Rice University Human Resources
Policy No. 417-96
Applies to: Staff Members Who Are Eligible for Benefits
How are family/medical leaves requested and approved?
Leaves of absence for medical reasons (including pregnancy) are
granted for the period of time an individual is declared unable to
work by his or her physician. The individual or his or her
authorized representative may request the leave. A leave may also
be initiated by the appropriate supervisor or department
Family leaves, which may be limited to 12 weeks in any 12-month
period, will be provided if requested for the birth of a child of
the employee, the placement of a child with the employee for
adoption or foster care, in order to care for a seriously ill
member of the employee's immediate family (spouse, son, daughter,
or parent), and the extension of a medical leave in which case the
12-week limit may be applied to the entire period of absence. In
the case of family leave to care for an ill family member, a
physician's statement may be required. The University uses the
individual's current anniversary date of hire in a
benefits-eligible status to calculate the 12-month period.
Approval of the leave is recommended by the employee's
supervisor, department chair or director for action by the dean or
other appropriate administrative officer in consultation with the
director of Human Resources. For approval of a medical leave, the
University requires a physician's statement specifying the date the
individual first became unable to work and the anticipated date for
return to work. Employees are eligible for medical leaves from date
If the medical leave is a consequence of an injury related to
work for Rice University, the conditions of medical leave are the
same as those stated above, except that Workers' Compensation
Coverage stands in place of short-term disability payments of
salary. Rice will, however, continue to provide the same fringe
benefits that an employee receiving short-term disability pay would
How does family/medical leave affect pay?
Family leaves are unpaid, although staff may draw upon available
benefit time. For medical leaves, staff may draw upon available
benefit time and short-term disability pay according to the
provisions of the short term disability program. The portion of the
absence covered by available benefit time and short-term disability
is paid leave. As soon as applicable benefit time and short- term
disability pay are used up, the leave is called unpaid leave.
How does family/medical leave affect insurance?
For those enrolled in a University group insurance program, the
University will continue to pay its usual share of insurance
premiums for up to 12 months. During this time, the individual is
responsible for his or her usual contributions to insurance
premiums. Failing to pay premiums while on leave may result in loss
Except for the first 12 weeks of a medical leave, the period
during which the University continues to share benefit costs with
employees shall be considered part of the eligibility period
established by the Congressional Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
of 1985 and later Amendments for the purpose of continuation of
health insurance benefits.
When and how may an employee return to work after a
For family leave, the staff member is expected to return at the
conclusion of the agreed-upon period of absence. In the case of
medical leave, return to work depends on the University's receiving
a physician's statement authorizing the return. The University may
require status reports including evaluations (at Rice's expense) of
the employee's health by a physician of the University's choice. If
the report is not submitted within 15 calendar days after the
request, or if it indicates that the employee is able to return to
work, the medical leave is ended. In disputed cases, the opinion of
a third health care provider jointly selected by the employee and
the University will prevail.
Who fills a position during a family/medical leave?
Generally, other staff members may be asked to do the work of
the individual on leave. However, if the position is to be filled,
reasonable efforts will be made to fill it with temporary or
casual, on-call personnel.
Is reinstatement guaranteed after a family/medical leave?
The University attempts to place employees returning from
family/medical leave in the same or an equivalent position of
employment. Staff members whose medical leave, family leave, or
medical leave in combination with family leave does not exceed 12
weeks will be returned to the same or an equivalent position. Other
than this exception, the University does not guarantee
reinstatement at the end of a medical or family leave.
How may the leave be taken?
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 permits medical leave
or family leave to care for a seriously ill member of the
employee's immediate family to be taken on an intermittent basis or
through a reduced work schedule. Time taken is applied against the
12-week limit. If an eligible employee requests irregularly
scheduled leave or leave on a reduced schedule (one that is
foreseeable based on planned medical treatment), the University may
require the employee to transfer temporarily to an available
alternative position that is equivalent in pay and benefits and for
which the employee is qualified.
How is termination of employment related to medical or family
Employees are expected to report for work when they are not on
leave status. Employment will be terminated if,
the individual resigns,
the individual fails to report for work when not on leave,
at the time the individual is able to return to work and prior to
the expiration of the 12-week period, the employee refuses the
equivalent position that has been offered,
after a leave of more than 12 weeks,
a disabled employee with accommodations (that are not an undue
burden) is unable to perform the essential functions of the job or
to perform his or her duties in a manner that would not endanger
the health and
safety of the employee or of others.
How are decisions about leaves appealed?
Administrative decisions relating to leaves of absence may be
appealed through the problem-solving procedure available to
- See also:
- Benefit Time
- Personal Leaves
- Short-Term Disability
- Workers' Compensation
Procedures for Family/Medical Leave
- Policy Memorandum No. 401-82
- Re-employment Rights of Disabled Employee
- Short-Term Disability Leave
- Leave of Absence Without Salary
- Policy No. 417-93