Policies & Contracts

508 - Personal Leave of Absence

Subject: Personal Leave of Absence

Section: U508

Date: October, 2016


Purpose:

To provide a means for the University of Chicago to offer employees an approved leave without pay when circumstances (such as education, research, or family needs) necessitate.

definitions:

Term Definition
HR Partner Department/division personnel who serves as the representative for the department in all human

resource issues and processes staff transactions in campus HR systems (i.e. Workday and UChicago Jobs) on behalf of their department/division.
University HR The central human resources body for the university made up of Centers for Expertise (COE).
HR-Talent Acquisition The COE responsible for oversight of the university’s staff talent acquisition policy and processes.
Hiring Unit Campus unit to which a new or vacant position reports.
Hiring Manager The individual requesting the new or vacant position be filled.  Generally, the position being filled will

report to the hiring manager. 
HR-Leave Administration Area of University HR responsible for monitoring faculty and staff leaves of absence. 

Policy:

After one year of continuous active employment with the University regular employees may apply for an unpaid Personal Leave of Absence for one to twelve consecutive months. The decision whether to grant a personal leave of absence is at the discretion of Leave Administration - University of Chicago (leaveadministration@uchicago.edu).

procedures:

1. An employee must submit a personal leave of absence request form to the employee’s supervisor and the department’s Human Resource Partner (HRP). The personal leave of absence request form must specify the reason for the request and duration and be submitted at least three months in advance unless an emergency situation arises. The HRP should submit the completed form and supporting documentation to Leave Administration. Leave Administration will review the request and will provide final approval based on consultation with the appropriate individuals.

2. Approval of the leave request does not guarantee job reinstatement and indeed the employee's position may be filled, modified or eliminated during Personal Leave of Absence. If the employee is not reinstated, he or she may apply for vacant positions on the University’s online employment site, UChicago Jobs.

3. In deciding whether to grant a Personal Leave of Absence request, the department’s and the University's operational and staffing needs, the availability of replacements, the reason for the employee’s request, and the employee's job performance and attendance should be considered.

4. Vacation and personal holiday accrual will be paid in a lump sum as soon as practical after the commencement of the Personal Leave of Absence.

5. During a Personal Leave of Absence, employees are expected to be reasonably responsive and communicative with their supervisor and department.

6. Reinstatement after a leave is at the discretion of the department.

7. Prior to reinstatement, an employee may be subject to a reference or background check based upon the department's policies and procedures or other legitimate reason.

8. If the employee is reinstated, the employee's service will be bridged to the original hire date.

9. An employee on an approved personal leave of less than 12 consecutive months may request an extension of the leave for up to a total of 12 consecutive months by submitting a completed Personal Leave of Absence form detailing the reason for extension.

10. If an employee is not reinstate or does not return to work when the Personal Leave of Absence ends and has not been approved for other reasonable accommodation as required by law, employment will be terminated as of the last day of the approved leave of absence. A Personal Leave of Absence should not be used as an alternative to a resignation or other termination of employment.

11. There may be instances of University departments that reduce or suspend operations at the end of an academic term or year. Employees in these departments may be placed on a Personal Leave of Absence during the period of reduced or suspended operations. Affected employees may use their vacation and personal holiday accrual balances until they have been exhausted.  Individuals in this situation may elect to continue medical, vision and dental insurance as follows: the first three months will be at the employee’s current rate, and the remaining 15 months will be at the full COBRA rate.

Benefits

1. An employee on a Personal Leave of Absence may elect to continue medical and dental insurance at COBRA rates for up to 18 months.

2. Life, and personal accident insurance may be maintained at the employee's option.

3. During an approved Personal Leave of Absence, an employee participating in the Retirement Income Plan for Employees (ERIP) will not continue to contribute, but the previously credited income will not be affected.

4. Employees cannot participate in a Flexible Spending Account or the University's Educational Assistance Plan while on a Personal Leave of Absence.

5. Paid time-off accruals cease while on a Personal Leave of Absence; accrued sick leave remains intact.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.