Other Leaves of Absence
Date: October 2013
Employees may request leaves of absence for a variety of reasons, including those circumstances outlined in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Consistent with its obligations under state and federal law, the College retains complete discretion whether to grant or deny an employee's request for a leave of absence, and to define the terms and conditions of the leave. Faculty members are also subject to the applicable provisions of the Faculty Handbook . Any absence of two weeks or more, whether paid or unpaid, requires that a Leave of Absence be requested. Leaves of Absence fall into the following categories:
* Work-related illnesses and injuries (Workers' Compensation)
* Family Medical Leave
* Parental Leave
* Victims of Violence Leave
* Sabbatic Leaves
* Professional/Educational Leaves
* Military Leaves
Requesting a Leave of Absence. An employee should request a Leave of Absence at the earliest possible time that the need for a leave is anticipated. Requests for a leave of absence should be made in writing, using the Leave of Absence form available from Human Resources. This form is used to gather information about the purpose, timing, and expected length of a leave of absence, as well as any necessary approvals required in granting the leave. It also contains important information about continuing College benefits during a leave of absence. Faculty members request leaves of absence in a letter to the Dean of Academic Affairs.
It is the employee's responsibility to keep the College informed of his/her status during a leave of absence. Any changes in the employee's status while on leave, including an anticipated need for a leave extension, must be reported to the employee's department head and to Human Resources by updating the leave of absence form. Faculty members must request extensions through the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs.
Consistent with its obligations under state and federal law, the College retains complete discretion whether to grant or deny an employee's request for a leave of absence, and to define the terms and conditions of the leave. Faculty members are also subject to the applicable provisions of the Faculty Handbook.
Intermittent Leave, Reduced Schedule and Alternative Position. Generally, a leave of absence is expected to be taken in a specific block of time, unless otherwise required by law or approved by the College. If an intermittent leave or reduced work schedule is approved, the College reserves the right to transfer the employee to an alternative position which better meets the College's needs and allows accommodation for the intermittent leave.
Returning to Work following a Leave of Absence. An employee is expected to return to work immediately following the conclusion of an approved Leave of Absence. Employment will automatically terminate if the employee does not return to work on the first normal work day following the last day of approved leave of absence, unless a request for extension has been approved in writing by the College prior to the leave expiration date. The extension must be approved by the department head or the senior officer and forwarded to Human Resources. Any employee who is away from work for any reason whatsoever for a period of time beyond the approved leave of absence period will be separated from the College's payroll and will be notified of any benefit conversion privileges. A leave of absence (other than a sabbatical or professional leave) may be automatically canceled and employment terminated if the employee begins work elsewhere.
Work-related Injury or Illness
Pay during a Medical Leave for a Work-related Injury or Illness. If an employee is injured in a work-related incident, the employee should use accrued sick time for the first seven days of absence. If sufficient sick time is not available, the employee should use vacation or saved holiday time. If incapacity continues, lost time benefit payments may be payable from Worker’s Compensation beginning on day 8. If an employee's incapacity lasts more than 14 days, then lost time benefit payments may be paid retroactive to the first day. Wages are covered at 66% of after tax average weekly wages (which works out to be less than regular pay if the employee was able to return to work, even in a limited capacity). The employee may not draw upon sick time while receiving workers' compensation payments for lost time, except in the case of employees whose gross earnings exceed the state maximum covered earnings, when sick time may be used to supplement workers' compensation benefits up to a combined benefit of 66% of after-tax wages. If for some reason the workers' compensation insurance carrier denies the claim and withholds payment, the employee may draw upon available sick time and vacation, and then reimburse the College should the carrier subsequently pay for lost time. If time from work is lost (a full day or more) due to a work-related illness or injury, a doctor’s release must be provided to the department head and to Human Resources in order to return to work.
