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Extended Leave of Absence

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Policy Information
  • Issue Date: July 1, 2001
  • Primary Contact: Director of Human Resources
  • Responsible Member of Directorate: President and Director
  • Responsible Office: Human Resources
Contents
Policy Information
Overview


Overview
I. General 
A. The following paragraphs outline the Institution's basic policies for extended leaves of absence, which are generally defined as absences of more than 40 hours in a pay period. Except as required by the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), in no case will a leave of absence exceed the employee's length of service since the most recent date of hire, nor will a leave of absence be granted to half-time, casual or temporary employees. Certain leaves offer reemployment rights while others will depend upon a need for the individual's services. Short-Term leaves of absence are described in Paid Absences

B. Failure to return from a leave of absence as scheduled will result in termination as of that date. 

C. Employees requesting a leave of absence may request that their accrued vacation and/or shore leave be retained until they return from the leave of absence. If the request is not made by the employee, all such accrued time will be paid at the commencement of the leave with the exception of disability, FMLA and maternity leaves (provisions covered under IIA, IIC and IID of this policy). 

D. Regular employees absent without pay for more than 40 hours in a pay period will not accrue sick leave or vacation time during that pay period. 

E. Regular employees absent without pay for one full pay period (other than those absent under the disability, FMLA and maternity leave provisions of IIA, IIC and IID below) may continue their group insurance coverage(s) by paying the employees' share of their premium(s) for that applicable pay period. 

F. Employees absent without pay for more than one full pay period will pay the full premium(s) for group insurance(s) (other than those absent under the disability, FMLA and maternity leave provisions noted above). However, coverage under the Disability Income Plan will remain in effect only through the employee's last full day of work and will resume when the employee returns to Regular employment. 

G. Participation in the Retirement Plan will be in accordance with the provisions of the Plan. 

H. All requests for leaves of absence will be prepared through the appropriate department and approvals obtained by Human Resources. 

II. Types of Leaves of Absence
A. Disability: 
1. An employee eligible to receive benefits under the provisions of the Seamen's "Protection and Indemnity" policy, Workers' Compensation or the Disability Income Plan may be placed on a "disability leave of absence". Employees with a known medical condition, sufficiently severe to cause possible harm to themselves or others if they continue to work, may work provided they obtain a physician's written statement of their ability to do so and have also obtained the concurrence of the Institution. If this statement has not been submitted and approved by the Institution, the employee will be placed on disability leave. 

2. A disability leave of absence may extend as long as: 

a.) The employee remains eligible for the above mentioned benefit(s);

b.) The employee retires under the Institution's Retirement Plan; or

c.) Until the period of absence equals the employee's accrued service at the start of the leave, whichever occurs first. 

Accrued Sick Leave (and/or vacation upon employee's request) will be applied prior to commencement of disability benefits. Vacation may be used to supplement this income up to the amount of the employee's regular base pay. There will be no accrual of vacation and sick leave while on Disability Leave of Absence.

3. While in a waiting period of disability benefits or once disability benefits commence, an employee on an approved disability leave of absence may continue group insurance coverage(s) by paying the regular employee's share of the premium(s). An employee in disability leave status will not be required to pay for Group Basic Life Insurance coverage which will continue until the earliest of nine months of disability, the employee reaches age 65, termination of employment or disability ends.  If the employee is not receiving short-term disability income, all other coverage, including Dependent coverage, will end.  If a waiver of premium is approved, the Basic and Supplemental coverage will continue for as long as the employee satisfies the eligibility requirements of the insurer. 

4. Those employees who have indicated that they intend to return to work following their period of disability will be considered before any other applicant for return to the same or similar position or for any other position for which they are qualified. The application for reemployment must be made within 90 days following recovery from the disability.

