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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Policy Number: 
5:01:03:00
Topics Outline: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

The purpose of this policy is to set the standards for a consistent process and treatment of employees regarding retirement across the TBR system.

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Retirement Policy
    1. Except as otherwise provided herein, all regular full-time employees of the Tennessee Board of Regents and of institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents shall be members of a state-supported retirement system, subject to the eligibility provisions of T.C.A. § 8-35-101 et seq.
    2. Regular part-time employees are eligible to become members of a state-supported retirement system, but such membership is not mandatory.
    3. Pursuant to T.C.A. § 8-35-403 et seq., any individual who is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and who is employed in a state-sponsored institution of higher education may elect either membership in the retirement system or participation in the optional retirement program. Therefore, all regular academic, executive, administrative, and professional employees of the Board and institutions shall have the option of becoming members of either the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) or the Optional Retirement Program (ORP).
      1. Employees who are members of the TCRS are eligible to retire upon attainment of appropriate age and years of creditable service, or a combination thereof.
      2. Employees who are members of the ORP may retire at any time after separation from service, subject to IRS regulations.
    4. Any person who has served as the president of an institution under the Board of Regents for a period of not less than ten (10) years and has attained the age of sixty (60) while being employed by the Board may, upon approval of the Board, be retired as President Emeritus of the institution where he/she served a minimum of ten (10) years.
      1. For presidents hired after September 1, 2002, this will be an honorary title earned through service with no material benefit other than the honor associated with its granting.
      2. Only for presidents hired prior to September 2002, an annual salary of twenty percent (20%) of his/her last year’s salary, exclusive of perquisites, may be paid monthly from institution appropriations subject to the terms and conditions of T.C.A. § 8-36-714.
    5. For either retirement system (TCRS or ORP), the annual limit to employer contributions made on behalf of employees hired after July 1, 1996 will be subject to applicable federal and state limits.
    6. There is no contribution limit for employees employed before July 1, 1996.
      1. Additionally, for employees enrolled in the ORP, there is also an annual aggregate contribution limit for contributions to the ORP and 401(k). This limit is defined on an annual basis.
    7. Temporary Employment. Any retired member of TCRS (except those receiving a disability retirement allowance) or ORP(except those who have never taken a withdrawal or distribution from his/her account) may return to service in a position covered by this system and continue to draw his/her retirement allowance under the following conditions:
      1. The retiree must have a break in service for a minimum of sixty (60) days, unless an exception has been applied for and approved.
      2. Retirees employed as teachers by an institution of higher education are limited to 24 quarter hours or 18 semester credit hours.
      3. The entire compensation payable to the retiree for such work should not be more than 60 percent of the annual full-time salary received by the member in the year immediately prior to retirement. This limit on salary increases by 5 percent for each year since the member's retirement.
    8.  When a retiree begins temporary employment, he/she will be required to complete the appropriate form.
      1. TCRS retirees must complete the Temporary Employment form and the institutions shall submit the form to the TCRS. The TCRS must be notified by letter when the retiree's temporary employment reaches the 120 day limit and/or when employment is terminated to avoid possible overpayment or suspension of the monthly benefit.
      2. ORP retirees must complete the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) Part-time Reemployment Certification/Waiver form for the institution's files.
      3. New forms for TCRS and ORP retirees must be completed for each 12-month period.
Sources: 

TBR Meetings, September 24, 1976; September 29, 1978; June 29, 1979; June 26, 1981; March 19, 1982: September 30, 1983; December 14, 1984; March 20, 1987; December 13, 1991; June 25, 1993; September 20, 2002; March 30, 2006; TBR Meeting March 27, 2015.

Note:

(a) The provisions of this policy which constituted amendments or revisions adopted on September 29, 1978, became effective on January 1, 1979.

(b) The provisions of this policy which constituted amendments or revisions adopted on June 26, 1981, became effective on July 1, 1981.

(c) The provisions of this policy under which regular full-time executive, administrative, and professional employees are eligible to participate in the optional retirement program became effective on July 1, 1983.

(d) Regular part-time employees became eligible for retirement system membership on July 1, 1984.

Policy Number: 
5:01:02:00
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

The purpose of this policy is to set the standards for a consistent process and treatment of employees regarding equal employment opportunity and affirmative action across the TBR system. 

