Policy Manual

Time Away from Work

Holidays

Georgia College observes twelve paid holidays each year. Holidays shall be awarded in addition to earned vacation time to regular employees and faculty working one-half time or more. In order to receive pay for the holidays, an employee must be in active pay status the day before and the day after the holiday. A terminating employee will not be paid for any official holiday occurring after the last working day of employment. (Per: USG HRAP Policy - Holidays and USG Policy Manual - 8.2.6 Holidays)

In the case of retirement or inter-institutional transfer, employees will receive pay for holidays occurring at the end of their final month of employment if in a paid status (work time, annual leave, sick leave, or other paid leave) on the last scheduled work day of the month. (Per USG HRAP Policy - Holidays)

Should an employee’s normal work schedule not include a holiday, that employee’s supervisor should schedule an alternate “holiday” to ensure the employee receives the “benefited” holiday time.  Non-exempt employees required and scheduled to work on holidays will receive regular pay in addition to the holiday pay. Holiday hours are not considered as time worked in the computation of overtime. Any time worked over 40 hours will follow FLSA overtime regulations. Part-time benefited employees are eligible for holiday pay on a pro-rated basis. Non-benefited employees are not eligible for holiday pay. (Per USG HRAP Policy - Variant Pay)


Related link:

Full-Time Faculty and Administrative Officers Vacation/Annual Leave Accrual Rates

Policy Statement

Georgia College shall have a policy for ensuring full-time members and administrative officers (staff employees in job grade 13, as well as non-classified, executive administrators) who work 12 months out of the year accrue paid vacation/annual leave at one and three-fourths days (14 hours) per month as outlined in the University System of Georgia (USG) Human Resources Administrative Practices Manual (HRAPM), Policy on Annual Leave.

Definitions

  • Employee - Includes faculty and classified employees.
  • Faculty - The faculty shall consist of the corps of instruction and the administrative officers as defined in Section 3.2 of the Policy Manual of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
  • Full-time Faculty - Faculty member who works 12 month out of the year.
  • Administrative Officers - Georgia College employees whose positions are classified in job grade 13, as well as non-classified, executive administrators.
  • Non-classified Employees - Executive administrators, including vice presidents and the president.
  • Classified Employees - Classified employees shall consist of the professional and administrative employees and staff defined as follows:
    • Professional and Administrative Employees: All employees who are exempt from the Federal Wage-Hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because of their professional or administrative responsibilities, and who are not identified as faculty or graduate assistants, shall be designated as Professional and Administrative Employees.
    • Staff: All employees who are not exempt from the Federal Wage-Hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) shall be designated as staff.

Keywords

Vacation/annual leave accrual; Full-time Faculty; Administrative Officer

Reason for the Policy

To ensure compliance with the USG Human Resources Administrative Practices Manual (HRAPM), Policy on Annual Leave, each institution will have a written definition of "administrative officer" to ensure eligible full-time faculty and administrative officers earn vacation/annual leave at one and three-fourths days (14 hours) per month.

Proposed Outcomes

This policy aims to ensure all eligible full-time faculty and administrative officers accrue vacation/annual leave at the appropriate rate of one and three-fourths days (14 hours) per month, as outlined in the HRAPM.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all Georgia College full-time faculty and eligible administrative officers who work 12 months out of the year.

Related Policies

Procedures

  1. The Office of Human Resources, in collaboration with department managers, shall be responsible for identifying employees that have been approved to earn vacation/ annual leave at the 14 hours per month rate based on job grade or other approved agreement by the appropriate GC authority upon hire, transfer or promotion. At the time of implementation of this policy, employees receiving 14 hour vacation/annual leave allotments that do not meet the new policy standards will be grandfathered in to maintain their existing accrual rate, and the position will convert to the new policy guidelines once the grandfathered incumbent terminates employment with Georgia College.
  2. Employment Services will document the vacation/accrual rate for new hires on the Personnel Action Form (PAF) during the processing phase.
  3. Employment Services will evaluate PAF's to identify employees that transfer into eligible positions permanently or on an interim basis to ensure they are coded properly to accrue the correct vacation/annual leave allotment for the role they are serving in (e.e., administrative staff positions in job grade 13 and administrative faculty positions, including all related interim assignments).
  4. Payroll Services will update the vacation/annual leave accrual amounts for employees in HRIS and audit employee accruals on a quarterly basis to ensure they are receiving the proper vacation/annual allotments based on this policy and service date accrual rates.
  5. The Office of Human Resources and Payroll Services will monitor the list of eligible employees to ensure compliance on a quarterly basis.

Forms

Contacts

Office of Human Resources - hr@gcsu.edu or (478) 445-5596

Payroll Services - payroll@gcsu.edu or (478) 445-6096

Educational Support Leave

Effective July 8, 2019

Policy Statement:

It is the policy of Georgia College to supplement work-life balance options for University System of Georgia (USG) employees. Each full-time benefit eligible (40 hours per week), non-temporary USG employee, shall be eligible for up to eight hours of paid leave per calendar year, for the purpose of promoting education in the State of Georgia as authorized by O.C.G.A. § 45-20-32. This leave will be available to all eligible employees, both parents of students and non-parents, and may be considered for activities supporting public, private, and home school achievement. Educational Support Leave is not charged against any other leave and may be taken in one hour increments or all at one time. Educational Support Leave does not accumulate or roll over and is not paid out upon change of employment status.

Related Definitions:

Faculty: The faculty shall consist of the corps of instruction and the administrative officers as defined in Section 3 of the Policy Manual of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Staff: Staff employees shall consist of two major employee groups 1) staff professional and administrative employees and 2) staff non-exempt.  

Student: Any individual pursuing education from pre-K/early care and learning all the way through higher education. This is not intended for personal use as a GC Employee pursuing higher education.

