3. Leaves of Absence

Section 3. Leaves of Absence

 

3-1  Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
3-2  Sick Leave
3-3  Short Term Disability
3-4  Long Term Disability
3-5  Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA)
3-6  Parental Leave
3-7  Personal Leave
3-8  Worker's Compensation
3-9  Small Necessities Leave (SNLA)
3-10  Military Leave
3-11  Bereavement Leave
3-12  Jury Duty


3-1 Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

In compliance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"), eligible employees may request up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

    To care for the employee's newborn child or a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care;
    To care for the employee's spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or,
    For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job.
    Active Duty Leave: Leave due to a spouse, son, daughter or parent being on active duty or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.
    Caregiver Leave: This benefit provides 26 weeks of FMLA leave during a single 12 month period for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering service member.

Under the FMLA, a "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, or physical or mental condition involving inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Requests for leave to care for other seriously ill family members or members of an employee's household will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible Employees: Employees are eligible to take family or medical leave only if they have worked for the College for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.

Length of Allowable Leave: FMLA leaves may be approved for a maximum of 12 weeks in a 12-month period. For purposes of this policy, a "rolling" 12-month period will be used, measured backward from the date an employee uses any family leave. Under this method, an employee's leave entitlement consists of any balance of the 12 weeks that has not been used during the immediately preceding 12-month period.

Spouses who are both employed by the College are allowed a combined total of 12 weeks of FMLA leave within a 12-month period for the care of a newborn or adopted child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition. If leave is requested due to the illness of a child or of the other spouse, each spouse is allowed 12 weeks of leave.

In the case of the serious health condition of an employee or a family member, employees may request leave in continuous periods, intermittent periods, or by a reduced work schedule, to a total of 12 weeks. In cases of reduced schedules or intermittent leave, a department supervisor may transfer the employee temporarily to an alternative position to accommodate the needs of the work area. In such situations, the employee's salary rate and benefits should remain the same.

Leave to care for a newborn or a newly adopted child should normally be taken in continuous periods and must be taken within 12 months of the birth or placement of the child. When leave is taken after the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, an employee may take leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule only if the request is approved by the department head.

Requests for leave to exceed the 12 weeks provided under the FMLA will be reviewed in accordance with the circumstances of the request, considerations of work coverage, and the provisions of the College's general policy on leave without pay.

FMLA leave will run concurrently with leave taken pursuant to the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act and, where applicable, leave taken under the College's Parental Leave policy. (See below).

Requesting FMLA Leave: Employees are expected to provide as much advance notice to Human Resources and their supervisors of the need for a leave as is possible to allow for planning of coverage in the employee's department.

Where the need for leave is foreseeable based on an expected birth, placement for adoption or foster care, or planned medical treatment for a serious health condition of the employee or of a family member, the employee must provide the College at least 30 days advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin. If 30 days notice is not practicable, such as because of a lack of knowledge of approximately when leave will be required to begin, a change in circumstances, or a medical emergency, notice must be given as soon as practicable.

Applications for Leave of Absence are available from the Human Resources Office. (The application indicates the necessary documentation required depending upon the type of leave requested.) (link LOA form) Faculty may obtain leave information from the Office of the Dean of the College.

Certification from a qualified health care provider will be required for approval of a leave due to the employee's own serious health condition or to care for the employee's seriously-ill spouse, son, daughter, or parent. Copies of the U.S. Department of Labor's Form for Certification of Health Care Provider are available in the Human Resources Office for this purpose. Such certification should be provided before the leave begins (or in as timely a manner as possible) and should include:

    The date on which the illness or condition began;
    The estimated duration of the condition;
    A statement that the illness or condition warrants the participation of the employee to provide care; and,
    In the case of intermittent leave, the dates and duration of treatments to be given.

The College may require that a second medical opinion be obtained. This evaluation is done at the expense of the College and must be obtained from a health care provider who is not employed by the College. In the event of conflicting opinions, the College may ask for a third and final opinion (at the expense of the College) to offer a binding decision.

