ABOUT LEAVES OF ABSENCE
UPDATED Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act)
The recently passed American Rescue Plan (ARPA) extended the FFCRA benefits from April 1st to September 30th and provided leave provisions related to vaccinations in addition to the previous provisions provided by FFCRA. If you believe you qualify for these provisions contact your HR Specialist. The form to request a FFCRA leave can be found using this FFRCA Leave Form.
An employee who is absent from work for a period of more than ten (10) work days for the same eligible reason, excluding vacation days, is required to request approval of the leave of absence using the process described here. (Click the link.)
Typical Reasons to Request a Leave of Absence
- Physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of your job due to a serious medical condition as defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), with physician certification,
- Dependent care of employee’s child(ren), spouse, or parent due to a serious medical condition as defined by the FMLA, with physician certification, whether or not the employee is covered by FMLA.
- Birth or Adoption of child(ren).
- Enlistment in military service.
- Applicable leaves granted under MN Statutes.
- Other grantable leaves as cited in your corresponding bargaining unit master agreement.
The District maintains the right to determine the start or end date of the leave, based on the best interests of students, programs, and/or the District, within the parameters of applicable medical certification.
Regarding Pay During Leaves of Absence
- There are no pay provisions under the FMLA.
- If you are on an approved leave of absence, you are required to use all earned and accrued paid leave time with the District, as applicable.
- For example, Sick Leave pay may not be used for discretionary leaves of absence such as childcare, while vacation time is applicable for such leaves.
How Leaves Affect Benefits
- If you are receiving pay during an approved leave of absence, you will qualify for the employer-paid portion towards all of your coverages for as long as pay continues. Your portion due towards your coverages will continue to be deducted from your paycheck, and your benefits will continue uninterrupted.
- If you are on an approved leave of absence protected under FMLA, and not receiving pay during the FMLA coverage period, your benefits will continue uninterrupted, and the employer-paid portion towards your medical, dental, and LTD coverages will continue. You are responsible to pay your portion of the medical and/or dental premiums and the full cost of the premiums for group life insurance and any supplemental coverages during any unpaid time.
- Once pay ends (and when FMLA protection expires, if applicable), the employer-paid portion towards your coverages ceases, and you may be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage. Under COBRA, you are responsible for the full cost of any continued coverages while on extended unpaid leave.
- Normally, for an approved leave, any premiums due from you during the absence period would be collected from the last pay deposit before going into unpaid status. Any remaining premiums due typically will be collected after return from leave or can be made via check payable to ISD 728.
Usage of Accumulated Leave Time
The collectively-bargained agreements (master contracts) contain provisions for the usage of sick leave and paid time off. Some master contracts provide for allocation of the annual sick and/or vacation leave allotment at the beginning of the fiscal year. This time is advanced upfront, but actually earned as the year progresses. An employee on a leave may only use the amount of time that is earned. In other words, the leave time that was advanced at the beginning of the year, but not yet earned as of the commencement of a leave, will be deducted from the employee's account before paid leave time is applied to the employee's absence. Usage of relevant earned leave time during a leave of absence is required and will automatically be applied to contracted days falling during the period of absence. Correspondence regarding usage of leave time will be mailed to the employee's home address upon submission of an official leave request.