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Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence

Policy Number: HR-39.01
Effective Date: October 2017
Responsible Officer: Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer

PURPOSE

This policy identifies the conditions under which eligible Faculty or Professional Staff Members may take a medical leave of absence not covered under the Federal Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to all eligible Faculty and Professional Staff Members, excluding any Professional Staff Members affiliated with a collective bargaining unit.

IMPLEMENTATION

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

ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT

The Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer is the Drexel University official responsible for the administration of this policy.

POLICY

Faculty and Professional Staff Members may request a Medical Leave of Absence for up to 90 calendar days in a 12-month period for one of the following reasons:

  • a Faculty or Professional Staff Member's own chronic health condition, including disability due to pregnancy and/or post-partum;
  • the birth and care of a Faculty or Professional Staff Member's newborn child (leave must conclude within 12 months after birth);
  • the placement of an adopted son or daughter or a foster child with a Faculty or Professional Staff Member (leave must conclude within 12 months after placement);
  • the care of a Faculty or Professional Staff Member's immediate family member as defined by the guidelines of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition;
  • a Faculty or Professional Staff Member's own serious health condition that makes him or her unable to work.

DEFINITIONS

Benefit Eligible refers to full-time or part-time Drexel Faculty and Professional Staff Members who are eligible to receive Drexel paid benefits (e.g. medical coverage, leave accrual, etc.). Full-time Faculty working 12 or more credit hours in three or more quarters (or equivalent workload) and full-time Professional Staff Members are regularly scheduled to work 40 hours per week. Part-time Faculty with at least a 50 percent appointment and part-time Professional Staff Members are regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week but less than 40.

Designated Insurance Carrier is the Drexel-chosen provider for FML/Medical Leave processing.

Faculty Member is defined as an individual employed by Drexel University in a tenured, tenure-track, non-tenured track or adjunct position who teaches within any college, school, center or institute in the University. A Faculty Member is deemed to be exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

Health Care Provider is defined as a doctor, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, clinical social worker, physician assistant, Christian Science practitioner or a chiropractor.

Professional Staff Member is defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University, 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.

Serious Health Condition is defined as an illness, injury or impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing care by a health-care provider. Continuing care can include:

  • a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days that involves continuing treatment by a health care provider;
  • pregnancy and time needed for prenatal visits;
  • a chronic health condition, such as asthma or diabetes;
  • a long-term condition such as Alzheimer's; or
  • multiple treatments by a health care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (such as physical therapy for a back injury).

Spouse refers to any individual who is lawfully married to an employee under any state law, including an individual married to a person of the same sex who was legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages.

PROCEDURES

Administration
The Medical Leave of Absence is administered by the Office of Human Resources in conjunction with the Designated Insurance Carrier.

Request for Medical Leave of Absence

  1. Eligible Faculty and Professional Staff Members may apply for a Medical Leave of Absence by contacting the Designated Insurance Carrier to initiate their claim.
  2. Faculty and Professional Staff Members seeking a Medical Leave of Absence are required to provide, at least 30 days prior, written notice of the proposed leave. When advance notice is not possible, such as in the event of a medical emergency, notice should be provided as soon as practicable. Failure to provide advance notice where foreseeable may delay or postpone the commencement of the leave.
  3. When an eligible Faculty or Professional Staff Members contacts the Designated Insurance Carrier to apply for a Medical Leave of Absence, the Carrier will request any necessary information and will also send the medical certification form to the Faculty or Professional Staff Member for completion by their health care provider.
  4. Once a medical certification is requested by the Designated Insurance Carrier, the Faculty or Professional Staff Member must provide it within 15 business days. Failure to provide requested medical certification will result in denial of the request. Denied requests cannot be reopened for the same condition.

Employee Notices

  1. If the request is approved, the Faculty or Professional Staff Member must notify his or her immediate supervisor of the impending leave and the expected duration. However, the Faculty or Professional Staff Member is not required to reveal or discuss the details of the medical condition. It is recommended that Faculty or Professional Staff Members only discuss medical details with the professionals at the Designated Insurance Carrier or a member of the Human Resources department.

Certifications

  1. Medical certification from a health care provider will be required. Failure to provide such certification may result in a delay of the Faculty or Professional Staff Member's leave.
  2. The medical certification must be provided within fifteen (15) calendar days of the Designated Insurance Carrier's request. Drexel reserves the right to require recertification of a medical condition every 30 days. When a Faculty or Professional Staff Member learns of a change in the anticipated length of an approved leave, the Faculty or Professional Staff Member must notify the Designated Insurance Carrier within three (3) business days of learning of such a change.
  3. Drexel reserves the right to obtain a second opinion by a certified health care provider at any time that is chosen by Drexel. Should the two opinions conflict, Drexel may require that the Faculty or Professional Staff Member obtain the opinion of a third health care provider paid for by Drexel. The third health care provider will be designated or approved jointly by Drexel and the Faculty or Professional Staff Member. The decision of the third provider will be final. Failure to submit to a request for a second opinion or to attend the independent medical examination may result in a delay of approval or denial of the leave and/or revocation of currently approved leave.
  4. The Faculty or Professional Staff Member is required to provide a note of medical clearance from the treating healthcare professional stating that the Faculty or Professional Staff Member is fit to return to work.