Additional certification may be requested for any extension of a leave period beyond the dates originally approved.

Continuation of Benefits During FMLA Leave: Health and dental plan coverage (and life insurance coverage for those eligible) continue during FMLA periods. The employee will continue to be responsible for the employee portion of the premium while on FMLA leave.

Under IRS rules, contributions by Wellesley College to pension plans are not allowed during leaves without pay.

Use of Vacation, Sick, or Personal Leave During FMLA Leave: The College requires that the employee use any accrued, unused vacation leave, personal leave, or (in the case of the employee's own serious health condition, or that of their dependent child, parent, or for whom they are responsible) accrued sick leave as part or all of the 12-week period. (link to sick leave)

You will not accrue or be entitled to paid sick leave or paid vacation while on unpaid FMLA leave.

Conditions of Return from FMLA Leave: At least one week prior to their date of return employees are expected to notify their supervisor and Human Resources. If the FMLA leave was for the employee's own medical condition, upon return from leave the employee must present certification from the employee's health care provider that the employee is able to resume work.

At the completion of the approved leave period, an employee will be reinstated to his or her former position or an equivalent position within the College. However, this guarantee of restoration shall not apply to certain highly compensated employees, if necessary to avoid substantial and grievous economic injury to the College's operation.

Questions relating to the provisions and eligibility requirements for FMLA leave should be directed to the Benefits Office.

Approved Sick Leave, Short-term Disability Leave, Parental Leave and MMLA leave all run concurrently with Family and Medical Leave. At the completion of an approved FMLA leave period, the employee will be reinstated to his or her former position or an equivalent position within the College. However, the College does not guarantee positions beyond the 12 week FMLA period.

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3-2 Sick Leave

Sick leave is a benefit granted to all regular employees who work at least half-time. It is to be used during periods of illness, for non-work related accidents, for maternity leave, or when needed to care for dependent children, parent, or spouse who is ill. A doctor or dentist appointment which cannot be scheduled outside of regular working hours can be charged to sick leave.

Sick leave is not paid until it is earned. Full-time employees will accrue paid sick leave on the basis of one day per month of employment completed, to a maximum of 130 days. Employees who work half-time or more will accrue sick leave in proportion to the number of hours worked relative to a 35 hour work week. Part-time employees (those that work less than half-time) are not eligible to earn paid sick leave. Academic year employees will accrue sick leave only during the 9 or 10 months in which they work. Any absence in excess of your accrued leave will be unpaid as permitted by applicable regulations. You do not earn sick leave during periods of absence without pay which last more than one month. Employees may not use paid sick leave during their first 90 days of employment.

Employees do not receive pay for any accrued but unused sick time either during the course of their employment or upon termination except for those employees with at least 10 years of service who retire at age 62 or older. Those employees are entitled to be paid for one-half of unused accumulated sick leave up to a maximum of 25 days, prorated for employees working less than full-time, full-year.

Sick leave runs concurrently with Family and Medical Leave.

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3-3 Short-Term Disability

Eligibility: Administrative employees whose regular work schedule is a least half-time for at least nine months per year are eligible for short-term disability benefits after completion of one year of continuous service. (link Sick Time and FMLA)

Benefit: Short-term disability pays 50% of regular wages for benefit eligible employees, calculated on an hourly basis, for a maximum of 26 weeks for any single period of eligible disability, or in any 52-week period. Under the College's Short-Term Disability plan, an employee is eligible to receive no more than 26 weeks of short-term disability pay within any one-year period. Before being eligible to receive short term disability pay, you must have exhausted all of your accumulated sick leave, and provided medical certification of your disability. The College, based on the Certification of Health Care Provider will determine if your disability allows you to be eligible for short term disability pay. There is an eight-day waiting period before disability payments begin unless you are hospitalized on your first day of eligibility; in that case, payments may begin immediately.

