Leaves

Bridge over Charles RiverSeveral types of leave are available to eligible FAS faculty. FAS faculty can take short term-time absences if necessary. Eligible faculty can also take leaves for research purposes, for family, medical, or personal reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child, or for public service. Depending on the type of leave and the circumstances, leaves may be paid or unpaid, and not all faculty are eligible for every kind of leave.

In some cases, extensions of appointment may be available in connection with a leave. Parental teaching relief is also available to eligible faculty, in connection with the birth or adoption of a child.

For more information, please see the table below and Chapter 3 ("Absences, Leaves, and Extensions of Appointment") of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook.

Faculty considering a leave should contact the assistant dean for faculty affairs in their academic division (the Arts and Humanities, the Social Sciences, Science), the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, or for selected College appointments.The assistant dean can answer any questions, talk through options, and provide support throughout the process.

TIP: For information on dependent care resources and applying for dependent care funds, please see the "Dependent Care" tab on the "Work/Life & Benefits" page of this website.

Request for Permission to be Absent Form

To request a short-term absence during term time: For an absence of more than one week, or for one week or less where the absence will require some reduction or change in scheduled instruction, faculty should first consult with their Department Chair. Before authorizing the absence, the chair should be satisfied that the reason for absence, whether personal or professional, is sufficiently compelling and that all teaching and other departmental responsibilities are appropriately covered. If the absence is for one week or less, no further approval is required. If a period longer than one week is necessary, the faculty member submits to the assistant dean for their division or School the Request for Permission to be Absent form, signed by the chair. Given the nature of such absences, there is no single deadline for submission of requests, but faculty are asked to submit them as early as possible.

For more information on short-term absence during term-time, please see Chapter 3 in the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook or consult with the assistant dean for faculty affairs in your division or School.

Application for Sabbatical/Research Leave 

To apply for a sabbatical (“sabbatical” is a paid research leave, and the term usually refers to tenured professors), paid research leave, or unpaid research leave: Eligible faculty members must submit the Application for Sabbatical/Research Leave to their Department Administrator, for review and approval by the Department Chair. Following approval, the department must send the form to the FAS Office for Faculty Affairs by December 1, 2017. Non-ladder faculty members, with the exception of Professors in Residence and Professors of the Practice, are not eligible for either paid or unpaid research leaves.

For more information on sabbatical leave, and paid and unpaid research leaves, please see Chapter 3 in the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook or consult with the assistant dean for faculty affairs in your division or School.

To request a family, medical, or personal leave: Eligible faculty submit requests directly to the assistant dean for their division or School; requests are subject to the approval of the Dean. Faculty should also provide a copy of their request to their department(s), but the approval for such leaves does not begin at the departmental level. Because of the nature of such leaves, there is no single deadline for submission of requests, but faculty are asked to submit them as early as possible so that departments can cover teaching and service.

For more information on family, medical, and personal leaves (including requests for appointment extensions), please see Chapter 3 in the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook or consult with the assistant dean for faculty affairs in your division or School.

FAS faculty anticipating the birth or adoption of a child may also like to see the “Birth/Adoption” tab in this table for more information on:

  1. Unpaid leave and paid medical leave for new parents 
  2. Parental teaching relief
  3. Childcare appointment extensions and postponement of review for tenure-track faculty.

FAS faculty members anticipating the birth or adoption of a child may like to consider the steps below and review the subsequent information.

Before the Birth or Adoption:

1.  FAS faculty members are encouraged to start by contacting the assistant dean for faculty affairs in your division or School, to discuss the anticipated timing of the baby's birth or arrival, your leave (if applicable), parental teaching relief (if applicable), and appointment extension options (for tenure-track faculty).

2.  Please review below, or in Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook, information on:

  • Unpaid leave and paid medical leave for new parents
  • Parental teaching relief
  • Childcare appointment extensions and postponement of review for tenure-track faculty. 

