Parental Policies

Columbia has adopted policies to fit the needs of parents caring for children while pursuing a career. Parental policies differ depending on your role at the University:

Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff

Officers of Instruction

Officers of the Libraries

Officers of Research

Union Staff

Graduate Students

Though these policies are not managed by the Office of Work/Life, we would be glad to help you think through how they may meet your needs. Call (212) 854-8019 or email worklife@columbia.edu

The guidelines here are for informational purposes only. Please refer to Human Resources or the Faculty Handbook for complete policy language.

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Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff

This is a paid medical leavefor any part of the pregnancy and postpartum period that your doctor certifies you are medically unable to work (typically 6-8 weeks postpartum, but can be up to six months.). The first 12 weeks of any pregnancy-related disability or parental leave in a rolling year are counted toward the 12 weeks of leave you may be entitled to under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Effective: January 1, 2018. New York State’s Paid Family Leave Law (PFL) provides up to 8 weeks of family leave benefits to eligible employees through a small employee payroll deduction. 

You can take job-protected paid family leave: 

  • To bond with a child during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child; 
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition; or 
  • For qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s covered active duty in the military. 

Leave may be taken intermittently, in full-day increments. For birth mothers, this leave goes into effect after Maternity Disability Leave.

Payment: In 2018 leave is paid at 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage or 50% of the state average weekly wage, whichever is less.

Additional Details: Eligible employees may take up to the maximum leave duration in any given 52 consecutive week period. The maximum benefit is 8 weeks during the first year (2018), 10 weeks during the second and third years (2019 and 2020), and 12 weeks in the fourth (2021) and subsequent years. The 52-week clock starts on the first day the employee takes PFL.

Please refer to the full policy text for complete information about PFL. You can also reach out to the Office of Leave Management for more details.
 

 This is an unpaid leave of up to six months when:

  • You have a baby
  • Your spouse/same-sex domestic partner has a baby
  • You adopt a child
  • You become a foster parent to a child

This is a policy under which all eligible University faculty and staff (must work more than 80 hours in a fiscal year: July 1 – June 30)who work in New York City may accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time per fiscal year, which can be used for illness or preventive care of one's self or one's family members (including an employee’s child).

FMLA is an unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks during a rolling 12-month period for the following reasons:

  • The birth or adoption of a child, or the foster care placement of a child.
  • To care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.

If eligible, FMLA will run concurrently with NYS PFL, paid medical leave, and parental care leave.

Preparing for a Leave of Absence

  • Discuss your work and leave needs with your supervisor. 
  • Follow up any verbal discussions with a written memorandum detailing what you discussed.  Make sure to include an anticipated return date. 
  • Submit your written notice when you and your supervisor are both clear on the terms of your leave. 
  • For pregnancy-related disability leave, provide written documentation from your doctor stating the length of time you will need to be away from work. If the length of time you need to be on disability leave changes for medical reasons, you will need to submit new documentation from your doctor so that your disability leave can be changed accordingly.       

Things to Think About

  • Parental care leave is applicable to both mothers and fathers. 
  • While on parental care leave, you may substitute paid leave, including vacation or personal days, for any part of your unpaid leave.
  • Health and other insurance benefits coverage may continue during your unpaid leave if you directly pay the premiums; the University does not make contributions on your behalf during an unpaid leave.  For more information, contact HR Benefits at 212-851-7000.
  • To accommodate work/life challenges and needs, some people may be able to arrange a Flexible Work Arrangement with their supervisor.
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Officers of Instruction

These policies recognize the special needs of faculty who must balance research, teaching, and parental obligations, and reflect the belief that the University, as well as the individual, benefits from arrangements that help faculty pursue their academic careers while raising a family. Please note that the content on this website provides a brief summary of the policies. For complete information please consult the Faculty Handbook.

