7.19 Shared leave
To provide a safety net against salary interruption for eligible employees who have a qualifying event causing them to be unable to perform their assigned job duties either on a continuous or intermittent basis. Donations of vacation leave hours by employees provide income to an affected employee who would otherwise be on unpaid leave. The purpose is not to provide unlimited sick leave for any medical reason. This program will be subject to periodic review.
This policy applies to full-time benefit eligible employees in a leave-earning position; this policy does not apply to faculty eligible for extended sick leave pursuant to Section 6.6.6 of the Faculty Handbook and/or Section 7.20 of the employee handbook.
Eligible employees may voluntarily donate accumulated vacation as defined by the Employee Handbook to a Shared Leave Pool (SLP) to aid eligible employees who are unable to work due to a qualifying event. Donations shall not be made directly from one employee to another, but shall be made to the university pool established for this purpose.
The donation of vacation leave is strictly voluntary. No employee may intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other employee with respect to donating or receiving leave under this program. Individual vacation leave records that apply to Shared Leave are confidential and no individual employees shall receive remuneration of any kind for vacation leave donated. Shared leave is for employee’s health condition only, except as outlined in 7.19.7 Qualifying Events.
- Receiving shared leave
- Employee must have worked at least 12 months and have 1,250 hours of service in the previous 12 months at Missouri State University and be in a leave-earning position to apply for SLP benefits.
- Employee must have donated at least 16 hours of earned vacation leave to the bank prior to requesting leave from the pool in order to receive donations from the SLP.
- Employee must have experienced a qualifying event (see 7.19.7 Qualifying Events).
- Employee must have exhausted all accrued vacation, sick leave and compensatory time.
- Employee must normally return to work for six (6) continuous months following the last day of use of the donated time, if the maximum amount of approved SLP benefits were used; Family and Medical Leave eligibility will be determined before becoming eligible to apply for additional benefits from the pool.
- Employees who are on a work-related injury and concurrent FMLA leave can supplement shared leave after their work compensation adjustments and accrued leave are used.
- Donating shared leave
- Vacation leave may be donated upon accrual.
- Employee contribution may not exceed 48 hours, unless the office of human resources has communicated a need for additional days. In that case, employee(s) may contribute additional day(s) up to the limit requested at that time.
- Time must be donated in whole hours with a minimum donation of 4 hours.
- Donated hours cannot be rescinded once they are donated.
- Bone marrow and organ donation
- An employee must be employed at Missouri State University for a minimum of ninety (90) days before applying for time from the SLP for bone marrow or organ donation. A leave accruing employee may apply for time from the shared leave pool for bone marrow or organ donation without a qualifying donation of vacation time to the shared leave pool and without first exhausting all accrued sick and vacation time. The employee must provide the SLP committee with written verification from health care facility that he or she is serving as a bone marrow or organ donor. The employee may be granted a maximum of forty (40) hours from the SLP for bone marrow donation and a maximum of two-hundred forty (240) hours from the SLP for organ donation.
7.19.5 Shared leave (SL) committee
- The SL Committee shall be comprised of seven (7) members: two (2) administrators, one (1) office of human resources representative, one (1) West Plains Staff Senate member and three (3) Springfield Staff Senate members. The director of human resources or their designee, the payroll manager, and a Legal Affairs and Compliance designee will act as ex officio members of the committee. The committee will be categorized as a University Committee.
- Committee appointment will be determined as follows:
- Staff Senate members will be appointed by the Staff Senate
- Human resources representative will be appointed by the vice president for administrative services
- Two (2) administrators will be appointed by the university president
- The committee will elect a new chair and vice chair from the committee each year at the first meeting in July. Terms will run July – June.
- Members of the shared leave committee shall serve a two-year term with the exception of one (1) at Staff Senate member, which will serve a one-year term. The other Staff Senate members will serve a two-year term. Thereafter, the one-year Staff Senate appointee will serve a two-year term, which will allow the Staff Senate membership to be replaced on alternate years. In the event that the appointed Staff Senate member’s term on Staff Senate ends before the term on the shared leave committee, a new appointee will be appointed by their respective body.
