Medical, Family Leave & Disability Policies

The University of Puget Sound strives to accommodate within reasonable limits the needs of full-time faculty members for periods away from work and to provide equal opportunity and access for faculty members with disabilities.

Essential Functions of any Full-time Faculty Position

General and specific duties of faculty members are outlined in Chapter I, Part C of the Faculty Code. The normal expectation is that faculty members teach six units a year, meet classes at regularly scheduled times during the full academic year, prepare for courses, grade student work, and keep office hours and scheduled appointments. Faculty members are expected to advise students, participate in University governance, and maintain an active scholarly life. Apart from classroom and other scheduled activities, faculty members do all these things at times that are convenient for them and suitable to their schedules.

General Policy

There are times, however, when a full-time faculty member cannot meet his/her immediate commitments because of (1) personal illness, injury, or childbirth (2) the serious health condition of an immediate family member, or (3) new parenthood, whether the birth of a child, adoption, or foster care. When the circumstances are likely to be of short duration, the faculty member and/or the department chair should endeavor to make arrangements with other department members to carry out the faculty member's immediate commitments. In other circumstances, the faculty member's illness or injury or the faculty member's family responsibilities may result in an extended inability to meet full-time commitments or a prolonged absence. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for specified family and medical reasons. The University of Puget Sound provides for Personal Medical Leave, Extended Medical Leave, and Long-Term Disability Leave to cover situations of personal injury or illness of a faculty member; Family Medical Leave to cover situations when a faculty member needs to care for a seriously ill family member; and Parental Leave to cover situations when a faculty member needs to care for a newborn or newly adopted/foster child.

Faculty expertise is often unique. In such circumstances, there is no one on the faculty to fill in for the faculty member when she/he experiences periods away from work. A faculty member's absence, therefore, is disruptive to the teaching schedule. The university attempts to cover such absences in the best way possible for the short term and tries to find available experts who might be hired to fill in for the longer term. When leave is needed to care for an immediate family member or to accommodate the employee's own illness, and is to allow for planned medical treatment, faculty members should try to schedule treatment so as not to disrupt unduly their classroom responsibilities. Intermittent leave may be inconsistent with the integrity of the academic courses that a faculty member is teaching. The university will seek to work with the faculty member to find leave arrangements consistent with the needs both of the faculty member and of enrolled students. In some circumstances, faculty members experiencing personal or family medical conditions may be able to work part-time or with a reduced teaching load. This policy is intended to be flexible and to provide for a leave or a reduced contract tailored to both the university's and the individual faculty member's needs.

Personal Medical Leave

Definition

The university seeks to ameliorate the financial impact of absences resulting from short term illness or injury of faculty members. Therefore, after one year of service with the University, full-time faculty members are eligible for a paid leave of absence of up to six weeks in a rolling twelve-month period for medically certified serious health conditions. This paid leave of absence will count against the faculty member's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitlement of twelve weeks unpaid leave in a rolling twelve-month period. A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one of the following: inpatient care; absence plus repeated treatment, including recovery therefrom; and any period of incapacity due to pregnancy and childbirth. An absence of up to six weeks following a pregnancy and childbirth--the obstetrically accepted postpartum recovery period--will be treated for purposes of this policy as a certified short-term medical leave.

For all personal medical leaves, certification of incapacity by a health care provider is to be submitted to the Academic Vice President. In order to insure that the faculty member is able to resume normal work activities without exacerbating the illness or injury, the faculty member is to secure a written release from his/her health care provider that the return to work is medically approved and specifying limitations, if any.

Application of Policy

As soon as reasonably possible after the need for a personal medical leave has been identified, the faculty member will submit her/his written request for leave to the department chair and the Academic Vice President.

Faculty members who experience a health condition requiring a personal medical leave will be granted a delay in the evaluation for tenure or promotion proportionate to the amount of leave granted. The faculty member may request that there be no delay in consideration for tenure or promotion by writing to the department head and the Academic Vice President, no later than one semester in advance of when the evaluation file is due. Alternatives to the possibility of up to six weeks paid leave might mean flexible staffing for faculty who request personal medical leave. Either the faculty member, in his/her application for a personal medical leave, or the Academic Vice President, in response to such an application, can initiate discussions of the flexible staffing alternatives. Flexible staffing plans must receive approval from the Academic Vice President. Flexible staffing for a faculty member's personal medical leave might include one of the following (the list is not intended to be exclusive of other options):

  1. reduced teaching responsibilities: one unit reduced teaching load for the semester with full contract salary and benefits for the fiscal year;
  2. reduced teaching responsibilities: two units reduced teaching load for the semester with five-sixths contract salary and full benefits for the fiscal year (retirement plan contributions and FICA tax payments will be based on five-sixths contract salary); or
  3. one semester off with two-thirds contract salary and full benefits for the fiscal year (retirement plan contributions and FICA tax payments will be based on two-thirds contract salary).

