Graduate Associate appointments cover the entire calendar year, with no break between appointment periods. Students on Graduate Associate appointments may take time off, e.g. for vacation, but they do not receive or accrue specific number of days for vacation or sick leave. Rules regarding time off during semesters, term breaks or other times are determined by the student’s dissertation advisor or appointing unit as follows:
- For students that have not selected an advisor (e.g. first-year students doing laboratory rotations), the appointing unit is the MCDB Program and any time off must be approved by the MCDB Program.
- For students that have selected an advisor and are appointed as Graduate Research Associates, the advisor must approve all time off.
- For students that are appointed as Graduate Teaching Associates, the appointing unit is an academic department and any time off must be approved by that department.
All students must check with their advisor or appointing unit to determine when they are expected to be on duty. While vacation policies may vary from unit to unit or advisor to advisor, MCDB expects that all students will be given reasonable opportunities for time off for vacation in keeping with what is allowed for University employees.
The scheduling of any time off should be approved by the advisor or appointing unit, with the understanding that it should not unduly impact the student’s coursework, teaching responsibilities, or research progress.
Time off without notification may be grounds for termination of a student’s appointment and denial of further registration in the MCDB Program.
Travel outside the USA
All students that need to travel outside the USA, including international students that visit their home country, should inform the MCDB office prior to their trip, consult with the OSU Office of International Affairs about international travel requirements, and if possible, provide MCDB a contact number at which they can be reached in the event of an emergency.
Short-term leave (usually 1 to 3 days, not to exceed 2 weeks)
All Graduate Associates and Fellows who are in good academic standing, making reasonable progress toward their degrees, and who are paid through the OSU payroll system, are eligible to request a short-term leave of absence in the event of a difficult life situation such as a personal illness or the illness or bereavement of an immediate family member. Short-term leave is defined as 1 to 3 days, but in rare instances can be up to 2 weeks. The duration of the leave should be proportionate to the circumstances for taking the leave. Appropriate documentation regarding the reason for the short-term absence is required but may be waived in some circumstances.
An eligible student on a short-term leave of absence will receive 100% of his/her stipend and all other benefits associated with their appointment (fee authorization, health care subsidy, etc.).
Long-term leave (usually 2 to 6 weeks)
Graduate Associates who are in good academic standing, making satisfactory progress towards their degree, have been appointed as Graduate Associates for at least two consecutive semesters, and who are paid through the OSU payroll system, are eligible to apply for a long-term leave of absence in the event of a serious personal health condition or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Long-term leave is defined as more than 2 weeks but may not exceed 6 weeks. Medical documentation is required.
An eligible student on a long-term leave of absence will receive 100% of his/her stipend and all other benefits associated with their appointment (fee authorization, health care subsidy, etc.).
Graduate Associates who are on 50% appointments (which is the norm for MCDB students) are not eligible for the protections extended to workers under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Academic leave (more than 6 weeks)
If a leave of absence of more than 6 weeks is required (e.g. for a serious personal health condition, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or some other comparable difficult life situation) it may be appropriate for a student to request an academic leave of absence (e.g. a leave from both appointment duties and academic enrollment). This type of leave must be requested on a semester-by-semester basis, up to a maximum of one academic year, and requires approval from the dissertation advisor, the MCDB Program and the Graduate School. If approved, the student’s appointment and registration in the MCDB Program will be suspended temporarily and then reinstated (subject to the approval of the student’s advisor, MCDB Program and Graduate School) at the end of the semester when the student is able to rejoin the Program. Students who decide to take an academic leave of absence will be informed of any potential impact that the time off will have on their expected funding opportunities when they return and they will need to consider this information when making their decision.
Students on academic leave of absence do not receive a stipend, fee authorization or any associated benefits.
Childbirth or Adoption
Graduate Associates who are in good academic standing, making satisfactory progress towards their degree, have been appointed as Graduate Associates for at least two consecutive semesters, and who are paid through the OSU payroll system, are eligible to apply for a leave of absence with full stipend and benefits due to childbirth or adoption.
A birth mother or adoptive mother will receive 100% of her stipend and all other benefits associated with her appointment (fee authorization, health care subsidy, etc.) for up to 6 weeks or until the last day of her appointment, whichever comes first. A father or domestic partner will receive 100% of his/her stipend and benefits for up to 3 weeks or until the last day of his/her appointment, whichever comes first.
Approval of vacation and leave requests
For students that have not selected a dissertation advisor (e.g. first year students doing laboratory rotations), requests for a vacation or leave of absence should be directed to the MCDB Program office. For students that have selected an advisor, requests for vacation or short-term leave should be directed to the advisor. If the student has an advisor, they do not need to notify the MCDB Program of vacation or short-term leave requests, but they should always consult with the MCDB Program before making requests for long-term leave of absence or for leave due to childbirth or adoption. For students that are appointed as Graduate Teaching Associates, the academic department in which the student is appointed should also be consulted. It is the student’s responsibility to consult with the MCDB Program office, advisor or appointing unit to establish their eligibility for leave and to request leave.
The above leave policies may not apply to students that are supported by fellowships. Students should consult with the agency that granted their fellowship for information on the leave options available to them.
See Appendix F of the Graduate School Handbook for further guidelines and policies on time off and leaves of absence for Graduate Associates and Fellows.
Rev: June, 2020