Faculty Leaves


Full-time faculty members with a tenure-track appointment are eligible for the Parenting Leave Plan after completing a minimum of one (1) semester of their initial appointment. The College adheres to its high scholarly and educational standards, while supporting the fact that a number of faculty have the dual concern of maintaining professional competency while caring for children. Saint Mary’s primary concern is that a talented faculty member not be lost because of the strains of maintaining both family and career. 

The College’s Parenting Leave Plan is consistent with the following principles:

A faculty member who takes primary responsibility for the care of a newborn child or a newly adopted child while the College is in session, or near the beginning of a semester, should not feel compelled to return to work. Arrangements made in connection with the new child should disrupt the students’ education and the operation of the departments as little as possible. Pregnancy, delivery and/or care of an infant are major events in the life of a faculty member. These events should not penalize a faculty member in pursuit of tenure.

In the case of the birth or adoption of a child, the faculty member will be granted a one (1)-year extension of the tenure probationary period. If she/he chooses to be considered for tenure at the normal date, the decision will be honored.

Saint Mary’s offers faculty members a series of options. In consultation with the Department, a faculty member may choose from the plans listed below:

  • Plan A (Medical Leave) - The faculty member takes a medical leave (typically for a six [6]-week period for normal pregnancy and delivery) but otherwise teaches full-time. The faculty member draws full salary and benefits for the semester. Substitutes covering classes during the absence are paid by the College.
  • Plan B – One semester parenting leave: half pay, full benefits.
  • Plan C – One semester half-time teaching load: full pay, full benefits.

Note: Circumstances such as the actual date of birth and complications will sometimes require an extension or combination of these options over a period of two (2) semesters.

With all the options above, full benefits will continue with retirement contribution and group life insurance is prorated based on salary.

A faculty member of the rank of Assistant Professor or above who chooses one of these options acquires credit towards sabbatical leave on a prorated basis.

The faculty member needs to be able to negotiate an option which is workable for her/him and the department. If she/he continues to teach, every effort will be made to arrange a convenient teaching schedule. In the case that Option A is chosen, the College will hire a substitute, since faculty members cannot be expected to assume a colleague’s full load during an extended medical leave.


The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits up to twelve (12) weeks total unpaid leave per year, after at least twelve (12) months of employment at the College, under the following circumstances:

A faculty member who is giving birth, adopting a child, or receiving a foster child placement may request a leave without salary of up to twelve (12) weeks for the purpose of caring for the child.

This leave must be taken within twelve (12) months of the birth, adoption, or placement. The faculty member who anticipates a childcare leave should discuss the plan with her/his Department Chair at least three (3) months in advance, if possible.

A faculty member may request an unpaid leave of up to twelve (12) weeks to care for the following family members with a serious health condition: 

  • spouse;
  • child; or
  • parent.

The faculty member should discuss the proposed FMLA leave with the Department Chair as far in advance as possible.

A FMLA Leave Form must be first submitted to Human Resources to request a leave of absence.


Short absences of faculty members for personal business, illness, jury duty, military training duty, and similar limited absences normally are with full salary.

When practical, the Department Chair is to be notified in advance of absences which may affect class, laboratory, research, or other College-related commitments. The Department Chair and faculty member in consultation are to formulate a plan to insure that the needs of students are met.


Non-occupational absences of more than six (6) months resulting from total disability may be covered through the College’s participation in a group long-term disability insurance plan in accordance with the plan’s provisions. Between the onset of the disability and the beginning of long-term disability payments, the College will continue the faculty member’s salary and benefits, for a maximum of six (6) months, as though that member were still working. The salary continuation policy includes disabling maternity, illness, and disability.

The tenure status of faculty members on long-term disability is fixed at the time of the onset of the disability; i.e., tenured faculty retain tenure, untenured faculty resume their probationary period with their return to teaching. 

As soon as a non-occupational disability becomes known to the Department Chair, she/he reports this in writing to the Provost who in turn communicates this information to the Human Resources Director who establishes the degree and likely duration of the non-occupational disability. The Department Chair consults with the department’s faculty to determine how to cope with the faculty member’s absence and communicates this information to the Provost.

Note: Any work related injury must be reported immediately to the Department Chair and the Human Resources Director. The Department Chair informs the Provost of the injury.


Leaves of absence without salary may be granted to a faculty member should the situation be deemed appropriate by the Department Chair and the Provost. Appropriate reasons include professional growth, research activities, health, or family requirements. Faculty who are on long-term leave without salary are normally not eligible for continuation of benefits.

Faculty members on leave without salary may negotiate with their Department Chair and the Provost on the services and facilities that will be available to them.

A faculty member requesting a leave of absence without salary shall submit the request to the Provost with a copy to the Department Chair. The request should outline the nature of the proposed activity during the leave and such other information as would be useful in evaluating the request. 

In the case of a non-tenured faculty member applying for a leave without salary, the Provost and the faculty member will negotiate whether leave time will count as probationary time for purposes of tenure. Within two (2) weeks of the date of the request, the Department Chair shall send to the Provost an evaluation of the request and Department Chair’s recommendation. The Provost shall send written notification to the Department Chair and the faculty applicant within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the original petition.

Normally requests for leave of absence without salary are made at least six (6) months before the beginning of the semester the leave is expected to commence. The Department Chair is to consult with the members of the department on how to meet the needs created by the faculty member’s absence.

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