Student Achievement and Academic Support: Activities that promote education in Georgia may include, but are not limited to, some of the following: Attend Parent/Teacher conferences, participate in classroom activities, such as reading to a class or presenting on career day, tutor students without receiving compensation, proctor examinations, attend award and recognition ceremonies or graduation exercises, participate in field day activities or field trips, or attend open house functions. Activities should be school sanctioned events where school officials (teacher, principal, superintendent, etc.) are in attendance.

Reason for the Policy:

To assist GC employees in supporting the education of students in activities directly related to student achievement and academic support qualify for Educational Support Leave. 

Proposed Outcomes:

Employee participation in promoting education in the State of Georgia, and elevation of work life balance for GC employees.

Applicability of the Policy:

This policy applies to all Georgia College full-time benefits eligible faculty and staff that are non-temporary.

Related Policies and State Law:

USG Policy on Educational Support Leave:

http://www.usg.edu/hr/manual/education_support_leave

State Personnel Board Rule 478-1-.16-Absence from Work:

http://doas.ga.gov/human-resources-administration/board-rules-policy-and-compliance/state-personnel-board-rules

Georgia House Bill 313:

https://gov.georgia.gov/sites/gov.georgia.gov/files/related_files/document/HB%20313.pdf

Team Georgia:

http://team.georgia.gov/georgia-news/education-support-leave-now-available-to-state-employees/

Procedures:

  • Educational Support Leave is in addition to, and not charged against, an employee’s other leave.   
  • Educational Support Leave must be requested in increments of at least 1 hour up to a total of 8 hours per calendar year.  
  • Employees must receive approval from their supervisor at least 24 hours prior to attending a qualifying event directly related to student achievement and academic support.
  • Educational Support Leave must be recorded and approved on the employee’s time card by selecting Educational Support Leave directly on the timecard and indicating the time taken.

Guidelines:

Before for an employee can use Educational Support Leave an employee must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Full-time benefit eligible, non-temporary employee of the University System of Georgia, may request to use and be considered for Educational Support Leave.
  2. Only activities directly related to student achievement and academic support will qualify for Educational Support Leave. Such activities may range from early learning care through higher education. The Office of Human Resources maintains the authority to determine, in accordance with the provisions outlined in this policy, whether an activity would qualify for Educational Support Leave.
  3. To use Educational Support Leave, an employee may, but is not required to be, the parent of a student.
  4. Employees must not receive pay for services they perform while using Educational Support Leave.
  5. After attending a qualifying event, written verification may be required and submitted to your supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources to document the request.
  6. The Office of Human Resources in partnership with the designated departmental manager, maintains discretion to approve or deny requests for Educational Support Leave based on operational needs, or other reasons, such as conduct, attendance, or unsatisfactory work performance.
  7. Use of Educational Support Leave for any political purpose or agenda is prohibited.

Educational Support Leave does not accumulate, and unused leave does not rollover into subsequent calendar years. Rather, eligible employees may use Educational Support Leave for qualifying absences that occur during their regular scheduled work hours, up to a total of 8 hours in any calendar year.

Employees can use no more than 8 paid hours of Educational Support Leave in a calendar year regardless of transfer from one USG institution or office to another. Each USG institution or office is responsible for conducting due diligence to ensure an employee has not exhausted Educational Support Leave prior to approving the paid leave.

Educational Support Leave carries no cash value if unused. There will be no payout for unused Educational Support Leave upon termination.

Contacts:

Policy Administration:

Carol Ward, Chief Human Resources Officer, carol.ward@gcsu.edu, 478-445-0929

Annual Leave

Regular employees working one-half time or more earn annual/vacation. A full-time regular employee shall be entitled to vacation/annual leave earned at the rate of:

  • One and one-fourth (1 1/4) working days per month (ten hours) for one to five years of continuous employment
  • One and one-half (1 1/2) working days per month (twelve hours) for five to ten years of continuous employment
  • One and three-fourths (1 3/4) working days per month (fourteen hours) for ten or more years of continuous employment

In all cases, a day of annual/vacation leave will be computed for purposes of pay and time off on the basis of the employee's regular workday.

Regular employees who work one-half time or more but less than fulltime shall accrue annual/vacation leave in a ratio equivalent to the percentage of hours worked.

On December 31st of each calendar year, each employee’s leave record will be adjusted to reflect no more than 45 days (360 hours) of accrued vacation/annual leave.

The University reserves the right to require employees to take vacation time in conjunction with a holiday shutdown period or an officially declared shutdown period. Employees not having accrued vacation leave to cover such periods will be charged leave without pay.

Any vacation time taken by employees must be mutually acceptable to the employee and their supervisor. Typically, requests for annual leave should be submitted to the supervisor at least two weeks prior to the annual/vacation leave.

Temporary employees and regular employees working less than one-half time do not earn vacation or sick leave.

A full-time faculty member employed on a twelve (12) month or fiscal year basis shall be entitled to vacation/annual leave earned at the rate of one and three-fourths working days (14 hours) per month. All working days during the fiscal year shall be counted; absences during academic calendar breaks shall be recorded as vacation; and all vacation days shall be recorded on University leave records.

A full-time administrative officer employed on a twelve (12) month or fiscal year basis shall be entitled to vacation/annual leave earned at the rate of one and three-fourths working days (14 hours) per month. The use of approved vacation/annual leave shall be recorded on University leave records.

A faculty member, who changes from a fiscal year contract to an academic year contract shall be paid his/her unused, accrued vacation/annual leave subject to the 45-day (360-hour) maximum payment restriction upon termination of the fiscal year contract.

A faculty member employed on an academic year (9- to 10-month) basis does not earn vacation/annual leave. An academic year contracted faculty member who teaches during Maymester and/or summer semester will not be eligible to accrue vacation/annual leave for such service.

Vacation/annual leave shall be accrued based on the initial employment date of an employee. A new hire must be employed on or before the fifteenth of a month to qualify for accrual of vacation/annual leave for that month.

The use of approved vacation/annual leave shall be recorded on University leave records. Employees who utilize more leave than accrued shall be placed on leave of absence without pay.

