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Family Leave and Support FAQs

For Faculty at UMBC

This webpage describes options available to faculty members to assist with family needs such as caring for the faculty member’s newborn child; caring for a child placed with the faculty member for adoption or foster care; caring for a faculty member’s child or other family member with a serious health condition. Medical leave for a faculty member’s serious health condition is not addressed here.

Download this webpage as an informative brochure: click here (PDF Document)

UMBC faculty members have a variety of leave and support options, as detailed in the Faculty Handbook. These include:

  • Collegially Supported Leave: Faculty members academic responsibilities covered by colleagues, on a voluntary basis, for a period of time.
  • Redistribution of Duties: Adjustment of faculty members responsibilities among the three usual areas of their job – teaching, service, and research.
  • Creditable Sick Leave: Sick leave accrued by faculty members based on the nature of their contract.
  • Family and Medical Leave: Leave guaranteed by the federal government for a life-changing event (birth, adoption, or serious health condition).
  • Annual and Personal Leave: Leave earned by faculty members on 12-month appointments.


How do I begin considering leave options?
Have a conversation with your department chair, with whom you will work to finalize your plan. If you need additional help with any steps along the way, including designing a family support plan, contact your dean’s office, the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Human Resources, the ADVANCE Program, or the Women’s Center.

What is a family support plan and who approves it?
A family support plan describes how your faculty responsibilities are covered for the birth of a child, the placement of a child due to adoption or foster care, or the care of a child or immediate family member with a serious health condition. Your chair must approve the plan.

For which family members can I develop a family support plan?
Either a child who is a biological, adopted, legal ward, step, or foster son or daughter and who is under the age of 18 or who is incapable of self-care, or an immediate family member.

What is Family and Medical Leave (FML)?
This leave is an employment protection guaranteed under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. It “allows employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.” FML provides an eligible faculty member (i.e., someone who has worked at the university for at least 12 months) 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period for the reasons listed above as well as for medical care of self or an immediate family member. This leave guarantees the faculty member his or her position or an equivalent one when he or she returns to work.

How do I take Family and Medical Leave?
You must fill out the UMBC Human Resources REQUEST FOR FAMILY/ MEDICAL LEAVE (FMLA) FORM found at You, your chair and your doctor/lawyer verifying the event must sign the form. If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources at 410-455-2337.

Do I have to take formal Family and Medical Leave for the birth of a child, etc.?
No. With your department chair’s approval you may develop a family support plan, which includes a redistribution of duties and/or collegial support, allowing you to maintain full-time status during your absence.

Can I use paid sick leave for family care?
Yes, you can use paid sick leave for family care.

May I take a combination of leave types?
Yes, you may combine different types of leave in creating your family support plan.

What happens to my tenure clock if I take FML or other family support?
You may request that the tenure review be postponed. This request should be made in writing to your department chair, who will then forward it to your dean, and the provost.

Do I accrue sick leave while implementing my family support plan?
If you are taking paid leave, you will continue to accrue leave. If your leave is unpaid, you will not accrue leave until your return.

Family Support Plan Examples

  • Adjusting the balance of responsibilities among teaching, research, and service to allow greater flexibility in a faculty member’s schedule.
  • Teaching an overload of classes in one semester in exchange for a lighter assignment in another semester.
  • Assuming instructional responsibilities other than classroom teaching for a semester (e.g., developing a new course or program).
  • Using collegial coverage for the end of one semester for teaching duties and using creditable sick leave or a redistribution of duties for the following semester.
  • Continuing normal research and service responsibilities while using intermittent sick leave for teaching days for one semester.
  • Arranging for a colleague to cover a portion of your course (collegial coverage).

Additional Resources

Office of the Provost: 410.455.2333

UMBC Faculty Handbook: (PDF download)
Section 11 – Leave Policies
11.5 Creditable and Non-creditable Sick Leave
11.6 Annual Leave
11.8 Family and Medical Leave

Disclaimer: This is not an official UMBC policy document. It is intended for informational use. Actual policies may have additional terms and are subject to change.