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Ready for what’s next?

We know there’s a lot to plan and prepare for when welcoming a child into your family, whether as a parent or guardian. That’s why we’ve created a guide to help make the work prep and transitions as smooth as possible, so you can focus on home.

Here you’ll find an overview of leave time, local child care, required Family Medical Leave paperwork, benefits coverage, and tips for work transitions.

Use this checklist as an overview, but please refer to our printable 12-page Little Cats Guide for all the details.

The five-point checklist to help you prepare for leave

1. Determine the length and timing of your leave

Unpaid job-protected leave is available, but university policy sets a different length of time for faculty and staff. We provide options for getting paid during your leave by using accrued sick and vacation time.

Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave

Both faculty and staff have at least up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave. Faculty and staff also have options for taking time off as paid leave.


Refer to your college’s specific guidance on paid and unpaid leave. Generally you will be granted an additional 30 days of paid sick leave for this purpose, in addition to the option to use your accrued time.

Faculty TDL and Family Medical Leave memo

G.R. 10 on Temporary Disability Leave for Faculty


The amount of paid leave you can take depends on your accrued leave. You can use sick (temporary disability) leave, vacation leave or a combination of both.

Policy on Temporary Disability Leave

Policy on Vacation Leave

Estimate your paid time

Estimate how much paid time you will have by checking your current balance of leave time in myUK, and using our leave calculator to see how much you will accrue before your leave.

Family and Medical Leave for parents

Family and Medical Leave can be used for many reasons, including childbirth, adoption and guardianship.

How it works at UK

2. Find child care

We’ve put this near the top of the list because many child care centers in Lexington (including UK’s on-site

centers) are on a waitlist. And, these waitlists can be anywhere from two months to two years.

Start your search in advance

Finding care for your child is an important decision, and one you need to consider well in advance of your child’s arrival.

Overall, a great child care provider or center has: advanced training, consistent caregivers, a setting that keeps your child safe and healthy, and an environment that enhances your child’s physical, mental, emotional and social growth.

The Childcare Council of Kentucky recommends visiting at least three child care centers and doing your research by looking, listening and asking.

Local child care directory

We maintain these listings to support parents in their efforts to manage their child care needs, not as endorsements.

Browse listings

3. Talk with your department chair or supervisor and HR

Have a discussion as soon as possible to confirm your Family and Medical Leave start date and complete necessary paperwork.

Decide on a leave start date and share it

Confirm with your department chair or supervisor

Ensure they know your leave start date, and schedule a time to figure out a successful transition of key responsibilities while you’re away.

Know the Family and Medical Leave paperwork timeline

Submit your leave paperwork to HR 60 to 90 days prior to delivery or adoption

Completing this paperwork will take some time. For the birth of a child, you must request your physician to complete a portion of the form.

Family and Medical Leave paperwork

Please contact us with any questions and email your request for Family and Medical Leave to us at

View the form

4. Make sure you understand your benefits coverage during leave

Our benefits team is available to talk to you about your specific coverage, and we recommend doing this before you go on leave.

Benefits coverage

During Family and Medical Leave, UK will continue your health plan at the same level and conditions of coverage as if you had not taken leave. UK will also continue to cover the cost of the employer’s credit portion of your health insurance plan, your basic life insurance and enrollment in a long-term disability plan.

We highly recommend, though, that you meet with HR Benefits to understand what benefit or other costs you will be responsible for during any period of paid or unpaid leave. 

Talk to a UK benefits representative
Contact benefits

5. Consider how to successfully transition with work

Develop a plan for your work responsibilities while you’re on maternity or paternity leave with your supervisor or department chair. Consider the transition away from work and back to work.

Before leave

Think about what parts of your job will need someone to work on them while you are out, and put together information they will need to do the job such as contact information, access to documents, etc. Talk with that person to make sure they understand.

After leave

Have a conversation with your supervisor regarding expectations about how you will transition back to work after leave. 

Will you begin full time? Reduced hours with increasing hours each week until you return to full time? As much as possible, plan and set these expectations in advance.

Hey little Wildcat, welcome!

Little Cats Guide

This printable guide is for UK parents preparing for leave and has tips for finding child care, support offered by UK and everything you need to know about Family Medical Leave.

It also has tips for supervisors to help employees transition from work and back to work.


April 16, 2024

Annual period for employees to convert temporary disability leave to vacation leave now available through April 30

The annual period for University of Kentucky employees to convert their temporary disability leave (TDL) to additional vacation leave (VL) is now available through April 30.   Employees may request conversion of TDL hours to additional vacation leave through Employee Self Service in myUK. Employees should log into myUK, access Employee Self Service and select Working Time and Leave Requests.    

December 01, 2020

Child Care Support & Resources

Child care is on most parents' minds these days. What will it look like in a year? How will this pandemic impact the availability, costs, locations, regulations, guidelines, etc.? All are good questions. Time will tell just how much this pandemic impacts child care providers and offerings.