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4.14 Personal Leave of Absence

Origination date: 04/01/2018

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

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to recognize that employees may need to take continuous time away from work that is not covered under the university’s other leave of absence policies.

Eligibility

Regular employees working for a continuous period of six months or more are eligible to request a Personal Leave of Absence from the university. This request must include an assurance the employee intends to return to work at the end of the leave and the time will not be used for the purpose of obtaining employment outside the university.

Qualifying Reasons

A Personal Leave of Absence may be requested for personal reasons that include, but are not limited to, enrollment in educational coursework related to the employee’s position, temporary relocation of spouse/partner, or family emergency.  Employees will be asked to provide an adequate explanation of the reason. The approval of such leave shall largely depend upon the circumstances, specialization or critical nature of the employee’s position as well as the practicality of replacing the employee.

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

Duration

For reasons other than education, eligible employees can be granted leave in a 6-month period long as the time away from work does not exceed the number of days actively at work the preceding 6 months (e.g., an eligible employee has worked only 3 months in the preceding 6 months, then the employee is eligible for a maximum of 3 months of leave).

For the reason of education, eligible employees can be granted leave in a 12-month period long as the time away from work does not exceed the number of days actively at work the preceding 12 months (e.g., an eligible employee has worked only 3 months in the preceding 9 months, then the employee is eligible for a maximum of 9 months of leave).

Personal Leave of Absence is for continuous time away from work and is not permitted on an intermittent basis. 

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).

Pay Status

To remain in a paid status employees are required to report all time away from work following Human Resources Department procedures.  The university will require the employee to use vacation time, as defined by that policy, for all or any part of the personal leave of absence period necessary to maintain a fully paid status. Non-exempt employees may also use accumulated compensatory time balances after their vacation balance is depleted.

The employee will be on an unpaid status when their vacation balance is depleted.

Employee Responsibilities

Requests for Personal Leave of Absence must be submitted following Human Resources Department procedures and made at least thirty days in advance of the need for leave when the need for such leave is foreseeable.  Failure to follow procedures or timelines may result in the denial or delay of Personal Leave of Absence.

Employees who have been granted a Personal Leave of Absence must provide Human Resources and their department up to date contact information (email, 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 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.  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 insurance while the employee remains in a paid status. While in a paid status, premiums will continue to be collected through payroll deduction.  If the employee is in an unpaid status premiums equal to the employee and employer cost of benefit coverage will be collected through personal payments. However, if the employee’s 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 Personal Leave of Absence will in most circumstances be followed by the employee’s return to their former or essentially equal position.  The practical effect of this is that the department head should hold the employee's regular position anticipating the employee's return from Personal Leave of Absence.  However, the department head can hire a temporary replacement for the duration of the leave.

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.

Failure to Return or Accept Employment

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

An employee who voluntarily terminates at the end of the Personal 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 Personal Leave of Absence.