All unused, accrued vacation/annual leave, not to exceed 45 days (360 hours), shall be paid to an employee upon his/her termination from employment. An employee who terminates on or after the fifteenth of a month shall accrue vacation/annual leave for that month.

Upon a move between University System institutions with no break in service, an employee must transfer all accrued vacation/annual leave up to 20 days (160 hours). For employees with accrued vacation/annual leave of greater than 20 days (160 hours), an employee may elect one of the following options:

  • Transfer of the total accrued vacation balance, not to exceed 45 days (360 hours); or
  • Payment by the institution from which the employee is moving of accrued vacation leave in excess of 20 days (160 hours). The total accrued vacation leave for which the employee may be paid shall not exceed 25 days (200 hours).

Sick Leave with Pay

The University System of Georgia has established a policy to allow for sick leave with pay for all benefits eligible employees. For all regular full-time employees, sick leave shall be accumulated at the rate of one working day per calendar month of service. Regular part-time employees working one-half time or more will accumulate sick leave in an equivalent ratio to their percentage of time employed. Sick leave for employees shall be cumulative.

Sick leave may be granted upon approval by the supervisor/department head for an employee's absence for any of the following reasons:

  1. Illness or injury of the employee;
  2. Medical and dental treatment or consultation;
  3. Quarantine due to a contagious illness in the employee's household; or
  4. Illness, injury, or death in the employee's immediate family requiring the employee's presence.

Paid sick leave shall not be used until it is accrued. There is no maximum to the amount of sick leave an employee may accumulate.

If sick leave is claimed for a continuous period in excess of 3 or more days, a physician's statement is required to permit further claim of sick leave rights by the employee-patient.

A terminating employee shall not accumulate sick leave, be entitled to receive sick pay after the last working day of employment, or be entitled to monetary compensation for any unused sick leave.

Upon the movement of an employee among institutions of the University System, accumulated sick leave will be transferred if there is no actual break in service (no more than a thirty (30) calendar-day break).

Georgia College shall accept up to a maximum of ninety-six (96) hours of sick leave from a benefited employee who moves from a State of Georgia agency to the University. For a unit of the University System of Georgia to accept sick leave, the employee must have no more than a thirty (30) calendar-day break in service. Written verification of the employee's sick leave balance must be provided to the Office of Human Resources by the terminating State of Georgia agency.

Employees should realize that sick leave is not meant to be used simply to take additional time off the job. The use of sick leave is not to be abused.

In all cases, a day of sick leave will be computed for the purposes of pay and time off on the basis of the employee's regular workday.

Under an approved leave status, accrued annual/vacation leave may be used when all accrued sick leave is exhausted. Contact the Office of Human Resources for guidance on leave of absence procedures.

House Bill 203 has provisions to allow any member of Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) who retires July 1, 1998, or after to establish unused sick leave as a service credit under TRS. Retiring employees must have at least sixty days of sick leave accumulated on their retirement date. For each twenty days of sick leave accumulated and unused, a retiring employee will receive credit for one month of service under TRS. Sick leave credit can be used to qualify for retirement but cannot be used to become vested under TRS.


Related Link:

Family Medical Leave

Policy Title: Family Medical Leave

Policy Statement: It is the policy of Georgia College and USG to comply with the provisions of the federal Family Medical Leave Act. 

Related Definitions: 

Eligible Employee: An eligible employee is defined as any employee (including part-time and temporary) of the University System of Georgia, who has been employed by the University System of Georgia for at least twelve (12) months total (not necessarily the last twelve (12) months), and worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period (i.e., student assistants and casual labor) immediately preceding the leave. 

Immediate Family: Child, Spouse or Parent, but not in-laws. 

Family Leave: Leave as defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act that allows the employees excused absences from their workplace due to: the birth, legal adoption or fostering of a child, the employee’s own serious health condition, the serious health condition of a member of the employee’s immediate family, leave due to a call to active duty or caregiver leave to care for a family member in the armed services who is recovering from an injury.

Care of a family member:

  • Encompasses both physical and psychological care.
  • Includes situations where the employee may be needed to fill in for the others who are caring for the family member
  • May include intermittent leave

Family member:

  • Spouse:
  • Spouse for purposes of this definition, husband or wife refers to the other person with whom an individual entered into marriage as defined or recognized under state law for purposes of marriage in the State in which the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside of any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and could have been entered into in at least one State.  This definition included an individual in a same-sex or common law marriage that either: (1) Was entered into in a State that recognizes such marriages; or (2) If entered into outside of any State, is valid in the place where entered into and could have been entered into in at least one State.
  • Parent:
    • A biological parent of the employee
    • An individual who stands or stood "in loco parentis" to an employee by providing primary day-to-day care or financial support when the employee was a child.
    • Coverage does not include parents-in-law
  • Child:
    • The employee's biological son or daughter under the age of 18.
    • A legally adopted son or daughter under the age of 18.
    • A foster child, stepchild or ward under the age of 18, legally placed with the employee
    • Any such child over the age of 18 if the child is incapable of self-care due to a mental or physical disability
      • "incapable of self-care" mean requiring active assistance or supervision to provide daily self-care in three or more of the "activities of daily living (ADLs) or "instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
      • A "mental or physical disability" is one that substantially limits one or more major life functions as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Serious Health Condition: See: Serious Health Condition

Continuous & Intermittent leave

Leave for one’s own serious health condition, or for the care of a family member with a serious health condition, may be taken on a continuous basis - or on an intermittent basis in increments as small as one hour - if medically indicated. Georgia College has the discretion to determine whether to allow intermittent leaves for birth, adoption, or foster placement - or whether such leaves must be continuous.

Intermittent leave or reduced work schedule

  • There must be a medical need for leave which can be best accommodated through an intermittent or reduced work schedule
  • An employee must attempt to schedule leave or reduced work so as not to disrupt the employer’s operations.
  • The employer may assign the employee temporarily to an alternative position which the employee is qualified for with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates the employee’s need for intermittent leave or reduced work schedule for ones’ own serious health condition or that of a family member, or a covered service member.
  • Intermittent leave may include leave periods of an hour or more, up to several weeks.
  • Only the amount of leave actually taken is counted toward the 12 weeks of eligibility.

For example:

-an employee who normally works 5 days per week and takes off 1 day per week as intermittent FMLA leave is charged 1/5 of a week of FMLA leave

-an employee who normally works 8-hour days, but who works half-days under a FMLA reduced work schedule would be charged 1/2 week of FMLA leave.

  • The granting of intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule for well-child care after the birth, adoption, or placement of a child is at the discretion of Georgia College and shall be based on basic need to accommodate request.

Rolling 12-month calendar

The retrospective 12-month “rolling year” period is measured backward from the date the employee began using FMLA leave. To determine if an employee is eligible for FMLA leave during any given work week* on a “rolling year” basis, one looks back over the 12 months immediately preceding that week. If the employee has not utilized the equivalent of 12 weeks of FMLA-qualifying leave in the 12 months prior to the date in question, then the employee is eligible for that week of leave (assuming all other eligibility criteria are met). In utilizing a rolling year, this analysis may be conducted each week to determine continued eligibility.

*The fact that a holiday may occur within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave. If, however, the institution’s business operations have ceased, and employees are generally not expected to report for work for one or more weeks (e.g., during the winter holiday break), those days do not count against the employee’s FMLA entitlement. 

If a University System employee is working and residing outside of the State of Georgia, due to his/her employment situation, both the Federal law and a State law may apply, an employee is entitled to the most generous benefit provided under either law. The Chief Human Resources Officer may need to seek assistance from the University System Office of Legal Affairs for interpretation of applicable state law.

Change in Circumstances

During the course of taking FMLA leave, the circumstances regarding the leave may change. For example, the employee may discover that more leave than planned is necessary for recovery from the employee’s own or a family member’s serious health condition. Conversely, recovery may be faster than anticipated and less leave is required. The employee may wish to return to work sooner than planned. 

The supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources may require the employee to provide reasonable notice and supporting documentation as to the changed circumstances. Reasonable notice usually means within two (2) business days. If additional time off is requested, the employee must provide notification to the Office of Human Resources within 10 business days.

Health care provider

The following individuals licensed/authorized to practice in the state in which they practice, and performing within the scope of their practice as defined under state law:

  • Podiatrists
  • Dentists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Optometrists
  • Chiropractors (limited to treatment consisting of manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation as demonstrated by X-ray to exist);
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse-midwives
  • Clinical social workers
  • Physician Assistants
  • Christian Science practitioners listed with the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Any health care provider from whom the University System's health care plans will accept certification of the existence of a serious health condition.
  • Health care provider listed above who practices in a country other than the Unites States (who is authorized to practice in accordance with the law of that country, and who is performing within the scope of his/her practice as defines under such law

The phrase authorized to practice in the State as used in this section means that the provider must be authorized to diagnose and treat physical or mental health conditions.

Intent to Return to Work

The employee must periodically report to the Office of Human Resources regarding the employee’s status and intent to return to work. Status generally refers to the employee’s or the family member’s progress in recovery from a serious health condition.

Any time the employee gives unequivocal notice of intent not to return to work, the University System’s obligations under the FMLA stop. This means the University System is no longer obligated to maintain group health benefits for the employee, and the University System is not required to restore the employee to an equivalent job.

For example, an employee who is on FMLA leave for the birth of a child and care of that child might advise the supervisor she has decided to stay home with the child and not return to work. Once the employee advises the supervisor of this decision, the University System’s responsibilities under the FMLA cease.

Notice for foreseeable leave

To take FMLA leave, the employee must provide the Office of Human Resources and supervisor with notice of the need to take leave. When providing notice, the employee is not required to identify the leave specifically as FMLA leave, but must provide sufficient information regarding the nature of the leave to enable the Office of Human Resources to make a determination of the applicability of FMLA. In all situations, it is the Office of Human Resources responsibility to designate leave as FMLA leave.

If the leave is foreseeable, the employee must notify the supervisor and the Office of Human Resources of the need for leave at least 30 days before the date leave is to begin. If the leave is foreseeable and the employee fails to provide the 30-day notice, The Office of Human Resources may delay the taking of leave until 30 days have elapsed after the date of the employee’s notice.

Some possible examples of foreseeable need for leave are leave for the birth of a child and leave for elective surgery. However, there may be a change in circumstances or a medical emergency that necessitates the taking of leave earlier than anticipated. For example, an employee’s doctor may decide that to protect the health of the employee, a baby should be delivered through surgery earlier than the estimated date of delivery. When the circumstances change and leave is needed earlier than anticipated, the employee should notify the supervisor as soon as practicable (depending upon the circumstances, usually within one or two business days).

Notice for unforeseeable leave

In complying with the requirement to provide the supervisor and the Office of Human Resources with notice of the need to take leave, the need to take leave may take place from an unforeseeable or unanticipated event. This could arise, for example, because circumstances have changed regarding planned leave or due to a medical emergency.

When the need to take leave is unforeseeable, the employee is required to provide the supervisor and the Office of Human Resources with notice of the need for leave as soon as practicable. This means, generally, that notice is provided within one or two business days of when the employee becomes aware of the need for leave. The timing of the notice is dependent upon the nature of the circumstances that cause the need for leave.

The notice may be provided in person, by telephone, telegraph, fax, or other electronic means. There may be circumstances in which the employee is incapable of providing notice personally. For example, the employee may be unconscious in the hospital. When this occurs, a representative of the employee, spouse, adult family member, doctor, attorney, etc., may provide the initial notice of the need for leave to the supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources.

