Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence
Policy Number: HR-39.01
Effective Date: October 2017
Last Revision: May 2020
Responsible Officer: Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer
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).
This policy applies to all benefit eligible Faculty and Professional Staff Members, excluding any Professional Staff Members governed by language in their collective bargaining unit agreement.
Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources in conjunction with the Designated Third-Party Administrator.
The Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer is the Drexel University official responsible for the administration of this policy.
- Faculty and Professional Staff Members may request a Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence for up to 12 weeks of continuous leave in a rolling 12-month period for their own or a family member’s serious or chronic medical condition(s).
- 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 or more 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 child 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 (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition;
- Non-FMLA Medical Leave is available only to Faculty and Professional Staff Members that are not eligible for FMLA Leave.
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 Third-Party Administrator is the Drexel-chosen provider for Non-FMLA Medical Leave administration.
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.
The Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence is administered by the Office of Human Resources in conjunction with the Designated Third-Party Administrator.
Request for Medical Leave of Absence
- Eligible Faculty and Professional Staff Members may apply for Non-FMLA Medical Leave by contacting the Designated Third-Party Administrator to initiate their claim.
- 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.
- When an eligible Faculty or Professional Staff Members contacts the Designated Third-Party Administrator to apply for a Medical Leave of Absence, the Administrator 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.
- Once a medical certification is requested by the Designated Third-Party Administrator, 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.
- If the request is approved, the Faculty or Professional Staff Member must notify their 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 Third-Party Administrator or a member of the Human Resources department.
- 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.
- The medical certification must be provided within fifteen (15) calendar days of the Designated Third-Party Administrator'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 Third-Party Administrator within three (3) business days of learning of such a change.
- 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.
- The Faculty or Professional Staff Member is required to provide medical clearance from the treating healthcare provider stating that the Faculty or Professional Staff Member is fit to return to work.
Duration of Medical Leave
- Eligible Faculty and Professional Staff Members may request up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave during any rolling 12-month period. The period from the previous twelve months will be examined and any Non-FMLA Medical Leave taken during the previous twelve-month period will be subtracted from the current 12 weeks of Non-FMLA Medical Leave entitlement. For example, if the Faculty or Professional Staff Member requests a medical leave scheduled to start on October 1, 2020, the time period from September 30, 2020 back to October 1, 2019 would be examined. If the Faculty or Professional Staff Members has not taken any Non-FMLA Medical Leave during the prior twelve months, they are entitled to up to 12 weeks of Non-FMLA Medical Leave. If the Faculty or Professional Staff Member took 4 weeks of Non-FMLA Medical Leave during the prior 12 months they would be entitled to only 8 weeks more of leave.
- 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 12 weeks 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.
- 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 Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence.
Compensation for Professional Staff Members when using Paid Leave
- When a Professional Staff Member takes Non-FMLA Medical Leave they are required to use all of their available paid time during the Medical Leave. The Professional Staff Member will be required to exhaust all available paid time in the following order: sick time, then vacation time, then personal time at the beginning of the leave.
- Professional Staff Members who have elected short-term disability will use their available sick, vacation and/or personal time to satisfy their elimination period in accordance with their short-term disability election. Should the Professional Staff Member exhaust their accrued sick, vacation and personal leave time, and there is no short- term disability election, the remainder of the leave, if any, will be unpaid.
- Paid time off will run concurrently with Non-FMLA Medical Leave time.
- Professional Staff Members who remain on Drexel’s payroll while using their available sick, vacation and/or personal time will be considered in an “active pay status” and will continue to accrue sick and vacation time.
- Professional Staff Members who are not being paid by Drexel (e.g., receiving short-term disability payments from the Designated Third-Party Administrator, or have exhausted their paid leave) are considered to be in an “inactive pay status” and accruals for sick and vacation time will cease.
Compensation for Faculty Members
- A Faculty Member who is approved for Medical Leave is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
- Faculty Members may utilize the short-term disability benefit through the Designated Third-Party Administrator if they have enrolled in the short-term disability benefit during the plan year in which the Medical Leave begins.
Faculty Member Teaching and Workload
- Both before and after a Faculty Member commences Medical Leave, no extra duties above their normal workload shall be expected or required; at all times, the Faculty Member shall be assigned duties commensurate with their normal workload. There will be no punitive action taken against a Faculty Member as a result of time taken under the Non-FMLA Medical Leave of Absence.
- 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 their department head and dean. Outside of the 12 weeks of leave over those two academic terms, the Faculty Member will be responsible for their standard non-teaching duties such as research, scholarship and creative work, as well as professional development, advising, administrative duties and committee assignments.
- 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 birth or after each adoption. Please refer to the Tenure and Promotion Policy [PDF].
Benefits During Leave
- During the Non-FMLA Medical Leave, Drexel will maintain the Faculty or Professional Staff Member's health insurance with the same coverage that 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.
- If a Professional Staff Member goes into an unpaid pay status by exhausting available sick, vacation and/or personal time, Drexel will recover the unpaid premiums from the Professional Staff Member when they are reinstated into active pay status.
- Drexel may recover premiums from the Faculty or Professional Staff Member paid to maintain health coverage for a Faculty or Professional Staff Member who fails to return to work from a Medical Leave.
- 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.
- 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.
- Retirement plan contributions will continue in accordance with the provisions specified in the respective retirement plan documents.
Return from Leave
- Following the exhaustion 12 weeks of Non-FMLA 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.
- Faculty or Professional Staff Members returning from the Medical Leave will be required to provide the Designated Third-Party Administrator medical 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.
- 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.