Leave earning employees must apply the appropriate type of leave (annual or sick) when they are absent from work. Leave must be taken in 15-minute increments.
Supervisors must ensure that employees reporting to them submit leave requests whenever absences occur. Exempt and non-exempt employees are not permitted to be absent from work without submitting leave requests to account for that absence. Being absent from work without submitting leave requests to cover the absence is fraudulent and is grounds for disciplinary action.
There are many different types of leave and they are described in this section. Different policies and procedures apply to different types of leave. A chart showing rules specific to each type of leave can be found here.
Leave Management System
The State of West Virginia payroll system uses Kronos as its leave management system and Shepherd University is required to use that system. Kronos is part of wvOASIS, the State’s Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) system, which includes all aspects of payroll processing. Leave earning employees request leave and supervisors approve leave requests through Kronos. Changes to leave requests that already have been approved can be made by the employee’s supervisor. It is important that leave requests be approved prior to the end of the pay period in which the leave is taken. For full instructions on using the leave management system, please go to the Human Resources website.
Procedures for Reporting Unscheduled Absences
Notification of an unscheduled absence, prior to an employee’s scheduled start time, is of the utmost importance. If for any reason employees are unable to report to work as scheduled, they must notify their supervisor prior to their scheduled start time with the reason and expected duration of the absence. If the absence exceeds one day, then the employee must notify the supervisor daily, unless otherwise arranged. Failure to notify an immediate supervisor concerning an absence can result in disciplinary action for the employee, up to and including the termination of employment.
It is the obligation of the employee to follow whatever protocol has been outlined by the supervisor (for example, calling and speaking directly with the supervisor on the phone). Submitting a leave request through Kronos, the leave management system, does not satisfy the requirement of notifying the immediate supervisor of an unscheduled absence unless the supervisor has explicitly directed the use of that protocol. Each supervisor has the discretion to establish the notification protocols for each department, office, or category of employees.
— ANNUAL LEAVE —
Annual leave is the term that the State uses for vacation days. Annual leave can be used by employees for any purpose. It must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor. It is okay to use annual leave for illness but it is not okay to use sick leave for vacations or other ‘personal days’.
Annual Leave Accrual
Classified Staff Annual Leave Accrual
All full-time regular employees in classified positions shall be eligible for annual leave with pay, accruing leave as described below, following each completed pay period. Please note that there are 26 pay periods throughout the year, so the pay period accrual is not exactly half of the monthly leave accrual.
|Fewer than 5 years of service||1.25 days per month||4.33 hours per pay period|
|5 but fewer than 10 years of service||1.50 days per month||5.20 hours per pay period|
|10 but fewer than 15 years of service||1.75 days per month||6.07 hours per pay period|
|15 or more years of service||2.00 days per month||6.93 hours per pay period|
Non-Classified Staff Annual Leave Accrual
Non-classified employees earn annual leave at a rate of two days per month, following each completed month. They accrue 15 hours of annual leave on the first day of every month.
Twelve-Month Faculty Annual Leave Accrual
Twelve-month faculty members earn annual leave at a rate of two days per month. They accrue 15 hours of annual leave on the first day of every month, following each completed month. Leave-earning faculty must manage and report their leave in the same way that classified and non-classified staff do. They have the same holidays as staff and do not follow the instructional faculty work schedule.
Pro-Rated Leave Accrual
Full-time regular employees working between 1,040 hours and 1,950 hours over at least nine months of a 12-month period (the fiscal year) accumulate annual leave on a pro-rated basis. Annual leave is not granted to casual, temporary, or part-time employees.
Shepherd University permits, as an additional benefit, all employees to accrue up to twice what they earn in a 12-month period. Accumulated leave for continuing employees may not exceed twice the amount earned in any 12-month period. Employees are entitled to compensation for accumulated annual leave at the termination of service, but in no case may this exceed twice that amount earned in any 12-month period. Nine-month employees may accumulate twice the amount of leave earned during their nine months of work, not twice what they would have earned had they been working for 12 months.
