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Human Resources

Policies & Procedures

Leaves of Absence

The University allows regular, full-time employees to accumulate leave.   Accrual begins monthly on the first day of the month following the month of employment. Leave shall accrue in proportion to the percentage of the full-time (40 hours per week) position. Leave does not accrue by an employee during leave of absence without pay, unpaid leave, suspension without pay, layoff, or removal from the payroll for any reason. Employees may use only leave which has been earned and accrued prior to the date of absence. It is the responsibility of the employee and the supervisor to ensure that sufficient leave has accrued to cover the absence prior to the request and approval of the request.

Requests for any type of leave should be submitted to the supervisor as soon as the employee knows that such leave will be necessary or desired. Advance notice allows the supervisor to consider such leave request when planning work schedules. When conditions do not permit a request in advance (illness, personal emergency, etc.), the employee is to notify the supervisor at the earliest possible time of the need to use accrued leave. If the supervisor is not available, the next level in the administrative channel may be notified.

8.1 Holidays

Each academic year, the University recognizes the following holidays:

  1. Traditional Holidays:
    • New Year’s Day
    • Memorial Day
    • Independence Day (4th of July)
    • Labor Day
    • Thanksgiving Day (and the following day )
    • Christmas Day
  2. Other days as designated by the President

Regular, full-time employees will be excused from work with pay on those days recognized by the University as holidays.

When operations of the University require that a non-exempt employee work on days recognized as traditional holidays, the employee will be granted compensation at the rate of time-and-one-half for each hour worked. When operations of the University require that a non-exempt employee work on other days as designated by the President, the employee will be granted compensation at the regular rate of pay.

8.2 Annual Leave

The following is a schedule of annual leave accumulation according to years of service at the University.

  • 0-5 years of service – 15 days per year (max accumulation of 30 days at fiscal year-end)
  • 6-20 years of service – 18 days per year (max accumulation of 45 days at fiscal year-end)
  • Over 20 years of service – 20 days per year (max accumulation of 60 days at fiscal year-end)

Annual leave is granted at the convenience of the University by the supervisor upon request of the employee. The desire of an employee as to the dates he or she will take leave will be granted insofar as this can be done without inconvenience to the department or the University. Annual leave is not automatically extended because of illness during the annual leave period. If the employee has more than the allowable maximum accumulation on June 30th (fiscal year-end), the overage will be lost. Compensatory Leave must be exhausted before annual leave is taken unless this action will result in a loss of annual leave relative to maximum accrual limits.

New employees, as a condition of employment and at the discretion of the President, may receive credit for past service and transfer accumulations from a prior state agency. Such approval must be documented on the Employee Transaction Form at the date of hire.

Upon termination from employment, voluntary or otherwise, unused accrued annual leave will be paid to the employee at the employee's regular rate of pay, but only if termination was in accordance with this provision. The University will determine the method of payment (lump sum or scheduled payments). A lump sum payment for accrued annual leave will be made to the employee within thirty-one days following the final paycheck.

Any individual employed with restricted funds (federal grants, special projects, etc.) may accrue annual leave only during the duration of the grant period. All annual leave should be taken prior to such ending date. The University will not accept liability for accrued annual leave after a grant or contract is discontinued. Accrued annual leave is forfeited if not taken prior to the ending date of the grant or contract. Grant administrators should take appropriate steps to ensure that their budgets are sufficient to fund all accrued leave.

8.3 Sick Leave

Employees accrue fifteen days of sick leave per year, with a maximum accumulation of one hundred and thirty days at fiscal year-end. If the employee has more than the allowable maximum accumulation on June 30th  (fiscal year end), the overage will be lost. New employees, as a condition of employment and at the discretion of the President, may transfer accumulations from a prior state agency. Such approval must be documented on the Employee Transaction Form at the date of hire.

Sick leave may be taken only when the employee or his or her immediate family member is ill; injured; or has a medical, surgical, dental or optical examination/treatment or appointment; or if the employee has been exposed to a contagious disease which would jeopardize the health of co-workers. Immediate family members are defined as an employee’s spouse, parents, or dependent children.

Requests for sick leave should be made in advance when possible. If advance notice is not possible, the employee should notify the supervisor as soon as possible each day the employee is unable to work. For an employee returning to work after an absence of three or more consecutive working days as a result of an illness or injury, the University may require a current, signed physician’s statement addressing the employee’s ability to return to work. If the examination shows that the employee is unable to perform his or her essential job functions, the employee may not be permitted to return to work.

Upon termination from employment or reduction to less than regular full-time status, accumulated sick leave is not payable to the employee.

