Seattle University
Human Resources Policy Manual

10. Leaves of Absence

* = Policies and procedures that apply to Faculty.

10.1 *Personal Leave of Absence

Full-time regular and part-time regular employees who have completed twelve (12) months of continuous service may request unpaid personal leaves of absence for a period of up to thirty (30) days. An employee must request personal leave in writing at least thirty (30) days before the time the employee wishes the leave to begin. If the personal leave request is necessitated by an emergency, the employee must notify the supervisor and HR as soon as is practicable and follow up with a written explanation of the nature of the leave and the expected length of absence. Personal leave may be granted for a variety of reasons (e.g., medical, family, personal needs) at the University's discretion, provided that the employee is in good standing and the leave does not disrupt the department's or the University's business and operational needs.

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10.2 *Educational Leave of Absence

Unpaid educational leaves of absence for a period of up to twelve (12) months may be requested by full-time regular employees in good standing who have completed twelve (12) months of continuous service. An employee must request educational leave in writing at least three (3) months before the time the employee wishes the leave to begin. The educational institution must be an accredited college or be University-approved as a qualified educational institution. The academic program being pursued must be beneficial to the University as well as to the employee. Determination to allow education leave rests with the department head and the area Vice President based on the operational needs of the University and the department.

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10.3 *Reinstatement Following Personal or Educational Leave

Reinstatement cannot be guaranteed to employees returning from personal or educational leave. The University endeavors, however, to place employees returning from personal or educational leave in their former position or in a position comparable in status and pay, subject to budgetary restrictions, the University's need to fill vacancies, and the ability of the University to find qualified temporary replacements.

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10.4 *Benefits While on Personal or Educational Leave

An employee on unpaid personal or educational leave will not accrue vacation or sick leave during the unpaid leave. An employee on an unpaid personal or educational leave of absence greater than one (1) full benefit month may continue to participate in the University's health care benefits program (except Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Disability) by self-paying the full premium rates. While on an unpaid personal or educational leave of absence, contributions to retirement plans will cease.

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10.5 *Military Leave

The University complies with state and federal requirements regarding leaves of absence and reemployment rights for individuals serving in the National Guard or Armed Forces of the United States. The following is a general statement of the rights and obligations of the University and its employees. Employees and their supervisors should contact HR for specific information.

Service Credit: An employee's employment with the University while on military leave is considered continuous for purposes of determining seniority, eligibility for University benefits, and service awards. Sick leave and vacation do not accrue during military service.

Reservist and National Guard Annual Training: A full-time employee with at least twelve (12) months continuous service is protected against the loss of income as a result of his participation in annual encampment or training duty in the U.S. Military Reserves or the National Guard. The University pays the difference between what he earns from the government for the military service, including any housing, clothing, and food allowance, and what he would have earned at normal straight time pay on the job. Any travel allowance is excluded from the deducted amount. This difference is paid for up to ten (10) University workdays in a calendar year.

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10.6 *Jury Duty

The University recognizes that employees have a civic responsibility to serve as jurors when called by the courts. The University grants time off with pay to a regular employee (see Section 2.1) who is called for jury duty. The employee must return to the University any juror fees that exceed the cost of meals, lodging and travel.

In exceptional cases, if an employee's absence from work would impose a hardship on the department, HR will request that the employee reschedule the dates the employee is expected to serve on jury duty.

An employee who is summoned as a member of a jury will be granted a leave for all hours required for the duty. If the jury call does not require absence for the entire workday, the employee must return to work on release by the court. The employee will be paid full salary while serving the jury duty, but paid time spent on jury duty does not count as "hours worked" at the University for purposes of overtime.

The University does not reimburse an employee for meals, lodging, and travel expenses incurred while serving as a juror. The employee must provide HR with a copy of the jury summons, which is filed in the employee's personnel file.

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10.7 *Subpoena

An employee subpoenaed as a witness in a legal proceeding should notify her supervisor. The University will grant a paid leave of absence for up to one (1) full work day. If the proceeding does not require absence for the entire workday, the employee must return to work on completion of the legal proceeding. The date and time that witnesses are expected to appear for legal proceedings are often times subject to change. Whenever possible, the University expects the employee to cooperate with the supervisor in arranging to respond to the subpoena at a date and time that is least disruptive to the work schedule and to the University's operations.

The University will not grant paid leave for a court appearance or legal proceeding when the employee is a party to the litigation. In that case, an employee may use vacation time.

Paid time spent in responding to a subpoena does not count as "hours worked" at the University for purposes of overtime.

