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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 Tools and Forms section of the HR website.

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

Procedures for Paid or Unpaid Leave of Absence

An ePac transaction 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. An ePac transaction 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 return from leave ePac transaction 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 ePac Leave of Absence transaction

Step 1: Log into the epac application.

Step 2: Search for employee by using the Imitate box. You may search by Employee ID, Last Name, Department ID, Position or Job Code. It is recommended you use Employee ID. Enter the Employee ID and click on the Search button.

Step 3: Select employee

Step 4: Effective Date Enter the Effective Date of the Leave action. This date should reflect the date that the employee begins paid leave. First day "not" worked.

Step 5: Select the Action. Select an action of "PAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE" or "LEAVE OF ABSENCE - UNPAID." The action of PAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE will allow compensation to continue. The LEAVE OF ABSENCE – UNPAID will discontinue pay. Any benefits coverage that continues during the leave will be based on the stated annual benefits salary base.

Step 6: Select the Action Reason. Describe the reason for the leave of absence:

  • Paid Leave of Absences Reasons
    • Administrative Leave with Pay
    • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    • Faculty Parental Leave with Pay
    • Medical-NON FMLA
    • FMLA/Worker's Comp
    • NFMLA/Worker's Comp
    • Military Service
    • Personal
    • Sabbatical (Faculty only)
  • Unpaid Leave of Absences Reasons
    • FMLA
    • Medical-NON FMLA
    • FMLA/Worker's Comp
    • NFMLA/Worker’s Compensation
    • Military Service
    • Partial Year Schedule
    • Short Term Personal
    • Sabbatical (Faculty only)
    • Worker's Comp

Step 7: Save and Continue

Step 8: Transaction will go to necessary managers for approval.

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 section 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 Return from Leave of Absence

An ePac transaction 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 ePac transaction for Return from Leave of Absence

Step 1: Log into the epac application.

Step 2: Search for your employee by using the Imitate box. You may search by Employee ID, Last Name, Department ID, Position or Job Code. It is recommended you use Employee ID. Enter the Employee ID and click on the Search button.

Step 3: Select Employee

Step 4: Effective Date. Enter the first day the employee returns to work.

Step 5: Select the Action – "RETURN FROM LEAVE." This will reinstate to active employment status at the previously stated compensation rate and standard hours.

Step 6: Select the Action Reason – "RETURN FROM LEAVE"

Step 7: Save and Continue

Step 8: Approvals. Transaction will go to necessary managers for approval

Change in Leave Type

Once the ePac transaction has been submitted to record the leave, any changes in leave status must also be processed via an ePAC transaction. For example, if the FMLA 12 week leave period is exhausted, an ePac transaction 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 End 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 ePac transaction

Return from leave of Absence

  • Complete ePac transaction immediately upon return of individual from leave.
  • Individuals in an "unpaid" leave status should check with their department to confirm return from leave status.

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