This section provides an overview of many benefits available to faculty and staff. In the event of conflict between the overview provided in this handbook and the plan document or insurance plan, the plan document or insurance plan will govern. Complete descriptions are not possible in the handbook; employees should contact Human Resources for specific plan details. The Labor Agreement governs in the case of Union employees in all aspects of this section. Regular non-union employees who have a schedule involving a (.46) FTE or above, and Union employees who have a (.50) FTE or above are eligible to participate in the College’s benefit programs.
Carleton College will comply with all applicable laws such as ACA, FMLA, federal, state, and any applicable regulations.
Employment & Benefits
Leaves of Absence
Carleton College will comply with all applicable laws such as FMLA, federal, state, and any applicable regulations. We recognize that situations may arise requiring an employee to request a leave of absence. The leave may be personal, medical, or for military service. Employees will meet with Human Resources to determine the proper designation of the type of leave, its applicable provisions, statutes/regulations and forms, and how the leave is to be monitored. In order to ensure we have up to date information on all these leaves, we prefer to check the governmental websites instead of listing statutes in our handbook. Any accrued sick, vacation or floating holiday hours will be used during a leave of absence (see Sick Leave Eligibility section). The amount of paid leave is calculated based on the employee’s budgeted weekly hours. If the absence is due to illness or injury, accumulated sick leave will be paid out according to amount of time indicated by the employee’s physician, time off in addition to the physician’s request will require the use of employee’s accrued vacation and/or floating holiday. College holiday hours will not be paid during a leave of absence. Carleton has zero tolerance for misrepresented requests for leaves or fraudulent acts to receive benefits.
Any unpaid time in lieu of absence accruals will be at the discretion of the supervisor and Human Resources. Employees may, with supervisor approval, take the option of unpaid leave in lieu of vacation or sick pay for hours not worked in cases where the employee does not have a substantial amount of leave accrued. This option is intended for absences not covered under FMLA, and should be of limited duration. Employees do not accrue vacation, sick or floating holiday hours during an unpaid leave or a Paid Parental Leave.
During this leave time, the employee is responsible for paying the employee portion of health care premiums and any other payroll deductions during the period of the leave to ensure continuation of coverage. Arrangements for payments must be made through the Human Resource’s office. Employees who are more than two months behind on payments and do not make arrangements with Human Resources risk losing coverage. If the employee is still on leave after a six-month period, COBRA benefits will be offered. Under COBRA the employee is responsible for paying the entire premium (employee and employer portions) on any insured benefit plans in which the employee participates. It is important to make payments on time to prevent loss of coverage. Employees are eligible for a maximum of six (6) months of personal leave with benefit continuation in a rolling five (5) year period. If an employee has exhausted their leave with benefit continuation, they will automatically move to personal leave without benefit continuation.
Definitions: Immediate Family/Extended Family
Immediate family is defined by the College as persons related to the employee as follows: the employee’s wife, husband, child, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister, brother, grandchild, domestic partner (same sex or opposite sex partners) or step relations within the definition of immediate family. Extended family is defined as persons related to the employee as follows: grandparent, grandparent-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, aunt, cousin, niece, or nephew.
Personal Leaves of Absence
A personal leave of absence is an absence from work taken for personal reasons not otherwise covered by the FMLA or other protected leave policies. A Personal Leaves of absence is at the discretion of the supervisor and Human Resources and will generally be for less than six months. A leave beyond six months may be considered if operationally feasible and will not extend beyond twelve months. We will attempt to return an employee to their same or similar position if operationally feasible, however Carleton does reserve the right to fill the vacancy if need be. If the previous position is no longer available, the employee may be considered for other open positions for which they may be qualified for. Any accrued sick, vacation or floating holiday hours will be used during a leave of absence (see Sick Leave Eligibility section). Any employee who does not return to work after a personal leave, as agreed upon, will be considered to have voluntarily resigned their position.Employees are eligible for a maximum of six (6) months of personal leave with benefit continuation in a rolling five (5) year period. If an employee has exhausted their leave with benefit continuation, they will automatically move to personal leave without benefit continuation.
