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V. Leaves of Absence

College policy is to grant full-time professors and associate professors a one-semester leave at full pay after six semesters of service, or a one-year leave at full pay after six years of service. For full-time Assistant Professors on full-time tenure-track appointments, the policy is to grant the option of a one-semester leave at full pay after four semesters of service with an additional one-semester leave at full pay during the second term of appointment, or a one-year leave at full pay during their second term of appointment. It is understood that the implementation of this policy is dependent on the availability of funds. Leaves are also subject to deferment, without penalty, for up to three semesters. During the deferment periods, service will count toward the next leave.

The leaves described above are research leaves. Faculty members returning from such leaves are requested to submit to the president through the Office of the Dean of the Faculty a written report on their research during the leave. A copy should also be sent to their department chair. Faculty members may not engage in outside employment during the term of such leaves.

Faculty members will be notified by April 1 each year when they are first eligible to apply for a leave and for what period. In the case of deferment, it is the faculty member’s responsibility to keep track of their leave eligibility. In the case of assistant professors who are being reviewed for reappointment, the leave application should be submitted subject to the college’s final decision.

While the final decision rests with the dean of the faculty and the president, consultation with departments (and programs where relevant) is expected and faculty members must discuss their applications with department chairs. Departments should schedule leaves several years in advance and for purposes of curricular planning may request that a leave be deferred (or in exceptional cases, taken early). Chairs are expected to report to the dean of the faculty by May 20 whether or not the department approves a leave request or recommends a deferment.

Special leaves, medical leaves, and leaves without pay may be granted by the president. These are not intended to restrict the number of regular leaves as described above. The type of leave, and its implication for benefits and terms of service, must be specified in the request for the leave, which should be made to the dean of the faculty.

While the college generally looks with favor upon requests for unpaid leaves if it is clearly demonstrated that they are significant for the professional development of the faculty member, the college must protect its teaching resources and will examine carefully the impact of such leaves on the academic program. In order to allow for adequate consideration, preliminary application for unpaid leave, addressed to both the chair of the faculty member’s department and the dean of the faculty, should be filed well in advance of the time when the leave would occur, preferably by November 15 of the preceding academic year or as soon thereafter as the faculty member has begun making any tentative plans, arrangements, or decisions concerning the possibility of an unpaid leave. Applications for unpaid leave will be subject to the approval of the dean of the faculty, following consultation with the chair of the faculty member’s department. The dean has the authority to ask the faculty member to defer an unpaid leave on grounds of curricular or departmental need.

Maternity Leaves - If a faculty member requests a semester leave for reason of pregnancy, the health leave provision of the Governance becomes applicable. This provides for two months’ pay.

If a faculty member requests a reduced load for reasons of pregnancy, the rate of pay would be reduced in the same ratio as the workload. Full fringe benefits are continued. Contributions to TIAA/CREF are made in proportion to salary.

Parental Leave - Faculty members are entitled to a leave when their child is born or adopted. In the case where both members of a couple are faculty members, one member of the couple is eligible for Vassar’s paid parental leave. A faculty member may choose one of three benefit options: (1) a paid parental leave of two months, or (2) a one-course reduction, or (3) a semester off at one-half pay. These options are available within the first six months/semester after the child is born or adopted (if the adopted child is under six years old), and are granted at the discretion of the president, upon recommendation by the dean of the faculty.
(Amended by the faculty February 10, 2005)

Should the birth or adoption be anticipated, the faculty member is encouraged to consult with the department chair and the dean of the faculty as early as possible in order to make suitable arrangements for coverage of coursework and other duties.

If a faculty member requests a leave for reasons related to complications of pregnancy or birth, the health provision of the Governance becomes applicable. (See “Educational Organization of the College,” B.I.E.D.)

Health Leaves - Leaves on account of illness, with or without salary, may be granted at the discretion of the president and the trustees. In cases of illness necessitating absence from classes, the full salary of a faculty member shall be continued up to two months. If the illness extends beyond two months, additional paid time may be granted at the discretion of the dean of the faculty and the president. After six months, the faculty member will be placed on the college's disability insurance plan; any further salary payment will be made in accordance with that plan.

Note: See Section B.II for discussion on which benefits are continued during a leave.
*(Approved by the faculty December 8, 1999; amended and approved by the faculty March 6, 2002.)