In those circumstances in which personal medical leave of up to six weeks is being requested during a period in which classes are not in session, faculty would continue to receive their normal salaries and should not have reason to claim paid leave for the same condition during the period when classes are in session. Any flexible staffing arrangement which effectively results in the faculty member working less than full-time will count against the faculty member's FMLA entitlement at a rate of one unit being equivalent to six weeks leave.

Extended Medical Leave

Definition

Extended personal medical leave covers circumstances resulting from major injuries or chronic illnesses. Situations involving extended medical leave will normally be characterized by an extended period of treatment and recovery following a personal medical leave in which the faculty member is able to resume work activities on a regular basis, but at a less than full-time level. Extended medical leaves will normally be unpaid leaves. In order to insure that the faculty member is able to resume partial work activities without exacerbating the illness or injury, the faculty member is to secure a written release from his/her health care provider that the return to work is medically approved and specifying limitations, if any. The interval for periodic review of the faculty member's need for continued extended medical leave is usually agreed upon by the faculty member and the Academic Vice President, but generally leave is not approved in increments longer than one year.

Application of Policy

As soon as reasonably possible after the need for extended medical leave has been identified, the faculty member will submit her/his written request for extended medical leave to the department chair and the Academic Vice President.

Either the faculty member, in his/her application for an extended medical leave, or the Academic Vice President, in response to such an application, can initiate discussions of flexible staffing alternatives. Flexible staffing plans must receive approval from the Academic Vice President. Flexible staffing might include one of the following (the list is not intended to be exclusive of other options):

  1. reduced teaching responsibilities: one unit reduced teaching load each semester with two-thirds contract salary and benefits for the fiscal year; or
  2. reduced advising and service responsibilities: release from University committee work or other non-departmental service and release from student advising with three-quarters contract salary and benefits for the fiscal year.

Faculty members who experience extended medical leave will receive a delay in their evaluation proportionate to the amount of leave granted, e.g., a faculty member on two-thirds contract could delay a three-year evaluation by a maximum of one year. The faculty member may request that there be no delay in their evaluation by writing to the department head and the Academic Vice President, normally no later than one semester in advance of when the evaluation file is due. Faculty members who experience extended medical leave will not count medical leave time toward their eligibility for sabbatical leave. Any flexible staffing arrangement which effectively results in the faculty member working less than full-time will count against the faculty member's FMLA entitlement at a rate of one unit being equivalent to six weeks.

Family Medical Leave

Definition

Full-time faculty members who have completed one year of service with the university are eligible to apply for family medical leave. Such an unpaid leave is an approved absence for up to twelve work weeks in a rolling twelve-month period due to a faculty member's need to care for a child, spouse or parent with a serious health condition.

Application of Policy

As soon as reasonably possible after the need for a family medical leave has been identified, the faculty member will submit her/his written request for a FMLA leave to the department chair and the Academic Vice President.

The university may require medical certification to support faculty member's request for FMLA leave to care for an immediate family member, defined as a child, spouse or parent (not parent-in-law) with a serious health condition.

Either the faculty member, in his/her application for a family medical leave, or the Academic Vice President, in response to such an application, can initiate discussions of flexible staffing alternatives. Flexible staffing plans must receive approval from the Academic Vice President. Flexible staffing for faculty requesting family medical leave might include one of the following (the list is not intended to be exclusive of other options):

  1. reduced teaching responsibilities: one unit reduced teaching load each semester with two-thirds contract salary and benefits for the fiscal year; or
  2. reduced advising and service responsibilities: release from University committee work or other non-departmental service and release from student advising with three-quarters contract salary and benefits for the fiscal year.
  3. a semester's unpaid leave.

In those circumstances in which a family medical leave is being requested prior to the beginning of a term, which would occur at least in part within the term, the University will discuss options with the person involved. Any flexible staffing arrangement which effectively results in the faculty member working less than full-time will count against the faculty member's FMLA entitlement at a rate of one unit being equivalent to six weeks leave.

Faculty members who take family medical leave will receive a delay in their evaluation proportionate to the amount of leave granted, e.g., a faculty member on two-thirds contract could delay a three-year evaluation by a maximum of one year. The faculty member may request that there be no delay in their evaluation by writing to the department head and the Academic Vice President, normally no later than one semester in advance of when the evaluation file is due. Faculty members who take family medical leave will not count leave time toward their eligibility for sabbatical leave.

