Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence and Faculty Research Leave Policy

Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence

When unusual circumstances necessitate a day or more of unpaid time off work, a member of the faculty or professional staff is asked to make a request to his/her supervisor or department chair. The needs of the individual as well as the needs of the department will be considered before approving or denying the leave request.

Days off without pay may be taken only after all other available and appropriate time off, such as vacation time, personal days, Family & Medical Leave, and/or paid sick leave, is exhausted.

A member of the faculty or professional staff who has been approved to take an unpaid leave of absence is asked to notify Human Resources (717-358-3902) as far in advance of the commencement of leave as possible. A member of the Human Resources staff will then provide relevant information about pay and benefits coverage, as well as COBRA notices.

Salary and Benefits During Leave

Salary-- During an approved, unpaid personal leave of absence, an employee will be placed in "inactive employment status" and pay will be suspended. Holiday pay is not granted during an unpaid personal leave of absence.

Health, Dental and Vision Coverage-- A full-time member of the faculty or professional staff will be eligible for continued coverage through the College's Health & Prescription Drug Plan, Vision Plan and the Dental Plan through the end of the month immediately following the last day of work (for example, if the last day of work is June 10 and the leave of absence begins June 11, health and dental coverage will continue through June 30). A member of the faculty or professional staff will pay standard premiums for coverage (active employee premiums) through the end of the month. If the full premium cannot be deducted from the employee's final pay before the leave begins, the employee must pay health, dental and vision premiums by check made out to Franklin & Marshall College and submitted to the Human Resources office.

Health, dental and vision coverage for a member of the faculty or staff using paid sick leave or Family & Medical Leave will continue through the end of the month immediately following the last day of approved paid sick leave or approved Family & Medical Leave, whichever occurs later.

During a leave for military service, a full-time College employee will be eligible for coverage through the College's Health & Prescription Drug Plan and Vision Plan for him/herself and covered dependents, at active employee rates, for up to 30 calendar days or as required by law.

Following termination of health, dental and vision coverage, a full-time employee and his/her covered dependents will generally be eligible for continued coverage, on a temporary basis, through "COBRA". Health, prescription drug, dental and vision coverage through COBRA is the same as coverage provided to active employees. However, COBRA participants are required to pay the full cost to the College for their coverage plus a 2% administrative fee. Employees and their covered dependents are generally eligible for continued coverage for up to 18 months.

Following termination of health, dental and vision coverage, the employee taking a leave of absence will receive notification of his/her COBRA continuation rights from the College's COBRA administrator. To be eligible for continued health, prescription drug, dental and vision coverage, the individual must respond to the COBRA notice and make payments within the required time frame, as specified in the notice from the COBRA administrator.

Please see the Health & Prescription Drug Plan Details and/or the Dental Plan Summary  for additional information.

Employee Assistance Program—Coverage through the College’s Employee Assistance Program (E.A.P.) terminates at the end of the calendar month following the last day of work prior to a leave of absence. Upon termination of coverage through the E.A.P., a full-time employee taking a leave of absence has the option of continuing coverage for him/herself and any eligible dependents via COBRA. Following termination of coverage, the individual will receive notification of continuation rights from WageWorks. To be eligible for temporary continued coverage through the E.A.P., the individual must respond to the COBRA notice and make payments within the required time frame.

Life Insurance and Disability Insurance Coverage-- Life insurance and long-term disability (LTD) insurance coverage are discontinued during an unpaid leave of absence. Life insurance and LTD coverage terminate on the employee's last actual day of work prior to commencement of a personal leave of absence.

For employees who take an unpaid personal leave following expiration of paid sick leave or Family & Medical Leave, life insurance and LTD coverage ceases as of the last day of paid sick leave or Family & Medical Leave, whichever occurs later.

When life insurance coverage terminates upon commencement of a personal leave of absence, employees have the option of converting or porting their College-paid group life insurance coverage.   In order to do so, you must complete an application and apply for these options within 31 days of your coverage termination.  To obtain an application, please contact Prudential at 1-800-778-3827.  Please provide the contract number 51993 when calling.  If you are using a telecommunications device for the hearing impaired (TDD), please call 1–800-496-1214. Representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday between 8am and 8pm Eastern Time.

Employees requesting a leave of absence due to disability, who became disabled prior to beginning a leave of absence, remain eligible to apply for monthly long-term disability income benefits through the College’s group LTD policy.

TIAA Retirement Plan and Emeriti Plan-- College contributions to an employee's TIAA retirement account and Emeriti Health Account cease during an unpaid leave of absence per plan documents. Any elective contributions made through payroll deduction also cease. An individual taking a leave of absence may contact the Emeriti Service Center, at (866) 363-7484, if interested in making elective Emeriti Health Account contributions, during the leave period, through transfers from a personal savings or checking account.

Flexible Spending Account Contributions— Contributions to an employee’s Medical Expense Reimbursement Account and/or Dependent Care Account cease during an unpaid leave of absence. Employees generally are not eligible to submit claims for reimbursement for expenses incurred while on an unpaid leave of absence.

Other Benefits and Programs-- Eligibility for other College benefits and programs is temporarily suspended during a personal leave of absence.

Salary and Benefits Upon Return from Leave

Normal salary will be reinstated upon timely return from an approved, personal leave of absence if the employee returns to the same position under the same terms as prior to the leave. Benefits coverage resumes immediately following a leave of absence for a full-time College employee who is otherwise eligible for such coverage.

If a member of the professional staff does not return to work following a personal leave of absence, his/her last actual working day prior to the leave, or the last day of approved paid sick leave or Family & Medical Leave whichever occurs later, becomes his/her employment termination date.

Members of the professional staff cannot be guaranteed continued employment and/or a return to an equivalent position following a personal leave of absence.

Unpaid Faculty Research Leave

The information above pertaining to salary and benefits applies to full-time members of the faculty who take an approved, unpaid research leave of absence, with the following exceptions: College-paid life insurance coverage and long-term disability insurance coverage will continue for up to 12 months during an approved, unpaid faculty research leave.

Unpaid faculty leaves typically extend from July through December; January through June; or July through the following June. Salary and benefits coverage are suspended for the entire 6 or 12 month leave of absence period, although as noted above, life and long-term disability insurance coverage will continue for up to 12 months. Please note: Other benefits coverage is suspended during an unpaid leave of absence, even if a faculty member receives continued salary payments funded through a grant.

Benefits coverage for a faculty member taking a 6 or 12 month unpaid leave of absence terminates at the end of the semester immediately preceding the leave of absence (for example, if the leave will begin on July 1, benefits coverage will terminate on June 30). The faculty member may apply for temporary continued health, dental, vision and/or E.A.P. coverage through COBRA and will pay the required COBRA premiums.

Faculty members who receive a competitive grant may be eligible to continue their College health, prescription drug, and vision coverage during their leave by paying the same premiums as active employees pay. The Provost must approve such a request per provisions in the Faculty Handbook. If approved, the faculty member may pay his/her health plan premiums by check made out to Franklin & Marshall College and submitted to the Human Resources office.

Faculty members should refer to the Faculty Handbook for more information about leaves of absence.
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Policy Maintained by: Human Resources, Associate Vice President
Last Reviewed: July 25, 2016