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Leave of Absence FAQs

Where can I find more information about taking a Leave of Absence?

The Human Resources website provides detailed information about what you should do before, during, and after a Leave of Absence.  We ask that you review Leave of Absence on the HR website if you are considering taking a Leave of Absence.

Other sites to explore include:

Is it my responsibility to inform my manager/supervisor of my Leave?

Yes.  It is your responsibility to notify your manager/supervisor of a foreseen Leave of Absence.  If unforeseen, notification should be made to your manager/supervisor as soon as possible.  You are not required to discuss the nature of your Medical Leave with your manager/supervisor or department.

What documentation must I submit when I request a Leave of Absence?

Documentation requirements vary by Leave.  Check the appropriate Leave of Absence Policy or Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for details.

How long can I be on a Leave of Absence?

Duration varies by Leave. Check the appropriate Leave of Absence Policy or Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for details.

What is the university's maternity Leave policy?

The university does not have a maternity Leave policy; however, an employee may qualify for an FMLA (Employee) and/or Medical Leave (Employee) with or without pay.

Does the university have paternity Leave?

No; however, an employee may qualify for FMLA-Medical (Family) or Medical (Family) Leave of Absence with or without pay.

Does the university offer Organ Donation Leave as provided under the Ohio Revised Code 124.139?

Yes. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 124.139 UC will provide a paid* Leave of Absence of up to two hundred forty (240) hours each calendar year to any full-time employee who donates a kidney or any portion of a liver. Additionally, any full-time employee who donates bone marrow is eligible for up to fifty-six (56) hours of paid* time off during any calendar year.

Time off work will be processed according to university FMLA, time off work and Leave procedures which means that FMLA may run concurrent to any Organ Donation Leave time granted. If the employee remains absent beyond the paid* period of absence provided for in the Code, university paid Leave time must be used and reported as appropriate.

*regular pay; you are not required to use sick time if you meet Organ Donation Leave requirements. Use of employee paid time off work accruals is not required for the first two hundred forty (240) (organ) or fifty-six (56) (bone marrow) hours; Organ Donation Leave time off is to be reported as ABS.

Do I continue to accrue vacation and sick time while on a Leave of Absence?

If your approved Leave of Absence is "with pay", you will continue to accrue vacation and sick time.  Your vacation and sick time will accrue at the rate in effect prior to your approved paid Leave of Absence.  If the leave is granted "without pay", no additional vacation or sick time is accrued or reported.

Do I maintain benefits while on a Leave With Pay?

Employees on Leave With Pay maintain benefits and their contributions continue to be deducted from their paychecks.

What are the qualifying events that will allow me to change my benefit elections?

You have thirty-one (31) calendar days to make changes to your pre-tax benefits (Health, Life, Flexible Spending Account) when you experience a "qualified status change."  Going from a Leave With Pay to a Leave Without Pay is a qualifying event that allows you to make coverage changes.  Returning from a Leave Without Pay is another qualifying event.  You must request any desired changes within thirty-one (31) calendar days of the event effective date. Documentation is required.

How does my no-pay status affect my Flexible Spending Account? (FSA's are sometimes referred to as Section 125 Flex Plan or Cafeteria Plan benefits.)

Are you currently enrolled in an FSA?  If so, and you return to work from a Leave Without Pay in the same calendar year, your FSA deduction amount will automatically increase so you will reach your elected annual amount by the end of the calendar year.  You may also be eligible to make changes to your FSA before your Leave.  Be sure to talk to UC Benefits before you go on Leave so we can discuss the options with you.

How does without pay status impact my Health Savings Account (HSA)?

Because you won't be paid, you won't be able to make pre-tax contributions to the Health Savings Account. You continue to receive the university's HSA contribution during your Leave.

You can contribute after-tax to your HSA during your Leave Without Pay by contacting Health Equity.

What happens to my benefits if I do not come back to work following a Leave Without Pay?

If you do not return to work, your insurance will terminate retroactively to the date through which your premiums were paid.  If you did not pay premiums while you were on Leave of Absence, you are responsible for paying any medical or dental expenses you incurred and you may not be eligible for COBRA coverage.  Please contact UC Benefits as soon as you begin your Leave of Absence so we can discuss your options.

What is Long Term Disability (LTD)?

This is an elective benefit that provides supplemental income to you while you are totally disabled (more than four (4) or six (6) months depending upon the plan in which you are enrolled).  Upon approval from the university's disability carrier, you will receive a monthly disability benefit check based on your current benefit election, sixty percent (60%) of base salary or sixty five percent (65%) of base salary.  Your LTD benefit may be offset by other sources of income you may be receiving (i.e., sick/vacation time).  LTD benefits continue based on policy terms and limitations.

When does Long Term Disability begin?

Employees enrolled in the plan must be off work for a period of 120 or 180 consecutive days before benefits begin, depending upon the plan. UNUM determines benefit eligibility.