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Introduction
    1. It is the intent of the Tennessee Board of Regents that the Board of Regents and all of the institutions within the Tennessee Board of Regents System will promote and ensure equal opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, religion, sex, ethnic or national origin, disability status, age or status as a covered veteran and shall fully comply with Executive Order 11246, as amended; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, as amended; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; applicable state statutes and all regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.
    2. It is the intent of the Board that each campus of the Board shall be free of harassment on the basis of sex, and race, and shall fully comply with the provisions of Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, the federal and state constitutions, and all other applicable federal and state statutes.
  2. Statement of Policy
    1. The Board of Regents hereby reaffirms the policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents System, and all institutions included therein, that the System will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, sex, disability, age or status as a covered veteran.
    2. Similarly, the System shall not, on the basis of a protected status, subject any student to discrimination under any educational program. No student shall be discriminatorily excluded from participation in nor denied the benefits of any educational program on the basis of a protected status.
    3. The System will take affirmative action to ensure that all individuals are treated during the employment process without regard to their race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, sex, disability, age, or status as a covered veteran.  Such action shall include, but not be limited to, actions to:
      1. Recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job titles, without regard to any of the foregoing prohibited factors;
      2. Base decisions on employment so as to further the principle of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity;
      3. Ensure that promotion decisions are in accord with principles of equal employment opportunity by imposing only valid requirements for promotional opportunities; and
      4. Ensure that all personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, return from layoff, and institution sponsored training, education, tuition assistance, and social and recreation programs, will be administered without regard to any of the foregoing prohibited factors.
    4. It is and has been the policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents to maintain each campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff, and students, free of sexual and racial harassment. Harassment is a form of discrimination and harassment in the workplace or the educational environment is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated.
  3. Administrative Responsibility
    1. Duties of the Chancellor and/or System Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Program Officer.
      1. The Chancellor shall designate the person on the staff of the Board who shall serve as the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer (hereinafter EEO/AA) for the System and also designate an EEO/AA Officer for the System Office.
      2. The Chancellor shall direct the President and/or Director of each institution to appoint an EEO/AA Officer for the institution.
      3. The Chancellor shall furthermore ensure participation in Board approved access and diversity initiatives.
      4. The Chancellor shall ensure that the following actions occur:
        1. Equal Employment and Affirmative Action
          1. Equal employment opportunity and affirmative action program plans are to be prepared by each campus EEO/AA Officer at the individual institutions and schools in the System and these plans must be effectively administered by the campus EEO/AA Officer within the requirements of this policy and applicable laws and regulations. The EEO/AA Officer for the System Office shall prepare the System Office affirmative action plan.
          2. The system EEO/AA Officer will review and evaluate the success of the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs in the System Office and on each campus and make recommendations to the Chancellor concerning desirable changes.
          3. The institutional EEO/AA Officer and the TBR System Office EEO/AA Officer will receive, review, and investigate institution and system Office equal employment opportunity complaints and appeals and make recommendations regarding their disposition to the President in the case of an institutional complaint and to the Chancellor regarding a system Office complaint.
        2. Harassment
          1. Depending on the locus of the complaint, the Chancellor and Presidents/Directors are responsible for the final resolution of a harassment complaint.
          2. The Chancellor shall ensure the following actions occur:
            1. Investigation of Harassment Complaints
              1. The Chancellor shall designate the Tennessee Board of Regents' General Counsel to supervise the investigation and give legal advice to the institution or system Office EEO/AA Officer who will receive, review, and investigate all charges of harassment arising from their institution or office.
              2. The institution or system Office EEO/AA Officer will investigate all complaints of unlawful harassment as directed by Guideline P-080 and will communicate all facts to the General Counsel for legal advice.
              3. It is the intent of this policy that the review and investigation process conducted by the campus or System Office Affirmative Action Office will be under the direct supervision and control of the General Counsel and is intended to be a confidential communication which will result in Counsel giving legal advice.
            2. Resolution of Harassment Complaints
              1. The Chancellor and the Board have designated the institution or System Office EEO/AA Officer as the coordinator and investigator of all harassment complaints. The process outlined in Guideline P-080 will be followed. The President/Director/Chancellor will ensure that the EEO/AA Officer investigates the complaint. The final report on the harassment complaint will go from the EEO/AA Officer to the President/Director/Chancellor for action and the final resolution will be made by that individual.
        3. Annual Evaluations
          1. The Chancellor will annually evaluate each president/director on their progress toward the affirmative action plan goals, their progress toward diversity, and their participation in Board approved access and diversity initiatives.
    2. Duties of the President/Director
      1. Each institution President or Director shall be responsible for the development and implementation of the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action program on each campus as well as assuring that unlawful harassment is investigated and educational efforts regarding harassment take place. In carrying out this responsibility, the President or Director shall comply with the following:
        1. Appoint an EEO/AA Officer who will be responsible for promoting and assuring compliance with this policy and with all applicable laws and regulations, receiving and investigating complaints pursuant to the process set forth in TBR Guideline P-080, reviewing the effectiveness of the program and recommending improvements to the President or Director.
        2. Ensure that affirmative action plans are developed annually and implemented as a means of aggressively pursuing the principles of equal employment opportunity.
        3. Develop affirmative action goals and timetables directed toward correcting situations contributing to the under-utilization or inequitable treatment of minority or women employees in the institution or school.
        4. Provide positive leadership in the implementation of the affirmative action program on the campus and ensure that appropriate attention is devoted to the program in staff and faculty meetings.
        5. Inform all management officials and supervisors that their performance evaluation will be partially determined by the effectiveness of their participation in the equal employment opportunity program and in Board approved access and diversity initiatives.
        6. Designate a person on the campus to be responsible for gathering and reporting data related to the equal employment opportunity program.
        7. Assure policies and procedures are instituted to deal with all forms of harassment, including a procedure for the EEO/AA Officer to receive and investigate complaints and recommend necessary action to the President or Director.
        8. Designate the EEO/AA Officer as the staff person responsible for the development and implementation of educational efforts regarding all types of harassment.
    3. Duties of the EEO/AA Officer
      1. Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Program
        1. The EEO/AA Officer will develop and maintain an EEO/AA program which shall include but not be limited to the following responsibilities:
          1. The institution/System Office EEO/AA Officer will receive, review and investigate equal employment opportunity complaints and appeals and make recommendations to the President/Director of Chancellor regarding their disposition.
          2. Equal employment opportunity or affirmative action complaints made to external agencies, i.e. EEOC or THRC, will be investigated by the institution or system Office EEO/AA Officer in conjunction with the Office of the General Counsel. All complaints will be forwarded to the Office of the General Counsel and any reports to the external agency will be prepared by the institution and submitted to the Office of the General Counsel for approval and forwarding to the agency. The attorney/client relationship will apply to the investigation and preparation of those reports.
          3. The EEO/AA Officer will develop and maintain an EEO/AA program which shall include:
            1. Developing or reaffirming the institution's equal employment opportunity policy in all personnel actions;
            2. Formal internal and external dissemination of the policy;
            3. Establishing responsibilities for implementation of the program;
            4. Identifying problem areas by organizational units and job classifications;
            5. Establishing goals and objectives by organizational units and job classifications, with timetables for completion;
            6. Developing and executing action-oriented programs designed to attain established goals and objectives;
            7. Ensuring compliance of personnel policies with the sex discrimination guidelines;
            8. Active support of local and national community action and community services programs designed to improve the employment opportunities of minorities and women;
            9. Internal audit and reporting systems designed to insure compliance and to permit monitoring of the program; and
            10. Internal complaint procedures designed to expeditiously process and resolve complaints and grievances by employees or applicants for employment.
          4. Updating the EEO/AA plan annually, and reporting progress in meeting the established goals and objectives, with such report submitted at least annually to the Chancellor as directed by the System EEO/AA Officer. The EEO/AA Officer shall discuss the success of the EEO/AA program with the President and make recommendations regarding desirable changes.
      2. Harassment Program
        1. Each institution and System Office EEO/AA Officer will be responsible for implementing Guideline P-080 Discrimination and Harassment – Complaint and Investigation Procedure.
        2. The EEO/AA Officer will ensure the development of an educational program alerting students and employees to the non-harassment policy and guideline.
        3. Under the direction and guidance of the TBR General Counsel, the institution or system Office EEO/AA Officer will investigate all harassment complaints. The institution or System Office EEO/AA Officer will receive, review, and investigate all complaints of harassment based on sex, race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, or other protected status.
        4. The EEO/AA Officer will ensure that complaints involving discrimination or harassment between students are investigated and resolved by the Student Affairs Office, which resolves all student disciplinary problems.
Sources: 

TBR Meetings, August 17, 1973; September 26, 1980; September 30, 1983; December 14, 1984; March 17, 1989; September 21, 1990; June 25, 1992; December 10, 1993; March 30, 2001; December 8, 2006; March 28, 2008; June 19, 2009

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:20
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

The purpose of this policy is to set the standards for a consistent process and treatment of employees regarding alternate work arrangements across the TBR system. Availability of an alternate work arrangement is at the discretion of each institution and subject to change with or without notice. This policy applies only to non-faculty employees in Institutions who choose to offer alternative work arrangements. Future references to employees in this policy refer to non-faculty. Any reference to Institutions includes the TBR Central Office.

