4.16 Leave of Absence Without Pay

4.16.1 Approval of Voluntary Leave Without Pay

Voluntary leaves of absence without pay may be granted for a specified period of time, normally for educational or public service reasons and because the Institute wishes to maintain an association with the individual. A supervisor may authorize an individual to take, in any calendar year, unpaid leave of a duration not to exceed the individual's normal pay period. Requests for leaves of more than the normal pay period but less than six months must be approved by the supervisor, the department head, and the appropriate Human Resources Officer for the department.

Unpaid leaves of absence of six months to one year in duration must be approved by the supervisor, the department head, the senior officer for the area, and the appropriate Human Resources Officer for the department. When a position is not being held for the employee who has requested leave, approval must be obtained from the Vice President for Human Resources. Unpaid leaves of absence may not exceed one year, but may be renewed in special circumstances with the approval of the Vice President for Human Resources.

Eligible staff members are entitled to a leave of absence without pay of up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period to care for their newborn child or a child newly placed with them for adoption or foster care; because of the serious health condition of their child, parent, or spouse requiring their participation in care; or because of their own serious health condition, including conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. For leave to be counted towards the 12-week FMLA period, the staff member must receive written notice that the leave is being considered FMLA leave. (For more information, see Section 4.5, Leaves Provided Under the Family and Medical Leave Act.)

The granting of unpaid leaves of absence requires an assurance of reemployment by the department upon the termination of the leave, unless specifically authorized otherwise by the Vice President for Human Resources, or unless the position has been eliminated by reduction in the work force or operational change under circumstances applying equally to other similar jobs in the department. Unpaid leaves without pay similarly require the employee's intention to return to work at the end of the approved leave period.

4.16.2 Request for Voluntary Leave Without Pay

An Employee Leave of Absence Request form should be completed at least two weeks prior to the anticipated beginning of a leave without pay. All signatures necessary for authorization of the leave must be obtained by the employee before the form is forwarded to Human Resources for final approval and processing. The form contains specific instructions for its completion.

4.16.3 Furlough

The involuntary placement of an employee on an unpaid leave of absence for a defined period due to lack of funds is a furlough. Placement of an employee on an unpaid leave at regularly scheduled periods due to lack of work (for example, during the summer) is generally not considered a furlough.

A furlough must be for at least one week and no more than three months in any 12-month period (running from the first day of the furlough). Hourly paid staff may be placed on furlough in one-day intervals. Other employees may be placed on furlough at a minimum of one-week intervals. Employees may not take accrued vacation time while on furlough. Departments must send a statement of reasons for review and approval by the Department Head and the appropriate Human Resources Officer. Affected employees must receive 8 weeks' notice (more notice is strongly encouraged for furloughs of one month or more). At the end of the furlough period, an employee must be restored to his or her regular position, hours or percent effort, and pay, unless the employee is laid off pursuant to Section 6.3, Layoff for Lack of Work of Funds. Like employees on other unpaid leaves of absence, an employee on furlough for 22 working days or more during the year receives a prorated share of his or her normal vacation and sick leave for that year. (See 4.16.4 and 4.16.5 below.)

In very limited circumstances and with the prior approval of the Executive Vice President and the Provost, exceptions to certain provisions in this section may be made (such as a shorter notice period, or allowing vacation to be used during furlough). In such cases, the furlough letter must specify these exceptions.

4.16.4 Continuation of Benefits During Leave Without Pay

Employees on leaves of absence without pay may maintain Institute benefits coverage by making special arrangements with the Benefits Office to continue their contributions.

4.16.5 Vacation Accrual While On Leave Without Pay

An employee on leave of absence without pay for 22 working days or more during the year receives a prorated share of his or her normal vacation earned that year. Authorized leaves of absence without pay will count as continuous service in determining length of service at the Institute for vacation purposes.

4.16.6 Adjustment of Sick Leave Following Leave Without Pay

Absences for leave without pay for a Support Staff member which exceed a total of 22 working days per year (as measured from an employee's anniversary date) will result in a reduction of the sick leave balance at the rate of one day for every 22 working days of absence whether or not the days of absence were consecutive. Unpaid time is accumulated in segments of one-fifth of the work week (i.e., in "days"). The same formula applies to full-time and part-time Support Staff.

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