Staff Handbook

Paid and Unpaid Time Off

Paid Holidays

Each year, the Office of the President distributes a list of holidays that will be observed for the upcoming academic year. These holidays are listed on the Human Resources website. Staff employees typically receive the following holidays:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday: 8 hours
Winter Break: 8 hours
Spring Break: 40 hours
Good Friday: 8 hours
Memorial Day 8 hours
Independence Day: 8 hours
Labor Day: 8 hours
Fall Break: 8 hours
Thanksgiving Holidays: 24 hours
Christmas & New Year's Holidays: 80 hours

Generally, holidays that fall on Saturday are observed on Friday, and those that fall on Sunday are observed on Monday.

General Holiday Policies

A non-exempt employee who is required to work on a scheduled holiday is compensated for hours actually worked on that day in addition to a maximum of eight hours of pay or compensatory time at the regular rate (not at one and a half times the rate) for the holiday.

Part-time, regular employees are entitled to a paid holiday equal to their regularly scheduled number of hours. Persons who work part of the year or work on a regular part-time basis are not paid for holidays which fall within their off periods or nonscheduled workdays.

A full-time regular employee, whose normal workweek includes Saturday and Sunday and who is given two days off during the week, is given credit for eight hours of holiday time if a holiday falls during his/her normally scheduled off-time.

An employee who is scheduled to work on a holiday is eligible for equal time off at a later date if he/she is scheduled to work on a holiday. Under certain circumstances, and upon the recommendation of the supervisor, the employee may receive compensation in lieu of time off. The time should be reported accordingly on the bi-weekly time record in Self Service Banner.

Note: University Police, who are on a twelve-hour schedule, should refer to their shift policy for information about compensation for holidays.

An employee on paid sick or annual leave during a holiday is granted holiday pay in lieu of sick or annual leave pay. If an employee is on an unpaid leave of absence or leave without pay, he/she is not paid for a holiday which occurs during his/her absence.

Employees who normally receive shift differential should receive the same for paid holidays.

Holidays of importance to an employee that are not observed by the University may be observed by the employee’s use of annual leave, personal leave, or leave without pay. Such leave is subject to the approval of the employee's supervisor.

If the President gives university employees an additional holiday and makes the announcement in advance of the designated day, those employees who are on annual or sick leave are eligible for the holiday as well. On the other hand, if the President dismisses the employees early for a holiday, the employees on annual or sick leave are not given credit for the hours involved in the early dismissal.

SICK LEAVE

ANNUAL LEAVE

JURY DUTY (also referenced in the Employee Policy Manual & Handbook)

Regular and temporary employees receive their full pay, based on normal hours worked, while absent from the University to serve on jury duty. The hours spent serving on jury duty will be considered hours worked. Additionally, the employee is entitled to keep his/her remuneration for serving on jury duty in addition to his/her pay from the University.

A copy of the court summons must be given to the employee's immediate supervisor for submission to the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action. Jury duty should be reported on the bi-weekly timesheet for non-exempt employees and the monthly leave report for exempt employees.

The employee should report to his/her immediate supervisor whenever he/she is excused from jury duty during hours that he/she normally would have been working for the University.

MILITARY LEAVE (also referenced in the Employee Policy Manual & Handbook)

The University will comply with the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and applicable Alabama laws pertaining to military leave. As laws or as interpretations thereof change, military leave benefits for University employees may change accordingly. No attempt is made in this policy to cover all possible situations and circumstances that may arise when an employee is ordered to active duty. Therefore, as military leave situations arise, employees should consult with their supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action for current and complete details regarding their military leave rights as a University employee and any continuation of benefits issues.

In accordance with USERRA and Ala. Code § 31-12-2 (2002), University employees who perform service in the uniformed services (as defined by USERRA) are entitled to a military leave of absence from their University positions, subject to the limitations and restrictions set forth in federal and state laws and in University policy. Upon receiving an assignment for military service, employees should promptly provide notice to their supervisors and the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action prior to going on military duty, unless precluded by military necessity.

Except as provided below, eligible University employees on duty with the uniformed services (as those terms are defined by USERRA) will be placed on unpaid military leave status for all days engaged in such service. Affected employees are not required to use annual leave in lieu of paid or unpaid military leave; however, they may elect to use accrued annual leave or earned comp time at their discretion.

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA) (also referenced in the Employee Policy Manual & Handbook)

Eligibility

An employee will be eligible to seek unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if (1) the employee has worked for the University for at least 12 months, (2) the employee has worked for the University for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the leave and (3) at least 50 employees work at the same worksite or otherwise work within a 75-mile traveling distance from the employer’s worksite. In certain circumstances, separate periods of employment are aggregated for purposes of the 12 month requirement. Additionally, any time that the employee would have worked for the University but for his/her National Guard or Reserve obligations is counted toward the 1,250 hour requirement for FLMA Leave.

Types of Family and Medical Leaves

For purposes of this policy, the term “FMLA leave” refers to the leaves of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Employees may qualify for various types of FLMA leave. Throughout this policy, the term “FMLA leave” refers to any of the following types of leaves:

Serious Health Condition

A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.

Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.

