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Faculty Rights Tip of the Week: Varieties of Leave, Paid and Unpaid

We begin the Spring 2021 Term in the midst of a pandemic. In California, where we live and teach, COVID-19 infection rates remain astronomical, and women and single parents are the workers being most profoundly harmed by the CSU’s failure, thus far, to extend paid leave to its employees at a time when schools and childcare facilities remain closed across much of the state.

While CFA continues to advocate for a more compassionate and gender equitable response to this crisis from CSU management, it’s important to know that our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) does offer options for those faculty who must take leave for a variety of reasons, but wish to retain their employment with the CSU. 

Article 22 in the CBA pertains to leaves of absence without pay; Article 23 details our rights with regard to leaves of absence with pay (such as bereavement leave and parental leave); and, Article 24 outlines our rights with regard to taking sick leave. During these difficult times of pandemic-induced loss and changes in our working lives at home, it may be useful to review each of these articles to see if your situation applies to the hard won rights therein.

Faculty members with seriously ill parents, children, spouses, or domestic partners have the right to take a leave of absence of up to 12 weeks to care for their eligible family member. The faculty member may use sick leave to cover the leave of absence (with the agreement of the administration) or take the leave of absence unpaid. To be eligible for family leave, a faculty member must have been employed for at least 12 months, two semesters, or three quarters.  Faculty members without enough sick leave credits may be eligible for catastrophic leave donations. During the period of family leave, the CSU shall continue to pay its share of medical benefits for the affected faculty member upon the request of the faculty member. Faculty members who have advance knowledge of a need to use family leave should notify the CSU at least 14 days in advance of the leave, but in cases of emergency, family members only need to notify the CSU within the first five days of the required leave.  If 12 weeks of leave is not enough time to meet your needs, please work with the appropriate human resources personnel on your campus to extend it and consult with your faculty rights representative

A personal leave of absence without pay may be for purposes of unpaid sick leave, outside employment, parental, family care leave, or other purposes of a personal nature.  Faculty unit employees on a personal leave without pay shall not accrue service credit toward sabbatical eligibility, difference in pay eligibility, service salary increase eligibility, or seniority (with two exceptions outlined in Articles 22.22 and 22.23).

You can still join CFA in making the demand for continued COVID-19 leave here and by writing to Chancellor Joseph I. Castro here: jcastro@calstate.edu to tell him it is urgent that the CSU again offer a paid leave program related to the coronavirus crisis.

Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.