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Absence Mangement Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a leave of absence (FMLA) and a reasonable accommodation under ADA?

  • FMLA may apply based on the situation such as a reduced work schedule, however, once FMLA hours exhaust, you must request a reasonable accommodation. Once the FMLA exhausts, there is no guarantee of a reduced schedule or reduced workload.
  • FMLA covers your absence, not a task you are not able to perform due to a disability.
  • To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact the Affirmative Action Office. All information pertaining to this process can be found in the policy below as well as their website.

What does Absence Management do?

Absence Management handles all FMLA, Leave of Absences, Workers' Compensation, Disability benefits, Benefit Billing/Arrears, and some time off and ADA components.

What is the process to manage an employee on LOA for a work-related injury/illness?

  • The injured employee notifies their supervisor of the injury.
  • The supervisor provides the employee with the Signature Packet to complete and notifies the employee that if they need treatment, they must treat with a panel provider. View the Signature Packet and the panel listings for more information.
  • The supervisor will take the injury/illness information reported to them and contact Broadspire to report the injury. The injury can be called into Broadspire at 877-219-7738 or online at workers-compensation, and click on “Report An Injury”.  This will take you to WorkLion, under HR Tools you will select the Broadspire link.
  • Absence Management or the Nurse Case Managers will update the supervisor of any restrictions after treatment to see if the employee is able to work under modified duty during the course of treatment.
    • If the employee is able to work then they will report to work as scheduled.  The supervisor will communicate to the employee that work is available for them and they are to report to work as scheduled. 
    • If the employee is not able to work then they will be placed on a leave of absence and Absence Management will communicate the status to the supervisor.
      • During the leave of absence, supervisors will enter the employees time off as “OJI” with the applicable paid time off if the employee is eligible for “3 for 1” benefits.  Supervisors/Timekeepers must notify AM when the employee uses all their applicable paid time off.
      • If the employee is not eligible for “3 for 1” benefits, then AM will place the employee on unpaid leave and they will receive their wage loss through Sedgwick.
  • Employees are made aware of their work status and restrictions/release of treatment at their appointments.

What is the process to manage an employee on LOA for a non-work-related injury/illness?

  • If the employee is out of work for three or more days, then the supervisor needs to contact Absence Management to verify FMLA eligibility.  If eligible, Absence Management will send the employee FMLA paperwork.  The supervisor should continue communication with Absence Management during the employee’s continued absence until further information is received by AM.
  • At the time that documentation/information is received by AM, the supervisor will be updated with the leave information. 
    • Employees who have any restrictions but are able to work will not be able to return to work until AM confirms with the supervisor that they are able to work with the restrictions listed by the physician, and they are able to complete the essential functions or their job.  If they are not able to then they will be placed on a leave of absence during this time period. 
    • AM communicates the leave details with the employee including what time off is available, benefits during their leave and what information is to be communicated to AM and their supervisor during their leave. 
    • If AM does not receive the required documents then the leave is not approved and the employee is told that they must continue to follow proper call off procedures and continue communicating with their supervisor and AM until they are able to return to work and provide documentation.  They are also notified that this time is not approved time off and/or protected and disciplinary actions may occur.
  • If the employee notifies AM that they need a leave, we follow the same process as above and notify the supervisor once details are received.  AM also notifies the employee that they must notify their supervisor of their upcoming absence and/or follow the proper call off procedures if the leave is not yet approved and they are absent. 
  • AM will notify the supervisor when the employee is released to return to work from their leave of absence, and the employee is also told to reach out to their supervisor.  A release to return to work is always required after their leave of absence.

What benefits are available to the employee during a leave of absence?

  • Vacation Donation
    • Employees who experience a sudden and catastrophic illness/injury or event may be eligible for vacation donation once all their paid time off exhausts.
    • Employees are required to provide documentation to be considered for this benefit and must be out of work for over 30 days. 
  • Short Term Benefits
    • SAS benefits are available to employees with 5 years of service and 48 hours or less of sick hours not covered under FMLA.
    • Employees must be out of work for over 60 days.  Benefits begin on day 61 and end on day 180 of their absence.
    • Employees are paid 1/3 of their salary during this period.
    • Employees may combine their sick/vacation hours for an additional 1/3 of their salary during this period if they have not exhausted their paid time off. 
  • Short Term Disability benefits are available to staff and faculty employees who are enrolled in the benefits. 
    • Employees must exhaust all sick hours prior to STD benefits and must exhaust their elimination period (14 or 30 days, based on the enrolled plan). 
    • If vacation is used after the elimination period, then this is an offset and the employee will receive $25 per week from Unum.
    • All STD benefits are paid through Unum and the employee is placed on an unpaid leave with the University.
  • Long Term Benefits
    • Long Term Disability is available to all employees who are enrolled.
      • Employees must exhaust all sick hours/salary continuation during the six-month elimination period.  If sick hours go beyond the elimination period, then the LTD benefits will begin once all sick hours exhaust.
      • If vacation is used after the elimination period, then this is an offset and the employee will receive $100 per month from Unum.
      • All LTD benefits are paid through Unum and the employee is placed on an unpaid leave with the University.
    • SERS Disability
      • If the employee has SERS retirement plan, then they may be eligible for SERS Disability benefits.
      • Employees must apply for these benefits through SERS and will be placed on an unpaid leave with the University while receiving disability benefits.

What if the supervisor receives a leave or FMLA approval that they do not understand, or the information is vague?

  • Supervisors should always reach out to AM if they have any questions relating to an employee’s leave approval or leave status.
  • AM cannot provide supervisors with medical information, only the employee’s work status and any restrictions that may apply at the time they are released to return to work.
  • Supervisors should never receive medical documentation from an employee; employees should always be directed to contact AM with this information.
  • At times, the out of work date is not always clear from the information provided from the physician and leaves will be extended until they are able to return to work.  AM can only approve a leave with the dates provided from the treating physician.

What if an employee needs a personal leave of absence?

  • The employee should communicate their request with AM and their supervisor.
  • AM will provide the employee with the Leave Details Form and the employee is required to complete the information and return it to AM.
  • AM will send the request notification to the proper contact for approval(s) and follow up with the employee and supervisor with the approval status and dates of the leave.