The Contract Enforcement/Grievance (CEG) team has compiled answers to the questions they hear most often about major provisions in our contract. Click on any question below to view the answer. Contact CEG to ask other questions and discuss how to proceed on your issue (firstname.lastname@example.org for tenured and tenure-track faculty; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for NTTs and grad workers).
What is a sabbatical leave?
A sabbatical provides one and two semester leaves to eligible faculty members to undertake projects of academic significance to themselves and their departments or units.
Am I eligible to take a sabbatical leave?
Sabbatical eligibility is first determined by length of full-time service or proportional half-time service:
- A one-semester leave at 80 percent salary requires three years (6 semesters) of full-time service at the rank of Instructor or above.
- A one-semester leave at 100 percent salary requires six years (12 semesters) of full-time service at the rank of Instructor or above.
- A two-semester leave at 80 percent salary requires six years (12 semesters) of full-time service at the rank of Instructor or above.
- Note: For tenure-track Assistant Professors (or those in equivalent rank) only, the prior service requirement for a one-semester leave at 100 percent salary is three years (6 semesters).
Time spent in a non-competitive fellowship leave program does not accrue as eligible service. Competitive fellowship leave time does accrue as eligible service. Note that service at prior institutions may be credited—see Section 5 of Article 25.
I’m a non-tenure track (NTT) faculty member. Am I eligible for a sabbatical?
Yes, eligibility begins at the rank of Instructor, which is a rank exclusive to the non-tenure track title series. We recommend that teaching-intensive NTTs explain how their sabbatical research proposal impacts the development of their own teaching and advances pedagogy in the department, unit, and/or University.
What factors into decisions of whether sabbatical leaves are approved?
Three primary factors govern the approval process for sabbatical leaves:
- Seniority in terms of service and also time between leaves.
- If two or more applications are judged to be of equal quality, first priority is given to applicants who have not been awarded sabbatical leaves for which they have been eligible in previous years.
- The percentage of faculty that may be awarded a sabbatical leave in any one year is capped at 10%.
When do I apply for a sabbatical leave?
Notice of the program and application instructions are generally sent out to deans/directors for distribution to faculty in early Fall. The submission deadline for applications for leave during the following Fall and Spring semesters is typically set for early to mid-January.
What are the requirements for applying and taking a leave?
An application is required. Current applications (if not sent to you directly from your chair/dean) can be accessed on the website of the Office of Academic Labor Relations under “Resources”—see “Forms and Instructions.”
Note that faculty applying for a leave must also agree to:
- Not accept payment from other employment, fellowships, or grants in lieu of salary (as distinct from funds designated for expenses) that would bring total compensation above 100 percent of your Rutgers salary;
- Return to Rutgers for a period of time equivalent to the duration of the sabbatical leave;
- Submit upon return a written report of the activities undertaken and accomplished during the period of leave to your department chair or program director;
- In the event that your appointment at Rutgers University is terminated by notice of non-reappointment, relinquish your approved sabbatical leave if the approved leave falls within your terminal year;
- Repay the University all salary payments received during your sabbatical leave should you fail to return to Rutgers University for an equivalent period of time.
Are split leaves possible? For example, can you take a leave during Spring semester of one year and Spring semester of another?
Yes, and the semester between a split leave counts toward eligibility for subsequent leaves.
Is it too late to change the terms of my sabbatical request after it is approved?
If, because of unforeseen circumstances or conditions beyond your control, you wish to change the time period of an approved sabbatical leave (for example, take a leave in Spring rather than Fall), you must secure in writing the prior approval of the department chair/program director and the dean.
If, because of unforeseen circumstances or conditions beyond your control, you cannot execute the project described in your approved sabbatical application, you must secure in writing the approval of both the department chair/program director and the academic dean (or Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian) before undertaking an alternate project. Approval will be given only for an alternate project of equal or greater academic merit.
How are taxes and benefits handled during an 80% leave?
Health benefits are not impacted. Applicable federal income tax, FICA, Medicare, state income tax, and state unemployment and disability tax will be based on the sabbatical salary and any compensation earned from externally funded sources. The mandatory employee pension contributions and supplemental 403(b) plan contributions will also be based on the sabbatical salary. However, the 8 percent matching pension contribution from the employer will remain based upon the full base salary.
On what terms can my leave be denied or delayed?
Approved applications for sabbatical leaves indicate that the basic staffing needs of the program will be met in your absence and that your leave application and proposed project have been supported with respect to both your scholarly development and the development of the discipline in your department, college, or faculty.
Leaves may be delayed if you are eligible and meet the criteria for approval but cannot “readily be released” from University duties for the period of the requested sabbatical leave. In such cases, you are to be given priority consideration in the following academic year, and the extra year of eligibility is preserved toward your next sabbatical leave. All communications regarding delays and credited time should be documented in writing and approved by the dean. The agreement states: “Whenever a sabbatical leave is delayed at the written request of and for the benefit of the University, the period of such delay, up to a maximum of two semesters, shall be counted as service subsequent to the delayed sabbatical leave.”
Can I challenge a denial of a requested leave?
You may challenge a violation of the procedures related to implementation of the sabbatical leave provisions under the Article 9 grievance procedure. A denial of leave based on an assertion that basic staffing needs cannot be met if the leave is approved and/or that the project proposal is not supported by the chair or dean on the basis of scholarly development or development of the department and/or school is not grievable.