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Leave of Absence

Any regularly appointed teacher may apply for a leave of absence. Leaves of absence with partial pay include military leaves and sabbatical leaves for study and for restoration of health. Other pedagogues may also apply for certain sabbaticals.

There are also leaves of absence without pay available for those who meet specific criteria and require time for the adjustment of personal affairs. You can apply for a leave for a situation requiring your full-time attention, such as taking care of a sick family member or for child care.

Types of leaves

  • Paid parental leave was secured by the UFT in June 2018 after months of intense negotiations with the Department of Education. The policy provides UFT-represented employees with six weeks of time off at full salary for maternity, paternity, adoption and foster care leave. For more information on this benefit and for answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Paid Parental Leave section.
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Regularly appointed employees and regular substitutes, if eligible, may apply for a leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FLMA). The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for your own illness or for maternity leave. All other FMLA leaves are unpaid, such as care of a child under age 1, adoption, the start of foster care, caring for an ill family member or treating a serious personal health condition. You are eligible if you have worked for a total of at least 12 months as of the date the leave commences (the months need not be consecutive) or for 1,250 hours (equivalent to one school year under DOE regulations) over the previous 12 months. The leave can be intermittent or involve reducing your work schedule, such as if you need to go for medical treatments. There is a specialist in each UFT borough office who can answer your questions regarding FMLA leaves. Per the 2023 contract, the DOE will now provide guidance on how staff may apply for a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) intermittent leave at the school-level and submit medical documentation in a confidential manner. This change reflects the needs of employees who need to take off regular, but not continuous, time to receive fertility treatments.
  • Leave of absence without pay for restoration of health: Medical circumstances could lead you to apply for a “leave of absence without pay for restoration of health.” Maternity leave is considered a restoration of health leave, however, this type of leave also may be used for treatment of and recuperation from a serious illness. In the case of a serious illness, you can apply for a leave without pay for restoration of health by logging into the DOE's Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS). SOLAS will allow you to use your CAR days until your CAR is exhausted. SOLAS will also give you the option of borrowing days and a grace period if applicable. If your application for a medical leave is denied, medical arbitration may be appropriate. Please call your UFT borough office for assistance.
  • Child care leave: Child care leave may be used by either parent but not both. This leave normally begins six weeks after the birth of the baby (but may begin eight weeks after for C-section births) and can last up to four years from the September term following the baby’s birthday. A child care leave for an adoptive parent ends at the same time.

There are other additional leaves without pay that an appointed pedagogue may be granted, such as for teaching at CUNY or SUNY, service in the Peace Corps, or acceptance of a supervisory or teaching position in a foreign country. Please call your UFT borough office to discuss other types of leaves.

For more information about leaves of absence and how to apply for them, visit the Leaves of Absence section »

Read the contract article on leaves of absence »

Also see Cumulative Absence Reserve, Health Benefits, Medical Arbitration, Sabbaticals.