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.
This policy applies to eligible College employees unless otherwise noted in each section within this policy. The term “employee” refers to both faculty and staff.
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 on a regular basis, all leave benefits are only to be used to cover the scheduled work day and the scheduled number of hours normally worked that day.
Vacation leave is provided for the purpose of recreation to allow staff 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 staff is 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 on a regular basis are eligible to receive paid vacation leave. No paid vacation leave is earned during the New Employee Introductory Period. When staff successfully complete the New Employee Introductory Period, then vacation leave is credited retroactively based on the first day of employment.
Faculty are not eligible for vacation leave.
Vacation Leave Earned
Full-time administrative staff earns twenty (20) days (160 hours) of vacation leave per year, regardless of how many years they are employed.
Full-time support staff earns ten (10) days (80 hours) of vacation leave each year during the first five (5) years of employment. Thereafter, commencing with the sixth (6th) year of consecutive 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 member 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 staff) 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 the number of hours worked per week.
EXAMPLE: A regular part-time staff member working 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 staff. Staff members may carry over one time their annual accrual from one fiscal year to the next (i.e., a staff member whose annual accrual is ten (10) days, may carry over up to ten (10) days from June 30 to July 1).
All staff accrues 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 3.08 hours per 80-hour pay period. For a full-time administrative staff member earning twenty (20) days per year, vacation accrues at a rate of 6.16 hours per 80-hour pay period. As long as staff members are in a paid status, vacation accrues on a per pay period basis.
Staff on unpaid status do not accrue vacation leave.
Using Vacation Leave
Vacation leave must be approved by the staff member’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. Staff may not use more vacation leave than they have accrued.
Vacation Leave at Termination
Upon termination, eligible staff will be paid for any amount of unused earned vacation leave. Earned vacation leave is defined as the amount of vacation leave accrued from the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1) until the staff member’s termination date plus any vacation leave carried over from the prior fiscal year. Vacation leave is not earned until the staff member has successfully completed the New Employee Introductory Period.
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 members of their family or household.
Sick Leave Eligibility
All regular full-time employees are eligible to receive paid sick leave. All regular part-time staff who work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week on a regular basis are eligible to receive a prorated portion of full-time paid sick leave. No paid sick leave is earned during the staff member’s first three (3) months of employment. When a staff member successfully completes the New Employee Introductory Period (three (3) months), then sick leave is credited retroactively to the first day of employment.
Sick Leave Accrual
Full-time staff earns 3.70 hours per 80-hour pay period, for a total of twelve (12) days per year. As long as the staff member is in a paid status, sick leave accrues on a per pay period basis. Sick leave (for regular part-time staff) is earned as a prorated portion of full-time sick leave.
All regular full-time faculty, if contracted for the full academic year (August-May), receive ten (10) days of sick leave at the beginning of the fall semester of each academic year.
Maximum accruals of ninety (90) days for all regular full-time employees. All eligible regular part-time staff accrues a prorated portion of the ninety (90) day maximum.
Staff members on unpaid status do not accrue sick leave.
Using Sick Leave
To be eligible for sick leave, an employee must notify their immediate supervisor as soon as possible if they must be absent due to illness, injury or dental and medical appointments for themselves or for a child, elder, spouse or domestic partner, or other members of their 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 they have accrued. If an employee needs additional time off, other leaves may be available, under the Family and Medical Leave or an Unpaid Leave of Absence policies.
Employees who are absent three consecutive days or more or faculty who miss three class sessions or more of any course, whether consecutive or non-consecutive, may be required to submit a release from their 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 or a faculty member has missed three or more class sessions of any course, consecutive or non-consecutive.
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 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 retirement from Columbia College, eligible employees will receive a payout of all sick leave accrual, not to exceed the maximum accrual of 720 hours, at the rate of 50%. For purposes of this policy only, “retirement” is defined as a voluntary separation of employment, ten (10) years of continuous employment, and an employee achieving the minimum age of 55. Employees whose employment ended involuntarily are excluded from receiving any payout of sick leave upon termination.
Eligibility for reinstatement of Sick Leave upon Rehire
Employees may be eligible for reinstatement of all or a portion of their sick leave balance upon rehire under the following conditions:
- If the employee begins employment within one (1) month of their last day of work with the College, 100% of the sick leave balance may be reinstated as their beginning balance if the employee was not paid out of any of their sick leave under the Payout of Sick Leave upon Retirement noted above.
- If the employee begins employment within six (6) months of their last day of work with the College, 50% of the sick leave balance may be reinstated as their beginning balance if the employee was not paid out of any of their sick leave under the Payout of Sick Leave upon Retirement noted above.
All regular full-time employees are eligible for a maximum of three (3) days of paid leave following the death of a member of their immediate family or of their spouse 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 documentation to receive paid bereavement leave.
Conditions of Leave
Employees are expected to follow the below conditions when seeking a leave of absence:
- give the true reason for 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 the 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 may 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 Senior Council representative and/or the President of the College, as deemed appropriate.
Benefits While on Unpaid Leave of Absence
Employees on an unpaid leave of absence must make arrangements with the Human Resources Office to pay their insurance premiums while on leave.
The College 403B match to the retirement fund will stop while an employee is in an unpaid status.
Support staff employees are eligible to take the day off with pay on their birthday. All regular part-time support staff employees who work a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week on a regular basis 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 employee’s 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.
Faculty and exempt staff are not eligible for this benefit.
Regular full-time employees are eligible for release from regular work schedules for community service in any one or more college-sanctioned activities, such as Partners in Education, United Way, American Red Cross blood or 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 ensure that the department is properly staffed.
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 their 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 on a regular basis, 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).
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, a request 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 handled 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 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 of their ability to return to work from military duty within the mandates prescribed by USERRA.
Unexcused and Unapproved Absences
Absences from work are unexcused when an employee has exhausted all available leave options and has made no prior arrangements to account for their absences. Employees are expected to communicate absences to their supervisors or their need for time off from work in advance or as soon as reasonably possible. In the event of unexcused absences with no communication from an employee, including whether or not they intend to return to work, the College may consider the employee to have abandoned their position and may end their employment.