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Family Leave

Section 514

The college offers an unpaid family leave of absence and/or a temporary work schedule adjustment so that you may devote time to your family during a period of crisis (such as a serious long-term illness or the death of a child, spouse/partner, or parent) or following a major life event (such as birth or adoption).


If you have been employed at the college for a minimum of 12 consecutive months in a regular position of half time or more, you are eligible to apply for family leave.

If you hold a limited-term position which exceeds three years, you are entitled to family leave on the same terms and conditions as employees holding regular positions.

If you have been employed at the college for less than 12 consecutive months, work less than half time, hold a limited-term position of from one to three years, or hold a temporary appointment, you are not eligible for family leave under this plan. You may, however, qualify for unpaid family leave under the terms of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In these cases, FMLA will run concurrently with Smith College’s Family Leave.

You may be entitled to charge up to forty (40) hours of absence in any fiscal year (July 1-June 30) to your accrued sick bank when the illness of child (or legal ward), parent, spouse, or a parent of a spouse, who is regularly dependent on your care, requires your absence from work. A medical statement may be required for approval. See Earned Sick Time policy (Section 523).

Terms and Conditions

Two options are available under family leave: an unpaid leave of absence or a work schedule adjustment. The two options may be combined, providing the total does not exceed 12 weeks in any two-year period.

Supervisors and staff considering these options should contact the Office of Human Resources for more information.

Family Leave of Absence

You may request an unpaid family leave of absence of up to 12 consecutive work weeks. Your position will be held during the time you are gone. If you are granted a family leave of absence, you are expected to return to active employment at the end of your leave. Academic-year employees cannot split a family leave of absence between two academic years. Recess time cannot be rescheduled to extend the 12-week period.

You continue to earn personal time, vacation, and sick leave at your normal rate of pay while on a family leave of absence. However, vacation does not accrue during any combination of paid or unpaid leave which exceeds 12 consecutive weeks. You are not entitled to holiday pay, recess pay, supplemental jury duty pay, or paid bereavement leave while you are on unpaid family leave.

The college will continue to make its usual contribution to your benefits (except for retirement contributions). You are responsible for paying your normal share of the costs. If you do not return to work following a family leave of absence, your college-paid benefits will cease as of your last day of work.

Work Schedule Adjustment

You may request a work schedule adjustment of up to 12 consecutive work weeks. Options for work schedule adjustments can include a modified daily schedule, a compressed work week, or a reduction in work hours. In the case of a reduction in work hours, your salary is prorated but benefits and paid-time accruals continue to be earned as though you were working your normal schedule.

Application Procedures

You may obtain an Application for Family Leave from the Office of Human Resources and submit the completed form to your department head. The request for family leave must be discussed with your supervisor and department head. Issues which must be addressed include the impact of the proposed leave and/or adjusted schedule on the department's workload and on co-workers.

If your department head supports your request, s/he will formalize the terms of the leave or adjusted work schedule and forward the request to the Office of Human Resources.

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for approving family leaves of absence and adjusted work schedules. If your request is approved, the Office of Human Resources will confirm the terms and duration of your leave of absence or adjusted work schedule.

Questions regarding family leave should be addressed to your supervisor or department head, or to the Office of Human Resources.