4.18.5 Authorized Leave

A. Purpose

This policy provides guidelines for the administration of leave authorized by the Texas Government Code Chapter 661, 662, 664 and federal laws as described in this policy. B. Persons Affected

B. Authority / Persons Affected

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Texas Government Code Chapter 661
Texas Government Code Chapter 662
Texas Government Code Chapter 664
This policy applies to all Benefits-eligible employees, excluding students employed in positions, which requires student status as a condition for employment. 

C. Definitions

Benefits-eligible Employee: An employee who is eligible to be a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), or Optional Retirement Package (ORP) and required to work at least 20 hours per week, or appointed to at least 50% of a full-time appointment, in a position that is expected to last at least four and one half months.

Benefits-eligible Veteran Employee: An employee who served in the United States army, navy, air force, coast guard, or marine corps or the Texas National Guard and who are eligible for health benefits under a program administered by the Veterans Health Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Also, eligible to be a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), or Optional Retirement Package (ORP) and required to work at least 20 hours per week, or appointed to at least 50% of a full-time appointment, in a position that is expected to last at least four and one half months.

Educational Activity: A school-sponsored activity, including a parent-teacher conference, tutoring, a volunteer program, a field trip, a classroom program, a school committee meeting, an academic competition, or an athletic, music, or theater program.

Emergency Medical Services Volunteer: Emergency medical personnel who provide emergency pre-hospital care without remuneration, except reimbursement for expenses.

D. Policy and Procedures

The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) permits Benefits-eligible Employees to accrue and use authorized leave.  It is the intent of this policy to provide a guideline of the most utilized aspects of the state and federal regulations regarding authorized leave.  This policy is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every applicable regulation

