Chapter 14: Leave and Leaves of Absence

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This chapter describes policies on leave and leaves of absence for bereavement, holidays, jury duty, sickness, vacation, and living donor status that pertain to faculty. In addition, several other circumstances exist under which a leave of absence might be granted. If circumstances require a faculty member to take a leave of absence from employment, Emory provides appropriate options. These include: Salary Continuation, Medical Leave (Non-FMLA), Leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Military Leave, Personal Leave, Educational Leave, and Administrative Leave. The Human Resources website has further details and explanations of the available options.

For the most part, these policies have been modified in this Emory University Faculty Handbook to apply to faculty and thus are not identical to the policies as stated on the Emory policies website.

14.1 Policy on Bereavement Leave

There is no formal faculty bereavement leave policy. For general guidance, please refer to the Human Resources Staff Policy 4.23 for general information.

14.2 Policy on Holidays

The university observes the following holiday schedule: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. The specific dates for the observance of official holidays will be announced each year. Due to operational needs, some faculty must work on university holidays.

14.3 Policy on Jury Duty Leave

There is no formal faculty jury duty leave policy. For guidance, please refer to the Human Resources Staff Policy 4.26 for general information.

14.4 Sick Leave Practices for Faculty (Full faculty guidance)

Emory does not have a formal sick leave policy for faculty, other than as described in the section on Family and Medical Leave. Faculty members are expected to abide by the sick leave policies of their individual school or college, if they exist. These policies may vary based on faculty title within the individual school or college.

Faculty members should use discretion regarding missing work when a personal or family member's illness, accident or injury, other medical condition, or appointment with a health care provider interferes with their ability to perform their work for a period of less than three days. Illnesses of greater length may be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy. For additional information regarding absences for serious health conditions covered under FMLA, see the FMLA policy. When a faculty member is unable to report for work as scheduled, he/she is expected to notify the department chair (or designee) no later than the beginning of the work schedule on the first day of absence and on succeeding days of absence. When there are predictable circumstances that cause an employee to be absent from work because of a personal or family serious health condition, notification to the department chair (or designee) should be made as far in advance as possible (30 days under FMLA).

14.5 Vacation Leave Practices for Faculty (Full faculty guidance)

Currently no formal universal vacation leave policy exists for faculty. Faculty members are expected to abide by the vacation leave policies of their individual school or college. These policies may vary based on faculty title within the individual school or college.

In general, faculty are expected to schedule any vacation in a manner that minimizes interference with their university-related responsibilities. A faculty member should inform the department chair (or designee) of vacation plans and, in some schools and colleges, seek approval in keeping with the school or college policy. When applicable, faculty are responsible for securing appropriate coverage for responsibilities they will miss while on vacation.

14.6 Living Donor Leave Policy (Full faculty policy, similar to Staff Policy 4.28)

An employee of Emory University who requests time off to serve as a living donor is eligible for paid leave in addition to vacation and sick leave benefits under the living donor leave policy of Emory University. The amount of time off requested will be based on individual medical need, within the limits set forth herein. Faculty members eligible to take time off under this policy will not suffer any loss in income, employment status, length of service, or benefits.

All regular full-time and part-time faculty members are eligible for living donor paid leave. Faculty members are eligible based on individual medical need for up to 30 days of paid leave for solid organ donation or one day of paid leave for a bone marrow donation. Visiting faculty and faculty regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours a week are not eligible for paid time off under this policy. To be paid for time off under this policy, the eligible faculty member must adhere to the following guidelines:

The faculty member must submit a written medical living donor leave request to the immediate supervisor/department manager for approval. The written medical living donor leave request must have the appropriate documentation indicating the medical need from the faculty member's health care practitioner as verification of the upcoming donation and transplant procedure. Living donor leave will be allowed up to the maximum number of days indicated above under the "eligibility section" of this policy based on confirmation of the type of transplant. Time off under this policy will not be counted towards the 12 weeks of leave under FMLA; nor will it be counted as occurrences under the department's respective attendance policy. Any additional time off due to medical reasons that exceed the maximum allowed under the living donor policy will require approval by the department manager based on the applicable Emory University leave eligibility policy; i.e., the FMLA policy. Employees are required to give at least a 30-day advance notice (whenever feasible) when requesting time off under the living donor leave policy.