Calculation Based on Years of Service to the State of West Virginia
A classified employee’s annual leave accrual rate shall be based on years of service to Shepherd University and other agencies of the State of West Virginia.
Crediting Years of Service
An annual appointment period of nine months or more of full-time work shall be credited as one year of service toward seniority for purposes of determining an employee’s annual leave accrual rate. This service is measured as of July 1 of each year. In order to meet the nine-month requirement, employees must have started work by no later than October 1 of the previous year.
Transfer of Annual Leave From Another State Agency
Up to 15 days of annual leave may be transferred with an employee from other agencies or institutions of the West Virginia State Government to Shepherd University. Certification of the balance which existed with the previous employing agency must accompany the request for transfer of annual leave by the employee and bear the signature of an officer of that agency. The request must be made within one year from the last day of employment with the other agency or institution. It would be normal for employees to cash out their annual leave when they leave State service so in almost every case employees would transfer annual leave only if they were coming directly from another State agency with no break in service.
Use of Annual Leave
Scheduling and Use of Annual Leave
Annual leave must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor. Annual leave shall be arranged to fit operating schedules; however, consideration will be given to an employee’s preferences. Seniority may be considered by the supervisor when arranging vacation schedules. An employee may not take leave before it is earned and may not take annual leave unless the employee’s supervisor has approved it in advance.
Annual leave is a benefit of paid days off work, which employees are expected to use in a reasonable manner. Employees who have a modest number of accumulated sick leave days are expected to restrict their use of annual leave to reasonably maintain a reserve of accumulated leave in case of an onset of illness or other occurrence which would require time off. Neglectful failure to maintain a reasonable reserve of leave due to excessive absenteeism is grounds for disciplinary action. Monitoring an employee’s leave balance is the responsibility of that employee, and failure to do so is considered a deficiency of performance. All leave-earning employees must submit leave requests when they miss work. Failure to do so is fraudulent and is grounds for disciplinary action.
Illness During Annual Leave
Illness which occurs during scheduled annual leave does not cause the annual leave request to be changed to a sick leave request. It still is considered annual leave.
Administration of Unused Annual Leave
Annual Leave Conversion Upon Retirement
For employees hired prior to July 1, 2001 and upon meeting certain requirements, individuals retiring from Shepherd University may be eligible to apply unused annual leave as a credit toward the premium for the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement Insurance Plan, just as they can apply unused sick leave for this purpose. This option is not available to employees hired after July 1, 2001. Please refer to the Human Resources website for more information about retirement.
Unused Annual Leave Credits
In the event of an employee’s death, accumulated annual leave will be credited to the employee’s estate.
Lump Sum Payment for Unused Annual Leave
Upon termination of active employment through resignation, retirement, or otherwise, an employee will be paid in a lump sum for their accrued annual leave. The University has stopped offering an option of running unused annual leave as additional payroll days, due to the State’s adoption of the wvOASIS payroll system.
— SICK LEAVE —
Sick leave may be used by an employee who is ill or injured or when employees need to actively participate in the care of a member of their immediate family who is seriously ill as defined by the treating physician, or when a death occurs in the immediate family. Sick leave may also be used for employee and family medical appointments which are approved in advance by the supervisor. It is okay to use annual leave for illness but it is not okay to use sick leave for vacation time. While annual leave can be used for any reason, sick leave can be used only for specific purposes as described in the University’s policies.
Definition of Immediate Family
For purposes of administering the sick, funeral, and emergency leave policies, the immediate family is defined as: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, step-mother, step-father, step-children, or others considered to be members of the household and living under the same roof.
Sick Leave Accrual
Sick Leave Accrual Rate
Full-time regular classified and non-classified employees and leave earning faculty accrue 1.5 days of sick leave per month of active employment. This equates to 5.2 hours of sick leave accrual for each of the 26 pay periods.
