Parental Leave

The parental leave benefits described here are available to tenured/tenure-track faculty, lecturers and senior lecturers, instructors in science laboratory with multi-year appointments, and PERA faculty with multi-year appointments*; they are in addition to those set forth in the Wellesley College Administrative Handbook.

For the purposes of this policy, a primary caretaker is defined as that person who consistently provides the majority of daily care to the newly born or newly adopted child. A faculty member who wishes to exercise the benefits of this policy as a primary caretaker must declare that she or he is the primary caretaker. In cases where both parents are Wellesley College faculty members, only one parent may be designated as the primary caretaker for the purposes of this policy. This policy depends upon, and assumes, the good faith of its participants. The College has no formal policy for secondary caretakers, but departments and the Dean are encouraged to look favorably upon the requests of secondary caretakers who wish to take leave without pay or to teach a reduced load at reduced pay, during the semester of, or the semester immediately following the birth or adoption of a child.

Leave at the Time of a Birth or Adoption

A woman who gives birth, or the primary caretaker of a newly-adopted child, shall be released from all teaching responsibility during the period immediately surrounding the birth or adoption.  This period is generally understood to be four weeks when the birth or adoption takes place during the semester, but arrangements should be flexible.  Faculty members shall also be excused from departmental and college committees during this period.  Time spent away from the College pursuant to this policy shall be paid.  Departments shall, in conjunction with the Dean, arrange to replace a faculty member who gives birth or is the primary caretaker of a newly adopted child during the semester.

Course Relief Following Birth or Adoption

Eligible full-time faculty who are primary caretakers may receive two units of course relief, without reduction of salary, following the birth or adoption of a child. (Eligible regular part-time** faculty who are primary caretakers may receive one unit.) The first unit may be taken in the semester of the birth or adoption, or in the semester immediately following. The second may be taken at the same time as the first, or in the semester immediately following the first. Faculty members who take both units in one semester shall be excused from departmental and college committees during their leave. Those who take one unit in a semester shall be expected to meet their committee responsibilities.***

Time spent on parental leave will not count as time in rank for the purpose of calculating eligibility for sabbatical leave. Though individual decisions about replacing faculty remain at the discretion of the Deans, it is presumed that the College shall replace faculty while they are on parental leave.

*Other non-tenure-track faculty members are eligible for the same parental leave benefits as administrative employees, as described in the Wellesley College Administrative Handbook.
**Regular Part-time is a tenure-track appointment for faculty who are part-time, normally half-time.
***If both parents are on the Wellesley College faculty and are interested in sharing a single parental leave, please consult directly with the Provost's Office about flexible arrangements that may be in the best interest both of the College and the faculty family.


Faculty Handbook

The professional responsibilities of the faculty are defined by our common commitment to learning in all of its various dimensions. The college expects its faculty to adhere to the highest standards of honesty and integrity as they carry out their scholarly work, as appropriate to and required by the scholarly norms of their individual disciplines.  In addition, the college expects faculty to be dedicated teachers with a significant commitment to scholarly accomplishment and to active participation in the life of the college community. Read more.


Find important deadlines for individual faculty and reappointments and promotions committees for the entire academic year online or in the Faculty Handbook.