Short-Term Disability Leave provides a medical leave of absence for an employee’s own serious health condition.
- Administrative and Support staff in regular or term positions, full-time and part-time with no minimum hours, are eligible for Short-Term Disability Leave.
- Faculty in non-visiting or visiting positions, full-time and part-time with no minimum appointment FTE, are eligible for Short-Term Disability Leave.
- Temporary staff are eligible for Short-Term Disability Leave if they meet the Financial Eligibility Test. (Effective 1/1/21)
- Unemployed Former Employees are eligible for Short-Term Disability Leave if the leave begins within 26 weeks after separation of employment from the college and they met the Financial Eligibility Test at the time of their separation of employment. (Effective 1/1/21)
- Financial Eligibility Test: Over the past 12 months, a temporary or former employee must have received total wages that are equal to or exceed 30 times the weekly benefit amount and are not less than $5,100.
- All categories of staff and faculty will be referred to as “employees” in this policy.
- Short-Term Disability provides a maximum of twenty-six weeks of leave in a benefit year, beginning on the first day that an employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition. (A benefit year is defined as the period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the first day that job-protected leave commences.) For employees who are eligible due to childbirth, the standard period of disability is eight weeks after the birth, with additional leave as medically necessary.
- After their first year of appointment, Faculty are eligible for up to an additional six months of Short-Term Disability leave for a maximum of twelve months of leave in a twelve-month period, beginning on the first day that an employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition. Please see the Faculty Handbook for details.
- Short-Term Disability Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule, if medically necessary, with a prorated reduction in the employee’s leave allotment and prorated benefits.
- Faculty have the option of being released from all or part of their teaching and administrative duties during their Short-Term Disability Leave. A partial release will be treated as a reduced schedule as above.
- If only a portion of the Short-Term Disability Leave has been used within a twelve-month period and the employee suffers subsequent period(s) of disability, the balance of the Short-Term Disability Leave may be used.
- For Administrative and Support staff, Short-Term Disability Leave provides 100% of an employee’s base pay.
- For Faculty, Short-Term Disability Leave provides 100% of an employee’s base pay during the first six months of leave, and 60% of an employee’s base pay during the next six months of leave. Please see the Faculty Handbook for details.
- For Temporary and Former Employees, Short-Term Disability Leave provides 80% of an employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum benefit amount set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (64% of the state average weekly wage). (Average weekly wage is determined by the employee’s average earnings in the last four completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the starting date of the leave.) The weekly benefit amount shall be reduced by the amount that an employee receives for that period from unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation.
The college provides this leave benefit at no cost to the employee.
Short-term Disability Leave has a seven calendar day waiting period for benefits. During the first seven calendar days, an employee may use earned sick, vacation, and/or personal time. Where the leave involves an intermittent or reduced leave schedule, the waiting period shall be seven consecutive calendar days, not the aggregate accumulation of seven days of disability.
For Faculty, Short-term Disability Leave has no waiting period for benefits, as vacation, sick and personal leave are not applicable.
Leave Requests and Medical Authorization
A request for a leave of absence should be made as soon as possible when an employee anticipates the need for leave. Employees should contact the leave administration vendor to review options and initiate the leave.
Staff planning to take leave should discuss their leave plans with their supervisor. Faculty planning to take leave should discuss their leave plans with the Dean of the Faculty’s Office to determine when additional teaching resources may be needed to cover for the Faculty member who is on leave.
Medical authorization is required at the onset of the leave and must be submitted to the leave administration vendor. Employees are expected to cooperate fully with requests for independent medical examinations or requests for additional information regarding the nature of the Short-Term Disability. Should information on the nature of the illness or prognosis be needed, the leave administration vendor, on behalf of the college, will contact the employee’s physician for information once the employee signs a medical release. The information sought will be strictly related to leave eligibility, and the confidentiality and privacy of the information will be maintained.
Return to Work Authorization
Prior to the return to work from leave, the employee’s physician must provide a written statement authorizing the employee’s return to work at regular duty or light duty. This verification should be sent to the Human Resources office.
Benefits Continuation and Service
Most benefits will continue during the duration of the leave, including employer contributions toward insurance benefits. The employee portion of the insurance benefits shall continue to be remitted by the employee. However, paid vacation, sick, personal and holidays will not be earned during the period of the leave. Short-term Disability Leave is not regarded as a break in service.
A current employee who has taken Short-Term Disability Leave shall, upon returning to employment at the end of the leave, be restored to the employee’s previous position or to an equivalent position, with the same status, pay, employment benefits, length-of-service credit, and seniority as of the date of leave. The college is not required to restore a temporary employee who was hired for a specific term or only to perform work on a discrete project if the employment term or project is over and the college would not otherwise have continued to employ the employee. The college is also not required to restore an employee if other employees of equal length of service credit and status in the same or equivalent positions have been laid off due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions affecting employment during the period of leave.
Upon reinstatement, having taken Short-Term Disability Leave shall not affect an employee’s right to accrue vacation time, sick leave, bonuses, advancement, seniority, length-of-service credit, or other employment benefits, plans, or programs.
Non-Discrimination and Non-Retaliation
The college will not threaten to retaliate or actually retaliate by discharging, firing, suspending, expelling, disciplining, threatening, or in any other manner discriminating against an employee for utilizing the Short-Term Disability benefit.
Concurrent Policies and Laws
- Employees are eligible for up to a total of 26 weeks of Short-Term Disability, Parental and Family Leave in a benefit year. A benefit year is defined as the period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the first day that job-protected leave commences.
- All presumptions shall be made in favor of the availability of leave and the payment of leave benefits. If your leave claim is denied by the leave administrator, you will have 180 days to appeal to them in writing. In your letter, you should include a specific explanation of why you disagree with the claim decision. All appeals are reviewed and evaluated by an independent team of claim professionals who are given access to all original claim information. Decisions to reverse or uphold the original claim decision, or to require additional investigation, are typically made within 45 days of the appeal. An eligible employee whose appeal to the plan administrator is denied may appeal to the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave pursuant to 458 CMR 2.07(6)(a), 458 CMR 2.14, and M.G.L. c. 175M, § 8(d).
- Short-Term Disability Leave shall run concurrently with leave taken under other applicable state and federal laws when the leave is for a qualifying reason under those acts.
- Any ambiguities in this policy shall be interpreted in accordance with the Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave law, M.G.L. c. 175M, and its implementing regulations.