Definitions: 
  • Telecommuting - A work arrangement in which supervisors authorize employees to perform their usual job duties away from their central workplace in accordance with work agreements.
  • Flex Time - Adjusted work schedule where daily working hours may fall outside the hours of 8am to 4:30pm.
  • Compressed Work Week - Adjusted schedule where the employee works a 37.5 hour week in less than 5 days.
  • Flex Year - Any time period, greater than 9 and less than 12 months, scheduled to accommodate the cyclical workload of the Institution.
  • Job Sharing - Two or more people share a single job for which they are equally accountable.
  • Central Workplace - The employer’s place of work where employees normally are located.
  • Employee - A person employed by the institution pursuant to the Board of Regents policies.
  • Alternate Work Arrangement Agreement (Work Agreement) - The written agreement between the institution and the employee that details the terms and conditions of an employee’s work schedule whether away from or at the central workplace. Work agreements are required for any alternate work arrangement.
  • Work Schedule - The employee’s hours of work in the central workplace and/or in the alternate work location. 
Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Procedures
    1. Requests for alternate work arrangements should be initiated by the employee’s supervisor, and should establish the business justification for the alternate work arrangement. Each institution must establish an internal procedure to review and approve/deny these requests.
    2. Alternate work arrangements are not to be considered a universal employee benefit or right. No employee is entitled to or guaranteed the opportunity to an alternate work arrangement. Management is responsible for the continued successful operations of each institution and thus management has the sole discretion to designate positions and/or individuals for an alternate work arrangement.
    3. Alternate Work Arrangements do not change the conditions of employment or required compliance with laws and policies. Employees working on an alternate work arrangement are subject to the same policies, statutes, and procedures applicable to all employees including, but not limited to, time and attendance and leave policies.  Institutions must ensure that procedures are in place to document the work hours of employees in alternate work arrangements ensuring compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Supervisors may require employees to report to a central workplace or video conference as needed for work-related meetings or other events or may meet with employees in the alternative work location as needed to discuss work progress or other work related issues. If a holiday falls on an employee’s scheduled day off as a result of an alternate work arrangement, the employee’s supervisor will make appropriate schedule adjustments to accommodate the holiday.
    4. If approved for an alternate work arrangement, the employee is expected to maintain appropriate levels of productivity and quality of work. If working from a home-based location, the employee will be expected to make arrangements which allow the work site to be a productive work environment during the agreed upon work hours. The supervisor will use the institution’s normal performance management system to clearly define the performance expectations and to assess the employee’s performance.  If a decline in performance is noted, the arrangement will be canceled.
    5. Approved alternate work arrangements must be initiated through a formal alternate work arrangement agreement. At a minimum, this agreement will establish:
      1. That the agreement may be revoked any time without cause by written notification of the Institution or upon request by the employee;
      2. That the agreement will be reviewed periodically for compliance and to insure the continued business justification for the work agreement;
      3. The employee’s work schedule;
      4. The employee’s work location(s);
      5. How communications between the employee, supervisors, colleagues and others will be maintained;
      6. Exclusions of liability for the institution and the State related to injury or property damage to third persons at employee maintained home-based work locations;
      7. An indemnification and hold harmless clause releasing the institution and the State from any and all claims, demands, judgments, liabilities, losses, damages, or expenses resulting or arising from any injury or damage to any person, corporation or other entity caused directly or indirectly by the employee’s acts, omissions, bad faith, willful misconduct or negligence excluding acts within the scope of the employee’s employment pursuant to TCA 9-8-307(h);
      8. The institution’s right to inspect home-based work facilities upon request;
      9. The employee’s status during emergency or weather-related closings.
    6. A sample Alternate Work Arrangement Agreement is provided in Exhibit 1.
    7. Employees working from a location within their home are responsible for maintaining their work environment as a safe and productive work space. Work related injuries occurring at the employee’s home-based work location are subject to Tennessee Worker’s Compensation laws. Alternate work locations are considered extensions of the employee’s central work location during the time period outlined in the Alternate Work Arrangement Agreement.
    8. The supervisor should consider material and equipment needs when drafting a proposal for an alternate work arrangement with the goal of making the arrangement cost-neutral, i.e., no more equipment, supplies or expense should be necessary as a result of the alternate work arrangement than would be needed in the original work location.  However, at the Institution’s discretion, appropriated funds may be used to:
      1. Pay for leased telephone lines in employee’s alternate work location;
      2. Install and provide basic telephone service in employees’ alternate work location or;
      3. Provide cell phones or cell phone allowances to employees for business use;
      4. If cell phones or cell phone allowances are not provided, institutions may reimburse employees for business-related long distance calls made from their personal telephones upon submission of appropriate documentation.
    9. The Institution will not be responsible for any additional costs associated with alternate work locations such as utilities, home maintenance, etc. The employee will be responsible for any tax implications of a home-based work location. For a home-based work location, the employee will be responsible for providing insurance coverage for equipment, supplies, etc. provided by the employee. The employee will be responsible for compliance with any local zoning ordinances or other restrictions related to maintaining a home-based work site. The Institution will not be liable for any fines, penalties, taxes or other expenses that may accrue as a result of any violation of applicable restrictions.
    10. Employees must follow institution approved data security policies and procedure for protecting confidential information. The employee will be responsible for any materials and documents transported from the Institution.
Sources: 

TBR Meeting: December 4, 2008; TBR Meeting: December 5, 2013, this policy was revised and renamed. The previous revision was named "Telecommuting".  

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:19
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

Purpose

The purpose for this policy is to establish the criteria and process regarding volunteer firefighter service leave for employees at the System Office and institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Volunteer Firefighter Service Leave
    1. In accordance with T.C.A. § 50-1-309, a regular employee who is an active volunteer firefighter may be permitted to leave work in order to respond to fire calls during such employee’s regular hours of employment without loss of pay, vacation time, sick leave, or earned overtime accumulation.
      1. Such employee may be permitted to take off the next scheduled work period within twelve (12) hours following such response as an annual leave or sick leave day without loss of pay if the employee assisted in fighting such fire for more than four (4) hours.
      2. If the employee is not entitled to an annual leave or sick leave day then such employee may be permitted to take off such work period without pay.
    2. In addition, any employee who is an active volunteer firefighter and who worked for more than four (4) hours the prior day or night as a volunteer firefighter in an emergency may be permitted to take off the next scheduled work period within twelve (12) hours following such emergency as an annual leave or sick leave day without the loss of pay.
      1. If the employee is not entitled to an annual leave or sick leave day then such employee may be permitted to take off such work period without pay.
    3. The employer may require the employee to submit a written statement from the chief of the volunteer fire department verifying that such employee responded to a fire or was on-call and specifying the date, time and duration of such response. 
Sources: 

TBR Board Meeting: New policy approved, September 25, 2008

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:18
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

The purpose for this policy is to establish the criteria and process regarding human resource procedures in the event of a declared emergency for employees at the System Office and institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Introduction
    1. When it is declared that emergency conditions exist, it is the intent of the Tennessee Board of Regents to protect students, employees, facilities, systems, other property, and normal operations to the greatest extent possible.
    2. In the event that normal operations cannot be maintained, the goal will be to maximize the continuity of essential services in order to minimize the adverse impact of the emergency.  It will further be the intent of the Tennessee Board of Regents to return to full operations and services as quickly as possible.
    3. This Policy specifically addresses Human Resource procedures necessary to support the above goals.
    4. Emergency situations covered by this Policy include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, the spread of communicable disease, financial crises and terrorist attacks or other acts of war.
  2. Declaration of Emergency
    1. Upon the occurrence of an emergency situation, the Chancellor or other official designee of the Board shall issue a Declaration of Emergency. This Declaration shall trigger the implementation of the provisions of this policy.
    2. In the event that disruption of services is to the extent that communication with the Chancellor cannot be established, the President or Director of affected institutions may trigger the provisions of this policy through a temporary Declaration of Emergency until communications have been restored.
    3. When the emergency has abated to the point that normal operations may be resumed, the Chancellor shall so note through a second Declaration.
  3. Suspension of Personnel Policies and Guidelines
    1. When a Declaration of Emergency has been issued, the following TBR Personnel Policies and Guidelines shall be suspended and replaced by the provisions of this Policy:
      1. Policy 5-01-00-00 General Personnel Policy
      2. Policy 5-01-01-00 Employee Classification and Leave Policies
      3. Policy 5-01-01-01 Annual Leave
      4. Policy 5-01-01-03 Leave of Absence
      5. Policy 5-01-0105 Civil Leave
      6. Policy 5-01-01-06 Leave Transfer
      7. Policy 5-01-01-07 Sick Leave
      8. Policy 5-01-01-08 Parental Leave
      9. Policy 5-01-01-09 Bereavement Leave
      10. Policy 5-01-01-10 Holidays
      11. Policy 5-01-01-11 Days of Administrative Closing
      12. Policy 5-01-01-12 Voting Leave
      13. Policy 5-01-01-13 Educational Leave
      14. Policy 5-01-04-10 Faculty Compensation in Summer and Intercessions
      15. Policy 5-02-05-00 Employment of Grad Assistants
      16. Guideline P-010 Personnel Transactions
      17. Guideline P-020 Procedures for Implementation of the 37.5 Hour Workweek
      18. Guideline P-043 Compensation
      19. Guideline P-060 Formation and Operation of Faculty Sick Leave Banks
      20. Guideline P-061 Formation and Operation of Non-faculty Sick Leave Banks
      21. Guideline P-062 Faculty Sick Leave
      22. Guideline P-115 Certified Professional Secretary Examination
      23. Guideline P-130 Support for Educational Assistance
      24. Guideline P-131 Educational Assistance for Spouse and Dependents of TBR Employees
  4. Emergency Response Personnel
    1. Any employee who is identified by the institution, or System Office as essential to meeting critical needs during an emergency will be designated as Emergency Response Personnel.
      1. To the extent possible, each institution should identify and train these personnel through their process of emergency response planning.
      2. When personnel are identified, the local Human Resource Officer should be notified through memo.
    2. Each Human Resource Officer will identify the key personnel necessary to process payroll and maintain continuity of employee benefits for their institution.
      1. These key personnel must be able to perform their essential functions from a remote location.
    3. Each Human Resource Officer will provide a list, with contact information, for these key personnel to the TBR Assistant Vice-Chancellor of Human Resources.
      1. Human Resource Officers will be expected to keep this list up-to-date if there are changes in personnel.
  5. Emergency Leave of Absence
    1. During an Emergency Declaration, any employee who is not designated as Emergency Response Personnel will be placed on Emergency Leave of Absence (ELOA) for the duration of the Emergency Declaration.
  6. Payroll and Benefits
    1. For the duration of the Emergency Declaration, those employees identified as Emergency Response Personnel will continue to receive regular pay. In addition, Emergency Response Personnel will receive compensatory time for the time spent on duty during the period of emergency.
    2. Employees who are placed on Emergency Leave of Absence, and were scheduled and available to work during the Emergency Declaration, will suffer no loss of pay during the emergency period.
    3. Employees placed on ELOA who had requested leave time prior to the Emergency Declaration will be considered to be not available for work during the request period and will be charged for the leave previously requested.
  7. Sick Leave Bank
    1. During an Emergency Declaration, employees who are members of their local sick leave bank, and who have exhausted all leave time and are in a period of unpaid leave, may be able to request a withdrawal from their local sick leave bank depending upon the availability and approval of the local Sick Leave Bank Trustees.
      1. Employees requesting access to the Sick Leave Bank must be able to document, through physician records, a period of illness during their period of unpaid leave.
    2. If the Sick Leave Bank Trustees determine that the numbers of hours on deposit are not sufficient to meet the approved requests, they may suspend operation of the sick leave bank until the Emergency Declaration has passed.
    3. Sick Leave Bank members may not be assessed for further hours until the Emergency Declaration has been lifted.
Sources: 

March 29, 2007 TBR Board Meeting.

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:17
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

The purpose for this policy is to establish the criteria and process regarding disaster relief service leave for employees at the System Office and institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Disaster Relief Service Leave
    1. In accordance with TCA § 8-50-810, a regular employee who is a certified disaster service volunteer of the American Red Cross may be granted leave with pay for up to fifteen (15) work days each calendar year to participate in specialized disaster relief services for the American Red Cross.
    2. The request for the employee's services must come from the American Red Cross and is subject to approval by the employee's supervisor.
    3. The institution/System Office may require the employee to provide verification of service following the disaster period.
    4. Employees who are currently certified as a disaster relief volunteer must register with the Office of Human Resources immediately.  
Sources: 

TBR Meeting, March 27, 1998; March 28, 2008.

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:15
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

In accordance with T.C.A. § 8-50-802, which became effective April 12, 1994, this policy establishes guidelines and procedures for transferring sick leave to members of the Sick Leave Bank who experience a continuing disability due to illness or injury.

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Eligibility Criteria for Receiving Sick Leave
    1. In order to receive sick leave donated by another employee, all of the following criteria must be met.
    2. The recipient must
      1. Be a current member of the institution's sick leave bank;
      2. Have used all accumulated sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time, and any eligible leave amount through the Sick Leave Bank(s) for each separate serious illness or recurring diagnosed illness or accident;
      3. Have a continuing disability resulting from a serious personal illness or injury and be unable to work; and
      4. Not be receiving any other form of compensation including social security disability benefits, long term disability benefits, worker's compensation benefits, or compensation through the State Retirement Plan or Sick Leave Bank.
    3. Before an employee is eligible to receive donated leave, his or her physician must provide current certification that the employee has a disability resulting from serious personal illness or injury and is unable to work.
      1. Upon receipt of such medical certification, the employee is eligible to receive up to 20 days of leave for which he/she would otherwise be without pay including holidays.
      2. Eligibility for additional increments of 20 working days may be based on current medical certification of the continuing disability.
      3. The maximum amount that may be transferred to an employee is limited to 90 days for which the employee would otherwise not be paid as stated above.
      4. Transfer of sick leave to an employee may not be denied if all eligibility criteria are met.
    4. For regular full-time employees receiving transferred leave, a "day" is defined as 7.5 hours for employees on a 37.5-workweek schedule and 8 hours for employees on a 40-hour workweek schedule.
    5. Regular part-time employees shall receive sick leave on a prorated basis equal to the percentage of their employment to full-time employment.
    6. Recipients shall continue to accrue leave and service in accordance with the provisions of the appropriate policies and guidelines, which shall be used prior to any donated leave.
  2. Criteria for Donating Leave
    1. A donating employee is not required to be a member of the Sick Leave Bank. If the institution/school has both Faculty and Staff Sick Leave Banks, employees may donate to members of both banks of the home institution. No transfers may be made beyond the home institution.
    2. In order to donate sick leave to a member of the Sick Leave Bank, an employee must have a current minimum balance of 20 sick leave days based on his/her accrual rate. (Example: 20 x 7.5 hours accrual rate = 150.0 hours.)
    3. In addition, the donor must agree to donate a minimum of 5 days of accrued leave. However, in the event the donor's percentage of employment exceeds that of the recipient, the minimum donation will be based on the recipient's accrual rate.
    4. Regular part-time employees will donate leave equal to their accrual rate. (Example: 10 days x 3.75 hours accrual rate = 37.50 hours.)
    5. The maximum amount of sick leave which an employee may donate during his/her employment at the home institution is the equivalent of 90 accrued days.
    6. An employee may donate more than one time to a single individual.
      1. However, the employee may not donate more than one-half of his/her leave balance in effect at the time of the initial transfer.
      2. For example, an employee with a leave balance of 200 hours may donate 100 hours to a sick leave bank member.
      3. If the recipient only used 75 hours during the first occurrence, the donor could only give that same recipient a total of 25 hours at a later date.
  3. Procedural Guidelines
    1. In order to facilitate sick leave transfer between employees, the following procedures should be followed:
      1. The donating employee (donor) must complete a form (see Exhibit 1) stating the name of the recipient and the amount of leave being donated.
      2. This form must be signed by the donating employee and a representative of Human Resources.
      3. Upon completion, the donor should send the form to the office responsible for processing leave.
    2. Following verification that;
      1. The recipient is a member of the Sick Leave Bank;
      2. The donating employee has sufficient sick leave to cover the donation; and
      3. The amount does not exceed one-half the donor's current balance; the form will be approved by the appropriate official.
      4. A copy of the form will be placed in both the donor and recipient's personnel files, and the original will be retained by the office responsible for processing leave.
    3. Donor forms will be date and time stamped in the order received.
      1. This will determine the order in which sick leave will be deducted from the donors' sick leave balances where there are multiple donors for a single individual.
    4. The recipient's supervisor will be notified of the amount of leave that has been donated.
    5. Before the initial transfer of leave is completed, the office processing leave will verify that the recipient has provided current certification from his/her health care provider that he/she continues to be unable to work.
      1. A current medical form may be required prior to the transfer of sick leave for every subsequent 20 days of donated leave.
    6. At the time of transfer, adjustment forms will be completed by the appropriate office.
      1. Prior to deducting leave from a donor, this office will verify that the donor has sufficient leave to cover the amount originally donated and also maintain the required balance.
      2. If less than the required amount is available, the leave donation is voided.
    7. Payment of the donated leave will be based on the recipient's established rate of pay.
      1. However, this rate may be changed due to any pay increases which occur during periods of donated leave.
    8. Only the amount of leave which has been projected as necessary to cover each pay period will be transferred at any given time.
      1. If an employee has donated 10 days and only 4 days are required for the current pay period, only 4 days will be deducted during this pay period.
      2. If the disability continues into the next pay period, the remaining days will be deducted at the appropriate time.
    9. Sick leave may not be transferred retroactively beyond one month.
      1. For example, if no one has agreed to donate leave to an employee who has exhausted all of his/her Sick Leave Bank entitlements and has been placed on an approved leave of absence without pay, another employee may later donate sick leave to this employee.
      2. Retroactive payment for the value of this leave may not be extended beyond one month.
    10. Donated sick leave which has not been used by the recipient will be transferred to the Sick Leave Bank.
    11. If the donor terminates employment, retires, transfers to another institution or State agency, dies, or has an insufficient leave balance to meet the eligibility criteria; all responsibility to donate this leave is voided.
    12. The decision to donate sick leave to another individual should be a choice made freely by each employee.
      1. Any person attempting to unduly influence another employee to donate leave shall be subject to disciplinary action, and any prior agreement made to donate leave under these conditions shall be voided.
Sources: 

TBR Meeting, December 9, 1994; TBR Meeting, March 29, 1996 (Finance and Administration approval November 13, 1996); TBR Meeting, June 19, 1998; March 28, 2008; Revised September 20, 2013.

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:14
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

In compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended, (“FMLA” or “the Act”) it is the policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents (“TBR”) to provide eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period for family or medical leave, or for a qualifying exigency; or, up to 26 workweeks of leave for military caregiver leave during a 12-month period for reasons specified in this Policy, to provide continued health insurance coverage during the leave period and to insure employee reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position following the leave period.

Definitions: 
  • State - shall be defined as any State agency, the TBR System, and/or the University of Tennessee System, for purposes of this policy.
  • Other definitions are part of the policy text.
Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Employee Eligibility
    1. In order to be considered "eligible," an employee must: (1) have worked for the State for at least 12 months; and, (2) have worked at least 1,250 hours during the year preceding the start of the leave.
    2. The determination of whether an employee meets the eligibility criteria for receiving FMLA leave is based on the amount of service (including prior service) the employee has as of the date the leave actually begins.
    3. This policy applies to both regular and temporary employees.
    4. The right to take FMLA leave applies equally to male and female employees.
    5. This policy contains no exceptions for "key employees" (e.g., a salaried FMLA eligible employee who is among the highest paid 10 percent of all the employees of the institution).
    6. The 12 months of required work with the State do not have to be consecutive in order for an employee to be eligible.  However, employment prior to a break in service lasting 7 or more years will not be counted unless the break was due to fulfillment of a National Guard or Reserve military service obligation. The time served performing the military service must also be counted in determining whether the employee has been employed for at least 12 months by the employer.
    7. If an employee is maintained on the payroll for any part of a week, that week is considered a week of employment, with 52 weeks of such employment considered equal to 12 months.
    8. In determining "hours worked" for the purposes of FMLA eligibility, all hours actually worked by an employee (including overtime hours) should be calculated.
      1. Annual and sick leave hours which have been used during the 12-month period preceding the start of the leave are not counted as hours worked.
      2. In situations where a full-time employee is considered "exempt" from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and no record of overtime hours worked has been maintained, the employee is presumed to have met the 1,250 hour requirement if he/she has worked for the State for at least 12 months.
      3. For purposes of this policy, full-time faculty satisfy the 1,250 hour test.
    9. The determination of eligibility must be made as of the date the leave commences or within 5 business days (absent extenuating circumstances) of when notification of an FMLA qualifying event has been received.
      1. If an employee gives notice that leave is required before he/she meets the eligibility criteria, he/she must either be:
        1. Provided with confirmation of when eligibility will be attained, based upon a projection; or
        2. Advised when the criteria have been met.
      2. In the latter case, the notice of leave will remain current and outstanding until the employee is advised that eligibility has been attained.
      3. Eligibility that is confirmed at the time the notice is received may not be subsequently challenged.
      4. If notice of leave has been given and confirmation of eligibility is not given prior to commencement of the leave, the employee is deemed eligible; FMLA leave may not be denied.
      5. In addition, if notice of the need for leave has not been given more than 5 business days prior to commencement of the leave, a determination of eligibility must be confirmed within 5 business days following notice.
      6. If such a determination is not provided, the employee will be considered eligible.
    10. Leave requests for regular employees who do not satisfy the FMLA eligibility requirements shall be processed in accordance with the appropriate TBR leave policies.
  2. Leave Entitlement - FMLA Qualifying Events
    1. Family Leave
      1. The birth of a son/daughter and to care for the newborn child.
        1. In addition to leave taken after the birth of a child, FMLA leave may be taken by an expectant mother for the purpose of prenatal visits, pregnancy-related symptoms, and in situations where a serious health condition prevents her from performing her job duties prior to the child's birth.
        2. Husbands may also use FMLA to accompany an expectant spouse to prenatal visits, to care for an expectant spouse with a serious health condition, or if needed to care for the spouse following the birth of the child if the spouse has a serious health condition.
      2. The adoptive or foster care placement of a son or daughter with the employee.
        1. FMLA leave may be taken prior to an adoptive or foster care placement if the leave is necessary for the placement to proceed. This would include granting leave for required counseling sessions, court appearances, and legal or medical consultations.
        2. Adoption: There is no requirement in the Act that the source of an adoption be from a licensed adoption agency in order for an employee to be eligible for FMLA leave. (See Section II, A.3., for age limitations for son/daughter.)
        3. Foster Care: This is defined as "24-hour care for children in substitution for, and away from, their parents or guardian." The Act requires that this placement be made by or in agreement with the State and that State action be involved in the removal of the child from parental custody. Foster care may include children of relatives placed within the employee's home by the State.
      3. To care for the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition, as defined below:
        1. Spouse: For purposes of this policy is defined by the U.S. Department of Labor - Family Medical Leave Act. (Code of Federal Regulations; 29 CFR 825.102 Definitions) 
        2. Parent: Biological parent or an individual who currently stands or stood in place of an absent parent to an employee when the employee was a child as defined in son/daughter below. The definition does not include parents-in-law.
        3. Son/Daughter: Biological, adopted, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or child of a person standing in place of an absent parent, who is either under age 18, or age 18 or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.  An individual "incapable of self-care" means that the individual requires active assistance or supervision in performing 3 or more activities of daily living. An individual with a "physical or mental disability" means that the individual has an impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual. Regulations at 29 CFR Part 1630, issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., define these terms.
          1. For purposes of confirmation of family relationship, the president/director/Chancellor/or his/her designee (hereafter referred to as "Employer") may require the employee giving notice of a need for leave to provide reasonable documentation or statement of family relationship.
          2. This documentation may take the form of a simple statement from the employee, a birth certificate, a court document, etc.
          3. After examination, the employee is entitled to the return of the official document.
    2. Medical Leave. The employee has a serious health condition resulting in his/her inability to perform job functions.
      1. An employee is unable to perform the functions of his/her position if the Health Care Provider (“HCP”) finds that the employee is:
        1. Unable to work at all; or
        2. Unable to perform any one of the position's essential functions within the meaning of the ADAAA, 42 USC 12101, et. seq. and the regulations at 29 CFR Sec. 1630.2 (n). For FMLA purposes, the essential functions must be determined with reference to the employee's position when the notice is given or the leave commenced, whichever is earlier.
      2. An employee absent from work to receive medical treatment for a serious health condition is considered to be unable to perform the essential functions of the position during the absence for treatment. The Designator may provide a copy of the essential functions of the employee's position for the HCP to review when requiring certification.
    3. Service member [or Military Family] Leave
      1. “Qualifying Exigency.” Employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent (“the Servicemember”) on covered active duty or a Federal call to covered active duty in the regular Armed Forces, the National Guard or Reserves, or a retired member of the regular Armed Forces or Reserves may use leave to address exigencies listed below arising out of the covered active duty or impending covered active duty deployment of the Service member to a foreign country:
        1. Short-notice deployment (up to 7 days of leave);
        2. Attending certain military events;
        3. Child care or school activities;
        4. Addressing financial and legal arrangements;
        5. Periods of rest and recuperation with the Service member (up to 5 days of leave)
        6. Attending counseling sessions related to active duty;
        7. Attending post-deployment activities (available for up to 90 days after the termination of the covered Servicemember’s active duty status);
        8. Other activities arising out of the Service member’s active duty or call to active duty, and agreed upon by the institution and employee.
      2. Military Caregiver Leave
        1. An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered Service member shall be entitled to a total of 26 work weeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for  the covered Service member  who has  a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty while on covered active duty in the Regular Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves provided that such injury or illness may render the Service member medically unfit to perform his/her duties for which the Service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.
          1. A serious health condition also includes any injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the Servicemember’s covered active duty that was aggravated by service in the line of duty on covered active duty.
          2. A veteran of the regular Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves will be considered a covered Service member for purposes of this leave entitlement if:
            1. He/she is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for a serious injury or illness that was incurred by or aggravated while on covered active duty in the Armed Forces, whether or not the illness or injury manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran; and
            2. He/she was a member of the Armed Forced, National Guard, or Reserves at any time during the five-year period before he/she began the treatment, recuperation or therapy.
        2. An employee may take up to 26 workweeks of leave on a per Service member, per injury/illness basis during a 12-month period, beginning on the first day of leave.  However, no more than 26 workweeks of leave may be taken within any single 12-month period.
        3. “Next of kin” means the nearest blood relative other than the covered Servicemember’s spouse, parent or child designated by the Service member in the following order of priority:
          1. A legal guardian or custodian; or
          2. A sibling, grandparent, aunt/uncle, or first cousin, unless the Service member has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his/her nearest blood relative.
  3. FMLA definition of "a serious health condition" and “period of incapacity
    1. "Serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition involving any of the following:
      1. Inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical-care facility, including any period of incapacity; or
      2. Continuing treatment by a HCP which includes:
        1. A period of incapacity lasting more than 3 consecutive, full calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition that also includes:
          1. Treatment 2 or more times by or under the supervision of a HCP (i.e., in-person visits, the first within 7 days and both within 30 days of the first day of incapacity); or
          2. Treatment on at least one occasion by a HCP (i.e., an in-person visit within 7 days of the first day of incapacity) with a continuing regimen of treatment. (e.g., prescription medication, physical therapy)
        2. Any period of incapacity related to pregnancy or for prenatal care. A visit to the HCP is not necessary for each absence; or
        3. Any period of incapacity or treatment for a chronic serious health condition which continues over an extended period of time, requires periodic visits (at least twice a year) to a HCP, and may involve episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.). A visit to a HCP is not necessary for each absence; or
        4. A period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer’s, severe stroke, or terminal stages of a disease). Only supervision by a HCP is required, rather than active treatment; or
        5. Any absences to receive multiple treatments, including any period of recovery therefrom, for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury; or, for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than 3 days if not treated.
    2. “Period of incapacity” means an inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment or recovery.
    3. Absences due to pregnancy or prenatal care, or chronic conditions as specified above, fall within FMLA even if no treatment from a HCP is received, and even if the absence does not last more than 3 consecutive, full calendar days.
  4. Determination of the 12 Workweek/26 Workweek Periods
    1. Limitations on Length and Duration
      1. Eligible employees are entitled to up to a total of 12 workweeks of leave for family or medical leave, and for a qualifying exigency under Service member leave; and, up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a Service member with an injury or illness during a 12-month period.
        1. The initial 12-month period starts on the date the employee's FMLA leave first begins.
        2. A new 12- month period would begin the first time FMLA leave is taken after completion of any previous 12-month period.
          1. For example, an employee who first uses FMLA leave on October 7, 2008, would have his/her 12-month period begin on that date and continue through October 6, 2009.
          2. If this employee subsequently needed to use FMLA leave starting on December 2, 2009, a new 12-month period would be established from that date forward through December 1, 2010.
      2. A holiday that occurs within the week taken as FMLA leave has no effect; the week is counted as a week of FMLA leave.
        1. Exception: If the institution/System Office is temporarily closed for work for 1 or more weeks (e.g., closing for the Christmas/New Year holiday, summer breaks), those days do not count as FMLA leave.
        2. If the employee takes intermittent leave, the holiday is not counted unless the employee would have been scheduled to work the holiday.
      3. Overtime hours.  If the employee is normally scheduled to work overtime but is unable to do so because of his/her serious health condition, the overtime missed may be counted as FMLA leave.
        1. For example, if an employee would normally be required to work 48 hours in a particular week, but due to a serious health condition the employee is unable to work more than 40 hours that week, the employee would utilize 8 hours of FMLA protected leave.
        2. Voluntary overtime hours that an employee does not work due to a serious health condition may not be counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement.
      4. Part-time employees receive FMLA leave on a pro rata or proportional basis.
      5. If an employee’s schedule varies from week to week, a weekly average of the hours worked over the 12 workweeks prior to the beginning of the leave period would be used for calculating the employee’s normal workweek.
    2. Leave entitlement for the birth of a child or for adoption or foster care placement of a child expires at the end of the 12-month period beginning on the date of the birth or placement. FMLA leave for these reasons must be concluded within this time period.
    3. Leave to care for an injured or ill Service member is to be applied on a per-covered Service member, per-injury basis such that an eligible employee may be entitled to take more than one period of 26 workweeks of leave if the leave is to care for different covered Servicemember’s or to care for the same Service member with a subsequent serious injury or illness.  However, no more than 26 workweeks of leave may be taken within any single 12-month period.
    4. FMLA leave limitations when both spouses are State employees.
      1. Spouses who are both employees of the State are limited to a combined total of 12 workweeks of FMLA leave during a 12-month period if the leave is taken for the following reasons:
        1. Birth of a child or for care of the child after birth; or
        2. Adoptive or foster care placement of a son or a daughter or for care of the child after placement; or
        3. To care for a parent with a serious health condition.
        4. However, each employee would be entitled to take 12 workweeks of FMLA leave to care for a child, including a newborn, with a serious health condition.
      2. In situations where both the husband and wife use a portion of FMLA leave for one of the reasons listed in the previous paragraph, each spouse is entitled to the difference between the amount he/she has taken individually and 12 workweeks of FMLA leave for reasons other than those listed.
        1. For example, if both spouses use 6 workweeks of leave for the birth of a child, each could take an additional 6 workweeks of leave for personal illness, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
        2. In situations where FMLA leave is not taken due to birth, adoption, or foster care, or to care for a parent during a given year, each spouse is entitled to full 12 workweeks of leave.
        3. Additionally, each employee would be entitled to take 12 workweeks of FMLA leave to care for a newborn child or child if that child has a serious health condition.
      3. If one spouse is ineligible for FMLA leave, the spouse who meets the eligibility requirement is entitled to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave.
      4. Service member Leave. The aggregate number of workweeks of leave to which both that husband and wife may be entitled is limited to 26 workweeks during a 12-month period.
    5. Use of an intermittent or reduced leave schedule.
      1. "Intermittent Leave" is leave taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason and may include leave periods from an hour to several weeks. A "reduced leave schedule" reduces an employee's usual number of working hours per work-day or work-week.
      2. An employee may take intermittent FMLA leave or have a reduced leave schedule over a 12-month time period when medically necessary for:
        1. Planned and/or unanticipated medical treatment of a serious health condition by or under the supervision of a HCP;
        2. Recovery from the condition;
        3. Recovery from treatment of the condition; or
        4. To provide care to an immediate family member with a serious health condition.
          1. Employees may not use intermittent FMLA leave following the birth of a child, or adoptive or foster care placement for any reason other than medical necessity.
      3. Intermittent leave or a reduced schedule may also be used for absences where the employee or family member is incapacitated or unable to perform the position's essential functions due to a chronic serious health condition even if treatment is not rendered by a HCP.
      4. If an employee requests intermittent leave or leave resulting in a reduced work schedule, the employer may require that the employee transfer temporarily to another position for which the employee is qualified and which better accommodates the employee's need for recurring leave periods.
        1. Transfer to an alternative position may include altering an existing job to better accommodate the employee's need for intermittent or reduced leave.
        2. This temporary position must have equivalent pay and benefits, but need not have equivalent duties.
        3. For information regarding benefits (e.g., insurance and longevity) not ordinarily provided to part-time employees that may not be eliminated, see Section XVIII.
