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Employee Leave Benefits Policy

Purpose

The College provides generous leave benefits to its employees.  Authorized leaves of absence from work generally include vacation leave, sick leave, bereavement leave, unpaid leave of absence, leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), holidays, birthdays, jury duty, and military duty and may differ slightly based on employment status.  In all circumstances the College provides leave at or above the minimum level required by law or regulation.  Employees are expected to attend work regularly and report to work at regularly scheduled work times unless their absence is otherwise authorized and approved.

Scope

This policy applies to College employees.

Policy

For purposes of this policy, a “day” of leave has an equivalency of up to eight (8) hours.

For regular part-time employees who work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week, all leave benefits are only to be used to cover the scheduled work day and scheduled number of hours normally worked that day.

Vacation Leave

Vacation leave is provided for the purpose of recreation to allow employees rest and relaxation during the course of a working year and time away from their job. Therefore, vacation leave that is allocated must be taken during the fiscal year in which it is earned, except for the allowable carryover as detailed below.

Vacation Leave Eligibility

All full-time administrative and support staff employees are eligible to receive paid vacation leave. All regular part-time administrative and support staff employees who work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week for a period of twenty (20) consecutive weeks, are eligible to receive paid vacation leave. No paid vacation leave is earned during the New Employee Introductory Period. If an employee successfully completes the New Employee Introductory Period, then vacation leave is credit retroactive based on the first day of employment.

Vacation Leave Earned

Full-time administrative staff earn twenty (20) days (160 hours) of vacation leave per year, regardless of how many years they are employed.

Full-time support staff earn ten (10) days (80 hours) of vacation leave each year during the first five (5) years of employment. Thereafter, commencing with the sixth (6) year of employment, one (1) day of additional vacation leave is earned for each additional year of employment for the next ten (10) years. Thus, a full-time support staff employee is eligible for eleven (11) days of vacation leave in the sixth year of employment, twelve (12) days in the seventh year, and so on, up to a total and maximum of twenty (20) days of vacation leave per year.

Vacation leave (for regular part-time employees) is earned as a prorated portion of full-time vacation leave. The total amount of part-time vacation leave is calculated according to the employee’s status (administrative or support staff), years of service, and number of hours worked per week.

EXAMPLE: A regular part-time employee who works twenty (20) hours per week in a support staff position with one (1) year of service will earn fifty percent (50%) of the full-time support staff equivalent, which equals five (5) days or 40 hours of vacation leave per year.

Vacation Leave Accrual

Vacation leave is calculated in conjunction with the College’s fiscal year, July 1 to June 30, for all eligible employees. Employees may carry over one time their annual accrual from one fiscal year to the next (i.e., an employee whose annual accrual is ten (10) days, may carry over up to ten (10) days from June 30 to July 1).

All staff accrue vacation on a continuing basis. Accordingly, for a full-time support staff member who earns ten (10) days of vacation per fiscal year, vacation accrues at 3.12 hours per pay period. For a full-time administrative staff employee who earns twenty (20) days per year, vacation accrues at a rate of 6.16 hours per pay period. As long as employees are in a paid status, vacation accrues on a per pay period basis.

Employees who are on unpaid status do not accrue vacation leave.

Using Vacation Leave

Vacation leave must be approved by the employee’s immediate supervisor before it can be scheduled. A sufficient amount of notice must be given to supervisors when planning to use vacation leave. The amount of notice will be determined by each supervisor.

AHE Vacation Leave

All vacation leave for Adult Higher Education staff and directors will be handled directly through the Campus Director and/or Vice President for Adult Higher Education.

Vacation Leave at Termination

Upon termination, eligible employees will be paid for any amount of unused earned vacation leave. Any amount of used vacation leave, which has not been earned, will be deducted from the employee’s final paycheck. Earned vacation leave is defined as the amount of vacation leave accrued from the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1) until the employee’s termination date plus any vacation leave carried over from the prior fiscal year. Vacation leave is not earned until the employee has successfully completed the New Employee Introductory Period.

