About Family and Medical Leave for Funded Graduate Students
The Graduate Studies Policy for Family and Medical Leave Accommodation for Graduate Students with Funding (GS2015-01) is designed to support communication and cooperation between students, faculty and department personnel and the good-faith efforts of all to accommodate outside demands so that students can successfully complete their program of study.
Because graduate student support and employment is often variable by quarter, and because most graduate student employees do not meet the eligibility requirements for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it is the intention of this policy to provide a consistent and equitable leave accommodation for medical and familial needs. For an overview of Family and Medical Leave options, download our campus training presentation (PDF).
While the Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP) remains available to any student, the leave policy is offered as an alternative for students who are able to benefit from continuous enrollment in order to receive financial support during short periods where leave is appropriate.
Eligibility and General Requirements
Doctoral and master’s students, including students in self-supporting and professional degree programs, who hold an academic employment appointment in the Academic Student Employee series (ASE: TA, AI, hourly Reader/Tutor) or as a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) are eligible for accommodation under this policy, as are students supported by internal and external fellowships.
- Students shall not have their financial support reduced or eliminated while on an approved paid leave.
- Students must be regularly enrolled throughout the leave period to meet employment and fellowship eligibility requirements and also to be considered for accommodations under this policy; the only exception to this requirement is during summer quarter when registering for units is not required.
- A student who ends their appointment/award(s) is no longer covered under this policy.
- Appropriate documentation must accompany all leave and return requests.
- The accommodations provided in this policy are per situation or incident.
- Any leave provided under this policy does not extend beyond the end date of appointment/award(s). However, should a student have multiple term appointments/awards (ASE and/or GSR and/or Fellowships) that are consecutive, the leave may span both appointment/award terms and the end date is considered the end date of the second appointment/award. Spring/Fall appointments/awards are not considered consecutive.
- Any student on approved paid or unpaid leave will continue to receive benefits associated with their appointment/award for the duration of the approved leave under the same conditions that coverage would otherwise have been provided by the University or funding source if the student had not been on leave (tuition and fee remissions, health insurance premium, etc.).
- Those who have accrued vacation leave may substitute accrued vacation for unpaid leave but shall not be required to use vacation leave. Vacation leave usage runs concurrently with these benefits and is not in addition to the total amount of leave provided by this policy. A student cannot use vacation leave during a period of paid leave (no “double-dipping”).
- For student employees, unpaid leave may be granted for periods beyond the terms of leaves in this policy, at the sole discretion of the department (for ASEs) or Principal Investigator (for GSRs); benefits associated with the appointment/award will continue to be paid by the fund source when a student is on unpaid leave.
- Any student benefiting from a leave accommodation from any other source within the University shall have those leave accommodations run concurrently with any leave provided by this policy.
- Labor agreement leave articles take precedence over local campus policies as changes occur.
- Definition of a family member: one’s mother, father, sister, brother, parent-in-law, spouse, domestic partner, parent of domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, child, step or foster child (including children of domestic partner).
- Definition of a serious health condition: an illness, injury, impairment or physical/mental condition that involves inpatient care and/or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that causes more than three (3) full consecutive calendar days of incapacity.
Types of Leaves
1. Short-term Medical and Family-Related Leave
A student is eligible for 2 days (50% quarterly appointment) or 3 days (50% semester appointment) of leave not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s) for:
- personal illness and/or disability;
- the birth, adoption, or care of a child or family member; or
- family emergencies.
This leave is prorated for appointments less than 50%. This leave is paid for salaried employees and unpaid for hourly employees.
2. Long-term Medical and Family-Related Leave
(Serious Health Condition, Child-Bonding--Not Childbearing)
A maximum of 4 weeks leave, not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s) is available to students who:
- have a serious health condition;
- need to care for a family member who has a serious health condition; or
- need to care for and bond with the student’s newborn child or a child placed with the student for adoption or foster care (within 12 months of birth or placement)
This leave is paid for salaried employees and fellowship recipients; unpaid for hourly employees. Any accrued vacation leave may be used in lieu of unpaid leave, at the employee’s discretion. Leave must be taken continuously and may not be taken intermittently. Verification or medical certification is required. This leave is not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s).
