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FAQs

Work-Life FAQs for Faculty

Child Birth, Adoption, Foster Care, Elder Care, Family Leave
Modified Duties Childcare Options &
Counseling for Mental Health or Other Personal Issues

Updated June 2015

Child Birth

Q.1: What family/medical leave benefits does the University offer faculty who give birth?

 A: Family and medical leave benefits for childbirth and care of a newborn are available under three policies: the Faculty Parental Leave policy, the Family Medical Leave policy, and the University’s Short-Term Disability Plan. Information on the Faculty Parental Leave policy is available in the Faculty Handbook (http://www.rochester.edu/provost/assets/PDFs/Faculty_handbook.pdf); details on Family Medical Leave and the Short-term Disability plan can be found at http://www.rochester.edu/leave.

The Faculty Parental Leave policy provides a period of paid time off for activities related to the care, bonding, and well-being of a faculty member’s newborn. Immediately following the birth of a child, a faculty member can request up to two consecutive weeks of paid parental leave. The faculty member must be full-time or part-time benefits-eligible and serve as the primary caregiver for the child.  If both parents work for the University, only one parent can be designated as a primary caregiver. Please note that faculty parental leave runs concurrently with any other leave that the faculty member is eligible for (e.g. short-term disability). 

Leave under the Short-term Disability Plan is available to mothers who give birth. This leave will run for the length of time the physician certifies for disability. Birth mothers are also 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 child’s birth, per New York State Law, birth mothers are eligible for a six week leave for a natural birth and eight weeks for a caesarian section.  Mothers also may be eligible for short-term disability for longer than the typical six or eight weeks if certified as disabled by a health care provider.

The University’s Family Medical Leave Policy follows the requirements of federal law under the Family Medical Leave Act. , This policy provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks unpaid leave during a qualifying 12-month period for the birth or care of a newborn. Policy details can be found at http://www.rochester.edu/leave.

Additional time off for the care of a 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 Family Medical Leave at  http://www.rochester.edu/leave for schedule of benefits available to eligible faculty.”). Additionally, a short-term leave of absence or a University leave of absence may be an option at the discretion of your supervisor.  (See Q.11.)

Q.2: 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.3: Can vacation time be used to extend the medical leave for childbirth?

A: 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 Family Medical Leave or a short term leave of absence until the vacation time is exhausted. 

Q.4: Does the University offer paternity or partner benefits for family medical leave? 

A: Yes.  Under the Faculty Parental Leave policy, fathers and partners may be eligible for two consecutive weeks of paid parental leave immediately following the birth or adoption of a child aged 18 or younger if serving as the primary caregiver for the child. Note that if both parents work for the University, only one parent can be designated as a primary caregiver. For adoptive parents, see Q.7 below.

In addition, a new parent who is a University employee may be entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid 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 Family Medical Leave, certain limitations apply.  See Q.5 below. 

Q.5:  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 Family Medica Leave policy, 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 (assuming that Family Medical Leave eligibility requirements are met) 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 Family Medical Leave period). 

In addition, if both parents work for the University, only one parent can be designated as a primary caregiver under the Faculty Parental Leave policy. See Q. 1 above.

Adoption

Q6: 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: Under the Faculty Parental Leave Policy, immediately following the adoption of a child aged 18 or younger, eligible members of the faculty will be provided up to two consecutive weeks of paid parental leave if serving as the primary caregiver.  If necessary, the eligible faculty member may instead elect to take part or all of the two week paid parental leave in advance of bringing the child home when a country or state requires it for the adoption. Under this policy, any full-time and part-time benefits-eligible faculty members can request paid leave as long as the faculty member is the primary caregiver for the child.  If both parents work for the University, only one parent can be designated as a primary caregiver.

Leave relating to the adoption of a child is also covered by the University’s Family Medical Leave Policy (http://www.rochester.edu/leave). 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 concurrently 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.11.

Newly adoptive parents also may be eligible for a modification of job duties.  See Q.8 and Q.9.

