Work-Life FAQs for Faculty Questions and Answers Regarding:
Child Birth, Adoption, Foster Care, Elder Care, Military-Related Family Leaves,Family Counseling, & Childcare Options
A: Family and medical leave benefits for childbirth and care of a newborn are available under both the University’s Family Medical Leave Policy (Personnel Policy 358) and the University’s Short-Term Disability Plan (Personnel Policy 339). As noted above, time off under these policies runs simultaneously, not cumulatively.
The University’s Family Medical Leave Policy follows the requirements of federal law (FMLA), which, as explained above, provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks unpaid leave during a qualifying 12-month period for the birth or care of a newborn. Under New York State law, however, giving birth also qualifies as a short-term medical disability. As a result, eligible employees who are actively employed and give birth are entitled to certain pay benefits under New York State’s short-term disability benefits law and the University’s Short Term Disability Plan (Personnel Policy 339).
Generally, birth mothers are eligible for paid leave prior to the birth of a child if the leave is medically necessary (i.e., on the certification of one’s health care provider). After the birth of the child, per the time periods established by New York State law, the University will grant 6 weeks paid leave for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery or 8 weeks for C-section.
Additional time off for the care of the child may be taken under the Family Medical Leave policy (with total leave not to exceed 12 weeks), or, depending on length of service, you may qualify for additional paid time off under the Short-Term Disability plan for your own disabling condition beyond 12 weeks. (See Personnel Policy No. 339, page 6, for schedule of benefits available to eligible faculty). If you do not have a qualifying disability and require additional time off, a short-term leave of absence or a University leave of absence may be an option at the discretion of your supervisor. (See Q.12.)
Q.2: Are there different pay/work options available when a faculty member who gives birth goes out on leave for childbirth and care of a newborn?
A. There are a couple of different options and some distinctions between non-medical faculty who work on a semester schedule and medical and clinical faculty who do not work a traditional semester schedule.
Non-Medical Faculty working on a semester schedule, have two Options:
Option 1 for Non-Medical Faculty working on a semester schedule: For the first eight weeks that a faculty member is deemed qualified for short-term disability benefits (see Q.1 above), the faculty member giving birth will receive full salary and benefits. Should the period of short-term medical disability associated with childbirth exceed eight weeks, the faculty member will be paid in accordance with the University’s Short-Term Disability Plan.
Option 2 for Non-Medical Faculty Working on a semester schedule : In lieu of Option 1, the faculty member giving birth may elect to take a full semester’s leave at one-half her usual salary during the “semester of birth.” Faculty who choose this option forego the 6-8 weeks of paid leave. See details in the Faculty Handbook and contact the department chair or the Provost’s Office for clarification regarding which faculty members are eligible for Option 2.
Medical and Clinical Faculty who may not have traditional semesters:
Because Medical and Clinical Faculty rarely have traditional academic semesters, the period of modified duties or leave at one-half salary option (Option 1, above) may not be defined by traditional academic semesters. Rather, the periods of time for Medical Center Faculty should roughly mirror the period of time corresponding to a traditional academic semester (approximately 16 weeks) so that Medical Center Faculty members will have the same period of modified assignment or leave at one-half salary as other University faculty. Any faculty member intending to request a modification of duties should discuss plans with the department chair and dean as far in advance of the intended return to work as possible. The policies/procedure for transitioning from academic full-time to academic part-time status can be viewed in the Regulations of the Faculty–Appendix III-B at the following link: www.urmc.rochester.edu/smd/faculty-regulations.cfm
Q.3: Who covers the cost of the medical leave benefit for childbirth for faculty?
A: Payments come from a variety of sources, including through the University, from departmental/school/hospital budgets on the regular pay cycle for employees (bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly), as well as through the University Short-Term Disability Plan account. For monthly paid employees, departments are responsible for ALL payments for the remainder of the initial pay period the employee goes out and one additional pay period. For semi-monthly and bi-weekly hourly employees departments are responsible for payments for the remainder of the pay period the employee initially goes out plus two additional pay periods. After these periods, hours coded in HRMS as DBL are paid from the University’s central Disability account.
Q.4: Can vacation time be used to extend the medical leave for childbirth?
A: If you have a documented continuing need for medical leave for yourself, you may use vacation time so that you continue to be paid after the short-term disability period for childbirth itself is exhausted. However, you may not use vacation time to take more than 12 weeks leave or to extend leave. Vacation time is used concurrently with FMLA or a short term leave until the time is exhausted and is paid contemporaneously with the leave. In the case of a UR Leave being granted, vacation accruals are paid out on the effective date of the leave. Finally, vacation also could be used to take a leave if you were not otherwise eligible for FMLA. Alternatively, a short term leave of absence may be an option (at the discretion of your chair).
Q.5: Does the University offer paternity or partner benefits for family medical leave?