This is a paid medical leavefor any part of the pregnancy and post-partum period that your doctor certifies you are medically unable to work (typically 6-8 weeks post-partum, but can be up to six months.). The first 12 weeks of any pregnancy-related disability or parental leave in a rolling year are counted toward the 12 weeks of leave you may be entitled to under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Parental Workload Relief can be taken if you are the primary caregiver (single parent or if spouse/partner is working full-time or a full-time student) of a newborn child or a newly adopted child of less than school age, or if the child is disabled or meets New York State's legal definition of "hard-to-place" and is less than 18 at the time the leave begins. Workload relief must begin within the first year after the birth or the adoption of the child but may continue beyond that year. There are several workload relief options and you are eligible for workload relief each time you have a new child. For complete information please consult the Faculty Handbook.

This leave option is for Columbia Medical Center Faculty. Eligible faculty members will be entitled to parental leave for up to 13 weeks at full salary (which, in some cases, will be a combination of medical and parental leave).  The period of parental leave must begin within the first year after the birth or adoption of the new child but may continue beyond that year. Two eligible faculty parents can take leaves sequentially, but not simultaneously. Please see full policy for more details.

Tenure Clock Stoppage can be implemented if a nontenured faculty assumes primary responsibility for the care of a child less than a year old. This can occur without taking a leave of absence or participating in the University’s workload relief program (if eligible). For complete information please consult the Faculty Handbook.

This can be an option in addition to paid medical leave and infant care leave. During the period of a part-time career appointment, you will perform half your normal duties and responsibilities, and will receive half your normal salary; but you will keep your full-time status, benefits and privileges. Part-time career appointments are available if you are:

  • a faculty member on tenure track, and
  • a primary caregiver (single parent or if spouse/partner is working full-time or a full-time student) for a child under nine years of age.

For complete information please consult the Faculty Handbook.

This leave can be paid or unpaid, is available to Officers of Instruction when:

  • You have a baby
  • Your spouse or same-sex domestic partner has a baby
  • You adopt a child
  • You become a foster parent to a child

This is a policy under which all eligible University faculty and staff (must work more than 80 hours in a fiscal year: July 1 – June 30)who work in New York City may accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time per fiscal year, which can be used for illness or preventive care of one's self or one's family members (including an employee’s child).

Preparing for a Leave of Absence

  • For pregnancy-related disability leave, provide written documentation from your doctor stating the length of time you will need to be away from work. If the length of time you need to be on disability leave changes for medical reasons, you will need to submit new documentation from your doctor so that your disability leave can be changed accordingly.  The doctor's letter may be attached to your letter to your supervisor, chair or dean, or, to maintain confidentiality, it may be sent directly to "HR Disability" in the Office of Human Resources.  Allow for sufficient time between your written request(s) and the date you would like to begin your leave so that your department and/or school can plan for your absence and receive authorization from the Provost.
  • Provide written notice of your intention to take a child care leave to your department chair or dean.  Make sure to include an anticipated return date in your written notice of leave. Allow for sufficient time between your written request(s) and the date you would like to begin your leave so that your department and/or school can plan for your absence and receive authorization from the Provost. 

Things to Think About

  • Paid medical leave and child care leave generally do not exceed one year; however in certain circumstances  a leave may be extended.
  • If eligible, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will run concurrently with paid medical leave and child care leave.  
  • Child care leave is applicable to both fathers and mothers.
  • If you are on tenure track, the period of your leave may change your "up or out" date.
  • If you are tenured, the period of your leave does not count toward establishing your eligibility for a sabbatical.
  • Contact HR Benefits to discuss how you can retain your benefits while on leave.
For Officers of Instruction at Morningside Considering Parental Workload Relief

Things to think about

  • Parental workload relief is applicable to both mothers and fathers.
  • Your benefits will continue while on parental workload relief.
  • Workload relief will stop the tenure clock for one year for faculty on tenure track, therefore your “up or out” date will change.
  • If you are tenured, the period of your leave may affect your eligibility for a sabbatical.      

