AC17 Sabbatical Leave (Formerly HR17)
Subject Matter Expert:
Policy Steward:Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs>
POLICY'S INITIAL DATE: July 1, 1965
THIS VERSION EFFECTIVE: February 5, 2015
To provide a leave of absence with pay for purposes of intensive study or research which has as its outcome increasing the quality of the individual's future contribution to the University. A sabbatical is a privilege which may be granted to an individual who has demonstrated by publication, teaching, exhibition or performance an above average ability in scholarship, research, or other creative accomplishment.
Faculty (academic): Faculty members meeting the following conditions:
- Sabbatical proposals may be submitted in the year tenure is awarded for a sabbatical leave to commence the following year, providing they have completed the six full years of service referenced in #3 below.
- They hold the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, librarian, associate librarian, or assistant librarian.
- They have served the University for a minimum of six contract years of full-time service from date of last hire. Time spent on any type of leave of absence is not counted as full-time service. A full contract year is based on the weeks of service specified in an individual's Memorandum of Service.
- They have served the University for a minimum of seven full contract years of full-time service and hold the rank of research professor, associate research professor, or assistant research professor.
If paid with funds provided by an agency other than the University (USDA, for example), the use of restricted funds for the sabbatical must be allowed by the granting agency.
Academic administrators: A person classified as an academic administrator and holding an appointment in one of the ranks listed above is eligible for a sabbatical leave under the same conditions as described above for faculty (academic).
Exempt staff: The following exempt staff who have served the University for a minimum of six calendar years of full-time service, and who have arranged to use the sabbatical leave for graduate training, are eligible:
- Cooperative extension personnel with the title of extension educator.
- Exempt staff permanently assigned away from University Park whose positions require the attainment of advanced degrees in the judgment of the appropriate executive.
Executives and administrators: When unusual circumstances warrant, persons classified as executive or administrator who have served the University for a minimum of six calendar years of full-time service are eligible. Sabbatical leave applications from executives and administrators do not follow the channel of approval described below, but, instead, shall be reviewed by the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University, and the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer, who jointly make a recommendation to the President of the University.
The Application for Leave of Absence With Pay (Sabbatical) shall be submitted in the manner described below for different categories of sabbatical leave applicants.
The application for sabbatical leave shall be submitted with the recommendation of the department or division head or school or unit director, as appropriate, to the appropriate dean who in all cases will be the dean with major budgetary responsibility for the faculty member. A college level sabbatical leave committee shall be appointed for each college by the dean in consultation with the approved faculty organization. The sabbatical leave committee will review the application, consult as deemed appropriate, and submit its recommendation to the dean. The dean shall consider the recommendations of the department or division head or the school or unit director and the college sabbatical leave committee. The dean is also expected to weigh the fiscal and academic load considerations of the application carefully, but every effort should be made to assure that no sabbatical leave is denied to a faculty member because of the cost of maintaining the instructional responsibilities of the absent faculty member. Sabbatical applications approved by the dean shall be forwarded with appropriate documentation to the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University, who adds appropriate recommendations and forwards the sabbatical leave applications to the President of the University for final review and action.
In the case where a faculty member in an interdisciplinary unit or defense-related unit would be eligible for sabbatical leave, the Senior Vice President for Research functions as a dean in the process described above in reviewing sabbatical leave applications from faculty members associated with interdisciplinary and defense-related research programs; the institute or facility director shall function as a department head in the process.
For faculty members who are in residence in one college but tenured in another, the college of budgetary responsibility will make the sabbatical recommendation, which will include a supporting recommendation from the department or division head or the school or unit director of the faculty member's tenure locus. Sabbatical leave applications of all University College faculty must be accompanied by a recommendation from the campus chancellor to the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses. Sabbatical leave applications of all University Libraries faculty must be accompanied by a recommendation from the campus chancellor to the Dean of the University Libraries.
Academic administrators: Depending on the location of the academic administrator, the process described above shall be followed except that there will normally be no review by a department head prior to the sabbatical application being considered by the college committee, the dean or the campus chancellor.
Exempt staff: Sabbatical leave applications from eligible exempt staff as described above shall be submitted to the individual's supervisor for recommendation. The sabbatical leave application, together with the supervisor's recommendation, shall be submitted to the appropriate executive officer for review and recommendation to the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University. The Executive Vice President and Provost of the University will add appropriate recommendations and forward the sabbatical leave applications from exempt staff to the President of the University for final review and action.
