Tufts University | School of Arts and Sciences | School of Engineering | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences | Find People |
   

Chapter 5
Leaves of Absence

Return to Office of the Secretary of the Faculty

Definitions of Terms

This section contains definitions of terms and expanded information about the following:

Adjustment of Faculty Duties for Nontenure-Track Faculty. Depending on the beginning and end dates of a parental, family illness, or medical leave, a nontenure-track (full-time and part-time benefits eligible) faculty member's duties may be adjusted to accommodate curricular and departmental needs during the semester(s) in which the leave occurs. This adjustment of duties is not a leave, and would take place before or after the dates of the leave. The department chair and academic dean must approve the timing and scope of the faculty member's adjusted duties " if possible, before leave is taken.

Benefits Eligible. Depending on his/her employment status, a faculty member may be eligible for benefit plans described on the Tufts Human Resources website.

Current Employment Status. Current employment status, as referenced in the Leave Eligibility Chart, is a faculty member's status at the time leave is to begin:

  • Full-time benefits eligible
  • Part-time benefits eligible
  • Part-time nonbenefits eligible

Definition of Family Member.
University Definitions:

  • "Relative" (under Family Sick Days): "A spouse, qualified same-sex domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild of the employee or of the employee's spouse. Relatives also include "step" relationships such as stepchild and stepparent and in-law relationships, such as brother/sister-in-law, and mother/father-in-law." (Tufts University Employee Handbook, page 40)

  • "Elderly Relative" (under Small Necessities Leave Act): "An individual at least sixty years of age who is related by blood or marriage to the employee. This policy will also cover the same-sex "domestic partner" of an employee who has submitted the required affidavit for same-sex domestic partners." (Tufts University Employee Handbook, page 51)

FMLA definition:
  • "Spouse, son or daughter, or parent."

Domestic Violence Leave for Faculty. In order to help faculty address situations of domestic violence and abuse, faculty members may take up to fifteen (15) days of unpaid leave in a twelve (12) month period to address issues directly related to domestic violence against the faculty member or the faculty member's family member.<,br>
To review the entire policy, please visit the Provost's Office website.

Faculty Rank. The university recognizes the professorial ranks of: professor, associate professor, and assistant professor. These professorial ranks may be modified by the use of words such as "research," "emeritus" or "emerita", "visiting," "practice," and/or "adjunct." All such modified professorial appointments and all appointments to lecturer and senior lecturer are nontenure-track.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal requirement the university must abide by. The FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or child birth;
  • To care for the employee's child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job.
  • To address certain qualifying exigencies related to covered active duty in the Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserves ("Qualified Exigency Leave"), or up to twenty-six (26) weeks to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness ("Military Caregiver Leave").

Faculty Eligibility for FMLA

  • To be eligible for FMLA leave, a faculty member must have worked for the university for at least twelve months, and for at least 1250 hours in the year preceding a requested leave, and must have worked at a worksite within seventy-five miles of a Tufts worksite that employs at least fifty employees.
  • A faculty member meets the FMLA eligibility requirement of having worked at least 1250 hours over the previous 12 months, if he/she has worked at least half time for two consecutive semesters during the twelve months preceding a requested leave.

For more information about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) refer to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the Tufts University Employee Handbook.

The leave application process for faculty is described within this chapter of the AS&E Faculty Handbookin the section on Applying for Leave. Please note that the staff application process for leave differs from that for faculty.

Family Illness Leave. Leave taken due to the serious health condition of the faculty member's qualified family member.

When possible, the faculty member will be expected to work with the department chair to develop a plan for covering his/her teaching and service responsibilities for the duration of the family illness leave. All leave coverage plans must be approved by the academic dean. See also Teaching Relief and Adjustment of Faculty Duties.

Job Protection. Job protection allows a faculty member to be reinstated to his/her job at the conclusion of an approved nonacademic leave of absence. Job protection is available only for eligible leaves that have been approved by the appropriate dean's office. The university cannot guarantee job protection for faculty whose leave of absence extends beyond the job protection period or the end of their contract. For more information, contact one of the Nonacademic Leave Contacts.