Pro-Rated Leave Accrual
Full-time regular employees working between 1,040 hours and 1,950 hours over at least nine months of a 12-month period shall accumulate sick leave on a pro-rated basis. Sick leave shall not be granted to casual, temporary, or part-time employees.
Accumulation of sick leave is unlimited. Employees do not lose it if it is not used within any particular time period as long as they remain in leave earning status.
Transfer of Sick Leave From Another State Agency
Accumulated sick leave may be transferred to Shepherd University for employees coming to Shepherd from other agencies of West Virginia State Government. Certification of the employee’s sick leave balance which existed at the state agency must accompany the request for transfer and bear the signature of an officer of that agency. A request for transfer must be made within one year from the last day of employment with the other state agency.
Use of Sick Leave
Annual leave may be used when an employee is sick because annual leave can be used for any purpose. However, sick leave may not be used for vacation time or other ‘personal days’ in place of annual leave. Sick leave can be used only for the specific purposes provided for by policy.
Sick Leave Use for Immediate Family Members
Sick leave generally can be used for absence relating to care for immediate family members under the following circumstances:
- If the employee is actively caring for an immediate family member at home;
- If the employee is taking the immediate family member to medical appointments; and/or
- If the immediate family member is in the hospital and the employee must be there because they might be needed to help make decisions about the family member’s care or to speak on behalf of their family member.
The times that employees cannot use sick leave for their family members are:
- When they are simply visiting them in the hospital (or at home) but do not play a role in speaking for the family member or are not participating in decision making about the family member’s care. Annual leave would have to be used in those cases.
Administration of Unused Sick Leave
Sick Leave Conversion Upon Retirement
Upon meeting certain requirements, individuals retiring from Shepherd University may be eligible to apply unused sick leave as a credit toward the premium for the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Plan, just as they can apply unused annual leave for this purpose. This option is not available to employees hired after July 1, 2001.
Reinstatement of Sick Leave Upon Reemployment
When an employee terminates employment for reasons other than retirement, all sick leave credited to that employee shall be considered ended as of the last working day with the institution and no reimbursement shall be provided for unused sick leave. Employees who resign in good standing and are later reemployed may have their accumulated sick leave reinstated if the date of termination is less than one year from reemployment. However, if the employee returns to work after more than one year from the date of termination, then no more than 30 days of sick leave may be reinstated.
Medical Leave Documentation
Medical leave verification may be required to document an employee’s illness or adverse health condition (or that of an immediate family member, if applicable). Medical leave verification is a signed statement from the treating health care provider to validate the illness or other cause for which sick leave or medical leave of absence may be granted. The health care provider signing the medical assessment must be currently and appropriately licensed. The document must provide information regarding the individual’s medical condition, diagnosis, prognosis, and functional limitations, including duration and treatment plan, if any.
All medical records are to be kept in the Human Resources Office only and are not to be kept in the departments. Based upon the medical assessment, employability and/or accommodation determinations will be made by Shepherd University.
Employees should give their medical documents directly to the Human Resources staff or have it faxed or sent to the Human Resources Office, if possible. Otherwise, they can give the documents to their supervisors. If supervisors receive medical documents from employees they must give them to the Human Resources staff and they should not retain copies of the documents in their files.
Medical Leave Verification/Assessment is Required:
- To validate a sick leave absence of more than five consecutive days (needed as of the sixth day of absence) under the terms of the sick leave policy, even if annual leave is applied to one or more of the days on which the sick leave absence occurs;
- To return to work following a sick leave absence of more than five consecutive days, or a medical leave of absence;
- If requested of the employee by the supervisor following a sick leave absence, regardless of duration, as a condition of returning to work;
- To apply for and sustain catastrophic leave eligibility;
- To apply for and sustain a medical leave of absence; and/or
- To assure continued access to benefit coverage while on medical leave of absence.
It is the employee’s responsibility to pursue and obtain the necessary medical assessment from the treating health care provider, and to present the completed evaluation to Human Resources in a timely manner. In normal circumstances, employees are expected to submit documentation within the active pay period. Failure to do so will cause the undocumented hours to not be paid or to be paid only with available annual leave. Medical documentation is needed for extended sick leave absences even if annual leave is being applied rather than sick leave.
