Pregnant and Parenting Employees

Three women at work in a health care setting

As an employee at OHSU, some benefits depend on your classification; for example Paid Parental Leave only applies to faculty, research and administrative positions. Most policies and benefits are applicable to all OHSU employees, and some information is yet more broadly applicable (view our child care, lactation, and resources pages). On this page you'll learn about:

Adoption assistance

After one year of employment, all active benefits-eligible unclassified administrative, faculty and research employees are eligible for up to $5,000 in financial assistance per employee (lifetime maximum).

An "eligible child" is any individual who, at the time a qualified adoption expense is paid or incurred, is under the age of 18 or is physically or mentally incapable of caring for themself. 

Read more in the Pregnancy, birth and adoption leave guide 

  • Adoption fees
  • Court costs
  • Attorney fees
  • Traveling expenses, including the amount spent for lodging and meals while away from home
  • Other expenses directly related to, and for whose principal purpose is the legal adoption of an eligible child by the eligible employee.
  • Expenses reimbursed from another source, such as the adoption tax credit, other sources of governmental assistance, or another employer's program
  • Expenses incurred in violation of state or federal law
  • Expense incurred in carrying out any surrogate parenting arrangement
  • Expenses incurred by a birth mother who is not a surrogate
  • Expenses incurred in connection with the adoption of a child of the eligible employee's spouse or domestic partner

Adoptions have to be final before expenses can be reimbursed. Fill out an adoption assistance reimbursement request and submit all required documentation mentioned in the adoption assistance plan policy guidelines within six months of finalizing the adoption (or within six months of the termination of domestic adoption proceedings, if applicable).

Send your request to benefits@ohsu.edu.

Taking time off

You can take time off to care for and bond with your little one. This applies to all parents: birth mother, non-birth parent or adoptive parent — as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

There are several ways to take time off of work. Note that FMLA and OFLA are unpaid leaves, but you have some options for receiving pay while on leave such as using your time off accruals (sick time, vacation, PTO).

You’re eligible to take Family Medical Leave if you’ve worked for OHSU for at least a year (service doesn’t have to be consecutive) and at least 1,250 hours during that year. Under FMLA, you can get up to 12 workweeks of job-protected, unpaid leave in a one-year period. You can learn more about FMLA on the U.S. Department of Labor website.

To qualify for OFLA, for parental leave, you do not have to meet the usual requirements (for reasons other than parental leave, you normally need to have worked 180 calendar days and an average of 25 hours a week to qualify for OFLA). 

You apply for FMLA and OFLA by calling The Standard at 800-378-2390. The Standard is OHSU's partner for administration of FMLA and OFLA. A representative will ask you questions regarding your leave request and will then mail a packet of information to your home address. The phone call will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Read more about FMLA and OFLA at OHSU on O2.

Effective January 2019, OHSU offers benefits-eligible faculty, research and administrative employees three weeks of Paid Parental Leave at 100 percent of their pay. Apply for PPL by filling out the Request for Paid Parental Leave form.

PPL applies to you whether you are giving birth or adopting a child. To qualify you need to have worked at OHSU for a year and for at least 2,080 hours without a break in service. Learn more about PPL.

Note that PPL needs to be requested 4 weeks in advance, but you usually do not want it to overlap with sick leave, extended illness bank (EIB) or disability payments. Doing so can reduce your disability disbursement.

Returning to work

Returning to work after welcoming a baby can be challenging and it can be worth your while to try to plan ahead for this transition. You might review our resources page to find a support group or check out child care options ahead of time. Or you might look into a Return to Work class (listed on the Childbirth and Early Parenting classes from the OHSU Center for Women's Health). 

You may also want to plan for breastfeeding and/or pumping at work; read more about OHSU's lactation policies, supplies and rooms provided at many locations across campus. And, you should be aware that postpartum depression is very common. Learn more about postpartum depression and perinatal mental health on the additional resources page

Don't forget to plan for this big step. Creating a plan ahead of time can be very helpful in easing the transition back to work. You may also find it helpful to talk with your manager about work/life balance.

Spark Work-Life Employee Assistance Program

Pregnancy and parenting can be stressful, strain your finances, or become complicated because of other responsibilities you have in addition. The new Spark Work-Life benefits program (also known as the Employee Assistance Program or EAP) is available to benefited employees to help with almost any work/life balance issue, including researching child care and other family care needs on your behalf. To learn more, call 888-567-5555 or learn more at the Spark Work-Life web page on O2.

The most commonly used EAP benefit is three free visits (no copay or other out of pocket cost to you) with a counselor for you and/or your dependents. Confidential counseling can cover such topics as relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, financial hardship and general stress or depression. Many issues can be addressed directly with your EAP professional; in some cases, you may be referred to other resources that are in your network coverage. Learn more about the various services, support and resources offered

Through EAP, you can request resources about almost any aspect of work/life balance. You call them, and they will spend time calling and compiling information on your behalf, then get it to you within 2 to 3 business days. Examples:

  • Child care, youth services and eldercare
  • Financial counseling
  • Housing or buying a new home
  • Pet care
  • Dry cleaning and clothing alterations
  • Yard care and house cleaning services

To learn more, call 800-433-2320, text 503-980-1777, or visit the Concierge Resource Retrieval web page on O2.

