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Parental Leave Policy

Thanks to the concerted efforts of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and ADVANCE, URI now has a provision for paid Parental Leave for faculty. Similar policies for many staff unions have followed. Reflecting our philosophical framework, this policy includes a paid leave component for both women and men who need time surrounding the arrival of a child.

We would like to thank the Administration for their support and their progressive efforts toward promoting a family-friendly work environment where everyone can thrive.

Family Leave for URI Faculty

Official Policy  

The 2005 AAUP faculty contract now provides for paid parental leave:

Members with one year or more of service shall be granted six (6) weeks of paid parental leave at the birth of a child or the placement of an adopted child under the age of twelve (12) years. Members should provide at least one month’s notice prior to the start of the leave, whenever possible.

When additional time is needed beyond the six weeks because of medical reasons, that time may be charged to sick leave, with proper medical documentation.

In addition, the AAUP contract and Section 2.9 in the Employee Benefits section of the URI Personnel Policies describes unpaid leave options for the mother under Maternity Leave. The basic policy states:

A faculty member who is unable to perform her duties due to medical reasons associated with pregnancy and childbirth is entitled to discharge accumulated sick leave for the length of time certified by her physician. A faculty member with at least six months service may request an unpaid leave of absence not to exceed six months. Faculty members on unpaid maternity leave shall receive health benefits paid by the University in accordance with the existing payroll manual regulations that are in effect when the employee is granted leave.

Faculty members are not required to fulfill any work assignments while on leave, including any work in the areas of teaching, scholarship, research and/or publication for promotion and/or tenure decision evaluation. The year in which maternity leave is taken will not be deducted for accruals for sabbatical leave determination, but will extend the date by which a mandatory tenure and promotional decision must be made.

Please refer to the Human Resources website for further information.

ADVANCE – PCOSW Suggested Policy and Guidelines

The following document represents an all-encompassing policy and set of guidelines developed by ADVANCE and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women in 2004. The paid leave component was approved by the Board of Governors during the 2004 contract negotiations, as described above, and certain components, such as the FMLA policy, are already in existence. The remaining elements of the document, such as the modified duties components, are suggested guidelines chairs might follow in granting the leave and determining its conditions with faculty requesting leave. They do not constitute official URI policy at the present time. Please feel free to print out our Family Leave Handbook or call the ADVANCE office (874-9422) for a copy.



All faculty members are eligible for leave or modification of duties for purposes of carrying out parenting responsibilities. It is the intention of this policy that faculty using Parental Leave, Active Service-Modified Duties, and/or Reduced Workload do so with minimal disruption to student learning by giving enough advance notice that alternative arrangements for instructors can be made. Parenting leaves should be requested at least 30 days in advance, if possible. The faculty member requesting parental leave should make the request in writing to the Department Chair, who will approve the leave in cooperation with the Dean and Provost.

Definition of “parent”: person or persons assuming responsibility for the new child, whether or not a biological parent.

Definition of “domestic partner”: an individual who is at least 18 years of age, has shared a common residence with the employee for a period of at least one year and intends to reside indefinitely with the employee; the partner and the employee are not married to anyone, they share a mutually exclusive, enduring relationship, and the partner and the employee consider themselves life partners, share joint responsibility for their common welfare and are financially interdependent.

Paid Parental Leave:

As specified in AAUP policy, faculty members with one year or more of service shall be granted six weeks of paid parental leave at the birth of a child or the placement of an adopted child under the age of 12 years. Faculty members should provide at least one month’s notice prior to the start of the leave, whenever possible.

Tenure Probationary Period for Tenure-Track Faculty:

Parental leave will result in a temporary “stop” on the tenure clock without prejudice, upon request of the faculty member. Such “stops” can be taken in one-year increments. Alternatively, if a faculty member chooses, within six months of return to full-time services he or she may elect in writing to have the leave time count as a part of the tenure probationary period. This must be approved by necessary parties.

If the faculty member does not seek parental leave, the faculty parent may nonetheless elect to stop the tenure clock for one year. Necessary parties must be notified in writing within six months of the arrival of a child.

Full-Time Active Service With Modified Duties:

If the faculty member does not opt to take a full semester for parental leave (either before or after the arrival of a child), a period of full-time Active Service with Modified Duties shall be granted on request. The terms and conditions of the modified duties shall be mutually agreed upon by the employee and the department chair, in consultation with the Dean and Provost.

Requests for a period of Active Service with Modified Duties shall be circulated in writing, and shall include a statement describing the modified duties subject to approval. Given the academic semester calendar, modification of duties will normally entail either partial or full release from classroom teaching.

Examples of modified duties: any combination of substantial undergraduate advising; curricular initiatives or special research projects to benefit the department, college, or university; assessments of existing programs; outreach activities to recruit and/or retain majors; editing a newsletter or website for the department, college, or university; a comparative report of similar programs at sister institutions with recommendations for change, ongoing scholarly research, etc.

Requests for Active Service-Modified Duties may be granted for more than one partner at a time, if both partners work for the University.

Part-Time Active Service with Reduced Workload:

In addition, and under the same conditions, a faculty member may request a Reduced Workload in which partial duties are resumed and salary is adjusted accordingly, as arranged by the faculty member, Department Chair, Dean, and Provost. Requests for Reduced Workloads may be granted for more than one partner at a time, if both partners work for the University. Such reduced workload will not normally extend beyond one year. For the first year, if the workload is at least half-time, health benefits shall be continued at the employer’s expense.



Unpaid Family Leave with No Interruption in Benefits:

In accordance with the Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave Act of 1987 (PFMLA), and the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), employees are eligible for up to 13 weeks of unpaid leave, as explained below. Employee health benefits must be maintained for duration of this leave.

Rhode Island Parental Family and Medical Unpaid Leave Act

Section 28-48-2

Parental leave and family leave requirement – (a) Every employee who has been employed by the same employer for twelve (12) consecutive months shall be entitled, upon advance notice to his or her employer, to thirteen (13) consecutive work weeks of parental leave or family leave in any two (2) calendar years. The employee shall give at least thirty (30) days notice of the intended date upon which parental leave or family leave shall commence and terminate, unless prevented by medical emergency from giving the notice. The director shall promulgate regulations governing the form and content of the employee’s notice to the employer.

(b) Parental leave or family leave granted pursuant to this chapter may consist of unpaid leave. If an employer provides paid parental leave or family leave for fewer than thirteen (13) weeks, the additional weeks of leave added to attain the total of thirteen (13) weeks required by subsections (a) of this section may be unpaid.

(c) The employer may request that the employee provide the employer with written certification from a physician caring for the person who is the reason for the employee’s leave, which certification shall specify the probable duration of the employee’s leave.

Additional Parental Leave Without Pay:

Beyond the 13 weeks provided for by law, the employee is also eligible for additional unpaid parental leave up to a total of one year. For a leave extending beyond six months, a written request must be approved by the President.

Continuation of Employee Benefits:

During the parental leave, insurance coverage will continue to be available for the employee and any dependents.

Accrued Sick Leave:

Taking paid parental leave does not preclude using accrued sick leave for medical reasons with appropriate documentation.

Parent Advocate in Human Resource Administration:

At least one member of Human Resource Administration shall be designated and appropriately trained as a “Parent Advocate.” This role will function as a first stop for information, as a sounding board for concerns, and as an advisory resource. The “Parent Advocate” will be available to assist employees, deans, and directors to ensure consistent interpretation and use of the Parental Leave Policy. The employee is responsible for contacting the Parent Advocate with questions either before or during a Parental Leave.

What is the Rhode Island Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

How does the Rhode Island FMLA differ from the federal FMLA?

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