Leaves

Bereavement Leave

Updated May 2017
For absences due to the death of a relative including a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, brother, sister (or brothers-, sisters-, parents-, and grandparents-in-law), bereavement leave may be used for the primary purpose of attending funeral services. Employees in a with benefits status who have successfully completed their introductory period may receive paid leave of up to three days. When long distance travel is involved, the supervisor may approve an extra one or two days paid leave if necessary. If more time is required, vacation, sick leave, or leave without pay may be taken. Approved bereavement leave is not deducted from vacation or sick leave, and may be used as needed. Dates of absence should be reported on the time sheet, signed by the supervisor and forwarded to payroll by the due dates. To ensure accurate and timely payroll processing, it is critical that this information be sent on time.

Emergency Shared Leave Program

Effective April 1, 2000
The university has benefit programs in place to provide financial assistance in the event that qualified staff experience either short-term or long-term illness or disability. Even with these benefits in place, there may be extreme medical situations in which an employee does not have enough sick leave accumulated to bridge the gap between paid leave and the initiation of long-term disability benefits. The purpose of Emergency Shared Leave is to provide limited financial assistance in prolonged, life-threatening and catastrophic medical situations, by allowing eligible employees to voluntarily share a portion of their accrued leave time to help fund the medical leave of an authorized recipient.

Eligibility to Receive Shared Leave
Staff members may be eligible to receive donated leave if they meet all of the following requirements:

  1. The employee has completed at least one full year of employment with the university, is in a with benefits position, and is regularly scheduled to work .5 FTE or more.
  2. The employee requesting shared leave suffers from an extended and severe illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition which has caused or is likely to cause the employee to go on medical leave without pay status or to terminate his/her employment.
  3. The absence and the use of shared leave are justified.
  4. The employee has depleted, or will soon deplete, his/her own accumulated vacation and sick leave balances.
  5. The employee has abided by university policies regarding sick leave use.
  6. The leave request is approved by President’s Council.

Eligibility to Donate Shared Leave
Staff members may donate sick or vacation leave as follows:

  1. The employee must have completed at least one full year of employment with the university, is in a with benefits position, and is regularly scheduled to work .5 FTE or more.
  2. Employees with accrued vacation leave balances of more than 80 hours may request that from 8 hours up to 40 hours of vacation leave be transferred to another employee authorized to receive shared leave.
  3. Employees with accrued sick leave balances of more than 520 hours may request that from 8 hours up to 40 hours of sick leave be transferred to another employee authorized to receive shared leave.
  4. Employees may donate up to a maximum of 80 hours of combined vacation and sick leave in any one year.
  5. The donation of leave is completely voluntary. No one shall be coerced or financially induced into donating leave time.
  6. The number of leave hours transferred shall not exceed the amount authorized in writing by the donating employee.

Review Process
The steps outlined below will be followed expediently in making application for, and in review and approval of, Emergency Shared Leave.

  1. An employee who believes that he/she may be eligible for Emergency Shared Leave may request it. If that is not possible due to the employee’s physical or mental condition, then his/her manager or a family member may make a request on his/her behalf.
  2. Requests for Emergency Shared Leave should be submitted in writing to Human Resources. A request for Emergency Shared Leave may accompany the leave of absence request form, or may be submitted after an employee has already initiated a medical leave. The university reserves the right to require a physician’s statement documenting the employee’s health condition and prognosis for recovery and return to work.
  3. After receiving a request, Human Resources will verify the employee’s eligibility and status, including current accumulated vacation and sick leave balances. Human Resources will confer with the employee’s budget head and Vice President. If all three of them are in agreement, then the application will be forwarded to President’s Council for review.
  4. President’s Council has the final authority to determine eligibility and whether or not to authorize applications for Emergency Shared Leave. Considerations will include budgetary impact and the needs of the university. President’s Council has the sole discretion regarding whether or not to extend this benefit. The receipt of benefits under this program is not guaranteed.

Shared Leave Administration
If an employee is approved by President’s Council to receive Emergency Shared Leave, Human Resources will administer the benefit as follows:

  1. An announcement will be distributed to notify employees of the opportunity to donate leave time.
  2. Eligible employees who want to donate leave time must notify Human Resources in writing of the number of hours and type of leave they would like to share.
  3. Donated leave time will be accepted on a first-come basis. Any time offered that exceeds the amount approved for and used by the leave recipient will not be deducted from the accumulated leave of the person offering the time.
  4. Donating employees donate sick or vacation leave at their individual pay rates and the recipient is credited with sick leave at his/her individual pay rate. Therefore, the leave recipient will be paid at his/her current pay rate, not at the pay rate of the person donating the leave time. For this program, what matters is the number of leave hours donated to an authorized recipient – not the pay rates of those who donate leave time.
  5. It is not possible to make back-payments to a shared leave recipient who may have already taken some leave without pay. Donated time will be available for use by the recipient in accordance with regular payroll procedures and cut-off dates.
  6. Leave balances and personnel records will be maintained and monitored as leave time is donated and used.
  7. The employee’s long-term prognosis, anticipated return-to-work date, length of service with the university, and other relevant factors will be taken into consideration in determining the amount of shared leave an employee may receive under this program. Normally a total maximum of 520 hours may be donated to a recipient, prorated for those working less than 1.0 FTE. This is approximately the amount of time needed to cover the 90-calendar-day waiting period required prior to long-term disability benefits.
  8. Emergency Shared Leave will not be granted for a period extending beyond the earliest day on which benefits under either the university’s long-term disability insurance program or the Social Security Act are expected to become payable to the employee, or if the employee is not covered thereunder, would become payable if coverage existed.

