X-39 Crisis Leave Policy for Permanent Classified and Unclassified Employee Who Are Eligible To Earn Annual Leave

NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY

Crisis Leave Policy for Permanent Classified and
Unclassified Employees Who are Eligible to Earn Annual Leave

I. Purpose and Scope: This procedure outlines the method for participating in the Crisis Leave Program for permanent classified and unclassified employees who are eligible to earn annual leave.

II. Reference: Civil Service Rule 11.34, University of Louisiana System Staff Approval, and Northwestern State University Policy and Procedure

III. Responsible Area: All Departments

IV. Procedure:

Civil Service Authority (Rule 11.34)

A department may establish a policy to implement and administer a pool of shared annual leave which may be used by employees who cannot work due to a crisis situation and who have insufficient appropriate paid leave to cover the absence needed for the crisis situation. An employee using leave from a crisis leave pool shall receive leave in sufficient quantity to ensure his wage replacement is 75% of the pay he would receive in a regularly scheduled work week. A department's policy must have the approval of the Civil Service Commission prior to implementation. (Civil Service Commission approval received May 7, 2002).

University of Louisiana System Approval

Board Staff approval received on May 9, 2002

CRISIS LEAVE POLICY

The Crisis Leave Program is a means of providing paid leave to an eligible employee who has experienced a catastrophic illness or injury to themselves or eligible family member. The Program's intent is to provide assistance to employees who, through no fault of their own, have insufficient appropriate accrued leave to cover the crisis leave period.

Definitions

Crisis Leave is annual leave hours donated by permanent classified and unclassified employees, who are eligible to earn annual leave, into a crisis leave pool to be used by fellow employees who are suffering from their own catastrophic injury or illness or having to provide care for an
eligible family member that is suffering from their own catastrophic injury or illness which will cause the employee to take leave without pay or to terminate employment. Employees may make an irrevocable donation of accrued annual leave to the crisis leave pool

Crisis Leave Value placed on annual leave granted as crisis leave shall not exceed 75% of the employee's pay received in a regular workweek.

Catastrophic Injury or Illness is a severe condition or combination of conditions that (1) affects the physical or mental health of the employee or the employee's eligible family member, (2) requires the services of a licensed medical service provider for a prolonged period of time, and (3) prevents the employee from performing their duties for a period of more than ten (10) consecutive days and forces the employee to exhaust all appropriate leave in accordance with Northwestern State University's policy and procedure on leave and to lose compensation from the State.

Licensed Medical Service Provider (LSMP) is a practitioner, as defined in the Louisiana State Licensing Law, who is practicing within the scope of his or her license. This includes licensed physicians (doctor of medicine), doctor of osteophathy or licensed chiropractors, counselors, or therapist as recognized and licensed the appropriate state boards or authorities.

Eligible employee is an employee of Northwestern State University ("University") who is eligible to earn annual leave in accordance with University policy and procedure. Classified employees must have attained permanent status to donate or use crisis leave. An employee is not required to contribute to the Crisis Leave Pool to be eligible to request and receive crisis leave.

Eligible family member is (1) an individual living in the same household who is related to the employee by kinship, adoption or marriage, and is totally dependent upon the employee for personal care or services on a continuing basis. Kinship is limited to parent, step-parent, child, step-child, brother, step-brother, sister, step-sister, spouse, mother-in-law, grandparents, or grandchild.

Family Unit is a grouping that consists of two or more individuals who define themselves as a family and who over time assume obligations for each other and generally share a common residence or those who are related through blood, adoption or marriage.

Crisis Leave for Employees

A. Crisis Leave shall be applied for by the employee and may be taken only when recommended by the Review Committee and approved by the University President or his/her designee. The supervising LMSP must provide written documentation of the need for leave. The Review Committee may choose to require an opinion from another provider, especially for extended leaves.

B. To be eligible to participate in the Crisis Leave Program, an employee shall:
1. be a full-time employee who is eligible to earn annual leave according to University leave policy and procedure,
2. have completed a least twelve (12) months service with the University,
3. if a classified employee, must have permanent status,
4. have exhausted all appropriate accrued leave (annual or sick or compensatory) before requesting crisis leave from the pool,
5. have exhibited satisfactory attendance (with no history of leave abuse), and is not absent from work due to disciplinary reasons,
6. have a catastrophic injury or illness that is not occupationally related (not eligible for coverage by workers' compensation) or was not attained in the commission of an assault or felony,
7. have an eligible family member suffering from a catastrophic illness or injury, and
8. provide the appropriate documentation from LMSP.

C. Leave donating participants shall retain three (3) days of accrued annual leave at all times for personal use. Employees shall not be permitted to donate to the Program if they have fewer that 3 days (24 hours) of annual leave. No employee who participates in the Program may contribute more than two (2) days (16 hours) of their accrued annual leave each fiscal year unless they are terminating employment from Northwestern. Upon termination, employees may donate up to 40 hours of annual leave to the Crisis Leave Pool and not be subjected to the minimum balance of three (3) days accrued annual leave for personal use.

