PURPOSE: To ensure the rights of employees who become temporarily disabled due to physical or mental illness, injury, or maternity.
Leave taken under this section may qualify or Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and, if so, will run concurrently.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, certain extended illnesses may be protected as disabilities and may require reasonable accommodation.
- Extended temporary disability is defined as an illness, injury, or pregnancy that requires the employee to be away from work for an extended period of time.
- The college shall not deny a request for any extended disability leave for bona fide illness or other disability for an employee who has served satisfactorily in the college for a period of six months or more. The college will grant extended disability leave including leave without pay with reinstatement privileges to the same position or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, responsibilities, and other terms and conditions of employment.
- To the extent permissible, the inclusive dates for extended temporary disability shall be at the request of the employee based on the determination and advice of a doctor.
- An employee on extended temporary disability leave must use all accrued sick leave before requesting leave without pay. The employee shall have the option of using or retaining accrued annual leave or faculty non-work days.
- For extenuating circumstances, the appropriate vice president may request that the President advance up to 15 days of sick leave, provided the employee has already used all accrued annual leave and there is reasonable assurance that the employee is to return to full duty. An Employee that participates in the College's Sick Leave Grant Program and terminates employment with the College before the employee repays the sick leave grant is required to reimburse the College an equal amount to the leave deficit. The vice president should send the request in writing along with Form T3-25 (Authorization for Extended Absence from Regular Duties) to the Human Resources Office who will in turn send it to the President. The President has final approval.
- Extended temporary disability leave may not exceed 180 calendar days; otherwise, the employee shall forfeit reinstatement privileges and must be separated from state service. In extenuating circumstances, the employee may request an extension for up to a total of 365 days of disability leave without a break in service provided the health care provider certifies the employee's return to work within the time frame of the requested extension. The employee should address the request in writing to the appropriate Vice President. This request requires the approval of the President. In order for this request to be considered, however, the employee must initiate the action before the expiration of the 180-day period normally allowed.
- An employee should request extended temporary disability leave 30 days in advance on Form T3-25 when the need for leave is foreseeable. When the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee should give notice to his/her immediate supervisor as soon as possible. In case of an unforeseeable disability, the employee’s immediate supervisor is responsible for notifying the Human Resources office. The College may request additional documentation from the physician issuing the certificate, or require other medical opinions. Only the employee's physician may amend the original provided dates.
- When extended temporary disability leave is due to pregnancy, the employee may use sick leave only for the period when, in the physician’s medical opinion, that employee will be physically incapable of performing normal duties or that continuing to perform normal duties would be hazardous to the health of the employee. If the employee desires additional time off, the employee may refer to other leave procedures for applicability. Approval of such additional leave will be at the discretion of the appropriate dean or director or vice president.
- It is the employee's responsibility to immediately notify the supervisor of any necessary change in the requested leave dates and provide the Human Resources office with the physician's documentation of amended dates. If the leave period should begin or end before or after the original projected dates, it is the supervisor's responsibility to notify the Human Resources office in writing immediately.
- During a period of leave without pay, it is the employee's responsibility to pay for all insurance premiums that are normally payroll deductible. Before going on leave, the employee should contact the Human Resources office to make the necessary arrangements to remit these payments at the appropriate time during the leave period.
- The College shall maintain all leave records for each employee eligible for such leave. Such records shall be reviewed by or reported to the employee not less than once per calendar year and be supported by individual leave requests. Failure to report leave taken is considered as being paid for hours not worked and in violation of the South Carolina Wage Payment Act and may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.