Forms, Policies, & Guides

513 - Short-Term Disability

Subject: Short-Term Disability

Section: U513

Date: August 1, 2011 


Purpose:

To provide guidance regarding an employee's status and compensation when a non-work related injury or illness renders the employee unable to work. 

Policy:

A benefits eligible employee, who has completed six months of continuous and active employment, is eligible to apply for Short Term Disability (STD) when he or she is unable to perform the duties of his or her job due to a non-work-related injury or illness (including a pregnancy-related disability). STD pays 60% of an employee’s regular salary minus all regular deductions. STD payments begin once an employee is totally disabled for a continuous period of fourteen (14) days or an employee’s accrued sick leave is exhausted, whichever is longer. STD ends after 13 weeks of disability.

Guidelines:

1. To apply for STD, an eligible employee must submit the Short Term Disability Leave Request form to the employee’s supervisor and the department/unit’s Human Resource Administrator (HRA) for signature as soon as the employee becomes aware of the need for leave. Upon receipt of the supervisor’s and the HRA’s signature, the employee must submit the completed Short Term Disability Leave Request Form to Leave Administration.

2. The employee also must submit directly to Leave Administration  a completed Short Term Disability – Health Care Provider’s statement describing the reason for the leave, diagnosis, and anticipated date of return.

3. STD leave will be counted toward the twelve (12) week allotment of Family and Medical Leave. For guidelines on Family and Medical Leave of Absence, see 522-Family and Medical Leave of Absence.

4. Following the first day of absence, there is a waiting period of fourteen (14) calendar days before STD payments begin. If an employee does not have accrued sick leave to use during the waiting period, then accrued personal holidays and vacation must be used as provided under University policy or collective bargaining agreement, if applicable. Otherwise, the waiting period is unpaid. Employees may reserve a total of five (5) days of vacation and personal holiday to use at another time.

5. An eligible employee may receive STD payments beginning fourteen (14) days after the first day of absence and the exhaustion of sick leave, whichever is longer, through the thirteenth week of disability, i.e. a maximum of eleven (11) weeks of STD paid benefits. The following are examples:

• An employee is approved for 6 weeks STD leave for a new disability and has 10 weeks accrued sick leave. The employee will use 6 weeks of sick leave and will not receive STD payments because the employee has enough sick leave accruals to cover the duration of the absence.

• An employee is approved for 13 weeks of STD leave for her own disability and has 3 days accrued sick leave. The employee must use 3 days of accrued sick leave and other accrued paid time off during the fourteen day waiting period and thereafter will receive 11 weeks of STD payments.

6. Unless there are medical complications, six (6) weeks after the birth of a child is the approved timeframe for STD payments. However, a cesarean delivery will be approved for eight (8) weeks.

7. Leave Administration  is responsible for approval or denial of STD payments. If approved, payments begin after accrued sick leave has been exhausted or after the fourteen (14) day waiting period, whichever is longer. The University reserves the right to require a medical examination of any employee applying for STD at any time by a health care provider selected by the University. The cost of such examination shall be borne by the employee's department.

8. In addition to receiving STD payments, an employee:

• maintains all benefits for which s/he is enrolled, provided s/he continues to pay the employee's share of the premiums, subject to applicable policies and plans;

• maintains his or her original benefits-eligible (service) date; and

• maintains previously-earned personal holiday and vacation accrual balances.

9. An employee receiving STD payments is NOT permitted to:

• accrue sick leave, vacation or personal holidays;

• apply for STD payments within two weeks following a return to work from STD;

• receive University holiday pay; or

• supplement STD payments with vacation or personal holidays.

10. Employees on STD leave are expected to reasonably communicate with and be responsive to their supervisors and department during their leave and regarding their return to work.

11. An employee on STD leave must contact Leave Administration  immediately upon learning of the need for an extension. An employee on a STD leave who has a medical release to return to work earlier than expected should contact Leave Administration  and his/her supervisor immediately.

12. Before returning to work from STD leave, an employee must provide his or her supervisor and the HRA with a release to return to work by a health care provider indicating that he/she is able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. The supervisor or HRA will forward the original release to return to work to Leave Administration . An employee who fails to provide a release to return to work as of the first scheduled workday after a medical or other approved leave will not be allowed to return to work and subsequent absences will be deemed unexcused or unscheduled, which may result in termination of employment.

13. An employee who returns to work and suffers a relapse of the same disability may apply for and use his or her remaining STD benefits without satisfying another fourteen (14) day period so long as the employee has not exhausted his or her STD allotment.

14. To be eligible for STD payments for a different disability or a new medical condition, an employee must return to work following the receipt of STD payments and work continuously for at least two weeks. The employee also is subject to a new fourteen (14) day waiting period.

15. An employee remains financially responsible for payroll deductions such as taxes, insurance, credit union and other deductions. These deductions are made against STD payments in accordance with payroll schedules.

16. If an employee has not returned to work when the STD leave expires and has not applied for Long Term Disability or been approved for an additional leave of absence or other reasonable accommodation as required by law, employment will be terminated effective on the first scheduled workday that is missed following the expiration of the STD leave.

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