Additional Unpaid Leave for Serious Illness or Baby Bonding
In addition to the Long-term Medical and Family-Related Leave, a student is eligible for 2 additional weeks of unpaid leave for their own serious health condition or in order to bond with a baby, not to exceed 6 weeks total leave. Any accrued vacation leave may be used in lieu of unpaid leave, at the employee’s discretion. Leave must be taken continuously and may not be taken intermittently; for baby bonding leave, the leave must be taken within 12 months of birth/placement. Verification or medical certification is required. This leave is not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s).
3. Long-term Medical and Family-Related Leave
For pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions for the period prior to, during, and after childbirth, a student may receive a maximum of 6 weeks leave, not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s). This leave is paid for salaried employees and unpaid for hourly employees. Any accrued vacation leave may be used in lieu of unpaid leave at the employee’s discretion. Leave must be taken continuously and may not be taken intermittently. This leave runs concurrently with any Pregnancy Disability Leave and may be combined with any Short-term Medical and Family-Related Leave to provide 6 weeks and 2 days of paid leave for childbearing, if a student is eligible. Medical certification is required.
Additional Unpaid Pregnancy Disability Leave
Running concurrently with the Long-term Medical and Family-Related Leave for pregnancy and childbearing, a student is eligible for a maximum of four (4) months of unpaid leave per pregnancy and/or reasonable accommodation for pregnancy disability, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Medical certification is required. This leave is not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s), and not to exceed four months in a 12-month period. A student who accrues vacation leave, may at their option, use accrued vacation leave in lieu of unpaid leave. Vacation leave used runs concurrently with these benefits; vacation leave is not in addition to the amount of leave provided by this policy (no “double-dipping”).
4. Bereavement Leave
A student is eligible for 3 scheduled work days of leave due to the death of a family member (per occurrence). This leave is paid for salaried employees and unpaid for hourly employees. This leave is not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s).
5. Jury Duty Leave
Student employees receive leave for the duration of their jury summons, not to continue beyond the end date of the appointment(s). This leave is paid for salaried employees and unpaid for hourly employees. Verification is requirement.
6. Military Leave
Student employees who are called to active military service will be provided unpaid leave from their current positions to fulfill their military obligations to the extent required by applicable law.
Leave Funding Source
The paid leave will be paid by the salary source of the appointment/award or by the salary sources of a combination of appointments/awards. If a leave is the result of more than one qualifying appointment/award, the benefit will be charged proportionately to each funding source of appointments/awards. All benefits associated with the appointment or award continue to be provided at the same level throughout the approved leave period, whether the leave is paid or unpaid, by the salary source(s) of the active appointments or awards. For students on approved leave who have appointments/awards that span two quarters of the leave period (e.g. student has a fall quarter TA appointment and winter quarter GSR appointment), the leave will be paid by the hiring unit or funding source active during the leave period (proportionally for dual appointments/awards).
Leave Accommodation Fund
A centralized Leave Accommodation Fund is managed by Graduate Studies to pay the salary, benefits and/or stipend for some graduate student leaves. Funding from this source may be available in the following circumstances and only by approval of Graduate Studies:
- In the event that the salary, benefits or stipend cannot be paid by the salary source because of funding rules prohibiting leave pay. Evidence of funding rule restriction must be provided.
- In the event that a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) is approved for pregnancy/childbearing leave and a replacement GSR is essential to the project and the Principal Investigator has identified an available and qualified replacement during the leave period. Evidence of replacement student hire must be provided.
- Under only extraordinary circumstances, a department may request funding for a Teaching Assistant on approved pregnancy/childbearing leave; the request must include strong justification and must identify an available and qualified replacement for the leave period. Evidence of replacement student hire must be provided.
The Leave Funding Request Form must be submitted with appropriate evidence to Graduate Studies; if approved, funding for the student on an approved leave will be provided only during the paid leave period.