501 Leaves

501.01 Sick Leave

Full-time faculty members accumulate sick leave at the rate of one day (equivalent to eight hours) per calendar month of service. Faculty with academic-year appointments accrue one day of sick leave per month during the academic year (September through May) for a total of nine days (72 hours) per year. Faculty members working half time or more accumulate sick leave proportionate to their percentage of fulltime equivalence. Faculty with appointments of less than half-time do not accrue paid time off.

An academic-year faculty member who teaches or who conducts compensated research during the summer may earn up to 3 additional days (24 hours) of sick leave. The additional benefit is computed as eight hours of sick time accrual for each 10 percent additional compensation (maximum additional compensation is 30 percent, and maximum additional sick leave is 24 hours for summer).

For uneven percentages, a proportional formula applies. For example, an individual who has summer commitments totaling to 23 percent additional compensation would earn 23/30ths of 24 hours, or 18.4 hours, of additional accumulated sick leave.

Note: Only faculty members who are actually being compensated during the summer are eligible to accrue and utilize sick-leave benefits during the summer. Academic faculty who are ill during the summer but who are not in pay status for summer employment may not claim sick leave during that time.

Sick leave may be granted for an absence at the discretion of the institution for any of the following reasons:

  1. Injury, illness, or temporary medical condition/disability of the employee (including pregnancy-related disability, which is not distinguished from other medical conditions), as well as appointment for medical and dental treatment/consultation;

  2. Quarantine due to a contagious illness in the employee's household;

  3. Illness, injury, or death in the employee's family requiring the employee's presence. Family members in this instance include the employee's spouse, child, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, grandchild, in-laws in the same categories, or an individual who stood in loco parentis for the employee or for whom the employee stood in loco parentis.

Sick leave is reported on a Report of Absence Form. The form should be signed by the department head and submitted to the Human Resources-Payroll Office no later than two weeks following the absence. Report of Absence Forms are available in most departments as well as from Human Resource Services and on the HR website. Sick leave of greater than one week requires documentation from a healthcare provider. Absences for a serious health condition of the individual or an immediate family member may be covered under provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA; see Section 501.03).

Terminating employees shall not accumulate sick leave or be entitled to receive sick pay after the last working day of their employment (BOR Policy, Section 802.0801). Accumulated unused sick leave may be credited under certain conditions toward retirement benefits from the Georgia Teachers Retirement System (TRS).

501.02 Leave of Absence

In addition to the information provided below on leaves, information regarding leaves is also provided in the University Statutes (Article XI, Sec 20) and in Board of Regents policy (Sec 802.08).

501.02.01 Leaves Without Pay

Subject to approval by the Chancellor and the Board of Regents, the President of the University may grant leaves without pay to members of the institution's faculty or administrative staff. The Board of Regents may approve recommendations for leave of absence without pay as long as the granting of such leaves will not be prejudicial to the interests of the institution.

The effect that the granting of the leave will have on the institution or the particular department will be taken into consideration. For example, if an individual's work cannot be handled by other faculty members and/or if resources are not available for the employment of a substitute, the University is justified in refusing to recommend that the leave be granted or in deferring action upon the request for a leave.

Application for a leave of absence is made first by notifying the departmental chairperson and the dean of the college. The dean may then submit the request to the President through the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost.

Employees retain benefits eligibility during unpaid leave, assuming they continue to pay the employee portion of the benefit costs. Employees do not earn paid time off (e.g., sick leave) during unpaid leave status.

501.02.02 Professional Leaves

Definition and Purpose: Professional leaves are leaves with full or partial pay for faculty members for the purpose of providing opportunities for scholarly and professional growth that will increase the value of the recipients' contributions to the University. These professional leaves may be granted, upon application, for research, study, field projects, or other similar purposes. During professional leaves, faculty members will be free from on-going institutional service responsibilities such as committee assignments and faculty meetings.

The policies for professional leaves do not apply to faculty requests for a semester free from one or more classroom teaching responsibilities. This released time must have the approval of the department chair and the dean of the academic unit and is done at their discretion within college guidelines. If a faculty member requests a semester free from teaching and other responsibilities, the procedures to be followed for professional leaves apply.

Eligibility: Professional leaves may be granted to persons employed by the University on a full-time basis as members of the faculty (including eligible counselors and librarians), whose duties include teaching, research, administration, or the performance of professional services. Because many faculty members are interested, preference is given to tenured professors or associate professors who have at least six years of full-time service. Specific questions concerning eligibility for professional leaves should be referred to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Impact on Faculty Responsibilities: The granting of a professional leave depends on the unit's capacity to maintain necessary teaching schedules and advising responsibilities either by reallocation of work among other faculty members or, in some cases with justification, through temporary replacements. The granting of a professional leave should not create undue hardship for other faculty members and should not unduly limit course offerings. Endorsement by the department chair and dean should be taken to mean that this criterion is being met.

Impact on Promotion Eligibility: A candidate for promotion who had met the minimum number of years in rank would not be precluded from being eligible for promotion while absent from the institution on an approved leave of absence.