8.4 Paid Personal Leave

Three days of paid personal leave are granted at the beginning of each fiscal year. If employment begins after the start of the fiscal year, the days will be prorated accordingly. This leave can be used for bereavement, emergencies, personal business, and/or any other purpose at the discretion of the employee.

Requests for personal leave must be approved by the supervisor and should be made in advance, except in emergency cases.

A new employee will be granted personal leave after the first six months of employment. Personal leave does not accrue from one year to the next, and all personal leave is forfeited if not taken within the fiscal year. Upon termination from employment or reduction to less than regular full-time status, unused personal leave is not payable to the employee.

8.5 Administrative Leave

An administrative leave with pay may be given when it is determined to be in the University’s best interest that an employee not return to work for a specified period of time or for designated emergency closings of the University.

8.6 Leave of Absence Without Pay

Leave of absence without pay may be recommended by a supervisor when it appears to be in the best interests of the University and the employee. Such leave may not exceed one year in length and may not be for absences of less than one day. Presidential approval is required for all leaves of absence and Board of Regents’ approval is required for a leave of absence of more than three months.

Whether or not the University will continue to pay employer paid benefits during a leave of absence without pay will be determined at the discretion of the President and will be decided based upon what is in the best interests of the University.  A period of leave of absence without pay does not count as service time for computation of retirement benefits and no leave time will be earned during leave without pay.

Leave without pay may not be used unless all accrued compensatory, personal, and annual leave have been exhausted, or, in the case of illness or absence for medical reasons, until all leave accruals have been exhausted.

8.6.1 Personal
When employees are granted leave without pay for personal reasons, the University is obligated to reemploy the individual in either the same or a similar position within the recommending department. Prior to granting a leave without pay, departments should carefully consider whether they would be in a position to reemploy the individual at the conclusion of the leave. If the position cannot be held open or filled on a temporary basis, the department should make it clear to the employee and state on the Employee Transaction Form that the leave is being granted with the understanding that the University is not obligated to reemploy the individual at the conclusion of the leave.  Leave without pay requests may be refused if the request is not in the best interests of the University. 

8.7 Family and Medical Leave

The University's Family and Medical Leave (FML) Policy, which incorporates provisions of existing University policies and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, is designed to enable employees to balance their work responsibilities with the demands of caring for family members or in the event of serious personal illness or injury. To be eligible for FML, an employee must have one year of employment at the University and have worked at least one thousand two hundred and fifty hours during the twelve months prior to the start of FML. An eligible employee will be granted up to a total of twelve work weeks of leave (combined paid and unpaid) in a twelve-month period in accordance with the provisions listed below. The twelve-month period is based upon the anniversary date of employment.

8.7.1 Family Leave
Family leaves of absence may be taken for the following reasons:

  1. birth of son or daughter of the employee and in order to care for the son or daughter or
  2. placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care.

Accrued leave, as provided for in Section 8 of this manual, shall be used initially by the employee in the following order:

  1. compensatory time
  2. annual leave, and
  3. personal leave.

When leave with pay is no longer available, the leave may be extended to a total of twelve workweeks by using leave without pay. While on leave without pay, University benefits may continue at the employee’s expense, but additional leave time will not accrue nor will this leave period be counted as service time towards the calculation of retirement benefits.

Family leaves for birth, adoption, or placement of a foster child must fall within the term of employment and are to be taken consecutively without interruption ending no later than twelve months after the day of birth or placement of child. When both spouses are employed by the University, they will be limited to a combined total of twelve workweeks of family leave.

Pregnancy is to be treated as any other sick leave, with the duration of the disability to be medically determined. An employee may continue normal duties through pregnancy or use available leave while unable to perform regular duties. Employees who utilize leave for pregnancy shall suffer no penalty, retaliation, or other discrimination. Leave for the birth of a child may be extended beyond that granted for the medical disability to a total of twelve weeks through the utilization of accrued compensatory, annual and personal leave, or leave without pay.

8.7.2 Medical Leave
Medical leaves of absence may be taken for the following reasons:

  1. a serious personal illness or injury or
  2. for care of a spouse, son or daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition.

A serious health condition is one that requires in-patient care or continuing treatment by a health-care provider.

Medical leaves of absence may be taken intermittently or on a reduced-time basis (e.g., by working fewer days in a week or by fewer hours in a day) if such a schedule is needed for medical reasons. The University will require acceptable medical documentation of illness or disability for a personal illness or injury and acceptable documentation from the health-care provider for care of a spouse, son or daughter, or parent.