Upon returning to work, and during the applicable job protection period, the faculty member typically will be reinstated to the position he/she held just prior to the leave of absence. If the faculty member returns to work after the applicable job protection period, and the faculty member's previous position is no longer available, Tufts may offer the faculty member a similar position for which he/she is qualified, if any such positions are available. If there are no such positions available, the faculty member may be discharged from employment, and benefits will end as they would for any faculty member ending employment with the university.

Jury Duty. Leave taken pursuant to a lawful jury summons. As soon as a faculty member is made aware of the date he/she will be required to serve, the department chair must be notified. A leave application will be required if jury duty will interfere with the faculty member's ability to perform his/her duties.

The University grants paid leave for the purposes of jury duty for all full-time and part-time faculty members. The university will pay the difference between the faculty member's regular university pay and jury duty pay for as long as the faculty member is required to serve. The university will continue to pay a faculty member's salary for the entire period served. Therefore, the faculty member must endorse to the Human Resources Service Center the weekly checks received from the court. If the amount paid by the court exceeds the faculty member's regular earnings (as in the case of some part-time faculty members), the faculty member has the option to retain the greater amount. If the greater amount is the jury duty pay, then the faculty member must be put on unpaid leave and will be responsible for paying for his/her own taxes and benefit deductions. For more information, please contact the Human Resources Service Center at 617.627.3075.

Length of Service. The length of time a faculty member has been continuously employed with the university. "One Year" equals twelve calendar months.

Long Term Disability (LTD). This program, administered by Prudential Insurance Company of America, provides financial protection in an amount equal to 40% or 60% of your basic monthly earnings to a maximum monthly benefit of $10,000. Because LTD premiums are paid by employees with post tax dollars, LTD benefits are tax-free. In order to be eligible for LTD coverage, a faculty member must be eligible for benefits and must have elected to participate in the university's Long Term Disability Plan (LTD) prior to the start date of a leave. If the employee chooses LTD at any time other than as a New Hire, the employee must complete an Evidence of Insurability Form and be approved for coverage by Prudential. This benefit has a pre-existing condition limitation that will apply during an employee's first year on the plan or when coverage is increased.

If LTD benefits are applied for and approved, benefits begin after 180 days of continuous disability. For qualified disabilities that begin prior to age sixty, LTD benefits are payable to your normal social security retirement age. For qualified disabilities beginning after age sixty, LTD benefits are pro-rated to age seventy with a minimum duration of twelve months. Enhanced benefits include a conversion provision and a critical illness benefit. When LTD ends, if an employee does not return to active employment, he/she is terminated from the university, but may be eligible for retiree health benefits at that time. Details regarding LTD benefits are available on the Tufts University HR Benefits website.

Massachusetts Parental Leave Act. The Massachusetts Parental Leave Act expands and replaces the former Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA), as of April 7, 2015. For men and women who are employed full-time, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act provides for eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the purpose of giving birth or adopting a child. For more details about this law, consult one of the nonacademic leave contacts, or see the Parental Leave Act on the official website of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Medical Leave. Leave taken due to a serious health condition that renders the faculty member unable to perform his/her job. If a faculty member is absent for two weeks or less because of a health condition that renders him/her unable to perform his/her job, an application for medical leave would not be required. Beginning with the third consecutive week of absence, the faculty member must apply for medical leave. If the medical leave is approved, the effective date of the medical leave will then be retroactive to the first day of absence from the university.

When possible, the faculty member will be expected to work with the department chair to develop a plan for covering his/her teaching and service responsibilities for the duration of the medical leave. All leave coverage plans must be approved by the academic dean. See also: Teaching Relief and Adjustment of Faculty Duties.

Military Leave Under USERRA. For information about military leave, refer to "Military Leave Under USERRA," page 49 of the Tufts University Employee Handbook.