D. Employees who use annual leave from the Crisis Leave Pool shall not be expected to pay it back.

E. Donations to the Crisis Leave Pool come from a participating employee's "annual" leave only. Accrued "sick" and "compensatory" leave donations to the Crisis Leave Program are not permitted.

F. Donations shall only be allowed to the Crisis Leave Program pool and not to an individual participating employee.

G. Northwestern State University limits the number of days a participating employee or employees in the same family unit can draw from the Crisis Leave Program pool to 22 days (176 hours) per fiscal year and is limited to 100 days (800 hours) per employee or employees in the same family unit's total participation in the Crisis Leave Program.

H. Days/hours shall be transferred from the pool as they are used.

I. Employees receiving workers' compensation or benefits from a long-term disability insurance policy are not eligible to withdraw leave from the pool.

Northwestern State University Procedures

A. The adoption of this Crisis Leave Program or any subsequent amendment to this policy shall not create a legal entitlement. No employee will be coerced or pressured in any form or manner to donate leave.

B. There must be a leave balance in the Crisis Leave Pool in order for an employee to receive donated leave. No leave will be advanced in anticipation of additional donations.

C. If an employee becomes eligible for Crisis Leave from the pool, but the pool is exhausted or does not have enough leave to cover the request, the University may make a general request for crisis leave donations. Once donated, the leave will be used to meet the requirements of the eligible employee; if the employee does not need all the leave donated, the leave shall remain the pool and be available to other employees.

D. A Review Committee appointed by the University President shall consist of three (3) classified employees, two (2) unclassified employees, and two (2) ex-officio non-voting members, the Director of Human Resources and the Payroll Supervisor. The members appointed shall be eligible for participation in the Program if they meet all required criteria. The Committee will act to support the administration of the Program, review the pool, and when not otherwise specified in written policy, may recommend operational guidelines and procedures for the Program.

E. The Crisis Leave Policy along with the Crisis Leave Donation Form (Attachment #1) will be issued to all eligible employees after the policy is approved by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System and the Civil Service Commission. After initial policy notification, the policy and Crisis Leave Donations Forms will be issued after the beginning of each Fall Semester. All donations will be routed through the donating employee's supervisor/budget unit head to the Business Affairs-Payroll Section.

F. Application for Use of Crisis Leave Pool (Attachment #2) shall be sent directly to the Office of the President, Northwestern State University. All requests will be treated as confidential. The Review Committee will review all request and make a recommendation to the President or his/her designee. The President's decision is final and not subject to further appeal.

G. Upon approval, to simplify record keeping, annual leave will be converted on an hour for hours basis regardless of the value of the annual leave being donated or received. Annual leave will be transferred from the pool as it is needed on a per payroll basis. Annual leave from the pool shall be granted on a first come, first basis with seniority at Northwestern being the tie breaker.

H. The granting of crisis leave is meant to cover only the circumstance for which it was requested. If changes occur in the nature or severity of an approved illness or injury, or of any other factor(s) on which the approval was based, the employee may have to provide documentation describing the change to the President. An employee can request more crisis leave subject to the limits outlined in this policy; however, extensions of crisis leave are not automatic. Hours granted from the Crisis Leave Pool may be used only for reasons stipulated in the request. THE USE OF LEAVE THAT IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS OUTLINED IN THIS POLICY MAY CONSTITUTE PAYROLL FRAUD AND WILL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDINGLY.

I. The value of the annual leave granted as crisis leave shall not exceed 75% of the employee's pay received in a regular workweek (example - If in crisis leave status for a 40 hour work week, the employee will report 30 hours of leave with pay and 10 hours of leave without pay). An employee in crisis leave status will be considered in partial paid leave status and will continue to receive benefits as appropriate. Employees on crisis leave will not accrue paid leave.

J. If the University chooses to end the Crisis Leave Program, any accrued leave in the pool will continue to be used until depleted.

To Donate Leave

Classified or Unclassified annual leave earning employee

1. Complete Crisis Leave Program for Employees - Crisis Leave Donation Form (Attachment #1) and forwards to supervisor or Budget Unit Head.

Supervisor/Budget Unit Head

2. Receives Crisis Leave Program for Employees - Crisis Leave Donation Form (Attachment #1) from employee and forwards to Business Affairs - Payroll Section.

Application for Use of Crisis Leave Pool

Classified or Unclassified annual leave earning employee

1. Completes Crisis Leave Program for Employees - Application for Use of Crisis Leave Pool (Attachment #2) and send to the Office of the President.

Office of the President

2. Receives Crisis Leave Program for Employees - Application for Use of Crisis Leave (Attachment #2), and forwards to Review Committee.

Review Committee

3. Receives Crisis Leave Program for Employees - Application for Use of Crisis Leave (Attachment #2) for
review. Committee reviews request and makes a recommendation to the President or his/her designee.

President or his/her designee

4. Receives recommendation for use of crisis leave pool from the Review Committee. Notifies employee of Committee decision, with a copy going to Business Affairs - Payroll Section.


NOTE: The President's decision is final and not subject to further appeal.