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 (including parental) or medical reasons, for personal reasons, 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 who are new parents, and co-teaching arrangements may be possible for new or expecting parents.

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) or in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 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 November 30, 2018. 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 (including parental), 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. 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.

Please note: Prior to the birth or adoption of a child, a faculty member notifies their assistant dean for the division/School of the expected birth or adoption. Faculty should provide as much advance notice as practicable; except in the case of adoption where advance notice is not always possible, faculty are expected to provide no less than three months' notice. It is the responsibility of the assistant dean to inquire in which term the faculty member desires leave (and/or parental teaching relief and/or co-teaching). In order to maximize available benefits, faculty considering time away are encouraged to discuss their leave and other options with their divisional/School assistant dean as soon as practicable.

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

For information on other forms of support for faculty who are new or expecting parents (e.g., parental teaching relief, co-teaching, and appointment extensions and review postponements [for tenure-track faculty]), please see Chapter 3 in the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook and the “Birth/Adoption” tab in this table and consult with your assistant dean.

FAS professors of all ranks may find it useful to read “FAQs: FAS Parental Policies for Professors of all Ranks.”

The FAS is committed to supporting faculty members who seek to balance the joys and demands of caring for newly born or adopted children with professional growth and responsibilities as well as any medical issues. We also recognize the research that establishes the benefits of providing leave to mothers and fathers: parent-child bonding, improved outcomes for children, and increased gender equity at home and work.

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

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 and, if applicable, your leave, parental teaching relief, the possibility of any co-teaching, and appointment extension options (for tenure-track faculty).

Please note: In notifying their divisional or SEAS assistant dean of the expected birth or adoption, faculty should provide as much advance notice as practicable. Except in the case of adoption where advance notice is not always possible, faculty are expected to provide no less than three months’ notice. It is the responsibility of the assistant dean to inquire in which term the faculty member desires leave (and/or parental teaching relief and/or co-teaching).  In order to maximize available benefits, faculty considering time away are encouraged to discuss their leave and other options with their divisional/School assistant dean as soon as practicable.

2.  Taking into account the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA), and Harvard policies, FAS faculty members who become parents have a number of options available to them.

These options (and eligibility for these options) are described in Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook. They include:

  • Unpaid leave through MPLA or FMLA
  • Paid medical leave in connection with childbirth and recovery
  • Paid parental leave
  • Parental teaching relief
  • Co-teaching
  • Childcare appointment extensions and postponement of review for tenure-track faculty. 

Eligibility:  FAS professors of all ranks (i.e., assistant professors, associate professors, tenured professors, professors of the practice, and professors in residence) and non-professorial faculty (i.e., senior preceptors, senior lecturers, College Fellows, and those with multi-year appointments as lecturer, preceptor, associate senior lecturer, Benjamin Peirce Fellow, or Briggs-Copeland Lecturer (if that title is not dependent upon an administrative appointment) have similar eligibility for some of these options and different eligibility for others. Please see Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook or consult with your divisional/SEAS assistant dean.  

One-Year Limit:  Under the ordinary application of the policies governing research leaves, family (including parental) leave, and parental teaching relief, faculty members should not be out of the Harvard classroom for more than one year (i.e., two terms) at a time. This one-year limit for new or expecting parents is inclusive of any combination of unpaid FMLA leave, unpaid MPLA leave, paid medical leave in connection with childbirth and recovery, paid parental leave, and parental teaching relief. Exceptions to this policy may be made for tenure-track faculty whose child is born or adopted during a yearlong research leave; tenure-track faculty whose child is expected to be born or adopted in a term following a yearlong research leave; or when medically indicated.

FAQs:  In addition to Chapter 3 of the FAS Appointment and Promotion Handbook, FAS professors of all ranks may find it useful to read “FAQs: FAS Parental Policies for Professors of all Ranks.”

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.