Leave Without Pay
Leave without pay may be granted to an employee for various reasons, including family and medical leave, extended educational purposes, vacation, illness, workers’ compensation, military service, or personal reasons.
Under leave without pay, employees are responsible for paying for both the University and employee contributions to their benefits packages if they wish to maintain coverage while on leave without pay.
Exception: For Leave without Pay occurring under the Family and Medical Leave policy, the University contribution to the employee’s major medical health plan in maintained. However, the employee continues to be responsible for any employee contributions for participation in benefits programs.
Duration of Leave Without Pay: Leave without pay may be approved initially for up to three months. The period may be extended in three-month increments, not to exceed a total of 12 consecutive months. Requests for leave without pay for periods greater than 12 months must be approved by the State Personnel Director through the Office of Human Resources.
Exception: Leave without pay for military leave and workers’ compensation may extend beyond 12 months, if necessary.
NOTE: If an employee is scheduled for a period of leave (voluntary shared leave, family and medical leave, leave without pay, etc.) and will not be able to use earned compensatory time off during the 52-week period, all such compensatory time off must either be taken or paid out prior to coding vacation leave, bonus leave, sick leave or voluntary shared leave for the absence.
Vacation: An employee must exhaust all accumulated vacation leave before going on leave without pay for the purpose of vacation.
Personal Reasons: An employee must exhaust all accumulated vacation leave prior to going on leave without pay for personal reasons (not vacation or recreational activity) if the leave period is 10 work days or less. If the leave period is greater than 10 work days, the employee may elect to exhaust all, part, or none of vacation leave prior to going on leave without pay.
Sick (Illness or Injury): An employee must exhaust all accumulated sick leave before going on leave without pay due to illness or injury or for a funeral for a member of the immediate family. The employee may elect to use vacation leave or to retain part or all of accumulated vacation leave before going on leave without pay for illness or injury.
Birth or Adoption: The natural parents of a newborn infant and the parents of a newly-adopted child may request leave without pay. The department must grant leave without pay to the natural mother for the period of physical disability incident to the birth of a child if the mother has no sick leave or if she elects to retain some or all of it. The employee must provide acceptable medical evidence to show the last day the mother is expected to work due to disability and the date she is expected to return.
Note: Eligible employees also may qualify to apply for coverage under Family and Medical Leave.
The employee must apply in writing to his/her supervisor for leave without pay. The request must include the:
- reason for leave,
- date expected for beginning leave,
- duration of the leave, and
- expected date to return to work.
The employee is obligated to return to duty within or at the end of the time granted. If the employee will not return to work, the supervisor must be notified immediately.
At least thirty days prior to the end of the leave, the employee must give written notice of intention to return to work; otherwise, the supervisor is not required to provide such reinstatement but may do so if feasible.
Failure to report at the expiration of a leave without pay, unless an extension has been approved, is considered a resignation.
Management has the discretion to approve leave without pay. Factors in deciding whether to approve a request include the employee’s needs, workload, need to fill the employee’s job, chances of the employee returning to work, and the University’s obligation to reinstate the employee.
Exception: A request for leave without pay under the family and medical leave policy, supported by appropriate medical certification or other documentation, must be approved. Similarly, a request for up to 12 weeks of leave without pay from a non-temporary employee who does not meet the eligibility requirements for family and medical leave must be approved if the purpose of the absence is for the birth or adoption of a child or to be at home with the child during the first 12 months of life or adoption.
Management must review and consider written requests for leave without pay fairly and consistently to assure equitable employee treatment in approving, revising, or disapproving requests. Decisions must be communicated to the employee in writing. Revised or approved requests obligate the University to reinstate the employee to the same position or one of like seniority, status, and pay, unless other written agreements have been made with the employee prior to the leave.
In granting leave without pay, management must inform the employee that management retains the right to adjust the length of the leave period and to require an earlier return in order to meet operational needs. In such cases, management must notify the employee in writing. The notice must specify the need, the new effective date for return, and the effect of not responding or returning to work.
Management should be reasonable in any case in which the leave-without-pay period is shortened. The employee will need time to adjust to the new situation and make alternate arrangements, if possible. However, the inability of the employee to respond may lead management to terminate the employee and to initiate recruitment action to fill the employee’s position.
NOTE: This option of shortening a period of leave does not apply to absences approved under the family and medical leave policy.
If the workload or other organization needs require that a position be filled while an employee is on approved leave without pay, temporary assignments or appointments may be used.
When processing either the start or the end of a period of leave without pay for an employee, a status change must be completed through the Change in Employment Status ePAR in ConnectCarolina.