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Handbook Outline

Leaves

Leave policies for faculty and other academic appointees. Questions about leaves may be addressed to the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Child Care Leave and Care Giver's Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits up to twelve weeks total unpaid leave per year, after at least twelve months of employment at the University, under the following circumstances:

  • A faculty member receiving a foster child placement may request a leave without salary of up to twelve weeks for the purpose of caring for the child. 
  • An other academic appointee who is giving birth, adopting a child, or receiving a foster child placement may request a leave without salary of up to twelve weeks for the purpose of caring for the child.

This leave must be taken within twelve months of the birth, adoption, or placement. The faculty member or member of the academic staff who anticipates a child care leave should discuss the plan with the section chief (if applicable), department chair, and dean at least three months in advance, if possible.

A faculty member or member of the academic staff may request an unpaid leave of up to twelve weeks to care for the following family members with a serious health condition: 

  • a spouse, University-registered same-sex domestic or civil union partner, 
  • child, or
  • parent

The faculty member or member of the academic staff should discuss the proposed FMLA leave with the section chief (if applicable), department chair, and dean as far in advance as possible.

Most benefits may be maintained during these leaves by arranging to continue the employee contribution to premiums.

Parental Leave for Faculty

For Full-Time Faculty Members

Parental leave is considered leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law permitting up to twelve weeks total of unpaid leave per year, for which one is eligible after at least twelve months of employment at the University.

For a full-time faculty member who is or will be the parent responsible for the majority of the child care, University policy supplements this federal requirement as follows:

  • In such instances, when the faculty member gives birth, adopts a child, or has a spouse or University-registered domestic or civil union partner who gives birth, the University allows, without regard to the start date of employment, the faculty member to have a one-quarter paid leave and to reduce the total annual teaching load by up to one course if that load is between three and five full courses per year or by up to two courses if that load is six or more full courses per year.

All leaves and course reductions must be taken within one year of the arrival of the child. A faculty member preferring to take a leave without course reduction, a course reduction without leave, or only one course reduction even if two are available may do so.

The faculty member should discuss his or her leave and course reduction plans with the section chief (if applicable), department chair, or dean a minimum of three months before the proposed leave or course reduction.

Where both parents are members of the faculty, each may have a quarter’s leave. If both parents have a teaching load of three or more full courses, each may request one course relief. Parents in the same department or school should plan the sequencing of their leaves and course reductions in consultation with the section chief, department chair, or dean.

Parental Leave for Other Academic Appointees

Full-time other academic appointees in all units of the University on regular three- or four-quarter appointments who give birth, adopt a child, or has a spouse or University-registered domestic or civil union partner who gives birth may take up to six weeks of a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave as paid leave and up to six weeks of the FMLA leave as unpaid leave within twelve months of the delivery. Anyone wishing to take parental leave under this policy should discuss leave plans with the section chief (if applicable), department chair, and dean at least three months before the proposed leave.

For full-time academic appointees whose responsibilities are limited to teaching, a leave that ends after a quarter has begun effectively precludes a resumption of duties until the start of the following quarter in residence. In those circumstances, it should be noted that the precise timing of the leave under this policy needs careful consideration and planning: when duties are limited to teaching, it may not be possible (or in the interests of students) to return to work after a quarter has begun. In effect, paid leave is intended to enable a parent in this situation to take a full quarter leave and be paid one half of one quarter’s compensation while on leave. Accordingly, leave under this policy may not be combined with rearrangement of teaching duties when there are no other assigned duties except teaching. Full-time academic appointees whose duties do not include teaching, or include some teaching but are not limited to teaching, may request a rearrangement of their teaching schedule within a single academic year. For example, if duties are to teach three courses per year, instead of teaching one per quarter, it may be possible to teach two in one quarter and one in a second. Other non-teaching responsibilities would be continued without interruption, including participation in all departmental business as normally expected. Because this is a re-arrangement of duties with full compensation, not a suspension of duties, it is not considered a leave under this policy.

Most benefits may be maintained during parental leave by arranging to continue the employee contribution to premiums.

Normally, where both parents are University employees, only one may seek leave at a time.

Parental leave is considered leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law permitting up to twelve weeks total of unpaid leave per year, after at least twelve months of employment at the University.

Sick Leave, Short-Term Disability Leave, and Long-Term Disability Leave for Faculty

 

Sick Leave

Faculty members may take up to two work weeks (10 work days) of paid Sick Leave per calendar year (i.e., each January through December) for absences for the faculty member’s own illness, injury, medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventive medical care. It may also be used for absences due to a Family Member’s (as defined below) illness or injury or to care for a Family Member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventive medical care. Faculty members may also use Sick Leave if they or a Family Member are a victim of domestic violence or a sex offense or if they need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency. Absences of less than one full day are not deducted from a faculty member’s Sick Leave allotment. Faculty sick leave does not carry over from year to year and is not paid out at the end of the Faculty Member’s employment.

