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Leaves of Absence

The purpose of this section is to instruct administrators on how to initiate both paid and unpaid leaves, as well as return from leave. Leave types are also briefly described. This information should be used in context with the Vanderbilt leave policies as stated in the HR Policies section on the HR Website.

Note that employees under the University’s Labor Agreement should refer to the policies stated in that document.  The Leave policy does not apply to Vanderbilt student workers.

Overview

Form(s) and Documents: 

All of the forms listed below may be downloaded from the HR website at: http://hr.vanderbilt.edu/forms/index.php

  • Personnel Action Form (PAF) Turnaround - (Managers may print the Turnaround on demand using Business Objects.)
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms - Available also from the FMLA website: http://hr.vanderbilt.edu/fmla/
  • Time-recording for Leave of Absence- A summary of different time-keeping methods and procedures for time-recording for exempt and non-exempt employees.

Any leave or combination of leaves may not exceed 6 months during the 12 month period commencing with the original leave unless otherwise required by law. All leaves of absence are concurrent and count towards the 6 month maximum. 

Paid vs. Unpaid Leave of Absence

 chart for leave of absence
 

*Medical Center eligible staff transition to flexPTO in January 2014 and University Central eligible staff transition to flexPTO in July 2014. Learn more about flexPTO.

 

Procedures for Paid Leave of Absence

A PAF Turnaround will be required to place an employee on a paid leave status to allow the HR/Payroll system to track time away from work for leave purposes.  A PAF for paid leave should be submitted once the staff member has been out five or more consecutive days.  If the employee remains on leave after they have exhausted all paid accrued time; be sure to submit a PAF to place them on an “unpaid” leave.  See “Procedures for Unpaid Leave of Absence”.

Note: The employee must contact Human Resources prior to a Leave of Absence as benefits eligibility may be affected.

Completing the PAF Turnaround

The numbers in the following instructions correspond to the numbers on the sample PAF Turnaround form included in this section.

1-2. Initiator/ Phone

Enter name and phone number of the person completing the form. The initiator and the approving authority may not necessarily be the same person.

3. Action

Enter an action of "PAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE" (PLA). This action will allow compensation to continue. Any benefits coverage that continues during the leave will be based on the stated annual benefits salary base.

4. Reason

Describe the reason for the paid leave of absence:

  • Administrative Leave
  • FMLA
  • Medical-NON FMLA
  • FMLA/Worker’s Comp
  • NFMLA/Worker’s Comp
  • Military Service
  • Personal
  • Sabbatical (Faculty only)
  • Layoff (prior approval from Employee Relations)

5. Effective Date

This date should reflect the date that the employee begins paid leave.  First day “not” worked.

6. End Date

Do not enter a date in this field. An anticipated date for the "return from leave" is not necessary.

7. Approval Signatures Managers may print a new turnaround on demand using Business Objects.

Note: Be sure to reinstate the employee when he/she returns from leave. The system will not automatically reinstate someone at the end of the leave. (See page on Return from Leave of Absence). If the individual does not return from leave, follow the termination procedures.

Processing the Timesheet for Non-Exempt Staff on Paid Leave

If a non-exempt staff member is on "paid leave," the department should continue to submit the timesheet with the appropriate leave usage. If the staff member is not able to sign the timesheet, the immediate supervisor should sign for the employee along with the supervisor signature and continue to submit the timesheet(s) to Payroll. For more information, please refer to Time-recording for Leave of Absence.

 

Procedures for Unpaid Leave of Absence

(includes Workers’ Compensation)

A PAF Turnaround is also required when placing an employee on an unpaid leave of absence, changing or suspending certain payments or benefits.

The following procedures describe the process to be used when moving an employee to unpaid leave status, including workers’ compensation.

Note: The employee must contact Human Resources prior to a Leave of Absence as benefits eligibility may be affected.

Completing the PAF Turnaround for Unpaid Leave of Absence

The numbers in the following instructions correspond with numbers on the sample PAF Turnaround form included in this section. If a PAF Turnaround is not available, a blank PAF may be used.

1-2. Initiator/Phone

Enter name and phone number of the person completing the form. The initiator and the approving authority may not necessarily be the same person.

3. Action

Enter an action of "UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE". This action will cease compensation to the employee regardless of the stated compensation rate. Any applicable benefits coverage will be based on the stated annual benefits salary base.

4. Reason

Indicate the reason for unpaid leave of absence based on one of the following types:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Personal
  • Military Leave
  • Layoff (prior approval from Employee Relations)
  • Sabbatical (faculty only)
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Non-FMLA Medical
  • NFMLA/Worker’s Comp
  • FMLA/Worker’s Comp
  • Partial Year Schedule (see HR policy #036; http://hr.vanderbilt.edu/policies/index.php)
  • Special Leave Status (see Reduction in Force policy; http://hr.vanderbilt.edu/policies/index.php
  • Short Term Disability (PAF processed by the Benefits Office)

5. Effective Date

Enter the date that the employee begins unpaid leave.

6. End Date

Do not enter a date in this field. An anticipated date for the "return from leave" is not necessary.

7. APPROVAL SIGNATURES

Obtain appropriate signatures and retain a copy for departmental records. A new computer-generated PAF Turnaround will be sent to the attention of the PAF-responsible person in the employee’s employee's home department.