Notice and Scheduling of Leave and Related Employee Responsibilities
Required Information - Employees who seek FMLA leave must provide sufficient information for the University to determine if the leave may qualify for FMLA protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider or circumstances supporting the need for a leave for a qualifying exigency or to serve as a military caregiver. Employees must also inform the University if the requested leave is for a reason for which a FMLA leave was previously taken or certified. Employees may also be required to provide a certification and periodic recertification supporting the need for leave. Unless a longer period is specified, a medical certification or recertification must be completed and returned to the University within 15 days of the University’s request. Moreover, employees on leave may be contacted periodically for updates concerning their status and intent to return. Employees are expected to be fully responsive to such requests for updates.

Advance Notice of Foreseeable Leave - Except as otherwise provided below, employees must provide 30 days’ advance notice of the need to take FLMA leave when the need for the leave is foreseeable. When 30 days’ notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable.

Scheduling of Foreseeable Leaves - If an employee plans to take FMLA leave for his/her own illness, a family illness, or to serve as a military caregiver because of planned medical treatment, the employee must make an effort to schedule the treatment to reduce the disruption to the University, subject to the health care provider’s approval. An employee should generally consult with his/her supervisor to explore alternatives to reduce the disruption to the University.

Notice of Unforeseeable Leave - When a Family and Medical Leave for employee illness, a family illness, as a military caregiver, or for a qualifying exigency is needed due to a reason that was not foreseeable, an employee should give his/her supervisor and the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action verbal or written notice as soon as he/she reasonably can do so.

Effect of Insufficient Notice - An employee’s failure to give adequate notice may delay, or may result in the denial of, the employee’s right to receive the protection of FMLA leave.

Confirmation of Leave - The University shall inform employees who request FMLA leave whether they are eligible for a leave that is covered by the FMLA. If the employee is eligible, the notice shall specify any additional information that the University requires as well as the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If the employee is not eligible, the University shall provide at least one reason of the ineligibility determination. The University shall determine if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement. If the University determines that the leave is not FMLA-protected, the University shall inform the employee.

Length of Leave and Restoration Rights General - In general, except for those employees taking leave to serve as a military caregiver, an employee will be entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of FMLA leave (for any type of FMLA leave or a combination thereof) during any 12-month period. The 12-month period is a rolling period measured backward from the date an employee uses any leave under this policy. Each time an employee takes any FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement will be any balance of the 12 weeks that has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months. In the case of a military caregiver leave, an employee is entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks of leave in the 12-month period beginning on the first day that the employee takes this form of leave and ending 12 months later.

Nature of the Leave - FMLA leave for the birth, adoption and bonding must be taken at one time and before the end of the 12- month period beginning on the date of the child’s birth or placement. Other types of FMLA leave may be taken through either a reduced working schedule or intermittently if such an arrangement is medically necessary (or if the University approves such an arrangement in its discretion). If an employee is entitled to FMLA leave for his/her own illness, a family illness, or to serve as a military caregiver leave, or if the employee is permitted to work on a reduced work schedule or intermittent basis, the University may transfer the employee temporarily to a position for which he/she is qualified and which has equivalent pay and benefits if the alternative position would better accommodate the recurring leaves than the employee’s regular position. Use of intermittent or reduced schedule leave is measured in increments of one hour. Leave for a qualifying exigency may also be taken on an intermittent basis.

Special Rule Applicable to Spouses who are Both Employed by the University - If the University employs both spouses, the combined total Family and Medical Leave to which they will be entitled together will be 12 weeks in any 12-month period if the leave is taken for birth, adoption and bonding.

Restoration Rights General - At the end of FMLA leave, an employee will generally have the right to return to his/her last position before the leave or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment. In returning from any of these leaves, the employee will not lose any benefit rights, such as sick or annual leave, to the extent that those benefit rights accrued before the leave period.

Certification Before Return - Before an employee may return from FMLA leave for his/her own illness that has continued for at least 5 calendar days, the employee’s health care provider may be required to certify that the employee is able to resume his/her job. The employee will be required to bear the out-of-pocket costs of such a certification, if any.

Pay and Benefits Pay - FMLA leaves are not paid leaves. However, an employee may substitute a paid leave for which the employee is eligible for otherwise unpaid leave. In this case, the FMLA leave and the paid leave would run concurrently and would remain subject to all protections that would apply if the leave were taken on an unpaid basis. Employees who seek paid leave will need to meet the notice and qualification requirements under the respective leave policies.

Other Benefits - During FMLA leave, the University will continue the employee’s health/vision and dental insurance coverage. Likewise, the employee is entitled to continue said coverage for his/her family provided that he/she pays the regular premium on a timely basis. In addition, employees may elect to continue any supplemental insurance policies by timely payment of premiums. During any paid leave, the employee’s share of the premiums will be deducted from the employee’s pay. Group life insurance and long-term disability insurance will also be maintained during FMLA leave as if the employee was actively employed.

Medical Records

Documents relating to medical certifications, recertifications or medical histories of employees or employees’ family members will be maintained separately and treated as confidential medical records, except that in some legally recognized circumstances, the records (or information in them) may be disclosed to supervisors and managers, first aid and safety personnel, or government officials.

FMLA Violations and Enforcement Unlawful Actions by Employers - The FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to: ­ Interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under the FMLA; or ­ Discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by the FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or related to the FMLA.

Enforcement - An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer. The FMLA does not affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights.