Chapter 22 – Paid Absences

(Amended 9/93; 8/95; 2/99; 3/99; 5/99; 8/00; 11/00; 12/01; 7/02; 9/02; 5/03; 10/04; 1/06; 3/06; 5/06; 5/07; 6/07; 9/07; 1/09; 10/1/10; 10/14; 7/1/17)

Effective July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined versions of III-22.1, III-22.2, III-22.3, III-22.7, and III-22.8.

22.1 Definitions

(Amended 5/99; 1/06; 9/07; 10/14; 7/1/17)

Effective July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply.

  1. "Sick leave" is defined as credits used by an eligible employee to continue compensation during an absence due to a personal medically related disability, family caregiving, funeral, service as a pall bearer, on-the job injury (to the extent provided for in III-33), or adoption as defined in this section. Sick leave credits cannot be used towards any other type of absence.
  2. "Immediate family" is defined as and limited to the employee's spouse/domestic partner (same and opposite gender), children, grandchildren, foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, parents, grandparents, foster parents, stepparents, brothers, foster brothers, stepbrothers, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters, foster sisters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins, corresponding relatives of the employee's spouse/domestic partner, and other persons who are members of the employee's household.
  3. "Medically related disability" is defined as the personal medical disability of an employee to the extent authorized by the Iowa Code. Medically related disability includes the time during which an employee who is a birth mother is unable to work because of a medically related disability caused or contributed to by a pregnancy-related condition.
  4. "Family caregiving leave" is defined as an absence to provide care of and necessary attention to ill or injured members of the employee's immediate family.
  5. "Funeral leave" is defined as an absence due to the occurrence of death in the employee's immediate family. (See III-22.4 for attending funerals of those not a member of the employee's immediate family.)
  6. "Service as a pall bearer" is defined as absence for serving as a pall bearer at the funeral of a person not a member of the employee's immediate family.
  7. "Adoption leave" is defined as leave taken by a newly adoptive parent for the purpose of adjusting to and caring for the newly adopted child(ren).
  8. "On-the-job-injury." See III-33 Accidents; III-18 Insurance.
  9. "Bone marrow and organ donor" is defined as leave necessary for an employee to donate bone marrow or an organ.

22.2 General Policy on Absences

(Amended 12/01; 7/1/17)

Effective July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.

  1. Basic to any employer-employee relationship is an obligation on the part of staff members to report to work on schedule regularly. Occasionally, however, absences or tardiness are unavoidable. When this occurs, it is the responsibility of the employee 1) to notify the supervisor of the absence as soon as the employee knows it will not be possible to be at work on schedule, and 2) to return to work as soon as it is reasonably possible. Employees may not be paid for time not spent at work, except as provided for by policy specifically noted in III-22.
  2. In extenuating circumstances (such as a car breakdown or emergency illness in the family) a supervisor may elect to work out an arrangement with an employee who has missed time despite making every reasonable effort to get to work. Such an arrangement is to make up the time missed within the work week in which the absence occurred. Normal procedure is to work out such an arrangement whenever feasible. This does not apply in the case of an employee who could have arrived at work with reasonable effort but who did not make such effort. Charging absences to vacation time is ordinarily not satisfactory.
  3. University employees will be expected to make every reasonable effort to report to work as scheduled, even in severe weather conditions. When provided advanced warning, employees are expected to anticipate difficulties and delays in transportation. Upon evaluation of their individual circumstances, employees are expected to make reasonable judgments to avoid serious risks when traveling to and from work. Employees are encouraged to actively communicate with their supervisor or other proper authority regarding their timeliness and attendance during extreme weather conditions, in order to assure proper staffing. When delayed, employees may be expected to report to work as soon as they become available, unless otherwise excused by their supervisor, in order to meet operational needs. Supervisory staff are expected to utilize their discretion reasonably and humanely in relation to this policy.

    Absences due to severe weather conditions may be addressed in the following manner, as applicable:
    1. Employees may be authorized to perform work at home or an alternate location, to the extent such is available, practical, and feasible, and provided appropriate accountability.
    2. Employees may be authorized to make up the time absent through an alternate work schedule within the same work week.
    3. Employees may utilize accrued compensatory time (merit) or accrued annual leave (vacation), if available, to remain in pay status, or be placed on leave without pay.

(See also II-22 Extreme Weather Protocol.)

22.3 Sick Leave Policy: Leave for Medically Related Disability, Family Caregiving, Funerals, Service as a Pallbearer, Adoption, and On-the-Job-Injury

(President 1/31/77; amended 2/99; 5/03; 10/04; 1/06; 3/06 [Regents approved 9/14/05]; 5/06; 6/07; 10/1/10; 10/14; 7/1/17)

Effective July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.

  1. General policy. An absence due to a medically related disability, family caregiving, funeral, service as a pall bearer, adoption, and/or on-the-job-injury is a sick leave absence and is to be charged against an employee's accrued sick leave credits unless other rules apply. Sick leave credits can only be used for sick leave absences, except as provided in subparagraph i below.
  2. Accrual. Faculty and staff in regular appointments accrue sick leave. 
    1. Sick leave credits accrue at the rate of 12 hours per month of service for a full-time employee. A part-time employee will accrue the fractional proportion of the full-time entitlement. Persons holding an academic year appointment are considered to be employed 9/12 of a calendar year; those holding summer session appointments are considered to be employed for this purpose for 2/12 of a calendar year.
    2. Sick leave credits accrue when an employee is in pay status.
    3. Sick leave credits do not accrue during any absence without pay.
    4. Holidays falling during a period of absence defined as sick leave are paid as holidays and are not charged to the employee's sick leave accumulation.
  3. Sick leave. 
    1. Each full- or part-time, regular, and continuous employee is able to use, as indicated in paragraph (2) below, a leave of absence due to a medically related disability, family caregiving, funeral, service as a pall bearer, adoption and/or on-the-job-injury at the normal rate of pay when accrued leave is available. Employees hired on a temporary, on-call, provisional, project, or emergency basis, as well as students hired through the Office of Student Financial Aid and students hired in positions reserved specifically for student employees, are not entitled to sick leave.
    2. Restrictions on sick leave absences. A department will, when satisfied by evidence presented, grant the following amount of paid time off to be charged against and not to exceed the employee's accrued sick leave for:
      1. Medically related disability: A leave for a medically related disability to the extent that the birth mother, who is the employee, has accrued sick leave credits to cover the period. The time during which the employee is unable to work because of a medically related disability caused or contributed to by a pregnancy-related condition is treated as a medically related disability. Birth mothers are entitled to leave for any period of pregnancy-related temporary disability, to be charged against accrued sick leave. Based on current medical practice, a leave of no more than six weeks would not require documentation of disability. If an employee's accumulated sick leave is insufficient to cover the period of pregnancy-related disability, the employee will, at the employee's request, be granted a leave of absence to be charged to vacation time, compensatory time, or a leave of absence without pay. Any authorized leave beyond the period of disability is considered as vacation or a leave of absence without pay. See also III-22.8 Parental Leave.
      2. Family caregiving leave is available so that a faculty or staff member may provide care of and necessary attention to an ill or injured family member. Family caregiving leave was established to assist the faculty or staff member with his or her family-related responsibilities. Family caregiving leave is in addition to vacation leave that can also be used for care and necessary attention of an ill or injured family member.

        The maximum usage per year of family caregiving leave includes the current calendar year allowance of up to five days of sick leave (40 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time), as well as any unused allowance from the previous calendar year, up to 80 hours in total (pro-rated for part-time) for the care of and necessary attention to ill or injured members of the employee's immediate family. Carryover of the unused allowance from the previous year applies to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement only if the benefit has been negotiated and is contained in the agreement.

        Family caregiving leave is paid leave charged to accrued sick leave. Appropriate verification of the status of the ill or injured person may be requested.

