611. General Leave Benefits
The University provides leaves of absence to enable employees to attend to personal and professional obligations and for periods of disability. The policy for workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement is contained in that agreement.
All staff employees are eligible for leaves of absence in accordance with the specific provisions of each type of leave.
Length of Leave
All leaves of absence must be requested and granted in writing for a definite period of time with specific starting and ending dates. If an employee is absent from work for 3 work days without a written request and approval for a leave of absence his or her employment may be terminated.
Extension of Leave
The supervisor, and department heads have the discretion to grant a personal leave (please seePersonal Leave policy #617), if no other leave is legally mandated. The Personal Leave policy grants the employee up to a maximum of 6 months unpaid leave. If recovery is made by the end of the six months, the employee may return to work in the previous position.
Santa Clara University is not required to grant personal leave in excess of legal mandates. In the instance that an extension to leave is not granted and the employee does not return to work, the employee will be terminated. A terminated employee would continue to receive disability benefits as long as the appropriate disability carrier continues to authorize benefits.
Return to Work
To ensure the health and safety of the employee who plans to return to work after a short-term disability leave of absence, a doctor's release must be obtained and presented to the Supervisor and Human Resources before the employee may resume work.
A department granting a leave is generally obligated to reinstate the employee in the same or a similar position at the end of the leave. The department can be relieved of this obligation by the employee, in consultation with Human Resources. If an employee returning from either a medical, pregnancy, or industrial leave has either a physical or mental disability but is able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, the University’s obligations to that employee may be governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please see Personal Leave Policy #617.
In addition, an employee returning from a medical or industrial leave will be required to provide medical certification and/or undergo a fitness for duty exam verifying that the employee is able to return to work. Furthermore if an employee becomes eligible for long term disability, and is unable to provide reasonable assurance of his or her ability to return to work, the employee will be terminated. In addition, a leave is not appropriate, and will not be granted when the employee cannot provide reasonable assurance of intention to return to University employment at the end of the leave.
Termination of Leave
When an employee does not return to work at the end of the approved leave or when the employee's physician cannot provide reasonable assurance that the employee will return, the department in consultation with Human Resources will terminate the leave and the person's employment by written notification to the individual.
Benefit Coverage During Leave
The employee remains eligible for all benefit programs and University contributions to those plans as though actively at work. An employee on a paid leave will continue to accrue vacation and sick leave based on hours paid.
An employee remains eligible to participate in Santa Clara University’s medical/dental, life, long-term disability and retirement provided the employee pays 100% of all required premiums or contributions or with the following exceptions:
If an employee has been placed on a Santa Clara University Emergency Leave for purposes of a bona fide emergency as defined by the University’s Emergency Communication Plan, employees will remain eligible for participation in the group health insurance plans in which they are enrolled.
Employees on leave who do not receive continued University paid health coverage may continue their group health insurance coverage in conjunction COBRA guidelines.
The employee is responsible for any additional payroll deducted premiums. This may include dependent health care premiums, medical expense reimbursement contributions, or voluntary cancer premiums. This coverage will only be provided if the employee pays the University for the monthly cost within the first ten (10) calendar days of the month for which the coverage is requested.
If an employee is no longer in pay status and short term disability payments are applicable, employees may authorize premium payments to be deducted directly from the short-term disability payments (received from the plan administrator.) If this option is not chosen, payments must be paid as referenced above.
Upon the cessation of salary continuation, all retirement contributions will cease, and vacation and sick leave will no longer continue to accrue.
Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor of leave intent as soon as possible, according to the notification and certification requirements of this policy. Supervisors and department heads are responsible for ensuring proper administration of paid leave and leave scheduling. Employees are responsible for providing leave status change information as directed by Human Resources. Employees who fail to follow these established leave processes will be subject to disciplinary action, up to, and including termination.
Contact Human Resources if you have questions or if you would like more information about this policy.
Policy Approved: October 23, 1998
Last Updated: August 22, 2000
Last Reviewed: June 30 2022
Maintainer: Human Resources