Duration of Medical Leave

  1. Eligible Faculty and Professional Staff Members may request 90 days of unpaid leave during any rolling 12-month period. The period from the previous twelve months will be examined and any Medical Leave, FML or Non-FML, taken during the previous twelve-month period will be subtracted from the current 90 day Medical Leave entitlement. For example, if the Faculty or Professional Staff Member requests a leave scheduled to start on October 1, 2017, the time period from September 30, 2017 back to October 1, 2016 would be examined. If the Faculty or Professional Staff Members has not taken any Medical Leave during the last twelve months, they are entitled to up to 90 days of Medical Leave. If the Faculty or Professional Staff Member took 30 days of Medical leave during May and June of 2017 (months within the twelve month time frame) they would be entitled to only 60 days more of leave.
  2. Medical Leave applies equally to all Faculty and Professional Staff Members regardless of gender. When both spouses are employed by Drexel, they have the same rights and obligations under this policy as any other eligible Faculty or Professional Staff Members. Each spouse is entitled to 90 days of Medical Leave for the birth and care of their newborn child, or for the care and placement with them of a child for adoption or foster care. Leave for the birth and care, or placement and care of a child must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement of the child.
  3. While employees are on an approved Medical Leave, they are relieved of all work duties and are not required to perform any duties for the duration of their leave. There will be no punitive action taken against a Faculty or Professional Staff member as a result of time taken under the Medical Leave.

Compensation for Professional Staff Members when using Paid Leave

  1. When a Professional Staff Member takes Medical Leave for their own serious medical condition, the Professional Staff Member is required to use all of their available paid time during the Medical Leave. The Professional Staff Member will be required to exhaust all available sick time (if applicable) and vacation time at the beginning of the leave. The Professional Staff Member may substitute short-term disability (if applicable) for vacation time. Should the Professional Staff Member exhaust their accrued sick and/or vacation time and not use short-term disability, the remainder of the leave, if any, will be unpaid.
  2. Professional Staff Members who are enrolled in short-term disability must notify The Designated Insurance Carrier of their intention to activate their short-term disability benefit. The Designated Insurance Carrier will determine if additional medical certification is necessary.
  3. Paid leave shall run concurrently with the Medical Leave, meaning that paid leave used during the Medical Leave will be counted toward the 90 days of Medical Leave. Professional Staff Members on paid leave are considered to be in an "active pay status." Accruals for sick and vacation time continue during an active pay status.
  4. Professional Staff Members who are not being paid by Drexel (e.g., receiving short-term disability payments or have exhausted their paid leave) are considered to be in an "inactive pay status." Accruals for sick and vacation time cease during an inactive pay status.

Compensation for Faculty Members

  1. A Faculty Member who is approved for Medical Leave is entitled to up to 90 days of unpaid leave.
  2. Faculty Members can utilize the short-term disability benefit through the Designated Insurance Carrier if they have enrolled in the short-term disability benefit during the plan year in which the Medical Leave begins. The Faculty Member must notify the Designated Insurance Carrier of his or her intention to activate the short-term disability benefit.

Faculty Member Teaching and Workload

  1. Both before and after a Faculty Member commences Medical Leave, no extra duties above his/her normal workload shall be expected or required; at all times, the Faculty Member shall be assigned duties commensurate with his/her normal workload. There will be no punitive action taken against a faculty member as a result of time taken under the Medical Leave.
  2. In the event that the leave period spans two academic terms, the Faculty Member may be relieved from teaching duties for both terms at the discretion of his or her department head and dean. Outside of the 90 days of leave over those two academic terms, the Faculty Member will be responsible for his or her standard non-teaching duties such as research, scholarship and creative work, as well as professional development, advising, administrative duties and committee assignments.
  3. Tenure-track Faculty Members may be eligible for extension of the pre-tenure period in the event of exceptional circumstances that may be related to circumstances covered by this policy. Tenure-track faculty members are eligible for an automatic one-year extension of the pre-tenure period for after each live birth or after each adoption. Please refer to the Tenure and Promotion Policy.

Benefits During Leave

  1. During the Medical Leave, Drexel will maintain the Faculty or Professional Staff Member's health insurance with the same conditions that coverage would have been provided if the Faculty or Professional Staff Member had been continuously employed during the entire leave period. Drexel and the Faculty or Professional Staff Member will each continue to pay their portion of the benefit costs. Drexel may recover premiums from the Faculty or Professional Staff Member it paid to maintain health coverage for a Faculty or Professional Staff Member who fails to return to work from a Medical Leave.
  2. University-paid life insurance, and personal accident insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, and long-term disability insurance will continue in effect for the duration of the Medical Leave.
  3. A Faculty or Professional Staff Member who was participating in a dependent-care or health-care reimbursement account may continue to participate in accordance with policy provisions. No contributions can be made while the Faculty or Professional Staff Member is on any unpaid part of an Medical Leave.
  4. Retirement plan contributions will continue in accordance with the provisions specified in the respective retirement plan documents.

Return from Leave

  1. Following the exhaustion of the 90 days of Medical Leave, failure to return to work without communication from the Faculty or Professional Staff Member to their immediate supervisor may be considered voluntary termination of employment.
  2. Faculty or Professional Staff Members returning from the Medical Leave may be required to provide Human Resources with a letter of clearance from their treating physician certifying their fitness to return to work, and are required to notify their immediate supervisor of their anticipated return date. Faculty or Professional Staff Members who are unable to return to work at the end of the leave should notify Human Resources and their immediate supervisor as soon as possible.
  3. In addition, except as provided in this policy, a Faculty or Professional Staff Member's use of Medical Leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that the Faculty or Professional Staff Member earned before using the Medical leave. Use of the Medical Leave will not be counted against the Professional Staff Member as an "occurrence" under Drexel's Attendance Policy.

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 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.