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Unclassified Crisis Leave Program Policy

Authority: Business Affairs
Date Enacted or Revised: February 2007; Revised February 2016; February 2019; March 17, 2022

Purpose

To provide and manage a crisis leave program whereby eligible unclassified employees may donate annual and/or sick leave to a pool for the purpose of assisting other eligible employees who, through no fault of their own, have insufficient annual or sick leave to cover their absence from work due to their own serious health condition or personal emergency. This policy is in accordance with University of Louisiana System (ULS) Bylaws: PII, C3, §XXI.

Definitions

Crisis Leave: Leave donated by employees into an unclassified crisis leave pool to be used by employees who are suffering from their own serious health condition or personal emergency that has caused or is likely to cause the employee to take leave without pay or to terminate employment. Employees may irrevocably donate annual and/or sick leave to the unclassified crisis leave pool.

Eligible Employee: An unclassified administrative staff or faculty employee who is eligible to earn annual and/or sick leave.

Eligible Family Member:

  • An individual living in the same household who is related to the employee by kinship, adoption, or marriage or a foster child so certified by the Louisiana Office of Children’s Services; or
  • An individual not living in the same household who is related to the employee by kinship, adoption, or marriage, and is totally dependent on the employee for personal care or service on a continuing basis.

Personal Emergency: A catastrophic illness, serious injury, or a personal emergency incurred by a full-time employee participating in the leave program, or to the employee’s spouse or a minor child of the employee, which prevents the employee from performing their duties for a period of more than ten consecutive days that the employee is scheduled to work and the employee does not have sufficient annual, sick, or compensatory leave credited to the employee personally to cover the entire period of illness or injury.

Serious Health Condition: As defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care of continuing treatment by a healthcare provider, as defined by the US Department of Labor.

  • Incapacity: The inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities due to a serious health condition (or treatment for or recovery from a serious health condition)
  • Treatment: Includes (but is not limited to) examinations to determine if a serious health condition exists and evaluations of the condition; it does not include routine physical, eye, or dental examinations.
  • Inpatient Care: An overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care.
  • Continuing Treatment: (by a healthcare provider) Includes several distinct definitions and can include conditions with short-term, chronic, long-term, or permanent periods of incapacity.

Unclassified Crisis Leave Committee: A review committee comprised of five unclassified and faculty employees appointed by the president to recommend approval/disapproval of requests for leave from the unclassified crisis leave pool. 

Eligibility Requirements

An employee shall meet all of the below requirements in order to be eligible to request annual and/or sick leave from the unclassified crisis leave pool:

  • The employee or employee’s eligible family member suffers from a serious health condition and qualify under the provisions of the FMLA;
  • The employee must be a full-time unclassified employee who is eligible to accrue annual and/or sick leave;
  • The employee must have completed at least:
    • One academic year of service with the University if employed on an academic basis; or
    • One fiscal year of service with the University if employed on a 12-month basis;
  • The employee must have exhausted all available leave (annual, sick, and compensatory) before requesting leave from the pool;
  • The employee must exhibit satisfactory attendance with no history of leave abuse and must not be absent from work for disciplinary reasons; and
  • The employee must not be receiving benefits from workers compensation or disability insurance policies.

Amount of Crisis Leave that May be Approved

The director of human resources and student employment will review a request to ensure the employee is eligible to receive crisis leave and will maintain all documents from the healthcare provider. The director of human resources and student employment will determine the amount of annual and/or sick leave that should be granted for each case and make a recommendation, as the chair, to the Unclassified Crisis Leave Committee.

The amount of leave granted will generally reflect the recommendations of a healthcare provider subject to the following limitations:

  • The maximum unclassified crisis leave that will be granted to an eligible employee is 240 hours during one calendar year;
  • Crisis leave may not be granted to any individual to extend paid leave status beyond a total time in leave status of 12 weeks;
  • The total amount of leave granted will not exceed the balance of hours in the leave pool at the time of the employee’s request; and
  • The value of the leave granted may not exceed 75% of the employee’s pay received in a regular work week.

Donation Procedures

Donations to the unclassified crisis leave pool are strictly voluntary. No employee shall be coerced or pressured to make contributions to the unclassified crisis leave pool. An employee donating to the unclassified crisis leave pool may not designate a particular employee to receive donated leave. 

The donor must complete a Donation to Unclassified Leave form and submit it to the director of human resources and student employment.

Donations are accumulated in the pool on a calendar basis. Donations are limited to the following terms:

  • Donating employees must retain a minimum balance of 120 hours of annual and/or sick after the donation;
  • Donations are limited to a total of 240 hours of leave per employee per calendar year;
  • Donations must be made from annual and/or sick leave reserves;
  • Donations are limited to 120 hours of leave upon separation or retirement; and
  • An employee may donate a minimum of four hours of leave, and donations beyond four hours must be in whole-hour increments.

The leave pool manager will adjust all leave records accordingly before the next scheduled pay cycle. The decision to donate leave is irrevocable.

Request Procedures

An eligible unclassified employee may request annual and/or sick leave from the unclassified crisis leave pool by submitting an Application for Unclassified Crisis Leave form with appropriate documentation from a licensed medical service provider to the director of human resources and student employment. The director of human resources and student employment will review to ensure that the employee is eligible for unclassified crisis leave. All requests for unclassified crisis leave are treated as confidential.

The director of human resources and student employment will notify the Unclassified Crisis Leave Committee to call a committee meeting to review the request through email meetings.

The Unclassified Crisis Leave Committee will review the request and either approve all or part of the leave request, or deny the request. The committee will issue an approval or denial in writing to the director of human resources and student employment. The director of human resources and student employment will review the approval or denial with the president or his delegate. The director of human resources and student employment will notify the employee of any decision.

The committee’s decision to approve or deny the unclassified crisis leave request is final and not subject to appeal.

Change in Status Affecting Unclassified Crisis Leave

Unclassified crisis leave should only be used for the purpose for which it was originally requested. If any change in the nature or severity of the serious health condition or personal emergency occurs, or any other factor on which the approval was based, the employee must provide documentation describing the change to the director of human resources and student employment for review. The employee may request an extension of a previously approved request; however, extensions are not automatic and documentation to justify the extension must be provided at the time of request. 

The use of unclassified crisis leave that is not in accordance with the procedures and requirements outlined in this policy may constitute payroll fraud and will be dealt with accordingly.

Compensation and Benefits

The maximum monetary value of the unclassified crisis leave granted shall be 75% of the employee’s base pay customarily received in a regularly scheduled work week.

Unclassified crisis leave will be awarded hour-for-hour regardless of the giving or receiving employee’s rate of pay.

An employee being paid from unclassified crisis leave will be considered in partial paid leave status and will continue to receive benefits as appropriate; however, an employee may not accrue leave while on crisis leave.

This policy shall not create a legal entitlement. If the University chooses to end its unclassified crisis leave pool program, any accrued leave would continue to be used through the pool until depleted.

Communication

This policy is distributed via the Administrative Advisory Council and the University Policies webpage.

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