Benefits during a Leave for a Work-Related Injury or Illness. While the employee remains in paid status, and for the first six months of unpaid medical leave, the College will continue to pay its usual share of insurance premiums and the employee is responsible for his/her usual contributions toward insurance premiums. Retirement contributions, holiday pay, and vacation and sick time accruals continue while the employee remains in paid status, based on hours paid and wages or salary received. Retirement contributions, holiday pay, and vacation and sick time accruals are not provided during an unpaid leave.
Coordination with Disability Benefits. Short-term disability is only available for non-work-related accidents.
Return to Work. An employee on a leave of absence due to a work related injury or illness must provide a copy of the current job description to his/her physician for review. To authorize a return to work, the physician must provide a written return-to-work statement to Human Resources and the employee's department head. The statement must be specific in outlining whether the employee is fully capable of returning to a normal work schedule and if not, must itemize any restrictions. If restrictions are in order, the College must be given ample time to consider whether or not it can accommodate the restrictions. Whenever possible, the College will work with Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC, Inc.) to provide accommodation for employees returning with restrictions. When the employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, the College may exercise the option of waiting until the employee has recovered more fully before allowing a return to work.
PARENTAL LEAVE for mothers and fathers
Paid parental leave is available to all employees who have been employed by the College for at least one year of continuous service in a benefits-eligible position at the time they have a child(ren) born or placed for adoption. The paid parental leave options for all eligible employees (options for faculty are outlined below) are either up to 4 weeks of full-time leave at full pay, or up to 8 weeks of leave at half pay, to be taken within 6 months of the birth or placement for adoption. Appropriate documentation must be provided. In general, paid parental leave for birth mothers begins after the disability (medical leave) portion of maternity leave is over.
Paid time off for parental leave is considered part of the 12 weeks time off allowed under the Family Medical Leave Act. At the conclusion of the leave, it is assumed that the employee will resume his/her normal work schedule unless alternative arrangements are made with the department in advance
Given the nature and timing of the teaching responsibilities of the faculty, the paid parental leave options described above can be challenging, both for the individual faculty member and for the College. Accordingly, it is possible for eligible faculty to take paid parental leave in a variety of alternative forms, each of which is designed to provide a reduction in teaching or other responsibilities that is comparable to 4 weeks at full time, but is packaged in ways that are compatible with the semester teaching cycle. With the approval of the Dean, it is possible for a faculty member to begin a parental leave of absence prior to birth/adoption if the birth/adoption is expected early in the semester.
EXTENDING YOUR LEAVE for mothers and fathers
FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a twelve-month period. For mothers, the length of your medical maternity leave may be longer or shorter than 12 weeks. You may elect to return to work as soon as your doctor indicates that you are physically able to do your job (which signals the end of your medical leave). Before returning to work, if you had not done so earlier in your leave, you must provide a note from your doctor indicating that you are physically able to return to your job.
Mothers and fathers may elect to remain out until the 12 weeks of family medical leave expire. Once the twelve weeks of family medical leave expires, you are expected to return to work at your regular schedule unless your leave has been approved for a longer period of time.
VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE LEAVE
Eligibility. In compliance with Maine's law to protect victims of crimes in the workplace, Bowdoin College will provide reasonable and necessary leaves to employees who are victims of violence, assault, sexual assault, and/or stalking, for the employee to:
· Prepare for and attend court proceedings;
· Receive medical treatment; or
· Obtain necessary services to remedy a crisis caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Typically, such leaves will not extend for long periods of time. Depending on the circumstances, the employee may qualify for a different type of leave of absence as well, such as a medical or disability leave when the employee has suffered a serious injury.
An employee should notify his/her supervisor as soon as it is known a leave is necessary. The College reserves the right to require appropriate proof of the need for the leave.
Pay during the Leave. Leave for victims of violence is unpaid, however employees may use available vacation time and non-exempt employees may use any unused personal emergency time as well.
Benefits during the Leave. The College will continue its normal benefits contributions toward insurance benefits during any Victims of Violence leave. College retirement contributions, holiday pay and vacation and sick time accruals continue only while the employee is in paid status.