For the purposes of this policy, “Family Member” means a faculty member’s child, legal guardian, ward, spouse under the laws of any state, domestic partner, parent, spouse or domestic partner’s parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. A child includes not only a biological relationship, but also a relationship resulting from an adoption, step-relationship, and/or foster care relationship, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis. A parent includes a biological, foster, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian of an employee, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child. Please note that this definition of “Family Member” does not apply to any other University policy, except where stated. 

Short-Term Disability Leave

If the faculty member’s own illness or disability prevents the faculty member from performing the individual’s University obligations, the faculty member must promptly make arrangements with the department chair, director or dean to ensure that all such responsibilities are met for the current quarter. During that quarter, the faculty member may take Short-Term Disability Leave, during which the faculty member ordinarily will continue to receive full salary and benefits. The faculty member must use Sick Leave concurrently with Short-Term Disability Leave and such leave shall also count as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, if applicable. 

Long-Term Disability Leave 

Faculty members are required to participate in the Basic Long-Term Disability Plan and are strongly encouraged to purchase the Optional Plan, which has several advantageous features compared to the Basic Plan. (Contact the Benefits Office for more details.) If the faculty member’s inability to fulfill his or her University obligations due to the faculty member’s own illness or disability may extend into a second quarter, the faculty member should apply for Long-Term Disability (LTD) promptly, as the application submission and review process typically takes up to eight (8) weeks. Individuals are eligible for LTD benefits as of the first day of the month after thirteen (13) consecutive weeks of disability. If the faculty member has promptly completed and submitted the LTD application, the University may continue to pay the faculty member’s full salary and benefits until the insurance carrier makes a determination on the application for LTD, up to an additional quarter beyond that provided in (1) above.  Such leave shall count as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, if applicable.  Thereafter, if approved, the faculty member will receive LTD benefits. 

Returning to Work 

If a faculty member goes on LTD, he or she may resume his or her University position within two years of the first day of the short-term disability leave upon a finding by the Provost’s Office, supported by competent medical opinion and upon recommendation of the chair and the dean or director to the Provost’s office, that the faculty member is again able to fulfill satisfactorily the individual’s  University obligations, with or without reasonable accommodations (if applicable and as provided by law). In certain situations, a trial or observation period will be necessary in order to determine whether the faculty member is able to fulfill these obligations satisfactorily. Should the faculty member have a term appointment that ends during the period of  LTD, the presumption is that the appointment will expire at the end of the term, pursuant to section 11.2 of the University Statutes unless an accommodation is required by law. 

Failure to Apply for LTD or Denial of LTD Benefits 

Should the faculty member decide not to apply for LTD, the maximum paid leave for inability to perform University obligations due to illness or disability will be thirteen (13) weeks from the first day of leave, and such leave shall count as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, if applicable. If the faculty member does not apply for LTD or is denied LTD benefits by the insurance carrier, he or she may apply for an unpaid leave of absence for a period for up to two consecutive years from the first date of the short-term disability leave that rendered the faculty member unable to perform University obligations. If the faculty member remains unable to fulfill satisfactorily the individual’s University obligations after two years, the faculty member’s appointment at the University may be subject to termination. If the faculty member’s term appointment ends in less than two years, the unpaid leave will be coterminous with the remaining portion of the appointment term, and the presumption is that the appointment will expire at the end of the term, pursuant to section 11.2 of the University Statutes, unless an accommodation is required by law. 

Partial LTD

(Only Available to those with the Optional LTD Plan) 

Should a faculty member be partially disabled but still able to perform his or her University obligations, the faculty member with the chair and dean or with the director will work with the Provost’s Office to determine which accommodations, if any, may be reasonable under the circumstances and whether partial LTD from the insurance carrier is an option for the faculty member.

Sick Leave and Short-Term Disability Leave for Other Academic Appointees

 

Benefits-Eligible Other Academic Appointees

Sick Leave

If you are a benefits-eligible Other Academic Appointees (OAA), you may take up to two work weeks (10 work days) of paid Sick Leave per calendar year (i.e., each January through December) for any of the purposes described in Section C of this policy. You must use your Sick Leave concurrently with FMLA leave, if applicable. Absences of less than one full day are not deducted from a benefits-eligible OAA’s Sick Leave allotment. Your Sick Leave does not carry over from year to year and is not paid out at the end of your employment.

Short-Term Disability Leave

Short-term disability (STD) leave is a University benefit that provides a portion of your salary and continuity of benefits if you are ill or disabled and cannot work and you have exhausted your Sick Leave. The cost of this benefit is covered by the University. All benefits-eligible Other Academic Appointees (OAA) who have worked at the University in a benefits-eligible capacity for at least the six months immediately preceding the illness or disability are eligible for STD; School of Medicine Faculty are covered under the BSD faculty sick leave policy. Visitors are not eligible for STD.

