(Last revision:  December 2015)

Modified duties is an option for faculty members who experience life events that decrease their ability to meet their teaching obligation for a particular term.  Such events might include:

  • becoming a parent (e.g., birth or adoption),
  • personal illness, or
  • co-equal caregiving responsibility for an immediate family member or parent.

This policy is designed to permit the faculty member a period of adjustment to these life issues without a reduction in salary or benefits.  A tenure-track faculty member may also wish to discuss with their chair/director whether a tenure clock exclusion should also be requested (see tenure clock exclusion section).

Modified duties provides relief from direct teaching responsibilities for one academic term per event.  For birth mothers, a second term of modified duties may be granted upon request. The faculty member is expected to be in residence, fulfill his/her other responsibilities, and maintain research activity.  The faculty member cannot be employed by another institution during the period of modified duties and is expected to return to teach for one year following the period of modified duties.


Modified duties are available to a member of the faculty (tenure-track or tenured) who experiences a life event as described previously.  A period of modified duties:  

  • is available immediately upon employment at the University.
  • must be taken within 12 months of the life event.  
  • is not affected by a faculty member's use of sick leave.
  • is automatically granted for each childbirth or adoption (please follow standard procedure outlined below).  Other events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • may be granted to both parents who meet these eligibility criteria:
    • employed at the University in a rank eligible for this benefit,
    • have co-equal care-giving responsibilities for the child.


A faculty member who wishes to take a period of modified duties should submit a request through the Faculty Life Cycle Portal.


The College will provide the faculty member's LSA academic unit with appropriate funds to replace teaching that may be lost through the granting of a term of modified duties.

Additional links:

See SPG 201.93, "Modified Duties for New Parents” for a related University policy (http://spg.umich.edu/pdf/201.93.pdf).  The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without loss of benefits coverage (also see http://www.umich.edu/~urecord/9293/Aug16_93/8.htm for more information).  The Sick Leave Plan for Academic Appointments may be found at http://spg.umich.edu/pdf/201.11-1.pdf.

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