The Catholic University of America

Leave Policy

Approved by: President
History: Issued    -- June 1, 1994
Revised -- June 9, 2017
  Additional History
Related Policies: Categories of Employment Policy; Faculty Handbook (Part III); Family and Medical and Parental Leave Policy; Sick and Safe Leave Policy; Workers' Compensation Policy
Additional References:

Office of General Counsel Web Page on USERRA; Your Rights Under USERRA

Responsible Official:

Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources tel. (202) 319-5050

___________________________________________________________________________

I.          Introduction

Leave is defined as an authorized absence from work. Leave is granted to staff employees for various reasons such as vacation, health, bereavement, care for a child or family member, and military service. Most types of leave are paid.  However, unpaid leave time may be granted under some circumstances. This policy sets forth the various types of leave granted by the University to staff employees and the requirements for each.  For questions regarding leave for staff employees, contact the Office of Human Resources at tel. (202) 319-5050.  For questions regarding leave for faculty employees, review Part III of the Faculty Handbook.

 

II.         Annual Leave

The University recognizes the importance of balancing work responsibilities with family and other interests. Employees are granted paid annual leave (vacation), which accrues at various rates depending on employment category and/or length of service.

 

The University's annual leave year covers the same period as the University's fiscal year. In the event of a fiscal year of less than 12 months, the amount of annual leave will be pro-rated. While it is important for employees to make full use of the vacation time to which they are entitled, it is also important for managers to be able to schedule work assignments and coverage during employee absence. To ensure that such planning is possible, employees are expected to request authorization to use annual leave in writing at least ten days in advance whenever possible. Managers are expected to approve requests for vacation provided that it does not interfere with the workload of the department.

 

Regular part-time employees in benefits-eligible positions receive pro-rated vacation.  Employees are not eligible to use annual leave until the successful completion of the initial review (probationary) period. 

Employees will begin accruing annual leave on the first of the month following their date of hire.  

Employees who are members of a collective bargaining unit should review the collective bargaining agreement for additional leave information and requirements. 

            A.         Exempt Employees 

Exempt employees earn 21 days (147 hours) of annual leave (vacation) each leave year. Annual leave is accrued at the rate of 1¾ days per month. Exempt employees who are hired after the beginning of a vacation leave year will receive pro-rated vacation accrued at the rate of 1¾ days per month. 

The University encourages employees to use their vacation leave during the year in which it is accrued. If an exempt employee has accrued vacation remaining at the end of the vacation year (April 30th), he/she can carry over up to a maximum of 21 days into the next vacation year. All carry over vacation days in excess of seven (7) must be used by August 15th within the new vacation year. Any days remaining in excess of the seven (7) allowable carry over days will be forfeited as of August 15th and not carried forward. If the employee has seven (7) remaining carry over days after August 15th, those days must be used or forfeited by the following April 30th. All leave reports must have been submitted to the Payroll Office on a timely basis. 

Each year's full allotment of vacation is available to exempt employees on the first day of the vacation year even though it has not been accrued. If an exempt employee uses vacation leave in excess of his or her allotted 21 days before the end of the fiscal year, they should not be approved for any further vacation leave until the new fiscal year.  If an exempt employee uses vacation in excess of his or her accrued balance and then leaves the University, the employee must reimburse the University for the unearned used vacation days. The reimbursement will be effected through payroll deduction from the employee's final paycheck. If an exempt employee terminates employment at the University for any reason, any accrued, unused vacation leave will be forfeited. 

B.         Non-Exempt Employees 

Regular, full-time, non-exempt employees who are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement accrue annual leave (vacation) according to the following schedule: 

·        Less than 3 years of service: 1 day per month

·        3 - 5 years of service: 1¼ days per month

·        6 - 10 years of service: 1½ days per month

·        More than 10 years of service: 1¾ days per month 

The University encourages employees to use their vacation during the leave year in which it is earned. However, if a non-exempt employee has accrued vacation remaining at the end of the vacation year, he or she may carry over a designated number of days into the next vacation year. Non-exempt employees hired before January 1, 1994 may carry over a maximum of 30 days of accrued vacation leave to the next vacation year. Non-exempt employees hired on or after January 1, 1994 will be permitted to carry over a maximum of 21 days of accrued vacation leave to the next vacation year. 

If a non-exempt employee with at least six months of service has accrued vacation leave remaining at the time of termination of employment, he or she will be reimbursed for a maximum of 30 days if hired before 1/1/1994 or a maximum of 21 days if hired on or after 1/1/1994. Employees who terminate employment with less than six months of service are not eligible to be reimbursed for any accrued leave remaining at the time of termination. 

III.        Bereavement Leave 

When there is a death in the immediate family of an employee, a leave of absence with pay may be granted for as many as five (5) working days. For the purposes of this section “immediate family member” means a spouse, child, including adopted and step-child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or legal guardian.  Such leave is available in the event the employee or their spouse suffers a miscarriage or still birth. One (1) day of leave with pay may be granted to allow an employee to attend the funeral of a close friend or relative who is not immediate family. 

