Policies and Procedures Manual Section 13
Occasionally, Western Michigan University may find it necessary to reduce staff due to financial constraints. In an effort to facilitate staff reduction with the least negative impact on the University and its employees, the University has established the "University convenience leave of absence" for employees when the University does not require their particular services. One common example is an absence during the summer period between academic years.
"University convenience leave of absence" means the absence is voluntary and acceptable to the employee, but it is for the benefit of the University (i.e., to reduce paid staff at times when they can be spared). In such cases, the University will pay the employer portion of the group insurance and provide other non-payroll driven benefits. (Under normal unpaid personal leave of absence, the employee must pay all insurance costs and loses eligibility for most benefits.) This policy makes it easier for willing employees to accept the unpaid leave of absence.
The leave of absence is to last for not less than one (1) month and not more than six (6) months.
The University will pay the employer portion of the group insurance and provide other non-payroll driven benefits. The employee must pay his/her portion of insurance premiums or other employee costs during the leave.
The employee must return to the job he/she held prior to the leave upon expiration of the leave.
- The leave of absence must be certified to be University convenience and must be approved by the appropriate vice president.
- The employee and his/her supervisor must complete the appropriate sections of a leave of absence application (P-320) and attach any necessary supporting documents. The leave of absence application (P-320) is available at Forms: Leaves of Absence.
In the "purpose" area of the form, it must be noted that this unpaid leave is acceptable to the employee as a voluntary action on their part. Employees will not be eligible for unemployment benefits during a University convenience leave.
- The application must be approved and signed by the appropriate vice president.
- If approved by the vice president, Human Resources verifies that the employee meets eligibility requirements for the requested leave and places him/her on a University convenience leave of absence without pay.
- The employee's regular position must be left vacant during the leave of absence.
- The consent to release leave of absence information is an optional form and is available at Forms: Leaves of Absence page. This form, when completed and returned to Human Resources, allows the Human Resources staff to release leave of absence information on the employee's behalf to specific, relevant parties (e.g., the employee's personal spokesperson, bargaining unit, etc.).