Fort Lewis College is committed to supporting faculty members as they balance work with other aspects of their lives. Family and medical leave are available for faculty members who need to take time off work due to
The employee’s own serious health condition
The care of a sick family member
Childbirth or adoption
Such leave may be a combination of paid and unpaid leave. In all cases, these policies ensure qualified faculty members with job protection and maintenance of group health benefits.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
All full-time members of the teaching faculty are eligible for up to 75 work days (15 weeks) of paid family and medical leave each year. Part-time faculty (with half-time appointments or greater) are eligible for pro-rated leave. For more information, see the Faculty Handbook, Part IIA, Section 25.
Paid Medical Leave
Faculty members may use their family and medical leave for their own medical conditions (with certification from a healthcare provider). Pregnant faculty members may use this leave for pregnancy and childbirth, to the extent recommended by their healthcare provider (usually six to eight weeks).
Paid Family Leave
A faculty member may use up to 20 work days (four weeks) of paid family and medical leave for the purpose of caring for his/her newborn or newly adopted child or for a sick child, parent, spouse or other member of the faculty member's household who relies on the faculty member as his/her primary care-giver. The 20 work days of family leave taken for birth or adoption may be taken any time during the first 12 months after the birth or adoption. This leave is in addition to the medical leave available for pregnancy and childbirth.
Faculty members may opt to use family and medical leave for which they are eligible in the form of a reduced schedule with full pay. The percentage of one’s load that may be reduced during a single term is equivalent the percentage of days out of the term for which one is eligible for leave. For example, 20 work days of leave translates into 26.7% load reduction (a 3 or 4 credit course release for a full-time faculty member).
Unpaid Family and Medical Leave
Faculty members may request additional leave, up to one year, as unpaid leave.
Tenure-track faculty members who take family or medical leave may request additional time to achieve the rank of Associate Professor or Tenure.
Available Leave for Birth Mothers who are members of the Teaching Faculty:
In cases of births without complications, birth mothers are eligible for 6 to 8 weeks of paid medical leave for the birth of a child (depending on the recommendations of the healthcare provider) plus 4 weeks (20 work days) of paid family leave for care of the child or a total of 10 to 12 weeks of paid leave. Because a semester is 15 weeks and in order to ensure a continuous education experience for students, it often makes sense for a birth mother to take a full 15 weeks of leave. In general, the additional 3 to 5 weeks may be taken as unpaid leave.
Many births, of course, do not fit neatly into the academic calendar. The aforementioned leave may be adjusted to fit the needs of the faculty member and her students.
Note: Healthcare providers typically certify 6 to 8 weeks of medical leave for birth mothers. Medical leave for childbirth usually begins the day of birth. In some cases, if there is medical certification, it can begin prior to birth.
Available Leave for Birth Fathers and Adoptive Parents who are Teaching Faculty
All birth fathers and adoptive parents are eligible for 20 days (4 weeks) of paid family leave at any time during the first twelve months after the birth or adoption of a child. This leave may also be taken in the form of a reduced schedule (for full-time faculty, this translates into a 3 or 4 credit course release). In addition, birth fathers and adoptive parents are eligible for up to one year of unpaid leave.
Summary of Available Leave for the Care of a Sick Family Member
All faculty members may take up to 20 work days (4 weeks) of paid family leave for the care of a sick family member. This leave may also be taken in the form of a reduced schedule (for full-time faculty, this translates into a 3 or 4 credit course release). If additional leave is needed, faculty members may supplement the paid leave with up to one year unpaid leave.
How to Request Family and Medical Leave
Faculty members should schedule an appointment with Human Resources to discuss their unique situation and how College policies can accommodate their needs. Human Resources will determine whether the faculty member is eligible for paid and/or unpaid leave and will notify the employee, department chair, dean and provost of its determination. The faculty member should then submit her/his request for family and/or medical leave to her/his department chair. Every effort should be made to balance the needs of the faculty member with the pedagogical needs of her/his students The chair shall then provide to the dean an explanation of the recommended leave as well as the pedagogical accommodations that may be made. The dean will indicate support or disapproval for the recommendation and forward her/his determination to the provost. Final approval rests with the provost.