IV.        Court Leave 

Appearance in court as a witness in an official capacity as a University employee is not classified as leave and does not affect the compensation or benefits of the employee. Similarly, leave will be authorized without loss of compensation or benefits for appearance in court as a witness on behalf of the government of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the states, or their political subdivisions. Leave for appearance on one's own behalf or as a witness for a private party must be charged to vacation or leave without pay. 

Full and part-time employees will be granted leave with pay to serve on jury duty, except for service on a grand jury, in which case special arrangements must be made with the employee’s supervisor and the office of Human Resources. 

V.         Emergency Closing and Inclement Weather Leave 

The purpose of a delayed opening is to allow employees to report safely in a reasonable time period without penalty to salary or vacation time which would otherwise need to be taken. 

Leave is not charged for time lost because of official delayed openings or emergency closings nor is extra compensation provided for work during such periods. 

When there is an official announcement of delayed opening due to inclement weather, or an emergency closing, the lost time should be appropriately recorded. 

Supervisors are encouraged to be liberal in approving annual leave for time not authorized for an inclement weather or other emergency closing. 

Employees who are on annual or sick leave or leave without pay are not affected by time lost because of a delayed opening or an emergency closing. In this case, employees should report time under the appropriate leave category, i.e., vacation, absence without pay or sick leave, and may not deduct hours authorized for delayed opening. 

Employees designated as essential employees are expected to comply with departmental operational procedures. 

VI.        Family and Medical Leave 

A.     Family and Medical Leave 

Eligible employees are provided with job-protected, un-paid family and medical leave for the birth or adoption of a child, placement of child for foster care, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, when the employee has a serious health condition, for military caregivers, and in certain exigent services related to military service.  Unpaid family and medical leave runs concurrently with paid sick and safe leave, annual leave, and new family member leave.  Accordingly, the provisions of this section must be read in conjunction with the University’s Family and Medical and Parental Leave Policy and Sick and Safe Leave Policy.  As determinations regarding these types of leave can be complex, staff and faculty employees should contact the Office of Human Resources (tel. 202-319-5050) for questions and assistance. 

            B.     Parental Leave 

The DC Parental Leave Act of 1994 (DC Code Ann. §36-1601) requires employers in the District to provide up to twenty-four (24) hours of unpaid leave during any twelve (12) month period to an employee for the purpose of the employee's attendance or participation in school-related events for his or her child, subject to the conditions described below, or to celebrate the District of Columbia Emancipation Day. Eligible employees for the purposes of parental leave are any employees whose services are used for pay. 

A school-related event means an activity sponsored by either the child’s school or an associated organization such as a parent-teacher association (PTA).  The child must be a participant in or subject of the event, but not a spectator.  Examples of school-related events include, but are not limited to: a student performance such as a concert, play, or rehearsal where the child is a participant or performer; the sporting game of a school team or practice where the child is a member of the team; or a meeting with a teacher or counselor to regarding the child. District of Columbia Emancipation Day means April 16th of each year or a date designated by the D.C. government.

 

Leave under this section will be unpaid leave unless the employee chooses to use annual leave.

 

Requests for leave under this section may be made by contacting the Director of Total Rewards in the Office of Human Resources.  When the need for leave can be foreseen, the employee must request the leave ten (10) calendar days in advance of the event. The University may deny the leave only if granting the leave would disrupt business and make the achievement of production or delivery of services unusually difficult. A decision to deny leave under this section of the policy should not be finalized without conferring with Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. Questions may be referred to the Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer or the Office of General Counsel. 

 

VII.       Leave of Absence Without Pay 

A leave of absence without pay may be granted to a regular full-time or part-time employee. 

A leave of absence without pay for one month may be authorized by the cognizant dean or director in consultation with the supervisor. A leave for a longer period must be approved by the cognizant vice president and should state an expected return date. 

If the employee does not return to work on the agreed upon date, he/she will be considered to have resigned. 

When a leave of absence is granted for more than one month, the employee should confer promptly with the Office of Human Resources to make special arrangements for insurance and retirement payments. 

An employee on leave of absence without pay does not accrue sick or annual leave and is not paid for University holidays. Previously accrued sick leave will not be affected. 

VIII.      Military Leave 

            A.         Active Duty Leave 

Regular full-time and part-time University employees whose military obligations interrupt or interfere with their employment have certain job protection provided by the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. The Act protects members of National Guard units, reservists, inductees and enlistees into the Armed Forces who volunteer for or are ordered to active duty for the Federal government. 

1.         Notification to HR 

Employees called to active duty must notify the Office of Human Resources in writing of their departure and provide a copy of official military orders when they become available. 

2.         Continuation of Benefits

For faculty and staff employees, active duty will be treated as leave of absence without pay. Such leave may not exceed five years in duration. During the approved unpaid leave of absence, an employee called to active duty may continue to have health insurance, long-term disability insurance and life insurance if he or she pays the full cost of the benefit. While the employee is on an unpaid leave, the University will not contribute to the premiums except where the absence is less than 30 days. If an employee called to active duty wishes to continue his or her health insurance, life insurance or long-term disability insurance, the employee must make payment arrangements with the Office of Human Resources at the start of his or her leave of absence. Likewise, employees returning from active military duty are entitled to available benefits upon reemployment. 

