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Princeton University
Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Rules and Procedures of the Professional Researchers and Professional Specialists of Princeton University and Other Provisions of Concern to These Personnel

Last printed Fall 1996; Revised June 2014


A. Moving and Relocation Expenses

Professional researchers, except those holding the rank of senior research assistant, and all professional specialists may be provided with a contribution toward moving and relocation expenses when first employed in accordance with policies approved by the dean of the faculty and acceptable to the outside sponsor of the research involved.

B. Leaves of Absence

Following faculty practice, a professional researcher or professional specialist wishing to be absent from the campus for a period of time during his/her normal duty period should discuss well in advance with his/her department chair or immediate supervisor the need for the absence and possible arrangements to fulfill the member's responsibilities. Following such a conversation, the department chair or program or project leader should write to the Dean of the Faculty, explaining the circumstances and requesting approval for the proposed absence. Except where noted, in general, benefits-eligible staff members who have regular appointments of at least 50% duty time for five months or more are eligible for leaves of absence.

1. Paid Periods of Absence

Jury Duty and Court Appearance - Individuals called for Jury Duty or subpoenaed as witnesses will continue to receive normal pay. It is expected they will be available for work when their presence at court is not required.

Military Reserve Training - During periods of annual military reserve training, the University will underwrite the difference between military and University pay for up to 15 days.

Vacation - Vacation is paid time away from the workplace that is provided for the health and well-being of employees. Supervisors should make every effort to schedule vacation time to accommodate the preference of the employee. However, the University has the right to require individuals to take vacation at specified times because of work schedules or budgetary reasons. Professional Researchers and Specialists earn vacation at a rate of two work days for each month of service, resulting in 24 vacations days during each year of service. Part-time staff members accrue vacation at a rate that is prorated according to their work schedules. Up to 48 days may be accrued. Scheduling of vacation time is dependent on approval of the department chair, project leader, or supervisor, and is managed through the Human Resources self-service website. Staff members who leave the service of the University and who have earned vacation which has not yet been taken will receive pay in lieu of vacation up to a maximum of 30 days unless they are supported on term funding. Individuals who leave without giving appropriate notice may forfeit this pay.

Temporary Disability - A temporary disability leave is a leave for a maximum of twenty-six weeks because of accident, illness, or injury that is not job related. All regular full-time non-exempt employees are eligible for comparable re-employment upon returning within 26 weeks from a temporary disability. Supervisors should make every effort to hold positions open and available to temporarily disabled employees. If the disability extends beyond 26 weeks, re-employment eligibility is lost.

Long-Term Disability - An employee may be eligible for long term disability insurance plan coverage after one year of service. He/she should consult with the Office of Human Resources to determine his/her eligibility. If the employee was enrolled in a long term disability plan with the prior employer, then the one year waiting period is waived. The prior employer is defined as the staff member's most recent employer prior to joining the University. However, employment at the prior employer will not be credited if employment was terminated more than six months before the individual was appointed as a staff member at Princeton. Benefits are retained while receiving long term disability insurance plan benefits.

Workers' Compensation - Workers' compensation provides paid leave for eligible employees up to 26 weeks because of injury or illness due to, or arising out of, the individual's employment. All regular full-time non-exempt employees are eligible for comparable re-employment upon returning within 26 weeks from a workers' compensation leave. Supervisors should make every effort to hold positions open and available to employees. If a workers' compensation leave extends beyond 26 weeks, re-employment eligibility is lost.

Other paid absences due to marriage, death in the family, or illness in the immediate family may be authorized by the supervisor or department chair. No absences described in this section will reduce the amount of vacation time to which the individual is entitled.

2. Leaves Without Pay

Leaves without pay may, under appropriate circumstances, be recommended to the dean of the faculty by the department or project concerned. If such leaves are for the purpose of scholarship, the University will continue coverage under the Health Care Plan, Long Term Disability Insurance Plan, Life Insurance Plan, Health Benefit Expense Account Plan, Dependent Care Expense Account Plan, Children's Educational Assistance Plan, and Staff Educational Assistance Plan, provided the staff member pays his/her regular contributions, if applicable, when due. The staff member will be sent a billing packet for direct payment of the applicable contributions. The University will not make contributions to the Princeton University Retirement Plan during the member's leave of absence without pay and the member cannot make pretax contributions to the Tax Deferred Annuity Plan. In addition, coverage under the University's Temporary Disability Plan will cease during this time.

