POLICY ON LEAVES WITHOUT PAY
Endorsed by the Executive Committee
Approved by the Dean on September 18, 1990
Approved by the Executive Committee and the Dean, March 31, 2021
As noted in Provost’s Communication #20, there may be cases in which a one-semester or one-year leave of absence without pay may be justified for a tenure-stream faculty member, and where granting such a leave may also be in the best interests of the University. Per the Provost’s Communication, however, such leaves “should be infrequent and approved only with appropriate justification.” Please note that Provost’s Communication #20 also discusses Involuntary Administrative Leave with pay. Such leaves, which will be granted only in egregious circumstances, are distinct from regular leaves without pay and therefore are not addressed in this policy.
Reasons for Requesting a Leave Without Pay
There are a limited number of reasons a tenure-stream faculty member may seek and be granted a full or partial leave without pay. Some examples include:
- The receipt of a prestigious fellowship or residency to be taken off-campus;
- The invitation to hold a government or non-profit appointment for a fixed term;
- The invitation to serve as a visiting faculty member at another institution for a fixed term.
- Exceptional personal circumstances not otherwise covered by FMLA
In extremely rare circumstances, the acceptance of an offer of tenure-stream (continuing) employment from another institution may also warrant a request for leave without pay. Such a request will be given particularly close scrutiny, in accordance with Provost Communication #20, which states:
Faculty who have accepted a position at another institution will, in most instances, not be granted a leave. If such a leave is requested, the dean should investigate not only the particular request but the general staff situation of the department, making sure that the request is justifiable, that the request is in the best interests of the University, and that there is a reasonable chance that the faculty will return to the University. Note that approval of the Provost is still required. A leave of absence for two consecutive years primarily to teach at another institution, or any leave to accept an administrative position at another institution, should not ordinarily be approved, and under no circumstances should it be approved unless the University’s best interests clearly dictate such an exception. If the dean or other recommending administrator believes, after careful inquiry, that an exception to this rule should be allowed, the reasons for such an exception should be stated in a letter to the Provost.
A leave under these conditions will not be granted unless there is a realistic prospect of return, and because the leave is also in the best interests of the college. In no case will a second year of leave be granted to a person who has left the University to accept a tenure-stream faculty position at another institution. Other requests for leaves extending beyond one year will be considered within the provisions of the campus policy.
Process for Granting a Leave Without Pay
Any request for leave without pay must receive the approval of the executive officer of the corresponding unit (or units, in the case of faculty with joint appointments), the director of the appropriate school (if applicable), the Dean of the College, and the Provost. The guiding principle for approval is that the best interests of the University can be reasonably considered to be served by granting the leave; hence any request for approval must be accompanied by clear justification by the executive officer. Executive officers should consult with the Dean of LAS regarding any salary return for faculty members on leave without pay.
Per the Statutes, Article IX, Section 7.g, “Time spent on a leave of absence does not ordinarily count toward the probationary period of a faculty member on definite tenure, nor does it ordinarily count as service in establishing eligibility for a sabbatical leave with pay, unless recommended and agreed upon in advance.” Please also see the Effect of Leave Without Pay on the Probationary Period (Communication No. 15) and the Sabbatical Leave Policy (Communication No. 19), where applicable to the application for a leave without pay.