CUIMC Faculty Parental Leave Policy

Effective January 1, 2018, the four schools of Columbia University Irving Medical Center (the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine and the School of Nursing) will implement a pilot program that will make available a parental leave benefit to provide up to 13 weeks of paid parental leave. Below is the policy, revised effective 04/20/21.

There are three eligibility requirements for parental leave in addition to holding an appointment in one of the four CUIMC Schools. An officer must:

  1. be a full-time officer of instruction;
  2. hold an appointment with one of the following titles:
    • professor, professor at CUMC, associate professor, associate professor at CUMC, or assistant professor, assistant professor at CUMC; instructor or instructor at CUMC, senior lecturer at CUMC, lecturer at CUMC, or associate at CUMC, assistant in clinical
  3. be primarily responsible for the care 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,” less than 18 at the time the leave begins. For the purpose of this policy, an officer is the “primary parent” if he or she is a single parent or, where there are two parents, if the other is working full-time or is enrolled as a full-time student. Faculty may employ a day-care provider and still qualify as the primary parent. When both parents work at the University, only one may be considered the primary parent at any given time.

Eligible faculty members will be entitled to parental leave for up to 13 weeks at full salary. 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. Newly hired faculty must have been employed in a full-time position for at least six months prior to beginning the leave unless agreed to by both the department and the faculty member. However, parental leave beyond the paid 13 weeks must be taken as unpaid leave according to current university policies.

While on parental leave, faculty are not permitted to accept assignments, either with or without compensation, outside the University.

The parental leave plan is designed to replace the combination of medical and/or child care leaves for individuals who meet the eligibility requirements. However, eligible faculty may still elect to take those leaves rather than ask for parental leave if they wish.

If parental leave is not preceded by other periods of leave covered by the FMLA, the first 12 weeks are deemed to meet the requirements of that Act.

Faculty should request parental leave six months in advance, whenever possible. The request and the approval by the School/Department should take into account scheduling and critical operational needs to the extent possible. In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as medical issues during pregnancy, unexpected adoption approval etc., faculty must notify their departments as soon as possible.