Accrued leave, as provided for in Section 8 of this manual, shall be used initially by the employee in the following order:

  1. compensatory time
  2. sick leave
  3. annual leave
  4. personal leave.

When leave with pay is no longer available, leave may be extended to a total of twelve workweeks in a twelve-month period by using leave without pay. While on leave without pay, University benefits may continue at the employee’s expense, but additional leave time will not accrue nor will this leave period be counted as service time towards the calculation of retirement benefits.

8.7.3 Procedure
Requests for family or medical leaves of absence must be in writing and must include the reason for the request and the anticipated time period for the leave. All requests for family and medical leaves of absence shall be made at least thirty days in advance, to the extent practicable. If the leave is for planned medical treatment, the employee is expected to schedule the treatment so as to create minimum disruption for the employer. When leave is used for the employee's own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, son or daughter, or parent with a serious health condition, acceptable medical documentation from the health-care provider will be required. Leave will be denied if the employee fails to provide the required medical documentation.

8.7.4 Return to Work
Eligible employees who take a family or medical leave of absence from a position within the University will be able to return to the same or equivalent position and employment benefits. In the event of budgetary or organizational changes during the period of absence, the employee shall be treated as if he or she were occupying the same position at the time of the change. If an employee does not return to work as agreed upon, unless other arrangements are made, he or she shall be considered to have resigned from the University.

If the reason for leave is personal illness or injury of the employee, medical proof of fitness to return to work may be required indicating the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the job.

A complete copy of the FMLA, which contains further definitions that may apply, is available from the Employment and Benefits Office.

8.8 Extended Medical Leave

The University may require a physician’s statement periodically from employees on extended medical leave. Failure to provide a statement from the physician could lead to termination. Failure to return to work at the beginning of the next scheduled work day after being released by the physician may result in termination. The actual position held by the employee may be held for a reasonable period of time after the exhaustion of paid leave, to be determined by the needs of the University. After that time, the employee may be terminated.

8.9 Shared Leave Policy

The Shared Leave Program is a means for a University employee to donate paid leave (annual, sick, and personal) to a fellow University employee who is eligible for and requires leave while experiencing a serious health condition, as defined below, which has caused, or is likely to cause, the employee to take leave without pay.

8.9.1 Definitions

  • Employee Recipient: Regular full-time employees who hold benefits-eligible appointments that accrue leave and who have had continuous employment for at least twelve months preceding the serious health condition. The Employee Recipient must have used all of his or her leave (annual, sick, and personal) hours and compensatory time hours (if applicable) prior to being eligible to receive shared leave. Shared leave is not available for employees in off-work status due to Workers’ Compensation.
  • Employee Donor:  Regular full-time employees who hold benefits-eligible appointments that accrue leave and have a leave balance greater than fifty percent (50%) of maximum accrual. An Employee Donor can donate paid leave at any time during the fiscal year.
  • Serious Health Condition:   A serious, extreme, catastrophic, or life-threatening medical condition is a period of incapacity requiring the employee to be medically unable to work for a period of seven days or more. The medical condition includes continuing treatment or supervision by a health care provider or continuing treatment of a chronic or long-term health condition. The employee must be suffering from an extraordinary or severe illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition which has caused, or is likely to cause, the employee to take leave without pay.
  • Shared Leave Committee: The Shared Leave Committee will monitor the Shared Leave Program, make policy recommendations to administration, and approve the distribution of shared leave to the recipient. The Shared Leave Committee will consist of seven University employees, with a term of three years. The Committee will be comprised of three faculty members appointed by the Faculty Senate, three staff members appointed by the Vice President for Business Affairs and will be chaired by the Employment and Benefits Coordinator. The Shared Leave Committee will report annually to the Vice President for Business Affairs the overall utilization and evaluation of the Shared Leave Program.
  • Shared Leave Pool:  The Shared Leave Pool will include both: leave hours donated by eligible employees for distribution to a specific employee who has applied for and been approved for receipt of shared leave, and leave hours which have previously been donated but not distributed. Hours donated that were not distributed to a specific employee will be maintained in the Shared Leave Pool and will be available for distribution to other eligible employees.

