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Human Resources | Employee Handbook: Part V

Part V: LEAVE TIME

A. General Leave

Policy Clarifications as of June 26, 2002

B. Major Medical Leave

C. Family and Medical Leave Act

D. Paid Holidays

E. Administrative Leave, Liberal Leave, Weather and Other Emergencies

All staff personnel at Trinity are entitled to take leave time, both paid and unpaid, according to the policies specified in this section.

A.  General Leave

This section and the term “general leave” replaces all former terminology and encompasses the forms of leave formerly known as annual leave, sick leave, bereavement leave and personal days. A separate section on “Medical Leave,” below, provides additional coverage in the event of serious illness.

“General Leave” for all personnel is time off with pay for vacation or personal needs, including sick days that are not part of a major medical problem (see below). Beyond securing the permission of the supervisor to take the time off, employees do not need to specify the reasons for taking the leave. All employees are expected to comply with the directions of the Office of Human Resources for annual documentation and reporting of the use of general leave.

Executive Personnel have leave time specified in their contracts of employment.

All other exempt personnel receive 20 days of general leave per year, after the three month probationary period expires, with the first year of general leave pro-rated according to the number of months remaining in the leave year. Exempt personnel receive 25 days of general leave per year after their fifth year of employment. This leave does not accumulate; any balance remaining in any given year extinguishes upon the employee’s separation from Trinity, and such left-over leave time is not paid.

(NOTE: As of the effective date of this Handbook, Trinity will no longer pay out the cash value of accumulated annual leave. For employees who have been on staff prior to the effective date of this handbook, and who have annual leave accumulated from the period of time prior to the effective date, the accumulated annual leave will be kept as a general leave bank beyond the general leave days specified in this section, and those employees who have such accumulated annual leave may use that leave, in addition to the general leave specified herein, at any time up to two years from the date of this Handbook’s implementation, subject to the terms and conditions for planning leave and reporting leave arrangements to supervisors. After two years beyond the effective date of this Handbook, any leave remaining in the leave bank extinguishes and Trinity will not pay out the balance. Similarly, if the employee leaves Trinity prior to the end of the two-year period, any leave in the bank extinguishes and Trinity will not pay out the value of the balance.)

Non-exempt employees accrue general leave time in each pay period, up to a maximum of 15 days, after which time the leave stops accumulating.  The maximum accrual increases to 20 days after five full years of service.  Non-exempt personnel must have the permission of their supervisor to take general leave, and failure to secure prior permission will result in unpaid leave and may incur dismissal.

In all cases, personnel must consult with their supervisors with regard to the schedule for taking general leave; failure to do so will result in unpaid leave for any period absent, and may result in dismissal. In general, while occasional days off may be necessary, personnel may not take extended general leave during the fall and spring semesters when classes are in session, or in the two weeks prior to the opening of school in August. Exceptions to this norm may occur on a case-by-case basis in non-academic departments.

POLICY CLARIFICATION AS OF JUNE 26, 2002

Beginning immediately, personnel who voluntarily resign their positions with Trinity College are expected to work through the announced date of their departure.  Trinity will not pay for any leave time taken between the time the resignation is announced and the date of departure, unless that leave time is specifically approved by the Director of Human Resources.

Also, Trinity reserves the right to refuse to pay for the leave time of any employee who chooses to resign upon returning from an extended leave, and Trinity may withhold final paychecks of individuals who take extended paid leave and then fail to return to work.

Supervisors may not enter into individual employee agreements that subvert this policy.  Any variances from the policy must be approved by the Director of Human Resources.

Our policies were constructed to promote equity and fairness for all employees across the range of position classifications and salary levels, and also to promote responsible use of institutional resources, virtually all of which come either from student tuitions or gift/grant monies provided by donors.  This is not our money, it belongs to our students and donors, and we hold it in trust to accomplish Trinity’s goals.  No one has a right to exempt themselves from our policies, and in particular, managers have a special obligation to manifest appropriate fiduciary conduct at all times.

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B.  Major Medical Leave

For the purpose of paid leave accrual in the event of a major medical need, exempt employees earn 12 days of medical leave for every year worked at Trinity, up to a cap of 90 days after which the long-term disability coverage becomes effective.

Non-exempt employees accrue major medical leave at the rate of one day (8 hours) per pay period up to 12 days per year, accumulating up to a cap of 90 days after which the long-term disability coverage becomes effective.