        In the event that the faculty or staff member does not have accrued sick leave, family caregiving leave is not available. However, the department or unit is encouraged to permit the faculty or staff member to use vacation or leave without pay to respond to family-related responsibilities. See also https://hr.uiowa.edu/policies/clarification-family-caregiving-leave.
      3. Funeral leave: A maximum of three days charged to sick leave (24 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for each occurrence of death in the employee's immediate family. (See III-22.4 for funerals for the employee's immediate family.)
      4. Service as a pall bearer: A maximum of one day charged to sick leave (8 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for each service as a pallbearer at the funeral of a person not a member of the employee's immediate family.
      5. Adoption: A maximum of five days charged to sick leave (40 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) by a newly adoptive parent. Departments should work with prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt through an adoption agency with specific requirements for parental leave, to the extent the adoption leave is not sufficient to undertake an adoption. See also III-22.8 Parental Leave.
      6. On-the-job injury: See III-33 Accidents; III-18 Insurance.
    3. Sick leave may be granted on presentation of satisfactory evidence by the employee. No other absence may be charged against sick leave except as described in paragraphs (2)(a) through (2)(f) above. The employing department may set the standards for satisfactory evidence which may include a doctor's statement or other applicable documentation. Where there is reason to believe the employee is abusing the sick leave privilege or may not be physically able to return to work, the department may also require a doctor's statement.
  4. Use of sick leave credits.
    1. Sick leave credits are used at the rate of one hour for each hour of absence.
    2. Sick leave may be used by a faculty member during the academic year or the summer session because of a medically related disability which occurs before a semester or a summer session begins to the extent that sick leave credits are available, and provided that a definite commitment of employment during that period has been consummated before the onset of the disability. For the payment of sick leave benefits, faculty members are considered to be "on duty" five days per week, eight hours a day, even though their classes may be scheduled on more or fewer than five days per week.
    3. Medical and dental appointments which cannot be arranged for off-duty hours are to be charged against sick leave unless other rules apply. Generally, an absence for routine medical and dental care should not exceed two hours.
    4.  If a staff member becomes ill during the five working days immediately before a scheduled vacation, the staff member may arrange with the department to postpone the vacation to a mutually satisfactory date. Except for instances in which the staff member is under the care of a physician, sick leave does not apply to an illness incurred during vacations or a paid holiday. If a staff member is under the care of a physician while on his or her paid vacation, the employee may use sick leave for those days upon presentation of satisfactory documentation of such care.
    5. Upon the exhaustion of sick leave, the employee is eligible to use accrued vacation credits for the approved leave.
    6. Increments of accrued sick and vacation leave are available for use on the first day of the month following the month earned. Employees transferring employment within the University during a given month will transfer all leave accrued to date of the transfer.
  5. Recording and reporting absences.
    1. Each department must report and keep a record of any faculty or staff member's absence charged to sick leave, vacation, or unpaid leave. The employee has the responsibility of reporting and recording on the absence or departmental report form the reason for the absence and categorizing it properly. If the absence is due to an injury incurred while on duty, the procedure in III-33 Accidents is followed. Consult III-22.4 for leave to attend funerals of those other than the employee's immediate family.
    2. Each department is responsible for terminating the pay of any faculty or staff member who has exhausted available sick leave and vacation credits. Such notification is made through the online transaction system and administrative channels as necessary to reach Payroll by the last day for which the staff member is paid sick leave or vacation benefits.
  6. Payment of sick leave.
    1. Payment of sick leave is made on regular payroll dates.
    2. If a faculty or staff member becomes entitled to benefits under Workers' Compensation while still eligible for sick leave payments, the staff member's regular salary will continue to be paid, reduced by Workers' Compensation benefits. Credit for Workers' Compensation benefits will be used to purchase additional days of sick leave for the employee and the total amount of sick leave credit so realized will be exhausted on the staff member's behalf. The University Benefits office will compute the number of days of additional sick leave due to the employee and notify the department involved.
  7. Extended total disability.
    1. An employee meeting all requirements for the University long term disability insurance program at the time of the onset of a disability and who continues to be disabled through the greater of 90 working days or the exhaustion of accumulated sick leave is eligible to receive benefits under the insurance plan. The insurer determines whether any insurance benefits are paid and establishes the beginning date of the total disability for that purpose.
    2. The University Benefits Office should be contacted at such time as it is suspected that an employee may be off work 90 or more working days or absent 20 percent or more for four or more continuous months to initiate the completion of the necessary application forms for Long Term Disability benefits. Section III-18.3 contains specific information concerning the Long Term Disability program.
  8. Return to work.
    1. When an employee is on a paid leave of absence, the University considers itself obligated to hold the employee's position open for as long as the employee has sick or vacation credits or when on an absence covered by Workers' Compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or other unpaid medical leave has been approved. The employee may return to this position immediately upon ability to perform the essential functions of the position. The University may fill the position on a permanent basis after the employee has exhausted sick leave and vacation except in the case of an employee with academic tenure, or an employee who is on a leave of absence pursuant to Workers' Compensation, the ADA, the FMLA, or other approved leave. In addition, the employee may have the right to return to comparable employment pursuant to the FMLA, ADA, or Workers' Compensation.
    2. As an employee seeks to return to work from a leave, the employee may receive University assistance in returning to his or her position by contacting his or her supervisor, HR Representative, or University Faculty and Staff Disability Services.
    3. Where illness or limitation continues but does not render the employee unable to work, the University will offer an interactive process and attempt to identify reasonable accommodation to the employee's limitations.
    4. An employee unable to perform the essential functions of the current position with reasonable accommodation may request assistance in seeking a vacant position within the University from University Faculty and Staff Disability Services.
  9. Sick Leave Transferred to Vacation.
    1. Employees are encouraged to accrue and maintain a minimum of 720 hours of sick leave, where possible. However, an eligible employee may elect to convert sick leave to vacation for any month in which there has been no absence charged to sick leave. The election must be made on the Monthly Time Report. The exchange formula is to receive 4 hours of vacation time in lieu of the 12 hours monthly sick leave accrual. Employees may also make arrangements to automatically convert sick leave to vacation in every month possible. Once an election to transfer sick leave to vacation has been selected and processed through a monthly payroll cycle, the election for that month is irrevocable.
    2. Eligibility is limited to regular employees who have accumulated a minimum of 240 hours of sick leave. Faculty and staff who do not accrue vacation are ineligible for this program.
    3. Any sick leave transferred to vacation will be allowed to accumulate up to two times the annual entitlement. If the use of sick leave reduces an employee's sick leave account below 240 hours, the account must be built up to 240 hours before eligibility conversion is restored.

(See IAC [681]3.143; [681]3.148; see also III-22.8 Parental Leave. Merit system staff should consult III-24.3 for applicable policies.)

22.4 Funeral Leave

(Amended 2/01; 10/04 )

Funeral leave can be used for funeral attendance, travel related to the death, or bereavement time. Funeral leave shall normally be used during the seven-calendar day period immediately following the death.

Funeral leave involving the employee's family consists of two parts:

  1. A maximum of three days (24 hours based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for each occurrence of death in the employee's immediate family1 may be charged to accrued sick leave. If accrued sick leave is not available, the employee may take the days as vacation or as leave without pay.
  2. Two additional days (16 hours based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for each occurrence of death involving the employee's spouse/domestic partner, parents, children, and the corresponding relatives of the employee's spouse/domestic partner and other persons who have acted consistently in the role of parent or child may be charged to vacation if they are contiguous with the initial three days described in paragraph a above. If accrued vacation is not available, the employee may take the days as leave without pay.

It is the employee's responsibility to inform his or her supervisor at the earliest possible time about the number of days required for funeral leave.

Recognizing the wide variety of family configurations that exist, the University strongly encourages departments and units to be flexible in granting additional time off beyond the funeral benefit described above to be supportive of employees who are experiencing a significant personal loss.

Leaves for funerals of those other than the members of an employee's immediate family may be taken with the approval of the employing department. If make-up time cannot be arranged in accordance with University policy, the employing department may agree to charge the lost time to vacation or treat the lost time as leave without pay.

For use of sick leave for serving as a pall bearer at a funeral for a person other than a member of the employee's immediate family, see III-22.3.

Footnote

1. "Immediate Family" is defined as and limited to the employee's spouse/domestic partner, children, grandchildren, foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, parents, grandparents, foster parents, stepparents, brothers, foster brothers, stepbrothers, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters, foster sisters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins, corresponding relatives of the employee's spouse/domestic partner, and other persons who are members of the employee's household (see III-22.1b).