Executive and administrators: Sabbatical leave applications from executives and administrators shall be reviewed by the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University, and the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer, who jointly make a recommendation to the President of the University.
As a part of the Application for Leave of Absence With Pay (Sabbatical) form provided for application for sabbatical leave, certain questions pertinent to the review and evaluation of sabbatical leave applications are included.
Final approval for sabbatical leaves will be made by the President of the University.
Applications for sabbatical leaves should be submitted to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University by the weekday coincident with or immediately preceding November 1 of each year with application decisions made by the following January 1.
A sabbatical leave shall not be granted for a period in excess of the full contract year of the individual; the contract year may be 36 weeks, 48 weeks, or a number of weeks between those two limits, or twelve months, depending on the type of appointment. While individual faculty members, in some cases, may be able to coordinate leaves of absence funded by grants or contracts with a proposed sabbatical leave, such arrangements are separate from this policy.
Three sabbatical leave options are available:
- Sabbatical leave for the full contract year at 67% salary;
- Sabbatical leave for one-half of the contract year at 100%
Sabbatical leave for a period other than a full contract year or one-half of a contract year is, typically, for one of the periods listed below. The rate of pay in such cases is proportional to the length of the sabbatical leave as follows:
Rate of Pay For Sabbatical By Percent Sabbatical Leave as % of Contract Year % of Pay During Year of Sabbatical 90% 73% 80 80 70 87 60 93
NOTE: For sabbatical leaves for periods other than those cited above, contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. See also ACG15 - covering outside compensation.
An individual who is granted a sabbatical leave and who is a member of the University insurance program may maintain membership during the sabbatical leave. If the individual is a member of a retirement plan in effect at the University, the individual is required to contribute to that plan; the amount that is contributed is based on the full salary of the individual rather than the salary received from the University during the sabbatical leave if less than full salary.
Please note: Health care contributions are determined on your annual base salary as of October 1 of each year, going into effect on January 1 of each year. A reduction in salary will not create a reduction in the health care contribution at the time your salary is reduced; the health care contribution will remain the same for the entire current year. The following year’s contribution will be based on your salary as of October 1 of the current and the new health care contribution will be effective January 1.
An individual who is on sabbatical leave and who is eligible for educational privileges will retain those privileges during the period of the sabbatical leave. Dependents of employees who are eligible for grants-in-aid will retain the eligibility during the time that the employee is on sabbatical leave.
Individuals granted sabbatical leaves are required to return for a full contract year of service following the sabbatical leave. Any person who does not return, or does not remain for the full contract year following the sabbatical leave, will be required to refund the amount of salary received from the University during the sabbatical leave. There will be no proration of the amount to be returned if the employee remains for any fraction less than the full contract year.
As stated in HR99 Background Check Process, the self-disclosure requirement to report arrests and/or convictions within 72 hours of their occurrence is still in force during sabbatical leaves. In addition, individuals on approved leaves, such as sabbaticals, of six months or longer are required to complete a Penn State Arrest and Conviction self-disclosure form before returning to work.
At the conclusion of the sabbatical leave, the recipient must submit a report of the work accomplished to the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University via the executives, administrators and academic administrators in the channel appropriate as described above. The report should indicate how the experience improved the recipient's capacity to serve the University. In general, the report is to be submitted within two months of the return from sabbatical leave.
An individual becomes eligible for a subsequent sabbatical leave under the terms and conditions specified above, provided that the minimum required contract years of full-time service has elapsed since beginning a previous sabbatical leave. (Time spent on sabbatical leave, or any unpaid leave, is not counted as a part of the required contract years of full-time service.)
March 2, 2023 - Revised language pertaining to Return to Active Service Requirement
April 3, 2021 - Removed the term "standing appointment" from "Eligibility and Conditions."
September 19, 2019 - Changed Vice President for Research to Senior Vice President for Research
October, 2010 - Application for Leave of Absence With Pay (Sabbatical) updated.
January, 2015 - Application for Leave of Absence With Pay (Sabbatical) updated.
January, 2015 – Return to Active Service section updated to include self-disclosure and self-disclosure form requirements under HR99.
July, 2018 - Untenured position titles updated per AC21.