New baby or adoption?

Addition of a child to your family

Whether you’re having a baby or adopting a child, this section will help you determine:

  • How much time you can take off
  • How and when you’ll get paid
  • What you need to do and when
  • Resources available for going back to work

Pregnancy (information for Moms)

The USC Mom’s Group is a rich resource of information for prospective and new moms. Learn more in the brief video below:

Time off

Generally speaking, you may take up to 22 weeks off due to the birth of a baby, but it will probably not all be paid time. Here’s how it breaks down for a normal pregnancy (complications will necessitate consultation with a specialized case manager):

Pregnancy disability is a 10-week paid benefit, MINUS a 7-day waiting period (you can use sick leave or vacation leave, during the waiting period, so that you continue to get paid). On day 8 of your leave, benefits are payable for the remaining 9 weeks.

At USC, our guidelines are to start pregnancy disability no sooner than 2 weeks before your estimated delivery date. Many women choose to start on the day of delivery, and have the full 10 weeks after the baby is born.

During your pregnancy disability, your job is protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

When your pregnancy disability 10 weeks are exhausted, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) gives you another 12 weeks of job protection, but it is an unpaid leave. CFRA can be tacked on to the end of the 10-week pregnancy disability for a full 22 consecutive weeks off – or you could go back to work after the 10-week disability leave, and then later take the 12 CFRA weeks any other time within the baby’s first year of life.

Whenever you take your CFRA 12 weeks, half of that time CAN be paid, through the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which offers 6 weeks of paid “bonding” time with your child that can also be used anytime within his or her first year of birth.

Of course, during the other “half” of the CFRA time – the part this is unpaid – you may be able to use sick or vacation time in order to get paid. Obviously, that depends on how much sick or vacation leave you have accrued.

The leave availabilities mentioned here may vary if you already took FMLA or CFRA leave for another reason within the past 12 months. Talk to your HR Partner or HR/Payroll Analyst if you’re not sure.

Faculty should also refer to Section 9 of the Faculty Handbook to understand how faculty paid parental leave should be coordinated with other leave and benefit provisions. See the Faculty Family Leave form to determine what signatures you will need to secure, in addition to initiating maternity disability as detailed below.

If your healthcare provider takes you off work prior to your delivery date due to complications, that is considered a “regular” disability claim. See USC’s disability site. Your 10 weeks of maternity leave will begin on your delivery date. Be sure to notify Sedgwick, your supervisor, and the USC Disability office of your delivery date, and make sure you complete all steps listed below.

Getting paid

Pregnancy disability period

Your payment depends on which disability plan you chose, and also whether you’re faculty. Calculations are based on your gross wages prior to leave.

  • Basic Plan only – You receive 70% of gross pay, with a weekly maximum cap.
  • Supplemental Plan (if already enrolled) – You receive 100% of gross pay for up to 10 weeks – you get 1 week of full pay for each year of USC service. After that, you’re paid at 80%. No weekly maximum cap like the Basic Plan.
  • Faculty – 100% for 10 weeks if approved by Provost.

The timing of disability payments depends on when your healthcare provider submits paperwork. Ideally, we hope to disburse disability funds on your regular payroll schedule using your regular method of payment. However, sometimes paperwork misses cutoff deadlines, in which case your disability payments may be sent to you by check, even if you normally use direct deposit, and you may receive them later than your normal paydays.

One exception – if all of your paycheck is regularly direct deposited into your checking account at the USC Credit Union, all disability benefit checks will be direct deposited into your account, even if they are too late for your regular payroll schedule. If you have direct deposits at any other institution other than USCCU, and the information is too late for your payroll schedule, then you will be mailed a check instead.

Paid Family Leave period

Payment is based on your most recent annual earnings. The state of California considers the highest quarter of that year’s earning and then pays you 55% of that amount. Payment schedules vary as these funds come directly from the state.

Since the 55% amount can be a hardship for some employees, some departments will supplement the other 45% by allowing the employee to use sick and/or vacation time to supplement that pay; the difference is calculated into hours and that amount is deducted from their accruals. Not all departments offer this option.

What to do when

Early in pregnancy

Visit USC’s disability site, which explains how disability payments work. If you’re staff, read USC’s Pregnancy-Related Medical Leave policy. If you’re faculty, consult section 3 of the Faculty Handbook. See the Employee Leave Disability Checklist.

Because it will affect how much you’re paid in disability, you’ll want to verify which disability plan you’ve chosen – you can see that information in Workday or eTrac.

In order to aid schools and departments in academic and business planning, it is helpful for faculty and staff to file for relevant leaves as early as possible.

No later than a month before your due date

5-6 weeks before your due date (or immediately if you experience complications that will take you off work earlier), call Sedgwick Claims Management Services at (800) 495-2315. Sedgwick administers all USC disability claims. Within 24 hours of your call, they’ll ship you a claims packets, which you should receive within a week. Return all requested items to Sedgwick as quickly as possible to avoid delaying benefits.

Complete the Maternity Disability Request Form one month before your due date and fax to (213) 740-7305. Follow up by calling (213) 740-5875 to ensure form was received. If the form is not submitted before delivery, your leave will follow California state guidelines, which allow for 6 weeks off post-normal delivery, and 8 weeks post-C section.