This program will be administered in coordination with the university’s other policies and programs including Sick Leave, Family and Medical Leave, and long-term disability.

Family and Medical Leaves of Absence (FMLA): Staff

Revised January 2011, January 2015, April 2020

Staff employees in a with-benefits employment status may request a Family/Medical Leave of Absence, which may be paid or unpaid, for up to twelve weeks over any 12-month period. Eligible employees who are caring for a servicemember with a serious injury or illness are entitled to 26 weeks of paid or unpaid family or medical leave over any 12 month-period. The 12-month period begins with the first day of leave and ends 12 months from that date.

To be eligible for a Family/Medical Leave, the requesting employee must have completed at least twelve months of service prior to the time of the request, which need not be consecutive, and worked at least 1,250 hours over the prior twelve-month period immediately preceding commencement of the leave. Leave shall be granted for the following qualifying circumstances:

  1. The employee’s own serious medical condition that makes him/her unable to perform the essential functions of his/her job.
  2. For pregnancy-related disability, birth and/or care for a newborn child or for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care.
  3. Care for a child, parent or spouse with a serious medical condition. The terms “child” and “parent” shall include natural, adoptive and step relationships. The term “child” also includes a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis (in place of a parent).
  4. A qualifying military exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is on active duty or has been called to active duty status as a member of the regular Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves.
  5. A serious injury or illness affecting the employee’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin, who is a covered servicemember or qualified veteran and for which the employee is needed to provide care.

For purposes of this policy, a “serious medical condition” shall include an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves:

  1. Inpatient care; or
  2. Inability to work or perform other regular daily activities due to the health condition, treatment therefore or recovery therefrom; or
  3. Continuing treatment by a health care provider, which includes:
    1. A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive days which involves ongoing treatment by a health care provider; or
    2. A period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care; or
    3. A period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic health condition as defined by the Family Medical Leave Act.

Requests for Family/Medical Leave must be submitted using the Leave of Absence Request form and accompanied by appropriate certification specifying the serious medical condition if appropriate, the amount of leave needed, and the anticipated return to work date. Requests for Family/Medical Leave should be submitted to the immediate supervisor. The request will be reviewed by the supervisor in consultation with the appropriate department head, and then forwarded to Human Resources for evaluation of eligibility and a determination of the period of paid and/or unpaid leave to be provided. The university reserves the right to request a second and third medical opinion at the university’s expense.

Whenever possible, Family/Medical Leave should be requested at least 30 days prior to commencement of the leave period. The university recognizes that there are emergency circumstances that will make advance notice impossible. In those situations, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable under the circumstances.  Generally, this should be within one or two workdays of when the employee learns of the need for leave, except in extraordinary circumstances.

An employee receiving an approved Family/Medical Leave may use accrued vacation and/or sick leave benefits for the period of leave. An employee may also be eligible to apply for paid leave benefits through the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML) insurance program.  Refer to the “Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML): Staff” policy for more information regarding this benefit.

The extent to which an approved Family/Medical Leave is fully paid, partially paid, or unpaid by the university will be determined by the amount of vacation and sick leave accumulated by the employee prior to initiating the leave and whether or not the employee applies and is approved for Washington PFML. If an employee does not apply for Washington PFML benefits, the employee will receive only accrued sick and vacation leave. If an employee applies and is approved for Washington PFML, the employee may choose whether or not to supplement their state benefit with available sick and/or vacation leave but may not exceed 100% of regular earnings. The supplemental benefit payments from the university will be paid to the employee during PLU’s regularly scheduled pay periods.

Employees taking approved leaves are encouraged to use any and all accumulated sick and vacation leave but may not exceed the total amount of sick and vacation time they have accumulated. If an employee exhausts accumulated sick and vacation time, the duration of an approved Family/Medical Leave will be without pay.  Accrual for benefit calculations, such as vacation and sick leave, will continue during any PLU paid portions of the leave and will resume upon return to active employment.

During an approved Family/Medical Leave the university will, in accordance with university policies and the official plan documents, pay its regular share of applicable premiums for insurance benefits including medical, dental, life and long-term disability. Employees must continue to pay their regular contribution towards all such benefits. The university, at its discretion, may opt to pay the employee’s contribution towards all such benefits during the period of Family/Medical Leave, and recover such payments after the employee’s return to work. Business travel accident insurance will not be provided during an approved leave. Retirement contributions will continue for any leave that is paid by PLU.

Employees who sustain a work-related injury may be eligible for a Family/Medical Leave for the period of disability in accordance with all applicable laws regarding disability and/or workers’ compensation.

Prior to returning to active duty, an employee returning to work from a Family/Medical Leave that was due to his/her own serious medical condition must provide appropriate medical certification verifying a medical release and fitness for duty. The university reserves the right to request a second and third medical opinion at the university’s expense.

Upon return from Family/Medical Leave, the employee will be restored to his or her original position or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and benefits. The use of Family/Medical Leave will not result in the loss of benefits which have accrued prior to the leave of absence.

