APPLIES TO ALL RICE UNIVERSITY TENURED AND TENURE-TRACK FACULTY
Family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for faculty may be granted for a period of up to 12 weeks during any annual period of employment from July 1 through June 30. Family leave is unpaid leave and is granted upon request with appropriate documentation for birth of a child of the faculty member, the placement of a child with the faculty member for adoption or foster care, in order to care for a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent with a serious health condition, and the extension of a medical leave in which case the 12-week limit may be applied to the entire period of absence.
A faculty member using family leave may return to their position held before the leave was taken or be placed in an equivalent position with the same benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. Any benefits approved prior to the leave are not forfeited. Any paid leave under this policy that also qualifies as family leave shall count toward the 12-week annual family leave allotment. If the husband and wife or both domestic partners are employed by the University and both eligible for family leave due to birth of a child, the placement of a child with the individuals for adoption or foster care, or in order to care for a parent with a serious health condition, the two individuals are limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of family leave during each annual period.
Primary Caregiver Leaves
The primary caregiver leave policy covers full-time benefit-eligible faculty members in the following categories: 1) birth parent; 2) adoptive parent of a child under the age of one year; 3) spouse or domestic partner of birth parent. A full-time faculty member in one of these categories, and who is also the child's primary caregiver, will be entitled to one full semester leave at full pay. During this semester, the faculty member will be free of teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities. The semester covered by this leave will be chosen at the discretion of the faculty member, as long as it is completed within 9 months after birth or adoption. There shall be only one primary caregiver leave entitlement per child and it may not be divided.
The primary caregiver is the person in the household who has primary responsibility in terms of time and commitment for the active care, custody and welfare of the child. A faculty member applying for primary caregiver leave must complete a signed and notarized affidavit with University Human Resources certifying that they are the primary caregiver and supply supporting documentation if requested.
Upon written request to the Provost, the tenure clock and contract terms of a faculty member who has taken a primary caregiver leave while holding an appointment without tenure will be extended by one year. The maximum number of extensions an untenured faculty member may receive for primary caregiver leave is two.
A faculty member planning to take a primary caregiver leave under this plan should inform their Department Chair and Dean in writing (with a copy to the Provost), ordinarily at least three months before the expected start of the leave and in all cases no later than 30 days before the start of the leave. Failure to provide timely notice may result in a denial of the primary caregiver leave. Faculty members covered by outside grants or contracts during the period of the primary caregiver leave will normally arrange no-cost extensions of grants where possible. If a faculty member does not wish to be released from the obligations of a grant or contract, the faculty member may nonetheless be relieved from other administrative or teaching duties in conformity with the primary caregiver leave policy.
Faculty members who are benefits-eligible may request personal medical leaves for any medical reason, including pregnancy, for any period of time that the faculty member is unable to work as determined by their physician. The faculty member or Department Chair may request such a leave. The leave request with appropriate documentation, including a physician's statement, should be processed through the Department Chair, the Dean of the academic division, and the Provost for approval, and to the Director of Human Resources for processing.
In the case of pregnancy and childbirth, if the birth parent is also the child's primary caregiver, the faculty member will also be eligible for the primary caregiver leave (see above).
Faculty on medical leave, including pregnancy and childbirth not covered by primary caregiver leave, may receive up to 50 percent of their academic year salary based on the length of their leave, after which continuing disability payment at partial salary may be requested and approved under the University's long-term disability insurance program. Faculty are expected to apply through their departments to Human Resources for short-term disability leave benefits, where appropriate, to pay for salary continuation.
Teaching Assignments Affected by Family, Primary Caregiver and Medical Leaves
While faculty seeking primary caregiver leave are expected to provide adequate notice to the Department Chair and the Dean prior to the expected start of the leave, faculty approved for primary caregiver leave will not be responsible for finding replacements for courses they normally teach, nor will they be required subsequently to compensate for teaching release granted as part of the primary caregiver leave. Faculty will be expected to cooperate fully with the Department Chair and Dean to identify ways to meet curricular and departmental needs and issues that may arise due to the primary caregiver leave.
Faculty on extended family or medical leaves during the academic semester will attempt to work out suitable alternative ways to complete their teaching assignments with Department Chairs and with the approval of the appropriate Dean. If it is anticipated that family or medical leaves will be sufficiently long that students will be unable to complete the courses offered by the faculty member on leave, a Department Chair may decide to relieve the faculty member from teaching for an entire semester and find acceptable substitutes. If a faculty member on extended family or medical leave who has been relieved from teaching is able to return to work full time during a semester, the Department Chair may assign other duties to compensate for the lack of teaching duties; if the faculty member prefers not to assume such duties, the Department Chair may recommend an adjustment of the faculty member's salary.
Extension of Contract Affected by Family, Primary Caregiver and Medical Leaves
Upon written request to the Provost, the contract terms and tenure clock of a full-time faculty member who has taken a primary caregiver leave while holding an appointment without tenure will be extended by one year. The maximum number of extensions an untenured faculty member may receive for primary caregiver leave is two. The contract of a faculty member who has taken a significant medical or family leave of fewer than 120 days during a summer or semester will be extended for one semester for each such leave, for a maximum extension of one year per contract. Upon written request to the Provost, the contract and tenure clock of a faculty member who has taken a significant medical or family leave of 120 days or more in any twelve-month period will be extended by one year.
Primary caregiver and significant medical or family leaves will not count as service periods for sabbatical purposes.
A faculty member who is eligible to request primary caregiver, family, or medical leave but elects not to do so, may, at the time they are eligible for the leave, request a contract extension equivalent to that which the leave would provide. The extension will not be granted retroactively; it must be requested and approved at the time of the primary caregiver, family, or medical leave.
A combination of contract extensions and renewals will have the effect of extending the 8-year limitation on service at the rank of assistant professor.
Professional leaves for faculty with or without salary are determined by University Policy 208. Leave periods with or without salary do not count toward a sabbatical. However, a leave of absence without salary with the continuation of normal research activity as covered in University Policy 201-03 does count in the 8-year limitation on service at the rank of assistant professor. Professional Leave with or without salary will not extend the maximum time for reaching tenure of 8 years from the date of initial employment.
June 23, 1993
September 1, 1996
September 9, 1997
February 11, 2003
January 31, 2023