Mar 25, 2023 - Business

How parental leave policies at Tampa's biggest employers compare

Illustration of four toy blocks with symbols of a check mark, a pregnant person, a heart, and a baby.

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

The University of South Florida has some of the most generous parental leave policies in Tampa, including 19.5 weeks of paid time off for instructors.

Why it matters: A host of research shows paid parental leave leads to better birth outcomes, healthier families and household stability.

Driving the news: Job seekers are the most motivated by generous benefits and personal well-being, according to a study from Gallup, and companies see better benefits as a competitive advantage when recruiting talent.

  • In 2022, better pay and benefits ranked at the top of what employees want in their next job, compared to No. 4 in 2015.

What we did: We reached out to the top 10 largest employers in Tampa, as ranked by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

  • The policy details below came from spokespeople at the companies.

Of note: Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, certain employees are guaranteed up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave after a year on the job, or 1,250 hours worked over the past 12 months.MacDill Air Force Base

Data: Axios research; Table: Axios Visuals
MacDill Air Force Base

Parental leave: Birthing parents get a provider-recommended amount of paid convalescent leave and an additional 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

  • Non-birthing parents, including adoptive parents, get 12 weeks of paid leave.

Transition back to work: Dual-military couples have 12 months to decide whether to continue military service.

Fertility: Some fertility benefits are offered through TRICARE health care coverage.

  • The Air Force also offers time off for fertility treatments at military medical treatment facilities.
  • Those who experience miscarriage or pregnancy loss can receive up to 42 days of paid convalescent leave.

Other benefits: Private lactation rooms with refrigeration and hot/cold water are offered.

BayCare Health System

Parental leave: BayCare Health System doesn't have paid parental leave. Birthing parents can use short-term disability for up to 10 weeks at 50% pay, following a 14-day unpaid waiting period.

  • Birthing parents can buy supplemental short-term disability to receive a larger portion of their salary while on leave.

Transition back to work: There are part-time and flexible options; employees might have to switch departments to find a position that works with their new schedule.

Fertility: Coverage for fertility testing is available through medical insurance.

Adoption: Employees can be reimbursed up to $4,500 per adopted child per calendar year for expenses.

Other benefits: BayCare gives employees who’ve been hospitalized $1,000, including when they give birth. New parents can also order a free breast pump through insurance.

  • BayCare has two on-site child care centers and offers discounts to several child care centers.
Hillsborough County Public Schools

Parental leave: Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) doesn’t offer paid leave. Employees can take a max of 12 weeks leave after birth or adoption.

Fertility: Limited fertility benefits are provided through health insurance.

Additional benefits: The district offers 25%–50% off before and after-school care at the school sites.

  • HCPS also provides counseling support for all members of the employee's family.
University of South Florida

Parental leave: Instructional faculty are eligible for 19.5 weeks or one semester of paid leave, and non-instructional faculty are eligible for three months of paid leave.

  • Employees may be eligible to take up to six months of unpaid parental leave.
  • Leave policies apply to birth or adoptive parents.

Transition back to work: Employees can talk to their supervisors about return-to-work plans.

Fertility: Some fertility coverage is available through health insurance plans.

Adoption: State employees may be eligible for adoption benefits through the Department of Children and Families, Office of Child Welfare.

Pasco County Schools

Parental leave: There’s no paid family leave. Instead, Pasco County Schools employees can use their sick days for paid time off.

  • This applies to adoptive parents, too.

Transition back to work: FMLA can be used on an intermittent basis for flexible return to work.

Fertility: In the event of a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, employees can use FMLA for unpaid time off.


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