        4. An employee may not be transferred to an alternative position in an effort to discourage use of FMLA leave or otherwise work a hardship on the employee (e.g., a day-shift employee may not be reassigned to a later shift).
        5. When an employee who transferred to an alternative position is able to return to full-time work, he/she shall be placed in the same or equivalent position as the job he/she had when the leave commenced.
        6. He/she cannot be required to take more FMLA leave than the circumstance for the leave requires.
      5. The employer must account for intermittent or reduced leave using an increment no greater than the shortest period of time that the employer uses to account for use of other forms of leave provided that it is not greater than one hour and provided further that an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement may not be reduced by more than the amount of leave actually taken.
  5. Employee Notice Requirements
    1. General.
      1. An employee giving notice of the need for FMLA leave does not need to expressly assert rights under the Act or even mention the FMLA to meet his or her obligation to provide notice though the employee would need to state a qualifying reason for the needed leave and otherwise satisfy the notice requirements.
      2. However, if the employee fails to explain the reasons for the leave, the request may be denied.
    2. Foreseeable leave
      1. Timing of notice
        1. The employee must provide at least 30 days advance notice before the leave is to begin, or if 30 days is not practicable, as soon thereafter as possible. The employer may require the employee to explain the reasons why notice was not given at least 30 days prior to the leave.
        2. Notice need be given only once but the employee shall advise the employer as soon as practicable if dates of scheduled leave change or are extended, or were initially unknown.
      2. Content of notice
        1. An employee shall provide at least verbal notice sufficient to make the employer aware that the employee needs FMLA qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.
        2. The employer may request medical certification to support the need for the leave to determine if the condition qualifies as a serious health condition.  The employer may request certification to support the need for leave for a qualifying exigency or for military caregiver leave.
        3. An employee has an obligation to respond to an employer’s questions designed to determine whether an absence is potentially FMLA qualifying.  Failure to respond to reasonable employer inquiries may result in denial of FMLA protection if the employer is unable to determine whether the leave is FMLA qualifying.
        4. An employer may require an employee to comply with the employer’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave, absent unusual circumstances.
      3. Scheduling leave
        1. The employee must consult with the employer and make a reasonable effort to schedule planned medical treatments so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations subject to the approval of the HCP.
        2. Intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule must be medically necessary due to a serious health condition, injury or illness.  The employee and employer shall attempt to work out a schedule for such leave that meets the employee’s needs without unduly disrupting the employer’s operation, subject to the approval of the health care provider.
    3. Unforeseeable Leave
      1. Timing of notice
        1. An employee must provide notice as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances of the case.
        2. Notice may be given by the employee’s spokesperson if the employee is unable to do so personally.
      2. Content of notice
        1. An employee shall provide sufficient information for an employer to reasonably determine whether the FMLA may apply to the leave request, and the anticipated duration of the absence.
        2. Calling in sick without providing more information will not be considered sufficient notice to trigger an employer’s obligations under the FMLA.  The employer may obtain any additional required information by contacting the employee or the employee’s spokesperson through informal means.
        3. The employee has an obligation to respond to an employer’s questions designed to determine whether an absence is potentially FMLA qualifying. Failure to respond to reasonable employer inquires may result in denial of FMLA protection if the employer is unable to determine whether the leave is FMLA qualifying.
        4. An employer may require an employee to comply with the employer’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave, absent unusual circumstances.
        5. If an employee requires emergency medical treatment, he/she would not be required to follow the call-in procedure until his/her condition is stabilized and he/she has access to, and is able to use, a phone.
  6. Employer Notice Requirements
    1. Posting general notice.
      1. All employers are required to post, in conspicuous places, notices explaining the provisions of the FMLA.
      2. Electronic posting is sufficient. See the Department of Labor (DOL) Web site for a prototype notice.
      3. The DOL notice form may be used, or another format may be used so long as the information provided includes, at a minimum, all the information contained in the DOL notice.
    2. If the employer has an employee handbook or other document explaining employee benefits or leave rights, information concerning FMLA entitlement, and employer/employee responsibilities and obligations must be included.
    3. Eligibility notice
      1. When an employee requests FMLA leave or when the employer acquires knowledge that an employee’s leave may be for an FMLA qualifying reason, the employer must notify the employee of his/her eligibility to take FMLA leave within 5 business days, absent extenuating circumstances.
      2. If the employee is not eligible, the notice must state at least one reason why.
      3. Notification of eligibility may be oral or in writing and employers may use DOL forms to provide notice.
    4. Rights and responsibilities notice.
      1. Employers must provide written notice detailing the specific expectations and obligations of the employee and explain any consequences of a failure to meet these obligations.
      2. This notice must be provided each time an eligibility notice is provided.
      3. The notice must, at minimum, include, as appropriate:
        1. That the leave may be designated and counted against the employee’s annual FMLA leave entitlement;
        2. Any requirements for the employee to furnish certification of a serious health condition, serious injury or illness, or qualifying exigency arising out of active duty or call to active duty status, and the consequences of failing to do so;
        3. That the employer will substitute paid leave and the employee’s entitlement to take unpaid FMLA leave if he/she does not have sufficient accrued paid leave;
        4. Any requirement for the employee to make any premium payments to maintain health benefits and the arrangements for making such payments, and the possible consequences of failure to make such payments on a timely basis;
        5. The employee’s rights to maintenance of benefits during the FMLA leave and restoration to the same or an equivalent job upon return from FMLA leave; and,
        6. The employee’s potential liability for payment of health insurance premiums paid by the employer during the employee’s unpaid FMLA leave if the employee fails to return to work after taking FMLA leave.
      4. The employer may use the appropriate DOL form as the notice of rights and responsibilities. This notice may be distributed electronically so long as it otherwise meets the requirements of this section.
    5. Designation Notice
      1. When the employer has enough information to determine whether the leave is being taken for an FMLA qualifying reason, the employer must notify the employee whether the leave will be designated and counted as FMLA leave within 5 business days absent extenuating circumstances.
        1. At the time of designating the leave as FMLA leave; the employer must indicate that paid leave will be utilized when the employee has accumulated leave balances.
        2. An employee with no accumulated sick or annual leave balances must take his/her leave as unpaid, unless otherwise stipulated in other TBR leave policies.
        3. TBR leave policies and the FMLA leave policies shall run concurrently and not consecutively.
      2. Only one notice of designation is required for each FMLA qualifying reason per applicable 12-month period, regardless of whether the leave taken due to the qualifying reason will be a continuous block of leave, or intermittent or reduced schedule leave.
      3. If the employer determines that the leave will not be designated as FMA qualifying, the employee must be so notified.
      4. If the employer will require the employee to present a fitness-for-duty certification to be restored to employment, the employer must provide notice of such requirement with the designation notice.
        1. If the fitness-for-duty certification must address the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of his/her position, the employer must so indicate in the designation notice, and must include a list of the essential functions of the position.
      5. The designation notice must be in writing and the appropriate DOL form may be used for this purpose. If the leave cannot be designated as FMLA leave, the notice may be in the form of a simple written statement.
      6. The employer must notify the employee of the amount of leave counted against his/her FMLA leave entitlement.
        1. If the amount of leave needed is known at the time the leave is designated as FMLA leave, the employer must notify the employee of the number of hours, days or weeks that will be counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement in the designation notice.
        2. If it is not possible to provide this information, such as in the case of unforeseeable intermittent leave, the employer must provide notice of the amount of leave counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement at the request of the employee, but no more often than once in a 30-day period and only if FMLA leave was taken in that period.
  7. Designation of FMLA Leave
    1. Employer responsibilities.