Supervisors need to notify the Human Resources staff when one of their employees has missed, or is scheduled to miss, more than five consecutive days of sick leave. This will facilitate communication between Human Resources and the employee as to required documentation.
Incomplete, Unacceptable, or Untimely Medical Information May Result in:
- Prohibition to charge time absent from work to accrued sick leave;
- Prohibition to return to work if one’s capacity to perform essential duties is in question;
- Disallowed or discontinued medical leave of absence;
- Discontinuation of benefit access; and/or
- Disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment with the University.
A Medical Leave Verification form is available on the Human Resources website. While this specific form is not required, the information requested on it is; therefore, most employees find the form to be the most convenient way to comply with requirements.
Employees returning to work following a sick leave absence of more than five consecutive days or from a medical leave of absence must submit a Medical Release to Return to Work. This form also is available on the Human Resources website.
— OTHER TYPES OF LEAVE—
A full-time regular leave earning employee experiencing a catastrophic illness or injury as defined by the West Virginia Code and Shepherd University policy may request approval to receive paid leave time donated by other employees. Within established limits, employees may voluntarily donate accumulated sick or annual leave directly to an approved recipient. The Catastrophic Leave policy with required forms to be completed is located on the Human Resources website.
Emergency leave of up to five days within any fiscal year, with pay, may be granted by the President of Shepherd University in the event of extreme misfortune to the employee or the employee’s immediate family, provided that all accrued annual leave has been exhausted. Typical events which may qualify an employee for such leave include fire, flood, or other occurrences of a nature requiring emergency attention by the employee (other than personal illness or injury, or serious illness or death in the immediate family).
When a death occurs in the immediate family, a reasonable amount of time (maximum of five days) may be charged to accrued sick leave as required for the employee to arrange for and attend the funeral and related services, including travel time. “Reasonable” amount of time is determined at the discretion of the supervisor, in consultation with Human Resources, and is based upon geographic distance, workload, and similar factors. Sick leave is not provided for an extended bereavement period or to attend to the affairs of the estate; annual leave may be requested for these purposes.
Grievance, Witness and Jury Leave
Employees who are subpoenaed or directed to serve as jurors or appear as witnesses for review proceedings of the Federal Government, the State of West Virginia, or a political subdivision thereof, shall be entitled to work release time for such duty and for such period of required absence which overlaps regularly scheduled work time. Employees shall submit to the Human Resources Office a copy of any notification they receive showing that they have been called to serve on jury duty. Employees are entitled to leave with pay for the required period of absence during the regularly scheduled work time including reasonable travel time.
When attendance in court is in connection with usual official duties, under subpoena, or as directed by the supervisor, time required, including reasonable travel time, shall not be considered as absence from duty. Likewise, time spent by Shepherd University employees as hearing officers, hearing committee members, and parties or witnesses in a grievance hearing is considered legitimate work time if it occurs during their normally scheduled work hours, and is part of a service to Shepherd University. Appearing as a witness without a subpoena at the request of a fellow employee and without the request of an authorized supervisor does not constitute University business. This policy does not apply to employees who are called to testify as expert or consulting witnesses and who are paid for their witness services. Further, this policy does not apply to employees involved as parties to a personal lawsuit unrelated to work.
An employee who is scheduled to work prior to the court or hearing start time shall initially report to work, travel time permitting. An employee who is excused from court/hearing prior to the end of the scheduled work day shall immediately report to work for the remainder of the work day.
An employee who is a member of the National Guard or armed forces reserve is entitled to a military leave of absence without loss of pay, status, or efficiency rating, on days during which the employee is ordered by properly designated authority to be engaged in drills, inactive duty training, parades, funeral details, service schools or other duty, during business hours, field training, annual training, or other full-time active service of the State for a maximum of 30 working days in any one calendar year.
