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PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: Sick Leave of Absence (Unpaid)

In the event that an employee has used all of his/her accumulated sick leave and/or has exhausted benefits under a family and medical leave of absence and is unable to return to work due to personal illness or injury, an unpaid sick leave of absence may be requested.

Eligibility

All regular employees who have completed their first one-hundred and twenty (120) days of employment are eligible to apply.

Length of leave

An unpaid sick leave of absence will not be approved for more than twelve (12) months from the last day paid. See extended absences for additional information regarding employment status.

Effect on seniority and benefits

An approved unpaid sick leave of absence will not result in any loss of seniority, or benefits that are related to seniority, provided that the employee returns to work (either in the previous position or in a different benefits-eligible position) within the leave of absence provisions and no later than the date initially approved for the end of the leave period. Certain benefits can be retained while on leave of absence. Human Resources should be contacted for details. In general:

  1. Health insurance may be continued under the provisions of COBRA. See also health insurance and COBRA.
  2. Life insurance may be continued at the employee's expense, at group rates. See also life insurance.
  3. Long-term disability insurance may not be continued while off the payroll. However, if the employee's personal illness or injury for which unpaid sick leave is granted also makes the employee eligible for long-term disability benefits, those benefits remain available to the employee under the terms and conditions of the long-term disability coverage. See also long-term disability insurance.

Reemployment privilege

A staff member granted an unpaid sick leave is not guaranteed a position at the end of that leave. However, every effort will be made by Human Resources to assist the employee in securing a position comparable to the position held prior to leave. To facilitate this, the employee must contact Human Resources at least two (2) weeks before a leave of absence expires to begin searching for a position.

Before end of leave

  • Reemployment privilege: May apply for positions as internal candidate through Job Opportunity Program.
  • Benefits: If a position is secured, employee retains seniority and benefits related to seniority.

For ninety days after end of approved leave

  • Reemployment privilege: Eligible to apply for internally posted positions.
  • Benefits: If a position is secured, employee is considered a new hire.

More than ninety days after the end of approved leave

  • Reemployment privilege: May apply for externally posted positions.
  • Benefits: If a position is secured, employee is considered a new hire.

Return from an unpaid sick leave of absence

  1. Physician's release to return to work. If the employee secures a position before the end of the approved unpaid sick leave of absence, the employee must present to his/her supervisor a physician's release to return to work. A copy of this statement is to be forwarded to Human Resources for retention in the employee's document file. Under no circumstances is an employee allowed to return to work without providing this statement.

  2. Physical examination. The University reserves the right to require that the employee have a physical examination at the University health center upon return from a lengthy illness which may have affected the individual's ability to perform job duties. In such cases, the employee's supervisor is to contact Human Resources to schedule the physical examination.

Procedure

  1. Application for an unpaid sick leave of absence. To apply for an unpaid sick leave of absence, the employee must complete the appropriate sections of a leave of absence application (P-320) and attach a supporting physician's statement indicating the date the employee became unable to work and the projected date of return to work. The leave of absence application (P-320) is available on the Forms page.
    1. All unpaid sick leaves of absence must be approved prior to the beginning of the leave.
    2. Leaves will not be approved retroactively to cover a prior period of absence.
    3. The department manager then approves or denies the application, and signs it.
  2. Processing an unpaid sick leave of absence.
    1. Once the vice president has approved the leave of absence, Human Resources verifies that the employee meets the eligibility requirements for the requested leave.
    2. Human Resources then removes the employee from the active payroll and places him/her on an unpaid leave of absence.
  3. Consent to release leave of absence information. The consent to release leave of absence Information is an optional form and is available on the Forms page. 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.).