Three workload relief options

  • One term at full salary (no teaching):  You will be excused from all teaching and administrative committee work for one term, but you will be expected to be available for consultation with students, and to continue with your research.
  • One year at half salary (no teaching):  You will be excused from all teaching and administrative committee work for one year, but you will be expected to be available for consultation with students, and to continue with your research.
  • One year at full salary (reduced course load): You will teach half your usual course load each term, and make yourself available for half of your normal administrative assignments, as well as continuing to meet with students and conduct research.
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Officers of the Libraries

These policies, available to full-time librarians, provide a broad range of leave options for those who are responsible for the care of a newborn child or a newly adopted child. These policies have been designed to provide individuals with flexibility and time so that they may care for their families and still pursue their careers. Please note that the content on this website provides a brief summary of the policies. For complete information, please review the memo on the parental leave options for officers of the libraries.

This is a paid medical leave for any part of the pregnancy and postpartum period that your doctor certifies you are medically unable to work (typically 6-8 weeks postpartum, but can be up to six months.). The first 12 weeks of any pregnancy-related disability or parental leave in a rolling year are counted toward the 12 weeks of leave you may be entitled to under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Effective: January 1, 2018. New York State’s Paid Family Leave Law (PFL) provides up to 8 weeks of family leave benefits to eligible employees through a small employee payroll deduction. 

You can take job-protected paid family leave: 

  • To bond with a child during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child; 
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition; or 
  • For qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s covered active duty in the military. 

Leave may be taken intermittently, in full-day increments. For birth mothers, this leave goes into effect after Maternity Disability Leave.

Payment: In 2018 leave is paid at 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage or 50% of the state average weekly wage, whichever is less.

Additional Details: Eligible employees may take up to the maximum leave duration in any given 52 consecutive week period. The maximum benefit is 8 weeks during the first year (2018), 10 weeks during the second and third years (2019 and 2020), and 12 weeks in the fourth (2021) and subsequent years. The 52-week clock starts on the first day the employee takes PFL.

Please refer to the full policy text for complete information about PFL. You can also reach out to the Office of Leave Managementfor more details

This is a policy under which all eligible University faculty and staff (must work more than 80 hours in a fiscal year: July 1 – June 30)who work in New York City may accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time per fiscal year, which can be used for illness or preventive care of one's self or one's family members (including an employee’s child).

This is for full-time officers of the libraries who have vested pension benefits with the University, and are primarily responsible for the care of a newborn child or a newly adopted infant of one year or less. There are several workload relief options available. For complete information, please review the memo on the parental leave options for officers of the libraries.

This leave can be paid or unpaid, is available to Officers of the Libraries when:

  • You have a baby
  • Your spouse or same-sex domestic partner has a baby
  • You adopt a child
  • You become a foster parent to a child

FMLA is an unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks during a rolling 12-month period for the following reasons:

  • The birth or adoption of a child, or the foster care placement of a child.
  • To care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.

If eligible, FMLA will run concurrently with NYS PFL, paid medical leave, and parental care leave.

Preparing for a Leave of Absence

  • For pregnancy-related disability leave, provide written documentation from your doctor stating the length of time you will need to be away from work. If the length of time you need to be on disability leave changes for medical reasons, you will need to submit new documentation from your doctor so that your disability leave can be changed accordingly.  The doctor's letter may be attached to your letter to your supervisor, chair or dean, or, to maintain confidentiality, it may be sent directly to "HR Disability" in the Office of Human Resources.  Allow for sufficient time between your written request(s) and the date you would like to begin your leave so that your department and/or school can plan for your absence and receive authorization from the Provost.
  • Provide written notice of your intention to take a child care leave to your department chair or dean.  Make sure to include an anticipated return date in your written notice of leave. Allow for sufficient time between your written request(s) and the date you would like to begin your leave so that your department and/or school can plan for your absence and receive authorization from the Provost. 

Things to Think About

  • Paid medical leave and child care leave generally do not exceed one year; however in certain circumstances  a leave may be extended.
  • If eligible, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will run concurrently with paid medical leave and child care leave.  
  • Child care leave is applicable to both fathers and mothers.
  • If you are on tenure track, the period of your leave may change your "up or out" date.
  • If you are tenured, the period of your leave does not count toward establishing your eligibility for a sabbatical.
  • Contact HR Benefits to discuss how you can retain your benefits while on leave.
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Officers of Research

These policies are for Officers of Research, as well as, postdoctoral research scientists and scholars, and postdoctoral clinical fellows who are salaried with a full time “assistant in clinical” appointment.