Parental Leave

Definition

Full-time faculty members who have completed one year of service with the university are eligible to apply for parental leave. Such an unpaid leave is an approved absence for up to twelve work weeks in a rolling twelve-month period due to a faculty member's need to care for a newborn child or a newly placed adopted or foster child. Parental leave must conclude within twelve months of the birth of a child or the placement of a foster or adopted child. When both spouses are employed by the university, a total of twelve weeks will be shared between the two faculty members for this kind of leave.1

Application of Policy

As soon as reasonably possible after the need for a parental leave has been identified, the faculty member will submit her/his written request for a FMLA parental leave to the department chair and the Academic Vice President.

Either the faculty member, in his/her application for a parental leave, or the Academic Vice President, in response to such an application, can initiate discussions of flexible staffing alternatives. Flexible staffing plans must receive approval from the Academic Vice President. Flexible staffing for faculty requesting parental leave might include one of the following (the list is not intended to be exclusive of other options):

  1. reduced teaching responsibilities: one unit reduced teaching load each semester with two-thirds contract salary and benefits for the fiscal year; or
  2. reduced advising and service responsibilities: release from university committee work or other non-departmental service and release from student advising with three-quarters contract salary and benefits for the fiscal year.
  3. a semester's unpaid leave.

In those circumstances in which a parental leave is being requested prior to the beginning of a term, which would occur at least in part within the term, the university will discuss options with the person involved. Any flexible staffing arrangement which effectively results in the faculty member working less than full-time will count against the faculty member's FMLA entitlement at a rate of one unit being equivalent to six weeks leave.

Faculty members who take parental leave will receive a delay in their evaluation proportionate to the amount of leave granted, e.g., a faculty member on two-thirds contract could delay a three-year evaluation by a maximum of one year. The faculty member may request that there be no delay in their evaluation by writing to the department head and the Academic Vice President, normally no later than one semester in advance of when the evaluation file is due. Faculty members who take parental leave will not count leave time toward their eligibility for sabbatical leave.

Long-Term Disabilities

A long-term disability is a medically certified inability to fulfill the essential functions of a faculty position for six months or more. The university sponsors a long-term disability insurance plan for full-time faculty with one academic year of service. The one-year waiting period is waived if the faculty member was covered by total disability insurance within three months before employment with the university if the total disability insurance policy provided income benefits for five or more years of total disability. Both the university's long-term disability insurance plan and Social Security Disability benefits require a six-month waiting period. If a full-time faculty member with at least six years of full-time continuous service experiences a long-term disability, his/her regular salary will be continued during the six-month waiting period. For a faculty member with a long term disability with less than six years of service, the university will continue regular salary based on the following schedule:

1 year of service 1 and 1/2 months of salary continuance
2 years of service 2 months of salary continuance
3 years of service 3 months of salary continuance
4 years of service 4 months of salary continuance
5 years of service 5 months of salary continuance
6 years of service 6 months of salary continuance

For purposes of this policy, one month's salary is equivalent to one twelfth of the faculty member's contract salary. The six weeks of paid leave which a faculty member may obtain as personal medical leave is counted in calculating the period of salary continuance described above. Long-term disability leave will count against the faculty member's FMLA entitlement.

Faculty Members with Disabilities

Definition

In compliance with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Titles I and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Puget Sound does not exclude otherwise qualified persons with disabilities from faculty positions.

The ADA protects "qualified individuals with disabilities" and defines disability as a medical or physical impairment which substantially limits a major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, etc.; or as having a record of such an impairment; or as being regarded as having such an impairment. Applicants and faculty members are not required to identify themselves as having a disability; self-identification after employment is strictly voluntary. The qualifications and experience of all applicants and faculty members should be evaluated without regard to disability or any accommodations that may be necessary.

Application of Policy

A faculty member with a disability may request accommodation by consulting with his/her department chair and the Academic Vice President. Accommodations may include changes in facilities, equipment or practices that enable an otherwise qualified disabled faculty member to fulfill the essential functions of a faculty position described above. A reasonable accommodation is one which effectively allows the person to perform the essential job functions, while not placing an undue hardship on the university. Decisions about accommodations or undue hardships are made on an individual basis by the Academic Vice President. Department chairs should request assistance from the Academic Vice President in completing the process of reasonable accommodation.

Approved by the Professional Standards Committee, 3/6/98.
Approved by Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, 3/25/98.
Updated July 1, 2012


1When an eligible female faculty member takes an FMLA leave for no longer than the actual period of incapacity associated with pregnancy or childbirth (usually 6-8 weeks), the balance of her twelve workweek FMLA entitlement (usually 4-6 weeks) falls under the FMLA parental leave guidelines. The initiation of the FMLA parental leave also initiates the female faculty member's twelve workweeks of Washington State Family Leave. As a result, the balance of the female faculty member's FMLA parental leave and her Washington State Family Leave may run concurrently for a period of time. Once the female faculty member's FMLA entitlement is exhausted, her leave conditions are governed by State law. (This means that a female faculty member may be entitled to six weeks of paid personal medical leave and up to twelve additional weeks of unpaid parental leave.)