B. Educational: 

Leaves of absence may be granted to employees who wish to continue formal education in fields related to their work at the Institution. A leave of absence may be granted by a Department Chair or Administrative Manager for periods of up to one year. It may be renewed each year up to a maximum of four years, provided that the student is maintaining satisfactory grades and requests the renewal in writing. A copy of the latest transcript must be attached to the request for renewal and forwarded to Human Resources. An educational leave of absence implies no commitment for reemployment by the Institution. 

C. Family and Medical 

1.  Purpose. This policy outlines the basic procedures governing Family and Medical Leaves. Family and Medical Leaves are employee leaves of absence for child care, personal medical care and family medical care. 

2.  Eligibility. An employee will be eligible to seek a Family and Medical Leave if (1) the employee has worked for the Institution for at least 12 months, (2) the employee has worked for the Institution for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the leave and (3) at least 50 employees of the Institution work at the same worksite or otherwise work within a 75-mile traveling distance from the employee's worksite. In limited circumstances, some employees who do not meet these eligibility standards may be eligible to take an eight-week leave for the purpose of giving birth or for adopting a child. 

3.  Types of Family and Medical Leaves. Employees may qualify for any of three types of Family and Medical Leaves. Throughout this policy, the term "Family and Medical Leave" refers to any of these three types of leaves:

a.) Birth, Adoption and Child Care Leave 
An employee may take a Birth, Adoption and Child Care Leave because of birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child and for care of that child. The leave must be completed within 12 months of the child's birth, adoption or foster care placement. 

b.) Family Member Leave 
An employee may take a Family Member Leave to care for a seriously ill or injured spouse, parent or child. The illness or injury must be a "serious health condition," within the meaning of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"). Basically, a "serious health condition" means a physical or mental condition that involves inpatient or continuing treatment by a health care provider. If the leave is for care of a child, the child must either be under age 18 or unable to care for himself or herself due to a mental or physical disability. 

c.) Personal Medical Leave 

An employee may take a Personal Medical Leave because of an illness or injury that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job. As with a Family Member Leave, the illness or injury must be a serious health condition. 

4.  Notice and Scheduling of Leave. An employee taking a Family and Medical Leave should give written notice to their supervisor who is to notify Human Resources promptly. When the leave is a Birth, Adoption and Child Care Leave, the employee must generally give at least two weeks' notice of the leave. 30 days' notice is preferred. 

If an employee plans to take a Family Member Leave or a Personal Medical Leave because of planned medical treatment, the employee must make an effort to schedule the treatment to reduce the disruption to the Institution, subject to the health care provider's approval. An employee should generally consult with his/her supervisor to explore alternatives to reduce the disruption to the Institution. In any event, at least 30 days' written notice of the leave should generally be given to their supervisor who is to notify Human Resources promptly. 

In some cases, an employee will not be able to give the full amount of advance notice generally required for a Birth, Adoption and Child Care Leave or for a Family and Medical Leave for planned medical treatment. When an employee cannot give the generally required notice for a legitimate reason, the employee should give as much notice as possible under the circumstances. 

When a Family Member Leave or a Personal Medical Leave is needed due to a medical reason other than planned treatment, an employee should give their supervisor verbal or written notice as soon as he or she reasonably can. The supervisor is to notify Human Resources promptly. 

An employee's failure to give adequate notice may delay the employee's right to take a Family and Medical Leave. 

5.  Confirmation of Leave. After an employee gives notice of intent to take a Family and Medical Leave, the Institution will designate the leave as Family and Medical Leave. That designation will generally be provided by a memorandum confirming receipt of the notice of the leave and setting forth some of the basic employee rights and obligations. 

If an employee is ineligible for Family and Medical Leave but requests such leave, the Institution shall provide notice to the employee of the Institution's determination of ineligibility.

Employees requesting a Personal Medical Leave or a Family Medical Leave will generally be required to provide a medical verification if the leave is expected to continue for more than 5 calendar days. When requested, the certification must be provided within 15 calendar days of the request. The Institution may, in some cases and at its expense, require a second and sometimes a third certification. 