How do I make a claim for Long Term Disability?

To obtain the appropriate claim form, please contact UC Benefits at 513-556-6381.

What happens to my benefits while I'm on FMLA?

The use of FMLA time cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of your Leave. During FMLA-related Leave, the university must maintain your health coverage under any "group health plan" on the same terms as if you had continued to work. If on Leave With Pay, employee health care contributions continue to be deducted from your paycheck. If on Leave Without Pay, you must make arrangements with the Human Resources Department to pay for the premium contribution that would have been deducted from the paycheck.

Who do I call if I have questions?

Contact Human Resources at 513-556-6381.  Be sure to contact us at the start of your Leave of Absence; then again when you return to work.

Is there help available once I have exhausted all available paid time off (sick, vacation, comp time) and I am without pay?

You may inquire about the Leave Donation Policy, which may provide donated vacation time to eligible employees who have presented a completed Certification of Health Care Provider (CHCP) form to the university for injury or illness and who have exhausted all accrued time.  Please refer to the Leave Donation policy to review eligibility, procedures, and forms.

AAUP represented faculty may contact Human Resources to donate vacation time but cannot be a Leave Donation recepient. Refer to the AAUP CBA for information regarding the faculty sick bank.

How can I tell when I'll run out of pay?

You can estimate when you'll run out of paid time by checking your most recent pay stub.  Your supervisor should also be able to assist you.

If a paid holiday occurs while I'm on a Leave of Absence, will I be paid for the holiday?

If you are on a Leave With Pay, you will receive pay for the holiday.  If you are on a Leave Without Pay, you will not receive holiday pay.

I am currently on a Leave With Pay, but will exhaust all my sick time soon.  How will I know how much I need to pay in order to continue my benefits?  Where do I send my check or money order?

You will receive a letter and an invoice from UC Benefits shortly after your organizational unit places you on a Leave Without Pay.  The invoice will detail the amount you must submit each month in order to keep your benefit plans in force.  Payment instructions are also included on the invoice.  If you do not hear from UC Benefits near the time you exhaust your paid time, feel free to contact them at 513-556-6381.

If I exhaust all paid time and I am unable to return to work, what happens to my benefits?

You should contact UC Benefits at 513-556-6381 to talk about your specific situation.

How do I get paid (versus being unpaid) while using FMLA?

You are paid per appropriate Leave policy or CBA. You are paid only if you have accrued sick, vacation, or comp time.  Employees are required to substitute paid sick time for unpaid FMLA time, if absence is for medical reasons, and may elect to remain in pay status using vacation or comp time before being placed on a Leave Without Pay. 

If I am on FMLA Leave/time on a holiday, will I be paid for that holiday and does the holiday count as FMLA time off?

If you are in a pay status on both the day before and the day after the holiday, you will be paid holiday pay.  If not, you will not be paid for the holiday.

For purposes of determining the amount of FMLA time used, the fact that a holiday may occur within the FMLA work week taken has no effect; the week is counted as a work week of FMLA leave.

Post Doc Fellows are eligible for six (6) weeks Paid Maternity/Paternity Leave.  Are eligible Post Doc Fellows required to exhaust all accrued sick time and vacation time as part of the approved Leave?  Is this Leave treated as an FMLA absence?

When a College of Medicine Post Doc employee indicates the need for a Maternity/Paternity Leave per the College of Medicine Post Doc policy you must first determine whether or not the employee is eligible for FMLA.  The employee must exhaust all accrued sick (for the duration of medical certification) and vacation as part of the Leave.  If the Post Doc employee has not accrued six (6) weeks of accrued time (sick or vacation), the balance of the time off is paid as regular pay.  The full six (6) weeks of time is paid time. 

When initiating the PCR, you should select Leave of Absence With Pay.  The Leave reason will be Paid FMLA Medical (Employee if maternity or Family if paternity) if FMLA eligible or Paid Medical (Employee if maternity or Family if paternity) if not FMLA eligible.  

An employee is expecting a baby soon. She is not a COM Post Doc or AAUP represented faculty member. How do I process her Leave of Absence?

You must first determine whether or not the employee is eligible for FMLA.  The employee must use sick time for the duration of medical certification and may elect to use vacation if all sick time is exhausted.  Sick time may not be used beyond the period of medical certification.  When initiating the PCR, you should select Leave of Absence With Pay if using sick and/or vacation or Leave of Absence Without Pay if no paid time is available to use or requested. 

The Leave reason will be Paid or Unpaid FMLA-Medical (Employee) if FMLA eligible or Paid or Unpaid Medical (Employee) if not FMLA eligible.  Employees may remain absent for Childrearing Leave following absence for childbirth.  When initiating the PCR, you should select Leave of Absence With Pay if using vacation or Leave of Absence Without Pay if no paid time is available or requested.  The Leave reason will be Paid or Unpaid FMLA Childrearing if FMLA eligible, or Paid or Unpaid Childrearing if not FMLA eligible.