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10.8 *Maternity Disability Leave

An employee will be provided with an unpaid leave of absence for the actual period of time she is sick or temporarily disabled because of pregnancy or childbirth. This is in addition to an eligible female employee's right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) discussed in Section 10.9. The employee must present written documentation from her physician specifying the period of temporary disability. An employee on unpaid maternity disability leave must use accrued sick leave. An employee who is absent for the actual period of maternal disability will be returned to the same or similar job.

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10.9 *Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Family and medical leave may be used by eligible faculty and staff in the following instances:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;
  • To care for the employee’s child following birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for a spouse, registered domestic partner, legally domiciled adult, child, or parent who has a serious health condition,
  • To care for a covered military service member who has sustained serious injury or illness;
  • To care for a child age 18 and older if the child has a disability (described as an impairment that substantially limits a major life function) and who is incapable of self-care because of that disability;
  • For the employee's own serious health condition that renders the employee unable to perform his job;
  • To address certain qualifying urgent needs as a parent, spouse or partner to immediate family members who are on active military duty or called to active duty status.

The University’s family and medical leave benefit is subject to the requirements of the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Additional information on an employee’s rights and responsibilities under FMLA is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmlaen.pdf.

A. Eligibility for FMLA

An employee must have been employed by the University for twelve (12) months (cumulative prior service) and worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave. Eligible employees are generally entitled to up to twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid family and medical leave during any rolling twelve (12) month period. However, an eligible employee may also take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, when the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member. Each time an employee takes leave qualifying under FMLA, the available leave entitlement is the balance remaining for the twelve (12) month period.

Family leave taken for the care of a newly arrived child must be taken all at once and within 12 months after the arrival of the child. Leave may be taken on an intermittent basis for the care of a seriously ill spouse, child, parent, or the employee. For an ill spouse, child, or parent, the University reserves the right to require certification from a health care provider concerning the serious health condition (including certification that the employee is needed to care for the family member and an estimate of the duration of such care). For an employee's own illness, the University reserves the right to require certification that the employee is unable to perform the essential elements of his or her job. The University may also request a second opinion, at the University's expense. Certification may also be required of an employee wishing to take leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis because of medical necessity.

A husband and wife who are eligible for FMLA leave and are both employed at the University may be limited to a combined total of twelve (12) workweeks of leave during any twelve-month period under certain circumstances. Please contact HR or see the Department of Labor regulations for additional information.

Family and medical leave is unpaid leave. An employee must exhaust all accumulated sick leave at the onset of the leave period for their own serious health condition. An employee may use vacation time to continue paid status following exhaustion of sick leave. An employee may use sick or vacation time to continue paid status to provide care for a spouse, child, parent or military service member. Accumulation of additional leave is suspended for an employee during any full month of unpaid leave. An employee ceases to accrue sick leave and vacation while on family and medical leave once the employee exhausts sick leave and vacation (to the extent the employee chooses to use vacation to help fund the leave).

B. Requests for FMLA

When requesting FMLA leave, the employee is required to fill out a form available from Human Resources and provide thirty (30) days' notice when circumstances are foreseeable. If notice is foreseeable and is not given, the University reserves the right to deny the leave until the thirty (30) days' notice is given. Human Resources will respond in writing to all requests for family and medical leave.

C. Re-employment Following FMLA

In most cases, an employee will be required to submit a fitness for duty certification prior to being restored to employment. In some cases, an employee will be required to furnish periodic reports of his status and intent to return to work. An employee returns from family and medical leave to his or her former position or, at the discretion of the University, to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. An employee on family and medical leave continues to be subject to changed business conditions, layoff, or reorganization the University deems to be a business necessity. The University may deny job restoration to a senior administrator (among the highest paid ten percent (10%) of all the University's employees) if the denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the operation of the University.

The University requires the employee to provide two (2) days' written notice if he intends to return early from family and medical leave.

If an employee does not intend to return to work following family and medical leave, she must submit a written resignation at the earliest possible date. Failure to do so may result in loss of accrued vacation pay on separation. Failure to return to work and to submit a written resignation within five (5) business days after the scheduled return date will result in immediate termination of the employee.

D. Health Care Benefits While on FMLA

As long as an employee continues to be in a paid status (i.e., by virtue of being on paid leave), the University will continue to contribute toward insurance benefits and the group retirement plan for up to twelve (12) workweeks for any eligible employee on medical and family leave. The employee is responsible for his share of any insurance premium not covered by the University. Arrangements for payment of premiums while on unpaid leave are made through HR prior to commencement of the leave. The University reserves the right to recover any and all insurance premiums paid on behalf of the employee during the period of the leave if an employee is terminated following a medical and family leave. Premiums will not be recovered if the employee does not return because of the continuation or recurrence of illness or something else beyond the employee's control.

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Resources

Family Medical Leave Act: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmlaen.pdf.

 

Last modified on Thursday, February 14, 2013