Employees on a Personal Medical Leave or a Family Member Leave for which medical verification is initially required may also be required to provide medical verifications. The cost of providing any such certifications, if any, will be borne by the employee. 

Moreover, employees on leave may be contacted periodically for updates concerning their status and intent to return. Employees are expected to be fully responsive to such requests for updates. 

6.  Length of Leave and Restoration Rights. 

a.) General. In general, an employee will be entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave during any 12-month period. The 12-month period is a rolling period measured backward from the date the employee uses any leave under this policy. Each time an employee takes any Family and Medical Leave, the remaining leave entitlement will be any balance of the 12 weeks that has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months. 

In addition, there may be circumstances in which further leave rights are available under the provisions of state law. Otherwise, requests for any additional leave for any Family and Medical Leave will be subject to the Institution's approval. 

b.) Nature of the Leave. Unless otherwise approved, a Birth, Adoption and Child Care Leave must be taken at one time. A Family Member Leave or a Personal Medical Leave may be taken through either a reduced working schedule or intermittently if such an arrangement is certified to be medically necessary (or if the Institution approves such an arrangement in its discretion). If an employee is entitled to a Family Member Leave or a Personal Medical Leave on a reduced work schedule or intermittent basis, the Institution may transfer the employee temporarily to a position for which s/he is qualified if the alternative position would better accommodate the recurring leaves than the employee's regular position. 

c.) Special Rule Applicable to Spouses who are Both Employed by the Institution. If the Institution employs both spouses, the total Birth, Adoption and Child Care Leave to which they will be entitled together will be 12 weeks in any 12-month period. 

d.) Restoration Rights. 

1. General.
At the end of a Family and Medical Leave, an employee will have the right to return to his or her last position before the leave or to an equivalent position with benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment. The employee will not lose any benefit rights, such as vacation, to the extent that those benefit rights accrued before the leave period. 

2. Notice of Change of Length of Leave.
If an employee becomes aware of changed circumstances that will foreseeably increase or decrease his or her need for Family and Medical Leave, the employee must give the Institution notice of the anticipated change of the length of the leave within two business days of learning of the anticipated change of the length of the leave. 

3. Adverse Actions During the Leave.
An employee will not be entitled to more favorable employment terms as a result of taking a Family and Medical Leave than he or she would have had if no leave had been taken. Thus, an employee who takes a Family and Medical Leave will be subject to any pay or benefit reductions or other adverse actions, including layoff, that the employee would have experienced if he or she had not been on a Family and Medical Leave. 

4. Extension of Leave.
In the event that a Family and Medical Leave is extended beyond a level totaling 12  weeks of leave over 12 months, the Institution will consider the possibility of restoration but generally will not guarantee restoration. The determinations regarding whether to grant an extension and to grant restoration after an extension will be made in the Institution's discretion after considering factors such as the purpose of the leave extension, the employee's length of service, the employee's attendance record, the employee's position, and the Institution's assessment of its needs. Nevertheless, in some limited circumstances, employees may be entitled to further leave based on state law. 

5. Certification Before Return.
Before an employee may return from a Personal Medical Leave that has continued for at least 5 calendar days, the employee's health care provider must certify that the employee is able to resume his or her job. The employee will be required to bear the costs of such a certification. 

6. Pay and Benefits 

i.) Pay. Family and Medical Leaves are not paid leaves. However, an employee may substitute a paid leave for which the employee is eligible for otherwise unpaid FMLA leave. Such a substitution will be counted against the employee's use of FMLA leave. For example, if an employee takes a Personal Medical Leave, he or she may be entitled to paid occasional illness leave and, if still unable to work, may thereafter be entitled to disability benefits. Employees who seek paid leave will need to meet the notice and qualification requirements under the paid leave policies.

