Maternity & Parental Leave

Maternity Leave

Under Washington State Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) pregnant persons are entitled to pregnancy disability leave based on their individual condition for recovery, as determined by their health care provider (generally 6-8 weeks) and includes any period of disability prior to delivery.

If eligible for Washington Family Leave Act (WFLA), they may take an additional 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with the baby. This leave does not run concurrently with the pregnancy disability leave. WFLA does run concurrently with federal FMLA.

Parental Leave

If eligible for FMLA/WFLA, leave can be taken to care for and bond with a healthy newborn, newly adopted or placed foster child.

Leave must be used within 12 months of birth or placement. Reduced schedule and intermittent leave is subject to departmental approval.

Leave is unpaid, but accrued sick leave, vacation leave, compensatory time, or Personal Holiday can be substituted.

Impact of leave on benefits

Pregnancy Disability Leave

This provision does not provide employer benefit coverage. For benefit continuation, you must be in pay status (minimum 8 hours per month).


While an employee is on an approved FMLA eligible leave of absence, Western will continue to pay for the employer portion of an employee’s health insurance premiums (regardless if the leave is unpaid) under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had continued to work.  Employees are always responsible for payment of their portion of their health insurance premiums during an FMLA approved leave.

For any additional leave taken beyond FMLA or if not eligible for FMLA, then employees must be in pay status (minimum 8 hours per month) to ensure benefits continuation or they have the option to maintain medical and dental benefits at the employee’s own expense through COBRA.

How to request Maternity/Parental Leave

  1. Provide notice to supervisor and Human Resources of need for leave with at least 30-days advance notice when the need is foreseeable and when notice is practicable.
  2. Provide verification for need of leave:
    • Pregnancy Medical Certification completed by a health care provider, or
    • If adopting or fostering of a child, provide verification from agency handling placement.
  3. Submit a Leave Request Form  or Faculty Leave Request Form to supervisor/chair.

Before you return to work:

Learn more about the Lactation Rooms on campus.

Contact HR Benefits to add your new dependent child to health insurance.




Applicable Federal and State Laws