Leave to Care for Others

Leave of Absence to Care for Others in Your Family

You may need to take time off work to care for children, elderly parents, or others in your family or household. Columbia provides several types of family leaves that may be available to you, depending on your eligibility and particular needs. 

 

Types of Leave

If you are eligible, PFL provides you with job-protected, partially paid leave up to 10 weeks in 2019 (up from 8 weeks in 2018) to care for a family member with a serious health condition. PFL is available to all employees who work in New York State and satisfy the following eligibility requirements:

  • You have worked for at least 26 consecutive weeks, if regularly working 20 hours or more per week.
  • You have been working less than 20 hours per week for at least 175 days. 

For more information on eligibility and benefits, visit:

Steps to request Paid Family Leave (if eligible):

  1. Reach out to your Departmental HR contact to request PFL and determine whether you would like to use any paid time off while on leave.
     
  2. Contact Cigna at 888-842-4462, available from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday.
     
  3. Complete all necessary paperwork as requested by Cigna.
     
  4. Cigna will inform you directly regarding the approval or denial of a PFL claim.
     
  5. All PFL payments will be made to you directly by Cigna unless you choose to use any of your paid time off.
     

Note: If you are a member of the 1199 Clerical and Cafeteria Union, please contact the Benefit Fund’s Member Services to file a PFL claim.

Maritime Workers, Officers of Instruction and employees working out of state should contact the CUHR Leave Management Office.

Reminder: NYS has very specific requirements and time limits to submit documentation, so please be sure to follow all directions as instructed by Cigna.
 

If you are eligible, FMLA provides you with job-protected, unpaid leave to care for a specified family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition. This leave can be taken for up to a total of 12 weeks during any rolling 12-month period.

FMLA is available to you if you have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous rolling 12-month period. 

See the FMLA policy for more information.

Steps to request Family and Medical Leave Act (if eligible)

  1. Your Departmental HR contact will complete and provide you the FMLA WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities form.
     
  2. Complete the FMLA WH-380F and/or and submit documentation confirming the family relationship to the CUHR Leave Management Office. The employee may provide either a simple statement or other documentation, such as the child’s birth certificate or a court document. It is the employee’s choice whether to provide a simple statement or other documentation. All documentation should be submitted to the CUHR Leave Management Office.

If the leave of absence is unpaid (i.e. FMLA) or partially paid (i.e. PFL), substitution of paid time off is permitted by using vacation time, personal time and NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable.

A personal leave is an unpaid leave of absence for personal reasons that are not covered by other types of leaves offered by the University/State, or for additional time beyond the allowed time of a University permitted leave. Typical reasons include illness in the family, education, and other compelling personal needs.

Steps to Request a Personal Leave (if eligible)

  1. For other types of leave which are neither PFL nor FMLA, eligible employees may consider requesting a personal leave of absence. 
     
  2. An employee requesting Personal Leave must submit a written request to their supervisor and/or Departmental HR contact as far in advance as possible and indicate an anticipated return to work date. 

Useful Information

Officers of Administration 

You are eligible to apply for an unpaid personal leave of absence. University policy allows you to take an unpaid leave for up to six-months. This type of leave is only granted in cases not covered by any other University policy, and requires the approval of both your department head and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources. Occasionally, substitution of paid time off is permitted by using your vacation, personal, or NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable. Twelve months of employment is required before you can apply for a personal leave.

Non-Union Support Staff

You are eligible to apply for an unpaid personal leave of absence. University policy allows you to take an unpaid leave for up to six-months. This type of leave is only granted in cases not covered by any other University policy, and requires the approval of both your department head and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources. Occasionally, substitution of paid time off is permitted by using your vacation, personal, or NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable. Twelve months of employment is required before you can apply for a personal leave.

Union Support Staff

Each Union’s Collective Bargaining agreement outlines the benefits available for personal leaves. A full description can be found in your union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

If you need to take a Military related leave, please consult with your HR Departmental contact or the CUHR Leave Management office to review your available leave options as FMLA and/or PFL may be available.

Prior to returning to work, please reach out to the CUHR Leave Management Office as well as your Departmental HR contact to provide an update on your return to work.  

If you are on an approved Paid Family Leave, please contact Cigna.

Cigna
1-888-842-4462
PO Box 29221
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9221
Telephone:  (888) 842 4462
Fax: (800) 642-8553
Fax for extensions/updates: (866) 472-3221

notice

Important Notice

The Leaves of Absence section is intended only to provide information and guidance for processing leaves for Columbia University Officers, staff and union employees. The writers of the content have exercised their best efforts to ensure accuracy of the information, but accuracy is not guaranteed. If there are any discrepancies between the information on the website, verbal representations and the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or applicable University policies, the CBAs and applicable policies will always govern. The information is subject to change from time to time. The information contained on the website is intended to provide examples and does not replace the CBAs or University policies.

In addition to FMLA, other University policies and laws, if eligible, will run concurrently, including NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time.

FMLA does not supersede any University policy or collective bargaining agreement that provides greater family or medical leave rights than the rights established under FMLA. Conversely, FMLA provides that the rights established for employees under FMLA cannot be diminished by any policy or agreement.

The leave granted under FMLA generally is a lesser benefit than that available under various University policies and collective bargaining agreements. Because the University meets or exceeds FMLA requirements in many respects, this policy designates many existing types of leave as FMLA leave, so that the University leaves and the FMLA leave run concurrently.