Benefits FAQs

I'm expecting. Does the College have a maternity policy?

For medical absences of more than two weeks, Swarthmore offers an additional program to supplement its sick leave program. Benefit eligible employees (.5 FTE status or greater) use their regular accrued sick leave for the first ten days (or two weeks) of an extended absence; thereafter they may use Swarthmore's Salary Continuation Program (SCP) benefits, as described below.

To be eligible for SCP, your healthcare provider must certify you are unable to perform the regular duties of your job or alternate duties for which you are qualified.

SCP coverage amounts are determined by length of service when your qualifying medical condition begins:

Length of service SCP coverage
Less than 12 months Accrued sick leave only
12 months, but less than 48 months Weeks 1-2: Accrued sick leave
Weeks 3-13: 75% of base pay
Weeks 14-26: 60% of base pay
48 months or more Weeks 1-2: Accrued sick leave pay
Weeks 3-13: 100% of base
Weeks 14-26: 60% of base pay

Please note that SCP coverage amounts can be increased from 60% and 75% to complete 100% coverage by using accrued sick and vacation leave.

Applying for SCP coverage

If you expect an absence will last more than one week, please make sure your supervisor knows, so that he or she can notify Human Resources. Human Resources will send you information and forms that you and your healthcare provider will need to complete as soon as possible to avoid loss of pay if you are eligible for SCP benefits. For more details, contact the Human Resources Office.

If your claim is approved, you will receive SCP benefits as a continuation of your salary, for up to 24 weeks of total absence, provided you remain medically unable to work. Swarthmore's Long-Term Disability (LTD) Program benefits and conditions prevail after 24 weeks. Swarthmore requires intermittent updates certifying your continuing inability to work from your health care provider and may request an independent medical evaluation to verify diagnosis and treatment. If your claim is denied and you wish to appeal, contact Human Resources immediately.

Typically SCP lasts for 8 weeks for maternity and once you are cleared by your physician to return to work you are then eligible for parental leave. SCP runs concurrently with time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Parental Leave

Parental leave grants new parents one month of paid time off for the care of a newborn or adopted child. Benefits eligible employees (.5 FTE status or greater) become eligible for parental leave on the first day of the month upon or following the completion of one year of service. You must complete this service requirement prior to the child's delivery date or the date the child is placed with you.

Parental leave must be used within six months following the date of birth or placement. Employees may use parental leave as either one continuous month's absence or may opt to take the leave intermittently in four one week increments. Parental leave benefits are in addition to any benefits you may be entitled to under the College's Salary Continuation Program and run concurrently with time off under FMLA.

Your leave schedule should be approved at least 30 days in advance by your supervisor. If the date of birth or placement does not allow 30 days notice, you must provide as much notice as practicable. You will need to complete a Parental Leave Request form, available from Human Resources and provide a copy of the birth certificate or adoption papers, naming you as the mother or father.

If you do not return to work in a benefits eligible position at the College for at least six months following your parental leave, you must reimburse the College for the salary paid as parental leave benefit. You may be granted parental leave benefits only once in any 12 month period.

My wife is expecting. Do I as a father receive any time off when my child is born?

Parental leave grants new parents one month of paid time off for the care of a newborn or adopted child. Benefits eligible employees (.5 FTE status or greater) become eligible for parental leave on the first day of the month upon or following the completion of one year of service. You must complete this service requirement prior to the child's delivery date or the date the child is placed with you.

Parental leave must be used within six months following the date of birth or placement. Employees may use parental leave as either one continuous month's absence or may opt to take the leave intermittently in four one week increments. Parental leave benefits are in addition to any benefits you may be entitled to under the College's Salary Continuation Program and run concurrently with time off under FMLA.

Your leave schedule should be approved at least 30 days in advance by your supervisor. If the date of birth or placement does not allow 30 days notice, you must provide as much notice as practicable. You will need to complete a Parental Leave Request form, available from Human Resources and provide a copy of the birth certificate or adoption papers, naming you as the mother or father.

If you do not return to work in a benefits eligible position at the College for at least six months following your parental leave, you must reimburse the College for the salary paid as parental leave benefit. You may be granted parental leave benefits only once in any 12 month period.

I am adopting a child. Am I entitled to any time off?

Parental leave grants new parents one month of paid time off for the care of a newborn or adopted child. Benefits eligible employees (.5 FTE status or greater) become eligible for parental leave on the first day of the month upon or following the completion of one year of service. You must complete this service requirement prior to the child's delivery date or the date the child is placed with you.

Parental leave must be used within six months following the date of birth or placement. Employees may use parental leave as either one continuous month's absence or may opt to take the leave intermittently in four one week increments. Parental leave benefits are in addition to any benefits you may be entitled to under the College's Salary Continuation Program and run concurrently with time off under FMLA.

Your leave schedule should be approved at least 30 days in advance by your supervisor. If the date of birth or placement does not allow 30 days notice, you must provide as much notice as practicable. You will need to complete a Parental Leave Request form, available from Human Resources and provide a copy of the birth certificate or adoption papers, naming you as the mother or father.

If you do not return to work in a benefits eligible position at the College for at least six months following your parental leave, you must reimburse the College for the salary paid as parental leave benefit. You may be granted parental leave benefits only once in any 12 month period.