8.9.2 General Guidelines

  1. Shared leave is meant to cover only the duration of the serious health condition for which it was approved.
  2. Donated leave is transferable between employees in different University departments and campus locations, with the approval of the Shared Leave Committee.
  3. Any unused shared leave that was donated to a specific employee will be maintained in the Shared Leave Pool to be distributed to other qualified employees.
  4. All donated leave must be given voluntarily. No employee shall be coerced, threatened, intimidated, or financially induced into donating paid leave for purposes of the Shared Leave Program.
  5. Persons involved in the administration of the Shared Leave Program are responsible for guarding the privacy of leave recipients and donors. Communications with either group must be kept confidential.
  6. The employee recipient who receives shared leave will not accrue additional paid leave while he or she is utilizing said shared leave.
  7. When the employee recipient returns to work and is eligible to earn leave, one-half  of all earned leave (sick, annual, and personal) will be deposited into the Shared Leave Program until the employee has donated a minimum of one-half of the amount of hours that he or she received as a donation. The deposit into the Shared Leave Program will be made as the leave is earned.

8.9.3 Eligibility and Participation Requirements for Recipient

  1. The employee or his or her personal representative will complete a Shared Leave Request Form and attach documentation from a licensed physician or health care practitioner verifying the need for the leave and expected duration of the condition. The request should be submitted to the employee’s supervisor and the Shared Leave Committee.
  2. The employee must have satisfactory performance and have had no disciplinary issues during the previous twelve-month period.
  3. The supervisor will review the application and forward his or her recommendation to the Shared Leave Committee.
  4. The Shared Leave Committee will determine eligibility of the employee based on:
    • The definitions listed above.
    • Whether all leave available to the employee has been used or is likely to be used. The employee must also use all available leave hours before being eligible to participate in the Shared Leave Program.
    • Whether the employee has abided by University policies regarding the use of leave. 
  5. If the employee meets the above criteria, the Shared Leave Committee will determine the amount of donated leave an employee may receive and may only authorize an employee to use up to a maximum of four hundred and eighty hours in a twelve -month period. An employee cannot exceed two hundred sixty days or two thousand eighty hours of donated leave during total University employment.
  6. The receiving employee shall be paid his or her regular rate of pay, up to a maximum of two-thousand five hundred ($2,500) dollars per month of approved shared leave. Each hour of approved shared leave will be provided to the recipient on an hour for hour basis. The leave received will be designated as shared leave and be maintained separately from all other leave balances.

8.9.4 Eligibility and Participation Requirements for Donor

  1. The receiving employee must be eligible under the above criteria.
  2. The donating employee will complete a Shared Leave Donation Form. The Shared Leave Donation Form must be sent to the donor employee’s supervisor and the Shared Leave Committee.
  3. The donating employee may donate any amount of leave provided the donation does not cause the leave balance of the employee to fall below fifty percent of his or her maximum accrual.
  4. Donations must be made in full-hour increments.

8.10 Jury Duty/Subpoena

When responding to a request for jury duty, the employee shall be entitled to a leave of absence for such duty with full pay and benefits. A copy of the request to report for jury duty must be submitted to the supervisor and forwarded to the Department of Human Resources prior to the start of the leave. If an employee is not selected for jury duty after reporting each of the required days, he or she must return to work for the remainder of the day. The employee must provide to the supervisor evidence of having served on a jury for the time claimed.

When an employee is subpoenaed to appear in court in a matter relating to University business, he or she must submit a copy of the subpoena to the Employment and Benefits Office. The employee shall be entitled to a leave of absence for such duty with full pay and benefits.

If the subpoena is regarding a personal matter, the employee may take personal or annual leave.

8.11 Voting

A sufficient amount of time off with pay will be given for the purpose of voting in national, state, and local elections.

8.12 Military Leave

Per Oklahoma statute, all employees of the University who are members of any component of the armed forces of the United States shall, when ordered by proper authority to active duty or service, be entitled to a leave of absence for such active service without loss of status or negative performance evaluation. There will be no loss of pay during the first 30 working days of such leave per calendar year. Military leave does not affect the accumulation of any other type of leave. Prior approval must be obtained by submitting a copy of the duty orders to the supervisor.

8.13 Inclement Weather

The President or designee will be responsible for contacting the local news media if the decision is made to close or delay opening of any part of the University due to inclement weather conditions. Unless the administrative offices are specifically mentioned in the local news media, they are presumed to be open.

If administrative offices are closed, the absence for that period should be reported on the Monthly Departmental Employee Absence Report for exempt employees and the Employee Monthly Time and Leave Report.

If the University is open, employees who determine they cannot travel safely to the University are expected to notify their supervisor by telephone. Unless the supervisor extends permission to make up the time within the current workweek, this absence must be taken as personal leave, annual leave, leave without pay, or accrued compensatory time

8.14 Leave Records

Each employee must accurately maintain leave records and is responsible for reporting such time to his or her supervisor on the Monthly Departmental Employee Absence Report or the Employee Monthly Time and Leave Report . Supervisors must review, approve, and forward the reports to the Department of Human Resources on the last day of each calendar month.