Family Medical Leave (FMLA)
The College will grant an employee who has worked at least 12 months (which do not have to be consecutive) for the employer and who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the date FMLA leave begins; a leave can be applied for up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period rolling backwards. We comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Employees should give at least 30 days prior notice of need for a FMLA leave. Where the need for a leave is not foreseeable the employee is expected to give as much notice as practical and comply with normal call-in procedures. Supervisors are to inform Human Resources when they have an employee request a leave in excess of three days. When medically necessary, FMLA leave may be taken on an intermittent basis or the employee may work a reduced schedule. Intermittent leave must be certified by a health care provider as necessary and should be scheduled to avoid disruption to the College insofar as is reasonable. Employees will meet with Human Resources to determine the proper designation of the type of leave, its applicable provisions/forms, and how the leave is to be monitored. Human Resources will keep the supervisor informed of the necessary details of the FMLA leave.
In addition, reasonable accommodations for health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth may be requested folowing the advice of a licensed health care provider or certified doula. Accommodations will be provided for more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks; seating; and limits on lifting over 20 pounds. The employee and employer shall engage in an interactive process with respect to an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation.
FMLA leave may be applied for the following reasons:
- Incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or birth or adoption of a son or daughter. If both parents work for the College, they are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks’ leave in a 12-month period for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of their child.
- A serious health condition involving the employee who is unable to perform job functions (including Workers’ Compensation injuries, if applicable).
- Care of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or domestic partner who has a serious health condition. If both the mother and father work for the College, both are entitled to take 12 workweeks of leave to care for a seriously ill child.
- To attend to a medical emergency or impending death of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or domestic partner.
- Eligible employees whose spouse, son, daughter or parent is covered active duty or call to covered active duty status may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Employees may use their 12-week leave entitlement for qualifying exigencies that may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefing.
- A special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserved, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy, is other wise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness*; or a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran, and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation. or therapy for a serious injury or illness. *The FMLA definitions of “serious injury or illness” for current service members and veterans are distinct from the FMLA definitions of “serious health condition”.
When FMLA leave is approved, the employee would qualify for the first five days paid (maximum of 40 hours per rolling 12 month period). Once approved, Human Resources will make the FMLA pay option available through web time entry. The amount of paid leave is calculated based on the non-exempt budgeted weekly hours or the exempt budgeted FTE. Any leave time beyond the first five days requires the use of accrued absences (vacation, sick leave, or floating holiday time) to cover the leave. If leave is for other than self, see sick leave section for the particular family member provisions. If the absence is due to a health condition of the employee (i.e. surgery), accumulated sick leave will be paid out according to amount of time indicated by the employee’s physician. Time off in addition to the physician’s request will require the use of employee’s accrued vacation and/or floating holiday.
FMLA pay does not qualify during a Parental Leave as Carleton has a separate pay benefit for that type of leave. See qualifications of Parental Leave Pay benefit in section 7 of this policy.
Continuation of Health, Dental and Life Benefits
During this leave time, the employee is responsible for paying the employee portion of health care premiums and any other payroll deductions during the period of the leave to ensure continuation of coverage. Arrangements for payments must be made through the Human Resource’s office. Employees who are more than two months behind on payments and do not make arrangements with Human Resources risk losing coverage. After the six-month period expires, COBRA benefits will be offered. Under COBRA the employee is responsible for paying the entire premium (employee and employer portions) on any insured benefit plans in which the employee participates. It is important to make payments on time to prevent loss of coverage.
FMLA Eligibility Notice/Rights and Responsibilities
Once Human Resources is notified of a need for a FMLA leave, HR will provide employees within 5 days a notice of their eligibility for their leave or a reason why they are not eligible. At the same time, employees will be provided with a statement of their Rights and Responsibilities, which is part of the Eligibility Notice.