I need to have surgery. Am I eligible for FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted to provide job security for individuals who need time off from work to deal with a serious illness or to care for a family member with a serious illness or to accommodate the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. FMLA protects your employment for 12 weeks of leave in any 12 month (rolling) period, measured from the time the employee uses any FMLA leave. Leave time granted under FMLA will not be used in performance actions related to attendance concerns.

In order to be covered by FMLA, a serious health condition is defined as a physical or mental illness or injury of three consecutive calendar days that requires either:

  • in patient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential care facility, or
  • continuing treatment by a health care provider

A family member, as defined by FMLA is:

  • the staff member's spouse or domestic partner
  • the staff member's parent
  • the staff member's child (biological child, adopted child, step-child, or legal ward), and less than 18 years of age, or incapable of self-care due to a mental or physical disability

To be eligible for FMLA, you must have worked for Swarthmore for at least one year and worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. You must request FMLA leave at least 30 days in advance if the reason for the leave is foreseeable. You must also provide appropriate certification of the need for such a leave.

Using FMLA Leave

Time off under FMLA may be taken as a continuous leave, as an intermittent leave, or as a reduced work schedule as long as the need to do so is appropriately documented. Each type of usage is counted toward the 12 week total. Examples include:

  • Five weeks off for an individual health condition, and seven weeks for the birth of a child, within the same 12 month period
  • a few days off every now and then, when a controlled serious health condition requires treatment
  • time off for medical appointments related to a serious health condition
  • reducing your weekly work schedule, e.g., from 40 hours to 20 because your serious health condition does not permit full duty; the non worked 20 hours would count toward the 12 week total

If a husband and wife are both employed by Swarthmore, the maximum leave for purposes of birth/adoption or care of parents is 12 weeks total for both individuals within a 12-month period.

Your department will not fill your position on a regular basis, or if it is filled, your department will make a comparable position available if you are on an approved FMLA leave (12 weeks or less) and if you return to work by the end of the approved leave.

A comparable position is defined as:

  • the same rate of pay
  • the same pay grade
  • the same or a similar position classification and title for which you are qualified
  • 30 hours or more if you were full time
  • less than 30 hours if you were part time
  • same shift (day, evening, or night)

Supervisors can modify your specific duties or assignments and can change actual work schedules, including days worked to meet the operating needs of the department.

If you are granted an FMLA leave for your own or a family member's serious health condition, you must use all your accrued sick, holiday, and vacation time in that order at a rate equal to your regular weekly schedule before going onto unpaid status.

If you are granted an FMLA leave for the birth or adoption of a well child, you must use all your accrued holiday and vacation time, and the parental leave benefit, if you're eligible, before going onto unpaid status. You may not use sick time for the care of a well child.

If you are on an approved FMLA leave, Swarthmore will continue to cover its portion of your health care costs during the period of leave, up to 12 weeks total in any 12 month period. You will continue to be responsible for paying your portion of the premium cost, which is deducted from your paycheck automatically while you are being paid accrued leave. But if any part of your FMLA leave will be unpaid, you will need to make arrangements with the Benefits Office to pay for your premium charges.

If you cannot return and are not eligible for additional leave, your employment will end on the last day of your approved FMLA leave.

What is the College's policy on Jury Duty?

Swarthmore recognizes your civic responsibility to serve on a jury or testify as a witness in a case related to your employment at Swarthmore. In such instances, the College ensures you are compensated while you are away from work.

You will receive your regular Swarthmore paycheck while on approved jury duty. Checks received from the court for jury service should be endorsed to Swarthmore and turned in to the Payroll Office. If you are paid for jury duty on a scheduled day off, you are not required to turn that money in to Swarthmore.

Several counties have begun Juror Donation Programs. These programs offer jurors the opportunity to donate their jury duty service and tavel compensation to a charitable organization. If you are offered this option by the clerk of the court, please inform the clerk that you work for a non-profit organization and that the donation is not an option for you or your employer.

If you are called as a juror or witness, you should let your supervisor know immediately. In some cases it may be possible to request the court to reschedule jury service if it creates a severe operating burden on your department. If you are testifying in a court case unrelated to Swarthmore, you may be given time off from work but you will not be compensated for the missed time unless you use accrued vacation or holiday time.

If your jury obligation is less than three hours in a day, you should report for the rest of your work shift. If you work the night shift and are scheduled to report for jury duty the next morning, you will be excused from, and paid for, that shift. If you spend more than three hours in jury duty, you will be excused from your next shift if the shift occurs within 24 hours.

Does the College offer Bereavement Leave?

Swarthmore provides paid leave to attend the funeral of family members. For your immediate family (spouse or domestic partner, child, parent, sister, brother, grandparent, grandchild) you may take up to five consecutive working days. One day of paid leave is provided for other close relatives (step-parent, step-sibling, mother in law, father in law, son in law, daughter in law, sister in law, brother in law, aunt, uncle, niece, and nephew).

You may be asked to provide certification of the death, such as a death certificate or a published death notice, before funeral leave pay will be authorized.

I am planning on retiring from the College. Whom should I contact?

There is no mandatory staff retirement age though normal retirement age is 65. The College offers early retirement to individuals that are 60 years old and have 10 years of service with the institution. As you consider the decision to retire, you should contact Human Resources to discuss benefits related issues regarding your 403(b) pension plan and healthcare. Don't wait until your last few weeks of active work, since some retirement programs take time to set in motion.

As part of your final paycheck upon retirement, you will be paid for any accrued vacation and holiday time.