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 (primary and secondary caregivers) 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 Work Relief Combination 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 with a Work Relief Combination.  The Work Relief Combination can be taken 100% in one semester, 50% in two semesters or some other Work Relief 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;
      • expect to remain continuously employed for one (1) academic year following the leave (subject to contract renewal); and
      • submit the Repayment Agreement form to the appropriate dean or director. The form will be sent to Human Resources along with the Faculty Transaction form and Work Relief Combination arrangement.

    B. Procedure

    • Parental Leave must be completed within twelve months of the date of the birth or placement of the child.
    • 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.
    • If the faculty member does not return after the Parental Leave period he or she must pay back to the university a sum equal to the dollar value of 50% of the gross amount of leave used during that period. If income was earned during the summer, it will not be part of the calculation of the repayment.
    • Once the dates, commitments and schedules have been negotiated with the department head, the faculty member will complete and submit the Work Relief Combination arrangement to the dean or director of the unit, who will review for approval. Once approved, the dean or director will submit a Faculty Transaction Form (FTF) and the Repayment Agreement form 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 no later than the academic semester immediately following the birth or adoption event.

    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.
    • 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 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 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.

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

    “Work Relief Combination” is the plan created by the faculty member along with the department to accommodate the requested work relief.  Work Relief Combinations can be taken 100% in one semester, 50% in two semesters or any other combination that benefits both the employee and the department (75/25, 80/20, 60/40, etc.)

    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 authorize specific details and timing of the Parental Leave and send the approved plans to Human Resources/Benefits. Written approval of shorter notice (less than the required 3 months minimum notice) must be included with the documentation (Faculty Transaction Form) submitted to HR.

    V. Forms

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

    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