14.7 Salary Continuation Policy (Policy 4.92)

All regular full-time or part-time faculty who become disabled due to an injury or illness will have full university salary, less payments from worker's compensation, continued for the duration of the period of disability or for six consecutive months, whichever is shorter. If the faculty member's health care provider certifies that the faculty member's disability will not allow him/her to return to full duties within the six-month disability period, the faculty member must apply for disability income through the long-term disability group policy offered by Emory. At the time that disability income benefits begin, salary continuation will end. However, if the faculty member returns to work on a partial basis, university salary will continue on a prorated basis with disability income from the long-term disability group policy. If the faculty member drawing disability income recovers and is released by his/her health care provider to return to work on a part-time or full-time basis, but subsequently becomes disabled from the same medical condition, the faculty member must notify the long-term disability carrier for consideration of returning to disability income payments. No further continuation of university salary will be made if the faculty member becomes disabled again from the same medical condition. The FMLA leave of absence period will run concurrently with the salary continuation period. The faculty member and department must follow the usual FMLA procedures and submit the appropriate paperwork. While university salary continues, all applicable benefits and payroll deductions will continue unless modified or cancelled by the disabled faculty member through an open enrollment or eligible family status change.

14.8 Medical Leave Policy (Non-FMLA) (Full faculty policy, similar to Staff Policy 4.77)

Medical leave (non-FMLA) may be requested by a faculty member for a condition that does not qualify for FMLA.

To access this non-FMLA benefit, a faculty member may request a medical leave of absence for a health condition that renders him/her unable to perform the functions of his/her job, an on the job injury, or an illness contracted while on the job. Eligible employees include regular full-time employees and regular part-time employees who work at least 20 hours per work week, and who are otherwise ineligible for FMLA leave for their own serious health condition or have exhausted FMLA leave. The decision to grant the request is at the discretion of the faculty member's chair or dean, in consultation with Human Resources.

A faculty member must submit a completed Leave of Absence Request online for a medical leave to his/her department management as soon as practical. Authorization from a health care provider must be sent/faxed to Employee Relations in Human Resources and must contain the following information: the date on which the serious health condition began, the probable duration of the condition, the appropriate medical facts about the condition, and a statement that the faculty member is unable to perform the functions of his/her job. When a faculty member is medically unable to request leave or to provide medical confirmation, the department management should request assistance from Employee Relations. A statement from a health care provider verifying the current status of a faculty member's serious health condition may be required by Emory at any time during a medical leave. Before a faculty member may return to work from a medical leave, the faculty member must present documentation from a health care provider to resume all job duties and responsibilities.

Requests for extensions must normally be submitted to the appropriate department manager within a reasonable time before the expiration date of the leave. Medical leave shall be granted based on the statement from a health care provider that the faculty member continues to be medically unable to return to work. The medical documentation must be sent to Employee Relations in Human Resources. Each request for an extension of medical leave will be assessed individually.

Effective January 1, 1998, Emory modified its policy regarding the length of time a faculty member could be on a medical leave. The policy is:

  • For employees who have met the minimum 10-year requirement for years of service to retire on or before the date of medical disability but have not met the minimum age requirement (age 55): Emory allows the employee to continue on leave of absence (LOA) until the time he/she meets the minimum age requirement to retire, to afford the employee the opportunity to retire with benefits. At retirement the employee's health and life benefits transfer from an active employee status to a retiree status. The employee's retirement benefits are the same as other employees retiring without medical disability. When the employee/retiree becomes Medicare-eligible, Medicare coverage becomes primary and the group plan secondary.
  • For employees who do not meet the minimum service requirement for retirement on or before the date of medical disability: The employee can remain on medical leave of absence for 29 months and retain the active employee rate for health and dental coverage; at the end of 29 months, the employee is terminated COBRA is offered (for 29 months) or Medicare eligibility, whichever comes first.

The above provisions do not apply to employees out of work because of worker's compensation injury. These employees are not terminated even if they do not have benefits, unless the employee and Emory reach a settlement.

During a non-FMLA leave of absence, faculty members can continue their employee health and other benefits at the regular employee premium rates. They can also continue the child or spouse Courtesy Scholarship benefits for which they are eligible, or become eligible during the leave. No contributions may be made to the Emory University Retirement Plan by the faculty member or on behalf of the faculty member while he/she is on leave without pay. Further, faculty members are not eligible to accrue paid leave during leave without pay periods. A Human Resources Action Form (eHRAF) must be submitted to Human Resources when a faculty member is on paid or unpaid medical leave (Non-FMLA).

14.9 Family and Medical Leave Act Policy (FMLA) (Policy 4.73)

Eligible faculty members may take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") in a rolling 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. In addition, eligible faculty members may qualify for up to 26 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave under the FMLA in certain situations related to a covered family member's service in the Armed Forces.

Please see the full policy for eligibility details and process. Faculty requesting FMLA leave must refer to the dean of their school or college for guidelines and processing.

Any faculty member who fails to return to work as scheduled after FMLA leave may be subject to dismissal from employment in accordance with the terms of the Statement of Principles Governing Faculty Relationships. Faculty members who exceed their FMLA entitlement without extension(s) of their leave approved under other appropriate leave provisions, may be subject to dismissal from employment in accordance with the terms of the Statement of Principles Governing Faculty Relationships.

