Understanding eligibility and availability of leave balances: Approval of employee leave requests are subject to the discretion of their manager. Managerial discretion may have to be exercised differently in responding to leave requests due to changing conditions in the workplace environment (i.e., the pressures of a particular project or priority, understaffing due to illness or vacancies in the workplace, etc.). Managers are strongly advised to document the reasons for leave requests that are denied and to maintain such documentation in the employee’s supervisory file. Please note: University employees who are in a leave without pay status during a semi-monthly pay period do not earn university leave for that pay period.
The leave service date includes credit for all periods of full and part-time salaried state service, including non-continuous service, except for periods of leave without pay exceeding 14 days. It does not include hourly employment or service for any non-state entity. Years of service with the VCU Health System prior to 1997 may be counted toward the leave service date. The following table provides the accrual rate for full-time employees. Part-time employees who are eligible for the leave benefit accrue leave at a proportional rate. Employees who move to a higher leave accrual rate during the year due to years of service accrue the new leave amount at the beginning of the following leave year which begins on January 10.
|Years of service||Days per year||Hours per year||Maximum leave carry forward and payout at year end|
|Former A&P faculty at VCU with fewer than 20 years of service*||39||312||312|
Transfers from other state agencies and employees with prior state service: Employees transferring from another Commonwealth of Virginia state agency are credited for years of service for purposes of leave accrual. However, leave balances from other state agencies or institutions are not transferable. The previous state agency may be required to pay out leave balances prior to transfer in accordance with DHRM policies and/or in accordance with its own policies. Employee transfers with prior state service have a responsibility to provide this information to their HR Professional who will notify HR Operations.
New hire proration: New hires or rehires receive access to a pro-rated leave balance for the year in which they are hired or rehired based on their start date. Although employees have access to the full pro-rated amount of the applicable leave year accrual at the beginning of their employment with VCU, leave is accrued on a per-pay-period basis. If the new hire starts in the middle of a pay period, they will receive the accrual for the entire pay period.
Leave availability: The full year leave benefit is available for use at the beginning of each leave plan year (January 10). However, leave is actually accrued over the course of the year, on a per-pay-period basis, and is based on one’s years of service. If an employee leaves the university or reduces their FTE during the course of the year, the time used and the time accrued are reconciled. (See reconciliation and payout upon separation.)
Reporting increments: Those considered to be non-exempt pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, report leave time taken pursuant to this policy in 15-minute increments.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempt employees are paid a regular salary and are not paid based on the number of hours worked. Exempt employees typically only report leave time for absences of a half day or greater, based on FTE. Non-routine or occasional absences of less than half a day are considered incidental and not reportable. For example, if an exempt employee has a doctor’s appointment that requires the individual to be out of the office for 1 hour and 25 minutes, no leave is reported. If an exempt full-time employee with a typical work schedule of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. leaves at 11:00 a.m., 5 hours of leave must be reported. (Five and not six hours are reported because the employee does not need to report leave for the lunch period.) Note: If the leave does not meet the threshold for reporting, the employee must still request the time off from their supervisor, in advance, when possible. Employees still need to inform their manager of their absence and according to established protocol for their school/unit.
University service: Time an employee participates in official university service such as serving on committees and participating in university governance is not charged to any leave balance. Prior approval from the supervisor is required.
Reconciliation and payout upon separation: Although employees receive the full annual accrual at the beginning of the leave year, which provides employees with maximum flexibility in their use of leave time, the leave is actually accrued on a per-pay-period basis. (The hours accrued per year is divided by 24 pay periods which equals the number of hours accrued per pay period). If an employee leaves the university during the course of the year, the time used and the time accrued are reconciled. Leave accrued, but not used, is paid to the employee at 100 percent of its value up to the maximum number of hours allowable for leave payout. Leave used, but not accrued, is subtracted from the final paycheck. If the employee’s final paycheck does not cover the leave used, but not accrued, the employee is responsible for reimbursing the university. For reconciliation purposes, if an employee leaves during the middle of a pay period, they are considered to have accrued the leave amount for the entire pay period. During the first year of converting to university employee status, the maximum payout was waived. Effective January 10, 2020, the maximum payout goes into effect for all university employees.
Carry forward: Effective January 2020 and every January 9th thereafter, the maximum number of hours that can be carried forward at the end of the leave year is equal to one year’s leave accrual (refer to paid leave table). The carry-forward hours serve as the beginning balance to which the next year's leave time is added. Unused leave above the maximum carry forward is automatically donated to the leave share pool. For example, if an employee with 2 years of service earns 224 hours of leave in a year, 224 hours of leave may be carried over and added to the new leave accrual rate that is granted on January 10th. The employee would begin the year with 448 hours of leave (224 hours carried forward plus 224 hours allocated for the new leave year).
Short-term disability: University and Academic Professionals are eligible for 100% salary replacement for up to 125 work days in order to cover extended medical absences and eligibility for this benefit begins the first day of one’s employment at VCU. Employees covered by Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) receive paid leave in a sum of the difference between VSDP income replacement and 100% pay. For those not in VSDP, the short-term disability plan covers 100% pay.
Probationary periods for employees who use short-term disability during their first year of employment and/or during their probationary period should be extended. Managers should be able to evaluate an employee’s entire year’s work. Managers should contact their Human Resources Professional (HRP) or Employee Relations at (804) 828-1510 or email@example.com to request extension of the probationary period.
To use short-term disability, employees use their own paid leave (otherwise the waiting period is unpaid) to cover a waiting period of 7 consecutive calendar days or 5 work days. Additional leave may be necessary to use until eligibility for a claim determination has been made. Upon the claim’s approval, any additional leave used will be credited back to the employee. (Traditional sick leave bank may be used by an employee who has an illness 5 days or more and has filed a short-term disability claim. University employees with banked Traditional Sick Leave Plan balances exhaust those balances prior to using university short-term disability benefits, and 48 hours (6 days) can be used for a family member’s illness.) To the extent that it qualifies, leave granted under this category runs concurrently with coverage under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
To use this benefit, the employee must complete the following steps:
- Notify manager about the need for short-term disability
- Request the short-term disability DocuSign form from their HR Professional/HR Associate
- Request FMLA DocuSign forms from their HR Professional/HR Associate
- Contact the third party administrator to submit a claim. The administrator is determined by the length of state service. Below is how to determine your third party administrator. If you:
- Have more than 1 continuous year, or if covered by VSDP with less than 1 year of VSDP participation but it is a work related injury, contact VSDP’s short-term disability third party administrator: The Reed Group 1-877-928-7021
- Are not covered by VSDP due to less than 1 year of state service, or are in VCU’s Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), contact the university’s short-term disability third party administrator: The Standard 1-800-378-2395
- Submit leave through VCU RealTime to cover the short-term disability waiting period. The first 5 working days are charged to the employee’s university leave. If the claim is not approved within the 5 day time period, the employee may continue on university leave until the claim is approved. If the claim is approved retroactively, the employee’s leave balance is credited for any days charged over the minimum 5 days required.
If a short-term disability claim is approved, the third party administrator notifies the employee in writing. If the claim is denied, the third party administrator notifies the employee in writing. When claims are denied, the employee may appeal the decision. The employee may also be eligible to use paid leave, or leave without pay, to cover time out of the office.
If an employee is unable to return to work at the conclusion of the short-term disability period, the employee may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. Consult VCU Human Resources for guidance by contacting Benefits at (804) 827-1723 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Leave Administration at (804) 828-1712 or email@example.com.
My disability is:
- Not work-related
- File a workers' compensation claim. Follow these steps:
- Complete an accident report form
- Complete physician selection form choosing a panel physician
- Contact VCU HR Workers' Compensation at (804) 828-1533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If not work-related, follow the steps based on your retirement plan:
- Virginia Retirement System
- Have you been covered by VSDP for at least one year? If so, initiate a VSDP claim by contacting Reed Group at 1-877-928-7021.
- Have you been covered by VSDP for less than one year? Initiate a VCU claim by calling The Standard at 1-800-378-2395.
- VCU Optional Retirement Plan
- Initiate a VCU claim by calling The Standard at 1-800-378-2395.
Parental leave: University and Academic Professionals with at least 1 year of salaried, faculty, classified or university service at VCU are eligible for paid parental leave benefits for childbearing and childrearing. Parental leave is taken within 12 months of the birth, adoption, or placement of a child and is taken, at a minimum, in 1 week increments. Workload and scheduling is reviewed and approved by managers in advance. To the extent that it qualifies, leave granted under this category runs concurrently with coverage under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
There are 3 types of parental leave:
- Childbearing leave is a medically approved absence due to childbearing and is covered under the university’s short-term disability benefit. It is typically 6 to 8 weeks long, as directed by the medical provider. At the conclusion of the short-term disability leave coverage period (when the employee is medically cleared and no longer under medical care), parental leave provides additional paid time off for eligible individuals in order to bond with their child(ren). The short-term disability period and the leave period may be combined for up to a total of 12 weeks of paid leave.
- Paid time off of up to 6 weeks is provided for the second parent for caregiving and bonding.