Short-term disability benefits cease if you become eligible for Social Security Disability benefits or for Long-term Disability Insurance (full-time employees only). Benefits will be paid only for periods during which you would have otherwise worked. College contributions to health and/or dental insurance will continue as will payments for non-contributory life insurance and Long-term Disability Insurance for eligible employees. While on short-term disability leave, you will not accrue or be entitled to paid sick leave, paid personal leave or vacation.

This leave runs concurrently with any available Family and Medical Leave. At the completion of an approved FMLA leave period, the employee will be reinstated to his or her former position or an equivalent position within the College. However, the College does not guarantee positions beyond the 12 week FMLA period.

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3-4 Long-Term Disability

Most absences from work due to illness or accident are of relatively short duration; however, some disabilities may last longer. The College maintains a group Long-term Disability Insurance Plan with a commercial insurance carrier. Employees may request a copy of the Long-term Disability Insurance policy documents from the Human Resource Office. The policy and plan documents govern the terms of the insurance coverage. The descriptions set forth in the handbook are intended to provide a summary only, and these descriptions do not supersede, modify or replace the terms contained in the policy documents. Also, decisions regarding whether an individual's disability is covered under the policy are made by the insurance carrier and not by the College.

Definition of Long-term Disability: Currently, the Plan defines total disability as the "inability of the employee, by reason of sickness, bodily injury, or pregnancy to engage in any occupation for which the employee is reasonably fitted by education, training, or experience." Each situation is fact specific. Not all medical or mental health situations are considered "total disability" under this definition. The insurance company (not the College) will make a determination as to whether an employee's situation constitutes a disability under its Plan. It is the employee's responsibility to complete and submit necessary paperwork to the insurance carrier on a timely basis.

Eligibility: All regular full-time administrative employees are eligible for participation in the Plan after completing 6 months of continuous employment. You will be automatically enrolled in the Plan on the 1st day of the month following 6 months of continuous full-time employment.

If you change your status from full-time to half-time or part-time your long-term disability coverage will cease.

Definition of Total Disability: Total disability under this program is the "inability of the employee, by reason of sickness, bodily injury, or pregnancy to engage in any occupation for which the employee is reasonably fitted by education, training, or experience."

Cost: The College pays the entire cost of the Long-term Disability Plan.

Termination of Employment: Your coverage ceases upon the last day of employment.

Disability Insurance at Retirement

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3-5 Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA)

A female employee who has been employed by the College for at least three (3) consecutive months as a full-time employee is eligible for an unpaid leave of absence not to exceed eight weeks for the purpose of giving birth or for adopting a child under the age of eighteen or for adopting a child under the age of twenty-three if the child is mentally or physically disabled. The employee must give at least two (2) weeks' notice to the College of her anticipated date of departure and intention to return. The employee shall be restored to her previous, or a similar, position with the same status, pay, length of service credit and seniority, wherever applicable, as of the date of her leave, unless other employees of equal seniority and status in the same or similar position have been laid off due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions affecting employment during the period of such leave.

Use of Vacation, Sick and Personal days:

A. Use of accrued but unused vacation or personal time: Employers cannot require an employee to use her accrued paid leave or personal time concurrently with all or part of her maternity leave under the MMLA, even if such requirement is imposed upon similarly situated person who take leave for other reasons.

B. Use of sick days: An employer may not require an employee to use her accrued sick leave for any part of her maternity leave under the MMLA that satisfies the employer's sick leave policy, even if the employer requires its employees to use accrued sick leave for other types of absences that satisfy the employer's policy.

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3-6 Parental Leave

Eligibility: Administrative employees whose regular work schedule is at least half-time for at least nine months per year are eligible for paid parental leave benefits in accordance with this policy after completion of one continuous year of service.

Benefits: An eligible employee who gives birth or who is a primary caretaker of a newly adopted child under the age of eighteen or a child under the age of twenty-three if the child is mentally or physically disabled is eligible for six consecutive weeks leave with normal pay and benefits during the period surrounding the birth or adoption. For purposes of this policy, a "primary caretaker" shall be that person who takes primary responsibility for the care of an infant or child. In order to exercise the primary caretaker benefit, a staff member must declare via a health care certification and medical leave of absence form that she or he is the primary caretaker. This policy depends upon, and assumes, the good faith of its participants. Leave benefits will be paid only for periods in which the employee would otherwise have worked. Both FMLA leave and MMLA leave will run concurrently with Parental Leave to the extent the employee is eligible for leave under those Acts.