Foster Care

Q.7: 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: 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.11. 

A new foster parent also may be eligible for a modification of job duties, as discussed below.  See Q.8. 

Modification of Duties and Responsibilities

Q.8:  As a new parent, may I modify my work schedule (including going to part-time) upon return to work?

 A:   New parent faculty members may be eligible for a modification of their regularly assigned duties during the “semester of birth or adoption.” A “new parent” is defined as a father, 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.

Any modification of duties will depend upon the ability of the department and school to accommodate this arrangement without serious effects on the academic or clinical program.[1] The modification will not result in an adjustment of salary and benefits, with the possible exception of those faculty at the Medical Center whose salary is dependent on clinical or other services rendered. These faculty may experience a temporary reduction in salary commensurate with their reduced effort.

A faculty member intending to request a modification of her or his duties should discuss those plans with the department chair and dean as far in advance of her or his intended return to work as possible. 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.

For Medical Center faculty not on traditional academic semesters, the period of modified duties 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 as other faculty.

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.

Q.9: I am a faculty member and a new parent, what do I have to do to extend my tenure clock?

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.8 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. 

Elder Care

Q.10: 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 http://www.rochester.edu/leave under Family Medical Leave for more information.

Family Leave Generally

Q.11:  What type of family-related leave benefits does the University provide to faculty and staff?

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 http://www.rochester.edu/leave under Family Medical Leave for more information.  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 http://www.rochester.edu/leave. To read FAQs on rights for military-related leaves, see http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/finalrule/MilitaryFAQs.pdf

Time off related to giving birth is covered under multiple policies, which are discussed in Q.1. above.

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 http://www.rochester.edu/leave for a more detailed discussion on these types of leaves.  

Process for Requesting Leave

Q.12:  What are the faculty member’s responsibilities if needing family medical leave or disability leave?

A:  Per University policy, a faculty member should notify his or her 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. Up-to-date contact information can be found under “Contact Leave Administration” 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.9 above).

Leave and Impact on Grants

Q.13: How will family leave affect my NIH 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.  See http://grants.nih.gov/training/faq_childcare.htm.

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 this website for details: http://funding.niaid.nih.gov/researchfunding/traincareer/pages/pctas.aspx.

Childcare Options

Q.14: 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.
See 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.

Breast Milk Expression/Lactation Rooms

Q.15: Are there any facilities for lactating women on campus?

A: Two lactation rooms are available on the University of Rochester River Campus to express milk or breast feed a child.  One room is on the fourth floor of Dewey Hall, room 4-311. The second room is on the second floor of Wallis Hall, room 255, and is available from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Both rooms operate on a first come, first served basis and are equipped with a chair with integral tablet and a cup holder.

Three lactation rooms are available at the University of Rochester Medical Center to express milk or breast feed a child. One room is available on the ground floor in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, room G-7815. This room requires a pass code that may be obtained from Student Services in room G-7644. A second room (the Pumping Place) can be used by calling 275-4058 to obtain swipe access to the room. This room, which is available 24/7, can accommodate four women at the same time. There are lounge chairs, breast pumps, lockers and a refrigerator for women to store their milk if they care to. The room is located near the green elevators, on the first floor, 1-2226. The third lactation room (The Pumping Place II) is available in Helen Wood Hall, room 1W.125. The Pumping Place II operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

All University employees and students can utilize these rooms.

Counseling for Mental Health or Other Personal Issues

Q.16: 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.  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 more information on the program, see www.urmc.rochester.edu/eap/index.cfm

For assistance, call:

Strong EAP (585) 475-0432     

Strong Recovery (585) 273-4930

Lifeline (585) 275-5151

 



[1] This statement does not apply when the returning faculty member is disabled and needs a reasonable accommodation under the American with Disabilities Act. In such cases, the University’s Return to Work program  and/or a Human Resource Business Partner should be consulted to assist in obtaining appropriate documentation from the faculty member’s medical providers and assessing and determining appropriate accommodations.