Protection from Discrimination

A supervisor may not take any adverse action or otherwise discriminate against an employee or prospective employee who has taken FMLA leave. A supervisor may not interfere with any rights provided by FMLA, including:

  • Refusing to authorize FMLA leave.
  • Discouraging an employee from using FMLA leave.
  • Changing the essential functions of the employee’s job to preclude the taking of FMLA leave.
  • Reducing hours of work to avoid employee eligibility.
  • A supervisor may not discharge or discriminate against any person (whether or not an employee) because that person has:
    • Opposed or complained about any unlawful practice under the Act
    • Filed a charge, or has instituted (or caused to be instituted) any proceeding under or related to the Act.
    • Given, or is about to give, any information in connection with an inquiry or proceeding relating to a right under the Act.
    • Testified, or is about to testify, in any inquiry or proceeding relating to a right under the Act.
    • Used FMLA leave

Rights & benefits of FMLA-eligible employees

FMLA allows employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. The FMLA seeks to accomplish this in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers, and minimizes the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of gender, while promoting equal employment opportunity for men and women.

The following is a list of your rights and benefits as an eligible FMLA employee: (links open in new browser window)

Note: A supervisor may not take any adverse action against an employee for taking FMLA leave; however, any personnel action/decision that would have happened if the employee had continued in a work status may happen while the employee is on FMLA leave.

Overview

Consistent with the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, an eligible employee may be entitled to up to twelve (12) work weeks of leave during any twelve (12) month period. An eligible employee is defined as any employee (including part-time and temporary) of the University System of Georgia, who has:

  • been employed by the University System of Georgia for at least twelve (12) months total (not necessarily the last twelve (12) months) worked, and;
  • worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the leave.

The University System of Georgia uses a “rolling” 12-month period (rather than a fixed calendar, fiscal, or academic year) to determine eligibility for, and availability of, leave time under FMLA. The 12-month period during which twelve weeks of family leave may be taken shall begin on the first day such family leave is taken. For example, if family leave begins August 1, 2002, the 12-month period is from August 1, 2002 until July 30, 2003.

An employee generally has a right to return to the same position, or an equivalent position in terms of pay, benefits, and working conditions. Certain “key employees” may be denied job restoration if they are among the highest-paid 10% of employees and if such denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of the employer.

Leave under FMLA may be taken for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The employee’s own serious health condition, including an on-the-job injury or occupational disease covered by Worker’s Compensation, which causes the employee to be unable to perform the functions of his or her job (see definition of Serious Health Condition).
  • The care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition
  • The birth and care of a newborn child
  • The legal placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • A spouse, son, daughter or parent being on active duty or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces. Leave may be used for any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the service member’s current tour of active duty or because the service member is notified of an impending call to duty in support of a contingency operation.

Births and Adoptions under FMLA

Intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule may be granted for well-child care after the birth, adoption, or placement of a child at the discretion of the institution. Spouses employed by the University System of Georgia are jointly entitled to a combined total of twelve work weeks of family leave for the birth and care of a newborn child, for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or for the care of a parent who has a serious health condition. 

Entitlement to this feature of FMLA leave expires at the end of the 12-month period that began on the date of the birth or placement. Any such FMLA leave must be concluded within this one-year period.

NDAA

Consistent with the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, an eligible employee may be entitled to up to twenty-six (26) work weeks of leave during any twelve (12) month period per service member and per injury or illness, for the following reason:

  • A spouse, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering service member. A recovering service member is defined as a member of the Armed Forces who suffered an injury or illness while on active-duty that may render the person unable to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating. Any family and medical leave, whether paid, unpaid, or a combination thereof, will be counted towards the twelve week leave entitlement.

Process/Procedures:

Eligibility:

Consistent with the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, an eligible employee may be entitled to up to twelve work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period, for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The employee’s own serious health condition, including an on-the-job injury or occupational disease covered by Worker’s Compensation, which causes the employee to be unable to perform the functions of his or her job.
  • The care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition.
  • The birth and care of a newborn child.
  • The legal placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • A spouse, son, daughter or parent being on active duty or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces. Leave may be used for any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the service member’s current tour of active duty or because the service member is notified of an impending call to duty in support of a contingency operation.

Consistent with the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, an eligible employee may be entitled to up to twenty-six work weeks of leave during any 12-month period, for the following reason:

  • A spouse, son, daughter, parent, or nearest blood relative caring for a recovering service member. A recovering service member is defined as a member of the Armed Forces who suffered an injury or illness while on active-duty that may render the person unable to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.

Employee Responsibilities Under FMLA

FMLA allows employees to balance their work and family lives by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. The FMLA seeks to accomplish this in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers, minimizes the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of gender, while promoting equal employment opportunity for men and women. As an employee requesting family leave, you are expected to provide your supervisor with appropriate notification and documentation.

  • To be entitled to leave, employees must give at least a 30-day advance notice for foreseeable leave, or as much notice as is possible and practicable. An employee must first submit a request for FMLA or Non-FMLA, and must also obtain a FMLA/Medical Certification form. For unforeseeable leave, you must provide notice as soon as possible. The Office of Human Resources will provide you with written notice regarding the approval or denial of your request for family leave.
  • Georgia College may require documentation of the need for leave by having the health care provider complete the - Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s or Family Member’s Serious Health Condition. An employee must provide the requested certification to his/her employer within the time frame requested (Georgia College must allow at least 15 calendar days after its request), unless it is not practicable to do so despite the employee’s diligent, good-faith efforts.
  • Medical re-certification may be required every 30 days for prolonged illnesses. Please get the Form Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s or Family Member’s Serious Health Condition.
  • For a personal serious health condition, you may be required to present a return to work medical evaluation clearance from your health care provider before being reinstated to active duty. Please get the Medical Evaluation (Return to Work) form from the Office of Human Resources.
  • You must make arrangements to pay your health insurance premiums if your leave is “unpaid”. Please contact the Office of Human Resources to make these arrangements.
  • You must notify your employer of any change of circumstances for which your leave is being taken.
  • You are expected to return to work by the end of the approved FMLA leave. If you do not return, and if failure to return is not due to a continued or newly documented qualifying serious health condition, you may be required to reimburse the institution for the employer portion of the health coverage premiums that it paid on your behalf during the leave, and you may be subject to disciplinary action up to including termination. x Once you have reviewed your responsibilities, please consult the Office of Human Resources if you have further questions. Please review your FMLA rights and benefits.

