Faculty Handbook: Policies Governing Faculty Service
3.14  Faculty Modified Work Assignment for Maternity / Paternity

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville seeks to provide an environment conducive to meeting the holistic needs of its faculty. As such, this policy has been developed to allow faculty to seek a modified work assignment following childbirth and/or adoption.

During the academic year, a full-time (100% appointed) faculty member, who has been employed by the university for at least one (1) year, may request a modified work assignment for a period of up to six (6) weeks’ maximum duration (up to 15 weeks under special circumstances), Modified work assignments are used in conjunction with Parental Leave and sick leave to allow parents to care for and bond with birth of a child or placement of an adoptive child in the faculty member’s home.

Faculty are reminded to report sick leave usage throughout the academic year or their employment period. The modified work assignment must be completed within the first twelve months of the time the child has joined the faculty member’s family by birth or adoption. If both parents work for the University and are requesting a modified work assignment, each parent’s request must specify how long the other parent is requesting to be on a modified work assignment.


Modified work assignments involve modification of teaching and/or service and/or research/ creative responsibilities as agreed upon between the faculty member and the department chair/head and may include performing work primarily from home. Departments have flexibility in determining how best to cover the teaching and other obligations of the faculty member on a modified work assignment. For example, the department may be able to handle the faculty member’s modified work assignment with other departmental faculty covering classes; if not, the department will need to hire instructors or assign graduate assistants to substitute or assume the teaching duties.


  1. The faculty member applies for the “modified work assignment” through their department chair/head.
  2. In the faculty member’s letter of application, the faculty member must describe the maternity-/ paternity-related circumstances giving rise to the need for a modified work assignment and propose how their work assignment is to be modified.
  3. The faculty member applies for up to four weeks of paid Parental Leave through Human Resources and submits an FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) application.
  4. The recommendation of the department chair/head goes to the dean for their review and The proposed work assignment and the dean’s recommendation, along with the specific plan for funding coverage of any duties not included in the faculty member’s modified assignment, then goes to the Provost for review and a written decision, which shall be final, and which may include changes to the proposed modified work assignment.
  5. The faculty member is asked to provide approximately four (4) months’ notice from the anticipated due date of birth or adoption.
  6. If the faculty member requires additional leave beyond the four weeks of paid Parental Leave and the modified work assignment period of 6 weeks (15 weeks under special circumstances), sick leave must be used. Further, Parental Leave is to be used for any period of time that the faculty member is excused from duties rather than undertaking modified duties.

Note: This modified work assignment policy is separate and distinct from the right of a non-tenured, tenure track faculty member to request a one-year suspension of the probationary period for tenure under Board of Trustees Policy 405.1(IV)(A)(4) and supplements rights of the faculty member under the FMLA.