22.5 Approval and Reporting of Paid Absences

(Amended 1/06)

Absences in connection with authorized leaves must be approved in advance by the supervisor or designated department administrator and/or HR Unit Representative. Absences due to illness must be reported in accordance with the procedures set forth under the University's sick leave policy. All other absences, with or without pay, must be reported immediately to the supervisor or designated department administrator and/or HR Unit Representative and approval sought where necessary as determined by the department. Each department is responsible for keeping a record of all absences.

22.6 Voting

Any person entitled to vote in a public election is entitled to time off from work with pay on any public election day for a period not to exceed three hours in length. Application for time off for voting should be made to the staff member's supervisor prior to election day. The time to be taken off may be designated by the supervisor. Time off for voting may be granted only if the staff member's working hours do not allow a three-hour period outside of working hours during which the polls are open.

(IC 49.109; Op. Atty. Gen. 10/31/50; IAC [681]3.147(8A).)

22.7 Family and Medical Leave Act

(Office of the Vice President for Finance and University Services 8/93; 8/95; 5/99; 9/02; 1/09; 10/1/10; 10/14; 7/1/17)

Effective July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.

The function of this policy is to provide employees with a general description of their Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights. To view the Department of Labor Employee Rights and Responsibilities Poster, see https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmlaen.pdf. For additional FMLA information, procedures, and best practices, see https://hr.uiowa.edu/fsds.

  1. Definitions.
    1. "Spouse": husband, wife, or spouse as recognized by Iowa law for purposes of marriage, including common law and domestic partners of same and opposite gender registered with the University Benefits Office.
    2. "Parent": biological, adoptive, step-, or foster father or mother or any other individual who stood in the place of a parent to an employee when the employee was under the age of 18; excludes parents-in-law.
    3. "Son or daughter": In the context of leave for birth or adoption, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, the child is the biological, adopted, or foster child; a stepchild; a legal ward of a child of a person standing in the place of a parent who is either under the age of 18; or is age 18 or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability at the time of the need for FMLA leave.
      1. "Incapable of self-care": The individual requires active assistance or supervision to provide daily self-care in three or more of the "activities of daily living" (ADLs) or "instrumental activities of daily living" (IADLs). ADLs include adaptive activities such as caring for self-grooming and hygiene, bathing, dressing, and eating. IADLs include cooking, cleaning, shopping, using public transportation, paying bills, maintaining a residence, using telephones and directories, using a post office, etc.
      2. "Physical or mental disability": A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual. Regulations at 29 CFR 1630.2(h), (i), and (j).
    4. "Next of kin of a covered service member": The employee's nearest blood relative other than spouse, parent, son or daughter, in the following order of priority: blood relative designated by court degree or statutory provisions, siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles, first cousins, unless the service member has designated in writing another blood relative as nearest blood relative. When no designation is made, multiple family members of the same level of relationship are next of kin and may take FMLA leave to provide care to the service member.
    5. "Adoption": Legal and permanent reasonability of raising a child as one's own. The source of the adoption is not a factor.
    6. "Foster care": Twenty-four-hour care for children in substitution for and away from their parents or guardian.
    7. "Documenting relationships": The employer may require the employee to give reasonable written documentation of the family relationship.
    8. "Serious health condition": An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition requiring an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility. Serious health conditions include a period of incapacity or subsequent treatment in connection with the inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health provider. Other serious health conditions include incapacity and treatment, pregnancy and prenatal care, chronic condition, permanent or long-term conditions, or conditions requiring multiple treatments.
    9. "Incapacity and treatment": A period of incapacity of more than 3 full consecutive calendar days and subsequent treatment or period of incapacity related to the condition that requires treatment of 2 or more times within 30 days of the start of incapacity or one treatment and continuing regimen of treatment. The first treatment must be within 7 days of the first day of incapacity.
    10. "Chronic condition": A serious health condition that:
      1. requires periodic visits for treatment by the treating health provider or nurse under supervision;
      2. requires treatment at least twice in 12 months;
      3. continues over an extended period of time;
      4. includes recurring episodes of a single condition; and
      5. may cause episodic periods of incapacity.
    11. "Permanent, long-term conditions": Conditions causing a period of incapacity where treatment may not be effective. Medical supervision is required; however, active treatment is not required.
    12. "Conditions requiring multiple treatments": Absence for treatments and recovery, as applicable, for restorative surgery, when without treatment the condition would likely result in at least 3 consecutive full calendar days of incapacity.
    13. "Incapacity": The inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to the condition, its treatment, or recovery.
    14. "Pregnancy and prenatal care": Birth mother's incapacity due to pregnancy and prenatal care.
    15. "Health care provider": Any person providing treatment authorized by the University major medical insurance plan, individuals authorized to diagnose and treat in the state of Iowa, the United States, or another country. Chiropractic treatment is limited to manual manipulation of the spine.
    16. "Unable to perform the functions of the position": The health care provider determines the employee is unable to work or is unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of the employee's position may be considered to have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended. Absence for treatment of a serious health condition is considered "unable to perform essential functions" during the necessary absence.
    17. "Intermittent or reduced leave": Intermittent leave may be taken in separate blocks of time reducing the work day for a single condition and may use increments of no less than 6 minutes. Reduced leave is a scheduled reduction of a workday or workweek.
  2. Employee notification. FMLA information concerning rights and responsibilities are provided upon hire to all new employees within University and University of Iowa Health Care orientation(s). Mandatory Department of Labor FMLA Notice and supplementary information concerning Military Family Leave posters are displayed in the University Employment Services office and individual employing department Human Resource areas. Employee questions or concerns with this policy should be directed to the Human Resource Representative or University Faculty and Staff Disability Services (hr-fsds@uiowa.edu).
  3. General provisions. The University will grant up to 12 weeks per calendar year or up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave during any 12-month period to eligible employees.