If no other paid leave is available but an employee is eligible for accrued paid leave, such as vacation pay, the employee may use that accrued leave during a Family and Medical Leave until it is exhausted. 

ii.) Maintenance of Health Benefits. During a Family and Medical Leave, the Institution will continue the employee's medical and dental insurance coverage, provided that the employee pays for the regular employee share of such coverage on a timely basis as if he or she had remained actively employed. During any paid leave, the employee share of the premiums will be deducted from the employee's pay. During the unpaid portion of a Family Medical Leave, the employee will be required to pay the employee share by delivering the payment so that it is received by the Institution no later than the last day of each month. If the payment is more than 30 days late, benefits will cease until the employee returns to work. 

If the employee fails to return from the leave, the Institution may be entitled to recover from the employee the portions of medical and dental insurance premiums that were paid for by the Institution with respect to the unpaid portion of the leave. The Institution will be entitled to recover these amounts unless the employee's failure to return was due to a serious health condition (within the meaning of the FMLA) or if there are other circumstances beyond the employee's control. If the employee states that he or she is unable to return from the leave because of a serious health condition, the Institution may require the employee to provide a medical certification. 

iii.) Other Benefits. Non health benefits, such as life insurance, may be continued during the leave, if permissible under applicable plans and insurance policies, subject to the same cost sharing applicable to active employees. 
 

7. Medical Records. Documents relating to medical certifications, recertifications or medical histories of employees or employees' family members will be maintained separately and treated as confidential medical records, except that in some legally recognized circumstances, the records (or information in them) may be disclosed to supervisors and managers, first aid and safety personnel, or government officials.
D. Maternity Leave
1. A female employee who is either pregnant or adopting a child under 18 years of age (or under 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled) may be eligible for a maternity leave of absence of up to eight consecutive weeks in duration. To be eligible for this leave, the employee must give at least two weeks notice in writing of the intent to go on leave and signify an intent to return to work following the leave. 

2. Upon return to work following this leave, the employee will be reinstated in her original position or an alternative position of equivalent salary and grade. Failure tore turn to work following this absence will result in termination from the Institution unless parental leave of absence is approved. 

3. The employee may apply any accrued sick leave and/or vacation time, enabling her to retain normal salary and benefits during this period. If there is not sufficient sick leave or vacation time to keep the employee in a paid status for the full eight weeks, the employee will be placed on an unpaid maternity leave. Group insurance may be continued by paying the employee's share of the cost. 

4. If the employee is medically unable to perform her normal duties prior to delivery, as evidenced by a physician's written statements, the maternity leave will begin on that date. If she remains medically incapable or working at the end of an eight week period, she may continue in sick pay status, using accrued sick time or, if that time is not available, apply for Institution disability benefits. (See Disability Leave 2g(3) for more details). When the employee is no longer disable (as evidenced by a physician's written statement), she is eligible to request parental leave, depending on the timing and the length of the disability leave.

E. Marine Department (Marine Department Furlough) 

Marine crew members should refer to Marine Crew Member Policies for information concerning MDF

F. Military

Employees who leave the Institution and enter the Armed Services of the United States of America shall be granted leaves of absence for the period of time they are required to serve plus 90 days. The 90 day extension does not apply to normal reserve or National Guard training periods. Upon return to work following the Military Leave of Absence, the employee will be returned to the same or similar position. 

G . Parental

1. Parental leave of up to eight consecutive weeks may be requested within the first six months of the child's birth or adoption of a child under 18 years of age (or under 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled). If applicable, this leave is in addition to maternity leave outlined above. To be eligible for this leave, the employee must give at least two weeks notice in writing of the intent to go on leave and signify an intent to return to work following the absence. 

2. Upon return to work following this leave, the employee will be reinstated in his/her original position or an alternative position of equivalent salary and grade. Failure to return to work following this absence will result in termination from the Institution. 

3. Accrued vacation time, if available, may be applied during this time to maintain full salary and benefit status. Should s/he elect not to do so, and/or vacation time is not available, the balance of the parental leave will be without pay. 

