SPEC Kit 315: Leave and Professional Development Benefits · 9
Executive Summary
This survey investigates two broad categories of ben-
efit plans currently offered to professional library staff
at ARL member libraries: leave time and support for
professional development activities. Topics include
benefits eligibility holiday and intersession leave plan
designs and accrual rates for paid time off (PTO), va-
cation, and sick leave and professional development
leaves such as dedicated research time and sabbati-
cals. Other professional development topics include
financial support and relief from duties for conference
attendance funding for professional association mem-
berships and financial and other support for college
credit course work, internships, and certifications.
The survey addresses leave benefits and profes-
sional development support in one survey primarily
because these benefits overlap and intermingle. For
example, depending on the institution, time spent
at annual conferences may be treated as vacation or
some other leave, or as part of a research time plan.
Because the benefits overlap it would be difficult to as-
sess leave plans or professional development support
practices without the comprehensive view afforded
by data from both categories.
While it is likely that the benefits within the scope
of this survey are offered to library employees beyond
librarians, they are most commonly afforded to librar-
ians. Since the variance in the extent to which these
benefits are offered to other categories of employees
might make the responses to the survey more difficult
to interpret, the focus of the survey is on librarians,
though respondents could consider other staff who
are eligible for the same benefits in developing their
The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL mem-
ber libraries in June 2009. Seventy-three libraries com-
pleted the survey by the deadline of August 4 for a
59% response rate.
Full-time Status and Benefits Eligibility
The survey began by asking how many hours per
week a librarian must work to be considered full-time
and how many to qualify for leave benefits. The most
common requirement for full-time status is 40 hours
of work per week (63 %of respondents). Seventy-seven
percent require that librarians work 37.5 or more hours
per week and 90% at least 35 hours per week to be con-
sidered a full-time employee. Only seven respondents
give full-time status to those who work fewer than 35
hours per week.
In all but six cases librarians must work at least
half of the full-time requirement to be eligible for ben-
efits. The most common requirement for benefits eli-
gibility is 20 hours of work per week (34 respondents
or 54%). Twenty-two percent require service of 30 or
more hours per week and 10 percent of those require
40 hours per week for benefits eligibility.
Hours per Week Range Mean Median
To be considered
26 40 37.9 40
To qualify for leave
1 40 22.6 20
Holiday and Intersession Leave
The survey next asked how many days of holiday leave
are awarded each year and whether there is paid leave
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