Your Parental Leave Rights as a UC Postdoc

Through our union, UC Postdocs have made it a priority to improve parental leave, and we have secured important improvements in our contract. Learn more about your rights. Click here to download a flyer of this page.



There are two kinds of parental leave: Birth parents receive a minimum of eight weeks and, if medically necessary, up to six months of Pregnancy Disability Leave, and all new parents receive up to twelve weeks of Parental Leave. Birth parents can take these two kinds of leaves consecutively, and the leaves can be paid or unpaid. In most cases, UC must provide benefits (for example, health insurance for you and your baby) even if the leave is unpaid. Postdocs whose fellowship or funding source provides for longer guaranteed parental leave than the contract are entitled to the longer leave.

Leave can be (fully or partially) paid by using one or more of the following: Postdoctoral Paid Family Leave, Short-Term Disability coverage, Personal Time Off, Sick Leave, paid leave voluntarily provided by your PI or department, or additional paid parental leave from your fellowship or funding source.

Postdoctoral Paid Family Leave (Article 12):

All Postdocs receive eight weeks of leave at full pay that can be used within one year of the birth or adoption of a child. The contract allows for various ways to use this leave providing flexibility that allows each Postdoc to shape parental leave to benefit both them and their family.

Short-Term Disability (STD) Insurance (Article 12):

STD coverage for Pregnancy Disability Leave guarantees a minimum of eight weeks (two weeks before delivery and six weeks after) at 70% salary after a one-week waiting period, which can be paid leave by using five days of sick leave or Personal Time Off. STD benefits at 70% salary can continue beyond six weeks post-partum (up to a total of 180 days) with medical indication.

Personal Time Off (Article 17):

You can use Personal Time Off (PTO) to earn 100% salary for Pregnancy Disability and Parental Leave. PTO days are “work days” (Monday-Friday, excluding UC holidays).

Sick Leave (Article 22):

You can use sick days to earn 100% salary for any part of Pregnancy Disability Leave and also for taking care of a sick family member. Sick days are “work days” (Monday-Friday, excluding UC holidays).

Additional Leave Provided by Your Funding Source:

Some fellowships or funding agencies include additional or longer periods of paid parental leave than our contract.

Paid Leave Voluntarily Provided by Your PI:

Nothing in the contract prohibits your PI from providing more paid parental leave than what is required by the contract.

Reduced Work Schedule/Temporary Reassignment/Modification of Duties (Article 12):

If you are pregnant, you can request a reduced work schedule, temporary reassignment, or modification of duties to be less strenuous and hazardous.

Non-Discrimination (Article 15) and Respectful Work Environment (Article 36):

UC may not discriminate against you for being pregnant or for taking parental leave, and you have the right to work in an environment free from abusive conduct. These protections were won through hard-fought struggle. If you feel that you are facing any kind of discrimination or bullying, contact the union immediately.


These are general recommendations. Contact the union for advice on or questions about how to best tailor the rights secured in the contract to your situation.

Before Your Leave Begins:

Plan the mix of Postdoctoral Paid Family Leave, Short-Term Disability coverage, Personal Time Off, Sick Leave, unpaid leave, modified duties, etc. that works best for you.

  • When appropriate, notify your PI (and funding agency if applicable) that you will be taking a leave and discuss when you are likely to stop and return to work. If applicable, discuss modified duties or reassignment.
  • Complete and submit the STD Claim Form (available at with information from you, your department, and your doctor.
  • Make arrangements with Human Resources regarding the mix of Postdoctoral Paid Family Leave, Short-Term Disability coverage, Personal Time Off, Sick Leave, etc. that you will be using. Confirm that UC will continue to provide health insurance while you are on leave.
During Your Leave:
  • Notify your department and PI when you start your leave.
  • Inform your department and PI of any changes in your leave plans.
  • Add your new child to your benefits coverage within 31 days of birth or adoption. Enrollment information is here:
Returning to Work:
  • If necessary, have your physician certify your return to work.
  • Notify your department and PI that you are back.
  • If you are on a modified work schedule, complete the appropriate paperwork.