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Need more time to ease back into work?

Work-life priorities may change

After extended leave, you may be able to more gradually return to your position’s set hours, whether full time or otherwise. 

When returning from approved Family and Medical Leave, your job is protected for you to return to work as usual. However, if you want to return by initially working fewer hours before resuming regular hours, it’s up to you and your supervisor to discuss. You may need to ensure you haven't exhausted all your Family and Medical Leave time to pursue this option.

Discuss with your supervisor as early as possible — even before you take leave, if you can — how you plan to return to work in a way that works for both of you.

Common uses

  • After childbirth, adoption or guardianship/placement
  • After caregiving for a family member
  • After being out for a chronic condition

What a phased return could look like

As a starting point to help you consider what might work for you and your supervisor, this sample phased return timeline illustrates one possibility.

Phase 1: Work 20 hrs/week

Full eight-hour days on Tuesday and Wednesday plus four hours on Thursday for the first month back

Phase 2: Work 30 hrs/week

Monday-Wednesday regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours, plus six hours on Thursday for the second month back

Phase 3: Return to usual

Regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours, five days a week

Tradeoffs to consider

A phased return temporarily reduces your position's full-time equivalency (FTE) number, which means you may see changes to these benefits.

Health insurance

If you reduce your hours worked to no less than 75% FTE, you’ll maintain your benefits as defined by our policy.

Paid vacation and sick leave

Your leave accruals will be calculated on a prorated basis for your FTE.


Savings contributions will be prorated based on your new FTE, and your retirement eligibility date will be further out.

Check with your supervisor to learn your FTE number. This number indicates the portion or percentage of full-time hours that describes an employee’s assigned work schedule. 

For example, an employee assigned to work full time at 40 hours a week has an FTE of 100% or 1.0.

1.0 FTE = 100%
0.75 FTE = 75%
0.5 FTE = 50%

Some areas of the university differ in how many hours they assign to a 100% FTE position. In many areas, 100% FTE positions are assigned 40 hours a week; in other areas, 100% FTE positions are assigned 37.5 hours.

Use our proposal writer to further the conversation with your supervisor

After your initial conversation with your supervisor, it’s time to send them a written proposal. Our form helps you write your proposal, sends it to your supervisor and copies our HR Work-Life manager for reference.

Flexible work

You’re eligible to request phased return from extended leave immediately upon return from Family and Medical Leave.

Contact our office

Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(859) 257-8763