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The Administrative Policies

TAP NO.15: SICK LEAVE, SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM DISABILITY BENEFITS


The purpose of Sick Leave, Short-Term, and Long-Term Disability benefits is to provide income protection for employees who are too ill to work or who have sustained an injury that prevents them from performing their job on a temporary or more permanent basis. Sick Leave and Disability benefits are based on the employee's employment classification. (Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement should refer to the contract.)

The Offices of Human Resource Management is responsible for the interpretation and application of this policy and for working with individual supervisors to establish departmental guidelines and procedures. Due to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the possibility of Long-Term Disability claims, and to assist with any special accommodations for a return to work, the Disability Claims Manager in the Office of Human Resource Management must be notified as soon as possible if an employee's absence exceeds or can be expected to exceed 3 consecutive days. Refer to TAP No. 23: Leaves of Absence: Family and Medical Leave, Unpaid Sick and Personal Leave. The Disability Claims Manager can be reached at 412-396-6677.

In the event of an absence due to any compensable, work-related injury, the total compensation received by the injured employee through Workers' Compensation and these disability plans cannot exceed the total wages or salary the employee would have earned absent the injury. See TAP No. 24, Workers' Compensation.

Departments are responsible for establishing their own procedures for employees to follow in order to request time off. However, in general, the employee is responsible for calling the supervisor, department head, or other designated department representative. The supervisor or department head is responsible for remaining in contact with the employee: to establish the reason for requesting time off, projected return to work date, requirements under Family and Medical Leave Act, and to address any work related issues. Misuse or abuse of paid sick leave benefits will lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

A. ADMINISTRATIVE/PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES

SHORT-TERM DISABILITY

1. Salary will continue for occasional absences due to sickness or injury providing proper notification is given to the immediate supervisor. Verification of illness or injury will be required for absences of three or more consecutive days. In some instances medical documentation may be required to substantiate the employee's inability to perform work or time is missed on an intermittent basis.

2. For employees with less than one year of service, salary will be continued during periods of continuous or intermittent absence due to illness or injury for a maximum period of 10 working days with the approval of the senior department head. For sick leave beyond the 10 working days, the time missed will be unpaid. Refer to TAP No. 12: DUFlex Benefit Plan for information regarding benefit continuation and premium payment.

3. Employees with one or more years of full-time, continuous service are eligible to receive full salary continuance for up to a maximum of 26 weeks of absence, including any intermittent time off, during any rolling 18-month period. If any time is missed for medical reasons, either consecutively or intermittently, after the 26-week benefit is exhausted, it will be considered unpaid sick leave. Refer to TAP No. 12: DUFlex Benefit Plan for information regarding benefit continuation and premium payment.

4. In all instances, payment for absences in excess of 2 weeks requires the approval of the appropriate Divisional Vice President or the President.

5. Employees may be eligible for Long-Term Disability benefits upon completion of their elimination period of 180 days. The disability period will be considered continuous if disability stops for 30 days or less during the elimination period. The days that employees are not disabled will not count towards the elimination period. Refer to section E of this policy for instructions on how to apply for long-term disability.

6. Reinstatement of benefit: An employee who exhausts the short-term paid leave benefit may be reinstated for the benefit according to the following conditions:

• One year after the employee returns from Long Term Disability.
• One year after the benefit is exhausted and the employee returns to work regardless if the employee was on or eligible to apply for LTD. (The one year period begins upon the return to work.)
• The reinstated benefit will be based on time worked in the previous 12 months.

B. NON-EXEMPT SUPPORT STAFF

SHORT-TERM DISABILITY

1. Employees having less than 10 years of continuous service will accrue paid sick leave at the rate of 1 day per month worked. Employees having 10 or more years of service will accrue paid sick leave on the basis of 1.5 days per month worked. All employees may accrue paid sick leave to a maximum of 90 days. Employees will begin accruing their sick leave during their 90-day Introductory and Review Period but will not be able to use any accrued time until they surpass the Introductory and Review Period.

2. Employees having accrued in excess of 90 days prior to the adoption of the policy revision of 7/1/95 will retain their accumulated sick leave.

3. Sick leave does not accrue during periods of absence over 30 consecutive days. Upon a return to work from an extended absence, sick leave will be prorated based on the actual time worked in a month versus the number of work days in that month.

4. The use of sick leave for income protection during periods of occasional absence due to illness or injury is based on the approval of the immediate supervisor and in line with any departmental guidelines that are established regarding proper call-off procedures and/or proper documentation of reasons for the absences. Sick leave is not to be used for any other purpose.

5. Employees may be eligible for Long-Term Disability benefits upon completion of their elimination period of 90 days. The disability period will be considered continuous if disability stops for 30 days or less during the elimination period. The days that employees are not disabled will not count towards the elimination period. In all cases, accrued sick leave must be exhausted prior to the payments of any benefits under the Long-Term Disability Plan. Refer to section E of this memorandum for instructions on how to apply for long-term disability.

