Additional Unpaid Leaves of Absence

Unpaid leaves of absence may be available to employees for absences of 30 consecutive calendar days or more. Types of unpaid leaves include: Short Term, Long Term Personal, Career Development and Government Service. All requests for unpaid leaves must be discussed with the supervisor/department head and local human resources officer. All conditions of the leave agreement must be established and agreed to in writing prior to the start of the leave.

A. Short Term Personal Leave of Absence, 31 to 90 days

An unpaid leave of absence of 31 to 90 days for personal reasons may be available to employees, depending upon the staffing requirements of the department. The granting of a personal leave of absence is based on the reason for the absence, the service of the employee and whether or not the department expects to be able to provide reemployment.

A short-term personal leave of absence is appropriate to cover seasonal periods when the workload of the department is lighter than normal (e.g., during the summer) and the employee volunteers to take time off without pay. In such cases the job must be held for the employee. Employees on a seasonally-based short-term leave at department request may accept temporary employment within or outside the University, although such employment must be of a casual nature and not include benefits.

B. Long-term Personal Leave

An employee with five or more years of service may be eligible for an unpaid long-term personal leave. Long-term personal leaves are from three months to one year long and are designed to contribute to the personal growth of the employee. Personal leave may be granted for personal circumstances, family matters, unpaid second career exploration or reasons deemed appropriate by the University. Employees may renew a long-term personal leave for up to one additional year beyond the initial leave, subject to review and agreement by the supervisor and local human resources officer.

Employees with fewer than five years of service may be granted personal leave if, in the opinion of the supervisor and the local human resources officer, the leave can be demonstrated to be mutually beneficial to the employee and the University. For an employee with fewer than five years of service, the leave may not exceed one year.

C. Career Development Leave

An employee with three or more years of service may be eligible for an unpaid career development leave. Career development leaves are from three months to one year long and are designed to contribute to the professional growth of the employee. Career development leaves may be granted if, in the opinion of the supervisor and the local human resources officer, the leave can be demonstrated to be mutually beneficial to the employee and the University; for example, if the leave enhances the employee’s contribution to current or possible future jobs at the University. Leaves may be granted for activities such as enrollment in an educational program, research and publication.

Employees may renew a career development leave for one additional year beyond the initial leave, subject to review and agreement by the supervisor and local human resources officer.

D. Government Service

A leave of absence for the purpose of government service will be granted to an employee for service in an appointive capacity at the federal, state or local level. An employee may not be granted a leave if accepting a civil service position at any level of government. A government service leave will be granted for a period equal to prior service, not to exceed two years.

E. Terms and Conditions of Leaves of Absence

The following applies to all unpaid leaves of absence as described above. These terms and conditions do not apply for unpaid absences of fewer than 30 calendar days or to vacation or sick time used prior to the beginning of an unpaid leave. The employee and their supervisor/department head and local human resources officer prior to the start of the leave must agree to leave terms and conditions in writing.

a) Employment During Leave

An employee may not work in a position with benefits while on leave unless agreed to in writing prior to the beginning of the leave. Working in such a position while on leave (except for approved government service) will result in forfeiture of the leave of absence and termination of University employment.

Working in a temporary, non-benefited position for the University while on a leave of absence may be permitted provided such employment is not inconsistent with the basis for the leave of absence. The employee must obtain advance approval from the department from which he or she is on leave.

b) Vacation and Sick Time Accrual

Vacation and sick pay do not accrue while an employee is on an unpaid leave of absence.

c) Benefits Continuation

An employee on leave of absence may continue coverage under the Comprehensive Medical Program, Dental Assistance Plan, Group Life Insurance Plan and Long Term Disability Plan. The employee is responsible for their share of premium payments during the leave. The University may, under certain circumstances, recover insurance premiums paid during the leave if the employee fails to pay his or her portion of the premium. Employees continue to earn pension credit during a leave of absence provided they return to work upon termination of the leave of absence. Questions may be referred to the Benefits Office (617-496-4001).

An unpaid leave of absence is counted as continuous service for all other benefits that have a length of service requirement, such as tuition assistance, disability benefits and longer-service vacation accrual.

d) Reinstatement of Employment

An employee returning from an unpaid leave of absence of no more than 90 days will be returned to their position (provided it still exists) or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and employment benefits in the same department. There is no guarantee of return to work for leaves lasting longer than 90 days. All conditions of the leave agreement must be established and agreed to in writing prior to the start of the leave.

Employees on a leave of no more than 90 days whose positions are eliminated while on leave of absence will be entitled to the same rights and benefits as other employees whose positions are eliminated. However, the employee will have no greater rights to reinstatement or other benefits and conditions of employment than if they had continued to work.

If an employee fails to return to work as scheduled or to obtain an extension of the leave, employment will be terminated.

Last updated: 09/14/2004