    Leave under FMLA may be paid, unpaid, or a combination of paid and unpaid leaves, depending on the circumstances of the leave and the employee's eligibility for different leaves. Employees may also use comp time to remain in paid status while in FMLA. Refer to https://hr.uiowa.edu/fsds for employee leave eligibility information.
  4. Employee eligibility. The employee must meet all of the following conditions:
    1. The employee must have worked for the University for at least 12 months or 52 weeks. The 12 months or 52 weeks need not have been consecutive. Separate periods of employment will be counted toward the 12 months except for periods of employment prior to a 7-year break in service. However, separate periods of employment are to be counted if the break in service exceeds 7 years due to eligible military service obligations.

      An employee will be considered to have been employed for an entire week even if the employee was on the payroll for only part of a week or if the employee is on paid or unpaid leave during the week.
    2. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding the date when the leave is intended to commence. Hours absent from work, whether paid (vacation, sick, holiday, jury, administrative, etc.) or unpaid, are not included in the 1,250 hours required for FMLA eligibility.
    3. Employee eligibility pursuant to work location will be determined at the time a request for leave is made. Employees must work within 75 miles of the worksite where they report or are assigned work and this worksite must have a minimum of 50 University employees reporting to that worksite. The distance is to be calculated by using available transportation and the most direct route. The office location for employees who work from home is the office that assigns work.
    4. Employees on non-FMLA leave who become eligible for FMLA during the leave period will have any remaining absence that qualifies as FMLA designated as FMLA.
    5. Employees cannot waive their rights to use FMLA.
  5. Types of qualifying leave.
    1. Employees who are eligible for FMLA may use FMLA for any and all of the reasons below:
      1. Prenatal care for and birth of a child, as well as bonding time with the child during the 12 months following the child's entry to the home.
      2. The pre-placement proceedings required for an employee's adoption or foster care placement efforts, the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to bond with the child during the 12 months following the child's entry to the home.
      3. To care for a spouse (including a University registered domestic partner), child, or parent with a serious health condition. Care may include provision of treatment or psychological comfort.
      4. Due to the serious health condition of the employee. The employee is unable to perform the essential functions of the job with reasonable accommodation, and work absence is medically necessary.
      5. Qualifying exigency leave — leave required because the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is a service member on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to covered active duty status in support of a contingency operation. Service members include members of the National Guard, the Reserves, and certain retired members of the Regular Armed Forces and retired Reserve. Employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave for reasons related to or affected by the family member's call-up, impending call-up, or service. The leave may commence as soon as the covered service member receives the call-up notice.

        This type of leave is counted toward the employee's 12-week maximum of FMLA leave in a calendar year. The qualifying exigency must be one of the following: 1) short-notice deployment, 2) military events and activities, 3) child care and school activities, 4) financial and legal arrangements, 5) counseling, 6) rest and recuperation, 7) post-deployment activities, 8) parental care, and 9) additional activities that arise out of active duty, provided that the employer and employee agree to the leave and on timing and duration of the leave.

        "Son" or "daughter" for FMLA leave related to military service is defined the same as "child" for other types of FMLA leave except that the son or daughter need not be a minor.
      6. Military caregiver leave to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness. This leave may extend to up to 26 weeks in a single 12-month period for an eligible employee to care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin covered service member.
  6. Amount of leave.
    1. Personal or family illness: An eligible employee can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave during a calendar year.
    2. Military caregiver leave: An eligible employee can take up to 26 weeks for qualifying military caregiver leave during a single 12-month rolling period. The 12-month rolling period is measured forward. FMLA leave already taken in the calendar year for other FMLA events will be deducted from this 26-week period. When two University employees are spouses as defined herein and each wishes to take leave to care for a covered injured or ill service member, the two employees may only take a combined total of 26 weeks of leave.
    3. Child entering the home: When both parents, individuals who are domestic partners registered with the University Benefits Office or are married as recognized by the state of Iowa, including common law, work for the University and each wishes to take leave for a child entering the home, birth of a child, adoption, or placement of a child in foster care, the two employees may only take a combined total of 12 weeks of leave.
    4. Holidays are charged to FMLA leave if the employee is taking a continuous leave of a full workweek. Holidays are not charged to FMLA for leaves of less than one full week.
  7. Duration of leaves. An eligible employee may take FMLA leave continuously, intermittently, or on a reduced workweek or workday basis. During a calendar year leave may not exceed a total of 12 workweeks for continuous leaves. Intermittent leave may not exceed 480 hours for FTE appointments or the corresponding amount according to percentage of appointment. The maximum leave available to care for an injured or ill service member in a rolling 12-month period is 26 workweeks and the intermittent leave maximum of 1,040 hours for FTE appointments or the corresponding amount according to the percentage of appointment. The 26 weeks will include any leave taken for other nonmilitary FMLA qualifying events during a calendar year.

    Intermittent or reduced schedule for planned medical treatment or after the birth or placement of a child (unrelated to an employee illness) requires that employees make a reasonable effort not to disrupt work operations. Scheduling of these absences is to be arranged with the employer.
  8. Status, pay, and benefits during leave. An employee using FMLA retains employment rights during leave. FMLA runs concurrently with applicable pay policies. Faculty and staff should remain in pay status whenever possible using applicable sick or family caregiving leave, or vacation or comp time (as applicable). See III-22.3 above and https://hr.uiowa.edu/policies/clarification-family-caregiving-leave

    Employee absence for prenatal care, pre-adoption, and pre-foster placement and leave following the child's entry to the home (birth, placement in the home) are FMLA events and the employee pay status runs currently with the leave.

    An employee using a planned reduced schedule to take foreseeable intermittent FMLA leave may be temporarily transferred to an available alternative work assignment with equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative assignment can better accommodate an intermittent or reduced schedule.

    An employee may be transferred to a part-time job with the same rate of pay and benefits provided no more leave than is medically necessary is required. Equivalent duties are not necessary but duties cannot be assigned to discourage the employee from taking leave. The employee, when able to return to full schedule, will be returned to the same or equivalent job held prior to the leave, complying with other policy and bargaining contracts as applicable.

    The University will continue the employee's health benefits during any period of paid and unpaid FMLA leave. The employee is to contact University Benefits to arrange for premium coverage of all other insurance benefits during unpaid leave.

    An employee not returning to work following FMLA leave will not be required to reimburse the University for health insurance premiums provided by the University during the leave.
  9. Status after leave. An employee taking FMLA leave will be returned to the same position held when leave commenced or to a position that is virtually identical in terms of pay, benefits, and working conditions. The employee must be able to perform the essential functions of the position with reasonable accommodations, as applicable.
  10. Certifications.
    1. Employee's serious health condition. Certification from the employee's treating health provider should be requested if the employer's knowledge regarding the need for leave is unknown or unclear. Typically, a department Human Resources representative should inform the employee of the need for a health certification within five days of knowing about the need for leave. The employee must provide the health certification within 15 days of the request or provide reasonable explanation for the delay. The expense of the certification is the responsibility of the employee. Failure to provide certification may result in denial of FMLA designation. Certification should be made using the Department of Labor (DOL) Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee's Serious Health Condition; however, the University may accept other documentation if the necessary information required for leave is provided.

      The University Faculty and Staff Disability Services staff, or designee, may contact the employee's health provider directly for verification or clarification purposes if leave communication deficiencies continue after the employee has been given 7 days to resolve such deficiencies, provided that the employee has authorized the University to contact the health provider.

      A second opinion may be requested by University Faculty and Staff Disability Services staff when there are reasons to question the documentation. The provider of the second opinion will be selected by University Faculty and Staff Disability Services and the employing department will provide payment for certification. FMLA may be refused if the selected provider cannot obtain the relevant medical records necessary to make the certification.

      A third opinion may be requested by University Faculty and Staff Disability Services when conflict exists between the first and second opinions. The provider will be mutually selected by University Faculty and Staff Disability Services staff and the employee. The employing department will provide payment for the third opinion. This opinion will be considered final.

      The employee will be provisionally entitled to FMLA leave and benefits pending the second and/or third opinion.

      Second or third opinions are not to be requested for covered service member leave.
    2. Family member's serious health condition. Certification from the family member's treating health provider should be requested if the employer's knowledge of the need for leave is unknown or unclear. Typically, a department Human Resource representative should inform the employee of the need for a health certification within 5 days of knowing about need for leave. The employee must provide the health certification within 15 days of the request or provide reasonable explanation for the delay. Failure to provide certification may result in denial of FMLA designation. Certification should be made using the DOL Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member's Serious Health Condition; however, the University may accept other documentation if the necessary information required for leave is provided.

      The employee will be granted 7 days to resolve certification deficiencies. Unresolved deficiencies may result in denial of FMLA coverage.

      The employee will be provisionally entitled to FMLA leave during the documentation request and review period.
    3. Qualifying exigency for military leave. Certification should only be requested if knowledge of need for leave is unknown or unclear. The University may request copies of the active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military noting active-duty status or call to active duty. If further certification is sought, typically, a department Human Resource representative will inform the employee of the need for certification within 5 days of knowing about need for leave. The employee must provide the certification within 15 days of the request or provide reasonable explanation for the delay. Certification should be made using the DOL Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave; however, the University may accept other documentation if the necessary information required for leave is provided.

       The employee will be granted 7 days to resolve certification deficiencies. Unresolved deficiencies may result in denial of FMLA coverage.

       The employee will be provisionally entitled to FMLA leave during the documentation request and review period.
    4. Serious injury or illness of covered service member. Certification from the service member's treating health provider, i.e., U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, authorized provider in a DOD TRICARE network, or authorized private provider of a DOD TRICARE network, may be requested if knowledge of need for leave is unknown or unclear. Typically, a department Human Resource representative will inform the employee of the need for a health certification within 5 days of knowing about need for leave. The employee must provide the health certification within 15 days of the request or provide reasonable explanation for the delay.

      The employee will be granted 7 days to resolve certification deficiencies. Unresolved deficiencies may result in denial of FMLA coverage.

      The employee will be provisionally entitled to FMLA leave during the documentation request and review period.
  11. Recertification. Recertification of a serious health condition for the employee or the employee's family member may be requested:
    1. no more frequently than every 30 days when the duration of the health condition is unknown,
    2. when information is received casting doubt on the reason given for the absence,
    3. when an extension is requested, or
    4. when circumstances described in the previous certification have changed significantly.
    Information concerning the employee's leave use may be submitted to the treating health provider on the certification document with a question whether the leave is consistent with the employee's serious health condition. The University will allow 15 calendar days for the employee to provide the recertification. When recertification is not received further FMLA leave may be denied. No second or third medical opinions from University-selected doctors may be requested of a recertification. Recertification is not to be requested for covered service member leave.
  12. Requesting leave. Employees are required to provide information regarding their need for leave sufficient to allow the University to determine if the leave qualifies under FMLA. Failure to provide sufficient information may result in denial of FMLA designation.

    Unscheduled and scheduled employee leave will be evaluated by the University to determine employee and event eligibility. Employees giving notice of need for foreseeable leave should do so, when practicable, at least 30 days in advance of using leave.

     FMLA may be denied if verbal or written notice is not reasonably given for scheduled absence or if department call-in procedures are not followed.
  13. Designation of leave. Typically within 5 business days after learning of the current leave or need for future leave the University will complete and provide the employee with the DOL Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities.

    For FMLA-eligible employees, typically within 5 business days after receiving adequate information either from the employee, employee's representative or certification supporting the employee's need for leave, the University will complete and provide the employee with a written response to the request for leave using the DOL Designation Notice.

    Employees may consult with University Faculty and Staff Disaiblity Services regarding concerns about the designation of leave that cannot be resolved by their department Human Resources Representatives.

    When employers are unaware of how to designate an employee's absence they should make reasonable inquiry with employees or their spokesperson to ascertain whether leave is potentially FMLA qualifying.

    If leave was used in any 30-day period, employees may request the amount of FMLA leave available to them once every 30 days.

    If the "return to work" guidelines (paragraph o below) dictate that the employee should provide release to work documentation before being allowed to return, the department must note this requirement on the Designation Notice at the time leave is approved. The department should also attach a list of the essential job functions to the Designation Notice and explain on the Designation Notice that the release to work documentation must address the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the job.

    The University shall notify employees, using the DOL Designation Notice, when leave events or employees do meet FMLA eligibility criteria.

    Leave may be designated retroactively as FMLA leave if authorized by University Faculty and Staff Disability Services.
  14. Employee communication during leave. The University should make arrangements with employees on leave regarding any reporting requirements during their absence. Employees on unscheduled and scheduled leave should maintain regular communication with their designated University contact person, applicable to each employee's situation and without discrimination, to address unmet work needs during absence and communicate changes in health and abilities to work.
  15. Return to work. A release to work document may only be required by the University if presented to the employee with the DOL Designation Notice. A release to work/fitness for duty document from the treating health provider should be required in situations of employees taking leave for their own serious health condition that requires continuous leave of 5 or more days, inpatient hospitalization, or when the health condition implicates the safety of self or others. A release to work or fitness for duty clearance may be requested for intermittent leave when reasonable questions regarding safety exist and if the employee was notified of this requirement at the time of designation. The treating health provider must attest the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the job. The employee will be given 7 days to resolve incomplete or unclear release information. If unresolved after 7 days, University Faculty and Staff Disability Services may contact the treating health provider for purposes of clarifying and authenticating the Release to Work document. The employee will not return to work until the completed certification document is received by the employer.

    The cost of obtaining the release document is the responsibility of the employee.

22.8 Parental Leave Policy

(Amended 5/99; 8/00; 1/06; 5/07; 10/14; 7/1/17)

Effective July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.

  1. Purpose. To permit parents who have care giving responsibilities to have time off to spend with a child newly added to the family and, to the extent permitted by state law, to be paid during such leave. To adapt an employee's work schedule and/or duties to help reduce conflict with parental obligations.
  2. Entitlement to Leave.
    1. Twelve-month faculty, professional and scientific staff, and non-organized merit system staff.
      1. Birth mothers are entitled to leave for any period of pregnancy-related temporary disability, to be charged against accrued sick leave. Based on current medical practice, a leave of 6 weeks or less would not require the employee to provide disability documentation. If an employee's accumulated sick leave is insufficient to cover the 6-week period of disability, the leave balance will be charged, at the employee's request, to vacation time, compensatory time, or a leave of absence without pay. Any request for non-medically necessary absence beyond the 6-week period of disability is considered as a leave of absence without pay or as vacation.
      2. A newly adoptive parent, including a domestic partner, is entitled to 1 week (5 days) of paid adoption leave to be charged against accrued sick leave. Departments are encouraged to arrange for additional leave as necessary. Departments should work with prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt through an adoption agency with specific requirements for parental leave, to the extent the adoption leave is not sufficient to undertake an adoption. Time not charged to accrued sick leave may be charged to accrued vacation or taken as leave without pay.
    2. Nine-month faculty.
      1. Birth mothers are entitled to leave for any period of pregnancy-related temporary disability, to be charged against accrued sick leave. Based on current medical practice, a leave of 6 weeks or less would not require the employee to provide disability documentation. If an employee's accumulated sick leave is insufficient to cover the 6-week period of disability, the leave balance will be charged, at the employee's request, to vacation time, compensatory time, or a leave of absence without pay. Any request for non-medically necessary absence beyond the 6-week period of disability is considered as a leave of absence without pay or as vacation.
      2. A newly adoptive parent is entitled to 1 week (5 days) of paid adoption leave, to be charged against accrued sick leave. Departments should work with prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt through an adoption agency with specific requirements for parental leave, to the extent the adoption leave is not sufficient to undertake an adoption.
  3. Adaptation to employment duties and/or schedule — 12-month faculty, 9-month faculty, and staff.
    1. For each minor child newly added to the family of a probationary faculty member (e.g., biological, adopted, stepchild, or by guardianship) during the probationary period or within 2 years prior to the initial appointment, the faculty member shall be eligible for extension of the probationary period as provided in III-10.1a(4)(e)(1).
    2. Departments shall work with faculty and staff to modify schedules and duties, such as travel, to assist new parents.
  4. Family Caregiving Leave. See III-22.3 above.

