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Family Friendly Benefits and Policies

The University offers a wide variety of benefits to cover employees and their family members.

It is important to not only be familiar with these benefits, but also to understand how going on leave relates to the continuum of benefits.

The discussion of benefits in this section applies specifically to faculty and staff on the Berkeley campus. This information is current only as of the date of publication. Before taking any action, refer to updated policy manuals and contracts. If you have questions, please contact your Department Benefits Counselor (DBC). The benefits discussed here are governed entirely by the terms of the applicable plan documents, custodial agreements, University of California Group Insurance Regulations, group insurance contracts, and state and federal laws.

Benefits

Visiting Scholars and Postdocs

The Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan (PSBP) provides a comprehensive program which offers Medical, Dental, Vision, Life and AD&D Insurance, Short-Term Disability Insurance and Voluntary Long-Term Disability Insurance.

Policies

Non-Faculty Academic Appointees

Staff

UC Berkeley has a variety of policies and programs that are deemed family friendly. This section is designed to help you familiarize yourself with leave policies for circumstances that may be family-related. The benefits section that follows covers the benefits you may be eligible for during family-related leave. It also covers additional benefits for dependents and same-sex domestic partners.

Visiting Scholars and Postdocs

Graduate Students

As many as one in ten of Berkeley's graduate students is a parent of a young child or children. Recognizing the special challenges involved in balancing advanced degree programs and family responsibilities, the University is committed to supporting policies, programs, and services to help graduate student parents meet their family care obligations while they pursue their academic goals.

Parenting Leave for Graduate Students with Re-Enrollment

Parental Accommodations for Research Doctoral Student

The Pregnant Scholar

  • An online toolkit for university students, faculty, and administrators on pregnancy and parenting.
Family and Childbearing Leaves for GSIs, Readers, and Tutors
  • Academic Student Employees (ASEs) are eligible for certain types of leave. Policies are governed by the UAW contract. For more information, see the Leaves section of the current UAW contract.
  • Transportation/Classroom Accomodations for Expecting and New Parents
  • Expecting and new parents can receive accomodations through the Disabled Student's Program such as:
    • The Loop: The Loop is a golf-cart transportation service for those with mobility impairments. Schedule, route, and stops can be found on the web at loop.berkeley.edu.
    • Classroom desk and chair accommodation: adjustable chairs/desks 
    • Change of classroom location (if possible): Adjustment for accessible classroom locations.
  • The Student Parent Program is an essential resource for a highly motivated population of undergraduate and graduate students who are engaged scholars, as well as devoted parents.
  • The Student Parent Program provides a centralized multi-purpose campus resource, where students can seek informed advice, develop leadership skills, engage in informal study groups, nurse babies, change diapers (changing table/high chair available) celebrate achievements, recover from setback and form lasting friendships. High charis and changing tables are available.
  • At every level of educational achievement, from high school through PhD programs, becoming a parent can pre-empt or preclude educational opportunities. Sustained efforts over the past 25 years have resulted in the development of Berkeley’s model student parent support services program.

Undergraduate Students

The Pregnant Scholar
An online toolkit for university students, faculty, and administrators on pregnancy and parenting.

Reduced course load due to parenthood
A normal course load is 15 units of course work per semester. The College requires all students to take a minimum of 13 units each semester, except in cases where the dean has approved a course load with fewer units.

To obtain approval to take fewer units because of parenting commitments, please refer to the following forms for the following two colleges (Natural Resources and Letters & Sciences). For the other colleges, please contact Student Parent Center for guidance.

Requesting Approval to Enroll in Fewer than 13 Units

Under certain circumstances (see below), you can obtain approval for a class schedule of fewer than 13 units by written petition. Petitions for a lowered course load must be submitted during the first five weeks of the semester to the Office of Undergraduate Advising, 206 Evans Hall.

For circumstances not listed below, individual requests for reduced class schedules are considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have a medical, personal, or family problem that might affect your ability to complete a full semester load, see a College adviser as soon as possible to discuss the best course of action.

Your Situation How to Apply
Paid Employment 
(minimum 15 hours/week, number of units required prorated to hours worked)
Submit completed petition – "Employment Verification for a Reduced Course Load"
Disabled Students Program Recommendation 
(units as recommended by DSP)
Submit DSP recommendation letter

Parenthood

(minimum course load – two academic courses, at least 3 units each)

Submit petition "Reduced Course Load Due to Parenthood"


Transportation/Classroom Accomodations for Expecting and New Parents

Expecting and new parents can receive accomodations through the Disabled Student's Program such as:
  • The Loop: The Loop is a golf-cart transportation service for those with mobility impairments. Schedule, route, and stops can be found on the web at loop.berkeley.edu.
  • Classroom desk and chair accommodation: adjustable chairs/desks 
  • Change of classroom location (if possible): Adjustment for accessible classroom locations.
For all expecting and new student parents, please follow these procedures to become eligible for accomodations:

The Student Parent Program is an essential resource for a highly motivated population of undergraduate and graduate students who are engaged scholars, as well as devoted parents.

The Student Parent Program provides a centralized multi-purpose campus resource, where students can seek informed advice, develop leadership skills, engage in informal study groups, nurse babies, change diapers (changing table/high chair available) celebrate achievements, recover from setback and form lasting friendships. High charis and changing tables are available.

At every level of educational achievement, from high school through PhD programs, becoming a parent can pre-empt or preclude educational opportunities. Sustained efforts over the past 25 years have resulted in the development of Berkeley’s model student parent support services program.