  1. Holidays
    1. Holidays are determined from information provided by the Texas State Legislature and are approved annually by the President.
    2. Benefits-eligible Employees are entitled to observe Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Cesar Chavez Day, or Good Friday in lieu of any holiday or holidays on which the University is required to be open and staffed. Employees are entitled to observe these holidays provided that they use state compensatory time accrued or use available leave. Employee requests to observe these holidays should be submitted for approval to his or her supervisor in advance of the holiday.
    3. For a Benefits-eligible Employee to be entitled to a paid holiday, they must be in a paid status on the workday before and after the holiday, unless the holiday falls on the employee’s first or last workday of the month.
  2. Emergency Leave
    1. With supervisor approval, a Benefits-eligible Employee may take emergency leave with pay, not to exceed three (3) work days, due to a death in the employee's immediate family.
      1. Immediate family members are the employee’s (or legal spouse’s): Spouse, Parent, Brother, Sister, Grandparent, Grandchild, Child
    2. The President, or his or her designee, may make a determination of other reasons for emergency leave when the Benefits-eligible Employees shows good cause for such leave. Employees must first exhaust their available paid leave before requesting emergency leave other than Bereavement Leave. Employees must submit a written request for emergency leave through their management chain and receive management’s support before it is routed to the appropriate Vice President. If the Vice President supports the request, he or she will present the request to the President for consideration and decision.
  3. Leave of Absence w/Out Pay
    1. Except for disciplinary suspensions, active military duty, and leave covered by Workers' Compensation benefits, all accumulated paid leave entitlements must be exhausted before LWOP is granted. Sick leave must be exhausted in applicable cases see HOP, 4.18.4, Sick Leave.
    2. Subject to fiscal constraints, approval of LWOP constitutes a guarantee of employment at the conclusion of the specified leave period.
    3. The President, or his or her designee, may grant exceptions to the limitations of this section if the employee is taking the leave for a reason such as:
      1. Working for another state governmental entity under an interagency agreement; or
      2. Educational purposes.
    4. Except in the case of an employee returning from military leave without pay, a full calendar month in which an employee is on LWOP is not counted in computing: total state service credit for the purposes of vacation leave, longevity pay; or continuous state service. No employee shall accrue vacation or sick leave for such month.
    5. Additional restrictions and regulations applicable to LWOP can be found in Regents Rule 30201, Section 3.
  4. Military Leave.  UT Tyler will grant paid military leave to Benefits-eligible Employees for the following types of military service.
    1. Authorized training or duty for members of the state military forces and members of any of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces;
    2. Call to National Guard active duty by the Governor;
    3. National emergency active duty for members of a reserve branch of the United States Armed Forces.
  5. Medical and Mental Health Care Leave for Certain Veterans
    1. Benefits-eligible Veteran Employees may be granted leave without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or state compensatory time to obtain medical or mental health care administered by the Veterans Health Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, including physical rehabilitation. Leave granted under this section may not exceed 15 days each fiscal year.
    2. Employees will submit their request for leave under this section to his/her immediate supervisor in advance when possible.  Employees will provide the Office of Human Resources with the Veterans Affairs Health Administration documentation and validation of medical and mental health care appointment.
    3. The President or his/her designee may grant additional days of leave under this program to the employee if deemed appropriate.  Employees requesting additional days under this section must submit a written request for additional days through their management chain and receive management’s support before it is routed to the appropriate Vice President.  If the Vice President supports the request, he or she will present the request to the President for consideration and decision.
  6. FMLA. A Benefits-eligible Employee who has worked for the State of Texas (not just UT Tyler) for at least twelve (12) months (the months need not be continuous) and for at least 1,250 hours in the twelve (12) months prior to the first day of leave, is entitled to FMLA leave.
    1. General Family Leave Provisions
      1. Employees may request to take FMLA on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis when medically necessary. 
        1. Intermittent is defined as leave taken in separate blocks of time to cover a single illness or injury.
        2. Reduced schedule is defined as a schedule that reduces the number of hours an employee usually works in a day or a week. 
      2. FMLA leave runs concurrently with the employee’s use of sick leave, vacation leave, or floating holiday. If an employee exhausts all paid leave and FMLA leave remains available, the remaining FMLA leave is without pay. Employees on FMLA leave who are receiving temporary disability benefit payments or workers' compensation benefits shall not be required to utilize paid leave.
      3. When an employee returns to work after taking FMLA leave, he or she is entitled to be restored to the same position held when the leave started or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay.
      4. Employees may take FMLA leave for one or more of the following reasons:
        1. Birth of a child and care for that child during the 12 months after the birth.
        2. Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care during the 12 months after the placement.
        3. To care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
        4. For treatment of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job.
      5. If both spouses are employed by the State of Texas and are eligible to receive FMLA leave, both spouses are entitled to only twelve (12) weeks combined total leave during any twelve (12)-month period, if such leave is taken:
        1. Because of the birth of a child and to care for such child;
        2. Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; or
        3. To care for the employee’s parent who has a serious health condition.
    2. Active Military Family Leave Provisions
      1. This section is specific to Benefits-eligible Employees who are the spouse, parent, son, daughter, or next of kin of a military service member.  For this section only the following definitions apply:
        1. Parent is defined as a biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis.  This term does not include parents “in law”.
        2. Son or daughter is defined as a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom you stood in loco parentis, and who is of any age.
      2. Military member must be on covered active duty as defined as one of the following:
        1. Duty during deployment to a foreign country as a member of the regular Armed Forces.
        2. Duty during deployment to a foreign country under a call or order to active duty as a member of the Reserves or National Guard.