To be eligible for STD, your illness or disability cannot be work-related1 or pregnancy-related2, you must be in-residence, and you must be unable to work.

After your Sick Leave is exhausted, you will begin to receive STD benefits, paid at 60% of your base salary (minus deductions for taxes, benefits, etc.). You may receive up to 11 weeks of STD payments. STD does not extend beyond the end of your appointment. The 11 weeks of STD count toward the 12 weeks of leave required by the Family and Medical Leave Act, if applicable. At all times during your STD leave, you will maintain all benefits in which you are enrolled, provided that you continue to pay your share of applicable premiums. If you receive a term allowance and/or administrative supplement, those salary components automatically terminate on day 30 of the 13-week STD period.

As soon as it appears that your illness or disability may extend beyond 13 weeks, you must contact your chair or dean, who must then contact the Provost’s Office, to discuss your options, including applying for long-term disability benefits, and what will happen to your salary and benefits. All STD salary and benefits will be discontinued after the 13th week following your initial absence. If your LTD application is pending and your appointment has not ended, you may request an unpaid leave of absence.

If it is possible to give notice of your planned STD, as is often the case with surgery, please complete your paperwork well in advance of your absence. If you are unable to provide advance notice, you must submit your paperwork within two weeks of your first day of absence, sooner if possible.

Benefits-Ineligible Other Academic Appointees 

If you are a benefits-ineligible OAA, you will earn five hours of paid Sick Leave in every month in which you perform compensable duties or the University pays you as an academic appointee. Your Sick Leave may be used each calendar year for absences discussed in Section C of this policy. 

For benefits-ineligible OAA:

  • The Sick Leave year is each January through December.
  • Sick Leave accrual is capped at 40 hours per year.
  • A maximum of 60 hours of accrued Sick Leave may be carried over from year to year.
  • A maximum of 60 hours of accrued Sick Leave may be used within one year.
  • Sick Leave must be used concurrently with FMLA leave, if applicable, and is not paid out at the end of employment.
  • Absences of less than one full day are not deducted from your accrued Sick Leave. 

Uses of Sick Leave

Sick Leave may be used for absences for the OAA’s own medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventive medical care. It may also be used for absences due to a Family Member’s (as defined below) illness or injury or to care for a Family Member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventive medical care. OAA may also use Sick Leave if they or a Family Member are a victim of domestic violence or a sex offense or if they need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.

For the purposes of this policy, “Family Member” means an OAA’s child, legal guardian, ward, spouse under the laws of any state, domestic partner, parent, spouse or domestic partner’s parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. A child includes not only a biological relationship, but also a relationship resulting from an adoption, step-relationship, and/or foster care relationship, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis. A parent includes a biological, foster, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian of an employee, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child. Please note that this definition of “Family Member” does not apply to any other University policy, except where stated. 

 

 


1. Compensation for absences caused by work-related injuries is covered exclusively under the University’s Workers’ Compensation program and as required by law. Click here for more information on work-related injuries and illnesses http://hr.uchicago.edu/benefits/spds/workcomp/.

2. Maternity leave for OAA is covered under the following policies http://facultyhandbook.uchicago.edu/faculty/maternity.shtml.

Stopping the Clock on Review for Promotion

I. An Assistant Professor on the tenure track or an untenured Associate Professor on the tenure track who becomes the parent of a child by birth or adoption at least nine months prior to the date on which the University is required to make promotion notification will automatically be granted a one-year extension of the current term appointment for each pregnancy or adoption if the faculty member has equal or primary care giving responsibilities. A faculty member may elect to opt out of the automatic term extension granted for childbirth or adoption. This policy applies to both men and women and includes same-sex, registered domestic partners.

The Assistant Professor or Associate Professor should notify the appropriate Dean, Director, or (in the case of the Divisions) Department Chair of the birth or adoption within six months of the arrival of the child. The Dean should notify the Provost's Office immediately afterward so that proper records for the promotion case are maintained, whether the extension is taken or not. Chairs, deans, directors, and the Provost’s Office appreciate advance notice whenever possible.

In the case of twins or other multiple births, a one-year (not multi-year) extension is provided.

When both parents are members of the faculty and both share equally in care giving responsibilities, both will be granted a one-year extension as described.

II. An untenured tenure-track faculty member may request a one-time term extension for other reasons, such as to care for a sick or disabled immediate family member or to attend to his or her personal illness or disability. Requests to “stop the clock” should be in writing, addressed to the appropriate Dean, Director, or (in the case of the Divisions) Department Chair as soon as the circumstances justifying the request are known. All such requests will be granted at the discretion of the appropriate Dean with the approval of the Provost.

An Assistant Professor on the clinical scholar or undifferentiated track, tracks that are being phased out, is also eligible.

 

Related links

 

Effective: 1 July 2009
Last revised: 9 June 2016