Sick Leave

Sick leave is to be used by employees for absences due to personal illness, injury, dental or medical appointments. The same can also be authorized for the employee's family or household if the employee is the individual primarily relied upon to render care to the child, elder, spouse or domestic partner or other member of his/her family or household.

Sick Leave Eligibility

All regular full-time employees are eligible to receive paid sick leave. All regular part-time employees who work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week are eligible to receive a prorated portion of full-time paid sick leave. No paid sick leave is earned during the first three (3) months of employment. If an employee successfully completes the New Employee Introductory Period (three (3) months), then sick leave is credited retroactive to the first day of employment.

Sick Leave Accrual

Full-time employees earn 3.68 hours per pay period, for a total of twelve (12) days per year. As long as employees are in a paid status, sick leave accrues on a per pay period basis.  Sick leave (for regular part-time employees) is earned as a prorated portion of full-time sick leave. 

Maximum accruals of ninety (90) days for all regular full-time employees, and a prorated portion of the ninety (90) day maximum for all eligible regular part-time employees are allowed.

Employees who are on unpaid status do not accrue sick leave.

Using Sick Leave

To be eligible for sick leave, an employee must notify his/her immediate supervisor as soon as possible if he/she must be absent due to illness, injury or dental and medical appointments for himself/herself or for a child, elder, spouse or domestic partner, or other member of his/her family or household.  Employees are expected to call in and inform their supervisor each day they use sick leave unless other arrangements are made in advance.  Failure to follow call-in procedures could result in discipline. Employees may not use more sick leave than he/she has accrued.  If an employee needs additional time off, other leaves may be available, including possibly under the Family and Medical Leave or an Unpaid Leave of Absence.

Employees who are absent for longer than three days may be required to submit a release from his/her physician certifying the employee’s fitness for duty to resume work activities.   Supervisors must notify the Human Resources Office when an employee has been sick for three or more consecutive days.  "Excessive" absences are to be determined by the supervisor.

Sick Leave at Termination

Upon termination of employment, unused and accrued sick leave will be forfeited and will not be counted for pay purposes.

Sick Leave in Excess of Maximum Accrual

The College will pay an employee for sick leave accruals in excess of 90 days, at a rate of 50%. (e.g., for a fiscal year beginning July 1 if an employee has already accrued 90 days of sick leave and doesn’t take any of the 12 additional earned days from July 1 through the following June 30, the employee will be paid out the days in excess of 90 as of the end of the June 30 fiscal year at the rate of 50%).

Pay-out of the excess sick-leave accrual will be paid on the last pay date in July, following each fiscal year-end.  The rate used to calculate the payment will be the pay rate in effect on June 30 for the fiscal year then ended.

Payout of Sick Leave upon Retirement*

Upon the employees’ retirement from Columbia College, eligible employees will receive a pay out of all sick leave accrual, not to exceed the maximum accrual, at the rate of 50%.  *For purposes of this policy only, “retirement” is defined as ten (10) years of continuous service and reaching the minimum age of 55.

Bereavement Leave

All regular full-time employees are eligible for a maximum of three (3) consecutive days of paid leave after the death of a member of his/her immediate family or of his/her spouse's or domestic partner’s immediate family. The death of an immediate family member is to include the death of a spouse or domestic partner, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or grandchild. Individual circumstances regarding the use of up to one day of paid bereavement leave may be granted by the employee's immediate supervisor if the employee wishes to attend the funeral of an individual other than an immediate family member. There is no limit to the number of times an employee may use bereavement leave per fiscal year.  Employees are not eligible for bereavement leave if on an unpaid Leave of Absence when the bereavement occurs.  Employees may be required to provide information regarding the reason for leave.

Conditions of Leave

Employees are expected to follow the below conditions when seeking a leave of absence:

  • give the true reason for a leave or unplanned leave of absence;
  • to obtain authorization from the employee's immediate supervisor and other appropriate authorities prior to taking time off;
  • to return to work at the specified expiration of leave.

