Graduate Employee Family and Medical Leave

When a graduate employee (GE) will be absent for a period of greater than five consecutive working days (one week), they may be entitled to the family and medical leave as described in article 29, section 7 of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA). 

Eligibility

To be eligible for family and medical leave, you must have been employed by the University of Oregon in a GE position for at least one term preceding the term in which you are requesting leave.  
Graduate employees are not eligible for the Federal Medical Leave Act or the Oregon Family Leave Act.

Qualifying Events

If eligible, you are entitle to a total of twelve work weeks unpaid leave during any twelve-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Birth of a child and in order to care for such child (paid parental leave available).
  2. Placement of child with GE for adoption or foster care (paid parental leave available).
  3. To care for a spouse (or equivalent in accordance with Oregon state law), partner, child, or parent of the GE when a serious health condition exists.
  4. Your own serious health condition that makes you unable to perform your GE duties.

Paid Parental Leave (Appendix I of current CBA)

A Letter of Agreement in the current CBA provides terms for paid parental leave under a pilot program, which expires when the current contract ends. The terms include:

  • GEs have the right to Paid Parental Leave once every academic year for:
    •  The birth of a child and in order to care for such child; or 
    •  The placement of a child for adoption or foster care.
  • Accrued paid leave must be used during the first six weeks of leave.
    • If the GE does not have sufficient accrued paid leave to cover six weeks with full pay, the university will provide the GE with the necessary amount of paid parental leave to allow the GE to receive a total of six calendar weeks paid parental leave.
  • If both parents are employed as GEs by the University, both parents are entitled to parental leave.

Provisions of Leave

  • Accrued sick leave must be used prior to entering unpaid status, except in the cases of parental leave. Days of paid sick leave count towards the 12 weeks of unpaid leave of Family and Medical Leave, except in the cases of parental leave (Article 29, Section 8)
  • In cases where such leave is five (5) weeks or longer in a single term, such leave may be taken in conjunction with an academic leave of absence.
  • Additional provisions including the right to shift duties and workload are described below.

Additional information regarding benefits retention, job protection, and academic leave of absence can be found in Family and Medical Leave article in the CBA.

Request Leave

  1. Provide notification to your department
    • The GE shall provide written  notice not less than thirty days prior to the date of requested leave, when possible.
    • In the case of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance, the GE must give a verbal notice within twenty-four hours of the qualifying leave event.
  2. Complete the Request for Leave Form
  3. Receive eligibility notification from Human Resources
    In the case of a serious health condition, the university may request medical verification from a healthcare provider, and the GE must provide such verification within fifteen days of the request.

Questions & Assistance

  • GE family, medical, and parental leave – Contact UO Human Resources at hrleaves@uoregon.edu
  • Academic leave, course work, and paid sick – Contact the Division of Graduate Studies at graduatestudies@uoregon.edu
  • Graduate employee benefits – Contact Glenn Morris, GTFF Benefits Administrator, at benefits@gtff.net

Article 29. Section 7. Family and Medical Leave

When a GE will be absent for a period of greater than five (5) consecutive working days (one week), they may be entitled to the Family and Medical Leave as described in this section. At the request of a GE, unpaid parental leave can be utilized before paid sick days. 

a) Eligibility
Any GE who has been an employee of the University, as a GE, for at least one term preceding the term in which the leave is requested is eligible for leave according to the terms set forth in this section.

b) Provision
The GE shall be entitled to a total of twelve (12) work weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve-month period for one or more of the following reasons: (1) the birth of a child and in order to care for such child; (2) placement of child with GE for adoption or foster care; (3) the care of a spouse (or equivalent in accordance with Oregon state law), partner, child, or parent of the GE if a serious health condition exists; (4) a serious health condition of the GE which makes the GE unable to perform their duties. In cases where such leave is five (5) weeks or longer in a single term, such leave may be taken in conjunction with an academic leave of absence. 

After exhausting sick leave (or before exhausting sick leave in the case of unpaid parental leave), a GE who takes leave for one of these reasons has the right to shift duties and workload in a manner that allows the GE to take at least two weeks off (including sick leave) over the course of the GE’s full appointment period. If a GE exercises this right, duty and workload allocation will be determined under Section 6 of this Article. The foregoing two sentences do not affect a GE’s right under Section 6 to request additional adjustments to their duties and/or workload.

c) Notice Requirement
The GE shall provide their employer with written notice not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date of requested leave, if practicable. In the case of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance, the GE must give a verbal notice to their employer within twenty-four (24) hours of taking leave. In the case of a serious health condition, the University may request medical verification from a healthcare provider and the GE must provide such verification within fifteen (15) days of the request.

d) Benefits Retention
GEs appointed at .27 FTE or less shall retain their tuition waiver and the University shall continue to pay health care premiums during the duration of the GE's leave if the GE remains enrolled and has or will have performed work representing a minimum of .14 FTE during the term in which family and medical leave is taken. Salary will be adjusted to reflect changes in FTE.
All other GEs will retain their tuition waiver and health care benefits if they have or will perform work representing a minimum of .16 FTE during the term in which family and medical leave is taken. Salary will be adjusted to reflect changes in FTE.

e) Job Protection
After returning to work after taking leave under these provisions, a GE is entitled to be restored to the position of employment held by the GE when the leave commenced, or an alternative position if the position held no longer exists. This provision will not be applicable in the case where the GE returns in a term under which they did not have an appointment or an expectation of such appointment with the University.

f) Academic Leave of Absence If a GE takes an academic leave of absence after the normal filing date for declaring on leave status, the GE shall contact the Graduate School [Division of Graduate Studies] for assistance in obtaining a complete withdrawal for the term. A GE who takes an academic leave of absence will lose their tuition waiver. A GE who takes an academic leave of absence can maintain health benefits by paying COBRA premiums