Smith College is committed to supporting faculty
members by providing them with clear and reasonable options for managing their professional
and parental responsibilities. The college's parental leave policy is built on two
main tenets: first, that eligible members of the faculty are granted up to an 8-week
paid leave in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child, and that no
academic or administrative work be expected of them during this period; second, that
faculty members be able to take a standard parental leave and return to work without
experiencing a loss of income during a year of birth or adoption.
In formulating its parental leave policy, the college
affirms for its faculty, and indirectly for its students, a commitment to parents
who seek to lead full professional, intellectual, and personal lives. A primary goal
of the policy is to allow both the faculty member and the college the opportunity
to maintain the integrity of the classroom and avoid placing undue burden on the
individual or the department. The college recognizes that no policy can anticipate
all eventualities; therefore, the policy leaves room for faculty members, departments,
and the Provost/Dean of the Faculty to tailor certain aspects of parental leaves
to accommodate individual situations.
All provisions and applications of this policy
are meant to be consistent with state and federal law, including the Family and Medical
Faculty members who have taught at the college
for at least one year in a continuing faculty position of half-time or more are eligible
for paid parental leave. In accordance with the college's medical and disability
leave policies, additional medical leave will be granted if a birth mother is certified
by her physician to be medically disabled either before or after a parental leave.
Faculty members who have taught at the college for less
than one year, teach less than half-time, or hold a visiting or adjunct position,
are not eligible for paid parental leave. Such members may, however, qualify for
unpaid parental or adoption leave, as required by law (see “Compliance with
Federal and State Laws” below).
A faculty member who is the primary caretaker
parent of a birth child, or an adoptive child under the age of 5, is eligible for
8 consecutive weeks of paid leave beginning on or near the day the child is born
or adopted. When the birth or adoption occurs such that the 8-week leave interrupts
a faculty member's teaching, she or he will normally be excused from teaching during
that entire semester.
During the portion of the semester not covered by the
8-week leave, the faculty member shall return to non-teaching responsibilities. The
precise nature of these responsibilities and any other necessary arrangements associated
with the leave must be arranged between the individual, the department chair or program
director, and the Provost/Dean of the Faculty. The Provost/Dean of the Faculty will
compensate departments as necessary for courses not taught by faculty members taking
If a faculty member’s 8-week leave does not intersect
the fall or spring semester – that is, when a birth or adoption occurs between
mid-May and early July – she or he is eligible for a paid one-course release
and is excused from administrative responsibilities during the subsequent fall semester.
This will be considered the member's paid parental leave.
The teaching and administrative responsibilities for
a year in which an eligible part-time faculty member takes a parental leave will
be arranged among the individual, the department chair or program director, and the
Provost/Dean of the Faculty.
Spouses or registered domestic partners of a primary
caretaker parent are eligible for one week of paid leave. Normally, if both parents
are employees of Smith College, only one parent may take advantage of the benefit
for primary caretakers.
Benefits: During the period of paid
parental leave, the college will continue to make its normal contribution to a faculty
member’s benefits, which shall remain continuously in effect.
Sabbatical Credit: The semester
in which a faculty member takes a paid parental leave will count in the accrual of
Part-time teaching: A faculty
member who is the primary caretaker parent may be released from teaching one course
each semester for up to two years following a standard parental leave, at prorated
salary and benefits, except that full benefits will be provided if the part-time
teaching occurs in the semester immediately following a paid parental leave. All
semesters of part-time teaching will accrue sabbatical credit at a part-time rate.
Unpaid leave:In addition to
the paid leave described above, spouses or registered domestic partners of a primary
caretaker parent may request of the Provost/Dean of the Faculty a leave without pay
or reduced teaching load at a prorated salary during the year of a birth or adoption.
The Provost/Dean of the Faculty will evaluate such a request in consultation with
the relevant department chair or program director. Faculty members will continue
to be eligible for benefits during a period of leave without pay or reduced teaching,
but the college's contribution to benefits will be prorated. The accrual of sabbatical
credit will be prorated as well to reflect the faculty member's actual teaching during
Tenure track faculty members who become parents
during the probationary period will automatically receive a one-year extension of
the probationary period. Tenure track faculty members who wish to decline the extension
will notify the Provost by March 1 in order to be considered for tenure in the fall
of that calendar year.
Consistent with college policy, paid parental
leave may not be used for purposes of salaried services elsewhere.
A member of the faculty who anticipates a pregnancy
or adoption occurring in his or her family will so inform her or his department chair
or program director, and the chair/director will be responsible for explaining parental
leave options to the eligible member. The faculty member will then submit a Faculty
Application for Parental Leave and an affidavit attesting to the faculty member's
primary caretaker status to the department chair or program director, generally at
least four months before the intended leave, and the chair/director will send a copy
of the documents to the Provost/Dean of Faculty. If at any time it is determined
that any information in a parental leave affidavit is not true, or if leave circumstances
change and the faculty member is no longer qualified for paid parental leave, all
benefits will cease, and the faculty member will be responsible to repay the value
of any wages or benefits derived.
Birth mothers must also submit an Attending Physician's
Statement directly to the Provost/Dean of Faculty. The Provost/Dean of Faculty is
responsible for reviewing and approving the terms of all parental leaves.
Prior to returning to teaching, birth mothers must submit
the Physician's Approval to Return to Work.
The Provost/Dean of the Faculty will inform
chairs of departments, directors of programs, and new members of the faculty, on
an annual basis, of the provisions of this policy.
In accordance with the federal Family and
Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), the college provides eligible faculty and
staff with up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave during any 12-month period.
FMLA leave may be paid, unpaid, or a combination of paid and unpaid, depending
on the circumstances and as specified in the policy. FMLA leave runs concurrently
with other college-sponsored leave plans. For a complete description of the college's
FMLA policy, please call the Office of Human Resources.
Male and female faculty who are not eligible for a Family
and Medical Leave of twelve weeks to care for their child within one year of birth
or adoption, but have worked at the College for at least three consecutive months
may be entitled to the benefits of the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA) .MMLA
grants employees up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave incident to the birth or adoption
of a child under three years of age, provided that s/he provides required notice
of the departure date and intention to return to work. To be eligible for the 8 weeks
of unpaid MMLA leave, a faculty member must be employed at least half-time and must
have been employed for three months prior to the time of adoption or delivery. The
college will continue to pay its share of the individual's benefit costs during such
leave as long as the individual pays her share.
Federal law requires that pay for maternity be treated
in the same manner as the college's disability or medical leave provisions. Therefore,
a physician's certification is required to establish the beginning and the end of
the period of leave due to maternity. A faculty member returning from approved maternity
leave will be returned to the position she held prior to the leave or to a comparable