• SPEC Kit 315: Leave and Professional Development Benefits (December 2009)

    This SPEC Kit investigates two broad categories of benefit 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), vacation, and sick leave; and professional development leaves such as dedicated research time and sabbaticals. Other professional development topics include financial support and relief from duties for conference attendance; funding for professional association memberships; and financial and other support for college credit course work, internships, and certifications.

    By the August deadline, responses had been submitted by 73 of the 123 ARL member libraries for a response rate of 59%. The survey results indicated there is considerable variation in the leave programs at ARL member libraries. Relatively few use a Paid Time Off leave program or offer intersession leave. While there is a wide variation in leave balance and cash out policies, the total paid time off for librarians is considerable.

    There is also considerable support for research and professional development activities, though programs for supporting professional development show wide variation in design and procedures. While relatively few libraries provide a regularly scheduled percentage of assignment time off, most offer some options for time away for research and professional development activities.

    This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of policies on travel support, professional development leave and funding, sabbaticals, education, and tuition assistance and an example of an individual development award program.

    Martyniak, Cathleen, and Brian Keith. Leave and Professional Development Benefits. SPEC Kit 315. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, December 2009.