An employee returning from Medical Leave must report to University Health Services (UHS) with a return to work note from her provider. UHS will provide a release to present to the supervisor before beginning work.

When an employee, transitions to Childrearing Leave and returns from this non-medical event, she must present a full duty release from her provider before working.

AAUP represented faculty will be advised if required to report to UHS before returning to work.

An employee has requested time off for a medical reason.  She has exhausted all available FMLA time as well as all accrued vacation.  She has ten (10) hours of sick time available to her.  Her absence will be twenty (20) calendar days.  What Leave type and reasons do I use when initiating the PCR?  Her last day worked will be July 17, 20__.

Process as follows: (Example)

  • Leave of Absence With Pay - Paid Medical (Employee): Effective July 18 (first day after last day worked)
  • Leave of Absence Without Pay - Unpaid Medical (Employee): Effective July 20 (first full day without pay)
  • Report eight (8) hours sick time on July 18 and two (2) hours sick time and six (6) hours sick no pay on July 19

Is it permissible to require FLSA-exempt (i.e., non-hourly) employees to use partial days of accumulated time off when absent from work?

  • Yes.  The U.S. Department of Labor has addressed the question in the DOL Opinion Letter.  Questions can be directed to Labor Relations and Policy Development at 513-556-6372.
  • Exempt employees absent due to an FMLA-certified event (including employees utilizing intermittent FMLA) are required to submit time off work and FMLA in the increments used via ESS Time Off Work Request. This is the one (1) difference to Exempt employee half day reporting identified by the Department of Labor.

An employee's last day worked before his/her Leave begins is a Friday.  When does the employee's Leave of Absence begin?

Since the employee's last day of work was Friday, the Leave of Absence will begin on the following Monday (unless the employee is normally scheduled to work on Saturday or Sunday).  The start of the Leave of Absence is the following scheduled work day after the last day worked.

The following questions pertain to the AAUP Paid Parental Leave (PPL).  Only AAUP-represented faculty members are eligible for PPL. 

What is Paid Parental Leave (PPL)?

If you are the primary caregiver, PPL provides paid leave* for the birth of a child, the placement of a newly adopted child under the age of seven (7), or the initiation of travel to take custody of a newly adopted child. Adoption of a child over the age of seven (7) also qualifies, if the adoption process requires such leave. (This policy cannot be used, however, in the event of adoption of a spouse's or domestic partner's child.)

*An eligible individual is paid his/her base salary for the period of the leave (maximum six (6) weeks) and is not required to use sick and/or vacation.

What is teaching release?

Under this PPL policy, teaching release is defined as release from specifically assigned classroom teaching duties for the same academic semester during which PPL is taken. Alternative duties as agreed between the parties for any period of the semester not covered by PPL are expected to continue during the semester of teaching release, except during the PPL (maximum six (6) week period).

Who determines if I am eligible for teaching release?

The Academic Unit Head and Dean in conjunction with the Provost Office will make the determination regarding eligibility.

Who is eligible for PPL?

AAUP-represented faculty members are eligible for PPL.

What is the application process?

The faculty member intending to take PPL must provide his/her Academic Unit Head with written notification in the form of a PPL Application at least ninety (90) days in advance of the Leave, or as soon as possible. The PPL Application should indicate the anticipated birth or adoption date, the length of the PPL (maximum six (6) weeks), the semester in which the PPL is to be taken, whether teaching release is requested, and confirmation the faculty member will be the primary caregiver during PPL.

What other documentation is required?

The faculty member must also provide a CHCP form (for a birth) or court or other documentation (for adoption).

How does FMLA fit in?

If the faculty member is eligible for FMLA, it will run concurrent with PPL.

What if the faculty member is not eligible for FMLA because he/she has only been at UC for six (6) months? Is he/she still eligible for PPL?

Even if the faculty member is not eligible for FMLA yet, he/she is still eligible for PPL if all other requirements are met.

Can a birth mother take six (6) weeks of paid Medical Leave for physical recovery from the birth (using sick leave days), and then take an additional six (6) weeks of PPL?

No. The PPL is intended to be used in lieu of sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child. It is expected the PPL will be taken as soon as possible after the birth or adoption, or in the immediate next primary semester. PPL must be completed within six (6) months of the birth or placement for adoption.

Can PPL be taken on an intermittent basis?

No.

What if I am the birth mother and my baby is due on October 13 (about mid-semester). When does my PPL begin? When does my PPL end?