FMLA Medical Certification Required
Employees who request FMLA leave because of their own serious health condition or of a family member’s serious health condition must submit a Medical Certification Form (or its equivalent) completed by the health care provider to support the leave request. This form is available from Human Resources. The Medical Certification Form should be returned to Human Resources within 15 calendar days after it is requested, or as soon as possible under the circumstances. If the Medical Certification Form returned to the College is not satisfactory, an employee will be told of the deficiencies in writing and given 7 calendar days to complete the Form. If the medical information is inadequate, designated Human Resources may contact the employee’s health provider directly to authenticate or clarify information on the certification. Also, Human Resources may directly contact the employee’s health provider, after receiving the employee’s permission, to get more complete information regarding the nature of the ailment, the duration of the leave, the need for intermittent leave, etc. The College can request a second or third opinion regarding the employee’s condition and treatment (at the College’s expense). All employees requesting an extension of any FMLA leave must provide a new Medical Certification (or its equivalent) of the need for continued leave.
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities. Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a healthcare provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.
FMLA Designation Notice
Within 5 business days (unless extenuating circumstances) of having enough information to determine whether the requested leave is FMLA-eligible, the Human Resources will provide a Designation Notice, informing the employee whether or not leave is designated FMLA leave and the amount of leave that will be designated, if known. This designation may be retroactive.
Employees absent on medical leave will be required to provide medical certification of their fitness to return to work. A Fitness for Duty Certification Form is available from Human Resources.
In the sole discretion of the College, any leave that they determine qualifies as FMLA leave may be designated as FMLA leave, regardless of whether all possible obligations are met by the employee. Workers’ compensation is also designated as FMLA leave.
An employee may be asked to re-certify a serious health condition every 30 days (if the employee is absent during that period) for chronic/long-term illness or pregnancy. A re-certification may be requested in less than 30 days if the employee asks for extension of leave; Circumstance have changed; or the College has doubts about the employee’s FMLA status (e.g. Mon. /Fri. absences). Employees will be required to have annual medical certifications for their own serious health conditions or that of a spouse/family member lasting more than one year, including chronic/lifelong ailments. Employee on a chronic, on-going intermittent leave may require 2 visits to their health care provider per year where self care is allowed by the health care provider (i.e. asthma, migraines, etc.). Employees also must inform the employer if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified.
Return to Work after a FMLA Leave
Employees returning to work from FMLA leave will be returned to the same or an equivalent position as held prior to leave, unless the position has ceased to exist because of business necessity. If the employee does not return to his or her original held position or an equivalent position as soon as he or she is able, the College will consider the employee to have voluntarily resigned. Certain “key employees” may not be eligible to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position at the conclusion of their FMLA leave. The College will notify such employees of their “key employee” status and the conditions under which they may be reinstated, if applicable.
Parental Leave Benefit
Any regular, benefit-eligible exempt or non-exempt employee who becomes either a birth or adoptive parent and who is the primary caregiver (designated biological or adoptive parent) may receive up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave. The parental leave pay is to be taken in a continuous period between the time of birth/adoption up to the first 12 weeks. A parental leave will run concurrently with any FMLA leave. Maximum amount of paid Parental/FMLA leave will not exceed 12 weeks. The 12 week leave time for Parental/FMLA Leave will include pregnancy related medical leave and any paid leave used including Carleton’s FMLA pay, absent accrual pay and parental leave pay. Employees do not accrue vacation, sick or floating holiday hours during a Paid Parental Leave.
Any regular, benefit-eligible exempt or non-exempt employee who is either a birth or adoptive parent and who is the secondary caregiver (spouse or recognized domestic partner of the designated biological or adoptive parent) may receive three weeks of paid parental leave. A secondary caregiver may elect to use up to nine weeks of paid (with applicable absence leave accruals) or unpaid time. If the primary caregiver experiences medical complications prohibiting full care of the newborn child, the secondary caregiver may assume the role of the primary caregiver. Birth or adoption is considered a qualifying life event.
If the primary and secondary caregivers are both Carleton employees, the parental leave granted to the family will be a total 12 weeks and will be shared by the caregivers. If additional leave is applied for beyond the shared 12 weeks, by one or both of the caregivers, it is the supervisor’s discretion to approve this additional leave time based on the affect of the operations of the department. Any additional approved leave time would be paid by the employee’s absent accruals (vacation or floating holiday time). Sick time would only be used if either authorized by a physician or if the child becomes ill.