An eligible employee whose spouse gives birth or who is a primary caretaker of a newly adopted child under the age of eighteen or a child under the age of twenty-three if the child is mentally or physically disabled is eligible for one week leave with normal pay and benefits during the period surrounding the birth or adoption.

If a birth mother is disabled from returning to her job after the expiration of Parental Leave, accrued paid sick time may be used. If the birth mother is also on Maternity Leave and/or FMLA leave, use of any accrued sick time, vacation and/or personal days through the expiration of those leaves is governed by the MMLA and FMLA policies. If the birth mother remains disabled from returning to her job at the conclusion of her Parental, Maternity and/or FMLA leaves, she may utilize any remaining accrued paid leave and should apply for short-term disability benefits, if eligible. If not eligible for short-term disability benefits, the employee may request an unpaid personal leave. (See below).

College contributions to health and/or dental benefits in which the employee was already enrolled would continue for 12 weeks to the extent provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

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3-7 Personal Leave

The granting of an unpaid leave of absence for reasons not expressly stated elsewhere in this handbook is at the sole discretion of the College. The employee must have completed one year of continuous service in order to request such a leave. The College cannot guarantee that an employee who goes on unpaid leave will be returned to his/her former position or its equivalent. Failure to return when leave expires will be considered automatic voluntary resignation from employment.

Requests for unpaid personal leave must be submitted in writing to your supervisor. The length of the leave and reason must be stated. Any leave granted will be limited to an initial leave not to exceed three months. An employee may then request an extension of the leave by submitting to the Senior Staff division head and the Director of Human Resources another written request for an extension stating the length of and the reason for the extended leave request. Once you receive initial approval, a Request for Leave of Absence form must be completed. Have the form signed by your supervisor and submit it to the Human Resources Office. This form must be completed for all personal leaves except funeral leave and jury duty.

All accrued vacation time must be used prior to the start of an unpaid personal leave of absence.

While on unpaid personal leave you are responsible for the full premium (both the employee and the College portion) payment for benefits you were enrolled in as of the initial date of that unpaid leave.

You will not accrue paid sick leave or paid vacation while on unpaid personal leave.

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3-8 Worker’s Compensation

Worker's Compensation is a type of disability insurance that covers you for injuries you may incur while on the job or while performing a job-related function required by the College.

If you are in an accident while at work, even though no injury may occur, you must report the accident to your supervisor immediately. An Accident Report and Treatment Form must be completed, signed by your supervisor, and submitted to the Human Resources Office within 24 hours of the accident.

Should you be injured during the accident and need to seek medical assistance, you will be referred to a local occupational medicine program. Should your injury result in time off from work, you may be eligible to receive Worker's Compensation. An employee unable to work for five consecutive calendar days or more receives (in lieu of lost wages) compensation in accordance with rates set by law, plus an allowance for dependents. This payment is non-taxable. If the loss of time is fewer than six days, the employee may use accumulated sick leave days. If you have accumulated sick leave, you may submit a written request to the Human Resources Office to use your sick leave to offset the difference between your Worker's Compensation and your normal pay. You are responsible for the payment of premiums for College benefits while out on Workers' Compensation leave.

Absence resulting from a Worker's Compensation accident is subject to limitations. If your employment with the College at the time of the accident is:

    Less than 8 consecutive years, the maximum leave is 18 months.
    8 or more consecutive years but less than 15 consecutive years, the maximum leave is 2 years.
    15 or more consecutive years, the maximum leave is 30 months.

If you are unable to return to work after your maximum allowable leave, your employment with the College will terminate. This termination will not affect your ability to continue to receive Worker's Compensation disability pay.

