From the Senate Office

September 16, 1997

Proposed Short-term Disability Policy for Faculty

Proposed by the 1996-97 Faculty Senate Committee on the Faculty

Adopted by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee September 3, 1997


The proposed policy concerning faculty members who experience short-term disabilities is a bit of left-over business connected to the revised maternity policy proposed by SEC and eventually adopted by the administration last Spring. The maternity policy provides that a faculty member who bears a child will not be required to teach courses during a semester in which incapacity related to the birth would interrupt her teaching for three or more weeks; she will, however, be required to perform other duties, such as advising and committee work, outside the time of actual incapacity. When this policy was first suggested, the General Counsel's office raised the concern that it might be considered discriminatory towards men, since it does potentially grant women partial relief from their duties at times when they are not actually incapacitated (i.e. during those parts of the semester when they could meet their classes if they had to). Yale, on whose maternity policy ours is closely based, has circumvented this problem by adopting a parallel policy-applicable to men and women alike-covering short-term disabilites of all kinds, and it was agreed that we would do the same. The proposed disability policy was formulated by the Senate Committee on the Faculty last Spring and approved by Debra Fickler of the General Counsel's office with minor changes.

- Sheila H. Murnaghan, Chair 1996-97

Text of the Proposed Policy

A member of the standing faculty who is incapacitated, i.e. unable to meet his or her teaching responsibilities as a result of a planned or emergency short-term disability, will be relieved of those duties, without loss of salary or benefits, during the period of incapacity, or for up to one term if the incapacity would interrupt the teaching of courses by three or more weeks of the academic term in which the interruption occurs. In such cases, the chair of the department or the dean of the school, in consultation with the Provost's Office, will make such arrangements as are necessary and appropriate with regard to covering the teaching responsibilities, including the canceling of an affected course or the employment of substitute instructors. Outside the period of incapacity, the faculty member will be expected to meet departmental and University responsibilities other than teaching, including research, committee membership, and student advising, to the extent compatible with the medical situation. Relief from teaching duties as the result of medical incapacity is not considered a leave of absence.

Faculty members whose medical condition necessitates a leave may be eligible, according to University Human Resources Policy, for Sick or Short Term Disability Leave, Medical Leave under the University's Family and Medical Leave Policy, or Long Term Disability.