While Regents' Policy requires the following minimum number of years in rank to be eligible for promotion: to Assistant Professor, 3 years as Instructor; to Associate Professor, 4 years as Assistant Professor; and to Professor, 5 years as Associate Professor; there are two conditions under which exceptions have been approved. The first is promotion approval for individuals who have not met the required 3, 4, or 5 years in rank. Requests for promotion in advance of the time requirements have been approved when supported by strong justification from the candidate's dean and the promotion and tenure committee of the candidate's college. The second related exception is the granting of a one-year credit toward minimum years in rank, for the period of an approved professional leave. Leave must be for the purpose of promoting scholarly work and encouraging professional development and credit should be requested, and subsequently approved, at the time the leave is submitted to the Board of Regents.

Impact on Tenure Eligibility: As with promotion, a candidate who had completed the required probationary period for the award of tenure would be eligible for consideration for tenure while absent from the university on an approved leave of absence.

Tenure may be awarded upon completion of five years of full-time service at the rank of assistant professor or higher. Full-time denotes service on a one-hundred percent workload basis for both semesters of an academic year. A maximum two-year interruption because of a leave of absence or part-time services is permitted. However, no probationary credit for the period of an interruption is allowed.

Probationary credit of up to three years may be allowed for service in a tenure track position at another institution, or for full-time service at the rank of instructor at the same institution. Such credit must be approved by the Board at the time of the initial appointment at the rank of assistant professor or higher.

Procedure: An applicant must initiate the faculty professional leave request with the chair of the department, who will forward the application to the dean of that faculty member's academic unit for endorsement. The endorsed application will be forwarded to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for approval. If the requested leave is more than one semester, final approval must be received from the Board of Regents.

Each applicant should include a prospectus of the projected research or other scholarly activity and a statement of the requested time period of the leave.

Report Results: A summary report of the activities undertaken during the leave period must be submitted to the dean of the faculty member's academic unit and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs within three months of completion of the leave.

Compensation: Applicants who are granted professional leave at full salary should not accept employment elsewhere during the leave period. Exceptions to this policy may be made on a case-by-case basis.

Leave may be approved for one semester at full salary or for two semesters at one-half salary. [Replaced 20 February 1997] A faculty member who is granted a leave of absence with pay will be required, before beginning the leave, to sign an agreement that indicates:

(Source: Approved by the University Senate 20 February 1997)

If a faculty member receives a prestigious fellowship that provides salary support, but not at the level of that faculty member's base pay, the dean of his or her academic unit may agree to provide partial salary to compensate for the more limited fellowship stipend. Such support will be determined on a case-by-case basis. (University Senate Resolution, February, 28, 1991; Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, May 29, 1991.

501.01.03 Effects of Leave on Benefits

If a faculty member is granted leave without pay, insurance may be continued under the same entitlements as if the individual were in active status, so long as the employee portion of the premiums is remitted in a timely manner. Payment arrangements should be made with the Benefits Office before the leave begins. If leave is granted with pay, the premiums will be deducted from paychecks. In both cases, the University continues to pay the employer's portion of the premiums.

In the event of leave with less than one-half pay, no service toward retirement is credited. If leave is with one-half pay or more, service credit is granted, and normal retirement deductions are made from paychecks. The University continues to pay the employer contributions.

501.03 Family Leave and Personal Medical Leave under FMLA

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave in any 12-month period of requalifying situations. Individuals may utilize their accrued paid time off, as appropriate to remain in a paid status during a FMLA-qualifying leave. To be eligible, an individual must have been employed at Georgia State for at least 12 months and must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. (Special limitations may apply to highly compensated employees.) The following constitutes an overview. Please contact the Benefits Office of Human Resources Services for additional information.

Leave Entitlement under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993
The following are considered qualifying events under FMLA:

"Serious health condition" is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

Leave for birth, adoption, or legal foster care placement must conclude within 12 months of the date of birth or placement.

Spouses who are both employeed by the University are entitled to a combined total leave of 12 weeks in any 12-month period for birth/adoption/foster placement, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Under some circumstances, employees may take FMLA leave on an intermittent basis. FMLA leave may be taken intermittently whenever it is medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member, or becasue the employee is seriously ill and unable to work. Intermittent leave for birth, adoption, or foster care, is subject to approval by Georgia State University.

Notice and Certification

Employees seeking to use FMLA leave must provide advance notice to the department head and to the HR Benefits Office whenever practicable. Such notice must be provided at least 30 days in advance when reasonably foreseeable, and if not foreseeable, the individual must provide as much notice as possible. The employee must provide the following certification to the Benefits Office, as applicable:

A second and/or third medical opinion may be required, at Georgia State University's expense. The individual may be required to provide periodic re-certification or status reports from the healthcare provider.