Military Notification:

Leave is available to covered family members of members of the National Guard or Reserves, or of retired military, who are on active duty, called to active duty, or are notified that they will be called to active duty in support of a contingency operation, as that is defined in various statutes governing military service. Leave is not available to regular members of the Armed Forces, and it is normally not available to members of state militias, unless they are called up in support of a U.S. operation.

The regulations define eight categories of “qualifying exigencies”:

  • short-notice deployment (i.e.,7 days notice or less and only available for 7 days total);
  • military events and related activities (such as ceremonies and briefings);
  • child care and school activities (for non-routine matters);
  • Care of the military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care
  • financial and legal arrangements;
  • counseling;
  • rest and recuperation (up to 15 days);
  • post-deployment activities (including debriefings or funeral services for up to 90 days following the termination of the covered military member’s active duty status); and
  • any post-deployment activities within 90 days of the end of the military member’s covered active duty.
  • any additional activities agreed to by employer & employee

Although intermittent and reduced schedule leave are available for qualifying exigencies, qualifying exigency leave counts against the employee’s 12-week per 12-month total allotment of FMLA leave. The employer may also request documentation of the need for qualifying exigency leave.

Employer’s Responsibilities Under FMLA (Supervisor or The Office of Human Resources)

  • FMLA is unpaid, unless the designated employee has accrued sick and vacation leave hours and comp time.. It is also the responsibility of Georgia College to notify the employee that it has designated such leave as FMLA-qualified. Georgia College’ managers / supervisors along with the assistance of the Office of Human Resources, should review employee absences of more than 3 days in order to determine whether such time should be designated as FMLA leave.
  • A supervisor should be aware of the employee responsibilities under FMLA. Should a supervisor be unfamiliar with the guidelines related to FLMA policy, they should seek assistance from the Office of Human Resources.
  • As soon as possible, the Office of Human Resources should provide written notice to an employee when leave taken for a qualifying condition will be designated as family leave.
  • If leave is taken as a result of a serious health condition, please obtain a Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s or Family’s Member’s Serious Health Condition.
  • If you have a question regarding whether an employee’s leave should be designated as family leave, please contact the Office of Human Resources.
  • Georgia College provides its employees with information regarding FMLA.

Georgia College may request medical certification if there is reason to question the appropriateness of the leave or its duration. The Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Family’s Member’s Serious Health Condition may be used to recertify the leave. In addition, should Georgia College have reason to doubt the validity of a medical certification it may, at the employer’s expense, require the employee to obtain a second opinion.

  • A supervisor may not directly contact a health care provider to request additional information, but he/she should consult with the Office of Human Resources if assistance is needed. Arrangements may be made for a health care provider representing Georgia College to contact the employee’s provider, with permission, for clarification and authentication.
  • The Office of Human Resources should maintain contact with the employee to remain informed of any change in the circumstance for which leave is being taken.
  • The Office of Human Resources may request an attending physician to indicate when the employee may be able to return to work. Please obtain a Medical Evaluation (Return to Work) form.
  • The Office of Human Resources will notify an employee when they could potentially exhausted all annual and sick leave. The purpose of this notification is to help the employee make arrangements to pay for health insurance premiums and other benefits premiums while not receiving a paycheck.
  • Please ensure you have provided information to the employee regarding his/her Employee Rights & Benefits.
  • If an employee is not able to return to work by the end of the approved FMLA leave, he/she may be eligible to request additional personal leave under other University System of Georgia policies. The granting of such additional leave is at the discretion of Georgia College. In no case may all leaves combined exceed twelve months. If an employee does not return to work and is not granted additional leave, his/her employment will end on the last day of the approved FMLA leave.
  • The Office of Human Resources should follow the established institutional documentation procedures regarding retaining FMLA-related paperwork. If the employee is a member of the faculty, a copy of the documentation should be sent to the Office of Faculty Affairs/Academic Affairs. For a faculty member working toward tenure, a copy of the Faculty Request for Extension of Probationary Period due to Family Medical Event form should be completed and submitted to the Office of Faculty Affairs/Academic Affairs.

HIPAA

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for ensuring that the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) guidelines are followed. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of all Personal Health Information (PHI) obtained as a result of an FMLA application and process. HIPAA guidelines will be applied to the use, maintenance, transfer, and disposition of healthcare records and information.

FMLA and Health Insurance

Whether utilizing paid or unpaid time, employees may continue their insurance benefits during FMLA leave by paying their portion of the premiums.

Definitions:

  • University System contribution - the portion of your health insurance cost the University System pays as a benefit for you.
  • Premium - the portion of your health insurance cost you are required to pay in conjunction with the University System’s contribution.

Example:

You have missed work and have been on a leave without pay status for an entire calendar month. As a result, your premium and the University System contribution have not been paid. Under University System of Georgia policies, your health coverage is not current unless the University System’s contribution and your premiums are paid for that month. In this example, your benefits summary is as follows:

    • The University System’s contribution towards your health coverage is $400 per month.
    • Your premium for your health coverage is $100 per month.
    • You must make arrangements to pay the $100 premium.
    • The University System will pay its contribution of $400.

Employees on family leave without pay may also continue participation in other benefits options (i.e., dental, life, LTD, AD&D) by making arrangements to pay the premiums while not receiving a paycheck.

If you have any questions about your insurance as it relates to Family & Medical Leave, please contact the Office of Human Resources.

Postings

Georgia College shall post general notice about FMLA in either:

  • a handbook or other document that is circulated annually (which may be in electronic format),
  • an eligibility and rights and responsibilities notice,
  • and a designation notice. Notices can be found in the Appendix to the new regulations at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/finalrule.htm

Medical Certifications

If certification (or recertification) is incomplete or insufficient, Georgia College must provide written notice of what specific information is still needed and give the employee 7 calendar days to cure the deficiencies. If the certification is still deficient at the end of the seven days, Office of Human Resources may contact the employee’s health care provider to clarify. However, the Office of Human Resources contacting the health care provider may not be the employee’s immediate supervisor, and the individual may not ask health care providers for information beyond that required by the certification form.