(See also III-24 Flexible Scheduling.)

22.9 Catastrophic Leave Donations

(President 9/93; amended 9/97; 7/02; 1/06)

The University offers to faculty and staff members the ability to receive and donate accrued vacation leave due to a personal or family catastrophic illness or injury which results in a medical condition for which a physician has certified that the condition is likely to result in a loss of 30 or more work days. All faculty and staff who accrue vacation are eligible to participate. An individual must have exhausted all paid leave and not be receiving long-term disability in order to be qualified to receive donations. The total donations received by an employee shall not exceed the amount necessary to cover the long-term disability waiting period. If the donations are needed due to a family member illness or injury, donations cannot exceed 1 year. Leave must be donated in increments of 1 hour or more.

(See also III-22.8 Parental Leave; III-26.7 Courses for Maintaining Professional Licensing Requirements; III-22 Absences; and https://hr.uiowa.edu/benefits/catastrophic-leave.)

22.10 Religious Diversity and the University Calendar

(3/99; 11/00)

Religious history, religious diversity, and spiritual values have formed a part of The University of Iowa's curricular and extracurricular programs since the founding of the University. In order to advance religious diversity on campus, the University makes reasonable accommodations for students, staff, and faculty whose religious holy days coincide with their work schedules and classroom assignments. As a public institution, the University neither promotes any particular form of religion nor discriminates against students, staff, or faculty on the basis of their religious viewpoints.

University holidays are not religious holy days, although a religious holy day may coincide with a University holiday. The University is prepared to make reasonable accommodations in its work assignments, test schedules, and classroom attendance expectations in a manner which is consistent with the University Policy on Human Rights (see II-3) and does not unfairly burden employees and students.

  1. Students. With regard to classroom attendance, students who notify the faculty (including teaching assistants) of a religious holy day conflict in a timely manner shall be excused from class or other scheduled academic activity to observe a religious holy day of their faith. Where attendance is mandatory, students compelled by their religious convictions to refrain from attending class on specific days must notify their instructors during the first few days of the semester or session, and no later than the third week or one week before the absence if a conflict occurs before that time.

    Students who notify their instructors of a religious holy day conflict in a timely manner shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up the material or activities covered in their absence, including tests. Students who receive an exemption on religious grounds cannot be penalized for failing to attend class on the days exempted. The instructor may, however, appropriately respond if the student fails to satisfactorily complete any alternative assignment or examination.

    In those cases where a request for an excused absence based upon a religious holy day conflict is denied by the instructor, a student may pursue a grievance under "Student Complaints Concerning Faculty Actions" (see Policies and Regulations Affecting Students). Where a timely request is made but denied by the instructor, the grievance process shall be expedited as much as reasonably possible to ensure that a student pursuing a religious holy day accommodation is not unduly disadvantaged by the passage of time.

    Students with attendance conflicts may be required to notify an instructor in writing. An instructor who requires written notice must inform the class of this expectation in the class syllabus. An instructor may deny a student's request for an excused absence on the ground that the request was not made within a reasonable time period, that is, no later than the third week of class or one week before the absence if a conflict occurs before that time.
  2. Faculty. Faculty members have "the responsibility to meet classes as scheduled and, when circumstances prevent this, to arrange equivalent alternate instruction" (see III-15.2 Responsibilities to Students). Faculty members who wish to observe religious holy days must fulfill the above-mentioned policy and satisfy any other responsibilities regarding off-campus time, including proper notice, in accordance with their standard departmental procedures.

    When scheduling tests, instructors are encouraged to take cognizance of religious holy days which fall on University class days. In addition, faculty should include in their syllabi information regarding the policies for handling conflicts between classroom activities (attendance, tests, etc.) and religious holy days. Such policies must be consistent with University policies (see paragraph a above).
  3. Staff. Staff members may request accommodation for religious observances through their immediate supervisor. Accommodation may be in the form of scheduled leave or an alternate work schedule. Approved absences will be recorded as vacation. In cases when vacation is not available or an alternative work schedule is not possible, a leave of absence without pay may be permitted. Departments will attempt to accommodate such requests, balancing the request to accommodate with the particular needs of the work unit.

    In order to best meet staff needs in an area, appropriate advance notice is required.

22.11 Sick Leave Payout at Time of Retirement

(10/04)

Faculty and staff who retire at age 55 and older and have unused sick leave hours are eligible to receive a cash payment not to exceed $2,000 based upon their current rate of base pay and the amount of unused accumulated hours (Iowa Code 70A.23). Any amount beyond this figure is forfeited. This payout is incorporated into the Fringe Benefit Pool charge.

22.12 Bone Marrow and Organ Donation

(9/07)
  1. Employees who are absent in order to serve as bone marrow or organ donors will be provided paid leave, not charged against sick or vacation accruals, for up to 5 work days for a bone marrow donation or up to 30 days for an organ donation.
  2. "Organ" in this context includes lung, liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, or other organ that requires the continuous circulation of blood to remain useful for purposes of transplantation.
  3. Donation verification is to be provided by the physician or hospital involved in the donation.
  4. Such leave will not cause loss of pay, benefits, accruals, or overtime accumulation.

(See IC 70A.39.)