- Paid time off of up to 6 weeks is provided for either or both parent(s) for adoption, surrogacy, or foster care. Parental leave at 100% pay for up to 6 weeks may be granted. Leave runs concurrently with FMLA, if applicable. Any additional time (covered by FMLA) must be covered using the individual’s paid time off or leave without pay. If both parents are VCU employees, the maximum amount of paid leave that will be granted is 12 weeks. Parents may decide to take leave immediately after the child’s birth or at a later date.
To use this benefit, the employee must complete the following steps:
- Notify manager about the need for parental leave
- Request the parental leave DocuSign form from their HR Professional/HR Associate
- This benefit applies to parents of biological, surrogate, adopted, or foster children
- For example, an employee who gives birth and is medically cleared and no longer under medical care and short-term disability, should complete a parental leave DocuSign form to request parental leave to cover the remainder of the possible 12 week period. They may submit this form at the same time short-term disability is requested to express their intent to use parental leave
- Request FMLA DocuSign forms from their HR Professional/HR Associate
- Manager approves the parental leave DocuSign form. The employee is notified of approval and the expected date for the employee’s return to work
Caregiver leave: University and Academic Professionals with at least one year of continuous VCU service as a classified employee, faculty member or university employee are eligible for paid caregiver leave to serve as primary caregiver for a sick child, elder or other immediate family member (such as a spouse, parent, stepparent, sibling, grandparent, etc.). Caregiver leave eligibility also extends to the care for another individual who shares a household with an employee and for whom the employee is the primary caregiver. Employees should address questions about whether coverage applies to caretaking for a specific individual with their HR Professional. Caregiver leave is for use to care for an individual with chronic or severe illness where absences of greater than 40 hours is necessary. Incidental time off to care for a family member is charged to regular university leave.
Caregiver leave provides up to 100 percent salary replacement for up to 80 hours (10 days) maximum per leave year through the VCU Leave Share program. (The VCU leave year runs January 10 through January 9 of the following calendar year.) Leave may be taken intermittently, with their manager’s approval. Workload and scheduling must be reviewed and approved, in advance.
To be eligible, employees first use 40 hours (5 days) of their annual allocation of university leave for the caregiving event to receive 40 hours (5 days) from the leave share pool. (As with any university leave, managers have the discretion to grant or deny the initial university leave request.) The employee may be eligible for the remaining 40 hours (5 days) after matching an additional 40 hours (5 days) from their annual accrual of paid leave. Leave from the leave share pool is awarded to an employee following the employee’s exhaustion of their own leave for caregiving purposes.
Caregiver leave may be granted for an individual to care for multiple individuals during a 1 year period, as long as the maximum 80 hours (10 days) of leave has not already been used. For example, if an employee used 40 hours of university leave to assist an ill mother and was granted 40 hours of caregiver leave, the employee may also use an additional 40 hours of university leave to care for a sick child and request caregiver leave for another 40 hours in the same year. If, in the leave year, the employee had been awarded and used 80 hours of caregiver leave to care for one’s mother, the employee would not be eligible for additional caregiver leave to care for a child during the same leave year. To the extent it qualifies, leave granted under this category runs concurrently with coverage under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
To use this benefit, the employee completes the following steps:
- Notify manager about the need for caregiver leave
- Request the caregiver leave DocuSign form from their HR Professional/HR Associate. The first 40 hours must be used consecutively. After the first 40 hours of consecutive use, the employee must request another DocuSign form from their HR Professional/HR Associate for any additional leave requested
- Request FMLA DocuSign form from your HR Professional/HR Associate as certification from a health care provider confirming the serious health condition will be required
- Once eligibility is verified and FMLA is approved (if applicable), Central HR works with the HR Professional/HR Associate to administer leave appropriately
Enhanced community service leave: University and Academic Professionals are granted 16 hours (2 days) of paid time off to engage in volunteer service activities sponsored through VCU or VCU Health System either individually or as part of a group. Sixteen (16) hours of Community Service Leave (CSL) paid time off is granted under DHRM policy 4.40 School Assistance and Volunteer Service Leave which allows employees to participate in volunteer community service organizations, meet with public or private school or daycare officials about their child(ren), attend school, daycare or homeschool functions in which their children are participating, perform school-approved volunteer work in a public school, etc.
VCU's enhanced community service leave provides university employees the opportunity to support VCU and VCU Health communities and strengthen university-community relationships, and it may only be used to participate in events sponsored by these organizations. Enhanced community service leave may not be used on a day the university is officially closed for a designated holiday as it is for use during an employee’s regular work hours. To request use of this leave, the employee must complete the following steps:
- Request the enhanced community service leave DocuSign form from their HR Professional/HR Associate
- Submit leave in RealTime for approval by their manager
- Once the leave is approved by their manager via the DocuSign form and in RealTime, the employee may be required to submit documentation to support the leave request