Academic Specialist Manual

7.5. Time Off/Leaves

01/01/2017

7.5.1 Medical Leaves

Short-Term Disability

Faculty and academic staff (including academic specialists) who are appointed on a full time basis (or on a part time basis at 50 percent or more time for nine months or more) are immediately eligible for up to six months of paid leave if health problems prevent the individual from working. (Normally, short term disability leave related to pregnancy, childbirth and/or recovery is for six weeks, but may be longer with proper medical certification.)  In such cases of short term disability leave, additional leave under the Parental Leave policy for faculty and academic staff may be provided. It is the responsibility of the individual faculty/academic staff member to promptly notify the department chairperson, director, or immediate supervisor of absence due to illness or disability.

If other members of the faculty/academic staff assume the duties of the individual on a temporary basis without additional cost to the University, no formal report of the absence beyond the dean or director of the major academic unit is required during a four week period.

If the absence extends or is expected to extend beyond four weeks, a leave of absence beginning with the first day of absence should be requested by the individual or if the individual is unable to make the request, by the department chairperson or director, through the office of the dean to the provost for reporting to the president and Board of Trustees. The leave of absence form must be accompanied by medical certification specifying the dates of the period of disability.

Faculty/academic staff returning from medical leave may be required to obtain approval from the attending physician before returning to work.

Long-Term Disability

If disability of an academic specialist appointed for nine months or more on a full-time basis extends or is likely to extend beyond six months, the Human Resources Office should be contacted immediately for information on applying for benefits under the Long-Term Disability plan and Social Security.

Parental Leave

Faculty and academic staff (including academic specialists) who are appointed on at least a 50 percent basis for nine months or more are eligible for parental leave in accordance with this policy.  This policy is to be read in coordination with the Short-Term Disability policy and the Family and Medical Leave Policy for faculty and academic staff.  In cases where a faculty/academic staff member provides medical certification that she is unable to work due to a disability related to pregnancy, childbirth and/or recovery, such absences will be covered by the Short Term Disability Policy for faculty and academic staff.  Normally, short term disability leave related to pregnancy, childbirth and/or recovery is for 6 weeks but may be longer with proper medical certification.

Faculty and academic staff are eligible to receive up to six (6) weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth of a child.  Faculty and academic staff who adopt a child younger than age six and/or not attending school full-time are eligible to receive up to six (6) weeks of paid parental leave.  Additional unpaid leave may be available for the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Policy and/or the policy regarding Leaves of Absence Without Pay for faculty and academic staff.

In situations where the University employs both parents of a newborn/adopted child as faculty/academic staff, each may have six (6) weeks of paid parental leave under this policy. Parents employed in the same department or school should plan the timing of their leaves in consultation with the chairperson, school director, or dean. Depending on the circumstances, additional unpaid leave may be available pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Policy or with the approval of the academic unit administrator.

Requests for parental leave must be accompanied by evidence of adoption or by a health care provider’s medical certification that provides the projected delivery date.  Faculty and academic staff are expected to make leave arrangements with the academic unit administrator as far in advance as possible. The timing of parental leave can be arranged to provide some variation in scheduling the leave of absence period before and/or after the projected delivery/adoption date in recognition of constraints associated with academic responsibilities. Faculty and academic staff are encouraged to schedule leave periods with input from the academic unit administrator regarding the needs of the individual unit.

Leave for purposes relating to ongoing child care is not to be confused with parental leave or medical leave of absence relating to pregnancy and child birth.  Faculty and academic staff may arrange to use available vacation time or leave without pay for child care purposes with the approval of the academic unit administrator.

Family and Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 requires that eligible employees be allowed to take unpaid leave, or paid leave if earned, for a period of up to twelve work weeks in any twelve month period (defined by MSU as the fiscal year, i.e., July 1 through June 30) in the event of the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care; because the employee is needed to care for a family member (child, spouse or parent) with a serious health condition; or because an employee's own serious health condition makes them unable to do their job. Health and dental benefits, if enrolled, will be maintained at the same level and under the same conditions as coverage would have been provided if the faculty/academic staff member were continuously employed during the entire leave period.  The Act provides that this leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule.