Upon the conclusion of Family/Medical Leave, requests to return to work on an interim part-time basis will be considered by the university, whether for medical or for personal reasons. When an employee requests a reduced work schedule due to medical reasons, the university may request medical documentation in support of the request. Decisions regarding part-time work will be based on several factors, including the nature and duration of the request and the availability of work for which the employee is qualified. In some cases, an employee may be returned to work on an interim part-time basis in another position in accordance with the terms of applicable law.

Employees who are medically unable to return to work following approved leave due to their own serious medical condition may be eligible to apply for long-term disability benefits. Information regarding such benefits is available from Human Resources.

Employees desiring additional leave upon the exhaustion of any approved Family/ Medical Leave may be provided additional leave at PLU’s sole discretion or may be placed on inactive status in accordance with the terms of applicable law.

If an employee fails to contact the university and report to work promptly at the end of the approved leave period, PLU will assume that the employee has voluntarily resigned. Any employee who fails to return to work from approved leave may be required to repay any health insurance premiums paid on their behalf during the period of the leave in accordance with the terms of applicable law, except in cases where the employee’s failure to return is due to the employee’s or family member’s continued serious health condition or other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.

In the event this policy conflicts with or provides a lesser benefit than required by any federal, state, or local laws, the university will follow the applicable statute, law or regulation. Leave requirements are often complex and employees in need of leave under this policy are encouraged to consult with Human Resources.

Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML): Staff

April 2020

Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML) is a mandatory statewide insurance program that provides Washington employees with paid time off for the following reasons:

  • For bonding with a new child through birth, adoption or foster placement.
  • For an employee’s serious illness or injury.
  • To care for a family member with a serious illness or injury.
  • To prepare for a family member’s pre- and post-deployment activities, as well as childcare issues related to a family member’s military deployment.

The program is funded by premiums paid by both employees and employers through payroll taxes. It is administered by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD). If an employee requires leave for family or medical reasons, they are eligible to apply for paid leave benefits to the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program (www.paidleave.wa.gov).

Employees who have worked at least 820 hours in WA in the qualifying period may be eligible for Washington PFML. The 820 hours are cumulative, regardless of the number of Washington State employers or jobs held during a year. All paid work over the course of the year counts toward the 820 hours, including part-time, seasonal and temporary work. The qualifying period is either: the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters; or the last four completed calendar quarters. Generally, this program will allow qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave over any 12-month period. Employees may be eligible for up to 16 weeks of paid leave if they face multiple events in a year, and up to 18 weeks if they experience a serious health condition during pregnancy that results in incapacity.

For medical leave, a qualifying event is the employee’s own serious health condition, illness or injury that causes them to be unable to work.

For family leave, a qualifying event could be the birth or placement (adoption or foster) of a child under the age of 18, a family member’s serious health condition, or certain activities related to a family member’s military duty. For the purposes of this policy, a family member includes an employee’s child (including step and foster), spouse, domestic partner, parent (including in-law and in loco parentis), sibling, grandparent (including in-law), and grandchild

Generally, a serious health condition could include an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity; or
  • Continuing treatment by a healthcare provider for:
    • An illness or injury that incapacitated you for three or more consecutive days.
    • A chronic serious health condition (ex. Diabetes or epilepsy).
    • Incapacity during pregnancy or for prenatal care.
    • Treatment for substance abuse.
    • Any period of absence from work to receive treatments and recover (ex. Radiation, chemotherapy or dialysis).

Requests for Washington PFML must be submitted to the Employment Security Department (ESD). For all leaves except parental bonding leave, there is a waiting period before an employee will be eligible for Washington PFML benefits. In most cases, as part of the application process, employees will need a healthcare provider to complete and sign the Serious Health Condition Certification form certifying that the illness or injury meets the definition of “serious health condition”. Employees will also be required to notify Human Resources of the leave request.

Whenever possible, an employee should provide Human Resources with at least 30 days notice of the employee’s need for Washington PFML.  In the case of unforeseeable events, the employee must provide notice to Human Resources as soon as practicable under the circumstances. Generally, this should be within one or two workdays of when the employee learns of the need for leave, except in extraordinary circumstances.

An employee taking Washington PFML may receive supplemental benefits and healthcare continuation and other benefit continuation pursuant to applicable law for the period of leave. The amount of paid leave benefits paid to an employee while taking Washington PFML will be determined by the ESD. The benefit is a percentage of an employee’s average weekly wage (maximum of 90 percent), with a minimum of $100 per week and a maximum of $1,000 per week. Employees will be paid the state benefit directly by the ESD rather than by PLU.

Employees may choose whether or not to supplement their state benefit with available PLU sick and/or vacation leave.  Supplemental benefits will be paid to reach 100% of regular earnings until such time an employee’s supplemental benefits are exhausted. The supplemental benefit payments from PLU will be paid to the employee during PLU’s regularly scheduled pay periods. These supplemental benefit payments are not part of an employee’s regular wages or paid time off and are not reported on either the employee’s weekly claim or the employer’s quarterly report. Accrual for benefit calculations, such as vacation and sick leave, will continue during any PLU paid portions of the leave and will resume upon return to active employment.