These policies recognize the special needs of researchers who must balance professional and parental obligations, and reflect the belief that the University, as well as the individual, benefits from arrangements that help researchers pursue their academic careers while raising a family. Please note that the content on this website provides a brief summary of the policies. For complete information please consult the Faculty Handbook.

This is a paid medical leave for any part of the pregnancy and postpartum period that your doctor certifies you are medically unable to work (typically 6-8 weeks postpartum, but can be up to six months.). The first 12 weeks of any pregnancy-related disability or parental leave in a rolling year are counted toward the 12 weeks of leave you may be entitled to under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Effective: January 1, 2018. New York State’s Paid Family Leave Law (PFL) provides up to 8 weeks of family leave benefits to eligible employees through a small employee payroll deduction. 

You can take job-protected paid family leave: 

  • To bond with a child during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child; 
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition; or 
  • For qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s covered active duty in the military. 

Leave may be taken intermittently, in full-day increments. For birth mothers, this leave goes into effect after Maternity Disability Leave.

Payment: In 2018 leave is paid at 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage or 50% of the state average weekly wage, whichever is less.

Additional Details: Eligible employees may take up to the maximum leave duration in any given 52 consecutive week period. The maximum benefit is 8 weeks during the first year (2018), 10 weeks during the second and third years (2019 and 2020), and 12 weeks in the fourth (2021) and subsequent years. The 52-week clock starts on the first day the employee takes PFL.

Please refer to the full policy text for complete information about PFL. You can also reach out to the Office of Leave Management for more details

This is a policy under which all eligible University faculty and staff (must work more than 80 hours in a fiscal year: July 1 – June 30)who work in New York City may accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time per fiscal year, which can be used for illness or preventive care of one's self or one's family members (including an employee’s child).

This leave can be paid or unpaid, is available to Officers of Research when:

  • You have a baby
  • Your spouse or same-sex domestic partner has a baby
  • You adopt a child
  • You become a foster parent to a child

FMLA is an unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks during a rolling 12-month period for the following reasons:

  • The birth or adoption of a child, or the foster care placement of a child.
  • To care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.

If eligible, FMLA will run concurrently with NYS PFL, paid medical leave, and parental care leave.

Preparing for a Leave of Absence

  • For pregnancy-related disability leave, provide written documentation from your doctor stating the length of time you will need to be away from work. If the length of time you need to be on disability leave changes for medical reasons, you will need to submit new documentation from your doctor so that your disability leave can be changed accordingly.  The doctor's letter may be attached to your letter to your supervisor, chair or dean, or, to maintain confidentiality, it may be sent directly to "HR Disability" in the Office of Human Resources.  Allow for sufficient time between your written request(s) and the date you would like to begin your leave so that your department and/or school can plan for your absence and receive authorization from the Provost.
  • Provide written notice of your intention to take a child care leave to your department chair or dean.  Make sure to include an anticipated return date in your written notice of leave. Allow for sufficient time between your written request(s) and the date you would like to begin your leave so that your department and/or school can plan for your absence and receive authorization from the Provost. 

Things to Think About

  • Paid medical leave and child care leave generally do not exceed one year; however in certain circumstances  a leave may be extended.
  • If eligible, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will run concurrently with paid medical leave and child care leave.  
  • Child care leave is applicable to both fathers and mothers.
  • If you are on tenure track, the period of your leave may change your "up or out" date.
  • If you are tenured, the period of your leave does not count toward establishing your eligibility for a sabbatical.
  • Contact HR Benefits to discuss how you can retain your benefits while on leave.
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Union Employees

 

Employees who are represented by collective bargaining agreements can find information on parental policies within specific union contracts. Please visit the Union Contracts section of the Human Resources website for detailed information.

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Graduate Students

Birth mothers are entitled to approximately 6-8 weeks maternity disability leave with no loss of benefits. Additionally, doctoral students who become parents may have access to a suspension of responsibilities accommodation period and/or extension of time to degree completion. Check with each school for their policies.

For additional information about policies, programs, and benefits for students who are new parents please refer to the New Parents' Guide for Students