Parental Leave for Instructional 9-month Faculty

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University Policy Number 2230


Responsible Office:

Policy Procedure:

Related Law & Policy:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act

  • I. Scope

    This policy is intended to assist 9-month faculty (mothers and fathers) in managing work and family obligations in the first year surrounding the birth or adoption of a child.
    Parental time away from work assists eligible George Mason University faculty members during the first year of becoming a parent to meet both their professional and parental obligations. It is the goal of this policy to 1) help faculty balance the responsibilities of family and career development and 2) encourage and enable equal parenting opportunity across all departments.

    II. Policy Statement

    All Instructional 9-month faculty can elect Parental Leave, in partnership with their department. With this option the employee is eligible for a 50% work relief for a year following the birth or adoption date (multiple births will be treated as one event). During the Parental Leave period(s) the faculty member is eligible for full pay and benefits but will work a reduced schedule. The course reduction can be taken 100% in one semester, 50% in two semesters or some other combination that makes sense for the faculty member and the department.

    In the circumstance that both parents are faculty members employed by Mason, parents need to work closely with the departments and units (college/school/institutes) involved to develop a plan that minimizes the impact. Faculty members must work with their department chairs and/or deans to coordinate the specific arrangements of the reduced work schedule.

    A. Eligibility

    • Instructional 9- month term, tenure-track and tenured faculty who have become new parents are eligible for Parental Leave.
    • This program does not apply to faculty in their first 1-year appointment, or to faculty in temporary or visiting appointments.
    • To be eligible for this program, faculty must be continuously employed for at least one (1) academic year since hire and/or since the end of the last Parental Leave period, prior to the birth or adoption and must expect to remain continuously employed for one (1) academic year following the leave (subject to contract renewal).

    B. Procedure

    • The college or school will continue to pay the faculty member’s current actual salary and benefits cost during the period of Parental Leave. Benefit deductions will continue to be withheld from this compensation.
    • Once the dates, commitments and schedules have been negotiated with the department head, the faculty member will complete and submit the work plan to the dean/director of the unit, who will review the plan. Once approved, the dean/director will submit the work plan and any Faculty Transaction Forms to the Human Resources & Payroll Department.

    C. Use with Other Leave(s)

    • This program does not prohibit deans or chairs from further modifying assignments before and after the leave period. The faculty member must request use of this benefit in advance, no later than three (3) months prior to the beginning of the leave period (when possible), and the leave must begin no later than the academic semester immediately following the birth or adoption event. A shorter notice period may be allowed, on a case-by-case basis, for good cause and/or special circumstances, by the faculty member’s supervisor and the dean.
    • Paid Parental Leave may not be used immediately before or after a Study leave.
    • Faculty members who have VSDP leave must apply for disability benefits which will offset a portion of the paid Parental Leave.
    • Faculty members who must take full-time leave due to pregnancy or childbirth, and who have accrued sick leave, will be charged sick leave as appropriate (such as for doctor prescribed limitation periods like bed rest or physical recovery).
    • For non-birthing faculty members who take family member medical leave under FMLA, available sick leave balances will be reduced by up to 1/3 of the balance, to offset a portion of the Parental Leave. Faculty members’ sick leave balance can be used only once for the original FMLA associated with a birth or adoption.
    • Any partial or full reduction of duties constitutes time away from work under FMLA and must be coordinated with HR and counted as such.

    D. Interaction with Tenure

    The tenure clock may be stopped as provided in Faculty Handbook section

    III. Definitions

    “FMLA” means the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. 2601 et. seq.

    IV. Compliance

    A. A nine-month faculty member approved for a Parental Leave must return to the University for at least one (1) year following completion of the leave.

    B. Supervisors and deans and directors will have the responsibility to authorize specific details and timing of the leaves and send the approved plans to Human Resources/Benefits.

    V. Forms


    VI. Dates:

    A. Effective Date:
    This policy will become effective upon the date of approval by the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost and Executive Vice President.

    B. Date of Most Recent Review:


    VII. Timetable for Review

    This Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually.

    VIII. Signatures


    Senior Vice President for

    Administration and Finance

    Provost and Executive

    Vice President

    Approved Date: 10/22/2015