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Graduate Assistant Leave Administration

Introduction

Circumstances occasionally occur that prevent graduate assistants (graduate teaching assistants, TAs, and graduate research assistants, RAs) from performing the duties of their appointment. This guide is intended to provide general information and guidelines for advisors and department heads related to the administration of leaves of absence for graduate assistants.

Graduate Assistants who are continuing in their capacity as a student are eligible to request a leave of absence for the following reasons:

  • Maternity (paid)
  • Care for newborn (non-birth parent) (paid for up to 21 calendar days)
  • Adoption
  • Personal Illness/Injury
  • Family Illness/Injury (spouse, registered domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law)
  • Bereavement (spouse, registered domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law)
  • Military Leave
  • Immigration Hearings
  • Jury Duty

Human Resources will only process the leaves listed above. You must contact your department for any leave request not listed. Issues relating to the individual’s status as a student, including academic leaves of absence are governed by the Graduate Catalog. Please contact The Graduate School at (860) 486-3617 if you have an inquiry about taking a leave of absence from your graduate studies.

These procedures do not apply to Graduate Fellows. Graduate fellows should coordinate their absences with the department head or principal investigator who supervises their fellowship.

The procedures and guidelines outlined on this website are not intended to supersede the language in the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW.

UConn Campus

Short-Term Absences (3 Days or Less)

Contract Language:
Article 15, Section 1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW states, “GAs may apply for leaves of absence pursuant to this article. Each GA shall be entitled to have up to three (3) days of such leave or leaves paid per semester. The remaining portion of leaves taken to this article shall be unpaid. For GAs on a 20 hour per week appointment, each day of paid leave shall be considered equivalent to four hours of work. For GAs on appointments less than 20 hours per week, the daily hour’s equivalent for purposes of this article shall be pro-rated.”

Guidelines:

  • Graduate Assistants on a 20 hour work week appointment are entitled to up to three (3) days of paid leave each semester regardless of appointment type or funding source.
  • Each day of paid leave shall be considered equivalent to four hours of work. Each day equals four hours, therefore if a Graduate Assistant were scheduled to work eight (8) hours this would equate to two days of leave.
  • For Graduate Assistants on appointments less than 20 hours per week, the daily hour’s equivalent will be pro-rated. If a Graduate Assistant works 10 hours per week then each day is equal to two hours. If a Graduate Assistant were scheduled to work four (4) hours this would equate to two days of leave. Subsequently, if they were scheduled to work six (6) hours in one day this would equate to the total three days of paid leave.
  • Graduate Assistants must apply, or request approval, for the three days of leave. Per Section 2 of Article 15, “It is the responsibility of the GA to contact the appropriate faculty member or other supervisor in advance of the leave unless circumstances make this impossible.”
  • It is within the University’s discretion to deny a specific leave request for good business reasons with the understanding that graduate assistants are entitled to three (3) days of paid leave per semester.
  • Leaves do not carry over semester to semester. Therefore, if a Graduate Assistant holds an academic year appointment and uses fewer than three (3) days of paid leave during the Fall Semester, only three (3) days of paid leave are available during the Spring Semester.
  • It is the department’s responsibility to track the three (3) days of paid leave entitlements under the contract. There is no central administration or tracking for this provision of the contract.

Non-Parental Extended Leave of Absence (4 or More Days)

Contract Language:
Article 15, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW states, “A GA may request in writing a personal leave of absence from his or her GA appointment for reasons including, but not limited to, illness or injury, immigration hearings, pregnancy, to care for a newborn or adopted child, or to care for an immediate family member (spouse/registered domestic partner, son, daughter or parent of the GA or parent of the GA’s spouse/registered domestic partner) with a serious health condition or for bereavement with respect to such immediate family members. It is the responsibility of the GA to contact the appropriate faculty member or other supervisor in advance of the leave unless circumstances make this impossible. Up to three days of such leave per semester may be taken by the GA as a matter of right. The University may approve additional paid or unpaid leave for such reasons in its sole discretion. If the leave is for twenty-one (21) or fewer consecutive days, the GA will retain health insurance and tuition remission benefits.”

Article 15, Section 3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW states, “Upon written application to the University, a GA may request an extended leave of absence from his or her GA appointment in excess of twenty-one (21) consecutive calendar days, but in no event longer than the remainder of the current semester. The University may approve such leave in its sole discretion. If it grants such a leave, the University will determine whether the GA’s stipend, health insurance and tuition remission will be extended for the portion of the approved leave exceeding twenty-one (21) calendar days.”