For both exempt and non-exempt employees, the bank of major medical leave shall not be used for routine sick days, which are now covered under general leave, but rather, this bank is intended to protect the employee in the event of a major medical event (e.g., pregnancy, major surgery or catastrophic illness, similar family medical needs). In order to use this form of medical leave, personnel must notify the Director of Human Resources who will provide additional directions regarding necessary documentation and approval for use of major medical leave.

Major medical leave accumulates throughout the employee’s tenure at Trinity, up to the 90 day cap specified. However, the leave bank extinguishes upon the employee’s separation from Trinity, and any balance of major medical leave time is not payable.

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C.  Family and Medical Leave Act

In cases of extended medical conditions or family needs, an employee who has worked at Trinity for at least one year without a break in service may take unpaid leave of up to 16 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act. During the period of leave, an employee shall not lose any employment benefits such as continuous service or heath care coverage. Employees remain responsible to pay the contributory portion of their health care premium during FMLA leave. Benefits such as annual and sick leave do not accrue during unpaid leave.

An employee who needs to use FMLA leave should make a formal request to the Director of Human Resources with reasonable prior notice when possible.

Under the College’s policy, an employee may substitute paid leave, to the extent available, for any period of FMLA leave taken.

In compliance with the provisions of the FMLA, the College requires that all requests be supported by a certification from the employee’s heath care provider that states the date on which the employee’s or family member’s health condition commenced, information regarding the nature of the condition that justifies FMLA leave, the probable duration of the condition, and a statement that the employee is unable to perform the functions of his/her position. Confidentiality of all information provided will be maintained by the College.

Trinity policy requires that at such time that an employee has recovered sufficiently to resume the responsibilities of his/her position that the employee provide a written statement regarding his/her fitness for work from his/her health care provider.

Upon return from FMLA leave, the employee will be restored to the same or equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay and other terms of employment.

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D.  Paid Holidays

Trinity College publishes an annual calendar of paid employee holidays. This calendar is published no later than July 1, the start of each fiscal year. Trinity reserves the right to change the holiday calendar each year, so that days given in past years are not “precedent” for future paid holidays. Once the calendar is published, however, the dates will not change.

Trinity may also grant additional paid holidays at the discretion of the President.

Current List of Holidays

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E.  Administrative Leave, Liberal Leave, Weather and Other Emergencies

Various kinds of emergencies — snow, hurricane, power outage, water main breaks, etc.— sometimes cause a re-arrangement of the work day and attendance expectations. Trinity’s senior staff makes every effort possible to assess the situation at the earliest feasible moment and to communicate with employees about changes in work plans for the day. All staff are expected to cooperate with supervisor’s directions in these circumstances.

Administrative Leave occurs when, in the judgment of the President or presiding Vice President, the business of the College cannot continue on any given day. Administrative leave is paid leave. The most typical circumstance for administrative leave occurs when a snowstorm forces the College to close its operations for the day.

Administrative leave is not vacation time, and executive and management personnel are expected to remain generally available to assist with any emergency situation and to facilitate communications among staff, students and constituencies. On snow days and other times when administrative leave is necessary for a majority of the staff, certain administrative and technical staff may also be required to come to campus for particular duties, e.g., supervision of residence halls, snow clearing, distribution of emergency supplies, re-activation of telephones and power systems, etc. Here again, administrative leave is not to be considered vacation time, and personnel need to know that some employees may need to work according to the nature of the emergency. In such circumstances, non-exempt personnel are still covered by the general 40-hour rule for overtime purposes.

Liberal Leave is leave time that is charged against the employee’s bank of general leave, but may occur without prior approval of the supervisor in certain circumstances. Liberal leave occurs at times when a general event — usually a snowstorm — causes disruption in public transportation or schools, but is not severe enough to warrant shutting down Trinity’s operations for the day. Liberal Leave means that an employee may take the day as general leave without first calling the supervisor. However, professional courtesy would still expect that the employee and supervisor would communicate, at least by voicemail, about the plans for the day.

Other forms of administrative leave, both paid or unpaid, may be directed by the President or her designee in individual cases. Such leave may occur for a wide variety of reasons, including disciplinary actions as well as personal situations. The specific reasons for individual administrative leave are a private matter between the employee and the college, and such individual cases do not set precedents for other employees.

Finally, from time to time, the President may choose to send all employees home early. This is not leave time and may not be claimed by employees who are not present on the day that the early dismissal occurs. Nor may employees who stay beyond the dismissal time claim overtime, unless they are non-exempt personnel who have exceeded the 40-hour standard.

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Trinity College reserves the right to interpret or change the policies stated in this Handbook as the need arises. This document is not a contract.

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