Planning for Parental Leave: A Guide to Faculty Policies at the University of Virginia

If you are a faculty member at the University of Virginia and you are anticipating the birth of a child or the arrival of an infant or child under the age of seven through adoption, foster care placement, or legal guardianship, this page will introduce you to some important policies that can help you plan for this significant change in your life.

For more detailed information about any of the types of leave discussed on this page, your eligibility to request certain types of leave the potential impact of various types of leave on your benefits, and the policies and procedures of your particular school, please consult the current University policy, “Faculty Leaves of Absence,” and consider contacting the UVA Human Resources Solutions Center (see contact under “I still have questions” at the end of this page).

The Provost’s office is currently working on policy revisions to expand parental leave for faculty and professional research staff in coordination with similar efforts underway in UVA Human Resources for staff. For specific information on those efforts, please visit the UVA HR Parental Leave webpage.

I am going to be a parent...

You may be eligible to request up to three weeks of paid parental leave. If you are co-parenting and your co-parent is also employed as a faculty member, he/she may also be eligible to request up to three weeks of paid parental leave. With the implementation of the revised parental leave policy, this period of paid parental leave will expand to eight weeks.

I am pregnant...

Once you give birth (or sooner, if you experience medical complications during your pregnancy), you can apply for short-term disability leave through the University’s short-term claims administrator to ensure you have time to recover physically before returning to work. Because the length of your short-term disability leave is dependent upon your particular situation and condition, the University cannot specify in advance how long your short-term disability leave will be. Any short-term disability leave you receive for physical recovery from childbirth is in addition to any paid parental leave you may receive. This will not change with the implementation of the revised leave policy.

May I request a temporary change in my responsibilities or work schedule?

Contact your dean’s office to ask if your school and department are able to provide scheduling flexibility or a reduction in some of your responsibilities (such as teaching) following the arrival of your child. Note that your source of pay (certain grants or clinical revenue, for example) may reduce the degree of scheduling flexibility and responsibilities your school can offer. In addition, you can talk with your department chair and dean’s office about the possibility of family leave with partial pay. Under family leave with partial pay, you can reduce your workload and salary temporarily to give you greater flexibility as you adjust to your return to work. For example, you and your department chair and dean might agree that you will return to work at half-time for one semester or six months at the end of any short-term disability and/or parental leave you receive. You may also be eligible for leave without pay under the federal government’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Talk with your dean’s office for more information.

Can I request a delay on my tenure clock?

Yes. Let your department chair know you would like to request an extension of your probationary period toward promotion and tenure. If your dean approves the request, he/she will submit it to the executive vice president and provost for final approval. You should receive acknowledgment of both approvals in writing. The arrival of a baby or young child in your home (through birth, adoption, or foster care placement) is a valid reason for requesting an extension of your probationary period. You can request an extension of the probationary period for promotion and tenure even if you take no leave as a result of the arrival of a new child. For more information, see the University’s Promotion and Tenure Policy.

Does the same parental leave policy apply to staff members?

Leave policies for University and classified staff vary from those for faculty members. Leave for classified staff is defined by the Commonwealth’s policies for state employees. Currently University staff receive a certain number of leave days each year that can be used when they are sick, for vacation, or for family/personal reasons. For more information about these leave policies, see the sections on University, classified, and professional research staff on “HR for You” on UHR’s website. For the most current information on the provisions and implementation of the new Paid Parental Leave Policy, see UVA HR’s FAQ webpage.

A graduate student in my department is becoming a parent. What kind of leave does she/he receive?

Graduate students who give birth while serving in a graduate assistantship (Graduate Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, or Graduate Administrative Assistant) may take a leave from their assistantship responsibilities for six weeks to allow for preparation for and recovery from childbirth. For more information, see “Financial Childbirth Accommodations for Graduate Students on Assistantships.”

What about child care?

The UVA Child Development Centers offer services for children from infancy through pre-K. They are available to faculty, staff, and students for a weekly fee but enrollment is limited and interested parents usually encounter a waiting list. Anyone anticipating the arrival of a child should contact the centers as early as possible to inquire about enrollment and complete a wait list application. In addition, the UVA Health System offers two child care centers: Sharon L. Hostler Child Development Center and Malcolm W. Cole Child Care Center. Services at these centers are available to UVA faculty and staff, although enrollment is prioritized for the children of UVA Medical Center employees.

In addition, UHR offers backup care options for children and elders when faculty and staff encounter a temporary disruption to their regular care options. For more information, see the UHR website.

Faculty who would like additional information regarding childcare services in the community or who would like to talk with a counselor about making the transition back to work following the arrival of a child may contact the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) at 434-243-2643 for a free and confidential appointment.

Can I arrange for special temporary parking while I am pregnant?

If you and your doctor determine that your pregnancy is problematic enough that you are temporarily physically disabled, you may submit a request for a special parking permit to UVA Parking and Transportation. If your request is approved, you are responsible for paying any associated fees.

I am nursing…

If you need accommodation for nursing or expressing breast milk while on-Grounds, please contact the faculty leave coordinator in your dean’s office. A list of lactation rooms is available on HR’s Resources for Nursing Mothers page.

I still have questions...

Contact the UVA Human Resources Solutions Center:
Telephone: 434-243-3344
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Policy Category