Leave and Time Off

Holiday Schedules

Parental Leave


Congratulations! The pitter patter of little feet will soon be the joyful noise in your home. We are excited for you and your growing family and have created this page to help you plan for your new arrival!

If you are expecting, you should speak with your supervisor as you begin planning your time away from work. You must also make an appointment to see Darby Thiessen, in Employee Empowerment to discuss preparing for your leave, necessary paperwork, planning for return from leave, etc...

What type of leave is available?

University employees are covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) if they meet certain employment conditions. Employees who have worked for the institution for at least 12 months and who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the prior 12 months are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year for any of a number of specific reasons under FMLA. Employees are covered under OFLA if they have been employed for at least 180 calendar days preceding the date leave begins and, except for parental leave, if they have worked an average of at least 25 hours per week during that period.

The university uses a “rolling backward year” to track each employee’s leave. A “rolling backward year” is applied by measuring backward from the date the employee begins taking family leave.

The following pregnancy-, maternity- and paternity-related leaves fall under family leave:

●     Birth of a child of the employee

●     Placement of a child into the employee’s family by adoption or by a foster care arrangement

●     The serious health condition of the employee’s spouse or child

●     The care of one’s dependent child with a non-serious health condition requiring home care

●     An employee’s own serious health condition, including pregnancy-related conditions, which renders the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position

Are there circumstances where more than 12 weeks of leave is allowed?

Under OFLA, a pregnant employee is entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave for pregnancy-related disabilities, including recovery from childbirth, as well as 12 additional weeks for any family-leave purposes listed above. Also under OFLA, an employee who uses leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted child or newly placed foster child is also entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave to take care of a child with a non-serious health condition.

Will I be required to take the leave all at once?

Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced-hours basis if necessary. If intermittent or reduced-hours leave is required, the university may, with the employee’s consent, temporarily transfer the employee to another job with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates that type of leave.

What is a serious health condition?

The term “serious health condition” is defined in our Employee Handbook and includes pregnancy-related items such as absences for pregnancy-related disability and prenatal care.

How are my George Fox health care premiums impacted?

During a family or medical leave, the university continues to pay its portion of the health insurance premium, and the employee must continue to pay his or her share of the premium. Failure of the employee to pay his or her share of the health insurance premium could result in loss of coverage. If an employee is receiving “cash in lieu” of medical coverage, it does not continue during a leave after vacation and sick leave are exhausted.

How is leave paid?

Birth Mother

A birth is considered a serious medical condition for the birth mother (6 weeks for vaginal delivery, 8 weeks for c-section).  Employees scheduled for regular work time are required to use any earned sick leave and vacation during family or medical leave.  After sick and vacation leave are exhausted the employee may utilize any requested and available donated sick time and/or receive 60% short term disability pay (see Employee Handbook, Section 4.3, Disability Insurance).

Request for GFU Sick Leave Share

FMLA/OFLA time taken beyond the 6 or 8 weeks will require use of any earned sick leave and vacation time during family or medical leave prior to taking any unpaid time.

Parental Leave

Primary and secondary care givers are entitled to 12 weeks FMLA/OFLA leave.  Employees scheduled for regular work time are required to use any earned sick leave and vacation time during family or medical leave prior to taking any unpaid time.

How are benefits and pay impacted upon my return?

Employment benefits accrued by the employee before the leave began are not lost. An employee who returns to work from a family leave within the applicable maximum family leave period or on the business day following expiration of the family leave generally is entitled to return to his or her job or an equivalent position.

When and how do I apply for leave? What are the communication and notice requirements?

Applications for foreseeable family or medical leaves must be submitted in writing at least 30 days before the leave is to start or as soon as possible thereafter if 30 days’ notice is not possible.

Appropriate forms must be submitted both to initiate leave and to return to work. Employees requesting family or medical leave due to a serious health condition (either their own or a family member’s) must provide the university with the appropriate medical certification within 15 days of the start of the leave. Family and Medical Leave Request, Medical Certification, and Return to Work forms are available from the Employee Empowerment office.

During a family or medical leave, the employee should maintain regular contact with the supervisor consistent with the nature of the leave to update his or her status.

If a mother who gave birth wishes to return prior to six weeks after birth of a child for a vaginal birth or eight weeks for a cesarean, the employee must provide a doctor’s release to return to work. If obtaining the doctor’s release incurs extra expense for the employee (usually a copay), the university reimburses the employee for the out-of-pocket costs of the doctor’s visit.

An employee is required to cooperate by following these procedures and by providing the necessary forms. Failure to do so may jeopardize the approval of an employee’s leave.

When do I add my newborn to my health coverage?

You have a 30-day window to enroll your newborn in your health plan. Return the election form to Box 6108 within 30 days of the date of birth.

Kaiser Permanente

Pioneer Educators Health Trust

This 30-day special enrollment also gives you the right to make changes to your coverage options. Contact Darby Thiessen at 503-554-2188 for details.

Can I change or begin a flexible spending account?

Yes, you have a 30-day special enrollment to change your current elections or begin a new election as long as it aligns with the newborn's arrival. Return the election form to Box 6108 within 30 days of the date of birth.

Allegiance Website

Election Form

Do I need to notify anyone when I return to work?

Yes, please notify your supervisor and Darby Thiessen of your return date. This will ensure we pay you correctly, and we’d like to help support needs you may have around transitioning back to work, providing a nursing room, making up benefit premiums, or answering any questions that have arisen during your leave.

Please contact Darby Thiessen at dthiessen@georgefox.edu or 503-554-2188 to schedule an appointment to talk through the leave options, requirements, pay and benefits during and after your leave.

P.S. Don’t forget to send us a picture of that baby and let us know when you’ve returned to work! Again, congratulations to you and your growing family!