Faculty and academic staff (including academic specialists) who have regular appointments of nine months or longer at 50% time or more and have been employed by MSU for at least twelve months and have at least 1,250 hours of service during the twelve months immediately preceding the commencement of FMLA leave are eligible under FMLA.  Faculty and academic staff with fixed-term appointments of less than nine months or less than 50% time who have been employed by MSU for at least 12 months and have at least 1,250 hours of service during the twelve months immediately preceding the commencement of FMLA leave are also eligible.

Faculty and academic staff are required to use paid leave provided by the short-term disability leave of absence policy (see preceding section) in the case of pregnancy, childbirth and/or recovery or their own "serious health condition" and count it toward the twelve weeks of leave permitted under the FMLA.  Short term absences that are not "serious health conditions" do not count toward the twelve weeks of FMLA leave.  Faculty and academic staff may choose to use vacation leave for all or part of any otherwise unpaid FMLA leave, e.g., for the "serious health condition" of a family member.  Vacation leave for such purposes is counted toward the twelve weeks of leave permitted under the FMLA.

FMLA leave shall be concurrent with parental and other paid/unpaid leaves of absence taken for FMLA reasons.  For example, faculty and academic staff are not entitled to an additional twelve weeks of FMLA leave for birth of a child after the conclusion of a 12-week leave provided under the short-term disability and parental leave policies.

FMLA leave will not be provided beyond the end date of a fixed-term appointment.

Faculty and academic staff must provide their department chairperson/school director at least 30 days advance notice before FMLA leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable.  Otherwise, notice must be given as soon as practicable.  Units may require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition and may require second or third opinions (at the unit's expense) and a fitness for duty report to return to work.

Questions regarding the FMLA may be directed to your department/school or Human Resources (353-4434).

7.5.2 Vacation - Academic Specialist Handbook

The University provides vacation leave to academic specialists who are appointed on an annual year basis under the following conditions:

Eligibility

  1. Academic specialists holding appointments on an annual year basis, with more than six months' service, are eligible for annual vacation leaves. Academic specialists holding academic year appointments are not eligible for vacation leave.
  2. Academic specialists holding appointments on an annual year basis receive annual vacation leave equivalent to one month (22 working days) in twelve months. Proportional allowances are granted to appointees with more than six months of service but less than twelve. Vacation allowances are granted on July 1 of each year. Vacation time is to be charged against this accrual; the accrual will be proportionately reduced in the event of resignation/termination during the fiscal year or for other non-accrual time, such as worker's compensation, long term disability, etc.
  3. Part-time academic specialists holding appointments for fifty percent or more time on an annual year basis receive vacation on a proportional basis.
  4. Vacation must be taken during the fiscal year.
  5. Vacation leave may not exceed one month (22 working days) in the fiscal year and is not cumulative.

Scheduling

Each department is responsible for scheduling vacations in order not to interfere with the operation of the department and to ensure that each academic specialist receives the appropriate vacation allowance during the appointment period. Although the scheduling preference of the academic specialist should be considered, vacations have to be scheduled to meet the instructional and research requirements of the department. Units that experience "slack" or "down" periods may require that vacations be taken during these times (e.g., December recess, summer recess, etc.). When practical, academic specialists should be informed of such requirements in advance.

Pay in Lieu of Vacation

Actual time off from work during the appointment period must be taken in order to receive compensation for vacation time. Payment in lieu of vacation may be approved only in case of retirement or termination for any cause (resignation, death, etc.).

Pay in lieu of vacation shall not exceed payment for one month less vacation time used during the fiscal year. Neither vacation time nor pay in lieu of vacation can be granted prior to eligibility for vacation allowance.

Transfers

Unused vacation allowance not exceeding one month will be transferred with an academic specialist when the individual transfers from one position, budget or operating unit to another. If an academic specialist is transferred to a professional, administrative, or other type of appointment, a transfer of the balance based on one month less actual vacation days used during the past fiscal year will be made.

Each department, school, or other administrative unit is responsible for scheduling vacation time off for academic specialists, maintaining vacation usage records, and if an academic specialist transfers to another unit, for notifying the academic specialist of unused vacation time in writing. A copy of the notification must be sent to the academic specialist's new unit.

7.5.3 Holidays

The University observes six legal holidays by closing offices and dismissing classes. They are: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. In addition, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day, and as stipulated by the University based on the calendar, the working days preceding or following Christmas Day and New Year's Day are granted as holidays.

