Leaves, temporary workload modifications, and accommodations for Senate faculty

A variety of supports are available to academic appointees who are dealing with illness, disability, pregnancy, caregiving needs, and/or bereavement. Depending on the nature of the appointment and the nature of the need, these supports include paid and unpaid leave; reasonable accommodation for disability; and temporary workload (duty) modifications for childbirth, adoption, or caregiving needs. For represented employees, these supports vary according to their union contract. For Senate faculty, the available supports are laid out in the table below.

The importance of documentation

  • Appropriate documentation must accompany all requests for leaves and workload modifications for Senate faculty. For each leave or temporary workload modification described here, the necessary documentation is referenced.
  • Documentation helps to ensure that faculty members are treated equitably across units; moreover, it helps to ensure they are not inadvertently penalized in their merit or promotion reviews. Documentation also protects faculty and their departments against inadvertently violating policy by exceeding allowed limits.

Unwritten or informal agreements between a faculty member and a Chair or Dean are not allowed.

  • The department/dean should submit each request, with supporting documentation, through appropriate channels to the Academic Personnel Office (APO). In general, requests must be approved by the Vice Provost for the Faculty. Deans are delegated authority to approve personal medical leaves or temporary workload modifications for less than one month, but these must also be appropriately documented and copies forwarded to APO.
  • Forms should be submitted for approval prior to the start of the leave or temporary workload modification. In cases of emergency, such as sudden hospitalization, relevant forms should be completed as soon as possible.

Considerations to be aware of, related to advancement and teaching

Faculty who are taking leave or modified duties should be aware of the following considerations and options.

Stopping the Tenure Clock

Assistant professors may request to stop the tenure clock for the time associated with a birth or newly placed child, family or personal medical leave, or temporary workload modification, for a total time off the clock that does not exceed two years. That is, any clock stoppage must be in accordance with APM 133. Clock stoppage requests can be made using the same form (Childbearing/Childrearing-Reporting/Certification) that is used to request Active Service Modified Duties, Childbearing Leave, and/or Parental/Family Bonding leave.

Stopping the clock prior to a midcareer appraisal affects both the scheduled time of the midcareer as well as the scheduled date for the final (tenure) appraisal. Accomplishments during a period lengthened by clock stoppage are judged as though they occurred in normative time. For more information, see https://bmap.berkeley.edu/time-tenure-clock(link is external).

Requesting a delayed review

A tenured faculty member who has taken leave or modified duties may wish to delay a subsequent merit or promotion case. This is not required, nor is it always in a faculty member’s best financial interest to postpone the opportunity to advance even half a step, but it may be appropriate in some situations. Bear in mind that all faculty members must be reviewed at least once every five years.

Effect on Merit and Promotion Review

In merit and promotion cases, it can be appropriate to mention, especially in explaining a teaching or service record, that a candidate was on approved leave or duty modification for a period of time. Confidential medical or other personal information need not, and should not, be disclosed in any material provided for a merit/promotion review. However, there remains a minimum bar for research productivity depending on discipline norms, and that bar still must be met. The most appropriate way to accommodate reduced productivity in the merit and promotion process is through tenure clock stoppage or, for tenured faculty, a request to delay a scheduled review.

Summer salary

Faculty members cannot earn additional compensation (summer salary) during a period of leave that occurs during the summer. For example, if a spring leave spans to the end of June, the faculty member is not eligible for summer salary during May and June. After the leave ends, and any necessary Return to Work form is submitted, summer salary for July or August may be requested.

Planning considerations; responsibility to students

Faculty members have a professional responsibility to students. In arranging for leaves or a temporary workload modification, it is important to take student needs into consideration to the extent possible. If the leave is the result of an emergency, the chair/dean is responsible for finding a substitute to cover the classes and other responsibilities assigned to the faculty member. When the leave is planned ahead of time (e.g., for a surgery), or the need is for a non- emergency temporary workload modification, the faculty member should assist the chair/dean in making sure student needs are met (e.g., critical coursework required for timely graduation, completion of graduate student oral exams and theses, etc.). However, faculty members should never be prevented from taking a paid or unpaid leave or a temporary workload modification for which they are eligible, even if it is difficult to cover their duties.