You should discuss the effective date of your PPL with your Academic Unit Head; however, the intent of the PPL policy is that it begins as soon as possible following the birth. You should also consider if you will request teaching release for the full semester of the birth (i.e., the fall semester), or if it is feasible given your academic unit's work schedule and your duties, to take the teaching release during the next semester (the spring). If you are requesting teaching release for the fall semester and your request is approved, your teaching release may begin at the start of the fall semester, with alternative duties as agreed between you and your academic unit head, for any period of the semester not covered by PPL.

What if additional time is needed for medically-related reasons (e.g., difficulties with the birth or preeclampsia) before the baby is born?

A faculty member may use accrued sick leave before the birth of the child for medically-related reasons.

Example: Your physician releases you from work two (2) weeks before the expected due date. You may use sick leave (per Article 17 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement) for this two (2) week period. Once the baby is born, you will transition to PPL and will no longer need to use sick leave days.

I am a female unrepresented employee (e.g., staff or part-time faculty member) expecting a baby and my spouse is a male AAUP-represented faculty member. How much PPL is he eligible for? Can he take his PPL at the same time I am on Medical Leave? Must he be the primary caregiver in order to take PPL?

Your spouse, as an AAUP-represented faculty member, is eligible for a maximum six (6) weeks of PPL in addition to teaching release, provided he is the primary caregiver.

He is not eligible to take PPL at the same time you are on Medical Leave, unless he will be the primary caregiver. He may be eligible to take PPL when you return to work as long as he does so within six (6) months of the baby's birth.

Alternatively, he may be eligible to use sick time per Article 17 of the AAUP CBA during your post-delivery recovery provided a CHCP is submitted.

Note: When both spouses are employed by the university, they are limited to a combined total of twelve (12) work weeks of FMLA Childrearing Leave during any twelve (12) month period.

I am adopting a child from a foreign country. When does PPL begin? What if I want to take additional time off?

Your PPL begins when travel is initiated to take custody of the child. If you feel you need additional time off beyond the limits of the PPL, you may request an unpaid Personal or Childrearing Leave per Article 19.1 or 19.2 of the AAUP CBA.

I am considering adopting a special needs child. Is additional time off available?

You may request an unpaid Personal or Childrearing Leave per Article 19.1 or 19.2 of the AAUP CBA.

I am adopting my new spouse's children. Am I eligible for PPL?

No.

What happens to my benefits while on PPL?

A faculty member who is taking PPL will be paid his/her base salary for the period of the full release from duties (maximum six (6) weeks). All benefits will remain in force during that six (6)week period, and premium contributions will be deducted from your paycheck in accordance with normal practice. During the teaching release period of the PPL, again, all pay and benefits remain as normal.

What happens to my retirement plan contributions while on PPL?

Both you and the university will continue to contribute to the retirement plan in which you are a member, as usual.

Is PPL extended when a holiday occurs during PPL time off?

No.

Is PPL extended during a university break?

No.

How often may a faculty member take PPL?

There is no limit to the number of times a faculty member may use PPL during the course of his/her employment with the university as long as all other eligibility requirements are met.

If a faculty member has a multiple birth (e.g., twins or triplets), or adopts more than one (1) child at the same time, will he/she receive any additional time under PPL?

No. The period of time available is not extended for multiple births or in case of adopting more than one child at the same time.

How much notice should a faculty member give his/her Academic Unit Head of intent to apply for PPL?

Ninety (90) days is expected as a minimum, unless circumstances prevent you from giving notice earlier (e.g., adopting parents are sometimes given short notice that a child is ready to come to their home). In all cases, we ask that you give notice as early as possible in order to allow your academic unit head plenty of time to make scheduling arrangements.

Does a faculty member accrue sick time while on PPL?

Yes.

Can this benefit be used by two (2) AAUP-represented faculty members for one (1) birth or adoption?

Yes, if both parents are AAUP-represented faculty; however, both parents cannot use PPL at the same time.

For "dual faculty" couples, all PPL use must be completed within twelve (12) months of birth or adoption.

Note: When both spouses are employed by the university, they are limited to a combined total of twelve (12) work weeks of FML Childrearing Leave during any twelve (12) month period.

What does it mean to be the 'Primary caregiver'?

A primary caregiver is defined as the individual who has primary responsibility for the care of a child following the birth or the child coming into the custody, care, or control of the parent for the first time. The definition applies to both births and adoptions.

How does PPL apply if my child is born or I adopt a child during my non-primary semester? (For most two (2) semester faculty this is the Summer term.)

You may request PPL and teaching release in the immediate next following semester.

I am a twelve (12) month faculty member. Am I eligible for PPL?

Yes, the benefit is identical.

How does PPL work for a twelve (12) month faculty member?

The same as for two (2) semester faculty, except there is not a primary or secondary semester. You may request a PPL in the semester in which the birth or adoption takes place, or the immediate next semester. All other provisions are identical as described above.

Where can I find information regarding returning to work?

Visit the Return to Work web page to learn more about the steps of the process and more.

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