dfsXZ Human Resources, Loyola University Chicago

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General Leave of Absence and Family/Medical Leave Act


   POLICY

A leave of absence may be granted to maintain continuity of service when extenuating circumstances require an employee's absence. A staff employee with six or more months of service is eligible for a general leave of absence in up to 12- week or three month increments to a maximum period equal to one's length of employment but for no longer than two years.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employee, after working 12 months (not necessarily consecutive) and 1,250 hours actively worked (does not include leave hours, holiday hours, etc.), is eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave unless circumstances allow paid-time-off banks to be used.

Loyola University uses the "rolling" 12-month method for calculating FMLA leave, which is measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Each time an employee takes FMLA leave the remaining entitlement would be any balance of the 12 weeks, which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months.

The following is an example of how the rolling 12-month FMLA leave would be administered:

If an FMLA eligible employee has taken eight weeks of leave during the past 12-months, an additional four weeks of leave could be taken. If an employee used four weeks beginning February 1, 2005, four weeks beginning June 1, 2005, and four weeks beginning December 1, 2005, the employee would not be entitled to any additional leave until February 1, 2006.  However, beginning on February 1, 2006, the employee would be entitled to four weeks of leave, on June 1 the employee would be entitled to an additional four weeks, etc.

   DEFINITION

A general leave of absence is an approved absence from work, excluding scheduled vacation, when the period of absence exceeds ten (10) working days. The first day of absence is considered the first day of the leave. However, an employee eligible for FMLA leave may be granted an intermittent or reduced schedule leave for periods of absence in increments of less than ten (10) days.

   TYPES OF LEAVE

A general leave may be granted in up to three month increments to a maximum of two years. Leaves may be requested for medical or personal reasons. Departments should consult with their Campus Human Resources Office for guidelines in granting general leaves of absence.

FMLA leave will be granted for the following reasons:
  • The birth of a son or a daughter and to care for the child;
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • Care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent, if such family member has a serious health condition; or
  • The employee's own serious health condition.

New provisions under FMLA require covered employers to permit employees already eligible for FMLA leave:

  • To use any of their 12 weeks allotment to take leave because of any qualifying exigency (as defined by the Department of Labor at a later date through regulation) arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation;
  • To take up to 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin with illness or injury incurred in the line of duty while in the Armed Forces or National Guard or Reserves.

An FMLA eligible employee may take a leave for up to 12 weeks during which time the position will generally be held open. Leaves may also be intermittent or reduced schedule. If the position has been filled, the employee, upon return within 12 weeks, will be placed in an equivalent position (i.e., with same pay and benefits) in the same department or division. If the position no longer exists due to a work force reduction or departmental reorganization while the employee is on leave, the employee is not guaranteed placement upon return from leave.

When both husband and wife work for Loyola and each requests FMLA leave for either the birth of a child and its subsequent care or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, the total 12 week FMLA entitlement may be divided between them.

   APPROVAL PROCEDURE

For general leaves of absence, a "Request for Leave of Absence" form must be completed and submitted to the department for approval. If approved, the department head should sign and send the request to the Campus Human Resource Director for approval.

Family & Medical Leaves covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act are administered by Matrix Absence Management. To initiate a family or medical leave request please call Matrix at 1-877-202-0055 or Matrix on-line claims filing:  www.MatrixeServices.com 

Both general and FMLA leave must be requested 30 days prior to the start of the leave, where the reason for the leave is foreseeable. Up to 12 weeks of FMLA- approved leaves may be granted within a twelve month period.

   HOLDING POSITIONS

General Leave FMLA Leave

If the leave is for 30 days or less, whether paid or unpaid, the position will be held open. For any leave beyond 30 days, the position may be filled by submitting a requisition to the Campus Human Resources Department.

The department will generally hold the job open for 12 weeks or until the employee returns, whichever is sooner. If the position is not held, an equivalent position must be provided by the department or component/division. If the employee is granted an extension beyond 12 weeks, the position may be filled and the rules of the FMLA will not apply.


Note: For any leave in excess of thirty days, an employee must complete a checklist of benefit and other employment information at the Campus Human Resources Office.

   EXTENDING A LEAVE

General Leave FMLA Leave

A request for an extension of a leave requires the written approval of the department/component head and Human Resources at least two weeks prior to the expiration date. If a leave expires prior to the employee's return, the employee is considered to have terminated voluntarily.

If an FMLA leave is approved for less than 12 weeks, it may be extended up to the 12 week maximum by contacting the department head. The employee will be informed what additional information may be needed to certify the request. If the leave is approved for a period exceeding 12 weeks, the reinstatement provisions of the FMLA will not apply, and the procedure covering the extension of general leaves is applicable. If the position has been filled, the employee may apply for any open position for which he or she is qualified upon return.

   RETURN TO WORK

General Leave FMLA Leave

Two weeks prior to the end of the leave, the employee shall contact his or her department to determine whether the former position is still available. If the former position is not open, the employee may apply for any open positions for which he or she is qualified. There is no guarantee of reinstatement or re-employment.

The position generally will be held open for a maximum of 12 weeks. An employee returning within the 12 weeks will be reinstated in the same or an equivalent position in the department or component/division. A request to fill any position open due to an approved FMLA leave requires the approval of the Campus Human Resources Director and the Vice President of Human Resource Management.

   EMPLOYEES UNABLE TO PERFORM WORK

If a department can document that an employee is unable to perform the duties of the position because of illness or other reasons, the department head, with approval of the Campus Human Resource Director, may require the employee to take a leave of absence. Accrued sick leave may be used to compensate the employee during a medical-related leave in accordance with the provisions of the sick leave policy. Upon election, an employee may also use other appropriate banks of paid-time-off.

If an employee is placed on leave, it is the employee's responsibility to notify the department in advance when he or she is able to return to work. Before returning, the University requires the evidence of the employee's fitness for duty be presented to the Campus Human Resource Director. In the event of any question concerning the employee's condition, the University may require that the employee be examined by a physician or other specialist selected by the University.

   BENEFITS

Vacation and sick time do not accrue during any unpaid portion of a leave of absence.  An exempt or non-exempt staff employee does not accrue vacation and sick hours while on a Short-Term Disability leave, beginning after the 10-day elimination (waiting) period.  Short-Term Disability benefits begin on the 11th day out for an eligible illness or disability that prevents them from working.  Staff will start accruing Vacation and Sick hours only when they are released by their physician to return to work.

During the unpaid portion of a general leave, there is no University contribution to the premium cost (unless the unpaid leave is to perform service in the uniformed services for less than 31 days as indicated under USERRA). Health insurance will remain in force during the unpaid portion of the leave only if the employee makes arrangements with the Benefits Office of the Human Resource Department to pay the premiums directly. If an employee is on FMLA leave, health insurance will remain in effect for the duration of the FMLA leave, provided the employee portion of the group premium is paid. The length of time insurance can be maintained is determined by the specific insurance contract and COBRA requirements.

   ACCRUED PAID TIME-OFF

Normally, an employee is expected to use applicable accrued paid-time-off from the first day of the leave. Accrued sick time must be used to pay for time away from work due to an employee's medical disability. For example, if an employee is absent from work for maternity reasons, accrued sick leave will be used to compensate the employee in accordance with the provisions of the Sick Leave Policy, #49. An employee's accrued sick time benefit has been granted for and is reserved only for use during an absence due to the employee's own illness. When sick pay is exhausted or the employee is no longer medically disabled, any unused personal, bonus, or vacation time is payable.

 

(rev:01/2007, 02/2008)