Note: Be sure to reinstate the employee when he/she returns from leave. The system will not automatically reinstate someone at the end of the leave. (See following page on Return from Leave of Absence). If the individual does not return from leave, follow the termination procedures 

 

Procedures for Return from Leave of Absence

A PAF Turnaround is required when processing a return from a leave for an employee. Processing should occur immediately upon the return. The system will not automatically reactivate employees at the end of their scheduled leave.

Note: The employee should contact Human Resources to ensure benefits are reinstated or assigned appropriately. If the return from leave qualifies as a family status change (e.g. birth or adoption of a child), the employee must notify Human Resources within 30 days of the qualifying event triggering the need for the change.

Completing the PAF Turnaround for Return from Leave of Absence

The numbers in the following instructions correspond with numbers on the sample PAF Turnaround form included in this section. If a PAF Turnaround is not available, a blank PAF may be used.

1-2. Initiator/ Phone

Enter name and phone number of the person completing the form. The initiator and the approving authority may not necessarily be the same person.

3-4. Action/Reason

Enter an action/reason of "RETURN FROM LEAVE". This will reinstate active employment status at the previously stated compensation rate and standard hours. Any applicable benefits coverage will be based on the stated annual benefits salary base.

5. Effective Date

Enter the first day the employee returns to work.

6. Comp Rate

If the compensation rate is changing upon return from leave (e.g. annual increase), enter the new compensation rate here.  If this field is left blank, the employee will continue to receive the current stated compensation rate.

7. Benefits Salary If the benefits salary rate is changing upon “return from leave”, enter the new annual benefits salary amount here. If this field is left blank, the employee will receive the new compensation rate annualized (or the current benefits salary if the compensation rate is not changing).
8. Approval Signatures Obtain signatures as required, through your usual approval channels.

 

Change in Leave Type

Once the PAF Turnaround has been submitted to record the leave, any changes in leave status must also be processed via a PAF Turnaround. For example, if the FMLA 12 week leave period is exhausted, a PAF Turnaround must be processed to remove the employee from FMLA leave and place him/her on a medical non-FMLA leave noting that it is for medical purposes. As previously noted, the total leave time may not exceed the 6 month leave maximum in the 12 month period commencing with the original leave. Please refer to Policies on the HR Website.

Terminations

Should the need arise to terminate employment during or at the end of a leave, please consult with Human Resources.

Types of Leave and Additional Time-Off

The following is intended to provide brief descriptions of leave types. This information should be used in context with the Vanderbilt leave policies as stated on the HR Website. Note that employees under the University’s Labor Agreement should refer to the policies stated in that document.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA covers up to 12 total weeks of leave in a 12 month period for qualifying events. Faculty and staff eligibility requires employment by Vanderbilt University for at least 12 months (not necessarily the previous 12 months) prior to the leave and at least 1,250 hours worked during the 12 months prior to the beginning of the FMLA leave.

An employee approved for leave to care for a well newborn, foster or adopted child, must use all accrued flexPTO, vacation, holiday and personal time before taking unpaid leave. The department must process a Personnel Action Form (PAF) while an employee staff member remains in a paid status utilizing flexPTO, sick, vacation, personal and holiday time (also submit an FMLA utilization form). Please refer to the FMLA policy for additional information on FMLA utilization tracking and reporting.

An employee approved for leave to care for a seriously ill spouse, parent, or child, or for his/her own serious illness must use all accrued flexPTO, sick, vacation, holiday and personal time, before taking unpaid leave. Note that employees under the University’s Labor Agreement should refer to the policies stated in that document.

Faculty should confer with their dean regarding school paid and unpaid leave policies.

Medical – NON FMLA Leave of Absence

This type of leave is used for a medical leave that does not qualify under FMLA. This can be a paid or unpaid status processed with the reason of Medical-NON FMLA leave. Medical leaves may not exceed 6 months.  Please refer to the Medical and Personal Leaves of Absence policy for more information.

Military Leave

Vanderbilt follows the guidelines established by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) regarding military leave and endorses the "Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve" from the United States Department of Defense. Please refer to the Military Leave of Absence policy for more information.

Long Term Disability

Employees who become eligible and receive Long Term Disability insurance will be provided a notice that their employment will be ending. Employees whose employment ends due to receiving Long Term Disability insurance will be eligible for rehire when released to return to work, if applicable. Eligibility for rehire does not guarantee or hold a position. The Benefits Office will process the PAF to terminate employment. The employee may continue eligible Vanderbilt benefits through COBRA. A packet of COBRA information, including forms, will be mailed to their home address. For more information see the Separation of Employment policy.

Workers’ Compensation

An employee placed on workers’ compensation status (receiving benefits of 66% of pay up to a maximum amount) should be placed on leave with a reason of "Workers’ Compensation". This must be coordinated with the Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) and Risk Management before processing the PAF. Additionally, all return-to-work should be coordinated through OHC.

Checklists

Note: If employee is under the University’s Labor Agreement, refer to the policies stated in that document.

Before Leave of Absence

  • Complete PAF
  • Obtain appropriate signature authorization(s).
  • Submit PAF to HR Processing located at 975 Baker Building, PMB 407718, fax 343-0219

Return from leave of Absence

  • Complete PAF immediately upon return of individual from leave.
  • Obtain appropriate signature authorization(s).
  • Submit PAF to Medical Payroll (VUMC) or HR Records Management (University).
  • Individuals in an “unpaid” leave status should check with their department to confirm return from leave status.

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