Human Resources and benefits contacts

Always be sure to confirm your specific benefits options since these vary according to your position type and hours worked and some policies are new or have been updated recently. Directly contact Benefits at 503-494-7617 or benefits@ohsu.edu, or your HR Business Partner. You can look up your HR Business Partner on the HR Contact List by Organization O2 page (search first for your organization name by acronym, for example: SM, for School of Medicine). You may also review the 2019 Benefits Guide.

Parenting leave checklist

  • Plan for child care. It isn't uncommon for child care centers to have a 10-month waiting list, so this can help you secure a spot for when it's time. Likewise, finding a nanny or au pair can also take many months. Doing this planning ahead of time will make the transition that much easier when the time comes.
  • Consider childbirth/prenatal and parenting classes. If you, as the birth mother, are covered under an applicable plan, Moda Health will pay 80% of the following classes if you take them at OHSU’s Center for Women’s Health: Preparing for Birth, Breastfeeding Basics, Newborn Care, and Infant Safety and CPR. Read more about these classes. To ensure your insurance will cover these classes, contact your insurance provider.
  • Request your leave. Call The Standard at 800-378-2390 about 30 days before your expected due date/adoption date or as soon as you know about any prenatal conditions that require leave.
  • Carefully read the packet of information you will receive after making the leave request.
  • Notify your manager/department of your expected leave.
  • Plan for your Paid Parental Leave if eligible (you should be eligible if you are faculty, research or administrative unclassified and benefits-eligible). You can request the payment any time within your approved FMLA/OFLA parental leave, but should submit your request at least 4 weeks in advance and consider how the payment date you request might affect other payments. If the date overlaps with disability payments, this can reduce your disability pay, so it's usually best if you have the PPL payment begin after any disability payments run out. Learn more about PPL on O2 or contact your HR representative.
  • Apply for adoption assistance, if applicable and eligible. Read more within the Adoption Assistance section on this page.
  • Adjust the start date of your leave. Call The Standard at 800-378-2390 to report the start date of your leave.
  • Contact your Timekeeper.
    • Use your accruals and apply for paid parental leave (if applicable)
    • Make sure that the appropriate leave actions are made by your department so that you are not overpaid (resulting in repayment). This is especially important if you are salaried.
    • If you are in the PTO program, apply PTO sick hours and exhaust your EIB. You can apply for Paid Parental Leave (PPL) and use your PTO. Contact the Benefits office for the paid parental leave request form.
  • Update your benefits.
    • You'll want to add your child to your health insurance. If the child will be on OHSU benefits, be sure to do this within 31 days of the birth/adoption. You can do this online by logging onto the online benefits enrollment system.
    • Consider signing up for the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account for child care expenses. For more information, call the Benefits Office at 503-494-7617.
  • Suspend your parking. Call Transportation & Parking at 503-494-8283 if you are paying for a parking permit.
  • Plan child care if you have not already done so.
  • Know your breastfeeding options at work.
  • Notify your manager with the date you are able to return to work.
  • Contact The Standard at 800-378-2390 to end your leave and ensure your doctor completes your Return to Work Form.
  • Resume your parking by calling Transportation & Parking at 503-494-8283.

Anti-discrimination policies

Employees who are expecting a new child or adopting have several layers of protection, including job protection from the Family & Medical Leave Act and Oregon Family Leave Act, and protection from discrimination by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

FMLA and OFLA are specifically meant to protect your job and benefits when you need to take time away from work to care for a new child. Read more on O2 or under Taking Time Off (on this page) to learn if you’re eligible for coverage.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in employment and in education programs. This includes discrimination, harassment and intimidation on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion or related conditions, including recovery. Under Title IX, you also have the right to medically-necessary leave and, regardless of gender identification, you are entitled to time to bond and care for your child. Learn more about Title IX and Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity at OHSU.

If you’d like to make a non-confidential report of discrimination, you can contact Title IX coordinator, Laura Stadum, J.D.:

She is also the director of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity at:

Mailing address: OHSU, Mail code: PP22C, 3310 S.W. Veterans Hospital Road, Portland, OR 97239.

You can also submit a report online or fill out this form and submit it to any of the addresses above.

You also can contact the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights at 800-421-3481.

Learn more about options for responding to concerns of discrimination or harassment, Title IX, or the Department of AAEO

Postdoctoral scholars

Postdoctoral scholars are considered OHSU employees for purposes of leave eligibility and protected by the same state and federal laws as any other employee. However, if you are a postdoc, your sick and vacation days accrue at a different rate. Read more at the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs benefits page or contact the Benefits Office at benefits@ohsu.edu or 503-494-7617.