Tip:  For information on dependent care resources and applying for dependent care funds, please see the "Dependent Care" tab on the "Work/Life & Benefits" page of this website.

After the Birth or Adoption:

1. Call your department administrator to tell him or her when your child was born or placed with you. Your department administrator will work with the Office for Faculty Affairs to ensure that your leave (if applicable) and appointment extension (for tenure-track faculty) are processed appropriately.

2. Notify your health benefits provider of your child's birth or adoption for health and beneficiary purposes. If you have a plan through Harvard, call Benefits at 617-496-4001.

Unpaid Leave and Paid Medical Leave for New Parents

Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook describes leave options for eligible FAS faculty, under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA), and Harvard policies.

“FAS faculty members who become parents have a number of leave options available to them.

a) Under FMLA (and in keeping with the MPLA), as described above, eligible FAS faculty (i.e., those who have held at least half-time appointment in the FAS for three consecutive months or more) can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave for the birth of a child and to care for a child within 12 months of birth, adoption, or the initiation of foster care. The provisions of FMLA apply to all parents, i.e., fathers and mothers alike.

b) Under Harvard policies, eligible FAS faculty members (see eligible ranks in the following paragraph) who are birth mothers may ordinarily take eight weeks of paid medical leave in connection with childbirth and recovery, out of their allotted medical leave benefit. (Please see Section 4a, “Medical Leave,” for more information on medical leave.) The FAS may count these eight weeks of paid medical leave toward the fulfillment of the FMLA 12-week leave entitlement. Thus, a faculty member may have the option of taking up to four weeks of unpaid FMLA leave in addition to her eight weeks of paid medical leave.

FAS faculty eligible for paid medical leave are those holding the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, professor in residence, professor of the practice, Benjamin Peirce Fellow, senior preceptor, senior lecturer, College Fellows, and those with multi-year appointments as lecturer, preceptor, or Briggs-Copeland Lecturer (if that title is not dependent upon an administrative appointment). Leaves for those holding dependent lectureships are governed by the policies that apply to staff or research appointments.

c) The FAS faculty member who plans to use paid medical leave in connection with childbirth and recovery and/or unpaid FMLA leave as described in this section notifies his or her department chair and the assistant dean for the appropriate division, with as much advance notice as possible. The chair consults with the assistant dean regarding the arrangements for teaching responsibilities preceding and/or following this leave. Departments are expected to accommodate faculty members who take paid medical leave in connection with childbirth and recovery and/or unpaid FMLA leave.”

Parental Teaching Relief

 

Application for Parental Teaching Relief

As noted in Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook:

“FAS ladder faculty members and senior non-ladder faculty members who are primary caregivers are eligible for parental teaching relief (a workload reduction), as specified below.

a) Parental teaching relief is defined as an exemption from formal classroom duties, either for full teaching duties during one term or half duty for two terms. Such relief is taken just prior to, or within one year after, the birth or adoption. Primary caregiving is defined as having substantial daily responsibility for child care of at least twenty hours per week from Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Faculty members considering parental teaching relief should bear in mind that, according to FAS leave policies, faculty members should ordinarily not be out of the Harvard classroom for more than a year at a time.

b) Faculty members holding the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, professor in residence, Benjamin Peirce Fellow, or professor of the practice and who are the primary caregivers for a newborn or newly-adopted child are eligible for parental teaching relief. If the primary caregiver is also the birth mother, she is eligible for this parental teaching relief and (as described above) paid medical leave of eight weeks in connection with childbirth and recovery. If the primary caregiver in these ranks is not the birth mother, he or she is still eligible for parental teaching relief as defined in section ii.a) above.

c) Faculty members holding the rank of senior preceptor or senior lecturer (if that title is not dependent upon an administrative appointment) and who are the primary caregivers for a newborn or newly-adopted child are eligible for parental teaching relief.  If the primary caregiver is also the birth mother, she is eligible (as described above) for paid medical leave of eight weeks in connection with childbirth and recovery, plus full-time parental teaching relief for the remainder of the semester in which she gives birth. If the primary caregiver in these ranks is not the birth mother, he or she is eligible for full-time parental teaching relief for the remainder of the semester in which the birth or adoption has occurred. Leaves for those holding dependent senior lectureships are governed by the policies that apply to staff or research appointments.

