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Time-Off Benefits & Leave Plans (Chapter 5)

Long-Term Disability Leave Procedures (Section 519)

Should a serious illness or injury prevent you from working on a partial or total basis for an extended period of time, you may be eligible for long-term disability (LTD) leave, with income benefits paid by the college's LTD insurance carrier. If eligible, LTD benefits begin after the first six months of disability.

For specific details about the LTD benefit, see the Summary Plan Description (SPD).

Eligibility

If you are employed in a regular or limited-term position of half time or more, you are covered under the college's LTD insurance plan. If you work less than half time or hold a temporary position, you are not eligible for LTD insurance coverage.

If you have been certified as eligible to receive benefits under the college's LTD insurance plan, you are considered to be on partial or total LTD leave. LTD leave begins on the date you are eligible to begin receiving LTD income benefits.

Pay Status: LTD income benefits are paid by the insurance company, and the college makes no supplemental salary payments (except in the case of partial disability where an employee may continue to work part-time). You may use sick, vacation, and/or personal time up to six months prior to applying for LTD leave. Once on an approved LTD leave, you are no longer eligible to use accrued paid time off. If you have not accumulated enough paid time to cover the entire six-month period between the date you are disabled and the date you are eligible for LTD income benefits, you may apply for extended sick leave under the Sick Leave Bank (where applicable), FMLA leave, or a leave without pay.

Benefit and Leave Eligibility

While on LTD leave for total disability, you are not eligible to accumulate credit toward paid holidays, vacation, personal time, sick leave, bereavement leave, jury duty leave, or any other paid leave. While on LTD leave for partial disability, you accumulate and are eligible for paid time off in proportion to the number of hours you actually work.

While on LTD leave for partial or total disability, you are entitled to employee benefits as follows. You remain subject to the specific terms of each insurance contract.

Health, Dental, Life, and LTD Insurance Plans: You may continue to participate in the college's group health, dental, life, and LTD insurance plans for up to two years from the beginning of an LTD approval, so long as you are deemed disabled by the LTD Carrier. Your life and LTD insurance will continue at the salary level in effect at the time the LTD leave began. You remain subject to the specific terms of each insurance contract.

The college will continue to pay its normal share of the premiums toward your coverage and you will be billed for your share. You must pay your share of the premiums within 30 days of the billing date to ensure continued coverage.

After two years you may qualify for Medicare benefits or you may elect to participate in the health and dental plans under COBRA. You also have the option to convert to non-group life and LTD insurance policies.

Tuition Assistance Program: You continue to be eligible for tuition benefits for up to two years from the beginning of an LTD leave.

Retirement Plan: If you were participating in the college's retirement plan at the beginning of your LTD leave, you may continue to participate for up to two years. The college will continue to contribute to your retirement contracts at the rate in effect at the time your disability occurred or at the time you go off paid sick leave, whichever is later.

Application Procedures

If you are partially or totally disabled for 30 days and it appears that you will continue to be disabled for more than six months, you should contact the Office of Human Resources to discuss your situation. An LTD leave, like any extended leave of absence for medical reasons, must be supported by medical statements and arranged with your department head in consultation with the Office of Human Resources.

It is important for supervisors and department heads to maintain contact with a disabled employee, both to monitor the disabled employee's progress and likelihood of returning to work and to provide him or her with support and a continuous connection to the college. If you are absent on LTD leave, you should maintain contact with your supervisor to discuss your situation and inform him/her of your progress.

Return to Work Certification

If you are cleared to return to work (either full-time or part-time), you should ask your doctor to complete the Physician's Approval to Return to Work form. You must provide your department head with this completed form.

To ensure your ability to resume the duties of your job, the college may require an examination by a college-designated physician before your return to work.

Replacement of Staff on Medical Leave or Disability

Under normal circumstances, the college will hold a position open for a regular full- or parttime employee with a serious illness or disability during the first 12 months of an authorized paid or unpaid leave. During such an authorized leave, the employee's position will normally be filled on a temporary basis only. Following 12 months of absence, the staff member's employment will be terminated. Termination of employment will not affect an employee's eligibility to continue receiving LTD income benefits.

The college reserves the right to fill a position on a regular basis prior to 12 months in situations such as the following: 1) in the case of senior administrators who occupy strategic positions; 2) when the college's or the department's needs require this action; or 3) where it appears highly unlikely that the employee will be able to return to work. The decision to fill a position prior to 12 months must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources.