Office of the Provost

Faculty Medical and Family Leave (FMFL) FAQs

1. Are part-time faculty members eligible for medical or family leave under the FMFL policy?

Only part-time faculty members who are tenured or in the tenure stream are eligible for FMFL.

2. Are faculty librarians eligible for medical or family leave under the FMFL policy?

Yes, both full-time and part-time Faculty Librarians who are employed at least half-time are eligible to take FMFL.

3. Are faculty members who have been employed by the University for less than one year eligible to take medical or family leave under FMFL?

Yes. There is no minimum service needed to be eligible for FMFL except leave taken to care for a seriously ill family member. In order to be eligible for that leave, a faculty member must be employed with the University for 24 calendar months or longer

4. Does the University offer maternity leave?

While there is nothing at the University that is officially titled “maternity leave,” the University offers medical leave and family leave under the FMFL policy. A pregnant faculty member may wish to take medical leave for the birth of a child and/or family leave to care for a child. Medical leave is paid leave and family leave can be paid or unpaid depending on the length of leave taken.

The medical portion of the University policy covers leave requests due to pregnancy and childbirth. The eligible faculty member submits a completed Certificate of Physician or Practitioner, indicating the amount of leave medically necessary (this is generally six weeks for a normal pregnancy and delivery, eight weeks for a normal pregnancy with a surgical (c-section) delivery). Eligible faculty members on medical leave continue to receive full salary and medical insurance benefits.

The family leave portion of the policy provides four workweeks of paid leave for eligible faculty members within one calendar year after the birth or adoption of a child. This time can be taken as four straight weeks or pro-rated (one day a week for 16 weeks for instance); the faculty member and his or her department work together to decide how best to utilize the family leave. Unpaid leave of up to one calendar year to care for a child is also provided under this policy. Please refer to 02-11-01 Procedure for Faculty Medical and Family Leave.

5. Does the University offer paternity leave?

Under the FMFL Policy both male and female faculty members are eligible to take family leave. Family leave consists of four work weeks of paid leave to be taken within the first year of the birth or adoption of a child. Additionally, faculty members may request up to one year of unpaid family leave to care for a child. However, combined paid and unpaid family leave shall not exceed 12 calendar months in any consecutive three year period.

6. Can a faculty member take family leave when adopting a child?

Yes. A faculty member is eligible for four work weeks of paid family leave either when adopting a child or for the birth of a child. Additionally, faculty members may request up to one year of unpaid family leave to care for a child. However, combined paid and unpaid family leave shall not exceed 12 calendar months in any consecutive three year period.

7. When adopting a child who has medical or psychological problems, is there any additional leave that can be taken in order to care for this child?

Children adopted from other countries or from unfortunate circumstances may have medical or psychological needs that would require additional care. Provided that a faculty member has been employed with the University for 24 calendar months or longer, he or she can request up to four work weeks of paid leave in addition to the four weeks of paid family leave to care for an adopted child with special medical or psychological needs. As with any other medically related leave, a Certification of Physician or Practitioner form, in this case filled out by the child’s physician, would be required.

8. Can a faculty member take leave to care for a seriously ill family member?

A faculty member who has been employed by the University for 24 calendar months or more is eligible for four weeks of paid leave in any consecutive 24 month period to care for a seriously ill spouse, biological or adopted child, or parent for whom the faculty member has major responsibility. The faculty member is also eligible for one year of unpaid 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 family leave shall not exceed 12 months in any consecutive three year period.

9. When filling out the paperwork for a medical leave, is it possible to keep a faculty member’s medical condition completely confidential?

Yes. If a faculty member wishes to keep his or her medical condition confidential, the Certification of Physician or Practitioner form can be sent directly to Victoria Lancaster, Director of Faculty Actions, by email (vclanc@pitt.edu) or in person (G39 Cathedral of Learning). Personal medical conditions are always kept confidential.