d) College Fellows and faculty members with multi-year appointments holding the rank of preceptor, lecturer, or Briggs-Copeland Lecturer (if that title is not dependent upon an administrative appointment) are eligible for paid medical leave of eight weeks in connection with childbirth and recovery, but are not eligible for parental teaching relief. Leaves for those holding dependent lectureships are governed by the policies that apply to staff or research appointments.

e) Parents who are both eligible faculty members in the FAS, as defined in ii.b) and ii.c) above, may both take parental teaching relief, as long as their child care responsibilities meet the daily time commitments noted in ii.a). Under the ordinary application of this policy, the terms of parental teaching relief for these parents would be consecutive.

f) For the faculty members listed in ii.b), it is not required that the birth or adoption of the child occur while the faculty member is appointed at Harvard. That is, faculty members in these ranks who begin their appointments with a child under the age of one may take parental teaching relief (one term of full-time relief or two terms of half-time relief) within the first year following the birth or adoption.

g) The faculty member is expected to remain in residence and to continue departmental service, committee assignments, advising, and other such professional duties when taking parental teaching relief. Beyond whatever time the faculty member is dedicating to child care and to these professional duties, the extent to which he or she wishes to spend time on research is up to him or her.

h) The faculty member who desires relief from teaching under these circumstances submits, with as much advance notice as possible, a written request to the appropriate assistant dean for the division, with a copy to the department chair. The form for this purpose is available from the department administrator or online at the website for FAS faculty and researchers: https://facultyresources.fas.harvard.edu/files/facultyresources/files/final_parental_teaching_relief_application.pdf.

i) In order to maximize available benefits, faculty are encouraged to plan their FMLA leave, paid medical leave, and parental teaching relief in consultation with the appropriate assistant dean.” 

Childcare Appointment Extensions and Postponement of Review for Tenure-Track Faculty

As noted in Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook:

“a) Extensions of tenure-track appointments are intended to provide flexibility in the timing of reappointment or promotion reviews for tenure-track faculty members in order to accommodate time spent on childcare commitments. Such extensions are available to either parent (or to both, if both are FAS faculty members).

b) Upon the birth or adoption of a child, a faculty member notifies the appropriate assistant dean for the division. That faculty member’s current contract will be automatically extended by one year and the new dates of appointment confirmed in writing to the faculty member, with a copy to the department chair(s). If the faculty member does not wish his or her appointment to be extended, he or she informs the appropriate assistant dean in writing.

c) Ordinarily, if an appointment is extended by a year due to the birth or adoption of a child, any promotion review (whether from assistant to associate professor or from associate to full professor) will be automatically postponed by a year as well. The new schedule for promotion reviews will be confirmed in writing to the faculty member, with a copy to the department chair(s). If the faculty member does not wish his or her review to be postponed, he or she informs the appropriate assistant dean in writing.

d) If a birth or adoption takes place after a review is already underway, the review is not ordinarily postponed. However, if the reappointment or promotion is ultimately approved, the faculty member’s subsequent tenure-track appointment will automatically be extended by one year. If the faculty member does not wish his or her reappointment to be extended, he or she informs the appropriate assistant dean in writing.

e) Ordinarily, a maximum of two one-year appointment extensions and two one-year review postponements, regardless of the reason, are possible over the course of tenure-track faculty appointments. Tenure-track faculty may make a request for a third appointment extension and review postponement in the event of a birth or adoption of a third child.

f) As noted above, under the ordinary application of the policies governing family and research leaves, no faculty member will be eligible for more than two consecutive terms of relief from full-time departmental teaching duties. Ordinarily, faculty members should not be out of the Harvard classroom for more than a year at a time.”