Guidelines:

  • Extended absences (four or more days) from a graduate assistantship for personal or immediate family illness, injury, bereavement, or other personal reasons are approved at the sole discretion of the University.
  • Departments are not required to grant leaves to Graduate Assistants beyond three days, however departments may grant such leaves for extenuating circumstances resulting from personal or immediate family1 illness, injury, or bereavement when the leaves are expected to result in short-term, temporary absences from the workplace, and the GA can be expected to return and perform all assigned duties fully and competently. Leaves for personal reasons other than personal or immediate family1 illness, injury, or bereavement are very rare except in exceptional circumstances.
  • If a Department grants a leave of absence beyond three days, the department is not required to pay the Graduate Assistant while on such a leave.
  • Any leave up to 21 days approved by a department will include continuation of benefits and tuition remission.
  • Leaves up to 21 days are at the discretion of the Department Head following consultation with the Department of Human Resources.
  • To request an extended leave of absence, the graduate assistant completes the Request for Leave of Absence from Graduate Assistantship Form and submits to Human Resources. If the reason for the request is for personal or immediate family1 illness or injury the Graduate Assistant Medical Certification Form must also be completed by the graduate assistant and signed by an authorized physician. Information regarding the illness or injury is required.
  • Upon receipt, Human Resources will contact the Department Head to consult regarding the leave request. The decision regarding the request for leave and whether it should be paid or unpaid is at the sole discretion of the Department Head.
  • Human Resources will notify the graduate assistant of the decision regarding the leave request in writing and will include terms of the leave.
  • Human Resources will notify Payroll of leaves approved without pay so that the Graduate Assistant pay can be stopped.
  • Any approved leave for personal illness or injury requires that an authorized physician certify that the graduate assistant is fit to return to work. If work restrictions are identified the Leave Administrators will work with the ADA Coordinator to determine if reasonable accommodations can be met.
  • Leaves of 22 days or more are at the sole discretion of the University and require approval of the Dean of The Graduate School and will only be considered in rare and extenuating circumstances.

1 For the purposes of this section, immediate family is defined as Spouse/Registered Domestic Partner, Child, Parent, or Parent-In-Law.

Maternity Leave

Contract Language:
Article 15, Section 4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW states, “Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this article, a graduate assistant who gives birth will be granted a leave period of six (6) weeks following natural childbirth and eight (8) weeks following childbirth by caesarian section. The GA’s stipend, health insurance support and tuition waiver will be maintained during such leave (but not beyond the end of the GA’s appointment) and during medically necessary leave prior to delivery that is supported by medical certification.”

Guidelines:

  • Per the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW, Graduate Assistants are entitled to up to six (6) weeks of paid leave following natural childbirth and eight (8) weeks following childbirth by caesarian section.
  • To request a maternity leave of absence, the graduate assistant completes the Request for Leave of Absence from Graduate Assistantship Form and includes the Graduate Assistant Medical Certification Form signed by an authorized physician.
  • Upon receipt, Human Resources will notify the Department Head of the leave and tentative dates, which may be changed by actual birth date of child.
  • The Graduate Assistantship’s stipend, health insurance support and tuition waiver will be maintained during maternity leaves.
  • Any maternity leave requires that an authorized physician certify that the graduate assistant is fit to return to work. If work restrictions are identified the Leave Administrators will work with the ADA Coordinator to determine if reasonable accommodations can be met.

Non-Birth Parent or Adoption Leave

Contract Language:
Article 15, Section 4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW states, “A GA who is the non-birth parent of a newborn or adopted child will be granted a leave of (21) consecutive calendar days to care for the child. The GA’s stipend, health insurance support and tuition waiver will be maintained during such leave (but not beyond the end of the GA appointment).”

Guidelines:

  • Per the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the GEU-UAW, Graduate Assistants are entitled to up to 21 consecutive calendar days of paid leave following the birth of a child for a non-birth parent or the adoption of a child.
  • To request a non-birth parent or adoption leave of absence, the graduate assistant completes the Request for Leave of Absence from Graduate Assistantship Form and includes the Medical Certification Form signed by an authorized physician or appropriate proof of adoption.
  • Upon receipt, Human Resources will notify the Department Head of the leave and tentative dates, which may be changed by actual birth date of child.
  • The Graduate Assistantship’s stipend, health insurance support and tuition waiver will be maintained during non-birth parent or adoption leaves.

GA Leave Process – Maternity and Parental

GA Leave Process – Non Maternity and Non Parental

GA Leave Process – Return to Work