To qualify to receive paid parental leave, an employee must have worked continuously at the college as regular benefit-eligible for at least one year. Parental leave is intended as a care-giving/bonding period and is to be taken at the time of birth/adoption. Employees are to meet with Human Resources to inform them of on the type of leave needed (primary or secondary or shared caregivers) and to discuss its applicable provisions and forms. Human Resources will keep the supervisor informed of the necessary details of the leave. The amount of paid leave is calculated based on the non-exempt budgeted weekly hours or the exempt budgeted FTE. In order to add your child to your health insurance plan, it must be done within the “Dependent Special Enrollment Period”, a 31-day window from date of birth or adoption. If an employee terminates employment while on a paid parental leave, the pay will cease as of the date of termination.
Catastrophic Leave-Sharing Program (CLSP)
The Catastrophic Leave-Sharing Program gives non-exempt staff a chance to support their co-workers who are experiencing a catastrophic illness or injury. The program allows eligible staff to donate sick leave to a Catastrophic Leave Sharing Pool to be used by other eligible staff members. Catastrophic illness or injury means a physical or mental illness or injury as certified by a licensed physician that will result in the inability of the employee to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodations, for more than 30 work days on a consecutive or intermittent basis. Contact Human Resources for specifics on donating and receiving from this program. The amount of paid leave is calculated based on the employee’s budgeted weekly hours.
To assist a staff member in making funeral arrangements and attending the funeral, the following leave provisions are listed below.
Regular, benefit-eligible, exempt or non-exempt staff members are eligible for:
- Up to 40 hours paid funeral leave in the event of the death of a member of the immediate family (wife, husband, child, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister, brother, grandchild, domestic partner or step relations within the immediate family definition). Staff may request to use up to an additional five days of accrued sick time. Additional vacation or floating holiday time may be requested.
- Up to 8 hours of paid funeral leave in the event of the death of the extended family member (grandparent, grandparent-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, aunt, cousin, niece, or nephew). Staff may request to use up to an additional two days of accrued sick time. Additional vacation or floating holiday time may be requested.
- Up to 8 hours of paid funeral leave in the event of the death of a co-worker or friend with a limit of four days per rolling year. The OFNR funeral leave code should be used on the time sheet for a co-worker or friend’s funeral.
For immediate and extended family there are no restrictions as to the number of occasions this funeral leave may be used.
The amount of paid leave is calculated based on the non-exempt budgeted weekly hours or the exempt budgeted FTE. Employees must notify their immediate supervisor of their need to use this leave and use the “Request Absence” tool in Workday. Questions on eligibility should be directed to Human Resources.
Military Leave/Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
Unpaid leave of absence will be granted to those called to military duty as a result of induction, enlistment or Reserve/National Guard duty. The College will comply with all applicable laws regarding the employment and reemployment of such individuals. Those who participate in Reservist or National Guard training will be allowed necessary time off for annual training duty. A special leave entitlement permits an eligible employee to take leave to care for a covered service member who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty. An employee may also take a leave for a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child, or parent is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty. The employee must notify the supervisor and Human Resources as soon as possible regarding participating in these military service programs.
Please see Military Leave Policy for more information.
Please see Uniform Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) for information on rights of employment and reemployment of active military from leave of absence.
Bone Marrow Donor Leave
A leave of absence will be granted to those employees who seek to undergo a medical procedure to donate bone marrow to another person. Employees must notify their immediate supervisor at least two weeks prior to their need to use this leave. The length of the leave shall be determined by the employee, but may not exceed 40 work hours, prorated based on FTE. Time off for this leave will be paid using the “Paid Day Not Worked” pay code. Verification by a physician of the purpose and length of each leave requested by the employee to donate bone marrow will be required. If there is a medical determination that the employee does not qualify as a bone marrow donor, the paid leave of absence granted to the employee prior to that medical determination is not forfeited. Questions on eligibility should be directed to Human Resources.
Parental Leave to Attend Conferences and Classroom Activities
The College will grant an employee leave of up to a total of 16 hours each year to attend school conferences or classroom activities related to the employee’s child, if the activities cannot be scheduled during non-work hours. The staff member must provide his or her supervisor with reasonable notice of the leave and make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt department operations. A staff member may use accrued vacation, floating holiday, or unpaid time to cover the absence.
Last Revised: January 13, 2022
Last Reviewed: January 13, 2022
Maintained by: Human Resources