One of the responsibilities of an HR Representative is to ensure employees use leave accruals appropriately and according to university policy, avoiding overpayment when possible. For information regarding application of accruals, use the Leave Accrual Clarification Document (pdf), and for overpayment go to the Best Practices Guide to Prevent Overpayments.
The purpose of sick leave and vacation is to provide paid time away from work when ill or for rest and relaxation. Sick leave and vacation should be used in accordance with Operations Manual language (see Types of Paid Leave), and sick leave should be exhausted prior to use of vacation in lieu of sick leave. The employer will use available accruals to keep an employee in pay status whenever possible.
Pay for absence during FMLA leave also requires consideration of state and/or contract requirements.
- AFSCME covered Merit employees: Employees must use paid leave, including sick leave, compensatory time, and vacation, prior to unpaid leave. Approved full day FMLA Unpaid leave will be entered by the department as a leave transaction.
- SEIU covered employees: Employees must exhaust sick leave for their own condition, and are strongly encouraged to utilize vacation prior to unpaid leave.
- P&S/Faculty/Merit Supervisory Exempt and Confidential: Employees requiring absence for their personal health are strongly encouraged to utilize sick leave followed by vacation (when available) prior to use of unpaid leave.
- COGS employees: Please refer to the COGS bargaining agreement.
- Temp/hourly: Temp/hourly employees are not eligible for accrued leave benefits, but may be eligible for FMLA. Please contact your Senior HR Representative or FSDS for further information.
- Examples of use of paid leave, when available:
- Personal health: Sick leave is used for personal illness followed by vacation then unpaid leave.
- Family health: Family caregiving leave, if applicable is used for family health care, followed by vacation then unpaid leave.
- Military exigency leave: Vacation is used followed by unpaid leave.
Pay during an absence may be different than authorization for absence. If an employee is absent without sufficient accruals (exceptions: authorized absence due to Operations Manual Policy, FMLA, or absence as an accommodation) consult with Faculty Staff Disability Services prior to action.
View/Apply Leave Accruals
For instructions on how to view an individual employee’s leave accruals, and the process of exhausting paid accruals prior to a leave of absence, follow the link titled View and Apply Leave Accruals (pdf). Seek specific information within the department for applicable department specific payroll processes.
LOA Transaction Processing
If leave accruals are exhausted and an employee will be in unpaid status for one full workday or more, an unpaid leave of absence transaction is necessary to prevent overpayment. To process a leave of absence:
- Access Employee Self Service, Administration, HR Transaction System, and then click on the leave of absence form.
- After entering the employee’s name or ID, enter the effective date for the first full day of unpaid leave.
- In entering reason for leave, if approved due to a health condition, use applicable Reason Code: FMLA, Health. If leave is due to a work injury and the employee is eligible for FMLA, use the FMLA reason code until/unless FMLA is exhausted, and then choose WRK, however place a note in remarks section stating “work injury” to prevent adjustment of merit seniority date.
- If known, enter return from leave date, or estimate based on current information and edit at a later date.
- Once satisfied that information is entered correctly, finalize the transaction which will then be forwarded through appropriate workflow approval.
- Go to HR Transaction Training for more information regarding the system and its uses.
Helpful tips in processing leaves of absence:
- The payroll system is based upon a standard work week, so if an employee works weekends or other alternative schedule, the transaction must be modified to reflect the appropriate payroll deduction.
- Full days in unpaid status will alter the accrual rate for vacation and sick leave, as an employee must be in paid status for some portion of each work day to receive full accruals for the month.
- To edit or extend a leave of absence that has already been processed, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to make an adjustment to an existing leave transaction. You will be granted access to the transaction to modify as applicable.
- To prevent overpayment, if the return date is close to the end of the month and it is uncertain if the employee will return before payroll cut off, extend the leave through the 1st of the following month. If the employee returns prior to this, the leave can be edited and any amount owed will be added to the next pay cycle. If necessary, an off cycle transaction to correct the underpayment can be requested through University Payroll.
Go to the Unpaid Medical Leave section for additional information regarding employees out of pay status.