Family Leave Policy

Policy Memorandum No. 132

Recommended by the Commission on Faculty Affairs
Approved by University Council: May 4, 1992
Approved by the President: May 4, 1992
Approved by the Board of Visitors: August 24, 1992
Effective: Immediately

The University Council, on recommendation of the Commission on Faculty Affairs, approved the Family Leave Policy. Developed by the EO/AA Committee with the assistance of CFA, Legal Counsel, Personnel Services, the Deans, and others.

Following is the text of the resolution as adopted by University Council.

WHEREAS, existing policies applicable to maternity and family leave are not separately identified in the Faculty Handbook, making it difficult for faculty and supervisors to know what options are available within University policy,

WHEREAS, current policy does not provide leave for adoption or parental leave for either parent (other than sick leave certified by a doctor for the mother during pregnancy or following childbirth),

WHEREAS, by establishing a family leave policy the University recognizes that faculty members have family obligations that may occasionally make extraordinary demands on their time and that a family leave policy will help both faculty members and supervisors understand the available options and reach a reasonable accommodation whenever possible,

THEREFORE be it resolved, that a new section on Family Leave be added to the Faculty Handbook following section 2.14.7 (Sick Leave) and subsequent sections renumbered accordingly. The Sick Leave policy (2.14.7) should also be revised to reflect the relationships listed in the last sentence of the second paragraph of this proposed policy.

2.14.8 FAMILY LEAVE (NEW SECTION)

The University recognizes that faculty members have family responsibilities that may, from time to time, make extraordinary claims on their time, making it difficult to carry out fully their responsibilities. Department heads, deans, and other supervisory personnel are urged to be as flexible as possible within existing university policy in responding to the need for leave or temporary adjustment of duties for family-related reasons.

Paid sick leave is available for pregnancy-related medical conditions, childbirth and recovery. The length of time charged to sick leave varies and is based on the recommendation of a physician. Sick leave may also be used for family emergencies. Leave for this purpose is restricted to three days per instance and six days during a calendar year for absence necessitated by the serious illness or death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, or any individual residing in the same household. Restricted faculty may use earned sick leave and annual leave for these purposes.

Additional benefits are available to faculty on regular, salaried (nonrestricted) appointments. Up to ten days of family leave may be used by parents at the birth of a child or at the time of adoption. Annual leave may be used by calendar year faculty to extend the leave period for childbirth, adoption, or family care.

Faculty members on regular, salaried appointments wishing or requiring an extended period of time for child or family care may be granted leave without pay for up to one year (academic year or calendar year depending on type of appointment) thereby guaranteeing their job during the period of leave. A second year of leave without pay may be requested and approved in unusual cases. (See section 2.14.9 for terms and conditions of leave without pay.)

It is in the University's interest to help employees combine new parenthood (or other temporary extraordinary family obligations) and employment when possible and preferred by the faculty member over a full leave from the University. Regular faculty members who find that they cannot carry on their normal University duties in the usual manner and fulfill their family obligations at the same time may request consideration for part-time employment at proportional pay. Assigned responsibilities for a part-time load may vary depending on the needs of both the individual and department. Expectations for teaching, research, service and committee assignments should be discussed in advance with the head or supervisor. Certain fringe benefits may be continued at employee expense while on part-time salary. Probationary faculty moving to part-time status for the purposes of child or family care will receive an extension of the mandatory tenure review date, consistent with section 2.7.2 of the Handbook.

Department heads and supervisors should be sensitive and responsive where possible in establishing work hours, course and committee scheduling, and other aspects of employment for faculty members who are new parents or who are experiencing temporary extraordinary family obligations.

A tenure-track faculty member on probationary appointment whose professional development in a given academic year is severely impeded by childbirth, adoption, serious family illness, or other extenuating non-professional circumstances may request exclusion of the year from the probationary period. Requests for extension of the probationary period should be made in writing in a timely fashion, but no later than one year after the qualifying event, and be approved by the dean and Provost.

Options provided here for faculty members to meet exceptional, limited-term demands of new parenthood or family care should be discussed with the department head or supervisor, with the participation of the dean (or vice president) as necessary and appropriate. While mutual agreement is desirable, it may not be possible to meet every requested accommodation if it imposes serious hardship on students, other staff, or a funded project, for example. Denial of leave or accommodation requested under these provisions by the department head or supervisor may be discussed with the dean (or vice president as appropriate) and the Provost or appealed through regular faculty grievance procedures.

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President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm132