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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 4 - Personnel - General
Publication Date: February 23, 2017
Responsible Executive: VP for Business Affairs


4.20 Authorized Leave


I. POLICY STATEMENT


The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) 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.  Please use the links provided for more detailed regulations.


II. RATIONALE

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. 

III. SCOPE


This policy applies to all Benefits-eligible Employees, excluding students employed in positions, which require student status as a condition for employment.


IV. WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY


http://www.utsa.edu/hop/chapter4/4-20.html


V. RELATED STATUTES, POLICIES, REQUIREMENTS OR STANDARDS


UTSA or UT System Policies or the Board of Regents' Rules & Regulations

  1. UTSA HOP 4.44 Separation of Employment for UTSA Personnel
  2. UTSA HOP 4.27 State Compensatory Time
  3. UTSA HOP 4.26 Sick Leave Pool
  4. UTSA HOP 9.15 Campus Closure Due to Weather or Safety Considerations
  5. UTSA HOP 2.06 Medical Absences and Teaching Continuity
  6. UTSA HOP 2.25 Faculty Development Leave Program
  7. UTSA HOP 3.06 Probationary Period for Classified Employees
  8. Board of Regents’ Rules & Regulations Rule 30201
  9. UTSA HR Leave Administration Webpage

Other Policies & Standards

  1. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  2. Texas Government Code Chapter 661
  3. Texas Government Code Chapter 662
  4. Texas Government Code Chapter 664

VI. CONTACTS


If you have any questions about HOP 4.20 Authorized Leave, contact the following office(s):

Interpretation of Policy - Employee Relations 
210-458-7891
HR@utsa.edu

FMLA and Management of Leave Accrual - Leave Management 
210-458-7874
leaveadmin@utsa.edu


VII. 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.

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.


VIII. 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 Leave Management when medical and/or military leave documentation is received.
  3. Human Resources Department – Leave Management
    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.

IX. PROCEDURES


Vacation
Sick Leave
Holidays
Emergency Leave
Leave of Absence w/Out Pay
Military Leave
FMLA
Military Family Leave Provisions
Parental Leave
Court Appearance/Administrative Proceedings
Voting
Administrative Leave with Pay
Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services Leave
Foster Parent Leave
Educational Activity
Red Cross Disaster Service Volunteer Leave
Assistance Dog Training for Employees with a Disability Leave
Leave for Organ or Bone Marrow Donors
Leave for Donation of Blood
Leave for Wellness Incentive
Reporting and Recording

  1. Vacation
    Benefits-eligible Employees shall earn vacation leave beginning on the first day of employment in a benefits-eligible position and terminating on the last day of employment in a benefits-eligible position. Faculty members who have appointments of fewer than twelve (12) months do not accrue vacation leave.
    1. The rate of vacation leave accrued each month is determined by length of state service in accordance with the schedule in Texas Government Code, Chapter 661.152.
    2. Benefits-eligible Employees must have served a total of six (6) continuous months of employment with a state agency, before being eligible to use vacation leave.
    3. Vacation leave not taken during the fiscal year in which it accrues may be carried forward to the next fiscal year in accordance with the limits provided in the Texas Government Code, Chapter 661.152.
      1. All hours of unused vacation leave in excess of the maximum limit are credited to the employee's sick leave balance as of the first day of the next fiscal year.
    4. The disposition of vacation balances (transfer or pay out) on employees who resign, are dismissed, or otherwise separate from state employment are outlined on the HR Leave Administration website.
    5. With the approval of the appropriate Vice President, or his or her designee, a separating employee may be allowed to remain on the payroll after the last day worked to utilize vacation leave time in lieu of being paid in a lump sum.
      1. Such employee is entitled to continue receiving all compensation and benefits that he or she was receiving on the last day of duty, including paid holidays, longevity pay, and hazardous duty pay, and is entitled to a general salary increase that takes effect before the accrued vacation time is exhausted.
      2. However, such employee will not use or accrue sick leave, or accrue additional vacation leave while utilizing their vacation leave in lieu of being paid in a lump sum.
  2. Sick Leave
    1. Full-time, Benefits-eligible Employees, (faculty & staff), shall accrue eight (8) hours of sick leave for each month of employment. A part-time employee accrues sick leave on a proportionate basis. This sick leave entitlement will be received for each month, regardless of the number of hours worked in that month. Sick leave accrual will terminate on the last day of employment.
    2. Sick leave may be used immediately upon employment when a Benefits-eligible 2. Employee is out due to sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement of self or immediate family member. For this section, immediate family is defined as:
      An individual who lives in the same household as the employee and is related to the employee by kinship, adoption or marriage , or a foster child of the employee.
    3. Sick leave for members of an employee’s family who do not reside in the same household may only be taken to provide care to a spouse, child, or parent of the employee who needs such care as a direct result of a documented medical condition. Sick leave cannot be used for an employee’s parent-in-law if they do not live in the same household.
    4. All employees who must be absent under the conditions identified in (2) and (3) above must record the number of hours used. This applies to faculty members, even if the faculty member was not scheduled to teach classes during the period of absence.
    5. To be eligible to use sick leave during a continuous period of more than three (3) work days, an employee must contact the Human Resources Department-Leave Management, and must provide acceptable medical documentation of the condition.
    6. UTSA may require medical documentation for use of sick leave taken during a continuous period of three (3) or fewer work days. Contact Human Resources Department-Leave Management for additional guidance.
    7. A Benefits-eligible Employee whose sick leave balance is insufficient to cover an absence from work due to illness must use other accrued, paid leave. If other paid leave is insufficient to cover the absence, the employee will be placed on leave without pay.
    8. Donation of Sick Leave
      1. A Benefits-eligible Employee may donate sick leave to another Benefits-eligible Employee at UTSA if the recipient
        1. Meets the sick leave eligibility requirements (See 2, 3 & 4 above.)
        2. Has exhausted their own sick leave; and
        3. Has exhausted any hours they are eligible to withdraw from the sick leave pool.
      2. An employee who receives donated sick leave may use the donated sick leave based on the same circumstances as accrued sick leave.
      3. An employee may not provide or receive remuneration, or a gift of any kind, in exchange for donated sick leave.
      4. The dollar value of donated sick leave will be reported as the donor’s income and UTSA will withhold taxes as the law requires.
      5. For further information on donation of sick leave please see Texas Government Code, Chapter 661.207.
    9. Benefits-eligible Employees transferring from one state agency to UTSA or within UTSA shall retain their unused sick leave, provided there is no break in service.
    10. The estate of a deceased employee is entitled to payment for one-half of accumulated sick leave, or for 336 hours of sick leave, whichever is less. Please refer to Texas Government Code, Chapter 661.031 for additional provisions and exclusions.
    11. Separated Benefits-eligible Employees cannot be paid for unused sick leave.
    12. A separated Benefits-eligible Employee may have his or her sick leave balance restored if:
      1. Re-employed by UTSA within twelve (12) months of separation, provided there has been a break in service of at least thirty (30) calendar days, or
      2. Re-employed by the state, other than UTSA, within twelve (12) months of separation (no break in service required), or
      3. Separated from UTSA under a formal reduction-in-force and is re-employed by the state within twelve (12) months of separation with no minimum break in service.
    13. Sick leave pool is an option during a catastrophic illness or injury, or if a Benefits-eligible Employee has previously donated time to the pool. (Donations to sick leave pool are not subject to taxes.) If an employee is eligible for sick leave pool, he/she is only eligible to withdraw from the pool up to the maximum allowed by law, regardless of the number of hours donated to the pool. (See UTSA HOP 4.26 Sick Leave Pool )
  3. 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.
      If the appointment, reappointment, or promotion of a person places him or her in an administrative or supervisory position with responsibility to approve, recommend, or otherwise act with regard to reappointment, promotion, or salary of a person who is related to them within the above degree specified, all subsequent actions regarding the evaluation, reappointment, promotion, or salary of such person shall be made by the next highest supervisor.
  4. Emergency Leave (includes bereavement 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):
        1. Spouse
        2. Parent
        3. Brother
        4. Sister
        5. Grandparent
        6. Grandchild
        7. 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.
  5. Leave of Absence Without Pay (LWOP)
    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 Section B.
    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.
  6. Military Leave
    UTSA 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 .
  7. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    A Benefits-eligible Employee who has worked for the State of Texas (not just UTSA) 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.
      1. 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.
      2. 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).
    3. 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:
            Designated in writing by the service member for purposes of caregiver leave
            Granted legal custody of service member
            Brothers and sisters
            Grandparents
            Aunts and uncles
            First cousins
            For further detail information, see UTSA Human Resources Department FMLA .
  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 Proceeding
    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 . At the discretion of their immediate supervisor, employees may 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
      1. 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
      2. 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 Activities
    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.
  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. Leave for Wellness Incentive
    All requested leave for wellness incentives are subject to supervisor approval. This approval is based on business need and may be revoked or revised as needed.
      1. Benefits-eligible Employees are allowed up to thirty (30) minutes during normal working hours for exercise three times each week. This is without deduction in salary, wages or any paid leave balances.
      2. Benefits-eligible Employees are allowed to attend on-campus wellness seminars. This is without deduction in salary, wages or any paid leave balances.
      3. UTSA may provide up to eight (8) hours of additional leave time every twelve (12) months (based on FTE) to a Benefits-eligible Employee who submits an application (http://www.utsa.edu/hr/forms.html#12 ) that states they meet the following criteria:
        1. Receives a physical examination and
        2. Completes any health risk assessment tool.

    Any unused time of the additional leave hours will expire twelve (12) months after it is received. This leave time may be used for any purpose approved by the supervisor.

  20. 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.

X. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR INITIAL IMPLEMENTATION


None


XI. FORMS AND TOOLS/ONLINE PROCESSES


http://www.utsa.edu/hr/forms.html#12


XII. APPENDIX


None