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Personal Leave of Absence

Policy Number: HR-39
Effective Date: May 2013
Responsible Officer: Associate Dean for Administration and Chief of Staff

PURPOSE

This policy provides the process for requesting a Personal Leave of Absence not covered by another policy.

APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to all eligible non-faculty Professional Staff Members, excluding any Professional Staff Member who is affiliated with a collective bargaining unit, provided that the Professional Staff Member (1) has been employed by Drexel University College of Medicine for at least one full year; (2) is in good standing (e.g., not on a Performance Improvement Plan);  (3) has stated unequivocally that the Personal Leave of Absence has not been requested for the purpose of seeking or obtaining employment outside Drexel University College of Medicine; and (4) has stated unequivocally that the Personal Leave of Absence has not been requested for the purpose of working for another employer or pursuing an independent  business venture during such leave.

IMPLEMENTATION

Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources.

ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT

The Associate Dean for Administration and Chief of Staff is the Drexel University College of Medicine official responsible for the administration of this policy.

POLICY

Professional Staff Members may request a Personal Leave of Absence for up to thirty (30) calendar days in a twelve-month period.   The length of the leave, and Drexel University College of Medicine’s ability to grant it, will depend upon the department’s or college’s ability to make personnel adjustments that will ensure its continuous and satisfactory functioning during the Professional Staff Member’s absence.  Approval of a Personal Leave of Absence is discretionary, and such a request must be approved by the Professional Staff Member’s immediate supervisor and Department Head in consultation with the HR Partner. 

DEFINITIONS

Department Head is defined as the highest ranking administrator in a department or college of Drexel University College of Medicine (e.g., Vice President, Dean or Department Chair).

Occurrence is defined as (1) a period of absence, which may consist of one day or a series of consecutive days; and (2) an incident of lateness. 

Professional Staff Member is defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University College of Medicine, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

PROCEDURES

  1. Leave Request
    1. To request a Personal Leave of Absence, the Professional Staff Member must complete the Personal Leave of Absence Request Form [PDF] and submit the request, along with supporting documentation, to his or her immediate supervisor.  A request for Personal Leave of Absence must be made at least thirty (30) calendar days before commencement of the leave, if foreseeable.  If the need for a Personal Leave of Absence cannot be reasonably foreseen within thirty (30) calendar days, the Professional Staff Member must give as much advance notice as possible.
    2. The immediate supervisor should contact his or her HR Partner to discuss a request for Personal Leave of Absence prior to determining whether the request should be approved or denied.  If the request is approved, the immediate supervisor must forward the leave request to the Department Head for final review and approval.  If approved by the Department Head, the Department Head must forward the request to the HR Partner along with a completed Personnel Action Form (PAF) within three (3) business days of the approval, or, in any event, no later than the first day of the leave.
    3. In general, the maximum amount of time that may be taken for a Personal Leave of Absence is thirty (30) calendar days in a twelve (12) month period.  Approval of Personal Leave of Absence exceeding thirty (30) calendar days in a twelve (12) month period will only occur in extraordinary circumstances.  A Professional Staff Member’s request for additional leave in excess of thirty (30) calendar days must be submitted through the same process that applies to an initial request for Personal Leave of Absence, including the completion of a Personal Leave of Absence Request Form [PDF] and approvals by the Professional Staff Member’s immediate supervisor and Department Head.
    4. Absences as a result of an approved Personal Leave of Absence will not be included when considering a Professional Staff Member's attendance record.  These absences should be documented, but may not be treated as an Occurrence when determining absenteeism or lateness for other purposes, including performance improvement purposes.
    5. A Professional Staff Member must keep his or her immediate supervisor apprised of any changes in the scheduled date of return.  A Professional Staff Member anticipating a return from a Personal Leave of Absence prior to or after a previously scheduled date of return must notify his or her immediate supervisor at least one week before the revised return date.  
    6. A Professional Staff Member is expected to be available for work by the end of their approved Personal Leave of Absence.  Failure to contact the immediate supervisor, or return to work as agreed, may be considered job abandonment and may constitute grounds for termination.
    7. A Professional Staff Member on a Personal Leave of Absence will be terminated if he or she accepts other employment, pursues an independent business venture, or works for another employer during such leave.
    8. If a request for Personal Leave of Absence is not approved by the immediate supervisor, the Professional Staff Member may appeal directly to the Department Head. If the request for Personal leave of Absence is not approved by the Department Head, the Professional Staff Member may appeal to the most senior level department or college administrator (e.g. member of Drexel University College of Medicine’s Executive Council) for review and decision.  The senior administrator’s decision is final.
  2. Position Status
    If a request for Personal Leave of Absence is granted, the department or college agrees to hold the Professional Staff Member’s position open for the approved leave period up to a maximum of thirty (30) calendar days (or for such additional time as may be granted under this Policy).  If the Professional Staff Member has not returned to work from a Personal Leave of Absence after thirty (30) calendar days (or an approved extended period not to exceed 90 calendar days), employment may be terminated and the department may post the position, or take any other action regarding the position as deemed necessary.  If the position has been posted but not yet filled, the former Professional Staff Member may reapply.  In any event, a Professional Staff Member on an approved Personal Leave of Absence has no greater right to conditions of employment than if the Professional Staff Member had been continuously in the workplace.  For example, the position of the Professional Staff Member on approved Personal Leave of Absence may be subject to discontinuation in accordance with Drexel University College of Medicine’s business decision to eliminate the position.
  3. Compensation and Benefits
    1. A Personal Leave of Absence may be paid or unpaid.  A Professional Staff Member will be required to utilize all available paid Vacation Leave from the beginning of a Personal Leave of Absence.  Should a Professional Staff Member exhaust all of his or her Vacation Leave, the remainder of the Personal Leave of Absence, if any, will be unpaid.
    2. During the period that a Professional Staff Member is receiving paid Vacation Leave, he or she is considered to be in an “active pay status.”  If a Professional Staff Member is on a Personal Leave of Absence without pay, he or she is considered to be in an “inactive pay status” and will not accrue Sick Leave or Vacation Leave.
    3. A Professional Staff Member’s benefits will continue during a Personal Leave of Absence until the end of the month in which the Professional Staff Member exhausts all available Vacation Leave.  Thereafter, the Professional Staff Member may continue benefits coverage at his or her own personal expense by paying the full cost of the benefits.
    4. A Professional Staff Member who, at the commencement of a Personal Leave of Absence, was participating in a dependent-care or health-care reimbursement account may continue to participate in those accounts using funds already accumulated, in accordance with the particular plan provisions.
    5. Retirement plan contributions by the Professional Staff Member will continue to the extent allowed by the respective plan in which he or is participating at the commencement of a Personal Leave of Absence.
    6. A Professional Staff Member's eligibility for benefits not specifically permitted under this policy is suspended during a Personal Leave of Absence in which he or she is in an inactive pay status. 

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT NOT AFFECTED

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated in this policy, nothing herein is intended to alter the at-will status of any Professional Staff Member.  Drexel University College of Medicine at all times retains the right to terminate any Professional Staff Member at any time for any lawful reason, or for no reason at all.