The following Parental Leave Policy has been adopted to promote a family-friendly work environment that will enhance the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty.
A full-time faculty member who becomes the parent of a child, or whose spouse or domestic partner becomes the parent of a child, either by childbirth or through adoption of a minor child shall be entitled to a leave of up to twelve weeks. If a faculty member and his or her spouse or domestic partner would otherwise both be eligible for parental leave under this Policy, both may take this parental leave, but not simultaneously and not for more than a combined total of 12 weeks.
The request for this leave should be in writing to his or her department chair or, in the School of Nursing, the program director and appropriate associate dean. A copy of the agreement shall be submitted to the dean of the school. The agreement shall include a letter from the faculty member indicating that the purpose of the leave will be to serve as a primary caregiver for that child during the period of leave. The request should be made as soon as reasonably possible after the need for a leave becomes known in order to minimize the administrative burden of ensuring adequate coverage. The parental leave will ordinarily be taken in the perinatal period or near the time the child is placed for adoption. Special circumstances may be agreed upon with the approval of the department chair or, in the School of Nursing, the program director and appropriate dean. Such special circumstances must also receive endorsement from the dean of the school. The faculty member will be relieved of his or her normal duties and responsibilities during the period of leave. A faculty member who takes a parental leave is expected to return to active status.
The benefits afforded faculty under this policy are intended to be consistent and not in conflict with the rights afforded under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Any leave taken under this policy is intended to count as and run concurrent with FMLA leave, and the written agreement should clearly state that intention. Under the Tennessee Maternity Leave Act (TMLA) faculty who give birth may request up to four weeks of additional leave beyond the 12 weeks defined by this policy.
A faculty member who takes parental leave under this policy shall receive salary and benefits for up to six (6) weeks. For faculty on variable or performance salaries, the salary to be paid will be the average of the salary paid during the four months prior to the effective date of the leave. If additional weeks of leave are requested, full benefits but not salary will be maintained for up to a maximum of an additional 10 weeks.
For purposes of this policy, parental leave in the case of multiple birth or simultaneous placement for adoption of multiple children counts as one leave event.
Endorsed by the Executive Faculties of the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing.