Office of the Provost

Faculty Medical and Family Leave Policy

Scope

This policy establishes leaves of absence for faculty for medical (including pregnancy, and childbirth), parental, and other family care purposes.  Its goals are to assist faculty members in balancing the demands of the workplace with family obligations, and to establish equitable practices across the diverse departments, schools, and campuses of the University.  This policy is ultimately intended to maximize the professional productivity of faculty women and men, while strengthening the University as a collegial and supportive work environment.  Specific implementation of this policy may vary by a faculty member’s term and nature of appointment. Faculty members should contact the office of their dean or regional campus president.

Relationship to Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

The University of Pittsburgh provides leaves of absence in accordance with the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).  A faculty member’s minimum rights and responsibilities under the FMLA are set forth in a mandatory notice published by the United States Department of Labor.  This notice can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmlaen.pdf.

The University’s policy will thus be administered consistent with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, and supersedes previous University policies in force prior to 1993.  The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees, as defined in the Act, to take unpaid family care and/or medical leaves of up to 12 workweeks in any 12-month period.  The Act protects the employee's employment and medical benefits during authorized family and medical leaves.  Consistent with the Act, this policy provides for paid and unpaid leave periods which shall be substituted for all or part of the unpaid leave period provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Eligibility

Faculty members eligible for leave under this policy are:

  • full-time faculty and faculty librarians;
  • part-time tenure-stream faculty and part-time faculty librarians, who are employed at least half-time.

Faculty members are eligible for leave as established by this policy regardless of length of service, except as outlined in Family Leave,B., below.

Medical Leave

A. A faculty member will receive regular salary for a period of up to 26 workweeks during any 12-month period in the event of his or her own serious medical condition or illness, conditional upon certification by a health care provider.  If the reason for requested medical leave is foreseeable, the faculty member is required to provide 30 days notice of intent to take leave.  If the need for leave is not foreseeable, the faculty member is required to provide as much notice as possible.  Faculty members requesting a paid medical leave under this policy must submit a written request to the appropriate chair or dean, which includes a start date and an end date for the leave.  The Certification of Physician or Practitioner, FORM 0189 PITT 1517, can accompany the written request or it can be sent directly to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.  When a medical leave extends beyond six months, the individual must apply for disability insurance under the University’s Long-Term Disability Plan.

B. Salary will be continued only during that period for which the faculty member would normally be on the payroll.

C. When the medical leave extends beyond six calendar months, the individual may apply for an unpaid leave of absence not to exceed 12 additional months, or for disability insurance under the University Long-Term Disability Plan.

D. During paid or unpaid medical leave, the faculty member may elect to perform certain responsibilities on a part-time basis, if approved by the dean and with the health care provider's certificate of fitness to work.  The medical leave will count as full-time leave even if the faculty member chooses to work part time during the leave.  In no event, however, shall a faculty member who is on medical leave be compelled to waive any part of the leave to which he or she is entitled under this policy.

E. When medically necessary, leave may be used on an intermittent basis.  No faculty member will be paid for total medical leave time in excess of six months during any consecutive 12-month period.

Family Leave

A. Faculty members are eligible for parental leave in the event of the birth or adoption of a child for whom the faculty member has parental responsibilities.  Each faculty member may receive four workweeks of paid leave, to be taken within one calendar year after the birth or adoption of a child.  Whether leave is taken as full time or equivalent prorated part-time, leave shall be determined by the faculty member and his or her department chair.  Such paid leave is in addition to medical leave granted under Medical Leave, A. above, Family Leave, B. below, and any accrued vacation time.  Married faculty members who are both employed at the University are each eligible for parental leave.

B. Faculty members who have been employed at the University of Pittsburgh for 24 calendar months or more are eligible for up to a maximum of four weeks of paid leave during any consecutive 24-month period in the event of a serious medical condition or illness of a spouse, biological or adopted child, or parent for whom the faculty member has major responsibility.  A completed Certification of Physician or Practitioner, FORM 0189 PITT 1517, must be presented outlining why the faculty member's attendance is necessary.  Every effort shall be made to encourage a collegial exchange to minimize the impact of the leave on the unit.

C. Faculty members are eligible for up to 12 months of unpaid family leave to care for a spouse, biological or adopted child, foster child, parent, or other household member for whom the faculty member has major responsibility.  This may include routine childcare.  Combined paid and unpaid leave shall not exceed 12 months in any consecutive three year period.  Additional requests for unpaid family leave within this three year period shall be reviewed by the Provost, who shall have the final decision with regard to its approval.

D. Request for a family leave should be submitted in writing to the appropriate department chair as far in advance of the proposed absence as possible so that the instructional or research programs are not interrupted.

E. Upon return from family leave, the faculty member will be assured of the same or equivalent position.  A family leave shall not, in itself, adversely affect decisions regarding the faculty member's salary, benefits, tenure, or promotion.

Medical, Life, and Disability Insurance Premiums

During all paid and unpaid leaves described above, the University will continue to pay its share of medical, life, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D) and disability insurance premiums, and the faculty member will be responsible for his or her portion.  If a faculty member does not return to University employment after the leave, he/she is obligated to reimburse the University for its insurance expenditures during the leave.

Tenure Track Considerations

A. When a faculty member takes medical or family leave for four calendar months or longer, the academic year in which the leave is taken shall not be counted as a year towards mandatory tenure review.  The faculty member desiring this option must submit a written statement to the appropriate department chair or dean within the period of the leave.  The statement should be forwarded to the Office of the Provost.

B. When a faculty member takes medical or family leave for less than four months, he or she may request that the year in which the leave is taken NOT count towards the mandatory tenure review.  Any such request shall reviewed by the Provost, who shall have the final decision with regard to its approval.

C. When a faculty member becomes a parent by birth or adoption, whether or not a leave is taken, the academic year in which the birth or adoption occurs shall not normally be counted as a year towards mandatory tenure review.  The faculty member desiring this option must submit a written statement to the department chair or dean within the academic year in which the birth or adoption occurs.  The statement should be forwarded to the Office of the Provost.

D. Mandatory tenure review may not be delayed by the faculty member for more than three years under this policy.

For additional information, refer to University Policy 02-11-01 and University Procedure 02-11-01, Faculty Medical and Family Leave. Questions about the policy can be directed to the Office of the Provost, telephone 412-624-4222, or e-mail provost@pitt.edu.