Maternity Leave & Modified Duties

Policies for maternity leave and modified duties at the Medical School have several components:

  • Sick leave due to incapacity caused by pregnancy and childbirth, including the traditional 6 weeks postpartum leave.
  • Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Modified duties for parents of newly born or adopted children.

For questions about sick leave, child care leave, modified duties, childbearing and dependent care policies, contact your department administrator or Academic Human Resources at 763-4551.

Sick Leave

The University of Michigan does not specifically have a maternity leave, but it does provide maternity benefits under the sick leave plan. Sick leave may be used for incapacity caused or contributed to by pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or childbirth.

Through the use of short-term and long-term sick leave, faculty members are eligible to be paid during the time a physician determines they should be off work. The amount of sick leave available to faculty members varies depending on their rank, their length of service with the University, and the amount of sick leave they have already used.

All regular and supplemental faculty members receive up to 3 weeks (15 days) of short-term sick leave annually at their regular salary, which may be used for incapacitation due to pregnancy or childbirth.

After faculty members have exhausted all 15 days of their short-term leave, individuals with two or more years of service at the University are entitled to use extended sick time. Years worked in a medical residency at U-M count toward faculty members' years of service.

During extended sick leave, faculty members are paid their full salaries for up to 6 months and then are paid half-salaries for an additional six months. Professors and Associate Professors on all tracks with 10 or more years of U-M service are eligible to be paid for 1 year at regular salaries and 1 additional year at half of their regular salary.

Requests for extended leave must be submitted to the department chair or relevant dean accompanied by a physician's statement. The physician's statement must provide the number of weeks that the faculty member will be unable to work due to childbirth.

Read the Standard Practice Guide entry (SPG 201.11-1) →

If You're Not Eligible for Extended Sick Leave

Faculty members who are unable to work because of disability related to pregnancy, who are not eligible for extended sick leave, and who have exhausted their 15 days of short-term sick leave have four options:

  • They can use their paid vacation time.
  • They can take an excused absence for up to 3 weeks without salary with the permission of the department chair.
  • They can use FMLA.
  • They can take a medical leave of absence without salary for up to 1 year.

Read the Standard Practice Guide entry (SPG 201.3-1) →

If there's a question of whether a faculty member is incapacitated, the department chair or dean may require a statement from a physician, or the faculty member may be required to be examined by a physician designated by the University, at the University's expense.

If the return date is unknown at the time the leave is requested, the department chair or dean should be notified, in writing, of the intended return date as soon as it's determined. A return to work letter from a physician should also be provided.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides job guarantees for employees who need time off for medical or dependent care responsibilities.

The law requires the University of Michigan and other large employers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in each 12-month period with a job guarantee for faculty and staff.

This is offset by any sick leave usage during the 12-month period. FMLA leaves may be taken due to birth, adoption or foster care placement; or the employee's serious illness; or the serious illness of an immediate family member.

The University must continue to pay its portion of group health and dental insurance coverage for faculty and staff with at least 12 months of continuous service prior to the leave.

Modified Duties

Modified duties give the eligible faculty member the opportunity to adapt his or her schedule to a new family addition for a period of time with pay.

For those faculty who are involved in direct classroom teaching modified duties includes a semester off those teaching responsibilities. Read the Standard Practice Guide entry (SPG 201.93) →

For faculty in the Medical School, this policy has been adapted, since most of our faculty have a complex schedule with responsibilities in clinical duties, research and administration, as well as teaching in the clinical context.

A Medical School faculty member who meets the criteria is entitled, upon request, to a period of modified duties without a reduction in Academic Salary and Supplement. Incentive will be determined per department.

Criteria for Modified Duties in the Medical School

A faculty member is eligible for modified duties if he or she:

  • Gives birth to a child, or becomes a parent of a newly born or adopted child (or children in the case of a multiple birth or adoption of more than one child simultaneously).
  • Takes significant and sustained care-giving responsibility for the child (or children) during the period for which modified duties are requested as a single parent or, where there are two parents, that is at least as time-consuming as the care-giving responsibility of the faculty member’s spouse or partner.


  • Faculty are eligible upon employment.
  • All faculty are eligible except those Clinical Lecturers who are in a training position (e.g. a non GME accredited fellowship or a research fellowship associated with a training grant).
    • Those Clinical Lecturers who were not eligible, but transfer to an eligible position during pregnancy or within 12 months of the date of the relevant birth or adoption, will then qualify for modified duties.
  • An eligible faculty member may take one period of modified duties for each birth or adoption that adds a child or children to his or her family. If both parents are employed in an eligible position at the University, each of them may take a period of modified duties for each birth or adoption that adds a child or children to their family if both of them meet the other eligibility criteria.
  • A period of modified duties must begin within 12 months of the date of the relevant birth or adoption.
  • Eligible faculty are entitled to take a period of modified duties with pay in consultation with their department chair or division chief.

Modified Duties Outside the Classroom

For those who are involved in direct classroom teaching, modified duties means a semester off from those teaching responsibilities, or any of the options below.

For those who do not do any direct classroom teaching, modified duties allows them to choose:

  • A 4-month period at 75 percent effort.
  • Or a 2-month period at 50 percent effort.
  • Or an equivalent benefit of modified duties arranged in consultation with the relevant dean (or designate) and the department chair or division chief.