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3-9 Small Necessities Leave (SNLA)

Definition: In accordance with Massachusetts law, the College provides twenty-four (24) hours of "small necessities" leave in a 12-month rolling period to all eligible employees for the purpose of:

A) participating in school activities directly related to the educational advancement of a son or daughter of the employee, such as parent-teacher conferences or interviewing for a new school;

B) accompanying a son or daughter of the employee to routine medical or dental appointments, such as check-ups or vaccinations; or,

C) accompanying an elderly relative of the employee to routine medical or dental appointments or appointments for other professional services related to the elder's care, such as interviewing nursing or group homes.

Eligibility: Employees are eligible for small necessities leave if they have completed twelve (12) months of service prior to commencement of leave, have worked at least 1,250 hours in the twelve (12) months prior to the leave, and have not taken twenty-four (24) hours of small necessities leave in the twelve (12) months prior to the commencement of leave.

Benefit: Small necessities leave generally is unpaid, however eligible employees may use accrued vacation time to attend school activities or accrued sick time to accompany a child or parent to a medical appointment in order to receive pay for small necessities leave. An employee is entitled to small necessities leave in addition to leave for which he or she may be eligible under FMLA.

Eligible employees must make requests for small necessities leave to their supervisors at least seven (7) days in advance of the foreseeable events and as soon as possible for unforeseeable events. When a small necessities leave ends, the employee will be reinstated to the same position so long as the small necessities leave did not exceed twenty-four (24) hours.

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3-10 Military Leave

If you leave the College to enter military service, or if as a reservist you are placed on active duty, you may be granted a military leave of absence. This leave entitles you to be away from the College for active service and to return without a break in your seniority or other benefits in accordance with Massachusetts and Federal law.

Employees who learn that they must attend military training must notify the Human Resources Office in writing, in advance of their training, of the expected duration of the training and their anticipated date of return. You must also submit a Request for Leave of Absence Form to the Human Resources Office. If you participate in annual military training, you may receive a military pay differential. The pay differential is the amount, if any, by which the employee's normal base pay for the two-week period exceeds any pay received for such military training duty for the same period. It is your responsibility to submit documentary proof of this military training. To qualify for the military pay differential you must present a statement from your branch of the service indicating the rate and total amount of wages paid for the training period.

You also have the option of using accrued vacation time while away for military training. If you choose this option, you will receive vacation pay, in addition to the military pay differential.

Employees called to active duty must notify the Human Resources Office in writing before they leave for active duty of their expected dates of leave from and return to the College. An employee may be eligible for reemployment to the position that the employee held prior to entering the armed forces, or to a position of similar seniority, status and pay, provided that:

    The employee was discharged or released under honorable conditions;
    The employee is qualified for the job;
    The employer's circumstances have not so changed as to make it impossible or unreasonable to rehire the person;
    The employee's total service in the armed forces is no more than four years (except for additional amounts required by law); and
    The employee applies for reemployment within the time limits specified by law, ordinarily 90 days from the date of discharge from military service.

Re-employed persons are considered to have been on a leave of absence during their period of military service and are eligible for all benefits offered to others returning from a leave of absence.

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3-11 Bereavement Leave

The College provides paid leave for you to attend the funeral of an immediate family member. The length of time allowed for the funeral leave is normally 3 days, but may vary as determined by your supervisor depending on the distance you must travel and the amount of responsibility you must assume. The total leave cannot exceed 5 consecutive working days.

For purposes of this policy, your immediate family is defined to include the following: mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, spouse, sister, brother, child, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, or anyone related by blood to you who lives in the same home.

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3-12 Jury Duty

A leave of absence will be granted if you are required to serve as a juror or to appear as a witness in a court case in which you are not a party. You must notify your supervisor immediately upon receipt of your selection notice. Upon completion of your service, you must furnish the Human Resources Office with a written statement from an appropriate court official indicating the dates and times of your appearance or service and the amount of remuneration received. You will be compensated at your regular straight time pay for your first three days of jury duty. The employee is expected to report to work for all or part of the day that is not occupied by jury duty, not to exceed your normal workday.

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