VCSU Sick Leave Policy for Faculty (includes coaches)
SBHE Policy 607.4, directs campuses to adopt policies governing paid sick or dependent leave for faculty. VCSU policy V607.04 provides for short-term and long-term sick and dependent leave for faculty.
For the purposes of this policy, "Faculty" refers to benefited employees who are tenured, probationary tenure-track, or on special appointment. This includes athletic coaches. A "day" is defined as any business day in which the faculty member has academic obligations, to include class sessions, office hours, or other regularly scheduled university commitments which must be either cancelled or rescheduled. A "week" equals five of these days.
Sick leave does not accumulate from appointment period to appointment period and has no cash value upon the employee's separation from the institution.
When a faculty member becomes briefly incapacitated due to a short-term illness or other short-term circumstance, he/she must make reasonable efforts to ensure that his/her work responsibilities are covered and must inform his/her supervisor. The supervisor is responsible for informing the VPAA office of any absence extending beyond three days; leave extending beyond three days may also require documentation (at the request of the supervisor or VPAA).
Absences should be reported if they involve missing a class, faculty or committee meeting, or any other university-based obligation, even if rescheduled or covered by someone else.
Coaches in this situation should follow the same process with the Athletic Director; those with teaching duties must report to both the Athletic Director and the VPAA.
When the faculty member returns to work, documentation of the absence must be reported to the VPAA, using for AA-3 (Report of Faculty Absence).
Faculty who must be absent for an extended period should discuss their needs for long-term leave with their department/division chair and the VPAA as early as possible, and assist the chair in assuring continuity of instruction, good communication, and coverage of all faculty obligations.
Long-Term Leave is covered under the following policies:
- Developmental Leave, V701.02
- Leave without Pay, V701.01
- Sick and Dependent Leave, V607.04
The sections below describe four types of long-term medical leave available to faculty: long-term sick leave, disability leave, dependent leave, and family leave.
Long-Term Sick Leave
If inability to meet classes or fulfill other university obligations extends beyond two weeks, a faculty member who is sick or disabled may request long-term sick leave.
The faculty member's department, in discussion with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, is responsible for making arrangements to cover the work responsibilities of the faculty.
The faculty member shall submit a memorandum requesting long-term sick leave to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, which shall be accompanied both by medical documentation and by verification from the Division Chair regarding appropriate planning to cover workload. Medical documentation to verify a serious health condition should include the date of commencement and probable duration of illness.
If granted and it is necessary to hire replacement faculty, long-term sick leave will be paid at the rate of 75 percent of the applicant's regular base salary, including benefits, for a period of up to six months (until the faculty member is eligible for the start of disability leave-see section below), or until the end of the contract term. If medical documentation is not sufficient to grant long-term leave, then the faculty member's pay may be reduced commensurate with workload.
If a second or subsequent request for long-term sick leave occurs within five years from the end of the most recent long-term sick leave, the President will provide final authorization.
One month prior to the start of the term following the period granted for sick leave, the faculty member must notify the VPAA and Division Chair of intent to return to work. Faculty granted long term sick leave must provide medical verification that they are fit to return to work; if special appointments have been made to cover work responsibilities, the faculty member may not return to work earlier than the contract designations of the special appointment. Faculty who do not declare an intent to return to work at least one month prior to the start of term following the period granted for sick leave and provide medical verification that they are fit to do so will be terminated.
Coaches requiring long term sick leave should follow the same process with the Athletic Director; those with teaching duties must report to both the Athletic Director and the VPAA.
Appeals of administrative decisions made under this policy should be directed to the Standing Committee on Faculty Rights.
A faculty member who cannot return to work after taking long-term sick leave may be eligible for disability benefits under the institution's TIAA-CREF disability insurance. The faculty member should contact the VCSU Human Resource Director to determine eligibility. Faculty are encouraged to start the application process for these benefits in the fourth month of long term sick leave, in order to maintain consistent coverage.
Paid dependent leave is not offered on a long-term basis. Faculty may use short-term leave (described above) to accommodate dependent care requiring brief absences of a day or two. Absences required for long-term care of a dependent (as defined in Family Leave, below: "...for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child; or for the serious health condition of the employee, the employee's parent, child, or spouse") must be negotiated with the department/division chair and the VPAA, and must provide for continuity of instruction without additional cost to the University, for regular communication with supervisors and students, and for coverage for other University commitments. Absences which cannot be managed in this way must be covered using Family Leave.
Faculty members are entitled to family leave in accordance with NDUS Policy 607.4 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Family leave is defined in NDUS Policy 607.4 as "an unpaid leave of absence for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child; or for the serious health condition of the employee, the employee's parent, child, or spouse."
Employees utilizing family leave will be provided health benefits at the same level and coverage as if the employee had not taken leave.
In order to maintain continuity of instruction, faculty may be required to take family leave in combination with leave without pay (V701.01) to allow special appointment faculty to complete semester contracts.
Procedure: The process of obtaining family leave generally begins with a letter or conversation with the relevant Division Chair and the Vice President for Academic Affairs or Athletic Director. FMLA application materials and information are available from the Human Resources Office.
Sponsor: Faculty Senate
Effective: May 17, 2011