The term “without loss of pay” means that the employee shall continue to receive normal salary or compensation, notwithstanding the fact that the employee may receive other compensation from Federal sources during the same time period. Furthermore, such leave of absence shall be considered as time worked in computing seniority, eligibility for salary increase, and experience with the institution.
An employee shall be required to submit an order or statement in writing from the appropriate military officer in support of the request for such military leave. Benefits of this section shall accrue to individuals ordered or called to active duty by the President of the United States for 30 working days after they report for active service. An employee utilizing Military Leave after their allotted paid leave of absence may elect to use accrued annual leave or freeze annual leave and go on unpaid leave to continue their service.
Red Cross Leave
An employee who is a certified disaster service volunteer of the American Red Cross may be granted, with the supervisor’s prior approval, leave with pay for up to 15 work days per year to participate in relief services for the Red Cross.
Shepherd University adheres to the requirements of the West Virginia Parental Leave Act. A full-time employee who has worked at least 12 consecutive weeks for the State may request up to 12 weeks unpaid parental leave.
Parental leave may be used for the following reasons:
- Birth of a son or daughter;
- Placement of a son or daughter for adoption;
- Because of a planned medical treatment; or
- To provide care of a son, daughter, spouse, parent or dependent (any person who is living with or dependent upon the income of the employee, whether by blood or not) who has a serious health condition.
Employees must provide their supervisors with written notice two weeks prior to the expected birth or adoption, medical treatment, or supervision of a dependent. Failure to submit a written request may be cause for denial. The employee must provide the employer with certification by the treating physician and/or documentation regarding dependency status.
All annual leave must be exhausted before parental leave begins. No more than a total of 12 weeks of parental leave may be taken in any 12 consecutive month period.
During parental leave by an employee, the institution shall continue group health insurance coverage provided that the employee pays the employer the full premium cost of such group health plan (i.e., both the employer and employee share of the premiums). The position held by the employee immediately before the leave is commenced shall be held for a period not to exceed the 12-week period of the parental leave and the employee shall be returned to that position. The institution may employ a temporary employee to fill the position for the period of the parental leave.
Pregnancy Related Illness or Disability
Disabilities which may be caused by pregnancy shall be treated the same as any other off-the-job illness or disability would be treated for sick leave entitlement. Pregnancy-related illness shall include pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth and recovery. In determining if an employee is unable to work because of a pregnancy related illness, the same criteria shall be used as for any other disability. The University policy on normal births is to allow six weeks of sick leave for the mother, to be used if she has it available. The father of a newborn baby or the husband, boyfriend or partner of a woman who has given birth to their baby, may use up to two weeks of sick leave to care for the baby and/or mother, with appropriate supporting documentation, providing that he or she has sick leave available.
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
Shepherd University employees may request up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave pursuant to the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For calculating the year, Shepherd University uses a rolling year, meaning a 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee’s first FMLA leave begins. In order to meet eligibility requirements, an employee must have worked for a total of 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period prior to the leave. Employees must submit a completed Request for FMLA Leave form and a Medical Leave Verification form to the Human Resources Office.
All sick leave must be exhausted before employees go on unpaid leave. All annual leave does not have to be exhausted before employees go on unpaid leave. An employee on approved FMLA who has exhausted all paid leave will be on approved unpaid medical leave of absence without pay. FMLA leave runs concurrent with paid sick and/or annual leave. In other words, the 12 weeks of FMLA leave would include any paid leave that is used by the employee during this period. An eligible employee’s health insurance will be continued as long as the employee is on paid leave. Once the employee is placed on unpaid leave, group medical coverage may continue with the employee paying the employee’s share of the premium cost.
Reasons for taking FMLA leave:
- For 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, child under 18 (unless they have disabilities), or parent who has a serious health condition; or
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.
Military Exigency or Caregiver
Employees whose spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or called to covered active duty status may use their 12-week FMLA leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.
FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is: (1) a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness; or (2) a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran, and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.