Employees who return from leave under this law will be restored to a same or equivalent job if they have worked for PLU for at least 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the leave period.  Employee who meet these eligibility requirements will also be eligible to have their healthcare benefits continued during the paid leave period.  During periods of healthcare continuation, the employee must continue to pay his or her regular contribution towards all such benefits. The university, at its discretion, may opt to pay the employee’s contribution towards all such benefits during the period of Washington PFML, and recover such payments after the employee’s return to work. Business travel accident insurance will not be provided during an approved leave. Retirement contributions will continue for any leave that is paid by PLU.

Employees who are medically unable to return to work following approved leave due to their own serious medical condition may be eligible to apply for long-term disability benefits. Information regarding such benefits is available from Human Resources.

Employees desiring additional leave upon the exhaustion of Washington PFML may be eligible for additional leave or placed on inactive status in accordance with the terms of applicable law.  

If an employee fails to contact the university and report to work promptly at the end of the approved leave period, PLU will assume that the employee has voluntarily resigned and the employee may be required to repay any health insurance premiums paid on their behalf in accordance with the terms of applicable law.

In the event this policy conflicts with and provides a lesser benefit than any federal, state, or local law, the university will follow the applicable statute, law or regulation. Leave requirements are often complex and employees in need of leave under this policy are encouraged to consult with Human Resources.

Family and Medical Leaves of Absence (FMLA): Faculty

Revised January 2011, January 2015, April 2020

Any regular faculty member in a with-benefits employment status who has completed at least 12 months of employment with PLU, which need not be consecutive, and who has worked at least 1250 hours in the 12 consecutive months preceding the commencement of leave may request a Family/Medical Leave of Absence, which may be paid or unpaid, for up to twelve weeks or one academic semester, whichever is greater, over any 12-month period. Eligible faculty members who are caring for a service member with a serious injury or illness are entitled to 26 weeks of paid or unpaid family or medical leave over any 12 month-period. The 12-month period begins with the first day of leave and ends 12 months from that date.

Faculty who accrue vacation and sick leave are considered to have administrative status and should refer to the FMLA policy for staff.

To be eligible for a Family/Medical Leave, the requesting faculty member must establish faculty service for at least twelve months prior to the time of the request, which need not be consecutive. Minimum service for eligibility shall be at least 1,250 hours over the prior twelve-month period. Leave shall be granted for the following qualifying circumstances:

  1. The faculty member’s own serious medical condition that makes the faculty member unable to perform the essential functions of the faculty member’s job.
  2. For pregnancy-related disability, birth and/or care for a newborn child or for placement with the faculty member of a child for adoption or foster care.
  3. Care for a child, parent or spouse with a serious medical condition. The terms “child” and “parent” shall include natural, adoptive and step relationships. The term “child” also includes a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis (in place of a parent).
  4. A qualifying military exigency arising out of the fact that the faculty member’s spouse, child, or parent is on active duty or has been called to active duty status as a member of the regular Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves.
  5. A serious injury or illness affecting the faculty member’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin, who is a covered servicemember or qualified veteran and for which the faculty member is needed to provide care.

For purposes of this policy, a “serious medical condition” shall include an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves:

  1. Inpatient care; or
  2. Inability to work or perform other regular daily activities due to the health condition, treatment therefore or recovery therefrom; or
  3. Continuing treatment by a health care provider, which includes:
    1. A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive days which involves ongoing treatment by a health care provider; or
    2. A period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care; or
    3. A period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic health condition as defined by the Family Medical Leave Act.

Requests for Family/Medical Leave must be accompanied by appropriate certification specifying the serious medical condition if appropriate, the amount of leave needed, and the anticipated return to work date. A faculty member who wishes to request a Family/Medical Leave shall submit a Leave of Absence Request form to their department chair specifying the length of leave needed. This request will be reviewed by the chair in consultation with the appropriate dean, and then forwarded in a timely manner to Human Resources for evaluation of eligibility and a determination of the period of paid and/or unpaid leave to be provided to the requesting faculty member.

Whenever possible, Family/Medical Leave should be requested at least 30 days prior to commencement of the leave period. The university recognizes that there are emergency circumstances that will make advance notice impossible. In those situations, the faculty member must provide notice as soon as practicable under the circumstances. Generally, this should be within one or two workdays of when the faculty member learns of the need for leave, except in extraordinary circumstances. To ensure that students’ academic success is not interrupted by a faculty member’s absence, faculty are requested to provide at least 16 weeks (one semester) notice, if possible, so ample time is given to cover classes during their absence.

An eligible faculty member approved for Family/Medical Leave may elect for their leave to be paid or unpaid by PLU. Eligible faculty members receiving Family/Medical Leave, whether paid or unpaid, may also apply for Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML) benefits through the Washington State Department of Employment Security (ESD). (Refer to the “Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML): Faculty” policy for more details regarding this benefit.)An eligible faculty member approved for paid Family/Medical Leave may be eligible to receive a combination of paid leave from PLU and ESD (through the Washington PFML insurance program) as described below.

Faculty members who apply for and are approved for Washington PFML will receive a percentage of their average weekly compensation (maximum of 90 percent), with a minimum of $100 per week and a maximum of $1,000 per week. Employees will be paid the state benefit directly by the ESD rather than by PLU.

