Sabbatical/maternity leave: Clarity, please?

It’s interesting what you learn about your employer’s parental leave policies when you become pregnant.  I knew for years that, while staff at my university have definitive leave policies, the faculty policy has been murky.  I have supported the efforts of the Faculty Women’s Group to clarify that policy and brought questions to the Faculty Welfare Group on occasion.  The FWG did an intensive study of parents on campus and presented data that spoke to the conflicting experiences of those parents:  some who had to pay back money to the college in the amounts of thousands of dollars, some who were afforded no parental leave, some who had up to a year of modified schedules to support parental leave.

With IVF, I was actively hoping that we would get pregnant and give birth before my sabbatical, hoping that maternity leave could overlap with sabbatical and that I would be able to use payouts for my sick time to supplement my income.

I told HR that I was pregnant at about 7 weeks.  Since then, I have tried to make appointments that were never confirmed, had an appointment rescheduled within an hour of when the new time was supposed to occur, not had emails answered, been referred to another person whose job description no longer includes parental leaves as far as I understand it (the responsibility has been shifted to three different people in the last year from from I recall), and then after weeks of requesting a handout, been given forms that are so confusing that I don’t know how to make out what it wants me to say.  I’ve also been told that I can take maternity leave for 2 courses, and my sabbatical for 3, which would mean that somehow in there, I’m supposed to teach one class … though I have been approved for a year long sabbatical, which covers 6 classes.

I have recently asked to take parental leave and sabbatical leave concurrently so as to not be called upon to teach and have my salary prorated to include 5 classes rather than 6 without penalty in my advancement on the salary scale based on years of service.  I requested that about 2 weeks ago now with no response.

When I coasted around on the internet, it seems that there are several universities that are upfront and transparent on their policies.  Generally, a parental leave covers one semester of courses (3-4 depending on the university) and parental leave is separate from sabbatical leave.  If a person should have a child during the sabbatical leave, then the university makes arrangements to honor the sabbatical leave.  That could include th sabbatical leave overlapping into the next academic year.

There’s nothing so clear at my university … so I’m waiting until after my return from Jan Term in Ireland to get this settled, though I will be sending some emails to the head of HR on my request to have concurrent sabbatical and parental leave that would allow me to receive my prorated salary for the year for 5 courses or to have parental leave and then extend my sabbatical leave into the next academic year, which is a more expensive option, because that means that I would have a prorated salary for 2018-2019 and a full salary for 2019-2020 and they would have to hire folks to teach my classes for a semester rather than having a prorated salary for 2018-2019 and a full salary in 2019-2020 but I would be teaching those classes for which I was being paid.  Honestly, I like teaching; I don’t want to be away from the classroom for a year and a half, as much as I would love living and learning and teaching in Europe (our primary options are Milan or Berlin right now, though Dublin is close behind).

It would also be nice to have a nice little handout that explains all the jargon and walks someone through what the options are.

#46of52, #52essays2017, #twt,

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