Childbirth Leave and Workload Reduction
Childbirth Leave and Primary Care Giver Workload Reduction Policy
Please note that this policy went into effect July 1, 2011, and replaces the old “Maternity Leave” policy.
Childbirth and Primary Care Giver Workload Reduction Policies for Professorial Faculty, Lecturers, and Instructors
Boston University has several policies that describe the support provided to professorial faculty, lecturers, and instructors who become the primary care giver of a new child through birth, adoption, foster care or guardianship placement, or newly-established legal custodial care. The support may take the form of unpaid leave, Paid Absence for Childbirth, and/or Paid Workload Reduction, depending on the individual’s needs and eligibility. Note that School of Medicine professorial faculty, lecturers, and instructors who have contracts with practice plans do not receive the benefits described by the Faculty Handbook, but instead receive benefits in accordance with the policies adopted by their practice plans and approved by the Faculty Practice Foundation, Inc.
Paid Absence for Childbirth and Paid Workload Reduction do not by themselves extend any appointment past its original end date, or provide salary past the end date of an appointment.
1. Unpaid Leave:
As employees of Boston University, professorial faculty, lecturers, and instructors are eligible for up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy, birth, or adoption of a child, or for the assumption of new foster care, in accordance with the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and, where applicable, the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA).1
2. Paid Absence During Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Recovery from Childbirth:
Full-time professorial faculty, lecturers, and instructors who are unable to work for a period of time for medical reasons, including those related to pregnancy and childbirth, may take a paid absence pursuant to our Temporary Disability Policy for Faculty. The Temporary Disability Policy can be found at: http://www.bu.edu/handbook/human-resources/temporary-disability-policy/. A “Paid Absence for Childbirth” is normally granted for the six week period following childbirth. Medical certification is not required for this period. Individuals who are unable to work during pregnancy, or for longer than six weeks after childbirth, may be required to provide medical certification. Unpaid leave for pregnancy and childbirth available through the FMLA or MMLA will be deemed to run concurrently with paid leave granted for these purposes.
Sponsored program-funded professorial faculty, lecturers, and instructors: During a six week Paid Absence for Childbirth, salary contributions from sponsored awards may continue without interruption, subject to the policies of the sponsor. For absences longer than six weeks, salary contributions from sponsored awards may only be continued with approval of the relevant Dean’s office. Requests for this approval must include a plan to fulfill awarded effort commitments. 2
3. Paid Workload Reduction:
Paid Workload Reduction provides temporary assistance to a professorial faculty member, lecturer, or instructor who becomes the primary care giver of a child by offering a period when some duties are reduced without a reduction in pay. A full-time professorial faculty member, lecturer, or instructor is eligible for Paid Workload Reduction when he or she is employed by the University and becomes the primary care giver for a newborn child, newly-adopted child, new foster care or guardianship placement, or newly-established legal custodial care of a child. The duties that are reduced are teaching and administrative service. The intent is to ease the transition involved when first undertaking primary care, not to support ongoing care situations.3
A. Eligibility: Paid Workload Reduction is available to the following full-time, compensated individuals:
• Those with unmodified professorial titles;
• Those with professorial titles modified by Research, Clinical, and of the Practice;
provided that the individual meets all of the following conditions:
1) He or she will be the primary care giver for the child during the requested period of workload reduction;
2) At the time the workload reduction request is made, the individual either: a) has a multi-year appointment and has had a minimum of one year of full-time service to the University; or b) has a one year appointment and has had a minimum of two years of full-time service to the University;
3) He or she has an appointment that extends at least through the end date of the requested workload reduction period;
4) He or she intends to return to full workload, provided they are re-appointed or their appointment continues.
B. Paid Workload Reduction Options for Eligible Individuals:
1) Paid Workload Reduction, Full-Modified Status: This option provides paid relief for up to one semester from all teaching duties, committee assignments, and other service. Persons on Paid Workload Reduction are still expected to advise graduate students and sustain their research program or creative activities. Full- Modified Status Workload Reduction cannot extend across two semesters. Some eligible individuals on the Medical Campus have teaching duties that do not fit within the usual semester structure. For persons in that situation who choose Full-Modified Status Workload Reduction, relief from teaching and committee assignments will be provided for fourteen consecutive weeks. Note that for professorial faculty members, lecturers, and instructors engaged in externally funded grant or contract related activities, Paid Workload Reduction shall include relief from responsibilities to the University, but shall not include release from responsibilities to the external funding sources unless alternative arrangements are approved by such sources.
2) Paid Workload Reduction, Half-Modified Status: This option provides paid relief for up to two semesters from half of teaching responsibilities, committee assignments, and other service. Individuals on Paid Workload Reduction, Half-Modified Status are still expected to advise graduate students and sustain their research program or creative activities. The normal workload for equivalent individuals in the unit will be used as the basis from which the reduction to one half is calculated. In cases in which the teaching or service responsibilities are not readily divisible by half, these responsibilities may be considered together for the purposes of reduction. Some eligible individuals on the Medical Campus have teaching duties that do not fit within the usual semester structure. For persons in that situation who choose Half- Modified Status Workload Reduction, relief from one half of teaching and committee assignments will be provided for twenty-eight consecutive weeks. Note that for professorial faculty members, lecturers, and instructors engaged in externally funded grant or contract related activities, Paid Workload Reduction shall include relief from responsibilities to the University, but shall not include release from responsibilities to the external funding sources unless alternative arrangements are approved by such sources.