10. Can a faculty member fulfill some of his or her job responsibilities while on medical leave?

As long as the physician has stated on the Certification of Physician or Practitioner form that the faculty member can work on a part-time or limited basis, the faculty member may do so. However, the medical leave taken still counts as a full-time medical leave

11. If a faculty member is scheduled to teach during a particular term and the physician has recommended medical leave for part of that term, how does that work out?

Every school has an option of dealing with this issue the way that makes the most sense to the organizational structure of the school as long as the method is consistently applied. Some schools relieve the faculty member of all their teaching responsibilities for the term when the medical leave takes place; the faculty member then makes up a course at a later date. Whichever way leave is handled, it should be done so with the utmost collegial effort by all those involved. These decisions are made at the school level.

12. If a faculty member takes medical leave for a pregnancy, what date should be put down as the start date of the leave, given that the baby could be born earlier or later than expected?

The start date for the leave should be the estimated delivery date provided by the physician unless, for medical reasons, the physician provides a start date prior to the estimated delivery date. If the actual delivery date is within a close proximity of the estimated date, there is no need to redo all the paperwork. The faculty member should contact her department chair when the baby arrives so everyone will be aware when the leave has actually commenced. The length of the medical leave does not change. The only change is the start date and the end date of the leave.

13. How can a dean or chair verify that the length of leave a faculty member has requested is what a physician has recommended?

If a faculty member wishes to keep his or her medical condition confidential they may do so; therefore a dean or chair may never see the Certification of Physician or Practitioner form. The Office of the Provost will verify that the amount of time requested by the faculty member is identical to what the physician has recommended on the Certification of Physician or Practitioner form.

14. Are benefits protected during family and medical leaves provided for under University policy?

During all paid and unpaid leaves taken under FMFL the University will continue to pay its share of medical, life, 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.

15. Does taking a medical or family leave negatively influence a faculty member's job evaluation?

No. The absence of a faculty member while they are on medical or family leave shall not, in itself, adversely affect decisions regarding the faculty member's salary, benefits, tenure, or promotion.

16. When a faculty member takes medical or family leave can the academic year in which the leave is taken not be counted as a year towards mandatory tenure review?

Yes. If the leave is four calendar months or longer, and the faculty member wishes the year not to count towards the mandatory tenure review he or she should state this in the memo to their chair when requesting medical and/or family leave. If the leave is less than four calendar months, and the faculty member wishes the year not to count towards the mandatory tenure review, he or she may request this in the memo to their chair when requesting medical and/or family leave. Any such request shall be reviewed by the Provost, who shall have the final decision with regard to its approval.

17. Can a faculty member who becomes a parent by birth or adoption request that the year in which parenthood occurs not count towards the mandatory tenure review?

If a faculty member wishes the year not to count towards the mandatory tenure review he or she should submit a written statement to the department chair or dean. Any such statement shall be forwarded to the Provost.

18. What paperwork does a faculty member need to fill out in order to initiate a medical leave?

Please refer to the guidelines for faculty.

19. What paperwork does a faculty member need to fill out in order to initiate a family leave?

Please refer to the guidelines for faculty.

20.Where can a department chair obtain information on processing FMFL paperwork?

Please refer to the department/division chair guidelines.

21. Where can a dean obtain information on processing FMFL paperwork?

Please refer to the dean/president guidelines.

22. Where can a Library Director obtain information on processing FMFL paperwork?

Please refer to the dean/president guidelines.

23. Where can a faculty member or administrator get more information on the FMFL Policy?

For more information about the FMFL policy, contact Victoria Lancaster, Director of Faculty Actions (vclanc@pitt.edu).

24. Are research associates or postdocs eligible for medical or family leave under the FMFL policy?

No. Only faculty members are eligible to take FMFL. Research Associates and Postdocs are eligible to take unpaid leave under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if they have worked at the University for at least twelve months and have been employed at least 1,250 hours during the twelve-month period. See policy 07-07-02.