Human Resources Management Policy
NOTE: THIS POLICY, LIKE ALL OTHER MUSC HUMAN RESOURCES POLICIES, IS NOT A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS SUCH. THIS POLICY MAY BE CHANGED AT ANY TIME BY THE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
A. Employees in FTE positions may be entitled to a leave of absence for a disability due to illness, injury or maternity. The leave of absence may be with or without pay, depending on the reason for the leave of absence and the employee’s available accrued leave.
B. Prior to receiving approval for extended disability leave, employees will be required to provide appropriate certification from their physician/health care practitioner.
C. If approved, extended disability leave will be granted with reinstatement privileges to the same position or to a position in a comparable pay band for which the employee is qualified.
D. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), serious or chronic health conditions may be protected for up to twelve (12) weeks.
E. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), certain extended illnesses may be protected as a disability and may require reasonable accommodation.
F. Department heads may grant up to thirty (30) calendar days of extended disability leave for medical reasons or a leave of absence for personal reasons.
G. Extended disability leave in excess of thirty (30) calendar days must be requested in writing from the Director of Human Resources Management.
II. INFORMATION AND PROCEDURES
A. An extended period of disability due to illness, injury or maternity cannot exceed: (1) 180 calendar days of combined leave with pay and leave without pay; or, (2) 180 workdays of leave with pay. Consideration will also be given for a leave of absence for personal reasons.
B. A request from an eligible employee for extended disability leave up to 180 days will not be denied for bona fide medical reasons, provided appropriate procedures are followed.
1. An employee must request in writing a leave of absence for thirty (30) days or less from his/her department head indicating the reason for and projected inclusive dates of the requested leave, regardless of pay status.
2. Prior to the approval of an extended disability leave, a physician’s or health care practitioner’s verification of the illness/disability will be required. The verification must include the date on which the serious health condition began and/or when the employee became a patient of the physician/health care practitioner and the possible duration of the condition/illness.
3. An employee must request in writing, from the Director of Human Resources Management, extended disability leave in excess of thirty (30) calendar days. The request must indicate the reason for and expected duration of the leave. A current medical certification from the employee’s physician/health care practitioner must be provided before the request can be approved.
4. The Director of Human Resources Management’s approval cannot exceed 180 days. Included in the calculation of the 180 days is leave received under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or the 30-day leave of absence granted by the employee’s manager/supervisor.
C. Employees unable to return to work at the end of 180 days may forfeit reinstatement privileges and be separated from employment.
D. Under extenuating circumstances, the President of the Medical University, at his discretion, may extend the disability leave up to a total of 365 calendar days; provided the physician/health care practitioner certifies the employee’s return to work within the 365 day time period.
Included in the calculation of the 365 days is leave received under FMLA, the 30-day leave of absence granted by the employee’s manager/supervisor and the extended disability leave granted by the Director of Human Resources Management.
E. An employee must use all allowable sick leave before going into a leave without pay status unless the President, at his discretion, grants an exception at the request of the employee.
F. An employee has the option of using or retaining accrued annual leave prior to going into an unpaid leave status.
G. An employee, who finds the total period of approved extended disability leave unnecessary, must notify the manager/supervisor a minimum of five working days in advance of the anticipated return date so that appropriate scheduling and/or staffing arrangements can be made. Failure to do so may preclude early return to work.
III. STATUS OF BENEFITS
Employees who are granted extended disability leave without pay must contact the Payroll Office to insure their benefits are maintained. Failure to contact the Payroll Office may result in cancellation of health, dental, life and disability insurance coverage and the South Carolina Retirement System’s pre-retirement death benefit.
IV. SALARY AND STATE SERVICE CREDIT
A. An employee returning from an extended disability leave without pay will be paid at the same rate at which he/she was paid at the time the leave commenced. Legislative general increases and salary increases resulting from adjustments made in the pay range during the period of an authorized leave of absence will be granted.
B. Extended disability leave without pay of more than thirty (30) consecutive workdays will not be credited as State service for determining annual leave earnings.
C. Employees do not accrue sick, annual, and holiday leave while on extended disability leave without pay.
V. PERFORMANCE REVIEW DATE
Employees, who are granted extended disability leave without pay in excess of thirty (30) consecutive workdays, will have their performance review dates advanced one (1) calendar day for each calendar day, beyond thirty (30) days, that they were on leave without pay. In applying this rule, any day for which a full-time or part-time employee is paid will not be counted in determining the number of workdays the employee is on leave without pay.
VI. FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA)
Extended disability leave may qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and, if so, will run concurrently. Refer to the Human Resources Management Policy No. 30, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), for additional information.
Certain illnesses/health conditions may be protected as disabilities and, upon return from a leave of absence, employees may require reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of their job. Refer to Human Resources Management Policy No. 24, Reasonable Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for additional information.
John C. Sutusky, Ph.D.
Vice President Finance & Administration
HR Classification, Compensation & Employment