4. During this leave, if an employee is in an unpaid status for more than one full pay period, group insurance(s) may be continued by paying the full cost of the premium(s). 

H. Personal
1. When personal reasons necessitate an employee's being absent, and the needs of the Institution will not be adversely affected, an unpaid leave of absence may be considered. Examples that may be acceptable reasons are: 
a.) Extended sickness in the family;

b.) Problems, legal or otherwise, demanding the employee's personal attention;

c.) Marriage of an employee not entitled to paid vacation;

d.) Child care. 
 

2. This leave without pay may be granted by the Department Chair or Manager for a period not to exceed three months. Renewals for periods in excess of three months must be requested in writing and approved by the Director. There is no guarantee that a person returning after a period of personal leave will be re-employed, although an effort will be made to do so. 
        I. Pre-retirement
Employees may request to use their accrued vacation in conjunction with an impending retirement. Vacation and sick leave will continue to accrue if the employee returns to work on the last day prior to commencement of retirement benefits. However, if the employee elects to terminate from vacation, there will be no accrual of vacation or sick leave during this pre retirement leave of absence status. 

J. Temporary Assignments Elsewhere

Temporary Assignment: Leaves of absence may be granted to scientific and technical staff members to accept temporary assignments elsewhere that are of a nature as to be in the Institution's best interest, and provided that the employee plans to return on a full-time basis after completion of the assignment. 

Outside Professional Activities: A leave of absence or reduction in time status to no less than half-time may also be granted to members of the Scientific, Technical and Exempt Administrative staff when participation in an outside activity potentially compromises that employee's primary obligation to the Institution. That participation must be judged by the Institution to be in the best interests of the employee's professional development and in concert with the Institution's best interest. 

For Scientific/Technical Staff, a research plan, with anticipated funding support indicating how he/she expects to resume full-time Institution employment at the end of the leave/status change, must be submitted to the Department Chair and Director for Research for their review as part of their consideration of the request for leave/status change. 

It is expected that these assignments will be of relatively short duration, of a temporary nature. Leaves and status changes may be granted for a period of up to one year and may be authorized in exceptional cases for one additional year. No commitment for continued employment of re-employment at the Institution is implied by this action except in cases of tenured Scientific Staff. 

Final review and action will be taken by the Director or the Director's delegate.

When in the best interest of the Institution, exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the Director.

The chart below displays the different types of extended leave of absence, approval levels and procedures, renewals and re-employment rights.

Chart

TYPE OF LEAVE NORMAL MAXIMUM INITIAL APPROVING AUTHORITY RENEWAL PROVISIONS RENEWAL APPROVING AUTHORITY REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS
Disability 2 years Personnel Office Re-evaluated after 2 years Same No commitment, but 1st consideration for same or similar position
Education 1 year Department Chair/Admin. Manager 4 times providing satisfactory grades are maintained and renewal requested in writing Same No commitment
Marine Department Furlough - Involuntary 6 months Marine Operations Manager N/A N/A Every effort will be made for reassignment to same or similar position and/or ship
Marine Department Furlough - Voluntary 6 months Marine Operations Manager 1 time Same No commitment
Maternity 8 weeks Department Chair/Manager See Disability & Parental Leave(s) N/A Return to same or similar position
Military Length of time in military plus 90 days Department Chair/Admin. Manager N/A N/A Return to same or similar position
Parental 8 consecutive weeks within 1st 6 months of birth/adoption Department Chair/Admin. Manager N/A N/A Return to same or similar position
Personal 3 months Department Chair/Admin. Manager As necessary Director No commitment
Temporary Assignments Elsewhere (Technical/Scientific Staff) 1 year Director of Research 1 time (in exceptional cases) Same No commitment except for tenured staff

 

Should you require assistance in the interpretation  of this procedure, please contact your Human Resources Representative.



Last updated: May 7, 2008
 


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