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Employee Handbook Section 11 - Leave Plans

Annual leave

Annual leave allows you to take vacations and conduct personal business without losing pay. It may be used in blocks of hours or days, and you must obtain your supervisor's approval before using annual leave. Benefits-eligible employees receive annual leave in a lump sum allotment each July 1 according to the following schedules and provisions. Prior to this, on June 30, employee balances are zeroed out, save carryover hours of up to 24 maximum.

Annual leave lump sum allotments per fiscal year (based on 1.0 FTE)

Annual leave provisions:

Sick leave (paid)

Paid sick leave allows you to take time off from work due to illness without losing pay. The sick leave accrual rate for benefits-eligible employees is four (4) hours per pay period, based on 1.0 FTE or eighty (80) hours per pay period, up to a maximum accrual of one hundred four (104) hours per year.

Sick leave provisions:

Family and medical leave of absence

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 provides opportunities for employees to take an unpaid leave of absence from work under certain conditions. Employees facing a situation where an FMLA leave may be applicable are urged to contact Human Resources. A Human Resources representative will be happy to speak with you to explain how FMLA may affect your situation; all such conversations are confidential.

A family and medical leave of absence is an unpaid leave of absence. However, employees may elect (but are not required) to use any portion of their accrued paid annual leave or sick leave, as appropriate, during the family and medical leave of absence; any remaining weeks will be unpaid.

When both spouses are employed by the University, they are limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of family and medical leave during any rolling 12-month period for the birth/care of their child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care.

An employee wishing to apply for a family and medical leave, or the employee's supervisor, should contact Human Resources to be advised of appropriate procedures.

When an employee is granted an approved family and medical leave and returns to work within leave provisions, the University will continue to pay its portion of the group health coverage charges during the leave. Employees will be billed for their share of any dependent's health coverage charges. Employees not returning to work for 30 calendar days from an approved family and medical leave are required to reimburse the University for health benefits paid during the leave, unless the employee fails to return because of continued illness or other circumstances beyond the employee's control. Life insurance may be continued at the employee's expense during any unpaid portion of the leave. The employee will be restored to the same job or an equivalent position upon return to work at the expiration of the leave.

For details, see PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: Family and Medical Leave of Absence.

Sick leave (unpaid)

Employees who have completed their first 120 days of employment may request an unpaid leave of absence for their own illness. Any sick leave of absence request must have a supporting doctor's statement attached. This must include the date you became unable to work and the expected date of return, if known. Leave for illness will not be approved for more than 12 months from the last day an employee was paid.

Employees should contact Human Resources regarding continuation of benefits during an unpaid sick leave and to obtain a leave application. An unpaid sick leave must be approved by the appropriate vice president.

An employee granted an unpaid sick leave of absence is not guaranteed a job at the end of the leave. However, Human Resources will make every effort possible to help the employee find a job comparable to the one held prior to the leave. Two weeks before a leave of absence expires, the employee must contact Human Resources. Employees who do obtain a position with WMU at the end of an unpaid sick leave will retain their seniority and benefits related to seniority. If the employee cannot find a new job within 90 days after the leave expires, he/she may continue to seek a University position as an external applicant.

For details, see PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: Sick Leave of Absence (Unpaid).

Personal leave of absence (unpaid)

Regular employees who have completed two consecutive years of employment may request unpaid leave for personal reasons. This leave cannot be granted for less than one month or more than one year. Employees should contact Human Resources regarding continuation of benefits during an unpaid personal leave and to obtain a leave application. A personal leave must be approved by the appropriate vice president.

An employee granted an unpaid personal leave of absence is not guaranteed a job at the end of the leave. However, Human Resources will make every effort possible to help the employee find a job comparable to the one held prior to the leave. The employee must contact Human Resources two weeks before a leave of absence expires. Employees who do obtain a position with WMU at the end of personal leave will retain their seniority and benefits related to seniority. If the employee cannot find a new job within 90 days after the leave expires, he/she may continue to seek a University position as an external applicant.

For details, see PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: Personal Leave of Absence (Unpaid).

Professional development leave (paid)

Paid professional development leave allows exempt staff members to improve their performance by providing time for research or other developmental activities. The employee must have completed four years of service in the current position in order to apply. This leave may last no more than three months. One full year of service is required after the leave is over. A paid professional development leave must be approved by the appropriate vice president. Contact Human Resources for details on insurance coverage during a paid professional leave and for leave applications.

For details, see PPM Section 13 - Leaves of Absence from Work: Professional Development Leave (Paid).

Professional development leave (unpaid)

Unpaid professional development leave is designed to encourage professional growth that will help employees make greater contributions in their jobs. Exempt employees who have completed two years of full-time (or equivalent) service may apply. This leave may be granted for up to one year. An extension of one additional year is possible upon request. Employees are expected to return for a reasonable amount of time after the leave ends.

Employees should contact Human Resources regarding continuation of benefits during an unpaid professional leave and to obtain a leave application. A professional leave must be approved by the appropriate vice president.

Employees returning to work from an approved unpaid professional leave of absence will be placed in the pay structure at the same level that would have been attained had they been on duty at the University continuously.

For details, see PPM Section 13 - Leaves of Absence from Work: Professional Development Leave (Unpaid).

University convenience leave

University convenience leave is a special leave of absence, designed to avoid laying off employees at those times when their services are temporarily not needed. This leave is voluntary and must be mutually agreed to by the employee and WMU. A common arrangement is to take leave during the summer break between academic years. A University convenience leave must be approved by the appropriate vice president. Leave applications may be obtained from Human Resources.

During University convenience leave, Western continues to pay the employer portion of group insurances. WMU also continues all other benefits that are not payroll-driven (e.g., tuition discount).

For details, see PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: University Convenience Leave of Absence.

Jury duty and court-required service

Please see PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: Jury Duty and Court Required Service.

Bereavement leave

Up to five days of paid bereavement leave is available to regular employees (including probationary employees) upon the death of an immediate family member.

Immediate family member is defined as the:

Military leave

An unpaid leave of absence is available to regular employees for service in the United States Armed Services, whether the performance of duty is voluntary or involuntary. Upon termination of a military leave, an employee is entitled to reinstatement privileges, provided the employee meets reinstatement requirements. Questions should be directed to Human Resources.

For details, see PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: Military Leave.