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Family Friendly Policies

faculty and students

Swarthmore College strives to create a supportive 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], on the Human Resources Website and from the Department of Labor.

Benefits for Self, Partners and Families

Carebridge: The College has contracted with Carebridge, an Employee Assistance Program, to provide support for faculty, staff and their dependents in addressing personal and family issues. Carebridge offers resources addressing childcare, eldercare, parenting, schooling, relocation, legal issues, consumer issues, retirement planning, financial planning and time management, and personal counseling.

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

Flexible benefit plan: The College offers a flexible benefit plan that provides a share of the basic health care coverage for the employee or the family, if an employee elects coverage under the College plan. The health care coverage includes medical, dental and vision insurance and different options exist depending on coverage requirements. In addition to health care coverage, the opportunity exists to establish a health care and/or dependent care spending account to reimburse certain medical and dependent expenses with federal tax-free dollars (Pennsylvania State and local taxes still apply).

Tuition benefits plan: Swarthmore College provides college tuition grants to children of eligible employees. Grants for full time employees are equivalent to up to one-half of the tuition fees (not including room and board charges) up to a cap for undergraduate work at any college, university or junior college. See the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf] or 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.

Other benefits: Swarthmore provides a comprehensive program of benefits that includes life insurance, retirement benefits, and short and long term disability plans. See the Human Resources website for more information on these benefits.

Health and Wellness

Family and medical leave: Swarthmore College complies with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Eligible employees are entitled to family and temporary medical leave on the terms and conditions stated in this policy and in Swarthmore's other leave policies. See the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf] for a more complete explanation of this legislation and related policies.

Wellness group: The Wellness Group partners with Carebridge and Independence Blue Cross to offer seminars, workshops and programs including Yoga and Pilates, massages and wellness screenings for college employees.

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.

Parenting Responsibilities

Daycare: Information about local daycare options is available from Carebridge (see Benefits section, above).

Maternity and 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. After one year of employment with Swarthmore College, all instructional staff members are eligible for one month of 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's 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.

Parenting 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.

Other Family Responsibilities

Death in the family: Swarthmore provides vie days of paid leave to attend the funeral and manage other aspects of the death of an immediate family member and two days of paid leave for the death of other close relatives.