C. Additional Notes Regarding Paid Workload Reduction:
1) An individual is a primary care giver when he or she is either responsible for more than 50% of the care of the child, or is the sole caretaker of the child for more than twenty hours per week, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.;
2) To provide maximum flexibility to professorial faculty, lecturers, and instructors, the period of Paid Workload Reduction must be completed within sixteen months of the date the child is born or joins the family by other means, provided that the person requesting the reduction will be the primary care giver during the period of Paid Workload Reduction;
3) To allow adequate planning for the academic program, under normal circumstances requests for Paid Workload Reduction should be made well before the beginning of the semester in which the Paid Workload Reduction would commence;
4) Eligible individuals may request one of the two Paid Workload Reduction options per academic year;
5) Paid Workload Reduction may be taken a maximum of three times over the course of the eligible individual’s employment at the University;
6) If both parents are eligible professorial faculty members, lecturers, or instructors at Boston University, then both may request the relief to which they are entitled.4 Their periods of Paid Workload Reduction may not be simultaneous, however, since each reduction presupposes that the person on a reduced workload is the primary care giver.
Interaction of Paid Workload Reduction with other Leaves:
1) FMLA: Where applicable, unpaid leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) shall run concurrently with Paid Workload Reduction at full-modified or half-modified status as either intermittent or reduced schedule leave. A determination of FMLA applicability will be made at the time Paid Workload Reduction is requested;
2) Leave for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Recovery: Because paid leave for these purposes is covered by the Temporary Disability Policy, taking this leave does not affect subsequent eligibility for Paid Workload Reduction. However, a woman may wish to use Paid Workload Reduction to have uninterrupted pay and a reduced teaching and service workload if her Paid Absence for Childbirth ends before the semester is over and she is the primary care giver. A semester that includes Paid Workload Reduction immediately following Paid Absence for Childbirth will be counted toward that individual’s annual eligibility for Paid Workload Reduction.
Consequences of Paid Absence for Childbirth and Workload Reduction for Tenure-Track Faculty in the Probationary Period:
It is very likely that the assumption of new primary care giver responsibilities for a child will have an impact on the pace of a faculty member’s career. This impact is most problematic for tenure-track faculty who must receive a decision on tenure no later than their seventh year of service at Boston University. Consequently, a faculty member on the tenure-track who takes a Paid Absence for Childbirth and/or a Paid Workload Reduction will normally have her or his deadline for consideration for tenure postponed for one year. Please note that:
1) As described in the section on “Tenure Review Schedule and Notification,” a faculty member holding a Tenure-Track probationary appointment may request Tenure Review prior to the scheduled Tenure Review year. Therefore, a faculty member who has a postponement of the deadline for Tenure Review as a result of a Paid Absence for Childbirth or Paid Workload Reduction may opt, in consultation with her or his Chair and Dean, to be considered for tenure at the end of the original probationary period;
2) In order to prevent undue prolongation of the probationary period, each faculty member is eligible for only two postponements of the deadline for Tenure Review, regardless of the number of Paid Absences for Childbirth or Paid Workload Reductions taken during the probationary period;
3) The deadline for Tenure Review cannot be postponed if a faculty member has had a three-year extension of the probationary period granted as an outcome of promotion review;
4) A faculty member who becomes the primary care giver of a child in the probationary period, but does not take Paid Workload Reduction, may request postponement of the deadline for Tenure Review provided the request is made within one year of the event and prior to the initiation of the final Tenure Review process.
This policy was adopted by the University Council, February 16, 2011, to take effect July 1, 2011.
1 Additional unpaid leave for multiple births or adoptions is available to employees through the MMLA. However, Boston University treats the birth of multiple babies (twins or more), or the addition of multiple children to the family at one time by adoption or other means, as a single event that makes the individual eligible for a single Paid Absence for Childbirth and/or Paid Workload Reduction option as described in these policies.
2For example, NIH and NSF currently require notification in the event that the PI/PD or key personnelwill be absent for any continuous period of three months or more, or when reducing effort by 25% ormore from the level in the application, averaged over the remaining duration of the project. Notification is generally not required for shorter absences. For additional information and assistance regarding sponsored award effort commitment requirements, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs.
3 Requests for leave or workload reduction for other circumstances related to family responsibilities are not covered by this Policy, but will continue to be considered on a case by case basis by the appropriate Provost.
4 Note that the FMLA allows two spouses who are both employed by the University a combined total of twelve weeks of unpaid leave, not two twelve-week leaves for the birth, adoption, or foster care of a child.