- The committee must sign a HIPAA Compliant Confidentiality Agreement promising to maintain all information on a confidential basis. Any breach of confidentiality will result in the committee member being excused and a replacement member being appointed. In addition, disciplinary action, up to and including termination of an employee may be taken as a result of any breach of confidentiality.
- Examples of a breach of confidentiality include, but are not limited to:
- Speaking of applicant’s name and/or health condition outside of committee
- Speaking of applicant’s number of hours requested outside of committee
- Speaking of the committee’s decision and reasoning for granting or not granting benefits from the leave pool outside of committee.
- The SL committee will determine whether the employee request falls under the guidelines for a qualifying event.
- The committee will review all applications for the SLP and shall follow the criteria set out in this policy to approve or disapprove the request for SLP benefits. The committee’s decision is final.
- The committee will convene as needed to review applications and approve or disapprove a SLP request. A minimum of four (4) committee members must be present to constitute a quorum. Name of applicant will remain anonymous.
- In the event that the SLP falls below $25,000.00, no more shared leave will be authorized until more hours are available. Lowered leave levels may determine leave distributions. If insufficient balances are experienced, the office of human resources may send a communication to eligible employees indicating such a need but may not under any circumstances coerce an employee(s) to contribute leave time.
- The maximum amount of SLP benefits accessible to a recipient cannot exceed one-third of the balance of the pool, or 480 hours leave time per case, whichever is less. The leave granted will run concurrent with FMLA.
- If an employee receives a medical release to return to full-time work prior to using all hours granted, the unused balance of hours granted returns to the SLP.
- Employees receiving a medical release for return to work on a part-time basis (i.e., fewer hours per day per week than the regular work schedule), may continue to use donated leave for the balance of the regular work schedule until medically released for full duty.
- If intermittent treatment is required, unused approved SLP benefits may be provided on an as-needed basis until the employee has been approved by their attending physician to return to work full-time. Leave can be taken intermittently.
- It is not possible to make back-payments to a SLP recipient who may have already taken some leave without pay. Donated time will be available for use by the recipient in accordance with regular payroll procedures and deadlines.
- SLP hours may not be converted to cash.
- The estate of a deceased employee is not entitled to payment for approved unused SLP hours.
- If an employee earns additional leave benefits while drawing from the SLP, employee must use those hours before additional SL pool hours are used.
- Eligible employees must apply for FMLA leave in conjunction with leave used from the SLP.
- Requesting leave
- Employees will request leave from the SLP at the My Missouri State portal. Designees for the employee may request leave by completing the Request for SLP Leave available in the office of human resources.
- Any employee requesting leave from the SLP must provide a HIPAA release and an attending physician’s statement indicating the reason for the leave, beginning date of health condition and anticipated date employee will be able to return to work. These forms will be provided by the office of human resources.
- After receiving a completed application, the office of human resources will verify the employee’s eligibility and status, including current accumulated leave and will notify the Committee of the need to meet. Immediately prior to the committee meeting, the eligibility will be reviewed, updated if necessary, and confirmed.
- The human resources representative will notify the employee of the decision within five (5) business days of a decision by the committee.
- If the application is approved, the office of human resources will make the transfer of hours from the university’s SLP to the employee’s leave balance. The time sheet or leave request should be submitted with hours designated as shared leave at the recipient employee’s rate of pay. Shared Leave time may not be recorded for payroll purposes until the application has been approved.
- The application form may be submitted up to 30 days in advance of need.
- Donation of leave
- An employee wishing to donate vacation leave to the shared leave donation bank will submit their donation online through the portal at My Missouri State.
- After receiving a donation form, the office of human resources will verify the employee’s eligibility and status, including current accumulated vacation leave balances and, upon verification, transfer donated vacation leave from employee’s balance to the SLP.
- The office of human resources will, upon completing an exit interview at the time an employee ends his or her employment with Missouri State University, ask the employee if he or she wishes to donate vacation leave to the SLP.
7.19.7 Qualifying events
- Incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth
- To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care
- To care for the employee’s spouse, sponsored dependent, son, daughter or parent, who has a serious health condition
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job
- Bone marrow and organ donations (employee donating)