6. The following provisions will apply in the administration of sick leave benefits:

a. Payment of sick leave is based on an employee's salary at the time leave begins. Paid holidays, which occur during paid sick leave, will be paid as holidays and time will not be deducted from accumulated sick leave. Employees on unpaid leave will not receive holiday pay for holidays, which occur during that leave.

b. Verification of illness or injury will be required for absences of three or more consecutive days. In some instances medical documentation may be required to substantiate the employee's inability to perform work or when time is missed on an intermittent basis.

c. Sick leave may be used under the following conditions when a member of the employee's immediate family is seriously ill or disabled, as eligible for and as described in TAP No. 23, Leaves of Absence: Family and Medical Leave and Personal Leave.

1. The family member requires the employee's care and attendance.
2. Physician's documentation certificate is required.
3. There is no other responsible adult member of the family who can assume such care of the patient.
4. The time chargeable to paid sick leave should not exceed 5 working days per calendar year.

d. Full-time, 12-month employees: Personal leave time of 3 days is granted if no sick leave or unpaid leave time is taken during the calendar year, 2 days is granted if no more than 2 days are taken, and 1 day is granted if either 3 or 4 days are taken. Employees must have worked during the entire calendar year to be eligible for personal leave. (This personal time must be taken in the calendar year following entitlement.)

e. Full-time, 9- or 10-month employees: Personal leave time of 2 days is granted if no sick leave or unpaid leave time is taken during the 9 or 10 months scheduled to work during the calendar year and 1 day is granted if no more than 2 days are taken. No personal days are granted if 3 or more days are taken. Employees must have worked during the entire 9 or 10 months as scheduled during the calendar year to be eligible for personal leave. (This personal time must be taken in the calendar year following entitlement.)

f. Employees hired prior to 7/1/99 may be paid for any accrued and unused sick leave as outlined below upon their bona fide retirement from the University. Although employees will still continue to earn sick days as described in Section B 1, the maximum number of days considered for payment under this provision will be the number of days in the employee's sick bank as of 7/1/99. Payment will be based on their years of service as of 7/1/99 and according to the following schedule:

Service as of 7/1/99:

25 or more years of service Full Payment
20 to 25 years of service 75% Payment
15 to 20 years of service 50% Payment
10 to 15 years of service 25% Payment
5 to 10 years of service 15% Payment
Less than 5 years of service 5% Payment

A bona fide retirement is defined as a minimum age of 62 with 10 years of continuous, full-time service. In order to properly budget for this payment, employees planning to retire should provide a one year notice of their intention to retire to their department head.

This benefit is not available to employees hired on or after 7/1/99.

g. Repeated and patterned abuse of sick leave privileges or excessive absenteeism may be cause for disciplinary action, which may include but not limited to medical documentation for intermittent leave, loss of pay, suspension or dismissal at the discretion of the head of the department in which the individual is employed.

C. FACULTY

SHORT-TERM DISABILITY

1. Salary will continue for occasional absences due to sickness or injury providing proper notification is given to the Dean or Department Chair. Verification of illness or injury will be required for absences of three or more consecutive days. In some instances medical documentation may be required to substantiate the employee's inability to perform work or when time is missed on an intermittent basis.

2. For faculty with less than one year of service, salary will be continued during periods of continuous or intermittent absence due to documented illness or injury for a maximum period of 10 days with the approval of the Dean. For sick leave beyond the 10 days, the time missed will be unpaid. Refer to TAP No. 12: DUFlex Benefit Plan for information regarding benefit continuation and premium payment.

Faculty with one or more years of full-time, continuous service are eligible to receive full salary continuance for up to a maximum of 26 weeks of absence, including any intermittent time off, during any rolling 18-month period. If any time is missed for medical reasons, either consecutively or intermittently, after the 26-week benefit is exhausted, it will be considered unpaid sick leave.

For 9-month faculty and for the purposes of this benefit:
• 180-day salary shall be 6/9ths of the academic year salary.
• Periods of disability outside the 9-month academic calendar, when the faculty is not expected to perform any services, will not count towards the 180-day elimination period.

3. In all instances, payment for absences in excess of two weeks requires the approval of the Provost.

4. Faculty may be eligible for Long-Term Disability benefits upon completion of their elimination period of 180 days. The disability period will be considered continuous if disability stops for 30 days or less during the elimination period. The days that faculty are not disabled will not count towards the elimination period. Refer to section E of this memorandum for instructions on how to apply for long-term disability.

5. Faculty teaching in summer school may be paid for absence due to illness which does not require the hiring of a substitute.

6. Reinstatement of benefit: An employee who exhausts the short-term paid leave benefit may be reinstated for the benefit according to the following conditions:
• One year after the employee returns from Long Term Disability.
• One year after the benefit is exhausted and the employee returns to work regardless if the employee was on or eligible to apply for LTD. (The one year period begins upon the return to work.)
• The reinstated benefit will be based on time worked in the previous 12 months worked.