7.5.4 Leaves of Absence Without Pay

Leaves of absence without pay may be granted with the recommendation of the department chairperson and dean. Specific dates for the leave must be specified in the request and should be made as far in advance as possible, so that neither instruction nor research programs will be interrupted. Such leaves usually do not extend beyond one year.

Academic specialists should contact the Human Resources Office to make arrangements for continuation of their benefit programs.

7.5.5 Military Service Leaves

The University cooperates fully with academic specialists taking part in the reserve program of the military forces which calls for up to 15 days' active duty training annually with the National Guard, Officers' Reserve Corps, or similar U.S. military organizations. The University will pay the academic specialist the difference between military pay and allowances and normal take-home pay for up to 15 calendar days when ordered to active duty for training, and for up to ten additional calendar days per fiscal year when ordered to active duty for the purpose of handling civil disorders.

When an academic specialist enters the armed forces, it is the policy of the University to grant, on request, a leave of absence to cover the term of service.

7.5.6 Continuation of Benefits Leave of Absence No Pay

While on Leave of Absence No Pay Status to Receive Prestigious Awards, Fellowships and/or Special Assignment Opportunities

Academic specialists holding fixed term appointments who have completed 60 FTE Service months and academic specialists holding a full-time appointment in the Academic Specialist Continuing Appointment System who are recipients of prestigious awards or fellowships or participate in special assignment opportunities which are in the interest of both the individual and the University are eligible to request coverage under this policy. For academic specialists with fixed term appointments, benefits continue only for the period of the leave, which would not extend beyond the end date of the appointment.

Continuing professional development that is in the interest of both the individual academic specialist and the University may be facilitated when an academic specialist receives a prestigious award, fellowship, or special assignment opportunity requiring a leave of absence without pay or a reduction in percent employment below full-time, normally for periods usually six months or longer.

Examples of prestigious awards, fellowships, and special assignment opportunities for which leaves of absence without pay often are requested include the following:

There are instances when such awards, fellowships, and special assignment opportunities, as a consequence of the policy of the source institution, do not include benefits similar to those provided by Michigan State University for full-time academic specialists with continuing appointments.

Request Procedures

On receipt of the above-referenced types of awards, fellowships, and special assignment opportunities for which the source institution does not provide applicable benefits, an academic specialist may request, with written endorsement of the applicable chairperson/director and dean, that the Office of the Provost arrange with the Human Resources Office for the continuation of the applicable University benefits (see below) not provided by the source agency or institution. Such written requests must provide a statement that the leave of absence without pay is to accept a prestigious award, fellowship, or other special assignment opportunity that is in the interest of both the individual and the University. Information in support of the request must include: a) specifics of the award/fellowship or assignment, including the regular University benefits provided as well as not provided by the source agency/institution; b) documentation from the source agency/ institution of its benefits policy; c) the specific assignment(s) to be performed while on leave of absence without pay; and d) how the activities entailed in the award, fellowship, or special assignment opportunity advance the interests of the individual and the University. Requests must be initiated by the academic specialist. The continuation of benefits is not an entitlement; each case is to be reviewed on its merits.

On approval of such requests, the Office of the Provost will arrange with the Human Resources Office for continuation of the benefits stated below for a leave without pay of up to one year, with an additional one year extension based on a written request approved by the chairperson(s)/director(s), dean(s), and the Provost. In exceptional cases, benefit eligibility may be continued for an additional period.

Possible Benefit Coverage

Those benefits set forth below which are not provided by the applicable source agency/institution--for which full-time Michigan State University academic specialists appointed nine months or more are now eligible--may be provided for academic specialists for whom continued benefits eligibility is approved by the Office of the Provost. (The benefits continued will be limited to those in force for the individual immediately prior to leave of absence without pay status):

Salary-related benefits, e.g., University contributions to the 403(b) Base Retirement Program, social security, etc., will not be provided during a leave of absence without pay. Continued benefits which are linked to an individual's salary status, e.g., expanded life, LTD, will be based on the applicable base wage immediately prior to the leave of absence without pay.

Requests for eligibility under this program should be directed to the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources after review and concurrence by the chairperson(s) and dean(s)/separately reporting director(s).

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