Leave of Absence Without Pay — Personal
A full-time regular employee, upon application in writing and with written approval by the University President, may be granted a continuous personal leave of absence without pay for a period not to exceed one year. The University President, at her or his discretion, may require the written approval of the supervisor before accepting the written application of an employee for a leave of absence without pay and shall determine if the purpose for which such leave is requested is proper and within sound administrative policy.
All annual leave must be taken before an unpaid personal leave of absence is approved. Employees may not routinely take personal leave without pay when they have annual leave accrued. Paid leave must be used first.
Employees on approved personal leave of absence without pay may continue their group health insurance provided they pay the full premium costs (both the employee’s share and the employer’s share) of such health insurance. (This is different from the policy for a medical leave of absence without pay.)
At the expiration of the personal leave of absence without pay, the employee shall be reinstated without loss of any rights, to the vacant position or a comparable position. Failure of the employee to report promptly at the expiration of a personal leave of absence without pay, except for satisfactory reasons submitted and approved in advance, shall be cause for termination of employment by the institution.
Details about leave without pay and the required forms can be found on the Human Resources website.
Leave of Absence Without Pay — Medical
A full-time regular employee, with satisfactory medical evidence, may request a medical leave of absence without pay. The employee must provide documentation to the University President, through established procedures, that he or she is unable to work. The medical statement shall include a diagnosis, prognosis, and expected date that the employee can return to work. If the evidence is satisfactory, the University President may authorize a medical leave of absence without pay for the period of disability specified by the attending physician, not to exceed one year.
All sick and annual leave must be taken before a medical leave of absence without pay is approved.
Employees on approved medical leave of absence without pay may continue their group health insurance provided they pay the employee’s share of such health insurance. (This is different from the policy for a personal leave of absence without pay.)
The employee shall be expected to report to work on the first work day following the expiration of the disability period. Failure of the employee to report promptly at the expiration of a medical leave of absence without pay, except for satisfactory reasons submitted and approved in advance, shall be cause for termination of employment by the institution.
Prior to returning to work employees must obtain satisfactory medical clearance to help ensure the safety and health of all employees. This written medical documentation needs to indicate the employee’s ability to perform the job duties and include a list of any restrictions that the employee may have.
Employees who may need an extended leave beyond one year may request a personal leave of absence through institutional procedures or may consider other options, such as applying for long-term disability benefits if they carry such insurance coverage. Generally, following one year of medical leave of absence employees are expected to either return to work or resign from their position unless they are approved for an unpaid personal leave of absence.
Details about leave without pay and the required forms can be found on the Human Resources website.
Compensatory Time Off (Taking Time)
When compensatory (comp) time has been agreed to between non-exempt employees and the supervisor, in lieu of overtime pay, the comp time must be used within one year of accrual (within six months if the comp time was earned by working on a holiday). The use of comp time shall be requested two weeks in advance. Approval of the request shall be contingent upon whether it will unduly disrupt the operation of the institutional unit.
An employee may not work overtime unless approved in advance per institutional policy. A written agreement between the employee and the employee’s supervisor must exist when the employee chooses compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay, and approval of this is at the supervisor’s discretion. The written agreement may be modified at the request of either the employee or the employee’s supervisor at any time, but under no circumstances shall a change in the agreement deny the employee comp time already acquired.
The comp time written agreement may consist of an email exchange between the employee and the employee’s supervisor. Alternatively, a Comp Time Off Agreement form, which can be found on the Human Resources website can be used for this purpose. The form is to be held by the employee or supervisor until the comp time is used and after that it should be sent to the Human Resources Office to be placed into the employee’s official personnel file.
Please Note: Comp time accrued for working on holidays must be used within six months. See Holidays section for further details. Also, please read about Compensatory Time Off (Earning & Tracking) in the Work Schedules section.
Other Sources of Information
Leave policies are described in Shepherd University Board of Governors Policy 10 and in the Rules of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy. These policies contain more detail about leave issues in some cases than the Staff Handbook does. Employees and supervisors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these policies.