Parental and Maternity Leave
The Collective bargaining agreement provides valuable rights to faculty who have given birth or have become parents through adoption.
In addition, there are State and federal laws (such as The Pregnancy Discrimination Act under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, and the New York State Human Rights Law) that provide protections for those who are pregnant, have given birth or are considering becoming pregnant.
Can a faculty member be forced to take a semester off?
No. Federal law prohibits an employer from forcing an employee to take leave because they are pregnant or have given birth. Faculty members who give birth mid semester are entitled to work until they deliver and/or return to work after the period of disability. The faculty member must make the decision that makes sense for them but, it is recommended that they fully communicate their intentions to their colleagues so that proper planning can take place.
If there is concern that students may be negatively affected by a faculty member who leaves or returns mid-semester, it is possible for a faculty to do “non-instructional” activities as an alternative to course workload but no faculty member should be pressured into taking time off or coming back to work before they are ready.
Is a faculty member required to find/compensate a replacement while they are on leave?
No. Finding a replacement is the responsibility of the Chair or the Dean and compensating that person is the responsibility of the University. A faculty member who is on leave or has parental release time should never feel that they have to “make up that time” in any way. We encourage a faculty member who is teaching for part of the semester to help with the transition by providing teaching materials, grading information, etc. to their replacement when appropriate.
What maternity or parental benefits are available to faculty?
It is important to make the distinction between maternity leave (see next question) and parental leave. Parental leave is granted by the CBA to any full-time faculty member (male or female) who becomes a parent (birth or adoptive) and it entitles them to six (6) credits of “parental release time” for the purposes of bonding with the child. The release time may be taken in the semester that the child is born or adopted or in the following semester.
In addition, the contract provides an opportunity for additional leave time to be taken by anyone who qualifies for time under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by one or more of the following:
- Banking credits,
- Shifting workload to the future, and
- Buying bank time.
(article XVIII section 5, CBA page 58-60)
Are faculty members entitled to any maternity leave?
Maternity leave is provided by law because New York State considers childbirth to be a disability. Faculty who have given birth are entitled to a minimum of six (6) weeks of maternity leave for a regular delivery and eight (8) weeks for a cesarean section . Additionally, if for any reason a faculty member is deemed by a medical professional to be unable to fulfill the duties of their job, this period of time can be extended for up to six months under the University’s Faculty Paid Leave for Disability Policy (max 26 weeks). The University’s policy covers faculty at full pay during this time.
Can a faculty member take an entire semester of maternity leave?
Most often the answer is yes but it differs depending upon when a faculty member gives birth and whether or not they are carrying an overload or have banked credits from past semesters. A faculty member who combines the parental release time and their six (6) weeks of maternity leave has already satisfied seven (7) of the nine (9) contractually obligated workload credits . They may then apply existing overload and/or banked hours in order to fulfill their obligation for the semester. In some cases, faculty have enough workload to take a leave for the semester and then use their three (3) credits of parental release time in the following semester.
If there is no overload, the faculty member is entitled to carry an underload which must be made up within a year and a half. It is important to note the workload credit for maternity leave only applies if the leave occurs during the semester. Any maternity leave that falls during the summer or in January does not get credited to your workload.
How are other obligations affected by Release Time or Parental and Maternity Leave?
Faculty on disability leave (for any reason including pregnancy and childbirth) cannot be asked to perform work duties nor can they be asked to make up work after they return from a disability leave. Faculty who are granted Parental Release Time and are therefore teaching a reduced load, are entitled to reduce their obligations accordingly. Faculty who take a paid leave for a semester (as per Article XVIII, Section 5) shall not be required to fulfill non-teaching obligations.
Does the tenure clock automatically stop when a faculty member takes maternity leave?
No. The faculty member has the option of stopping the tenure clock for one year but is not obligated to do so. Furthermore, the faculty member has up to a year after the birth of their child to make that decision. Once the decision is made, the University considers the decision irrevocable.
What happens to a faculty member’s benefits while they are on paid maternity leave?
All benefits remain in force.
The preceding is not intended to be a comprehensive list of FAQs deigned to provide faculty with accurate information on their rights under the CBA and the law.
This has been provided for your information by the Adelphi University American Association of University Professors (AAUP).
1New York state law grants this six (6) or eight (8) weeks as the standard “period of disability” associated with childbirth. Faculty are paid in full for this period (up to since months if necessary) according to the University’s Faculty Paid Leave for Disability policy (max 26 weeks).
2The CBA allows faculty to “bank” overload credits (three (3) per semester for a maximum of nine (9)) to be used in the future for a maternity/parental/family medical leave.
3The nine (9) credits workload is spread over 15 weeks of a semester. Each week is equivalent to .067 workload credits. Accordingly, six (6) weeks is equivalent to four (4) credits and eight (8) weeks is equivalent to five (5) credits.