The PLU paid leave benefit will be determined based on the faculty member’s length of employment, regular salary and the amount the faculty member is or would be eligible for from ESD under the Washington PFML insurance program. This is the case regardless of whether the faculty member applies for Washington PFML benefits or not.

As such, if a faculty member applies and is approved for Washington PFML, pay during the Leave period would be a combination of (1) Washington PFML benefits from ESD, and (2) leave benefit payments from PLU. If a faculty member does not apply for Washington PFML benefits or such benefits are denied, the faculty member will receive only the leave benefit payments from PLU they would have received had they applied for or been accepted for Washington PFML benefits. Benefit payments from PLU will be paid to the faculty member during PLU’s regularly scheduled pay periods.

In general, after one year of employment in a with-benefits position, a faculty member is eligible for a combined leave benefit equivalent to a total of ⅙ of annual salary (generally, a 4-credit release) with no pay reduction (through a combination of PLU and Washington PFML pay); after three years of consecutive academic year employment, a faculty member is eligible for a combined leave benefit equivalent to a total of ⅓ of annual salary (generally, an 8-credit release) with no pay reduction (through a combination of PLU and Washington PFML pay). Additional time may be approved but will result in a pay reduction.

Course releases will be prorated for partial semester leaves and for those less than full-time (1.0 FTE). Paid Family/Medical Leave benefit payments from PLU will not exceed two semesters (approximately 30 weeks of leave) in a five-year period and will not exceed one semester of leave in a 12-month period. Human Resources, in conjunction with the Office of the Provost and Dean, will determine the period of PLU paid and/or unpaid leave to be provided to the requesting faculty member.

During an approved Family/Medical Leave the university will, in accordance with applicable laws, policies and official plan documents, pay its regular share of premiums for applicable insurance benefits including medical, dental, life and long-term disability. The individual on leave must continue to pay their regular contribution towards all such benefits. The university, at its discretion, may opt to pay the employee’s contribution towards all such benefits during the period of Family/Medical Leave, and recover such payments after the employee’s return to work. Business travel accident insurance will not be provided during an approved leave. Retirement contributions will continue for any leave that is paid by PLU.

Faculty members who sustain a work-related injury may be eligible for a Family/Medical Leave for the period of disability in accordance with all applicable laws regarding disability and/or workers’ compensation.

Prior to returning to active duty, a faculty member returning to work from a Family/Medical Leave that was due to his/her own serious medical condition must provide appropriate medical certification verifying a medical release and fitness for duty. The university reserves the right to request a second and third medical opinion at the university’s expense.

At the conclusion of an approved Family/Medical Leave, the faculty member shall be returned to the position he or she held before the leave, with no loss of seniority or other benefits. With mutual agreement between non-tenured faculty members and the university, tenure decisions may be delayed or the probationary period extended, depending on the length of the leave and other factors, including the policies and guidelines of the American Association of University Professors, and in accordance with the terms of applicable law. Any delay of a tenure decision or extension of a probationary period for any untenured faculty member shall be addressed by written agreement between the parties at the time that the leave is taken.

Requests to return to work following Family/Medical Leave on an interim part-time basis will be considered by the university, whether for medical or for personal reasons. When a faculty member requests a reduced work schedule due to medical reasons, the university may request medical documentation in support of the request.

Faculty members who are medically unable to return to work following approved leave due to their own serious medical condition may be eligible to apply for long-term disability benefits. Information regarding such benefits is available from Human Resources.

Faculty members desiring additional leave upon the exhaustion of any approved Family/Medical Leave may request an unpaid leave in accordance with the Faculty Handbook.

In the event this policy conflicts with or provides a lesser benefit than any federal, state or local laws, the university will follow the applicable statute, law or regulation. Leave requirements are often complex and employees in need of leave under this policy are encouraged to consult with Human Resources.

Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML): Faculty

April 2020

Paid Family and Medical Leave (Washington PFML) is a mandatory statewide insurance program that provides Washington employees with paid time off for the following reasons:

  • For bonding with a new child through birth, adoption or foster placement.
  • For an employee’s serious illness or injury.
  • To care for a family member with a serious illness or injury.
  • To prepare for a family member’s pre- and post-deployment activities, as well as childcare issues related to a family member’s military deployment.

The program is funded by premiums paid by both employees and employers through payroll taxes. It will be administered by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD).  If a faculty member requires leave for family or medical reasons they may apply to the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program (www.paidleave.wa.gov). Faculty who accrue vacation and sick leave are considered to have administrative status and should refer to the Washington PFML policy for staff.

Faculty who have worked at least 820 hours in Washington in the qualifying period will be able to apply with the State to take paid medical or family leave. The 820 hours are cumulative, regardless of the number of Washington State employers or jobs held during a year. All paid work over the course of the year counts toward the 820 hours, including part-time, seasonal and temporary work. The qualifying period is either: the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters; or the last four completed calendar quarters. Generally, this program will allow qualified faculty to take up to 12 weeks of leave over any 12-month period. Faculty may be eligible for up to 16 weeks of paid leave if they face multiple events in a year, and up to 18 weeks if they experience a serious health condition during pregnancy that results in incapacity.

For medical leave, a qualifying event is the faculty member’s own serious health condition, illness or injury that causes them to be unable to work.

