Policy Number: 105
Leave of Absence
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
Regular employees of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university") are eligible for leave of absence. Regular employees are appointed for a a period of at least four and one-half consecutive months with a definite job assignment that must be 50 percent time or more. (See HOOP Policy 17 Appointment Status.) The university recognizes that circumstances may arise that will compel an employee to request a temporary leave from work. The university may grant an eligible employee leave of absence for good cause, if such action is considered to be in the best interests of the university. The approval of leave of absence by the university constitutes a guarantee of employment for a specified period of time, subject to fiscal constraints.
Leave of absence is defined as a leave without pay justified by compelling personal affairs. In general, leave of absence may not be granted for a period that exceeds 12 months. Compelling personal affairs do not include any form of business or other activity that can be handled just as readily, although perhaps not as conveniently, outside of normal working hours. After a return to work for one year or more, the leave of absence privilege will again be available subject to the conditions noted in this policy.
A. Approval Processes
1. First Calendar Year of Leave
Employees and faculty must submit a written request to their immediate supervisor detailing the reason(s) for the request and indicating what duration of leave is desired. For leaves due to medical reasons, a health care provider’s statement detailing the necessity of the leave should be included. Any request for leave of absence will be evaluated on its individual merits. If the request is approved by the supervisor, the department will process the appropriate personnel action for approval to place the employee on leave of absence.
A leave of absence can only be approved for the balance of the fiscal year in which it is granted. In the case of faculty, the date for return to duty will generally coincide with the beginning of the next semester following the period of absence. If an employee or faculty member requests a leave of absence that would extend into the next fiscal year, the employee or faculty member must submit a written request to their immediate supervisor 30 days prior to the end of the first fiscal year to receive the necessary approval for that part of the leave that falls into the next fiscal year. If this request is approved, the department will process the appropriate personnel action for approval to project the remainder of the leave into the next fiscal year.
An employee who is unable to return to work on the expiration of the leave may request an extension of the leave. Within the conditions of this policy, a department head may extend the leave for a specified period of time or the employee may be separated.
2. Second Calendar Year of Leave
In unusual circumstances and with the interest of the university being given first consideration, a leave of absence for a second consecutive year may be granted by the President. Extended leaves of absence will be granted only for:
- military service;
- continued graduate study; and
- public service or other activity that reflects credit on the university and enhances the employee's ability to make subsequent contributions to the institution.
3. Third Calendar Year of Leave
Requests for a third consecutive year of leave of absence must be reviewed by The University of Texas System Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and may be approved only for any of the reasons noted previously.
B. Conditions that Apply
Except for disciplinary suspensions without pay, the use of Worker's Compensation Insurance or military leave, all accumulated paid leave entitlements and compensatory time balances must be exhausted before initiation of a leave of absence. Sick leave may only be exhausted in those cases where the employee or faculty member is eligible to use sick leave (see HOOP Policy 30 Sick Leave). Vacation and sick leave do not accrue during any full calendar month for which an employee is on leave of absence. An employee is not eligible to receive holiday pay while on a leave of absence.
Prior to the effective date of leave, it is the employee's responsibility to contact the Benefits department to make arrangements for the continuance of group insurance programs, which will otherwise be subject to cancellation. Failure to return to work at the time specified or failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the leave will result in forfeiture of the privileges of leave.