Section 3.6 Employee Benefits

The specific benefits available to UMaine Extension employees are listed in each collective bargaining agreement. Publications available from UMS Human Resources benefits’ office describe each benefit program in great detail. The staff in the UMS Employee Benefits center are available to answer all questions and to process Family Medical Leave requests. They can be reached Toll Free at 866.269.9635 or 207.973.3373. You may also contact them via email at or locate them on the web at the UMS Employee Benefits Center.


Most faculty members hired before 1985, or those transferring to Extension with federal retirement benefits from other institutions, are covered under one of two federal retirement plans.

The University retirement plans are described in the material available from the benefits office as well as the collective bargaining agreements. The federal program is explained in brochures from the U.S. government. Inquiries about these programs should be made to the Extension payroll office.

Annual and Disability Leave

University leave policies are described in the collective bargaining agreements. Faculty and professional staff members should maintain their attendance record. Once a month, all faculty and professional staff report their sick and vacation on MaineStreet.

Hourly staff report their vacation and disability leave on to MaineStreet biweekly. A summary of the each staff member’s leave balances are available via MaineStreet. If you have any difficulty locating that information contact Renae Byard.

Sabbatical Leave (Faculty and Professionals)

General Considerations

  1. Extension will support at least two sabbaticals each fiscal year if the requests meet the minimum criteria for consideration and appropriate general considerations.
  2. Decisions on sabbatical leave requests will be made once a year.
  3. Requests are due and should be sent to the program administrator’s office in Orono in late January. The exact due date will be announced via e-mail to the faculty and professional logins. Staff with requests submitted by the deadline will be notified of Extension’s recommendation to the president within 30 days. Usually, sabbatical requests should be submitted for consideration no later than six months prior to the requested leave. Sabbatical applications should be sent to the office of the program administrator.
  4. Travel allowance is not available but could be funded through grants or gifts.
  5. Flexible staff development funds (when available) may be used to support sabbatical plans.
  6. Replacement staff are not available. Funding is not available to replace staff who are funded through grants, earmarked fund, etc. and it is for that reason that not all soft-money staff are able to avail themselves of a sabbatical given the expectations of the grantor.
  7. Diversity of staff making sabbatical requests will be a factor in decisions.
  8. If the quality of proposals is approximately equal, then priority will be given to first-time requests.

Minimum Criteria

  1. Faculty (except unit members in the rank of professor) or professionals with six completed years of University of Maine experience are eligible to apply.
  2. Proposed sabbaticals must reflect alignment with Extension’s mission, goals, values, and current or projected major issues.
  3. Proposed sabbatical must be part of a comprehensive professional development plan.
  4. Proposed sabbatical must fit or reflect individual and/or unit Plan of Work.
  5. There must be expressed support from appropriate faculty unit or program unit and, as appropriate, county executive committee.
  6. In multi-county clusters, all executive committees and staff need to be consulted prior to sabbatical approval.
  7. When a person’s colleagues, beyond his/her unit, are expected to provide support during a sabbatical, this support should be enlisted only after those expected to provide support have received approval from program administrator and county executive committee as appropriate.
  8. The majority of the program support (coverage) for a person’s program when on sabbatical must come from within the unit or county cluster.
  9. Proposed sabbatical must be focused enough to be integrated effectively into program efforts upon return.

The AFUM and UMPSA contracts have specific requirements governing sabbatical leaves.

Noteworthy Sabbatical Article from the Journal of Extension: Leave Home! International Sabbaticals as Unfreezing Experiences.

Also see Sabbatical Guidelines and Guidelines for Preparing for a Sabbatical on Plugged In for complete descriptions of sabbatical policies and procedures.