A: Yes. A new parent who is a University employee may be entitled to 12 weeks of family medical leave assuming that the new parent meets the eligibility requirements of the FMLA. However, if both new parents are employed by the University and eligible for FMLA, certain limitations apply. See Q.6 below.
Q.6: Are there any limitations on family medical leave availability when both new parents are University employees?
A. Yes, consistent with the limitations set forth in the FMLA, when both new parents are employed by the University and both are eligible for leave, they are limited to a combined total of up to 12 weeks of leave during any 12-month period when leave is taken for the birth/care of a newborn or placement of child for adoption or foster care. Note: This same limitation does not apply in the case where leave is needed due to the child’s serious medical health condition, in which case each new parent employed by the University would get 12 weeks to care for the child (provided they have not otherwise exhausted their entitlements during the applicable 12-month FMLA leave period).
Q7: I am a faculty member and I’m planning to adopt. What are my options? (Is there paid time off? What are my leave options?)
A: Leave off relating to the adoption of a child is also covered by the University’s Family Medical Leave Policy (Personnel Policy 358). Pursuant to the FMLA, the University will grant eligible employees (see Q.1) up to 12 weeks of guaranteed family and/or medical leave without pay during a qualifying 12-month period for the placement of a child for adoption (this includes preparatory efforts to adopt including time off for attendance at required counseling sessions or physical examinations, court appearances, consultations with doctors representing the child’s biological parent, time required to be spent with child prior to adoption approval) and for care of the newly adopted child. Accrued vacation time can be used to receive pay for periods of approved family medical leave. If additional time is desired beyond the 12-week family medical leave, a short term leave of absence or a University leave may be requested, but is not automatic. See Q.12. Newly adoptive parents also may be eligible for a modification of job duties. See Q.9 and Q.10.
Q.8: I plan to begin parenting through foster-care. What are my options? (Will I be able to take paid time off? Am I eligible for FMLA?)
A: Yes, similar to adoptive parents, an employee who is a new foster parent and who meets the eligibility requirements is entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA for preparatory events relating to placement of the foster child and also to care for the foster child, once placed. Accrued vacation time can be used to receive pay for periods of approved family medical leave. If additional time is desired beyond the 12-week family medical leave, a short term leave of absence or a University leave may be requested, but is not automatic. See Q.12. A new foster parent also may be eligible for a modification of job duties, as discussed below. See Q.9.
A: New parent faculty members may be eligible for a modification of their regularly assigned duties. A “new parent” is defined as a father, mother (other than the birth mother), or legal guardian of a newborn or adopted child, or the domestic partner of the parent of a newborn or adopted child. In all cases, in order to be a “new parent,” the faculty member must be living in the same household as the child.
In connection with return to work, a faculty member may request a modification of regularly assigned duties during the semester of birth with no adjustment of salary or benefits. Any modification of duties must accommodate the reasonable needs of the department and school and be approved well in advance of the start of the semester by the department chair and dean, and will depend upon the ability of the department and school to accommodate the arrangement without serious effects on the academic or clinical program. Any faculty member intending to request a modification of her or his duties should discuss those plans with the department chair and dean (if applicable) as far in advance of her or his intended return to work as possible.
Faculty members who become new parents may also request an assignment of duties that would enable them to work part-time at a commensurate reduced salary for a period of up to one year (i.e., a 365 day period of time) following the birth or adoption of a child, where the child is living in the same household as the faculty member. Proposals to work part-time must be approved by the department chair and dean. Any faculty member intending to request a part-time appointment should make such a request to the department chair and dean as far in advance as possible. For Faculty in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, please see the Regulations of the Faculty (Appendix III-B) for procedures and policies to transfer from academic full-time to part-time. See: www.urmc.rochester.edu/smd/faculty-regulations.cfm.
A: It is the policy of the University to automatically provide, unless waived, a full-time tenure track faculty member who becomes a new parent (see Q.9 for definition) with a one-year postponement of the promotion or tenure review following the child’s birth or adoption. There is a maximum of two one-year postponements for a new parent unless the department chair and dean agree to additional extensions. The faculty member’s review will take place one year (or two years if the faculty member receives a second one-year postponement) after the time the review would have taken place in the absence of the postponement.
In all cases where the contract duration is intentionally synchronized with the tenure decision, then extending the tenure clock automatically extends the contract as well.
This policy applies to reviews for promotion or tenure only. Extension for reviews other than promotion or tenure will be determined by the dean and department chair after a discussion with the faculty member. In order to facilitate the automatic extension(s), the faculty member should notify the department chair or dean as soon as possible. If a full-time tenure track faculty member does not wish the automatic postponement(s) under this policy, he or she should notify the department chair or dean of the intent to waive the postponement as far in advance as possible under the circumstances.
Q.11: I have primary responsibility for the care of my ailing parent. Are there university benefits and policies that can help me?
