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Family Friendly Policies

faculty and students

Swarthmore College strives to create a supportive and healthy personal and professional environment for its instructional staff. The policies and resources below reflect the College's commitment to maintaining a setting within which instructional staff and their families can thrive.

All of the policies and resources noted here are described in more detail in the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf] and on the Human Resources Website.

Benefits for Self, Partners, and Families

The College offers a high quality, comprehensive benefits program that  recognizes the unique needs of our diverse community of faculty and staff by offering a range of coverage options, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, disability and life insurance, a generous retirement program, and the opportunity to establish health care and  dependent care spending accounts to reimburse certain medical and dependent expenses with federal tax-free dollars (Pennsylvania State and local taxes still apply). To learn more about the College’s benefits offerings, please see the Human Resources Website.

Domestic partners: The Domestic Partner Benefit Policy provides the domestic partner of an employee of the College all benefits afforded to spouses, at an additional cost, of instructional staff and staff members as described in the College's Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf].

Employee Assistance Programs: The College has contracted with Carebridge, an Employee Assistance Program, to provide confidential consultation and referral services for faculty, staff and their dependents in addressing personal and family issues, including but not limited to  childcare, eldercare, parenting, schooling, relocation, retirement planning, financial planning, continuing education, time management, and personal counseling. Carebridge consultants are highly trained and specialized in their area of expertise, and accessible in person or via phone. For more information on the College’s employee assistance and mental health resources, please see the Human Resources website.

Tuition Grant Program: Swarthmore College offers dependent children of full-time benefits eligible employees a tuition grant of up to 40% of Swarthmore’s tuition and fees.  Dependent children of part-time benefits eligible employees will be eligible for a tuition grant of up to 20% of Swarthmore’s tuition and fees. The grant may be applied toward tuition and fees (excluding room, board and/or books) when an eligible child is a full-time student at an accredited college, university or technical school. See the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf] or the Human Resources Website for additional information.

Housing: The College owns a number of houses and apartments which are rented, as available, to full-time members of the faculty and other members of the instructional staff. The College Home Purchase Assistance program offers tenured and tenure-track faculty, other full-time faculty with three years or more years remaining on their appointment, and regular part-time faculty the opportunity for a ten-year forgivable home purchase assistance loan of 10% of the value of the property, up to $45,000. This loan must go toward the down payment, closing costs, closing “points,” or mortgage insurance premiums associated with the purchase of a home located either within the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, or within one and one-half miles from any SEPTA Regional Rail station along the Media-Elwyn line, including Center City Philadelphia.

Through the Home Purchase Assistance program, eligible faculty now have the opportunity to receive College assistance if they choose to purchase a home within a range of locales in the thriving and dynamic greater Philadelphia area. In keeping with the College’s commitment to sustainability, the program also encourages our community members to take advantage of public transit at our doorstep. Loans are administered by our participating lenders, Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union and TIAA Financial Services, and subject to the underwriting policies of the financial institution. This loan is taxable, and 1/10th of the loan amount will be added to the employee's W-2 at each anniversary date of the loan. This program is subject to available resources.

Health and Wellness

Wellness programming: the College provides opportunities for its community members to practice self-care and feel their best. A range of free group exercise classes are offered throughout the year, and include yoga, Pilates, strength training, and more. The College also offers periodic free wellness screenings, subsidized access to nutritional programs, and regular seminars, workshops, and programs on wellness throughout the year. For more information, visit the Work Life Initiatives website.

Athletic facilities: The indoor and outdoor athletic facilities may be used by faculty and staff and their families, except when needed by the Department of Athletics. A college ID, available through Security, is required for admittance. Faculty are asked to accompany dependents to get an ID at public safety and to accompany children under 15 years of age using the facilities.

Work for Partners

Faculty and staff hiring of family members: Swarthmore College has a number of partners working on campus in both faculty and staff positions. It is normally the policy of the College to discourage the hiring of relatives within the same department. Where relatives are working in the same department, one shall not be in a supervisory relationship to the other.

Childcare Resources

Daycare: Information about local child and elder care resources can be found on the Human Resources website. The Carebridge employee assistance program can also provide guidance with finding available local child care resources. Additionally, the College’s Child Care Subsidy Grant Pilot Program allows eligible faculty and staff to apply for a taxable award of up to $3,000 for childcare related expenses. To learn more about this program, please visit the Human Resources website.

Parenting leave: Leave for pregnancy falls under medical disability benefits at Swarthmore, which provide 6-8 weeks of leave post-partum, as determined by the woman's physician. All instructional staff members who have met the service requirement outlined in the Handbook for Instructional Staff, are eligible for paid parental leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. This leave must be taken within the first six months of the birth or adoption placement and must be negotiated with the Provost's Office. In the case of an adoptive parent or new birth father, parental leave is normally taken as a one-course reduction in the teaching load. In the case of a birth mother, the one-course reduction combined with the normal 6–8 weeks medical leave normally allow for a full semester of leave. If this coincides with a sabbatical leave, the sabbatical can be postponed. Alternative arrangements that meet the needs of the individual faculty member and the department can be negotiated with the Provost.

Parental leave and tenure: A tenure-track faculty member may postpone the third-year reappointment and/or tenure review given breaks in work resulting from maternity, the birth of a child to the individual's spouse or domestic partner, or the adoption of a child under five years of age. Each occasion, even if a maternity or parental leave is not taken, allows the faculty member to postpone a review by one year; no more than two years in total may be taken before the tenure decision. One or two years of postponement do not increase expectations of achievement for the review.