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Time Off and Leaves of Absence

Sometimes, life events require time off from work so you can take time to care for yourself or your family. Tufts provides a range of time-off and leave options for benefits-eligible employees.

The following information is an overview only. For more detailed information about time off or leaves, please see the Employee Handbook.

Sick Time

You will begin to accrue sick time right away and can start to use it after you complete your three-month trial period. The rate at which you accrue sick time depends on whether you are an exempt or non-exempt employee. You can use up to 10 days of sick time a year to care for a sick family member.

  • Non-exempt employees are provided up to 13 days of earned sick time per year. Every year on the anniversary of your date of hire, thirteen more days are added to your sick time balance.
  • Exempt employees may use up to 26 weeks of earned sick time per year. Your sick time is renewed based on a rolling calendar year, one year from the time it is used.
  • For part-time and academic-year employees, sick time is pro-rated based on the hours or months you are normally scheduled to work.

For both non-exempt and exempt employees, the maximum sick time balance you can have is 26 weeks.

Sick Time for Non-Benefits Eligible Employees

Non-benefits eligible employees working in the State of Massachusetts may accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Non-benefits eligible employees may also carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the next fiscal year. You will begin to accrue sick time right away and can start to use it after you complete your three-month trial period.

Vacation Time

In your first year of employment, you must work at least 90 days before taking any vacation time. You are allowed to take vacation time in increments of partial days, full days, or weeks.

  • Full-time, non-exempt employees earn 1.25 days of vacation time per month, for an annual total of 15 days. After completing 10 years of service, this rate increases to 1.67 days per month, for an annual total of 20 days.
  • Part-time, non-exempt employees earn prorated vacation time based on your regular work schedule.
  • Exempt employees earn 1.67 days of vacation time per month, for a total of 20 days per year. After completing 25 years of service, this rate increases to 2.08 days per month, for a total of 25 days per year.
  • Part-time, exempt employees receive prorated vacation time based on your regular work schedule.
  • Academic year and full-time regular employees accrue vacation at the above rate during the months you work.

Personal Time

All full-time staff are given two personal days each year on July 1. These days must be used before the following June 30th and do not accrue. Part-time and part-year employees receive prorated personal days.

Tufts University Job Protection

Tufts protects the position of staff on authorized leaves of absence. You are eligible for two weeks of job protection for every year of service, with a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks. The university cannot guarantee job protection if your leave of absence is longer than your job protection period.

Faculty should reach out to your school's Faculty Affairs Officer for job protection details unique to your contract, position, and school.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA allows eligible staff to take up to 12 weeks of leave for the following reasons:

  • To care for your own serious health condition.
  • For the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
  • To care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • You need time off for activities related to the active military deployment of a spouse, child, or parent.
  • For the care of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

To be eligible for this leave, you must have worked for Tufts for at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours and must have worked at a worksite within 75 miles of a Tufts worksite that employs at least 50 employees.

Medical Leave

Employees with a medical condition are eligible to take a medical leave of absence. An approved medical leave will be paid by applying your available sick time. You may also be eligible for Extended Illness Pay.  If you have questions about medical leave, please call 617-627-7000, inquire about a leave of absence online, or email leaves@tufts.edu.

Parental Leave

Tufts offers parental leave to eligible staff for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. You may take an 8-week or 12-week leave, depending on your length of service at Tufts. All paid leaves must start on the day of your child's birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

If both parents are employed by Tufts, you are allowed to take a combined parental leave totaling 8 or 12 weeks, depending on your length of university service. As with all parental leaves, both parents' leaves must start on the day of your child's birth or adoption. Parental leaves may not be staggered or broken into parts.

You may also want to review the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act.  If you have questions about parental leave, please call 617-627-7000, inquire about a leave of absence online, or email leaves@tufts.edu.

Family Leave

Employees who need to care for a family member may be able to take a leave of absence to do so. Employees must be eligible for FMLA, which allows up to a 12 week leave and can be taken continuously or intermittently. This type of leave is unpaid, however employees may choose to apply up to 10 days of sick time, or any of their available personal or vacation time.  If you have questions about familly leave, please call 617-627-7000, inquire about a leave of absence online, or email leaves@tufts.edu.

Reserve Military Duty

The university will pay the difference between your regular pay and Uniformed Services (USERRA/FMLA) pay for up to two weeks per year.  If you have questions about military leave, please call 617-627-7000, inquire about a leave of absence online, or email leaves@tufts.edu.

Military Leave

A leave of absence will be granted to faculty and staff to attend scheduled drills or training or if called to active duty with the U.S. Uniformed Services. This is in accordance with federal law, including the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and applicable state law. Advance notice of military service is required, unless military necessity prevents such notice or it is otherwise impossible or unreasonable.

Military Leave under USERRA will be unpaid, except for military reserves two weeks a year, as detailed above. For all other military leaves, you may use any available paid vacation, personal, or sick days during the absence. Your accrual of benefits, such as vacation, personal days, sick leave, or holiday benefits will stop during the leave and will start again when you return to active employment.  If you have questions about military leave or need more information about USERRA's requirements, please call 617-627-7000, inquire about a leave of absence online, or email leaves@tufts.edu.

Personal Leave

You may request a personal leave for circumstances that do not fall under other leave categories. Requests for personal leave are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved in advance by your supervisor and Human Resources and normally cannot be longer six months. If you have questions about parental leave, please call 617-627-7000, inquire about a leave of absence online, or email leaves@tufts.edu.

Domestic Violence Leave

Tufts faculty and staff may take up to 15 days of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to address issues directly related to domestic violence against you or a family member. You may request domestic violence leave through your supervisor or the Leave of Absence Specialist.

You can use this time to seek medical attention, counseling, victim services or legal assistance, secure housing, participate in the legal process, or attend child custody proceedings or address other issues directly related to abusive behavior against you or your family.

If you are concerned about your safety at work, please contact the Tufts University Police Department. You can also reach out to the Employee Assistance Program for support.  

Small Necessities Leave Act (SNLA)

The SNLA provides eligible Tufts staff with 24 hours of unpaid time off during any 12-month period to:

  • Participate in school activities directly related to the education of your son or daughter, such as parent-teacher conferences or interviewing for a new school.
  • Take your child to routine medical or dental appointments, including checkups or vaccines.
  • Take your elder relative (who is at least 60 years old and related to you by blood or marriage) to routine medical or dental appointments or appointments for other professional services related to the elder's care, such as interviewing at nursing or group homes.

You should request this time off with your supervisor at least seven days in advance, or as soon as possible. Time taken is unpaid unless you choose to apply accrued vacation, personal, or bonus days or make up the missed time with the permission of your supervisor.

To be eligible for this leave, you must have worked for Tufts for at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours and must have worked at a Tufts worksite that employs at least 50 employees.

Jury Duty

The university will pay the difference between your regular pay and jury duty pay up to thirty days in accordance with a lawful jury summons.

Who to Contact

If you are a staff member, you or your manager should contact the Leave of Absence Specialist to discuss the potential need for a leave.  You can call 617-627-7000, inquire about a leave of absence online, or email leaves@tufts.edu.

Benefits-eligible faculty are also entitled to Family and Medical Leave Act options. Paid time off is guided by individual school by-laws. For more information, please contact the Faculty Affairs contact for your school.