Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

Leave of Absence

There are three types of leaves for postdoctoral scholars: paid leave (vacation, sick and holiday time), unpaid personal leave (due to family, health or professional development reasons) and maternity leave. Refer to the university policy in the Research Policy Handbook, section 3D, under RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND PRIVILEGES OF POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS AND FACULTY SPONSORS.

All leave requests must be approved in advance of the start of the leave period by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Paid Leave: All sick, vacation and holiday leave records are maintained at the department.

Unpaid Leave: In the case of unpaid leaves of absence (LOA) for professional or personal reasons (non-medical), leave arrangements must be acceptable to both the postdoc and the faculty mentor, and must not be in violation of visa regulations for international scholars. Requests may be approved for up to 90 days at a time. An unpaid leave period may not extend beyond the Scholar's current appointment or visa end date. International Scholars must have current visa status throughout the unpaid leave period. Requests for an unpaid leave that extends beyond the Scholar's appointment or visa end dates must be accompanied by a reappointment letter and, in the case of international scholars, a visa extension. All postdocs maintain their appointment affiliation with the university, privileges, and benefits eligibility while on approved unpaid leaves of absence.

Postdocs are required to maintain their benefits while on approved, unpaid LOA. Although customary, faculty mentors are not required to pay for the Stanford health insurance coverage for the Postdoc while on an approved unpaid LOA. In this instance, a Postdoc must be willing to pay the total cost of their benefits that includes the institutional and Postdoc portion while on unpaid leave. The Postdoc will be required to enter their banking information in ClearBenefits so that the total premium can be collected through a direct debit to their bank account.

If faculty mentors/PIs agree to pay the full cost of the University contribution to the postdoc’s benefits, they typically use unrestricted funds and must provide a PTA to which the premiums can be charged.

Notwithstanding the above, Faculty mentors/PIs are required to pay for life/accidental death and disability coverage for their postdocs while on an unpaid LOA.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS in J1 status must note that unpaid leaves are reviewed in light of the J1 program regulations which require pursuance of the J program objectives while the scholar is in the U.S.  If the leave request is determined to constitute a violation of the visa status, it may not be approved.  International postdocs who request an unpaid leave should do so BEFORE the start of the leave's occurrence, and immediately upon learning of the need to take a leave.  The University is required to report infractions in the scholar's SEVIS record.  Documentation to support the request may be required in order to review any leave requests.

To initiate a leave of absence request, the online Leave of Absence (LOA) form must be completed by the postdoc in AXESS(Please click HERE for step-by-step instructions to complete the online LOA form.)

Maternity Leave: As stated in the Research Policy Handbook, Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible to receive up to six weeks maternity leave with full pay to begin on the first day of disability. (Full pay will equal a combination of a supplement from the primary source of funding plus the funds from the disability carrier.) The Scholar is expected to apply for short-term disability. Disability leave may be extended on the advice of the physician if medically necessary and verified. For questions regarding maternity leave policies and to initiate a request, contact the Postdoctoral Benefits Manager.

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