3.7 Leaves of Absence

Governing Policies

Section 5.4, Faculty Handbook – Leave Benefits
Section 8.1.1C, Faculty Handbook – Request for Extension of Probationary Contract Period


Various types of leaves of absence are defined in Section 5.4 of the Faculty Handbook (Unpaid Leave, Sick Leave, Family Medical Leave (FML), Parental Leave, etc.). With the exception of short-term leaves such as Annual Leave, Sick Leave, and Holiday Leave, approval for a leave of absence must be obtained prior to taking the leave. The intent and requirements for each type of leave are defined in the Faculty Handbook.

As defined in section 5.4.2 of the Faculty Handbook, requests for unpaid leaves of absence should be submitted in writing to a faculty member’s immediate supervisor. Unpaid leave is granted at the discretion of the Dean, or a Vice President as appropriate.

The general approval process for paid leaves of absence is as given below:

  1. As soon as possible, the faculty member should provide their immediate supervisor informal notification of the need to take leave.  As part of this interaction, the immediate supervisor should refer the faculty member to the Office of Human Resources to discuss leave options as defined in the Faculty Handbook.
  2. The faculty member is responsible for contacting the Office of Human Resources to schedule an appointment to discuss leave rights, benefits and options given their situation and needs.
  3. At the conclusion of these discussions, the Office of Human Resources will follow up with the faculty member’s immediate supervisor regarding any leave for which the faculty member is eligible as well as any approval granted for FML. 
  4. The faculty member should then provide formal, written notification to their immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources to exercise any leave benefits.
  5. As defined in the Faculty Handbook, when a leave of absence extends partially through an academic semester, a faculty member may request teaching relief for that semester. Department Heads are authorized to provide this relief and work with the faculty member to craft a plan that defines non-teaching expectations for the remainder of the semester. It is presumed that these expectations will in total constitute an anticipated workload that is appropriate given the nature (i.e., full-time or part-time) of the faculty member’s appointment. It is inappropriate to shift workload expectations that a faculty member missed while on leave to another semester (e.g., to increase the expected teaching load in the immediately subsequent semester).  
  6. The Department should verify that leave has been accurately recorded in any applicable leave reporting system. Questions regarding leave coding should be referred to the Human Resources Office.

Department Heads are not authorized to approve or deny any form of long-term leave, including but not limited to extended Sick Leave, Medical Disability Leave and Parental Leave, without direct involvement of the Office of Human Resources. Further, Department Heads are not authorized to reduce workload expectations in lieu of formally approved, long-term leave.

For tenure-track faculty, extended leave may be used as justification for a request to extend the probationary contract period. Faculty in this situation should consult the Handbook, section 8.1.1C, regarding the requirements of, and the process for, requesting a probationary contract extension.

Last Revision:

July 26, 2022