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In India, the faculty have a provision of consecutive holidays for at-least 15 days to 3 months based on the college. After the completion of final exams of a semester/year, these holidays are given by institution to both faculty and students before the start of a new semester/year.

Almost all the colleges have such a provision. This includes universities and other academic institutions.

In top end institutes, the holidays are minimal (15 days). But, holidays are not absolute. This means that if the faculty receive intern requests then they have to guide the interns. And some private colleges have at most 3 months of consecutive holidays.

I am wondering whether US faculty have any provision of such consecutive holidays? And on average what is the range of number of holidays?

Note that the holidays in this question refer to consecutive holidays only and not to casual leaves, health leaves etc.

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  • What are "consecutive holidays"? – GoodDeeds May 12 at 14:12
  • @GoodDeeds I mean holidays, which are consecutive in nature. Uninterrupted holidays. – hanugm May 12 at 14:15
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    How does the entire faculty go on vacation at the same time?? – Azor Ahai -him- May 12 at 14:30
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    After the completion of final exams of a semester/year, these holidays are given by institution to both faculty and students before the start of a new semester/year. @AzorAhai-him- – hanugm May 12 at 14:32
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I can't really make much sense of the question, but I can explain how time off usually works in the US, though of course there are variations.

Professors aren't really typical employees. They likely technically have a set number of days they can take off and need to register them in some HR system, but usually no one is watching closely to make sure they are working on a work day (unless they don't show up for class), and even being absent from an office is not a very good sign a professor isn't working. Taking an extended vacation (a month or more) might be more noticeable, but even then, no one outside their lab is likely to even notice unless they are missing committee meetings or other responsibilities. Professors tend to be pretty self-motivated to work on their own research, and they won't be able to keep up with expectations for funding and publication if they take too much time off. Smart professors will still take some time off, though: however much they need to keep some balance in their life and remain productive during their working time.

Some days of the year are "days off" for everyone working for an employer (for employees in the entertainment/hospitality/retail sector this doesn't apply to them). These typically occur around secular or Christian holidays, and are usually just a single day or sometimes two consecutive days (for example, December 31st and January 1st). In practice, professors may work on these days anyways.

Academic calendars have some other breaks, most often a week in the spring for "spring break" and some time between semesters (often much of either December or January). However, these are mainly breaks for students, not employees. Professors could take this time off, but in practice those with teaching responsibilities often use that time to get caught up on grading and prep or focus on research.

The rest of time off is covered by "vacation days" allocated to individual employees (perhaps this is most similar to "casual leave" that you mention?). In principle these can be taken whenever an employee wants, but in practice their employer may designate days they can't be used. For someone teaching a course, it would be expected that no vacation days would be taken that conflict with being present to teach the course, except under exceptional circumstances (during which a professor would be expected to find their own substitute and communicate with their students unless they are physically incapacitated).

Some faculty under teaching contracts are only employed for 9 months of the year, during the typical fall/spring semesters, and are either not paid for the summer or have their 9-month salary prorated to give an income over the whole year. They don't have summer responsibilities directly, but this is the time they would have to devote to their own research, side projects like authoring books, and towards preparing courses for the next semester. Most will try to get these months covered by another salary source, however, and then do not have the time off.

If it was important to a professor on a 12-month contract to take a month-long vacation in some summer month, they can almost certainly do so assuming no conflicting responsibilities, but that would use up most/all of their annual leave. For an assistant professor on the tenure-track, there might be strong personal pressure to not take this sort of break as it might make it harder to achieve tenure, but that's really up to the individual. Longer leave in the form of "sabbatical" may be arranged, but typically professors on sabbatical still use this time to be productive in some way (for example, writing a book, travel related to their area of research, visiting collaborators at other institutions).

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No, that isn't a real concept in the US, with a few exceptions. Most federal holidays have been moved to Monday for purposes of "celebration" (i.e. a day off resulting in a 3-day weekend). If Christmas falls on a Thursday, however, some places will also make Friday a non-work day. A few states have one or two other "holidays", normally celebrated on Monday. Some schools, however, will still hold classes on some holidays.

But the US treats Christmas as special for historical/religious reasons and so the week in which it occurs is likely to be a holiday week for almost all universities. New Years might be similar, or not. Some places have term break in Late December (covering Christmas) through early January, for example, though I've started a term on Jan 3 also. There may also be a "Spring break" coordinated with Easter, though the coordination has been disappearing for a while.

Most universities will make accommodations for some religious holidays of the various world religions, but not all, but generally only for individual days, not extended periods. People might be able to make some accommodations personally, but I doubt that a 15 day break for a "festival" would be easy (or even possible) to arrange.

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In addition to the good answers already given, it's worth noting that a typical professor's work is actually a combination of 3 different streams, each with its own rhythm regarding holidays. (I'm assuming 12 month not 9 month appointments here.)

a) Teaching. During academic term, professors need to fulfil their explicit teaching responsibilities, plus ought be available more broadly to meet with students. And they have responsibilities right after term (grading and submitting final marks) and sometimes right before (coordination between different teachers of the same course, etc.) That makes taking a chunk of holidays during or around term time is somewhere between impossible and freakishly difficult.

b) Research. This is much more individually managed, and evaluated based on outcomes rather than punching the clock. Location of the work varies highly - from one's own lab (if applicable) or on-campus office, home office, collaboration with someone somewhere else. Some researchers even like working from coffee shops. There is very little oversight and a lot of self-driven productivity stress. Of course, if working/managing a closely knit lab, professors and others in their lab will tend to coordinate holidays (to either take common time off, or sometimes to spread out time off so lab/research coverage continues). And depending on discipline, the fieldwork calendar may well impose constraints. Finally, whether due to stress, habit/workaholism, or love of one's work, there are many professors who will find themselves working for a few hours most of the days of their "holidays".

c) Administrative responsibilities. These dominate for those with formal admin roles, but even others have committee responsibilities (e.g. evaluating admissions files, etc.) Fairly often, meeting times will be scheduled during or around teaching term, to avoid conflicts with faculty research travel or vacation in between, but not always. A professor who misses a meeting or two due to long-scheduled holidays is quite fine. A professor who would repeatedly shirk their responsibilities for any reason, including their holidaying habits, would likely get a talking to. Though to be honest, the level of consequences depends on the institution and the professor's prestige or chutzpah in this regard.

All of this means that you cannot expect to really take any "consecutive holidays" at all during academic term or right around it. You can (and most professors do) take a couple of weeks (total per year) "consecutive holidays" in between if you manage the conflicts with your research and admin calendar, and you stand up to the competitive pressures that will always make you question whether you can "afford" to. And you might be able to stretch that "couple of weeks" if it's a question of travelling somewhere for a longer period and both taking a holiday as well as continuing to do (some) research work while you are there.

Finally it is worth considering the overall cultural context. In my experience working in the U.S. as well as in Europe, and supervising teams (outside academia) in India, I've noted that in general people in the U.S. take much less "vacation" and time off, and the concept of regular "annual leave" in some parts of Asia and Europe is largely absent in the U.S. While academics, especially more senior ones, have considerably more leeway than other careers, there is a cultural standard that 2-3 weeks vacation in total is perceived as adequate, and many people in many careers struggle to take even a week off per year (for reasons ranging from financial to career advancement.)

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  • What is "term time"? – Azor Ahai -him- May 12 at 17:28
  • "term time" = "during academic term", i.e during the weeks when academic classes are going on, plus the exam period following (if applicable). There are typically 2 or 3, occasionally 4, academic terms per year. – Houska May 12 at 18:32
  • Most of this would apply to the UK also. However people would generally take more than 2 weeks total. Probably a week or two a Christmas (this is forced where I am), a couple of weeks in the summer, and maybe a week at Easter. But then this wasn't that much different when I worked as a postdoc in the lab of a tenure track professor at Harvard Medical School. – Ian Sudbery May 13 at 13:20

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