Faculty Leaves of Absence

Expand the sections below for information about leaves of absence and FMLA for faculty members in the School of Medicine.

For questions not answered by information on this page, please contact Diane Sussman in the Office of Faculty Affairs.  Email: diane.sussman@vumc.orgPhone: 615-322-2165

  • Access the definitions of the leaves of absence available by consulting Section VI, Chapter 4, of the Faculty Manual

    To begin the leave request process, please start with the VUMC HR website on FMLA for faculty, where the steps are outlined in detail and the necessary forms are available. 

    See below for links to these resources:

    • Faculty Manual, Section VI, Chapter 4: Leaves of Absence 
      (Be sure to check the sections that apply specifically to the School of Medicine)
    • School of Medicine Parental Leave Policy 
      A faculty member may be eligible to take off 12-16 weeks for parental leave (based on FMLA and TMLA eligibility).  The School of Medicine's parental leave benefit covers 6 weeks of paid parental leave.  The remaining FMLA/TMLA leave period would be considered unpaid leave.
    • VUMC HR FMLA (includes link to leave request form)
      Faculty members should complete the HR FMLA request process regardless of notifications from HR about eligibility or non-eligibility.  In the event that the faculty member is not eligible for FMLA, the same process is required to initiate approval of Non-FMLA leave (Medical or Parental Leave, for example).
  • Leave of Absence Process

    1. Faculty member follows department's internal procedure for notifying department administration/leadership of leave request.

    2. Faculty member follows HR's procedure for requesting FMLA (applies to all Medical and Parental leave situations).

    3. HR notifies the Office of Faculty Affairs of the determination of FMLA eligibility and the conditions/dates of the leave.

    4. The Office of Faculty Affairs communicates the HR determination to the department chair and/or department FMLA administrator.
    5. After verifying that the department is aware of the leave request and the conditions/dates, the Office of Faculty Affairs sends a letter to the department on behalf of the Dean's office indicating approval of FMLA/Medical Leave/Parental Leave. A copy of this letter is kept in the faculty member's file.
  • Q: I completed the first step of the FMLA application and received a notification stating I was not eligible for FMLA.  What do I do now?
    A: Continue with the FMLA application process.  The documents submitted will also be required to initiate the approval of faculty Medical or Parental Leave that is NOT covered by FMLA.
    Q: Where is my approval letter?
    A: The Office of Faculty Affairs will produce an approval letter from the Dean when we have received the "Medical Leave Determination" form from HR, after all the steps in the FMLA application process have been completed.  The approval letter will be sent to the attention of the department chair and/or department FMLA administrator.
    Q: How does Leave of Absence for Military Duty (Military Leave) work?
    A: Military leave is an unpaid leave of absence.  To request Military Leave for a faculty member, the Department Chair should submit a letter addressed to the Dean (sent to Diane Sussman in the Office of Faculty Affairs) requesting leave for the faculty member, including as many details as possible, such as: faculty member's name, duration of leave, specific reason for leave request.  When the leave has been approved, an approval letter from the Dean will be sent to the department and kept in the faculty member's file.
    Q: Should we/may we pursue a faculty member’s reappointment while he or she is on leave?
    A: Yes
    Q: Is medical certification required for pregnancy/parental leave?
    A:  Yes, medical certification for pregnancy is required.  Although medical certification for pregnancy is no longer required for staff, the requirement has not been changed for faculty. 
    Q: If the faculty member's secondary appointment is with the School of Medicine, what process should the faculty member follow for requesting leave?
    A: The faculty member should follow the leave request process for the school where they have their primary appointment.  OFA would not issue an approval for a faculty member whose primary appointment is with another school (School of Nursing, for example).
    Q: How does a clinical fellow apply for leave?
    A: Since clinical fellows are not faculty members and do not qualify for faculty benefits, their leave is not processed through OFA.  They should contact the office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) for their leave request process.