§2.12
Leave of Absence Without Pay

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Revised 1/09

  1. General
  2. Benefits During Leave of Absence Without Pay
    1. Accrual of Vacation and Sick Leave
    2. Health Plan Coverage
    3. Retirement and Group Insurance
  3. Authorization of Leave of Absence Without Pay
    1. Approval
    2. Justification
    3. Use of Vacation and Sick-Leave Credit
  4. Exhaustion of Leave Credits
  5. National Defense Leave
  6. Pregnancy Disability Leave
    1. Definition
    2. Coordination with Family Care and Medical Leave
    3. Reduced Work Schedule
    4. Reinstatement
    5. Light Duty
  7. Leave for Work-Incurred Disability
  8. Personal Leave
  9. Returning from Approved Leave of Absence Without Pay
    1. Returning to Work
    2. Medical Clearance
    3. Failure to Return to Work

A.  GENERAL

An employee may be granted a leave of absence without pay for reasons such as illness or work-incurred disability, parental leave, pregnancy disability leave, the need to provide care for members of his or her family, education that will directly increase job effectiveness, or outside research or business activities. In granting the leave, the department or division head will consider the best interests of the Laboratory and the likelihood that the employee, if in good health, will return after the leave for a worthwhile period of time. The department or division will hold open a position during the employee's requested leave of absence without pay in accordance with Paragraphs (H)-(I), below. Leave without pay granted for medical reasons, leave granted for child bearing, and work-incurred disability may require written certification from the employee's health-care provider.

B.  BENEFITS DURING LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY

Certain benefits continue during an approved leave of absence without pay, as noted below. Such leaves do not constitute a break in service.

1. Accrual of Vacation and Sick Leave

Employees do not accrue vacation or sick-leave credit and are not allowed any paid leave during leave of absence without pay, except as provided in RPM §2.08(B)(4) (Short Month's Work), §2.09(C)(8) (Accrual During Leave Without Pay), and §2.10(D)(1) (Short-Term Leave). Accrual of vacation and sick-leave credits are resumed on the employee's return to pay status.

2. Health Plan Coverage

An employee on an approved family care and medical leave is entitled to continue participation in health plan coverage (medical, dental, and optical) as if on pay status for up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period. An employee on any other type of leave without pay may be allowed to continue to receive health plan coverage for a period of up to 24 months but must make arrangements for payment of premiums.

3. Retirement and Group Insurance

For the effect of a leave of absence without pay on retirement and group insurance, employees should contact the Benefits Office.

C.  AUTHORIZATION OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY

1. Approval

Leaves of absence without pay require authorization as provided in the following table. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and pregnancy disability leave do not require the authorizations indicated below unless the leave extends beyond four months, the employee is not eligible for those types of leave, or the employee has exhausted his or her FMLA leave or pregnancy disability leave benefits.

Table 2.12(C)
Authorization for Leaves of Absence Without Pay
Duration
Division director/ department head
HR head or designee
Associate Laboratory Director for Operations
< 6 months
x    
> 6 months to <12 months x x  
> 12 months
x x x

2. Justification

Recommendations for leaves of absence without pay require the submission of a memorandum of justification to the division director. Justification should include the following:

  1. The approximate dates between which the absence is planned.

  2. The reason for the absence.

  3. Acknowledgment that the employee understands that the leave of absence without pay, if granted, is subject to any limitations caused by changes in the research program or employment levels that would have affected the employee if he or she had not been on leave.

3.  Use of Vacation and Sick-Leave Credit

Unless otherwise requested by the employee and approved by the division director or department head, approved leave without pay begins when all vacation and applicable sick leave credit has been exhausted. See RPM §2.09 (D) (Use of Sick Leave). This provision does not apply to family care and medical leave. See RPM §2.13(E) (Use of Accrued Paid Leave).

D. EXHAUSTION OF LEAVE CREDITS

When an employee's vacation and sick-leave credit is exhausted during a period of paid leave, the employee's division or department is responsible for submitting a Personnel Action Form (PAF) (Stock Form 7600-55050) in either paper or electronic form to the Payroll Unit.

E. NATIONAL DEFENSE LEAVE

Upon approval of the Laboratory Director, leave without pay may be granted to an employee who is called or volunteers to serve in scientific research and development under the auspices of the federal government during a war or comparable period of national emergency. Such an employee is not eligible for the pay for military leave that is provided in RPM §2.14 (Military Leave).

G. LEAVE FOR WORK-INCURRED DISABILITY

An employee who is off pay status because of a work-incurred illness or injury may be placed on leave without pay, except that any leave without pay that is granted will not extend beyond a predetermined date of separation. When an employee is (1) on a workers' compensation absence because of an on-the-job injury or illness and (2) eligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the workers' compensation absence and FMLA leave will run concurrently. See also RPM §2.13 (Family Care and Medical Leave) and §2.15 (Workers' Compensation Insurance).

H. PERSONAL LEAVE

A career employee may be granted a leave without pay for personal reasons such as education that will directly increase job effectiveness. In granting such a leave, the department or division head will consider the best interests of the Laboratory. The employee will be reinstated to the same or, at the department's or division's discretion, a similar position in the same department as long as the employee returns to work immediately following the end of the leave. If the employee would have been laid off or terminated had he or she remained on pay status during the leave period, the provisions of Paragraph (I)(1), below, and RPM §2.21(B) (Reduction in Force) will apply.

 

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