Use of Paid Time Off During FMLA Leave

FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave. However, when taking FMLA leave, accumulated sick pay and/or annual leave if available is used to remain in a paid status, based on the following criteria:

  1. Sick leave must be used when FMLA leave is due to the employee's own serious health condition or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Once all sick leave has been exhausted, paid time off is continued automatically by utilization of accrued vacation leave, if available. An individual who does not wish to utilize accrued vacation time must make that request in writing in advance to the Benefits Office of Human Resources.

  2. For 12-month faculty who earn annual leave, such leave must be used when FMLA leave is for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child (and for which there is no applicable serious health condition). Use of sick time is not permitted in such circumstances.

During FMLA leave, an employee may retain healthcare benefits under the same conditions that would apply if they were in active status. To continue coverage, individuals must pay their share of health insurance premiums each month while on leave. Failure to pay the employee portion of the premiums may result in loss of coverage.

Job Restoration

Upon return from FLMA leave, employees are to be restored to their original position, or to a job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other general employment terms and conditions. Georgia State University cannot guarantee that an employee will be returned to his or her original job. Use of FMLA does not result in the loss of any employment benefit that the employee earned or to which he/she was entitled before going on FMLA leave.

Return from Leave

The employee must provide advance notification to the department and the Benefits Office of the return-to-work date. Upon receipt of the statement, the individual will be reactivated on payroll if they were on leave without pay. Employees may be required to provide fitness-for-duty certification prior to being restored to active status.

Failure to return from leave for reasons other than a continued serious health condition may require the individual to repay the employer's contributions to healthcare premiums during the leave.

Extension of Leave

If an employee needs an extension of FMLA leave due to the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition, and if they have not exhaused their 12-weeks' eligibility, they must submit a written request for an extension to their department. (In no case may the maximum amount of FMLA leave exceed 12 weeks during any 12-month period.) Employees must notify their department as soon as it is determined that they will not be able to return from leave as originally planned.

For more information on FMLA, contact the Benefits Office of Human Resource Services.

501.04 Military Leave

Military leave is provided for any ordered military duty in the service of the State of Georgia or the United States, including service training/schools conducted by the armed forces of the United States. Such duty, not exceeding a total of 30 days in any calendar year, is designated as "ordered military duty," regardless of whether the orders are issued with the consent of the employee.

Regular employees are entitled to up to a maximum of 18 days (144 hours) of paid leave in a calendar year (or in any one continuous period) while engaged in the performance of military duty and while going to and from such duty during normal working hours.

In order to receive military leave with pay, the employee must submit prior to the leave a copy of his or her orders. The department must submit a payroll action form documenting the anticipated dates of absence with orders attached.

Once all paid military leave has been exhausted, paid time off is continued automatically by utilization of accrued vacation leave. If an employee does not wish to utilize accrued vacation time, they must make that request in writing in advance to the Benefits Office of Human Resources.

If a military leave is to be longer than 30 days total, individuals must request a personal leave of absence or must resign their employment with the University. Personal leave without pay may be granted for a period not to exceed one year. Under federal legislation, individuals returning from active duty may have certain reemployment rights for a period generally not to exceed five years.

Any regular faculty member required to take a Selective Service or physical examination is eligible for paid military leave according to the above provisions if the exam is scheduled during normal working hours. The employee must submit the documentation of the exam with a report of absence form.

501.05 Death in the Family

Faculty with regular appointments of half-time or more who have a death in the family may be allowed to use accrued sick leave. For circumstances involving only local travel, one day of sick leave is granted. For circumstances involving out-of-town travel, up to 3 days of sick leave may be granted. Use of sick leave in excess of three days is granted only in exceptional circumstances, for which documentation is required. Family members in this instance include the employee's spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws in the same categories, or an individual who stood in loco parentis for the employee or for whom the employee stood in loco parentis.

Faculty who work less than half time may be granted time off without pay for a death in the family as defined above.

501.05 Miscellaneous Leave

Personal Leave Without Pay

At the discretion of the individual's dean or vice president, personal leave without pay for periods up to one year may be recommended. Such personal leave allows the employee the right to elect to continue his or her group insurance benefits with institutional participation in the cost.

Court Duty

Court duty leave with pay is granted to benefits-eligible faculty for the purpose of serving on a jury or as a subpoenaed witness. Such leave is granted upon presentation of official documentation from the court. A receipt from the appropriate court stating the number of days served qualifies as documentation for serving on a jury.

Employees may retain juror or witness fees paid by the court. An employee serving as an expert witness must comply with the "Conflict of Interest" policy and other policies guiding outside activities.

Voting

Employees of the University are encouraged to exercise their constitutional right to vote in all federal, state, and local elections. Under Georgia law, if the polls aren't open at least two hours before or after the work shift, the employee is entitled to as much as two hours off work to vote in a local, state, or federal election or primary. The employee must provide the employer reasonable notice that time off is needed, and the employer may choose any two hours during which the polls are open.

University Closing

In the event of inclement weather or any emergency that jeopardizes the safety of employees, the president or designee of the University may close the University or affected units, and may declare administrative leave with or without pay.