For family leave, a qualifying event could be the birth or placement (adoption or foster) of a child under the age of 18, a family member’s serious health condition, or certain activities related to a family member’s military duty. For the purposes of this policy, a family member includes an employee’s child (including step and foster), spouse, domestic partner, parent (including in-law and in loco parentis), sibling, grandparent (including in-law), and grandchild.

Generally, a serious health condition could include an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity; or
  • Continuing treatment by a healthcare provider for:
    • An illness or injury that incapacitated you for three or more consecutive days.
    • A chronic serious health condition (ex. diabetes or epilepsy).
    • Incapacity during pregnancy or for prenatal care.
    • Treatment for substance abuse.
    • Any period of absence from work to receive treatments and recover (ex. radiation, chemotherapy or dialysis).

 

Requests for Washington PFML must be submitted to the Employment Security Department (ESD). For all leaves except parental bonding leave, there is a waiting period before an employee will be eligible for Washington PFML benefits. In most cases, as part of the application process, faculty will need a healthcare provider to complete and sign the Serious Health Condition Certification form certifying that the illness or injury meets the definition of “serious health condition”. Faculty will also be required to notify Human Resources of the leave request.

Whenever possible, Washington PFML should be requested at least 30 days prior to commencement of the leave period. In the case of unforeseeable events, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable under the circumstances. Generally, this should be within one or two workdays of when the faculty member learns of the need for leave, except in extraordinary circumstances. In an effort to ensure that student’s academic success is not interrupted by a faculty member’s absence, faculty are requested to provide at least 16 weeks (one semester) notice so ample time is given to cover their classes during their absence.

The Washington PFML benefit is a percentage of an employee’s average weekly compensation (maximum of 90 percent), with a minimum of $100 per week and a maximum of $1,000 per week. Faculty members will be paid the state benefit directly by the Employment Security Department rather than by PLU. An eligible faculty member approved for Family/Medical Leave may be eligible to receive a combination of paid leave through PLU and the Washington PFML insurance program. Refer to the “Family and Medical Leaves of Absence (FMLA): Faculty” for more details about how Washington PFML and PLU paid Family/Medical Leave benefits interact.

Faculty members who return from leave under this law will be restored to a same or equivalent job if they have worked for PLU for at least 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the leave period. Faculty members meeting these eligibility criteria will also be eligible to have their healthcare benefits continued during

Washington PFML, provided that the faculty member continues to pay their regular contribution towards all such benefits. The university, at its discretion, may opt to pay the faculty member’s contribution towards all such benefits during the period of Washington PFML, and recover such payments after the faculty member’s return to work. Business travel accident insurance will not be provided during an approved leave. Retirement contributions will continue for any leave that is paid by PLU.

With mutual agreement between non-tenured faculty members and the university, tenure decisions may be delayed or the probationary period extended, depending on the length of the leave and other factors, including the policies and guidelines of the American Association of University Professors. Any delay of a tenure decision or extension of a probationary period for any untenured faculty member shall be addressed by written agreement between the parties at the time that the leave is taken.

Faculty members who are medically unable to return to work following Washington PFML due to their own serious medical condition may be eligible to apply for long-term disability benefits. Information regarding such benefits is available from Human Resources.

Faculty members desiring additional leave upon the exhaustion of Washington PFML may be eligible for additional leave benefits or may be placed on inactive employment status in accordance with the terms of the Faculty Handbook and applicable law.

In the event this policy conflicts with and provides a lesser benefit than any federal, state, or local law, the university will follow the applicable statute, law or regulation. Leave requirements are often complex and employees in need of leave under this policy are encouraged to consult with Human Resources.

Personal Leaves of Absence
Updated January 2018

Staff employed at PLU may request a leave of absence without pay for personal reasons. Leaves should be requested at least 30 days in advance through normal administrative channels. All personal leaves are considered on a case-by-case basis and require approval of the appropriate university officer; in addition, personal leaves over three days also require approval by Human Resources. Leaves of absence are not normally granted for more than a one-year period for exempt staff or for more than a six-month period for nonexempt staff. In personal leave of absence situations, there is no guarantee that an individual’s position will be held. When a request for such a leave is received, the appropriate university officer and Human Resources will review the request considering factors such as: length of time off requested, level of performance, length of service, reason for absence, the nature of the person’s job, feasibility of making arrangements for a temporary replacement, and other appropriate factors. In general, approved personal leaves are provided on a without pay and without benefits basis. All available leave (vacation and sick, if appropriate) must be used before leave without pay will be granted, with the exception of some military leaves. Vacation and sick leave do not accrue during unpaid leave.

Professional Development

Extended Professional Development Leave for Exempt Staff
Extended professional development leaves are an integral part of the university’s commitment to lifelong learning. A significant block of time away from usual professional responsibilities encourages and nurtures employee improvement through professional development, education, research, service, or related pursuits. The effective utilization of such a leave is the professional accountability of every exempt staff member who is approved for one. The opportunity for extended leave is a granted privilege and not a right or accrued benefit.