Parental Leave - Under the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), a staff 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, benefits-eligible staff members who work 50 percent or greater duty time 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 should also be arranged directly with the department chair, who, when necessary, will consult with the dean of the faculty.

Military Leave (extended service) - Federal law provides that employees who are drafted or enlist in the Armed Forces of the United States or who are called to active duty from the Reserves for extended periods (more than six months) be granted a leave without pay for a period of up to four years. All benefits coverage is suspended according to the rules governing the particular benefits coverage. The law also requires that employees who wish to return to the University after active duty be guaranteed the same or equivalent position with similar rank and benefits.

In order to be eligible for reinstatement an employee must:

  1. Present a certificate of satisfactory completion of service;
  2. Apply for reinstatement within 90 days of discharge from active duty, or within one year if hospitalized after discharge;
  3. Have been employed in other than a temporary position, and would not have been laid off if employment had not been interrupted by military service.

Determinations of the terms and conditions of re-employment (rate of pay, seniority status where appropriate, length of service for benefits eligibility purposes, etc.) will be made by the supervisor and the assistant dean of the faculty on a case-by-case basis. Generally, the individual must be treated as having been on leave of absence, and be given credit for military service in determining service for seniority and benefits plan purposes. All unused accrued vacation time is paid to the employee prior to the start of military duty.

Leave for Religious Observances - Individual employees may have religious needs which, according to both federal and state laws, must be reasonably accommodated by an employer. "Reasonable accommodation" means such accommodation to the employee's needs "as shall not cause undue hardship in the conduct of the employer's business." An employee may elect to charge such absences for religious observances to vacation or optional holidays.

3. Leaves for Research and Scholarship and Detached Service Agreements

Professional researchers or professional specialists who have regular appointments of at least 50% duty time with at least one year of service may be eligible for research leaves or detached service agreements.

It is believed that under certain circumstances professional researchers or professional specialists and the University can mutually benefit from these staff members' being relieved of regular responsibilities--for example, to enable them to pursue new or unusual projects or to bring together the accomplishments of several related programs. Such activities, like projects regularly carried out by members of the staff, should normally be funded from grants, contracts, or fellowships. In those instances where leaves for research are approved and external support is not available, paid leaves for members of these staff may be granted for up to six months at full salary or up to 12 months at half salary.

Professional researchers or professional specialists may be assigned to projects at laboratories not affiliated with the University. Detached service assignments are not leaves with pay. Salaries to staff members on detached service will be charged to projects at the University in proportion to the time spent for the benefit of those projects during the staff members' periods of detached service. The balance of the staff members' salaries, if any, should be paid by the host institution or by other sources external to the University. The periods of detached service assignments vary and depend on the requirements of the projects involved. All arrangements for detached service are subject to the approval of the relevant sponsoring agencies and should be made only after consultation with the Office of Research and Project Administration as well as the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

C. Outside Professional Activities

The general propriety of outside professional activities by Princeton University professional researchers and professional specialists is recognized, subject to the responsibility for timely and successful completion of the contract with which the individual is involved and the fulfillment of his/her other University responsibilities. For this reason, the following principles and procedures must be applied to decisions on outside professional activities.