Return to Work. During a leave, the employee's position will be held open for him or her. Any employee on leave is expected to return to work immediately at the conclusion of the leave.
Eligibility. A sabbatic leave may be granted to eligible members of the faculty in accordance with the Sabbatic Leave Policy outlined in the Faculty Handbook. All sabbatic leaves must be approved by the Dean for Academic Affairs.
PROFESSIONAL / EDUCATIONAL LEAVES
Eligibility. A professional or educational leave may be granted to an employee who has satisfactorily completed the initial adaptation period for administrative and support staff or as otherwise dictated by applicable policies for College employees. Professional or educational leaves of one year or less may be granted by the appropriate department head for senior officer or the purpose of engaging in research, teaching, education, or other activities related to practicing one's profession or enhancing professional development. An employee should request a professional or educational leave of absence at the earliest possible time that the need for a leave is anticipated, but at least 90 days in advance.
Pay during a Professional or Educational Leave. Accrued but unused vacation must be used as part of any professional leave of absence. The remainder of the leave is unpaid.
Benefits during a Professional or Educational Leave. During the first six months of an unpaid professional/educational leave of absence, the employee is responsible for his/her usual contributions to benefit plans. The College continues to make its regular contributions toward all applicable benefit plans during this time. Should the leave extend beyond six months, the employee will become responsible for the full costs of all benefits (including life and disability insurance) on the first day of the month following the end of the initial six month period. Employees must make arrangements with Human Resources to select which benefits will be maintained and billed at full cost prior to the commencement of the leave of absence. To maintain benefits, it is the responsibility of the employee to pay his/her portion of benefits on a monthly basis unless other arrangements have been made. During a professional/educational leave of absence, an employee does not accrue vacation, sick time, or holiday benefits, and College retirement contributions continue only while the employee is in paid status.
Return to Work. Employees who return to work within the guidelines of this policy may expect to be restored to the position they held prior to commencing the leave, or to a comparable one.
Bowdoin College supports employees serving on active duty or as reservists in any branch of the military, including the United States National Guard, Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Maine Army and Air National Guard. The College complies with all federal and state laws regulating any absence from work for the purpose of military service. Reservists may be recalled by the military in a variety of different ways ranging from national defense and wartime activities to domestic emergencies (e.g., hurricane, fire, flood or other disaster). A recall may be “voluntary” (optional for the member) or “involuntary” (mandatory for those recalled). The College reserves the right to amend this policy to insure we continue to comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
Eligibility. A leave of absence will be granted to any employee fulfilling reserve training, drilling and/or annual active duty service requirements. Every effort should be made by the reservist to notify his/her supervisor and Human Resources in advance of expected absences for military service. In emergency call-up situations, short notice will be taken into consideration. A copy of the reservist's military orders should be provided to the supervisor and to Human Resources for personnel record keeping and contact purposes.
Pay during a Military Leave. Generally, reservists are required to complete a two-week period of active duty annually. Absence due to annual or emergency reserve duty or active duty may be taken as either paid vacation time (if the employee has vacation available and chooses to take it) or as an unpaid leave of absence.
Benefits during a Military Leave. During a military leave of absence, to the extent applicable, benefits such as vacation and sick time accrual and length of College service continue to accrue. The College continues to make its regular contributions toward all applicable benefit plans for up to six months. Should the leave extend beyond six months, the employee will become responsible for the full costs of all benefits (including life and disability insurance) on the first day of the month following the end of the initial six month period. To maintain benefits, it is the responsibility of the employee to pay his/her portion of benefits on a monthly basis unless other arrangements have been made. If injured while serving in the military, medical coverage and lost wages would be covered by the Federal government.
Return to Work. Upon completion of Reserve active duty or military training, a Reservist will be reinstated with the same length of service, status, pay and other benefits that would have accumulated if the employee had remained continuously on the job. If the College has hired a replacement during the time of absence, the Reservist will be returned to his/her former position.