HSC Faculty Parental Leave Policy

Approved by Paul B. Roth, MD, MS, Chancellor for Health Sciences, CEO, UNM Health System, Dean, School of Medicine on July 1, 2013

Section 1: General Principles

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) provides eight weeks of paid parental leave with full total contract salary for faculty. In general, the incentive component of salary will not be paid for the time period during which an individual is on parental leave because it will not be earned. Exceptions concerning payment of the incentive component must be approved in writing by the department chair.

1.1 Role of HSC Academic Leadership

Deans, department chairs, and program directors should make every effort to promote use of this policy. Faculty use of parental leave and family-related tenure-clock extensions shall not negatively impact reappointment, tenure, and promotion decisions.

1.2 Ethical Use

This policy shall be promulgated, used and applied within the intent and principles of the policy and with the high ethical standards expected in all areas of academic endeavors and leadership. 

The parent/s taking leave must also realize this is a conditional benefit. The leave may not be used to perform outside work, whether part-time or full-time, for pay. The parent taking leave must also agree that he or she will return to work at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center after the period of parental leave has concluded for at least the amount of time equal to the parental leave time taken.

1.3 Relationship to Medical Leave

Parental leave is not intended to take the place of medical leave for a birth parent, but may be granted in addition to any medically required leave.

Section 2: Eligibility, Requirements, and Limitations

2.1 Eligibility

All regular contract faculty at .50 FTE or higher who have been employed at UNMHSC at least 6 months are eligible for parental leave. Parents giving birth, spouses or domestic partners of mothers giving birth, parents adoption, and parents accepting a long-term foster placement or fostering toward adoption, are all equally eligible for parental leave under this policy.

2.2 Eligible Events

Parental leave should normally begin within 6 months after a child is born or an adopted or foster child joins the household. Exceptions to the 6 month time frame will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with section 3.1. herein.

2.3 Relief 

This policy provides full relief from duties and responsibilities. The faculty member should discuss the need for parental leave with the department chair and the college dean well in advance of the leave and, when possible, in time for any alternative teaching, patient care, and other academic arrangements to be made. The faculty member and the dean or department chair will work together to develop a plan for parental leave that meets both the needs of the faculty member and the needs of the University. They shall work together to minimize the impact of leave on students, grantors, patients, and other beneficiaries of the academic program. 

2.4 Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

At the UNMHSC, parental leave will run concurrently with FMLA and it is the duty of the faculty member to apply for this leave. There will be no charge to annual leave or sick leave accrual during the parental leave. Faculty members may also be eligible for unpaid FMLA to provide additional relief. For more information on FMLA, refer to Policy 3440 "Family and Medical Leave," UBP, which can be viewed at: https://policy.unm.edu/university-policies/3000/3440.html

2.5 Tenure Clock

A one year suspension of the probationary period may be approved by the department chair if requested in writing by the faculty member in advance of the period of parental leave. Subsequent mid-probationary and tenure reviews will be one calendar year later. Deans, department chairs, and program directors should help faculty members to make informed decisions about suspending the probationary period.

2.6 Sabbatical

Parental leave time will count toward time worked to earn a sabbatical, leave from assigned duties or lecturer academic leave.

Section 3: Extraordinary Circumstances and Appeals

3.1 Extraordinary Circumstances

Extraordinary circumstances such as multiple births/adoptions or events involving special-needs  children may necessitate additional parental leave and/or flexibility, and shall be referred to the Chancellor for Health Sciences for a determination. These situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine how best to meet the additional needs of the faculty member and the University. These decisions will be applied consistently to ensure equitable treatment of all HSC faculty members.

3.2 Appeals

If a faculty member and the dean or department chair cannot reach agreement on a parental leave plan for relief, the faculty member may appeal the dean's decision to the UNM Chancellor for Health Sciences for  a final decision.

Section 4: Program Review and Evaluation

The HSC Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will review this parental leave program biennially to ensure that it is applied equitably and consistently across the University within the intent of the policy.  This review will also analyze the program's impact on the University's mission and faculty recruitment, retention, and satisfaction in relation to associated costs. 

The UNM HSC Faculty Council voted unanimously to support this policy on April 15, 2013.