Policies and Procedures Manual Section 13
This professional development leave is intended for the mutual benefit of Western Michigan University and the person granted such a leave. It should assist exempt staff members to improve their performance by providing for a period of concentrated scholarly work, research, or other professional development.
- Exempt administrative personnel shall be eligible for professional development leaves.
- A paid professional development leave shall be granted only after the completion of four years service in the current position. Service to other units within the University will not be accepted in determining eligibility for this leave. Further, four full years of continuous service must have expired since the completion of a previous professional leave before a staff member is eligible for another such leave.
- Years of service shall count from the date of full-time appointment in the professional position currently held.
- A paid professional development leave is not an automatic benefit and must have the approval of the appropriate vice president.
- A paid professional development leave application must include a written proposal describing in detail the activity proposed.
The leave shall be limited to three full months duration and will exclude the vacation period due the staff member in the fiscal year of the leave.
There shall be no reduction in pay during the paid professional development leave. Recipients of leaves are permitted to receive money for approved study or research without prejudice to their receipt of income, provided that the total remuneration from all other sources does not exceed that received from the University. The professional development leave may not be used to accept paid employment during the period of the leave.
Because an employee on a paid professional development leave remains on the active payroll, seniority continues to accrue and the employee continues to be eligible for all payroll-driven benefits without interruption.
Health, life, and long-term disability insurance are continued while an employee is on a paid professional development leave, under the same terms and conditions as when the employee was on active duty.
Recipients of a paid professional development leave return to the position they held prior to the leave.
- The recipient of a paid professional development leave is required to return to the University for a full year of employment after completion of the leave.
- Within 30 days after returning from the professional development leave, the staff member will submit a concise written report of his/her leave activities to his/her supervisor and the appropriate vice president.
- The employee must first discuss the proposed professional development leave with his/her immediate supervisor.
- The employee, the immediate supervisor, and others directly affected shall jointly determine whether granting the leave would seriously impair the department's effectiveness.
- The employee must complete the appropriate sections of a leave of absence application and attach any necessary supporting documents, including a written proposal describing in detail the activity proposed during the leave. The leave of absence application is available at Forms: Leaves of Absence.
The employee may withdraw his/her application for professional development leave at any point in these procedures.
- The completed application and proposal are forwarded to the employee's department manager/head.
The department manager/head will act within 30 days of receiving a leave of absence application to either approve, deny, or forward without recommendation applications for professional development leave. If approved or denied, the department manager/head will indicate such and sign the application.
- The application and proposal are then forwarded to the appropriate vice president.
- The leave application shall be submitted to the appropriate vice president at least six months in advance of the beginning date of the proposed leave, to provide time to plan for adequate coverage during the staff member's absence. If such coverage cannot be satisfactorily arranged, the leave request will not be granted.
- If approved by the department manager/head, the application and proposal forwarded to the vice president must include a specific written explanation of how the work load of the employee will be met during the period of the leave.
- If denied by the department manager/head, the application and proposal forwarded to the vice president must include a written reason for denial (a copy shall also be provided to the applicant). The applicant may seek review and reconsideration of the denial through the appropriate vice president by filing a written request for review of the denied application. This request for review must contain the specific basis for the appeal with reference to the denial rationale of the department manager/head.
- In a case where a department manager/head has no recommendation or cannot reach a decision, the application and proposal forwarded to the vice president must include a written statement explaining the basis for the indecision (a copy shall also be provided to the applicant). The applicant may seek further review of the professional leave request by filing a written request for review with the appropriate vice president.
- Final action on the request for professional development leave shall be taken by the vice president under whose jurisdiction the employee falls.
- If the leave is approved by the vice president, Human Resources verifies that the employee meets eligibility requirements for the requested leave and places him/her on a professional development leave of absence with pay.
- The consent to release leave of absence information is an optional form and is available at Forms: Leaves of Absence. This form, when completed and returned to Human Resources, allows the Human Resources staff to release leave of absence information on the employee's behalf to specific, relevant parties (e.g., the employee's personal spokesperson, bargaining unit, etc.).