Other Employment While on Nonacademic Leave. A faculty member on a nonacademic leave of absence may not work at another job on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Paid Sick Time. An employment benefit in the form of paid time off to be used due to a faculty member's temporary inability to perform duties because of sickness or disability. Paid sick time may also be applied toward other types of qualifying and approved leaves, such as parental leave, family illness leave, and Qualified Exigency Leave or Military Caregiver Leave. A benefits-eligible faculty member has up to six months of paid sick time, which is replenished based upon a rolling calendar year, i.e., one year from time used.

As of July 1, 2015, Tufts provides forty (40) hours per fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) of paid sick time for all faculty members previously ineligible for paid sick time/medical leave. The forty (40) hours of paid sick time is awarded in a lump sum amount on July 1 of the fiscal year.

To review the entire policy, please visit the Provost's Office website.

Parental Leave. Leave taken by a faculty member for the purposes of giving birth; preparing for or participating in the birth, adoption, or foster care of his/her child; and/or caring for his/her newborn or newly adopted or foster child.

Paid Parental Leave: As of July 1, 2015, parents are no longer required to declare primary caregiver status in order for the leave to be paid. Parental leave must be taken in one uninterrupted block from the time of birth, adoption, or placement of the child with the faculty member, in order for the leave to be paid.  A parent with less than two weeks of available paid sick time may take a paid leave of up to two consecutive weeks from the time of birth, adoption, or placement of a child with the faculty member for the purposes outlined above.

Unpaid Parental Leave: Unpaid parental leave may be taken by a faculty member who is a parent, and who has completed three consecutive months of full-time employment. Unpaid parental leave of eight or twelve weeks (depending on the faculty member's length of university service) must be taken in its entirety within twelve months of the arrival of the child. Note that unpaid parental leave may be taken instead of, but not in addition to, a twelve-week paid parental leave.

If both parents are employed by the university: The two parents are allowed to take combined parental leaves totaling eight or twelve leave weeks, depending on the parents' length of university service and benefits eligibility.

Personal Leave. Upon application by a faculty member and at the discretion of the school, an unpaid personal leave may be granted for reasons of compelling personal circumstance that make it impossible or difficult for a faculty member to be at work. Requests for personal leave will be considered subject to the needs of the department and on a case-by-case basis. Personal leave must be approved in advance by the department chair and the academic dean. Personal leave normally does not exceed six months. During the period of a personal leave, the university does not contribute to the cost of any benefits. If a faculty member wishes to retain coverage, he/she must pay the full cost of the benefits. A faculty member should consult the Tufts Human Resources Benefits Office at 617.627.3270 to discuss benefits coverage and costs.

Primary Caregiver Status. As of July 1, 2015, a faculty member is no longer required to declare primary caregiver status in order to take a paid parental leave.

Renewal of Leave Eligibility. Please see Rolling Calendar Year.

Renewal of Sick Bank. Benefits eligible faculty members have up to six months of paid sick time available to them. Available paid sick time may be used toward approved parental, family illness, or medical leaves. Renewal of one's six-month sick bank begins one year from the first day paid sick time was used for a leave, under the rolling calendar year method. The accrual is done on the first of the month, and aggregates any sick time taken during that month in the previous year. Please see Rolling Calendar Year. Nonbenefits eligible faculty members have up to forty (40) hours of paid sick time available to them per fiscal year.

Rolling Calendar Year. The rolling calendar year method is used by the university to determine renewal for FMLA leave eligibility and renewal of sick bank days for benefits eligible faculty members. A "rolling" twelve-month period measures backward from the first day an employee uses any leave or sick bank days. The total amount of FMLA leave time the faculty member has used during the previous twelve months is subtracted from the employee's twelve-week FMLA leave allotment to determine available FMLA leave. The total amount of sick time the faculty member has used during the previous twelve months is subtracted from the employee's six-month sick bank allotment to determine available paid sick time.

Serious Health Condition. A serious health condition includes an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the faculty member from performing the functions of his/her job, or prevents a qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.