General Provisions

  1. Extended professional development leaves are intended to be used for extraordinary learning and developmental opportunities, not for routine and customary activities such as annual conferences or workshops.
  2. Approval for an extended professional development leave includes the understanding that a comparable position will be held for the individual upon return from the leave.
  3. The exempt staff member must be a regular employee of PLU, working at least .75 FTE or more, and will have been employed by the university for at least seven consecutive years at the time of leave. Exempt employees who are in a temporary status, who work .74 FTE or less, or who have not met the length of service requirement are not eligible to apply for extended leave.
  4. At the time the leave is requested and initiated, termination of employment is not contemplated either by the employee or by the university administration.
  5. The applicant must have fully satisfactory performance and must receive the support of his/her department and division heads.
  6. Professional development leaves will typically range from one to three months in length (not including approved vacation time). The specific duration of an approved leave will be based on the proposal and its funding as well as on the potential staffing impact on the applicant’s department.
  7. Exempt staff may apply to use vacation time for which they are eligible to supplement their professional development leave.
  8. Generally, no more than four employees will receive leaves per fiscal year. Exempt staff approved for leaves in any given year will typically be from different departments and divisions to minimize staffing impact.
  9. The person granted a leave under this plan is expected to return to active service at PLU for at least one year following completion of the leave.

Application and Implementation Process

  1. Applicants should submit proposals to their department/budget heads and, assuming they receive endorsement, forward them to the appropriate vice president. Applications must be received in the vice president’s office no later than December 31st of the calendar year preceding the fiscal year (June 1st through May 31st) during which the proposed leave would occur.
  2. The vice president will evaluate the request in conjunction with the applicant’s budget/department head and then forward the application with a recommendation (for approval, disapproval, or deferment) to the President who will make the final decision in consultation with President’s Council and Human Resources.
  3. Leave application proposals will include:
    1. Planned professional development activities;
    2. A detailed written outline of leave duration, with beginning and ending dates;
    3. A proposed staffing plan regarding how one’s duties and responsibilities will be covered during the absence;
    4. Advantages related to the applicant’s performance as an exempt staff member; and
    5. Advantages to the university, the PLU community, and/or the community at large.
  4. Decision-making factors used in the review and approval process should include but will not be limited to the following:
    1. The merits of the applicant’s professional development leave proposal.
    2. The extent to which the applicant’s planned learning experience will enhance his/her contribution to the university.
    3. The degree to which an absence in a given year can be covered or may create a hardship on the applicant’s department.
    4. The applicant’s length of service and level of performance.
    5. The availability of funding and any potential impact on the university’s budget.
  5. Notification of acceptance, rejection, or possible deferment of a request will be given within a reasonable length of time. When an extended professional development leave is approved, the applicant will be sent a memorandum stating the terms of the leave.
  6. The exempt staff member is honor-bound not to accept any other employment, which might interfere with the proposed study plan during an extended professional development leave. Employment compatible with the leave purpose may be accepted if total compensation (PLU and extended source) does not exceed 110% of the employee’s annual university compensation.
  7. Each employee granted a professional development leave shall sign an agreement to return to active work at PLU for at least one full year of service upon completion of the leave. If an employee fails to fulfill this obligation, the employee shall repay in full the salary and benefits received during the extended professional development leave. This amount will be due no later than three months following the date designated in the leave agreement for the employee to return to work.
  8. Upon returning to work, the leave recipient will submit a written report to his/her vice president and the president describing activities, education received, and accomplishments during the leave period.
  9. Employees who are not approved for an extended professional development leave may reapply yearly. Employees who have had a leave under this plan may reapply after completion of an additional six full consecutive years of employment with PLU.

Pay and Benefits

  1. Exempt staff granted extended professional development leaves will receive 90% of their regular base annual salary during the period of the leave. Vacation time approved to be taken in conjunction with an approved leave will be paid at the regular 100% of base salary pay rate.
  2. During the leave, the exempt staff member will continue to participate in all standard benefits programs for which he/she is eligible.

Exempt staff on professional development leaves will continue to accumulate vacation and sick time and to receive regular holiday pay.

Sick Leave

SICK LEAVE For Benefits Eligible Employees (.50 FTE and above)

Revised January 2020

The university provides paid sick leave to benefits-eligible employees (.50 FTE and above) in accordance with the terms of this policy and applicable law. Paid sick leave may be used by employees for the following reasons:

  1. Leave for an employee’s illness, injury or medical condition or for medical treatment or care.
  2. To provide care to a designated family member with an illness, injury or medical condition or who needs preventative medical care or treatment.
  3. For leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking affecting the employee or the employee’s family or household member.
  4. When an employee’s place of business or child’s school or place of care has been closed for a health-related reason.

For the purposes of this policy, a designated family member includes an employee’s child, including a biological or adopted child, step-child, foster child, de facto child, or ward of the employee; the employee’s legal spouse or registered domestic partner; the employee’s parent, including a step-parent, legal guardian of the employee or de facto parent of the employee, or a parent of the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner; the employee’s grandparent or a grandparent of the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner; or grandchild; or the employee’s sibling.

PLU does not provide an employer paid short term disability insurance benefit. Accrued sick leave is therefore available for use when an employee has a short term disability or other medical issue which requires leave from work.

Accrual and Carry-Over of Paid Sick Leave

Full-time employees earn sick leave at the rate of 8 hours per month. Paid sick leave is pro-rated for benefits-eligible employees working between .5 FTE and .99 FTE. Sick leave accrues on all PLU paid hours, including when an employee is on paid sick leave, vacation leave or any other PLU paid leave benefit. Sick leave does not accrue during periods of unpaid time off work.

