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Taking paid leave

UC offers the option of taking a paid leave under certain circumstances. You may be using accrued leave (sick leave, PTO or CTO) or Pay for Family Care and Bonding. The information here outlines the actions you’ll need to take before, during and after a paid leave.

Talk with your manager as soon as you know you need to take a leave.

Your manager may have to approve your request.

Make sure you understand how your benefits will be affected.

While you’re on paid leave, you may continue your medical, dental, vision, legal, basic life, core life, Basic and Voluntary Disability coverage — with UC paying its usual portion of premiums — as long as you maintain an average regular paid time of 17.5 hours per week and pay any required premiums.

Other benefits continue, so long as you pay any required premiums, whether or not you work 17.5 hours per week. These include Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Supplemental Life, Basic Dependent Life and Expanded Dependent Life. (Your paycheck must be large enough to cover the deductions for any premiums you need to pay.)

While on leave, you may continue these benefits for up to two years. If you’re combining paid and unpaid leave, the two-year limit applies to the two types of leave combined.

You also have the option to cancel your benefits. But if you do, when you return to work you may not be able to re-enroll right away; instead, you’ll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment. (For life insurance and Voluntary Disability, you’ll also have to submit a statement of health, and your application could be denied.) 

For benefits that you cancel, your coverage ends the last day of the last month for which premiums or contributions have been made.

You continue to accrue vacation and sick leave, in accordance with the personnel policy or collective bargaining agreement that applies to you.

Your contributions to the DepCare and Health Flexible Spending Accounts, if any, will continue.

If you have a UCRP service credit purchase in progress, your payroll deductions will continue automatically.

These benefits may be slightly different during a paid leave:

  • Voluntary Disability: If you’re receiving less than full-time pay, your monthly premiums and your benefit payments (if applicable) will be proportional to your eligible earnings. Note that in order to receive Voluntary Disability benefits, you must be actively at work, as defined in the Disability Policy, when the disabling event occurs.
  • UCRP: If you’re earning less than full-time pay, your contributions continue based on your reduced salary and you earn a prorated amount of service credit. Your contributions and Capital Accumulation Payment (CAP) balance, if any, must remain on deposit.
  • 403(b), 457(b) and DC Plan accounts: Your contributions continue unless you cancel them. (The exception is Safe Harbor participants, who don’t have the option to cancel your DC Plan contributions.) If you’re working at another institution during your leave, you can’t contribute pay from that institution to UC’s plans. But you may be able to contribute to the other institution’s plans. For the 457(b) and 403(b) plans, the yearly contribution limit applies to the combined total of contributions to UC’s plan and the other institution’s plan. (In other words, participating in another institution’s 403(b) plan, for example, doesn’t increase the total amount you’re allowed to contribute to 403(b) plans for a given year.)
  • 403(b) loans: If you’re receiving less than fulltime pay and it’s not enough to cover your loan payments, you’ll need to make additional monthly payments or repay the loan in full. A Fidelity representative can help with the details.

Take care of any benefits-related paperwork promptly.

If you want to continue benefits: Your location may require you to submit an insurance continuation form. Check with your benefits representative.

If you want to cancel benefits: Contact your benefits representative.

If you’re enrolled in Voluntary Disability and earning less than full-time pay: Check with your benefits representative about getting an extension so your coverage is tailored to your salary during your leave.

If you need to submit expenses for the DepCare or Health Flexible Spending accounts: Be sure to do so by the filing deadline for the year you incurred the expenses, or you’ll forfeit funds left in the accounts.

If your leave will be more than two years: Near the end of the two-year period, fill out the Health Benefits Enrollment Form for Life Event to cancel or opt out of your insurance; the cancellation will take effect the first day of the 25th month of your leave.

A few things to keep in mind

If you’ll be away from your medical or dental plan’s service area for more than two months, contact your benefits representative about transferring to a plan and selecting a provider in your new location. You’ll need to transfer within 31 days of the date you leave the service area.

If you’re continuing your benefits and want to enroll a family member, you’ll need to do so within 31 days after the person becomes eligible (or wait until the next Open Enrollment period). You’ll also need to disenroll ineligible family members promptly.

If you’re not continuing your benefits and want to enroll a newly eligible family member, you may enroll the person in certain plans during Open Enrollment. 

When you return, contact your benefits representative to review your benefits and (if necessary) restart them.

  • If you continued coverage, it will continue automatically.
  • If you didn’t continue coverage, for most benefits you’ll need to re-enroll during the next Open Enrollment.
  • For Voluntary Disability, if you didn’t continue coverage and if your leave was for health reasons or your paid time dropped below 50 percent, you can re-enroll within a new 31-day PIE. If you didn’t continue Voluntary coverage and you received more than 50 percent of your pay, and your leave was for nonhealth reasons, it may be difficult to restart this benefit. You’ll need to submit a statement of health and your application may not be approved. Depending on the length of your leave, you could also be turned down based on a pre-existing condition.
  • If you canceled your medical coverage, check with your Benefits representative about starting your TIP contributions when you restart it.
  • If you canceled your Auto/Homeowner/Renter’s insurance, you may restart it any time.
  • If you continued contributions to the DCP, 403(b) or 457(b) plans, your contributions continue and you can change them anytime. If you didn’t continue them, or you weren’t enrolled, you can resume contributions or enroll anytime.

Consider purchasing UCRP service credit for the time you were away.

The sooner you start, the less it will cost you.

Review your first pay statement.

It’s your responsibility to let your Benefits or Payroll Office know about any mistakes.

If you end UC employment while on paid leave, talk with your benefits representative.

If you want to continue benefits coverage through COBRA or by converting to an individual policy, your benefits representative can assist you. See leaving UC employment.

If you have a 403(b) loan outstanding, you need to either repay it in full or, before you leave, arrange to make monthly payments to Fidelity. If you don’t take action within 90 days, the loan will be reported as a taxable distribution.

Your state unemployment office can let you know if you’re eligible for unemployment.

If you decide to retire, contact the Retirement Administration Service Center. You should do so before your leave ends, since a paid leave may affect your retirement benefits. It’s also a good idea to review our guide to Preparing for Retirement.