Subject to certain conditions,the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy or a chronic medical condition. Other conditions may also meet the definition of continuing treatment.

A serious health condition is certified by the completion of the Certification of Health Care Provider form (DOL forms WH-380-E or WH-380-F).

Teaching Relief. The intent of teaching relief is to adjust for time a tenure-track/tenured faculty member loses toward his/her research and scholarship because of a nonacademic leave. Teaching relief is not a leave and takes place before or after the nonacademic leave. Depending on the timing of the leave, up to one semester of teaching relief is available to tenure-track/tenured faculty members only. Teaching relief is automatic for parental leaves of twelve weeks (eight weeks in the first year of employment), and for family illness and medical leaves of twelve weeks or longer. In the case of a parental leave that lasts less than twelve weeks (eight weeks in the first year of employment) or a family illness or medical leave that lasts less than twelve weeks, teaching relief must be requested and may be approved at the discretion of the academic dean.

Teaching relief provides relief from regular teaching duties, which may include: course instruction, lab instruction, and advising. During the period of teaching relief, the faculty member is expected to continue his/her scholarship and service responsibilities. The department chair and academic dean must approve the timing and scope of the teaching relief, and the faculty member's nonteaching-related responsibilities " if possible, before leave is taken.

Guidelines for determining during which semester teaching relief will occur:
As a general rule, teaching relief takes place for the balance of the semester during which the parental, family illness, or medical leave occurs " either before or after the leave, depending on the timing.

  • In cases where leave spans two semesters, teaching relief occurs during the semester in which the faculty member will be absent most while on leave.

  • If the majority of a leave takes place during the summer months of June, July, and August, teaching relief occurs during either the fall or spring semester of the following academic year, or may be divided between the fall and spring semesters of the following academic year.

Tenure-stream faculty members in Arts and Sciences who would like to request teaching relief should complete the Teaching Relief Form and send it to Christine Cousineau christine.cousineau@tufts.edu and Maria Tripodi maria.tripodi@tufts.edu.  

Tenure Review Deferral. Below are the policies on tenure review deferral (i.e., stopping the tenure clock):

Policy on Automatic Tenure Review Deferral for Parental Leave:
As of September 1, 2013, tenure review for tenure-track faculty members will be automatically deferred for one year due to the birth, adoption, or placement of a child, if the faculty member takes a paid parental leave. As of July 1, 2015, faculty members no longer are required to declare themselves to be the primary caregiver in order to take a parental leave. In order to implement this automatic deferral, a faculty member must take a parental leave, and must submit the Nonacademic Leave Request Form within three months of the birth, adoption, or placement of the child. If the leave is to take place in the academic year preceding the tenure review, faculty members must submit the application for parental leave by May 1 of that year. Faculty members will receive up to two automatic tenure deferrals for parental leaves, and may request additional deferrals, to be granted at the discretion of the dean. A faculty member may opt out of this year of tenure review deferral, or may simply later decide to come up early for tenure review.

Policy on Automatic Tenure Review Deferral for Family Illness Leave and Medical Leave:
As of September 1, 2013, tenure review for tenure-track faculty members will be automatically deferred for one year due to either a family illness leave of twelve weeks or longer, or a medical leave of twelve weeks or longer. If the leave is to take place in the academic year preceding the tenure review, faculty members must submit the application for family illness or medical leave by May 1 of that year. Faculty members will receive up to two automatic tenure deferrals for family illness and/or medical leaves, and may request additional deferrals, to be granted at the discretion of the dean. Faculty members may also request tenure review deferrals for family illness/medical leaves of less than twelve weeks, to be granted at the discretion of the dean. A faculty member may opt out of this year of tenure review deferral, or may simply later decide to come up early for tenure review.

Tenure Status. The different tenure statuses are:

  • Tenured
  • Tenure-track
  • Nontenure-track
More information about each tenure status is available in Chapter 2.

Vacation. Faculty members on academic year contracts are not eligible for, or compensated for, vacation time.