The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires that the State System of Higher Education provide at least twelve weeks of leave (with or without pay) with benefits within a rolling twelve-month period to employees who have serious health conditions; who become parents through childbirth, adoption, or foster care placement; or who are needed to care for a seriously ill family member, as long as the employee has been employed at least one year (total employment, even if the employment was not continuous) and has been paid for at least 1,250 hours, (which includes regular and overtime hours paid, but excludes holidays and other paid time off) during the previous twelve-month period. Provided below is information about the State System’s sick leave without pay with benefits program. All sick leave without pay used will be designated as leave under the provisions of the FMLA.
Permanent employees are entitled to six months (982.5 hours for employees who work 7.5 hour days, 1,048 hours for employees who work 8.0 hour days, or a prorated amount of hours/days for part-time employees) of sick leave without pay for illness or disability due to a serious health condition. To be eligible for this leave, some union contracts require employees to have at least six months of credited service. Leave time is calculated on an hour-for-hour basis against the hours of entitlement.
Written notification requesting sick leave without pay, along with a doctor’s certificate that provides proof of disability, prognosis, and expected date of return to work, must be submitted in advance if circumstances permit. And, upon return to work, employees must provide a doctor’s certificate releasing the employee to perform full duties.
Before, during, after, or instead of sick leave without pay, employees may use accrued annual, personal, or sick leave, provided the leave would qualify as sick leave without pay. The use of paid leave shall not be included when calculating the sick leave without pay entitlement.
Employees may use leave on an intermittent or reduced-time basis at any time before the initial sick leave without pay entitlement expires. Contact the Office of Human Resources, (724) 357-2431, for details regarding this option.
Upon request and certification from a physician, which provides proof of continuing disability, a prognosis, and expected return to work date, employees who are unable to return to work after the expiration of the initial six-month sick leave without pay entitlement shall be granted an additional six months of sick leave without pay without benefits.
Employees are eligible for a maximum of six months (982.5 hours for employees who work 7.5 hour days, 1,048 hours for employees who work 8.0 days, 131 days for faculty, or a prorated amount of hours/days for part-time employees) of benefits while on sick leave without pay. The benefit entitlement includes both short- and long-term unpaid absences and is cumulative for both sick and parental leave.
The following benefits continue during the entitlement period:
Employees have the right to return to the same position or an equivalent position with regard to pay and skill upon return from leave without pay. Employees who are granted a second six months of sick leave without pay only have the right to return, before or upon the expiration of the second six months, to a vacant position that the employee is qualified for and the university intends to fill. Failure to return to work following the termination of a leave without pay shall subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination effective on the first day after the leave without pay ends.
Questions concerning sick leave without pay or the benefit entitlements while on a leave without pay may be referred to the Office of Human Resources, G-8 Sutton Hall, (724) 357-2431.