  1. The primary obligation of the professional researchers and professional specialists is to carry out that part of the program at Princeton for which they are responsible. Their obligation is not merely to work during particular hours on particular days, but is professional in character. No other work activity, whether gainful or not, which conflicts with this obligation may be undertaken.
  2. Time devoted to outside professional activities may not exceed two days per month without prior approval of the dean of the faculty. The duty terms for part-time service may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
  3. The term "outside" refers to professional activities not directly associated with the fulfillment of an individual's teaching, research, and administrative commitments to the University. Such activities generally bring into play the expertise of the individual and often bring professional benefits to the individual and the University. They may or may not involve compensation. Before undertaking such activities, individuals should satisfy themselves that the activities contribute: (a) to teaching and scholarship at Princeton, (b) to communicating and applying special knowledge outside the University, and/or (c) to furthering the common good.
  4. In outside professional activities, whether compensated or not, an individual shall not: (a) violate the University's patent policy, (b) permit an outside agent to have a preferred position with respect to information emanating from University activities, and/or (c) negotiate or influence the negotiation of contracts between the University and organizations with which they have consulting or other significant relationships.
  5. In outside activities, whether professional in nature or not, an individual shall not commit University materials, facilities, students, or personnel for the gain or benefit of an outside enterprise. However, limited use may be made of materials, facilities, and secretarial assistance for service to professional societies in the individual's discipline and in connection with nonpartisan public service. The chair of the department and the dean of the faculty shall be kept informed of such activities. Questions arising out of special circumstances shall be reviewed by the dean of the faculty.
  6. In outside professional activities, an individual member shall take care not to affect adversely the individual's own independence or the integrity of the University. For example, an individual may not accept a regular and continuing position with significant responsibility for the management of an outside enterprise. Also, an individual may not become a regular and continuing employee of any outside organization, either part-time or full-time, or accept any outside position that would tend to create conflicts of interest with the position in the University. Any request for an exception to this policy must be approved by the immediate supervisor and the Dean of the Faculty. Exceptions are rarely granted and only in the most unusual circumstances.
  7. An individual shall inform the departmental chair annually, in writing, of all outside professional activities as part of the regular report on scholarly and other activities. An individual shall also consult with the chair whenever considering significant new outside professional activities. The chair shall consult with the dean of the faculty concerning any exceptions to these rules and forward for consideration any special circumstances that may arise.
  8. Only the dean of the faculty may approve exceptions to, or exemptions from, these rules concerning outside professional activities.

D. Security Clearances

Professional researchers and professional specialists whose employment will require access to government classified security information shall be informed at the time employment is discussed that any appointment will be conditional upon receipt by the University of an appropriate notice of individual clearance from the cognizant government agency and upon execution by the individual of a Princeton University Security Agreement. The Committee on Appointments and Advancements for the Professional Researchers and Professional Specialists will recommend to the dean of the faculty whether employment should be terminated or extended for any such individual whose clearance has not been received within six months from the date of employment, or whose clearance has been denied or revoked.

E. Safety and Occupational Health

University safety policy is the responsibility of the Committee on Safety and Occupational Health, appointed by the president. The University undertakes to provide a safe and healthful working environment for all its employees. Further, the University complies with all governmental regulatory safety requirements and with accepted safety and health standards.

Professional researchers and professional specialists are, as are other employees, responsible for observing the health and safety policies in the area where they are working and are subject to disciplinary action in cases of non-compliance. Professional staff members are also, in conjunction with the Office of Occupational Health and Safety, responsible for the development and maintenance of appropriate health and safety regulations in their areas of principal responsibility. The procedure for reporting occupational injuries, unless the injury is unquestionably trivial, is as follows:

  1. The injured person should immediately seek medical assistance at McCosh Infirmary or, if the injury is sufficiently serious, directly from the emergency facility at the Princeton Medical Center.
  2. The injury should be reported to the project leader or department head.
  3. The injured person should complete and sign a University "Report of Occupational Injury or Illness" and forward the original to the Office of Occupational Health and Safety via the project leader or department head and/or others who may be designated by the department. The report must be in the Occupational Health and Safety Office within 72 hours of the injury.

The same procedures should be followed in the event an individual is suffering from an illness or disease which may be related to his/her work at the University.

F. Patents and Publications

Individuals will be appointed for work on a particular project subject to their acceptance of the patent and publication provisions of the contract or grant which covers the project. Except as modified by those provisions, they shall be subject to the patent and publication policies described in Appendices B and C.

G. Grievance Procedures

It is expected that most job-related problems will be resolved by bringing them to the attention of the staff member's supervisor, or where appropriate, the supervisor's supervisor or department head. If a satisfied resolution is not obtained and the staff member wishes to file a formal grievance, a copy of the grievance procedure may be obtained through the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.