FMLA and Leave

FMLA leave is unpaid (employers are not required to grant such leave as paid time off). However, when the absence qualifies for the use of sick leave, if available, sick leave must be used in conjunction with family medical leave before any period of unpaid absence. Once sick leave is exhausted, and employee will use any compensatory and any accrued annual/vacation leave prior to going on a Leave without Pay. Usage of annual/vacation leave in lieu of sick leave may be approved under the direction of the Office of Human Resources. (Exception: If your FMLA leave is a result of an on-the-job injury, you have the option of using unpaid leave even if you have paid leave available.) 

Employees who accept light duty positions in lieu of taking time off from work under FMLA leave shall not have the time spent on light duty, counted against their FMLA entitlement.

Holidays

Holidays occurring during a full week of FMLA leave count as FMLA leave. However, if a holiday falls within a week when a holiday falls during a week when an employee is taking less than the full week of FMLA leave, the holiday is not counted as FMLA leave, unless the employee was scheduled and expected to work on the holiday and used FMLA leave for that day.

Overtime

If an employee is on intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave and would otherwise be required to work overtime hours, any overtime hours not worked due to the leave count as FMLA leave

Record Retention

Employment prior to breaks in service counts towards eligibility; however, FMLA regulations limit the time period. Employers are only required to look back 7 years to determine eligibility. Furthermore, because FMLA only requires files to be maintained for 3 years, the employee has burden to show eligibility if records of prior employment are no longer available.

Reason for the Policy:

To ensure compliance with federal, state and BOR regulations regarding Family Medical Leave.

Proposed Outcomes:

FMLA allows employees to balance their work and family lives by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.

Applicability of the Policy:

This policy applies to all Georgia College full-time benefits eligible faculty and staff that are nontemporary.

Related Policies and State Law:

USG Policy on Family and Medical Leave Act: 

http://www.usg.edu/hr/manual/family_and_medical_leave_act

US Department of Labor Family and Medical Leave Act

http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

Federal Regulations on Family and Medical Leave Act: 

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&SID=876d9a9a5bf14d230e61fcf495f7ffdd&ty=HTML&h=L&mc=true&n=pt29.3.825&r=PART

Policy Administration

Chief Human Resources Officer

Forms:

Sick Leave Without Pay

Any employee unable to return to work after exhausting all accumulated sick leave and accrued vacation leave may be granted sick leave without pay for a period not to exceed one (1) year. Furthermore, such approved sick leave shall allow the employee the right to elect to continue his or her group insurance benefits, and the institution will continue its share of the cost for such period. All other benefits are prohibited which otherwise would accrue to the employee. The employee's supervisor, the appropriate vice president and the President must approve such sick leave without pay. While on sick leave without pay, the employee must notify the Office of Human Resources or their supervisor regarding the change in status immediately. 

For more information, contact Employee Relations at 478-445-5596 or employeerelations@gcsu.edu

Shared Sick Leave Program

Policy Statement

University System of Georgia (USG) institutions are authorized to establish policies through which employees may voluntarily donate unused sick leave to a pool for possible use by another institutional employee who is experiencing a serious health condition or whose immediate family member is experiencing a serious health condition and who has used all of their accumulated paid leave.

Reason for Policy

The Shared Sick Leave Program provides a means for USG employees to donate paid sick leave to a shared leave pool and for fellow employees who meet the eligibility provisions set forth in this policy to request leave from the pool.

Entities Affected by This Policy

All units of University System of Georgia (USG) are covered by this policy. 

Who Should Read This Policy

All USG Human Resources personnel should be aware of this policy along with all employees eligible for said policy.

Contacts

Contact Phone Email/URL
Office of Human Resources 478-445-5596 hr@gcsu.edu
Chief Human Resources Officers

Website Address for This Policy

http://www.usg.edu/hr/manual/shared_sick_leave_program

Related Documents/Resources

http://www.usg.edu/policymanual/section8/

Definitions

These definitions apply to the terms as they are used in this policy:

  • Employee Any USG employee who accrues annual or sick leave as a benefit of his/her employment by the System, including part-time employees.
  • Immediate Family Member (as defined in HRAP Family and Medical Leave policy).
  • Leave Donor An employee that makes a voluntary, written request for the irrevocable transfer of sick leave to the Shared Leave pool. Once leave has been transferred to the leave pool, it may not be used by the donor for any other benefit purposes.
  • Leave Recipient A current employee who has completed the provisional employment period and who has been approved to receive sick leave from the pool. The recipient may use Shared Leave for any qualifying purpose which meets the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) definition of a serious health condition. Shared Leave may be used for the employee or the care of an employee’s immediate family member, which requires an employee’s absence from duty for a period of time longer than the amount of sick and annual leave available to the employee.
  • Physician A health care professional licensed by his/her respective state.
  • Shared Leave pool Accumulated sick leave donated by employees for use in accordance with this program.
  • Serious Health Condition (as defined in HRAP Family and Medical Leave policy

Overview

If an institution chooses to adopt such a program, it shall be known as the “Shared Sick Leave Program” and the following provisions shall apply:

  • Only regular benefits eligible employees who have completed their BOR provisional period shall be eligible to enroll in the Shared Leave Program.
  • An employee must enroll in the program during the annual benefits open enrollment period established by the Board of Regents or subsequent enrollment period due to the depletion of the leave pool as defined below.
  • A minimum donation of eight (8) sick leave hours (Pro-rated for part time employees) is required to become a leave pool member. A member must have a minimum of forty (40) sick leave hours (pro-rated for part-time employees) remaining after their donation at the time of enrollment.
  • Any unused shared sick leave not used by a recipient for a qualifying illness or injury will be forfeited to the shared leave pool.
  • Should the Shared Leave pool reserve drop to less than 120 hours, the pool will be considered depleted. In this situation only, all donors will be notified of the depleted pool status and automatically charged eight (8) hours per donor, unless the donor wishes to withdraw from the program. Leave requests will be honored in the order in which they were placed when the pool is replenished. The automatic charge to replenish the pool may occur only once per calendar year. At that time an institution may initiate a special open enrollment period to accept additional program participants. Should the pool be depleted a second time in a given calendar year, no further requests for Shared Leave will be accepted.
  • The maximum withdrawal amount during a calendar year is 480 hours (12 weeks) (pro-rated for part-time employees). When a participating employee withdraws the maximum number of hours, his/her membership in the pool will automatically terminate for the remainder of the calendar year. To re-enroll, the employee must meet the initial enrollment requirements.
  • Each institution must designate a Shared Leave Program Administrator and may also appoint a committee to review and respond to leave pool requests. If a committee is utilized, prudence and discretion must be exercised to protect and ensure the privacy of personal and confidential health information of those seeking donations.
  • Employees receiving compensation from shared sick leave will continue to accrue annual and sick leave during their absence as long as they are paid at least one half of their monthly salary. Accrued annual and sick leave will be applied before Shared Leave.
  • A shared leave recipient cannot receive shared sick leave along with other short term or long term income protection benefits (such as SSI, Disability, Workers Compensation, etc.)
  • Participation eligibility shall cease upon employment termination (including retirement). Separating employees may not donate any additional unused sick leave hours to the pool at the time of separation.
  • No employee shall be denied program participation if he/she meets the established participation criteria. However, funding limitations (e.g., grant funding) may impact eligibility and participation.
  • Participating in the program is voluntary.
  • Institutions should consider flexibility in this policy in rare and exceptional circumstances involving pandemic emergencies.

If adopted, the program shall be subject to an annual review and continuation confirmation. This program should be administered in conjunction and accordance with all other USG leave related policies and stipulations.

Forms:

Contact:

Policy administration:

  Carol Ward, Assistant Director, carol.ward@gcsu.edu, 478-445-5596

Revision Date:

November 2015 

Educational and Professional Leave

Leaves of absence of one year or less with or without pay may be granted by the President and reported to the Chancellor. Extensions of such leaves, or the initial granting of leaves of more than one year, require the approval of the Chancellor or his/her designee.

In considering a request for leave with pay, the President will follow the policy of the Board which states that such leave shall be granted only for the purposes of promoting scholarly work and encouraging professional development. The President will examine carefully the program or project on which the employee proposes to work, and will also consider the likelihood of the employee's being able to accomplish the purposes for which leave is requested. (It is expected that scholarly and professional leaves shall be granted without pay where the leave is supported by an external grant or stipend).

Georgia College may grant educational leave without pay to regular employees for periods not to exceed one year at a time for the purpose of encouraging professional development. Such approved leave shall allow the employee the right to elect to continue group insurance benefits with GCSU continuing its share of the cost. Annual and sick leave do not accrue while on any leave without pay.

Related Link:

BOR Policy on Educational and Professional Leaves of Absence (See Section 8.2.7.4)

Military Leave

An employee who receives orders for military duty shall be entitled to absent himself or herself from his or her duties and shall be deemed to have a leave of absence with pay for the period of such ordered military duty, and while going to and returning from such duty, not to exceed a total of eighteen (18) workdays in any one (1) federal fiscal year (October 1 - September 30) (as authorized by Georgia Law O.C.G.A. § 38-2-279[e]). After an employee has exhausted his/her paid military leave, GCSU may pay the employee for his/her accumulated annual leave. At the expiration of the maximum paid leave time, continued absence by the employee shall be considered as military leave without pay. The employee shall be required to submit a copy of his or her orders to active military duty (BR Minutes 1990-91, pp. 173-174).

Notwithstanding the foregoing leave limitation of eighteen (18) days, in the event the Governor declares an emergency and orders an employee to State active duty as a member of the National Guard, such employee while performing such duty shall be paid his or her salary or other compensation as an employee for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days in any one (1) federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30).

Related Links:

Selective Service/Physical Examinations

Any regular employee required to take a military physical examination shall be paid for any time lost to take such an examination.

Maternity Leave

Disability due to pregnancy shall be considered as any other disability and appropriate sick leave provisions shall apply. Maternity leave is taking concurrently with sick leave or eligible Family Medical Leave.

Court Duty

Court duty leave with pay shall be granted to regular employees for the purpose of serving on a jury or as a witness. Such leave shall be granted upon presentation of official orders from the appropriate court.

Voting

Employees of Georgia College are encouraged to exercise their constitutional right to vote in all federal, state, and local elections. If election polls are not open at least two (2) hours before or two (2) hours after an employee's normally scheduled work shift, sufficient leave time must be granted to permit the employee to vote.

Time off under this provision is with pay.

Personal Leave of Absence

Upon the recommendation of the supervisor, the appropriate vice president and the president and after exhausting all accrued vacation leave, an employee may be granted a personal leave of absence without pay for periods not to exceed one year. Such approved personal leave shall allow the employee to elect to continue group insurance benefits.

Administrative Leave

In the event of inclement weather or any emergency, the President of the University may declare leave with or without pay.

Work Breaks

If the work situation permits, a supervisor may authorize two fifteen minute breaks, one in mid-morning and one in mid-afternoon. Care should always be taken to see that all work assignments are covered. Such breaks are not mandatory and are a benefit subject to departmental and the supervisor's needs. An employee may not forego breaks to accumulate extra time off.

Related Link:

Organ and Marrow Donation

Employees of the University System of Georgia who serve as an organ donor for the purpose of transplantation shall receive a leave of absence, with pay, of thirty (30) days. Each employee who serves as a bone marrow donor for the purpose of transplantation shall receive a leave of absence, with pay of seven (7) days. Leave taken under this provision shall not be charged against or deducted from an employee's accrued annual or sick leave.

Related Link: