4.06 Industrial Leave of Absence

Origination date: 10/01/93

Revised: 1/1/2000, 04/01/2018

Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, and Service Professionals

Purpose

The purpose of the Industrial Leave of Absence Pay benefit is to provide a specific period of time for the employee to recuperate from work related illness or injury, which has been accepted for benefits by the university’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier.

Eligibility

Regular employees are eligible for this leave.

Qualifying Reason

An employee may request a leave of absence if they are unable to work due to a work-related injury/illness, which has been accepted for benefits by the university Workers' Compensation insurance carrier. Such requests must be accompanied by a physician's statement of disability.

Unauthorized or fraudulent use of this benefit may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Duration

The total Industrial Leave of Absence may not exceed six months.

Industrial Leave of Absence will run concurrently with Family Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA) and Extended Medical Leave of Absence, as applicable.

With the exception of Extended Military Leave of Absence (see policy # 4.15), in no instance will combined paid or unpaid leaves of absence, for which the employee is eligible, be for more than 6 months (calculated as 183 full or partial days).

Accrued sick and vacation leave may be used prior to the commencement of an industrial leave of absence.

Employee Responsibilities

Requests for Industrial Leave of Absence must be submitted following Human Resources Department procedures, and include a physician's certificate that the employee is still under medical care and is not able to work.

Employees who have requested an Industrial Leave of Absence must provide Human Resources and their department up to date contact information (e-mail, phone and home address) for the duration of their leave of absence.  In addition, they must respond to inquiries from Human Resources and their department in a timely manner.

It is the employee’s responsibility to notify Human Resources and their supervisor of the intent to return to work at least two weeks prior to reporting back to work to facilitate planning and completion of paperwork.  A physician’s release will be required.

If an employee’s expected return to work date changes due to their medical condition, the employee must provide Human Resources an updated certificate of health care provider indicating a new estimated return to work date as soon as the information becomes available, but no later than the original return to work date.  If an employee does not return to work on the expected return date, any additional time away may be considered an unauthorized absence.

Effect on Benefits

Voluntary Benefits: The university will continue to pay the employer’s portion of voluntary benefits premiums including medical and dental insurances for the duration of the industrial leave of absence whether the employee is in a paid or unpaid status.  While in a paid status, premiums will continue to be collected through payroll deductions.  If the employee is in an unpaid status, premiums will be collected through personal payments.  However, if the employee’s portion of the premium payment is more than 30 days late, the university may discontinue coverage.

Leave Accruals: Vacation and sick hours will accrue while an employee is on a paid status.

Retirement: No refund of any retirement contribution is made upon the commencement of the leave, since the return of the employee is anticipated. Service credits do not accrue during any period of unpaid leave, but will commence upon the employee's return to work.

Other Benefits: The educational aid benefit remains in effect for employees during the leave period as does the use of university facilities.

Continuous Service: Computation of service dates for continuous service, vacation accrual rates, seniority, and general pay adjustments will include this leave as creditable service providing the employee returns to work on the first workday following the termination of the authorized leave.

Return to Work

The granting of an Industrial Leave of Absence constitutes an agreement by the university to return an employee to their former or essentially equal position. The practical effect of this agreement is that the department head should hold the employee's regular position, anticipating the employee's eventual return from the industrial leave of absence. However, the department head can hire a temporary replacement for the duration of the leave.

When returning from an Industrial Leave of Absence, the employee must furnish the university with a written statement from a physician certifying that the employee is able to return to work.

An employee who is unable to return to the full duties and schedule of their position upon expiration of the maximum leave of absence time allowed by university policy is not guaranteed continued employment.

An employee may request a light duty assignment, if unable to return to their job in full capacity. Refer to Policy 4.07 Light Duty.

Employees with disabilities are encouraged to consult with the Disability Resources Office regarding possible reasonable accommodation which may provide additional leave options and/or assist them to return to work.

If the university has reason to question the capacity of an employee to perform duties and responsibilities, the university may choose to require the employee to be examined by a physician of the university’s choosing for a “fitness for duty” examination. The university may also choose to get a second opinion through the university Workers' Compensation insurance carrier.

Failure to Return or Accept Employment

An employee will be considered to have voluntarily terminated employment if they:

  • fail to return to work upon the expiration of the Industrial Leave of Absence or any extension thereof; or
  • fail to contact their department head at least two weeks prior to the end of the Industrial Leave of Absence to request an extension (if applicable) and/or fail to provide the university a physician's statement of continuing disability; or
  • advise the university of their intention not to return; or
  • refuse comparable reemployment.

An employee who voluntarily terminates at the end of the Industrial Leave of Absence for reasons listed above will be required to return to the university the full insurance premiums paid by the university on behalf of that employee during the period of the Industrial Leave of Absence.