or birth/adoption complications) may arise.
- Keep your supervisor up to date as your leave approaches; good communication is important.
- Make a child care plan early.
- Educate yourself on lactation resources at URI.
- Get your house in order and plan for help, if you are able to do so, as once your baby arrives, your time will be limited for at least the first few months, as will be your sleep.
There may be flexible work options available to you as you manage your new family responsibilites. Explore these possibilities early and discuss them with your supervisor.
Insurance Changes and Dependent Care Expenses
Please contact Human Resources to inquire about insurance and benefits changes that will be occurring. The state offers both a medical and a dependent care flexible spending account option to employees as a way to decrease out of pocket expenses for medical and dependent care expenses.
URI supports a new mother’s choice to breastfeed her baby, and has adopted a breastfeeding policy and provides facilities and support for all University employees and students.
Please refer to this page for information on planning for your child care needs.