If an employee called to active duty during a national emergency has a spouse or dependent child who is eligible for tuition assistance and meets the requirements of the University policy on tuition assistance that benefit will remain in effect while the employee is on active military duty. All provisions of the tuition assistance policy will apply. 

Upon reemployment following a call up to active duty, employees who are participants in the University's retirement plan at the time they are called for active duty, will be considered as not having a break in service for purposes of the retirement plan. There will be no requirement to re-qualify for participation in the retirement plan upon reemployment. In addition, upon reemployment, the University will make any plan contributions that it would have made if the employee had not been on a leave of absence for active military service. However, the University will contribute no interest or earnings to the employee's retirement account. Plan participants returning to employment are also provided an opportunity under federal law to make certain retroactive voluntary contributions that they could have made had they not been on military leave, and the University will match such contributions consistent with the retirement plan. 

Vacation for professional employees will be reduced pro rata to reflect the leave of absence. 

3.         Reemployment Rights and Responsibilities 

Regular employees called to active duty who are released from active duty with an honorable discharge are entitled to be restored to their former positions or to positions of like seniority, status and pay on the same terms and conditions as if their employment had not been interrupted. 

Employees called to active duty who, upon release, have a service-related disability, making them no longer qualified, with reasonable accommodations, to perform the duties of the position and for whom job restructuring is not feasible, who, nevertheless, are qualified with reasonable accommodations for an alternative position, will be offered the alternative position. If an employee called to active duty requests reemployment in an alternative position, he or she must be employed in a position that provides seniority, status and pay, as similar as possible to the former position. 

Employees ordered to active duty for more than ninety (90) days must apply for reemployment within ninety (90) days of their release from active duty. Employees ordered to active duty for ninety (90) days or less must apply for reemployment within thirty-one (31) days of their release from active duty. 

            B.         Military Training Leave 

Employees who are members of the National Guard or Reserve Corps are eligible annually for up to ten (10) working days' leave with pay for military training purposes. If military payments are less than the employee's wages or salary for the period, the University will reimburse the employee for the difference upon presentation of the military pay vouchers. If military payments equal or exceed the employee's salary or wages, the employee will not receive University funds for the period served. 

Employees on approved leave for military training for up to ten (10) days continue to accrue annual and sick leave at the normal rate. 

C.     Military Caregiver Leave 

Eligible employees may take up to 26 work weeks of unpaid Military Caregiver leave during a 12-month period to care for a covered service member if the covered service member is their spouse, child, parent or “next of kin” (nearest blood relative). 

1.      Covered Service Member 

A covered service member is defined as a current member of the Armed Forces or a veteran for up to 5 years after he or she leaves military service under any discharge other than dishonorable who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for a serious injury or illness.  Serious illness or injury includes a pre-existing injury or illness of a covered service member that was aggravated in the line of duty. Intermittent or reduced schedule leave may be taken for military caregiver leave. 

2.      Serious Injury or Illness 

For current members of the Armed Forces, serious illness or injury is defined as a condition incurred in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces or that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces and that may render the service member medically unfit to perform their duties.

For covered veterans, a serious injury or illness means an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces and manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran. 

3.      Coordination with Paid Leave 

Military Caregiver Leave is unpaid leave; however, employees may use accrued Annual or Sick Leave to substitute their unpaid Military Caregiver Leave. The use of paid leave will count against the total leave entitlement under Federal and D.C. law. 

D.     Qualifying Exigency Leave 

Eligible employees may be entitled to Qualifying Exigency leave if their spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty, or is on a foreign deployment. 

1.      Length of Qualifying Exigency Leave 

Eligible employees are can receive up to a total of 12 weeks of unpaid Qualifying Exigency leave during a 12-month period. 

2.      Examples of Qualifying Exigency Leave 

Qualifying exigencies include the following: short-notice deployment; military events and related activities; childcare and school activities; financial and legal arrangements; counseling; rest and recuperation; post-deployment activities; parental care leave to care for a military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care when the care is necessitated by the member’s covered active duty; and additional activities to address other events which arise out of the covered service member's active duty or call to active duty status, provided the University and employee agree that such leave shall qualify as an exigency, and agree to both the timing and duration of such leave. 

3.      Coordination with Paid Leave 

Qualifying Exigency Leave is unpaid leave; however, employees may use accrued Annual or Sick Leave to substitute their unpaid Qualifying Exigency Leave. The use of paid leave will count against the total leave entitlement under Federal and D.C. law. 

XI.        Sick and Safe Leave 

Sick and safe leave are addressed separately in the University’s Sick and Safe Leave Policy.  That policy describes specific provisions that staff employees may utilize for taking care of their health needs and those of their families, and provisions for safe leave for all employees (staff and faculty) per the District of Columbia Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act. 

XII        Wedding Leave 

One day of paid leave may be given to regular employees for their wedding day. 

XIV.      Workers’ Compensation  

Employees have insurance coverage for medical expenses and loss of income relating from a work-related injury or illness, in accordance with the D.C. Workers’ Compensation law.  See the University’s Workers’ Compensation Policy, and contact the Office of Human Resources.