The purpose of this policy is to implement Kansas Administrative Regulation (K.A.R. 1-9-23 Shared Leave) regarding a Shared Leave program to provide continuation of pay for Benefit-Eligible Employees of Wichita State University (“University”) in instances where they are experiencing or have a family member who is experiencing a qualified serious, extreme, or life threatening condition and they have exhausted all Accrued Leave Benefits.
Benefit-Eligible Employees of the University may be eligible for Shared Leave in accordance with the provisions of this policy. Shared Leave may be granted to eligible employees of the University for a limited period of time, not to exceed six (6) months. The program may apply when all of the following criteria are met:
- the employee or a Family Member (as defined below) of the employee is experiencing a serious, extreme or life-threatening illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition, and
- the illness, injury, impairment or condition of the employee or the family member has caused, or is likely to cause the employee to take leave without pay from work or prevents regular employment, and
- the illness, injury, impairment or condition of the employee or the family member keeps the employee from performing regular work duties, and
- the employee has exhausted all paid Accrued Leave Benefits available for use, and
- the employee has at least six continuous months of service.
Accrued Leave Benefits
Any leave benefit accrued by the employee which may include, but is not limited to, sick leave, vacation leave, compensatory time, and discretionary day.
An employee holding a 0.5 full-time equivalency (FTE) or greater position at the University as a faculty member, an unclassified professional employee or a university support staff employee. Employees of affiliated corporations are not eligible for this benefit.
Any person related to the employee by blood, marriage or adoption and any minor residing in the employee's residence as a result of court proceedings pursuant to the Kansas code for care of children or the Kansas juvenile offenders code [K.A.R. 1-9-5(e)(2)].
Serious, Extreme or Life Threatening Medical Condition (Medical Condition)
An illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition whereby it is not medically appropriate to delay treatment, including, for example, overnight hospital care and its resulting incapacity or subsequent treatment, chronic conditions requiring medical treatment, or permanent long term conditions requiring medical treatment.
If a Benefit-Eligible Employee meets all of the above referenced eligibility requirements, they may complete the following procedures to apply for Shared Leave:
- The employee must first notify their supervisor in writing of their intent to request leave and apply for Shared Leave.
- If the employee is eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the employee must have applied for and been approved for FMLA coverage for the same condition to qualify for Shared Leave. (Refer to University Policy 3.34 / Family and Medical Leave Act for more information.)
- The Shared Leave request is submitted to the on-campus Shared Leave Committee (SLC) appointed by HR for final determination. Each Shared Leave request is examined individually based on its conformity to program intent and is handled consistently and equitably.
- All requests are sent to the SLC without reference to the requesting employee to ensure an impartial review.
- Determinations are made by the SLC based on majority member decision.
- Upon returning to work following a leave related to their own Medical Condition, a Shared Leave recipient must provide HR with a release from a health care provider to return to work.
- Although employees may donate Accrued Leave Benefits to the Shared Leave program per K.A.R 1-9-23 (Shared Leave), employees eligible to request Shared Leave shall not be denied the benefit based on the availability of donated hours. The Shared Leave recipient's department funds the Shared Leave benefit if the individual is approved.
- Shared Leave, in and of itself, does not provide job-protected leave. Shared leave serves to keep approved employees in paid status during an absence due to a Serious, Extreme or Life-Threatening Medical Condition. Shared Leave may be granted on a case by case basis for a maximum of six (6) months per designated condition.
- The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does provide job protected leave to eligible employees. FMLA can work in conjunction with Shared Leave to provide job protection during the period of approved paid leave. However, once any job protection, such as that provided by the FMLA, has been exhausted, HR consults the appointing department/unit to determine if a request for continuation of Shared Leave may be accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or if such a request would be considered unreasonable or would cause an undue burden on the department/unit.
- Relationship to Long Term Disability (LTD):
- While shared Leave is primarily intended as a leave benefit to provide short term paid leave to eligible employees who are expected to return to work, in certain circumstances it may serve to "bridge" an eligible employee to LTD, following 180 days of total continuous leave. Continuous leave of 180 days is one of the requirements to qualify for LTD.
- Exclusions and Special Circumstances:
- Conditions that do not qualify and/or are not likely to qualify for Shared Leave include, but are not limited to, pregnancy, care for a healthy new born child, routine surgeries, and non-emergency procedures.
- It is the requesting employee's responsibility to notify HR any time a change to their leave is needed (i.e. extension, change to the condition). Shared Leave may no longer apply if the change(s) means the condition for which the employee is on leave no longer meets program criteria. Failure to notify HR of any updates/changes may result in denial of further leave and repayment of Shared Leave already received.
- An employee receiving Workers' Compensation and/or LTD is not eligible for Shared Leave.
- Shared Leave Donation
Benefit-Eligible Employees may donate Accrued Leave Benefits following these guidelines:
- Donations may not be made to a particular person.
- An employee who wishes to donate accrued leave must have a vacation leave balance of at least 80 hours or a sick leave balance of at least 480 hours after the donation is made.
- The above leave balance requirements are not applicable if the donating employee is separating employment with the University. Retiring employees or retirement-eligible employees who qualify for a sick leave payout may donate hours in excess of their qualifying payout.
- Per K.A.R. 1-9-5 (Sick Leave), an employee who resigns from state service who had unused sick leave at the time
of separation, and who subsequently returns to state service in a regular position
within one year shall have the unused sick leave returned to their balance.
- Reinstatement will not occur for any hours donated to the Shared Leave program.
- Reinstatement does not apply to employees who have retired from state service as they are not eligible for reinstatement of previous accrued leave not paid out at the time of their retirement.
- No employee shall be coerced, threatened, intimidated or financially induced to donate Shared Leave. Any effort to inappropriately induce such donations should be reported to HR.
- Shared Leave program procedures are available on the WSU Total Rewards website.