Employees begin to accrue sick leave on the first day of employment and may begin using accrued sick leave on the 90th calendar day after employment commences. Up to a maximum of 300 hours of paid sick leave may be accumulated.

Employees are required to record the amount of sick leave taken on their time sheets. Sick leave may be used and recorded in minimum increments of 15 minutes.

Paid sick leave will be compensated at an employee’s regular rate of pay. Employee sick leave balances will be updated at least monthly.

Notice and Documentation Requirements

For foreseeable leave, employees must provide at least 10 days notice to their supervisor of the need for planned leave. If the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as possible to their supervisor before the start of their scheduled shift, unless it is not practicable to do so.

When an employee uses paid sick leave for more than three (3) consecutive days, the university may request written verification that the use of paid leave is for an authorized purpose. For an employee’s use of paid sick leave for medical conditions, medical appointments or treatment, for either the employee or a designated family member, the university may request a doctor’s note substantiating the need for leave. For leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, the employee may provide various forms of documentation substantiating the need for leave, including but not limited to, a police report or court records, or documentation from the employee’s attorney, domestic violence advocate, counselor or member of the clergy. For leave related to school or business closures, verification may include a copy of the public official’s notice.

Employees are required to submit the requested verification within 10 calendar days of the employee’s first day of the use of paid leave. An employee’s failure to provide verification of the use of paid leave may result in the absence being considered unexcused and/or subject to disciplinary or other corrective action.

If an employee believes that the verification request will result in an unreasonable burden or expense, the employee must provide an oral or written explanation of the burden and expense to Human Resources, and the university will consider alternatives to the verification requirement in accordance with applicable law.

The use of paid sick leave under the terms of this policy constitutes an excused absence and will not be the basis for any adverse employment action.

Reinstatement of Accrued Sick Leave upon Rehire

The university does not compensate employees for unused sick leave at separation of employment. If an employee leaves university employment and is rehired within 12 months, the university will re-instate the accrued sick leave balance the employee had available when they left employment (up to the current maximum).

SICK LEAVE For Non-Benefits Eligible Employees (Less than .50 FTE)

January 2018; Revised March 2019; January 2020

The university provides paid sick leave to all non-benefits eligible employees (less than .50 FTE) in accordance with the terms of this policy and applicable law. Paid sick leave may be used by employees for the following reasons:

  • Leave for an employee’s illness, injury or medical condition or for medical treatment or care.
  • To provide care to a designated family member with an illness, injury or medical condition or who needs preventative medical care or treatment.
  • For leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking affecting the employee or the employee’s family or household member.
  • When an employee’s place of business or child’s school or place of care has been closed for a health-related reason.

For the purposes of this policy, a designated family member includes an employee’s child, including a biological or adopted child, step-child, foster child, de facto child, or ward of the employee; the employee’s legal spouse or registered domestic partner; the employee’s parent, including a step-parent, legal guardian of the employee or de facto parent of the employee, or a parent of the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner; a grandparent or a grandparent of the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner; or grandchild; or the employee’s a sibling.

Accrual and Carry-Over of Sick Leave

Non-benefits eligible employees accrue sick leave at a rate of one hour for each 40 hours worked.  Paid sick leave does not accrue on hours paid while employees are not working, such as during sick leave, and any other time off work.

Employees begin to accrue sick leave on the first day of employment and may begin using accrued sick leave on the 90th calendar day after employment commences. Employees are eligible to carry-over up to 40 hours of accrued sick leave into the following fiscal year. The university’s fiscal year runs from June 1 – May 31.

Employees are required to record the amount of sick leave taken on their time sheets. Sick leave may be used and recorded in minimum increments of 15 minutes.

Paid sick leave will be compensated at an employee’s regular rate of pay. Employee sick leave balances will be updated at least monthly.

Notice and Documentation Requirements

For foreseeable leave, employees must provide at least 10 days notice to their supervisor of the need for planned leave. If the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as possible to their supervisor before the start of their scheduled shift, unless it is not practicable to do so.

When an employee uses paid sick leave for more than three (3) consecutive days, the university may request written verification that the use of paid sick leave is for an authorized purpose. For an employee’s use of paid sick leave for medical conditions, medical appointments or treatment, for either the employee or a designated family member, the university may request a doctor’s note substantiating the need for leave. For leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, the employee may provide various forms of documentation substantiating the need for leave, including but not limited to, a police report or court records, or documentation from the employee’s attorney, domestic violence advocate, counselor or member of the clergy. For leave related to school or business closures, verification may include a copy of the public official’s notice.

Employees are required to submit the requested verification within 10 calendar days of the employee’s first day of the use of paid leave. An employee’s failure to provide verification of the use of paid leave may result in the absence being considered unexcused and/or subject to disciplinary or other corrective action.

If an employee believes that the verification request will result in an unreasonable burden or expense, the employee must provide an oral or written explanation of the burden and expense to Human Resources, and the university will consider alternatives to the verification requirement in accordance with applicable law.

The use of paid sick leave under the terms of this policy constitutes an excused absence and will not be the basis for any adverse employment action.

Reinstatement of Accrued Sick Leave upon Rehire

The university does not compensate employees for unused sick leave at separation of employment. If an employee leaves university employment and is rehired within 12 months, the university will re-instate the employee’s accrued sick leave balance, and the employee’s previous period of employment will be credited for determining eligibility to use paid leave.