CHAPTER SIX: BENEFITS 6.6

D. Personal and Professional Development Leave

An unpaid leave is an authorized absence without pay for up to 12 months and may be granted to regular employees to meet unusual situations or special circumstances. Unpaid leaves will only be approved if the supervisor is convinced that there will be no significant adverse effect on the department. Unpaid leaves for personal and professional development purposes are rare because an absence from work for an extended period of time often causes hardship for others in the department.

An employee, with the support of their supervisor, may submit a proposal to their vice president for an unpaid leave. Proposals for professional development leaves must reflect values supportive of the mission of the college and identify the ways in which the leave will enable the employee to be more effective in the current position upon their return.

Unpaid leaves for personal or professional development purposes will be considered based upon the following limitations:

  1. Only regular employees who have been employed a year or more are eligible for unpaid leave in excess of one week.
  2. Accrued vacation days must first be used.
  3. The college will reinstate an employee who returns from an unpaid leave to the position they occupied prior to the leave, if it continues to exist. The employee must personally notify their supervisor at least one month prior to the date that they plan to return to work.
  4. Employment will automatically terminate upon expiration of an unpaid leave if the employee has not notified the college of their readiness to return to work.
  5. The college will not make contributions to the retirement plan or FICA, as leaves are unpaid.
  6. Paid time-off benefits will not accrue during periods of unpaid leave.

An employee on an unpaid personal leave will continue to be eligible to participate in benefit programs of the college. To the extent allowed by law, the insurance carrier, and institutional policies, insured benefits (e.g. medical, dental, life, long-term disability) will continue to be available if the employee pays the entire premium for such benefits. Workers' Compensation Insurance coverage is suspended during unpaid leaves of absence.

An employee on an unpaid professional development leave continues to be eligible to participate in benefit programs of the college. To the extent allowed by law, the insurance carrier, and institutional policies, insured benefits (e.g. medical, dental, life, long-term disability) and education assistance benefits will continue to be provided under the normal conditions established for all regular employees. An employee granted a professional development leave must agree to return to the college for a period of one full year after returning from leave. If such service is not completed, all college contributions to benefits during the professional development leave are to be repaid to the college by the employee upon separation.

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