Medical Family

The University of Washington has developed policies which assist faculty women and men who become parents or are needed to care for a family member. It is the goal of the University of Washington that each faculty member understands these policies and feels free to exercise them fully with no adverse effect on her or his academic career.

Please see the UW Leave Comparison Chart in the tools and forms section for a printable matrix of medical and family leaves available to faculty and academic staff.


The University has adopted a broader, more inclusive definition of family member than the definition provided by either the FMLA or FCA. The University’s definition is:

  • Family member means the employee’s spouse or same or opposite sex domestic partner; child; parent; grandparent; grandchild; sister; or brother. Family member also includes individuals in the following relationships with the employee’s spouse or domestic partner: child, parent, or grandparent. It also includes those persons in a “step” or “half” relationship.
  • A son or daughter means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a step child, a legal ward, or any other child under 18 years of age for whom the employee acts as parent.
  • Child also includes children above age 18 who are incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
  • A serious health condition means an illness, injury, or impairment, or a physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

Tenure Extension

The University recognizes that under special circumstances, such as care for new infants, faculty women and men must devote extraordinary efforts to their family responsibilities which may significantly detract from their research and academic capabilities. Even if the faculty member continues to work full time, efforts normally devoted to scholarship may necessarily be reduced by these new family responsibilities. In recognition of these family obligations, the University has developed several programs to stop temporarily the tenure clock.

When a faculty member takes a leave of absence that is 50% or more for more than six months, the year in which the leave is taken is not counted as a year toward mandatory tenure review.
In the situation where a faculty member becomes a parent but chooses to take less than six months leave, or when other family care responsibilities have interrupted the regular dedication to teaching or scholarship, she or he may request the year in which this occurs not count as a year towards the mandatory tenure review. The faculty member who wishes a year be waived on the tenure clock may apply through her or his department chair or program director and dean/chancellor to the Provost. Please contact Academic Human Resources for additional information, 206-543-5630 or email at:

Additional Resources