Sedgwick will work with your healthcare provider to obtain all information needed to evaluate your claim. It’s helpful if you know the name of the individual, at your healthcare provider’s office, who will transmit information to Sedgwick, to expedite handling of delays.

Child care

Birth of a child (information for Moms and Dads)

In order to aid schools and departments in academic and business planning, it is helpful for faculty and staff to file for relevant leaves as early as possible.

Faculty should also refer to Section 9 of the Faculty Handbook to understand how faculty paid parental leave should be coordinated with other leave and benefit provisions. See the Faculty Family Leave form to determine what signatures you will need to secure.

Once your baby has arrived

As soon as possible notify Sedgwick (which administers USC’s disability plans) of the exact delivery date.

For new mothers, this is the date your 10 weeks of disability will begin (unless you opted to begin your leave 2 weeks pre-delivery, in which case you may only have 8 weeks left). Sedgwick will notify USC’s disability office, which will initiate the disability payment process. After your disability is exhausted, you can use your FMLA/CFRA/PFL leave (see Pregnancy section for details).

New fathers are also entitled to the 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA/CFRA leave, and the concurrent 6 weeks of Paid Family Leave, at any time within the baby’s first year of life, provided the leaves weren’t used for some other purpose within the past 12 months. See Pregnancy section for explanation of FMLA/CFRA.

Full-time faculty are entitled to 10 weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child, provided the faculty member is the primary caregiver. This leave runs concurrently with FMLA/CFRA/PFL. Any eligible leave for which the faculty member qualifies will supplement the benefits he/she is entitled to receive. All paid parental leaves must be concluded within one year of the birth or adoption date.

Within 30 days of your delivery date

Provide USC Benefits with a copy of the official state birth certificate in order to finalize your child’s enrollment in your medical, dental, and other insurance policies; and to start or change the amount of a flexible spending account.

Since the official birth certificate usually takes several months to arrive, Benefits will accept a letter from the healthcare provider or hospital or other provisional documentation in order to temporarily enroll your child, but you must provide the official certificate within three months of the effective date of coverage, or your baby’s benefits enrollment will be cancelled.

Because enrolling a dependent requires a social security number, and most newborns have not received one, contact the HR Service Center for assistance or call them at (213) 821-8100.

This is a good time to review your beneficiary designations on insurance policies or retirement plans. These changes must be made on the Minnesota Life website (for union employees whose coverage is through UNUM, you must complete a change form).

Additional benefit notes for a newborn:

  • If adding newborn to dental plan will increase premium, you may want to wait until a later open enrollment period—your new baby has no teeth!
  • If you already have dependent coverage on life or AD&D insurance, your new baby is covered 14 days from date of birth.

This is also a good time to alert your Sedgwick claims examiner as to when you intend to take the Paid Family Leave (PFL) to which you are entitled.

Child care

Adoption (information for Moms and Dads)

If you are adopting or becoming a legal guardian, generally speaking, you may take up to 12 weeks off to bond with your new child, but it will probably not all be paid time. Here’s how it breaks down:

Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), your job is protected during 12 weeks of unpaid leave that may be taken any time during the first year in which the new child is placed in your family.

Whenever you take your 12 weeks off, half of that time CAN be paid, through the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which offers 6 weeks of paid “bonding” time with your child that can also be used anytime within his her first year of birth.

Of course, during the other “half” of your 12 weeks—the part that is unpaid—you may be able to use sick or vacation time in order to get paid. Obviously, that depends on how much sick or vacation leave you have accrued.

The leave availabilities mentioned here may vary if you already took FMLA or CFRA leave for another reason within the past 12 months. Talk to your HR Partner or HR/Payroll Analyst if you’re not certain.

An important note regarding Paid Family Leave benefits—they come from the state, and so are subject to varying schedules which may not match your current payroll schedule.

What to do

Contact your HR Partner or HR/Payroll Analyst for information on accessing the FMLA/CFRA leave.

Faculty should also refer to Section 9 of the Faculty Handbook to understand how faculty paid parental leave should be coordinated with other leave and benefit provisions. See the Faculty Family Leave form to determine what signatures you will need to secure.

Contact Sedgwick Claims Management Services, which administers all USC Paid Family Leave claims, at (800) 495-2315.

Within 30 days of your new child’s placement in your family, provide the Benefits office with a copy of the official court signed adoption/placement documentation in order to add him or her onto your medical, dental, and other insurance policies, and to start or change the amount of a flexible spending account. You will eventually receive a state certified birth certificate, a copy of which must also be provided to the Benefits office; otherwise, the child’s benefits enrollment will be cancelled.

Because enrolling a dependent requires a social security number, if your child is a newborn who has not yet received one, contact the HR Service Center for assistance or call them at (213) 821-8100.

This is a good time to review your beneficiary designations on insurance policies or retirement plans. These changes must be made on the Minnesota Life website (for union employees whose coverage is through UNUM, you must complete a change form).

Additional benefit notes for a new child:

  • If adding newborn to dental plan will increase premium, you may want to wait until a later open enrollment period—your new baby has no teeth!
  • If you already have dependent coverage on life or AD&D insurance, your new child is covered 14 days from date of birth.
Child care