Parental Leave for Instructional 9-month Faculty

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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 (primary and secondary caregivers) in managing work and family obligations in the first year surrounding the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care.

    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.  With this option, the employee is eligible to create a Work Relief Combination (see definition below) within twelve months 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. The employee may choose to have a Work Relief Combination of 100% in one semester, 50% in two semesters, or some other percentage distribution across two consecutive contractual semesters that makes sense for the faculty member.

    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 optimizes outcomes for both employees and their academic units. 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 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
    • 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 primary position salary and benefits cost (not including stipends) during the period of Parental Leave. Benefit deductions will continue to be withheld from this compensation.
    • Once the dates, commitments and schedules have been confirmed with the department head, the faculty member will complete and submit the Work Relief Combination arrangement to the dean or director of the unit. The dean or director will submit a Faculty Transaction Form (FTF) to the Human Resources & Payroll Department.  The FTF should clearly state the Work Relief Combination arrangement.
    • 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, a minimum of three (3) months prior to the beginning of the leave period. A shorter notice period may be allowed, on a case-by-case basis, for good cause or special circumstances, and must be approved and documented by the faculty member’s supervisor and the dean.
    • The leave period must begin within twelve (12) months following the birth or adoption date.

    C. Use with Other Leave(s)

    • Paid Parental Leave may not be used immediately before or after a Study leave. Exceptions may be allowed, on a case-by-case basis, for good cause or special circumstances, and must be approved and documented by the faculty member’s supervisor and the dean. Exceptions must be approved by the Provost.
    • Faculty members who have VSDP leave must apply for short term disability benefits which will offset a portion of the paid Parental Leave.
    • Faculty members who have accrued Traditional Sick Leave, and need to take leave due to pregnancy or childbirth, 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 employee’s current sick leave 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 therefore the first 12 weeks will be counted as FMLA time and recorded 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.

    “Traditional Sick Leave” for 9-month faculty is accrued at 30 hours per academic year which is awarded at the beginning of the fall semester.

    “VSDP” means those that are enrolled in the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program.

    “Work Relief Combination” is the work relief plan created by the faculty member.   Work Relief Combinations can be taken 100% in one semester (in which case no teaching and other work activities would be required) or 50% over two consecutive semesters (in which case one-half of the normally assigned teaching load and other work activities would be required to be fulfilled each semester). Faculty may also propose a Work Relief Combinations that are less than the maximum allowable leave amount. However, irrespective of which is chosen, the maximum allowable teaching load reduction cannot be exceeded in any semester for which a Work Relief Combination is chosen.

    IV. Compliance

    A. A nine-month faculty member must submit the requested Work Relief Combination to the supervisors and deans and directors a minimum of 3 months prior to the beginning of the leave period.

    B. Supervisors, deans, and directors will have the responsibility to review the details and timing of the Parental Leave as outlined by the faculty member. Plans will be sent to Human Resources/Benefits along with the Faculty Transaction Form (FTF). Written approval of shorter notice (less than the required 3 months minimum notice) must be included with the FTF and submitted to HR.

    C. All exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Provost.

    V. Forms

    • Completed Faculty Transaction Form (FTF) clearly indicating the Work Relief Combination and timeframe.

    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

    Revision Approved: 11/1/2017

    Revised: 12/12/2017

    Revised: 10/10/2018