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Policy on Faculty Family Leave

Northwestern believes in supporting faculty well-being, assisting faculty in nurturing their children, and minimizing the impact of parenting responsibilities on faculty tenure and other career goals. Toward that end, this policy establishes faculty family leaves for purposes of birth, adoption, or care for a child after birth or adoption. The University fully supports faculty using these leaves.

I. Eligibility
II. Types of Leaves
III. Length and Timing of Leaves
IV. Coordination with FMLA and Medical Leave
V. Expectations During Childbearing, Adoption and Childreading Leaves
VI. Tenure Clock Extension

I. Eligibility

Faculty eligible for childbearing, adoption, and childrearing leaves described below are:

  1. full-time, benefits-eligible tenured or tenure track faculty
  2. other full-time, benefits-eligible instructional faculty who, at the time of the birth or adoption, have completed three years of continuous full time service on the Northwestern faculty (or have an appointment at the end of which they will have completed three years of continuous full time service) or who are serving on an academic appointment of three years or longer at the time of the leave. Persons who hold research faculty appointments and persons who hold faculty appointments but whose activities are primarily non-instructional (administrative) are ineligible for the childbearing, adoption, and childrearing leaves described in this policy.

Faculty members who do not meet the eligibility requirement described above may be eligible for paid medical leave for the period of time medically necessary for a faculty member to recover from childbirth and for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (see section IV and “related Information” below).


II. TYPES OF LEAVES

A. Leave for Childbearing

Paid leave is provided to eligible faculty members who give birth to a child. Childbearing leave will be automatically approved after providing notification to the designated administrator within the faculty member’s school Dean’s or Faculty Affairs Office (as specified in Section III below) and submitting documentation to The Hartford (see “related information” below). Faculty in Feinberg may follow a different process and should contact their department administrator or the Feinberg Faculty Affairs Office for information (fao@northwestern.edu).

Faculty members who give birth to a child are eligible for a subsequent paid childrearing leave.


B. Leave for Adoption

Paid leave is provided to eligible faculty members for adoption of a child and will be automatically approved after providing notification to the designated administrator within the faculty member’s school Dean’s or Faculty Affairs Office (as specified in Section III below) and submitting documentation to The Hartford (see “related information” below). Faculty in Feinberg may follow a different process and should contact their department administrator or the Feinberg Faculty Affairs Office for information (fao@northwestern.edu).

Faculty members who adopt a child are eligible for a subsequent paid childrearing leave.

C. Leave for Childrearing

Paid leave is provided to eligible faculty members who are at least an equal partner in caring for a child. Approvals for childrearing leave will generally be granted to equal partners in childrearing. The Provost’s Office has final approval authority over childrearing leaves.

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III. Length and Timing of Leaves

A. Faculty Members Whose Primary Appointments are in WCAS, SESP, SoC, Medill, McCormick, Bienen and KSM:

B. Faculty Members Whose Primary Appointment is in the Pritzker School of Law

C. Faculty Members Whose Primary Appointment is in the Feinberg School of Medicine:

D. Faculty Members Whose Primary Appointment is in NU-Q:

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IV. Coordination with FMLA and Medical Leave

Faculty who meet the eligibility requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may have 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave for the birth and care of a newborn child or for placement of a child for adoption or foster care. The faculty leaves for childbirth, adoption, or childrearing described above are counted toward the maximum entitlement of 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12 month period.

If a medical disability certified by The Hartford arises as a result of pregnancy or childbirth which renders the faculty member unable to work before or after the academic term in which the faculty member takes a childbearing leave, the faculty member may be eligible for additional paid medical leave.

See “related information” below for resources on FMLA and medical leave.

V. Expectations During Childbearing, Adoption and Childrearing Leaves

Faculty members on childbearing, adoption, and childrearing leave will not be required to fulfill such University service responsibilities as membership on committees; however, they are expected to retain responsibility for any necessary supervision to students pursuing such work as undergraduate senior honors, masters, or doctoral research.

During the academic year in which the leave is taken, a reduction in the annual teaching load corresponding to the length of the leave will be made. If the course reduction and leave from service are not taken in the academic year in which the birth or adoption occurs, the faculty member may take the remaining course reduction(s) and leave from service in the following academic year. Notwithstanding the provisions regarding course reductions, it is assumed that no faculty member's teaching load will be reduced to less than one course a year because of childbearing/adoption and/or childrearing. Childbearing, adoption, and childrearing are fully approved personal leaves and faculty will not be asked to make up for these leaves with teaching, course preparation, or service activities at any subsequent time. Faculty cannot be retaliated or discriminated against for having requested or using the rights granted pursuant to this policy.

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VI. Tenure Clock Extension

Tenure Clock extensions are addressed in the Policy on Extending the Probationary Clock for Tenure-Track Faculty.

Related Information

Tenure Clock extensions are addressed in the Policy on Extending the Probationary Clock for Tenure-Track Faculty.

Contacts

If you have questions about this Policy, contact: Alex Rot, Senior Director, Faculty Operations, phone: 847-467-4127; email: facultyrecords@northwestern.edu.

If you have questions about the FMLA or medical leave, contact:

  1. Benefits Division, Northwestern Office of Human Resources, phone: (847) 491-7513, email: benefits@northwestern.edu; or
  2. The Hartford, phone: (888) 541-7283.
  3. Alex Rot, Senior Director, Faculty Operations, phone: 847-467-4127; email: facultyrecords@northwestern.ed
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost

Who Needs to Know This Policy: All Northwestern faculty members

Contacts: If you have any questions on this Policy, contact facultyrecords@northwestern.edu.

Dated: September 1, 2006; Revised 2018