A Human Resources Action Form (eHRAF) must be submitted by the Department to Human Resources when a faculty member is on paid and unpaid FMLA. An eHRAF does not need to be submitted for faculty members on intermittent leave. An online FMLA leave request must be completed and submitted by the faculty member, chair, or departmental Human Resources representative prior to the submission of a HRAF.

Department chairs should consult with Human Resources immediately upon learning of the faculty member's request (verbally or in writing) for FMLA leave, or of an absence that may qualify for FMLA leave.

If a faculty member meets the FMLA eligibility requirements, he/she will be notified by Human Resources whether the leave is designated as FMLA leave within five business days of receipt of the health care provider, exigency, or other certification. Leaves will be designated as "approved," "not approved," or "additional information needed." Faculty members will be notified when additional information is needed and will have seven calendar days to remedy the deficiency.

14.10 Military Leave Policy (Policy 4.75)

Emory provides military leave to employees in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and Georgia law. USERRA provides guidelines for faculty members who elect military leave and for the prompt reemployment of faculty members who left employment to perform military training or service in one of the Uniformed Services and who have completed such service under honorable conditions.

14.11 Personal Leave Policy (Full faculty guidance; see similar Staff Policy 4.78)

There is no formal faculty personal leave policy. For guidance, please refer to the Human Resources staff policy 4.78 for general information. Faculty members are expected to abide by the personal leave policies of their individual school or college.

14.12 Educational Leave Policy (Full faculty policy, similar to Staff Policy 4.74)

There is no formal faculty educational leave policy. For guidance, please refer to the Human Resources staff policy 4.74 for general information.

14.13 Administrative Leave Policy (Full faculty policy, similar to Staff Policy 4.72)

Department management may place a faculty member on administrative leave with or without pay to provide time to investigate and evaluate the circumstances regarding a pending action or allegation, such as noncompliance with organizational policies or requirements (e.g., sexual harassment, theft). The department may consult with Human Resources prior to any administrative leave action. The investigation should be conducted promptly. Where the investigation shows that the faculty member did not engage in misconduct, the faculty member may return to work with no finding of fault and receive back pay if warranted. When the investigation indicates that the faculty member is involved and disciplinary action is warranted, principles of the Statement of Principles Governing Faculty Relationships will apply, if suspension or termination is warranted.

14.14 Maternity Leave Policy (Full faculty policy)

The university recognizes that pregnancy and childbirth are natural processes and that each situation varies according to the needs of the particular birth mother. For that reason, and in keeping with its legal obligations, the university provides leave with full salary and continuation of benefits to any full-time faculty member during the period for which her physician certifies that she is unable to work, for a maximum of six months from the date the leave commences. Leave under these circumstances is treated like leave granted for any other non-occupational medical condition. Accordingly, after the first six months, depending on the nature of the condition and the circumstances surrounding the leave, the faculty member may be eligible to apply to the university's long-term disability insurance carrier for payments equal to a percentage of her current salary. An inflation rider for long-term disability insurance is available to those employees who elect to purchase it. Any faculty member who becomes pregnant and desires maternity leave is advised to consult with her department chair and dean as soon as is practical, so as to allow the university the maximum opportunity to provide for coverage of her duties during leave. Maternity leave may also qualify as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), in which case it would count against the eligible faculty member's annual 12-week FMLA entitlement.

14.15 Parental Leave Policy (Full faculty policy)

The university desires to assist faculty members with their desire to balance professional obligations with parental responsibilities. Accordingly it has chosen to make "parental leave" with full salary and benefits available, under the conditions set forth below, to those full-time faculty members who can certify that they serve as primary caregivers for one or more of their children below the age of five years. Leave may also be available to primary caregivers with any dependent children over the age of five who suffer from a serious illness or other condition that creates extraordinary parenting demands. A faculty member with teaching responsibilities who is otherwise eligible for parental leave benefits may request relief from those responsibilities for up to one full teaching load during any single term, or for up to one-half load during two terms. The faculty member will be expected to remain in residence and to continue departmental service and advising, as well as scholarly activities during the affected term(s). Leave under these circumstances will customarily be compensated at full pay. A faculty member with no teaching responsibilities who is otherwise eligible for parental leave benefits may request relief from some of his or her duties for a continuous period not to exceed two terms. The dean of the school or college within which the faculty member is employed will consider making such reasonable relief available as would be comparable to the relief from teaching described above. Such leave may, at the dean's discretion, be compensated at full pay. Under such circumstances, a faculty member may take an additional semester of parental leave at a reduced level of compensation. These circumstances are to be approved by the dean. Any faculty member desiring parental leave is advised to submit, with as much advance notice as possible, a written request to his or her dean with a copy to the department chair. The request should certify that the faculty member is a primary caregiver for a child below the age of five years. Parental leave may also qualify as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), in which case it would count against the eligible faculty member's annual 12-week FMLA entitlement.

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