Unpaid Leave of Absence

Although an unpaid leave of absence is not encouraged, an occasion may arise when one becomes necessary. An unpaid leave of absence will be granted only under exceptional circumstances and typically for planned or expected periods of time.

Eligibility for Unpaid Leaves of Absence

Regular full-time employees may be granted a leave of absence without pay, not to exceed six (6) months, when approved by the appropriate College authority.

Authority for Unpaid Leaves of Absence

Any unpaid leaves of absence must be approved by the appropriate supervisor and Administrative Council representative and/or the President of the College, as deemed appropriate.

Benefits While on Unpaid Leave of Absence

Employees on unpaid leave of absence are responsible for and must make arrangements with the Human Resources Office to pay their insurance premiums while on leave.

Monthly College contributions to the retirement fund will stop while an employee is on an unpaid leave of absence that exceeds thirty (30) days.

Miscellaneous Absences

Birthday

Support staff employees are eligible to take the day off with pay on their birthdays. All regular part-time support staff employees who work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week are eligible to receive a pro-rated “birthday” holiday.  If this date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, arrangements may be made to take another day off.  Employees must complete the new employee introductory period before being eligible for this benefit.  If the employees’ birthday falls within the New Employee Introductory Period the birthday can be taken off upon successful completion of the New Employee Introductory Period with permission of the department supervisor, otherwise, the birthday holiday should be used within the month of the employee’s birthday with appropriate supervisor approval. 

Community Service

Columbia College allows regular full-time employees release from regular work schedules for community service in any one or more of college sanctioned activities, such as Partners in Education, United Way, and American Red Cross blood and platelet donations. Employees may participate in these community service activities without a loss of pay, up to a maximum of eight (8) hours per fiscal year and must be utilized in no less than one (1) hour intervals. Employees must obtain approval from the immediate supervisor before participating in community service activities. Notice must be given well enough in advance so as not to interfere with the daily operations of the office/department and to insure that the department is properly staffed. Additionally, only full-time employees of Columbia College are eligible for this benefit.

Jury Duty

Columbia College supports employees in carrying out their civic duty of jury duty.  If an employee is summoned for jury duty, they should notify their supervisor as soon as possible.  All employees will be granted time off to attend jury duty.  This leave will be paid for up to ten (10) working days in any fiscal year unless otherwise specified by law.  Any employee requesting leave for jury duty must provide a copy of the summons to his or her supervisor when requesting the leave and must provide a copy of the receipt from the court upon return from leave.  Leave for jury duty does not include paid leave where an employee is participating in a trial, including, but not limited to situations where the employee is a plaintiff, defendant, or witness.  For regular part-time employees who work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week, jury duty leave is only to be used to cover the scheduled work-day and scheduled number of hours normally worked that day (e.g., if required for jury duty on a Tuesday and the employee is scheduled to work Monday, Wednesday & Friday, the employee will not receive jury duty pay).

USERRA/Military Duty

Columbia College employees who have entered into the military service of the United States are entitled to the continuation of certain employee benefits and the restoration to employment in accordance with the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA).  Participants in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service commissioned corps, reserve components of each of these services, and Army and Air National Guards are eligible under USERRA.  The College supports USERRA and will follow the mandates of USERRA with respect to eligible employees.

The College recognizes that employees who receive notice to report for military duty may not be given the discretion as to when they must report.  Therefore, application for military leave from the College under USERRA must be made in advance, as soon as practicable after the employee becomes aware of the obligation to report for duty.  The employee shall thereafter provide the College with a copy of the official orders.  Emergency mobilization orders shall be dealt with on an individual basis.  In addition, whenever an employee has a choice as to when to report for military duty (such as reserve drills) the employee must make an effort to arrange the duty during non-working time.

College employees who are engaged in the military service shall not be paid by the College during their absences.  However, employees may use their accrued vacation for periods of military service.  Employee benefits, such as the continuation of health insurance, shall be maintained in accordance with the directive of USERRA.

Employees must notify the College on their ability to return to work from military duty within the mandates prescribed by USERRA.

 

 

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