Policies & Contracts

513 - Short-Term Disability

Subject: Short-Term Disability

Section: U513

Date: August, 2011 


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

Who is governed by this policy:

This policy applies to all benefits eligible staff employees who have completed six months of continuous and active employment.

Policy Statement:

A benefits eligible employee who has completed six months of continuous and active employment is eligible to apply for Short-Term Disability (STD) when they are unable to perform their job duties 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 when an employee’s accrued sick leave is exhausted, whichever is longer. STD ends after 13 weeks of disability.

  1. To apply for STD, an eligible employee must submit the Leave Request Form to the employee’s supervisor and their Human Resources Professional (HRP) for signatures as soon as the employee becomes aware of the need for leave. Upon receipt of the supervisor’s and the HRP’s signature, the employee must submit the completed Leave Request Form to Leave Administration.

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

  3. If applicable, STD leave will be counted toward the twelve (12) week allotment of Family and Medical Leave. See Policy U522 FMLA.

  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. If the employee is off due to the birth of a child, the waiting period may also be covered by parental leave, if applicable, in up to two one-week increments regardless of the employee’s accrual balance. See Policy U528 Parental Leave. 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 accrued 10 weeks of 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 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, employees:
    • maintain all benefits for which they are enrolled, provided they continue to pay their  share of the premiums, subject to applicable policies and plans;
    • maintain their original benefits-eligible (service) date; and
    • maintain their previously-earned personal holiday and vacation accrual balances.
  9. Employees receiving STD payments are 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. Employees on STD leave must contact Leave Administration immediately upon learning of the need for an extension. An employee on STD leave who has a medical release to return to work earlier than expected should contact Leave Administration and their supervisor immediately.
  12. Before returning to work from STD leave, an employee must provide Leave Administration with a release to return to work by a health care provider indicating that they are able to perform the essential functions of their job with or without reasonable accommodation. 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. Employees who return to work and suffer a relapse of the same disability may apply to use their remaining STD benefits without satisfying another fourteen (14) day period so long as they had not exhausted their 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. Employees remain 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, their employment will be terminated effective on the first scheduled workday that is missed following the expiration of the STD leave.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Word/Phrase Definition
Employee The Employee is responsible for applying for STD as appropriate and communicating with Leave Administration, including providing additional information, as necessary. 
Leave Administration Leave Administration is responsible for determining STD eligibility and communicating with the Employee and the HRP or other unit representative as appropriate.  

Related Information:

Policy U509 Vacation

Policy U511 Personal Holidays

Policy U512 Sick Leave

Policy U514 Long Term Disability

Policy U515 Medical Leave of Absence

Policy U522 FMLA

Policy U528 Parental Leave

Key Contacts

Name Email Extension
Center of Expertise – Benefits: Leave Administration leaveadministration@uchicago.edu