A: For eligible employees, the University provides (consistent with the FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of guaranteed family and/or medical leave without pay during a qualifying 12-month period, including to care for an employee’s own parent with a serious health condition. Such leave does not extend to caring for a parent-in-law. Additional time off after expiration of FMLA leave or time off for non-FMLA covered family matters relating to elder care may be available through a short term leave of absence. See Personnel Policy 357.
A: Following the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the University provides eligible employees (faculty and staff who have worked at the University at least one year and at least 1250 actual work hours) up to 12 weeks of guaranteed family and/or medical leave without pay during a qualifying 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
a. The birth or care of a newborn child.
b. Placement of a child for adoption or foster care and care for the newly placed child.
c. To care for a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent with a serious health condition.
d. The employee’s own “serious health condition.”
See Personnel Policy 358. Other leaves also may be available to you if you have a family member who is a covered service member and otherwise meets the requirements for coverage, including up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for “qualifying exigency leave” or up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave for “military caregiver leave” to care for a family member who is recovering from a serious injury or illness sustained in the line of active duty. To learn more about term and conditions for these types of leaves, see Policy 358. To read FAQs on rights for military-related leaves, see http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/finalrule/MilitaryFAQs.pdf.
As discussed in greater detail below, time off related to giving birth is also covered under the University’s Short-Term Disability Plan. See Personnel Policy 339. When a condition is covered under both the FMLA and the Short-Term Disability Plan, the time periods for short-term disability and FMLA run concurrently (i.e., at the same time).
Additional time off after expiration of FMLA leave or time off for non-FMLA covered family matters relating to dependent or elder care may be available through a short term leave of absence (defined as 30 work days for a period not to exceed 6 weeks) or through a longer term University Leave of Absence. See Personnel Policy 357 for a more detailed discussion on these types of leaves.
Process for Requesting Leave
Q.13: What are the faculty member’s responsibilities if needing family medical leave or disability leave?
A: Per University policy, a faculty member should notify their department chair of the need for leave at least 30 days in advance of the beginning date of the desired leave (unless the need for the leave was unforeseeable). Although the department chair or his/her administrator is responsible for notifying Leave Administration of a faculty member’s request for family medical leave (in order to determine eligibility and process any required paperwork), the faculty member may also contact Leave Administration directly by calling 267-4080 or 267-4081 or via the web at www.rochester.edu/working/hr/leave. When disability leave is needed, the faculty member will need to contact Aetna at 1-888-326-1380 for disability claim management (and to avoid problems with salary and benefits if paid leave exceeds the normally allowed time due to medical complications). The HR Leave Administration office is available to assist with answering leave questions. Matters related to extending the tenure clock are handled separately (see Q.10 above).
Q.14: How will family leave affect my NIH (or NSF) grant?
A: There is an NIH Grants Policy Statement which addresses parental leave (10/10). For those on NIH training grants, the use of parental leave must be approved by the Training Grant PD/PI. http://grants.nih.gov/training/faq_childcare.htm#1346
NIH provides support for administrative supplements to hire temporary technical help for the grant to cover the absence of someone working on the grant due to family leave. See the following website for more details:
Q.16: What kind of child care/day care services are available at the University?
A: Child Care at Work - The Children's School at URMC is located across the street from the Medical Center. The Children's School provides care for children from 6 weeks to 6 years.http://www.cclc.com/center/ny/childrens-school-urmc
The Family Care Program http://www.rochester.edu/working/hr/familycare/ will furnish referrals to students, postdocs and staff for child care services.
Q.17: Are there any facilities for lactating women on campus?
A: A lactation room is available in three designated locations to use to express milk or breastfeed a child:
Medical Center Location - The Pumping Place
1. Room 1-2226, first floor near green elevators
- Available 24/7
- Call 275-4058 to obtain swipe access to the room
- Room 1W.125
- Operates on a first-come, first-served basis
2. Helen Wood Hall Location - The Pumping Place II
- Student Services (G-7644) will provide code when requested
- Phone number is 275-7923
River Campus – Wallis Hall 2nd Floor ladies’ room (temporary)
All University employees and students can utilize these rooms. For the Medical Center location, which is available 24/7, you need to obtain swipe access by calling 275-4058. The Medical Center location can accommodate four women at the same time and has lounge chairs, breast pumps, lockers, and a refrigerator to store milk.
Q.18: What is the Employee Assistance Program, and is it available to faculty? Does the University provide any family counseling services for faculty?
A. The Strong Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free and confidential benefit available to faculty, staff, and family members. www.urmc.rochester.edu/eap/index.cfm. EAP’s mission is to enhance employees’ job performance and satisfaction by providing professional, confidential, work-site-based guidance at no cost to employees’ and their families when personal or work related problems have become difficult to manage. The EAP offers individualized assessments and appropriate community referrals as necessary. Any contact with Strong EAP is confidential within the limits of applicable law and ethical guidelines. For assistance, call:
Strong EAP (585) 475-0432
Strong Recovery (585) 273-4930
Lifeline (585) 275-5151