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C215: Parental Leave

Policy

(Approved by the Faculty Senate November 23, 2010; Approved by President David Schmidly November 29, 2011)

SECTION 1: GENERAL PRINCIPLES

The University of New Mexico supports faculty in balancing their academic and personal lives.  The University strives to help faculty coordinate the needs and timing of an academic career and balancing the sometimes competing priorities of their academic and personal lives.  The University is committed to creating an environment that supports faculty when the responsibilities of family life are particularly demanding by allowing faculty to take time away from work for caring for and bonding with children. This policy provides one semester of parental leave with full pay for a primary or coequal care-giving faculty parent as defined within this policy.

1.1 Role of Academic Leadership

Academic leaders and supervisors will attempt to foster an environment in which every eligible faculty member will be encouraged to consider freely the parental leave opportunity offered through this policy.  Deans, department chairs, and program directors should make every effort to promote use of this policy.  Individuals participating in reappointment, tenure, and promotion reviews shall not allow use of parental leave or family-related tenure-clock extensions to have a negative influence in the evaluation of any candidate. 

1.2 Ethical Use

This policy shall be promulgated, used, and applied within the intent and principles of the policy and with the high ethical standards expected in all areas of academic endeavors and leadership.

The parent/s taking leave must also realize this is a revocable benefit under certain circumstances. The leave may not be used for outside work, whether part-time or full-time, for pay. The parent taking leave must also agree that he or she will return to work at The University of New Mexico after leave has been taken for a minimum of time equal to leave time taken.

1.3. Relationship to Medical Leave

Parental leave is not intended to take the place of medical leave for a birth mother, but is granted in addition to any medically required leave. 

SECTION 2:  ELIGIBILITY, REQUIREMENTS, AND LIMITATIONS

2.1 Eligibility

All regular contract faculty at .50 FTE or higher who have been employed at UNM at least one semester are eligible for parental leave.  In taking parental leave, the expectation is that the faculty member will spend this time caring for *and bonding with a child who has recently joined the household.  If both parents are faculty members, each is eligible for parental leave. If both faculty members are in the same department, the faculty members and the chair will discuss how best to meet the needs of the department and the family including whether to take the leave concurrently or consecutively (preferable). If only one parent takes leave, that parent will be reimbursed at full pay during the leave. If both parents wish to take leave, whether consecutively or concurrently, they will each be reimbursed at one-half of their usual salary. Mothers giving birth, spouses or domestic partners of mothers giving birth, parents adopting, and parents accepting a long-term foster placement or fostering toward adoption, are all eligible for equal amounts of parental leave under this policy.

2.2 Eligible Events

Parental leave should normally begin within one calendar year after a child is born or an adopted or foster child joins the household.  Exceptions to the one-year time frame will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with Section 3.1. herein. 

2.3. Relief

This policy provides full relief from teaching duties and similar responsibilities.  When research and advising are part of the duties, it is normally expected that these activities will continue during parental leave, but not during any period of medically required leave.  Given the varied nature of academic responsibilities across the University it is the prerogative of each dean to establish guidelines for relief under this policy.  Due to the unique nature of faculty responsibilities that include providing patient care, the Health Sciences Center will define the extent of relief provided to HSC faculty requesting parental leave.   

The faculty member should discuss the need for parental leave with the dean or department chair well in advance of the leave and when possible, in time for any alternative teaching, patient care, and other academic arrangements to be made.  The faculty member and the dean or department chair will work together to develop a plan for parental leave that meets both the needs of the faculty member and the needs of the University.  They shall work together to minimize the impact of leave on students, grantors, patients, and other beneficiaries of the academic program.     

2.4 Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)   

Faculty members may also take unpaid FMLA to arrange additional relief. For more information on FMLA refer to Policy 3440 “Family and Medical Leave,” UBP, which can be viewed at http://policy.unm.edu/university-policies/3000/3440.html

2.5 Tenure Clock

The running of the probationary period will be suspended, unless otherwise requested in writing, when a faculty member is on parental leave.   Subsequent mid-probationary and tenure reviews will be one full year later.  Deans, department chairs, and program directors should help faculty members to make informed decisions about suspending the probationary period.

2.6 Sabbatical

Parental leave time will count towards time worked to earn a sabbatical. 

SECTION 3:  EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES AND APPEALS

3.1  Extraordinary Circumstances

Extraordinary circumstances such as multiple births/adoptions or events involving special-needs children may necessitate additional parental leave and/or flexibility, and shall be referred to the appropriate executive vice president for a determination.  These situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine how best to meet the additional needs of the faculty member and the University.  These decisions will be applied consistently across the University to ensure equitable treatment.

3.2  Appeals

If a faculty member and the dean or department chair cannot reach agreement on a parental leave plan for relief, the faculty member may appeal the dean’s decision to the applicable executive vice president for a final decision. 

SECTION 4:  PROGRAM REVIEW AND EVALUATION

The Provost’s Office will review this parental leave program biennially to ensure that it is applied equitably and consistently across the University within the intent of the policy.  This review will also analyze the program’s impact on the University’s mission and faculty recruitment, retention, and satisfaction in relation to associated costs.

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