Chapter 21 – Leaves of Absence
- The term "leave of absence" applies, in most cases, to leaves of absence without compensation. Rules covering such leaves are given in III-21.2.
The University is without the authority to pay any person except for services rendered. Authorized absence is for the convenience of the employee leaving or because of inability to perform job duties. Ordinarily, an employee is expected to apply sick or vacation benefits to such leave. Leaves are intended to be used for a specific time period of some duration.
Requests for leaves of absence, with or without compensation, should, when feasible, be authorized by the supervisor or designated department administrator and Human Resources (HR) Unit Representative in advance of the intended leave. Documentation supporting a leave may be required of the employee. Ordinarily, benefits for regular, benefit-eligible positions are discontinued for any month in which the employee is absent without compensation for the full calendar month. However, when an employee is absent on approved FMLA leave, the University continues to contribute its portion of the major medical insurance. Employees may make benefit payment arrangements in advance with the University Benefits Office.
- Exception. This policy III-21 does not supersede, affect, or apply to III-22.7 Family Medical Leave Act Leave.
Leaves of absence without compensation that are not subject to FMLA may be granted to faculty and staff members in the best interests of the University. An unpaid leave of absence is granted for a specific purpose of some duration and for a specific time period. Leaves are granted only when it is possible to operate effectively in the absence of the faculty or staff member requesting the leave. Leave periods are granted in continuous increments of time. An employee's return to pay status requires the employee to return to work duties. Departments initiate and authorize leaves as a leave-of-absence transaction in Workflow.
Note: Special attention should be paid to the continuation of any insurance programs an employee may wish to continue in force during a leave of absence without pay. Assistance with the continuation of insurance programs may be obtained from the University Benefits Office and must be initiated prior to the beginning of a leave of absence.
Vacation and sick leave do not accrue when an individual is considered to be in an unpaid status for the entire day. For individuals on a leave of absence without pay, vacation and sick leave accruals will be prorated based upon the number of days the individual is in paid status divided by the total number of workdays in any given month.
- Merit system staff. A request for leave should be submitted, prior to the absence, to the supervisor or department-designated administrator and HR Unit Representative. Conditions for leave approval are found in Regents Merit System Rule 3.149(8A), Leave of Absence Without Pay. The Regents merit rules require that an unpaid leave of absence greater than 30 days will cause an adjustment to the date of the next "merit increase" for the employee, except in the case of an unpaid leave for military service. Required Merit Resident Director authorization is obtained in Workflow.
- Professional and scientific staff. A request for leave should be submitted prior to the absence to the supervisor or department-designated administrator and HR Unit Representative.
- Faculty. A faculty member must request a leave of absence in writing of the departmental executive officer. The departmental officer makes a written request to the dean for approval. If the leave is for other than personal reasons, the dean makes a written request to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Once the leave is approved, a Leave of Absence Form is initiated by the department and routed with the supporting request and approval documentation in Workflow.
The University has statutory authority to grant leaves with full or partial compensation to faculty and staff members to undertake approved programs of study, research, or other professional activity which will contribute to the improvement of the institution. Such leaves are granted with the requirement that the recipient return to the University thereafter or compensate the University for the benefit received (IC 262.9(14)). A Request for Leave of Absence is completed and approved prior to the granting of a leave of absence with compensation.
Faculty Developmental Assignments (Career Development Awards, Faculty Scholar Awards, and Global Scholar Awards) are granted through an Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost application process. Following final approval, the department should process a Leave of Absence Form. Compensated leaves other than these programs must be requested in writing by the faculty member of the departmental executive officer. The departmental officer makes a written request to the dean for approval. The dean makes a written request to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Once the leave is approved, a Leave of Absence Form is initiated by the department and routed with the supporting request and approval documentation in Workflow.
There are certain circumstances in which a member of the faculty will be absent on business which is not personal but which is educational in character and is carried on specifically for the benefit of the University. An absence under such circumstances is called "off-campus assignment." Written approval of off-campus assignments, whether or not there is to be reimbursement by the University for travel expense, must be obtained from the dean or departmental executive officer. If the assignment is for a period longer than three weeks, written approval must be obtained from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Deans and departmental executive officers obtain approval from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (see III-22). Any circumstances involving borderline situations between leave of absence and off-campus assignment should be cleared with the Executive Vice President and Provost.
See also III-22.7.