      3. Twelve (12) weeks of FMLA leave may be used by the employee for qualifying exigencies related to a military member’s deployment and post-deployment to a foreign country. Examples of qualifying exigencies are:
        1. Attending military sponsored functions
        2. Making appropriate financial and legal arrangements
        3. Arranging for alternative child care
        4. Spending time with military member while they are on Rest and Recuperation leave (R&R).
  7. Active Military Family Leave Provisions.  Twenty-six (26) weeks of FMLA leave may be used by the employee for military caregiver leave.  This leave may be taken to care for an injured or seriously ill service member or veteran of the armed forces.
    1. Veteran must be discharged under conditions other than dishonorable within the five-year period before you first take military caregiver leave.
      1. The serious injury or illness must have been incurred in the line of duty on active duty or aggravated by service during active duty.
      2. Caregiver leave extends to Next of Kin. Next of kin (for this section) is defined as the nearest blood relative, other than spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in the following order of priority:
        1. Designated in writing by the service member for purposes of caregiver leave
        2. Granted legal custody of service member
        3. Brothers and sisters
        4. Grandparents
        5. Aunts and uncles
        6. First cousins
    2. For further detail information, contact the Office of Human Resources.
  8. Parental Leave.  Benefits-eligible Employees who do not qualify for FMLA, and are giving birth, adopting or fostering a child, are eligible to take a parental leave of absence. This leave is not to exceed twelve (12) weeks. The employee must utilize all available vacation and sick leave during this time.  This leave is limited to, and begins with the date of, the birth, or the adoption or foster care placement of a child under three (3) years of age.
  9. Court Appearance/Administrative Proceedings.  A Benefits-eligible Employee summoned to jury duty or subpoenaed as a witness shall be excused from work. There is no salary or wage deduction of an employee who is called for jury service, nor is the employee required to account for any fee or compensation received for jury service. Employees are expected to work, if reasonably possible, the time when not actually in a court or administrative proceeding. Employees will be required to provide documentation of jury attendance.
  10. Voting.  All Benefits-eligible Employees are eligible for time off to vote when it is not possible for them to vote before or after their normal working hours on an official election day. No reduction in vacation allowance or salary will be made for time taken for this purpose. Employees will coordinate with their supervisors to schedule time off.
  11. Administrative Leave with Pay.  The President, or his or her designee, may grant administrative leave with pay to a Benefits-eligible Employee as a reward for outstanding performance as documented by the employee's appraisals. This leave will not exceed thirty-two (32) hours during a fiscal year.
  12. Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services Leave.  Benefits-eligible Employees who are volunteer firefighters or emergency medical services volunteers are granted up to five (5) days of paid leave each fiscal year for attending fire service or emergency medical services training. This leave is not charged against the employee’s vacation or sick leave. A volunteer firefighter or an emergency medical services volunteer may be given paid leave for the purpose of responding to emergency fire or medical situations.
  13. Foster Parent Leave.  Benefits-eligible Employees who are foster parents are entitled to a leave of absence without a deduction in salary for the purpose of attending:
    1. Meetings held by Department of Protective and Regulatory Services regarding the child under the foster care of the employee; or
    2. An admission, review, and dismissal meeting held by a school district regarding the child under the foster care of the employee.
  14. Educational Activity.  Benefits-eligible Employees may use up to eight (8) hours of sick leave each fiscal year to attend educational activities of the employee’s children who are students attending pre-kindergarten through grade twelve (12). For this section an employee is a parent when they are a person standing in parental relation. See HOP, 4.18.4, Sick Leave.
  15. Red Cross Disaster Service Volunteer Leave.  Benefits-eligible Employees who are certified disaster service volunteers of the American Red Cross, or who are in training, may be granted leave up to ten (10) days each fiscal year to participate in disaster relief services for the American Red Cross. The employee must have:
    1. Authorization from his or her supervisor,
    2. A request to volunteer from the American Red Cross and
    3. The approval of the governor.
  16. Assistance Dog Training for Employees with a Disability Leave.  A Benefits-eligible Employee who is a person with a disability (as defined by Gov. Code 661.910) is entitled to a paid leave of absence not to exceed ten (10) work days each fiscal year for the purpose of attending a training program to acquaint the employee with an assistance dog to be used by the employee.
  17. Leave for Organ or Bone Marrow Donors.  Benefits-eligible Employees are entitled to a paid leave of absence, not to exceed five (5) work days in a fiscal year, to serve as a bone marrow donor. They are also entitled to a paid leave of absence for up to thirty (30) work days in a fiscal year to serve as an organ donor.
  18. Leave for Donation of Blood.  Benefits-eligible Employees may take sufficient time off without a deduction in salary or accrued leave to donate blood, provided the supervisor has approved the employee’s request for time off. Upon return to work, the employee must provide documentation of the blood donation during the period of absence. If an employee fails to provide such documentation, they will use leave, or be placed on leave without pay if no leave is available. A Benefits-eligible Employee may receive time off under this section no more than four (4) times in a fiscal year.
  19. Reporting and Recording.  In accordance with Government Code 661.908 it is mandatory that all departments keep time and leave records for all Benefits-eligible Employees. In order to comply with the above code, each department must ensure that each Benefits-eligible Employee reports their time and attendance to a designated individual who must ultimately validate the data and ensure that accrued state compensatory time and any absences (vacation, sick, comp time, floating holiday, etc.) are recorded.

E. Responsibilities

  1. Benefits-eligible Employee

    1. Submits request, in advance when possible, to use available leave time to his/her immediate supervisor.
    2. Provides requested documentation supporting the need to use leave.
  2. Supervisor
    1. Reviews and, as appropriate, approves or denies requests for use of available leave time.
    2. Maintains records of leave used.
    3. Contacts the Office of Human Resources when medical and/or military leave documentation is received.
  3. Office of Human Resources
    1. Processes requests that require medical and/or military documentation.
    2. Assists departments in tracking employee’s accrued and used leave balances.
    3. Processes all paid and unpaid administrative leave.

F. Review

This policy shall be reviewed by Human Resources every five years or as legislation changes.

ORIGINALLY APPROVED:  12/01/2001
LAST AMENDED:  04/22/2009
REVIEWED:  AY 2014-15

AMENDED:  02/2019