D. REQUIRED WORK PERFORMANCE

Employees are required to perform essential job functions with or without accommodation upon the return to work after short-term leave or while working when intermittent leave is required.

E. LONG-TERM DISABILITY

1. After 1 year of full-time, continuous service, faculty and administrative/professional employees are eligible for long-term disability upon completion of their elimination period of 180 days. The disability period will be considered continuous if disability stops for 30 days or less during the elimination period. The days that employees are not disabled will not count towards the elimination period.

2. After 1 year of full-time, continuous service, non-exempt support staff are eligible for long-term disability upon completion of their elimination period of 90 days. The disability period will be considered continuous if disability stops for 30 days or less during the elimination period. The days that employees are not disabled will not count towards the elimination period.

3. Long term disability benefits require the completion and submission of claim forms to the University's long term disability provider. Employees are responsible for obtaining the proper claim forms for long term disability. The medical portion of the claim form must be forwarded to their medical provider and the employee portion must be completed and returned to Long-Term Disability insurance carrier.

4. The long-term disability plan, including explanation of benefits and claim submission deadlines, can be found in the Duquesne University Faculty and Staff Long-Term Disability Plan document located at http://duq.edu/work-at-du/benefits/required-notices.

5. The Benefits Office will review any remaining paid time off and evaluate the requirement to use the time prior to the employee being paid Long Term Disability.

6. Failure to follow any of these procedures may jeopardize eligibility, salary continuance, Long-Term Disability and DUFlex benefits.

F. RIGHT TO RETURN TO SAME OR SIMILAR POSITION AFTER EXTENDED ABSENCE OR CONTINUOUS INTERMITTENT ABSENCE FOR NON-FACULTY AND NON-REPRESENTED STAFF

1. The Family Medical Leave Act requires that an eligible employee returning from a certified Family Medical Leave (up to a 12-week period) be restored to the same or equivalent position. The department is responsible for compliance with this requirement.

2. Administrative/Professional and Non-Exempt Support staff with less than one year of continuous service, who are not eligible for Family Medical Leave and are medically unable to work for an extended period of time or have frequent intermittent leave, may be separated from employment, and the employing department may hire a permanent replacement. Approval from the Division Head and the Director of Human Resource Management is required. Separated employees are offered COBRA for benefits continuation.

3. Administrative/Professional and Non-Exempt Support staff with less than one year of continuous service, who are not eligible for Family Medical Leave and are medically unable to work for an extended period of time or have frequent intermittent leave, may request an unpaid medical leave of absence. All requests for unpaid sick leave should be made to the Department Head approved by the Division Head and coordinated through the Disability Claims Manager. (The Disability Claims Manager is responsible for collecting medical documentation and coordinating the leave through the treating medical provider and the Department Head with the cooperation of the employee.) If the position is not going to be held, termination of employment must be approved by Vice President of Legal Affairs and Director of Human Resources Management. For additional information, refer to TAP No. 12: DUFlex Benefit Plan.

4. For Administrative/Professional and Non-Exempt Support staff with one or more years of service and who were eligible for FMLA but who have exhausted the benefit and met the waiting period qualification to apply for Long Term Disability: The employing department may permanently replace an employee who becomes eligible to apply for Long Term Disability. Approval from the Division Head and the Director of Human Resource Management is required.

5. For Administrative/Professional and Non-Exempt Support staff who qualified once to apply for Long Term Disability, returns to work to the same or similar position, but continues to be medically unable to work on regular basis: Because of the work disruption that can occur, an individual who returns to work after qualifying to apply for LTD (regardless of whether they were approved or not) but continues with intermittent or continuous periods of absences, may be terminated unless they qualify for Family Medical Leave. If they re-qualified for FMLA, the department will be required to hold the position until the Family Medical Leave is exhausted. Approval must be granted by the Division Head and the Director of Human Resource Management prior to termination.

6. For Administrative/Professional and Non-Exempt Support staff: Because of the work disruption that can occur, an individual who has exhausted FMLA but continues with intermittent or continuous periods of absences, may be terminated and the position permanently replaced. Approval must be granted by the Division Head and the Director of Human Resource Management prior to termination.

Eligible employees who are covered by this policy may be entitled to benefits provided by other policies and benefits. Refer to TAPs No. 12: DUFlex Benefit Plan, No. 13 Academic Benefits - Tuition Remission as well as Section D of this policy, which addresses Long Term Disability.
The guidelines presented do not negate the at-will employment status of employees covered by this policy and guidelines.


G. REPRESENTED EMPLOYEES

Employees who are members of labor unions should refer to their bargaining agreements for information concerning sick leave benefits.

H. PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION

1. Refer to TAP No. 12, DUFlex Benefit Plan, for information regarding continuation of DUFlex benefits during short-term or long-term disability leave.

2. Duquesne University reserves the right to administer this benefit and to make changes to this benefit with or without notification.

Rev. 07/2014

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