Human Resource Services

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My Benefits | I am Adopting a Child

I Am Adopting

A Qualified Life Event - Information and Support for Faculty and Staff

Adopting a child allows you to make changes to your insurance plans as it is a qualified life event.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Contact Information for Leaves & Accommodations

    Melissa Ward
    Leave & Accommodation Coordinator
    (319) 273-6164

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed by Congress and went into effect on August 5, 1993. The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to eligible employees for certain personal and family medical reasons.

Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance

You can enroll in coverage or add dependents to your health, dental, or vision insurance within 60 calendar days of adopting a child. You also have the option to change from one plan option to another, or change plans all together. If you do complete a midyear change in plans, any deductible amount or amount towards your maximum out-of-pocket will transfer to your new plan. Coverage will be effective the date in which the child is adopted. If making a plan change or enrolling for the first time, the coverage for the employee and any other covered family members will retro date back to the first of the month in which the child was adopted. Any other changes to your plan must be made during the open enrollment period.

Flexible Spending Accounts

You can change or enroll in an FSA due to a qualifying life event. Your deductions will start the month after the election is made but you are able to submit for reimbursement for claims from the date the child is adopted.

Voluntary Term Life (VTL) Insurance

Eligible employees can elect/increase/decrease or de-enroll from voluntary term life for themselves, their spouse or their children due to the adoption of a child. The premium for VTL includes accidental death and dismemberment insurance and can be calculated for each coverage amount by viewing page four of the Group Voluntary Term Life Coverage document. If elected, coverage for the baby will begin the day they are born.


If you need to update your life insurance beneficiaries due to a qualifying life event, please use the Benefits Self-Service System.

For IPERS beneficiaries, please log into the IPERS website to update.

To update your TIAA beneficiaries, please log onto the TIAA website to update.

Verifying Dependents

Effective July 1, 2024, due to a recent audit, all employees having a qualified life event and making any changes to their family health and/or dental coverage must verify all dependent relationships by providing corresponding legal documentation.

Examples of documentation:

  1. Spouse - marriage certificate, common law spouse affidavit
  2. Domestic Partner - notarized domestic partner affidavit
  3. Child - birth certificate which includes parents names, adoption paperwork, court order, or guardianship paperwork

Since this impacts all life events, including open enrollment, we are notifying employees now so documentation can be easily provided when required. At the time of your life event, you can securely upload to UNI Works or bring into the Human Resource Office at Gilchrist 025. All documentation needs to be viewed by HRS staff, but no documentation will be retained after the initial review (i.e., if provided electronically, it will be purged). Do not send any personal documents through email as this is not secure.

Child Care

UNI Child Development Center

The UNI Child Development Center (CDC) is a child care and instruction resource for the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Northern Iowa located in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The CDC is a part of the College of Education.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The university's EAP program is administered by GuidanceResources® and provides several online resources on how to find care, as well as how to choose care for your child/ren. Our EAP can provide a personalized search and referrals. Employees are able to work with a Work-Life Consultant that will conduct a search in the requested area for child care providers that meet the criteria requested. Employees will receive a personalized report based on the search results. For further assistance call EAP at 855-784-2057.

Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral (Iowa CCR&R)

If you are needing child care outside of your home, Iowa CCR&R is a free local program that will work with families to find licensed child care. This program provides families with information to make informed choices and refers families to child care providers that are most likely to meet their specific needs.

The Parent Referral Hotline (855-244-5301) connects you with a specialist to offer referrals for in home child care or daycare centers.

Stress, Mental Health, and Grief Services

Many of us can face challenges every day that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions. Visit our Stress, Mental Health, and Grief Services webpage for services that may be useful to you and/or your family.

Paid Time Off

Adoption Leave

Faculty and Staff may use up to 40 hours of sick leave per occurrence during adoption. This time should be recorded as adoption leave (or sick leave) on the employee's monthly timecard.


Staff members may use vacation to remain in paid status due to leave during adoption.

Note: Faculty do not accrue vacation.

Tax Information

You may also need to update your tax information. This can be done by logging into eBusiness Suite and selecting W-4 Form Employee Withholding Allowances through eBusiness Suite UNI Employee Self-Service.

Benefit Enrollment

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1Q: If I am not currently covering anyone else on my health insurance, can I add them at this time?

    Adopting a child allows you to make changes to your insurance plans as it is a qualified life event.

  2. 2Q: If I add the child to my insurance, when will the coverage start?

    Coverage for the child will start as of the date on the adoption decree.

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