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Princeton University
Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Pregnancy, Childbirth, Parental Leave and Workload Relief for Faculty

May 2000; last revised December 2011

PARENTING LEAVES AND WORKLOAD RELIEF BENEFITS

Princeton offers faculty members the following benefits in conjunction with childbirth and parenting:

Maternity Leave

Paid temporary disability absence from four weeks before to six to eight weeks after birth (or more) based on medical certification that a faculty member is unable to perform her work. Benefits-eligible faculty members are expected to take advantage of this benefit.

Workload Relief

One semester of workload relief from classroom teaching and administrative committee work, or two semesters of half relief from such duties for tenure-track and tenured faculty and senior lecturers. The faculty member's responsibilities for research, student consultation and advising remain unchanged. Up to one year of such relief is allowed per child.

Extension of Term

An automatic extension by one year of the term of appointment of an assistant professor of either sex, after the birth of an infant or adoption of a pre-school age child. Extensions are available to (1) all assistant professors in the first term, before the final year of that term; (2) assistant professors in the final year of the first term who have been reappointed to a second term; and (3) assistant professors in the second term, before the final year of that term.

Unpaid Parenting Leave

For all full-time faculty, up to a year of unpaid parenting leave, for parents of either sex.

TEMPORARY DISABILITY RESULTING FROM PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH

Policy and Procedures

In most cases, a maternity disability starts about four weeks before the scheduled delivery date and ends about six to eight weeks after the actual delivery date. This determination is based on the attending physician's certification and covers the period during pregnancy or after childbirth when a faculty member is physically unable to perform her regular duties. Like any other disability, however, a full 26 weeks of disability absence is available when there are medical complications for the faculty member during the pregnancy or following childbirth. During a temporary disability absence, benefits remain in effect. For details of this policy, please visit the Office of Human Resources website at http://www.princeton.edu/hr/benefits/disability/std.

Current policy does not provide a paid leave of absence for a male faculty member during the period of his spouse's pregnancy or following childbirth. However, the University is willing to work with families in developing flexible work hours during the periods of delivery and illness, if any. In addition, faculty members may be eligible to apply to the State of New Jersey for partial pay through NJ Family Leave Insurance for a maximum of six weeks during the first year after the baby's birth.  For more information, contact the Office of Human Resources at (609) 258-3300.

Notification

It is important to notify the department chair as soon as possible of the scheduled delivery date so that arrangements can be made for the absence. The need for an extended absence should be discussed with the department chair, who will notify the Dean of the Faculty. At the start of the absence due to pregnancy, the faculty member will be asked to secure a medical certificate from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty which the attending physician must complete and send to the Office of Employee Health. The certification requests the anticipated delivery date and a statement from the physician certifying the individual's inability to work. This certificate should be updated every three to four weeks during the disability.

Within 90 days after the birth of the child, the Office of Human Resources, 2 New South Building, (609) 258-3300, should be contacted by letter or telephone to request the proper enrollment forms to make changes in the following benefits coverages:

Health Care Plan--The newborn child is eligible to be covered under the faculty member's current health insurance plan.

Supplemental Life Insurance Plan--In addition to the basic group term life insurance plan coverage (provided at no cost by the University), the faculty member may purchase supplemental life insurance coverage. Current participants in the supplemental life insurance plan may change the amount and type of coverage.

Expense Accounts--The faculty member may enroll in or change the amount of current deferrals to a Health Benefit Expense Account (HBEA) or Dependent Care Expense Account (DCEA).

Return to Work Procedure

When the faculty member is ready to resume her duties, the department chair will notify the Dean of the Faculty. A faculty member who delivers her child by cesarean section should report to the McCosh Health Center before returning to work. An appointment with the University's physician or nurse for Occupational Medicine may be made by calling (609) 258-5035. Otherwise, reporting to the McCosh Health Center after the birth of the child is not required.

HEALTH CARE PLAN BENEFITS

Coverage for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Each health care plan offered through Princeton University provides coverage for pregnancy and childbirth. Participants should refer to their plan booklets for specifics on the level and type of coverage that is provided under each plan.

Coverage for the Child

The faculty member must contact the Office of Human Resources, 1 New South Building, (609) 258-3300, within 90 days following the child's birth to enroll the child in the faculty member's health care plan. If the child is not enrolled during the first 90 days, no health care plan coverage will be available until the following January 1. In order to initiate coverage on January 1, the faculty member will need to enroll the child during the annual Open Enrollment Period (October-November).

WORKLOAD RELIEF

Policy and Procedures

Princeton's workload relief policy permits one semester of workload relief from classroom teaching and administrative committee work, or two semesters of half relief from such duties. The faculty member's responsibilities for research, student consultation and advising remain unchanged. Up to one year of such relief will be allowed for each child. Workload relief is not considered a leave. It allows for a release of teaching and other administrative duties at full salary (for one term of full relief) or half salary (for two terms of half relief) in order to provide relief to faculty members faced with the additional demands of being primary care-giver to an infant during the critical first year of life or to an adoptive parent of a newborn or pre-school age child.

Individuals eligible for these benefits include all full-time faculty in the ranks of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and senior lecturer. To qualify for workload relief, the faculty member must be the parent primarily responsible for the care of a newborn child or newly adopted infant or child of pre-school age. The workload relief must be taken with the first year of the child's birth or adoption.

A faculty member wishing to request workload relief for parenting under this plan should inform his or her department chair in writing, normally at least three months before the start of the first semester in relief. Details of the workload must be decided in consultation with the chair.

To enable the Office of the Dean of the Faculty to accommodate and track these workload relief requests, we ask that the Chair complete a Workload Relief Request Form (available on the web or from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty) and forward that from along with the faculty member's written request to the Dean.

EXTENSIONS OF TERM APPOINTMENTS FOR CHILDREARING FOR ASSISTANT PROFESSORS

An assistant professor's service may be extended for one year for each child, including twins and other multiple births or adoptions. Extensions are available to (1) all assistant professors in the first term, before the final year of that term; (2) assistant professors in the final year of the first term who have been reappointed to a second term; and (3) assistant professors in the second term, before the final year of that term.  The assistant professor's home department should notify the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of the birth or adoption immediately.

Benefits During a Leave of Absence for Childrearing

Princeton University provides for the continuation of health, life insurance, and other benefits during a leave of absence without pay. If you are paying a premium for any of these coverages, you will be billed by the University while on leave.

UNPAID PARENTAL LEAVE

Policy and Procedures

Under the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), a faculty member who has completed at least one year of service may take unpaid leave for the care of a newborn, adoption, or placement of a child for approved foster care. This leave must be taken within the first year of birth, adoption, or placement and normally in one continuous period of up to 12 weeks.

In addition, members of the Faculty who work 50 percent or greater duty time for appointments of five months or more are entitled to apply for a leave of absence without pay in connection with the rearing of a child ("Parental Leave") whether or not there is a recent birth or adoption. Upon recommendation of the department, these leaves are approved by the Dean of the Faculty for one year, although a second year can be approved if appropriate.

Individual arrangements for a parental leave, including the handling of courses, advising, and other faculty duties, should also be arranged directly with the department chair, who, when necessary, will consult with the Dean of the Faculty.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COVERAGE

If you have any questions about the policies covered here, you should call the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. For faculty in divisions I and II, contact Associate Dean Toni Turano at (609) 258-3024. For faculty in divisions III and IV, contact Associate Dean Mary Baum at (609) 258-4793. For questions about the benefits covered here, you should call the Office of Human Resources at (609) 258-3300.