      1. The decision to designate leave as FMLA qualifying must be based only on information received from the employee or the employee’s spokesperson.
      2. If the employer does not have sufficient information about the reason for the use of leave, the employer should inquire further of the employee or spokesman.
      3. The employer must then provide the appropriate notice pursuant to the prior section.
    2. Employee responsibilities
      1. An employee giving notice of the need for FMLA leave does not need to expressly assert rights under the FMLA or even mention the FMLA to meet his/her obligation to provide notice, though he/she would need to state a qualifying reason for the needed leave and otherwise satisfy the notice requirements of Section V.
      2. If an employee fails to adequately explain the need for FMLA leave, the request may be denied.
    3. Retroactive designation.
      1. The employer may retroactively designate leave as FMLA leave with appropriate notice to the employee provided the employer’s failure to timely designate leave does not cause harm or injury to the employee.
  8. Certification
    1. General
      1. A request for certification must be made in writing.
      2. The employer should make a request for certification at the time the employee gives notice of the need for leave or within 5 business days thereafter; or, in the case of unforeseen leave, within 5 business days after the leave begins.
      3. The employee must provide the requested certification within 15 calendar days after the request unless it is not practicable under the particular circumstances to do so despite the employee’s diligent, good faith efforts. The employee is responsible for paying any costs associated with obtaining a certification or recertification, and any necessary clarification or authentication.
      4. If the employee does not provide a complete and sufficient certificate, the employer must state in writing what additional information is necessary to make the certification complete and sufficient. If items on the certification are not filled in, or the information provided is vague, ambiguous or non-responsive, the certification may be considered incomplete. The employee must be allowed 7 calendar days to cure any deficiencies.
      5. No information beyond that specified below in Section IX may be required to be provided.
      6. The employee may provide the employer with an authorization, release or waiver allowing the employer to communicate directly with the HCP, but the employee must not be required to do so.
    2. Consequences
      1. At the time the employer requests certification, the employee must be advised that the FMLA leave request may be denied if the certification is incomplete or insufficient despite the opportunity to cure the deficiencies, or if the employee fails to provide any certification.
      2. It is the employee’s responsibility to furnish a complete and sufficient certification, or to furnish the HCP the necessary authorization to complete the certification.
      3. These principles apply whether the request is the initial certification, a recertification, a second or third opinion, or a fitness for duty certificate, including any clarifications necessary to determine if such certifications are authentic and sufficient.
  9. Certification of Serious Health Condition of Employee or a Covered Family Member
    1. Permissible information
      1. The name, address, telephone number and fax number of the HCP, and type of medical practice/specialization;
      2. The approximate date on which the serious health condition began, and its probable duration;
      3. A statement or description of appropriate medical facts regarding the patient’s health condition for which FMLA leave is requested.
        1. These facts must be sufficient to support the need for leave and may include information on symptoms, diagnosis, hospitalization, doctor visits, whether medication has been prescribed, any referrals for evaluation or treatment, or any other regimen of continuing treatment.
      4. If the employee is the patient, information sufficient to establish that he/she cannot perform the essential functions of his/her job, the nature of any other work restrictions; and, the likely duration of such inability.
      5. If the patient is a covered family member, information sufficient to establish that the family member is in need of care, and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the leave required to care for the family member.
      6. If the employee requests leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis for planned medical treatment for him/herself or a family member, information sufficient to establish the medical necessity and an estimate of the dates and duration of such treatments and any periods of recovery.
      7. If the employee requests leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis for his/her serious health condition, including pregnancy, that may result in unforeseeable episodes of incapacity, information sufficient to establish the medical necessity for such leave and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the episodes of incapacity.
      8. If the employee requests leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis to care for a covered family member, a statement that such leave is medically necessary to care for the family member who can include assisting in recovery, and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the required leave.
    2. The appropriate DOL form may be used to obtain information concerning the employee’s serious health condition or the serious health condition of a covered family member.  These forms may also be used if seeking second and third opinions.
    3. Workers’ compensation - If the employee is concurrently on FMLA leave and workers’ compensation leave, the FMLA does not prevent the employer from following the workers’ compensation provisions in seeking information even if such would allow inquires beyond that allowed under the FMLA. Information received may be considered in determining the employee’s entitlement to FMLA protected leave.
    4. ADAAA - If the employee’s serious health condition may also be a disability pursuant to the ADAAA, the FMLA does not prevent the employer from following the procedures for requesting medical information under the ADAAA.  Any information received may be considered in determining the employee’s entitlement to FMLA protected leave.
    5. Clarification and authentication of certification.
      1. If the employee submits an incomplete or insufficient certification signed by the HCP, the employer may contact the HCP for purposes of clarification and authentication.
        1. The employee must first have been given 7 calendar days to cure the deficiency.
        2. Employers may not ask for additional information beyond that required by the certification form as set out in Section IX.A.
      2. The employee must provide an authorization for the employer to contact the HCP.
      3. A HCP, human resources professional, leave administrator or a management official may contact the HCP for clarification or authentication. Under no circumstances shall the employee’s direct supervisor contact the HCP.
      4. “Authentication” means providing the HCP with a copy of the certification and requesting verification that the information contained on the certification form was completed and/or authorized by the HCP who signed the document.
      5. “Clarification” means contacting the HCP to understand the handwriting on the medical certification or to understand the meaning of a response.
      6. It is the employee’s responsibility to provide a complete and sufficient certification and to clarify the certification if necessary. Failure to do so or failure to provide authorization to contact the HCP may result in the denial of FMLA leave.
    6. Second and Third Opinions
      1. Second opinion
        1. If the employer doubts the validity of a certification, the employee may be required to obtain a second opinion which shall be at the employer’s expense.
        2. The employer is permitted to designate the HCP but the HCP must not be employed on a regular basis by the employer.
      2. Third opinion
        1. If the first and second opinions differ, the employer may require the employee to obtain certification from a third HCP at the employer’s expense.
        2. The third HCP must be designated or approved jointly by the employer and the employee.
        3. The third opinion shall be final and binding.
      3. Pending receipt of a second or third opinion, the employee is provisionally entitled to the benefits of the FMLA, including maintenance of group health benefits.
    7. FMLA leave may be denied and the leave designated as paid or unpaid under the employer’s established leave policies if:
      1. The certifications do not ultimately establish entitlement to FMLA leave; or,
      2. The employee fails to provide authorization for his/her HCP to release all relevant medical information pertaining to the serious health condition at issue if requested by the HCP designated to provide the second or third opinion.
    8. Recertification
      1. 30-day rule - An employer may request recertification no more often than every 30 days and only in connection with an absence by the employee, unless sections 2 or 3 apply.
      2. More than 30 days
        1. If the medical certification indicates the minimum duration of the condition is more than 30 days, an employer must wait until that minimum duration period expires before requesting a recertification.
        2. Notwithstanding the limitation set forth above, an employer may request a recertification every 6 months in connection with an absence by the employee.
      3. Less than 30 days - An employer may request certification in less than 30 days if:
        1. The employee requests an extension of leave;
        2. Circumstances described by the previous certification have changed significantly (e.g., the duration or frequency of the absence, the nature or severity of the illness, or complications); or,
        3. The employer receives information that casts doubt on the stated reason for the absence or the continuing validity of the certification.
      4. The employee must provide the recertification within the timeframe requested by the employer which must allow no less than 15 calendar days.
      5. The employer may ask for the same information as that permitted for the original certification, and the employee has the same obligation to participate and cooperate in providing a complete and sufficient certification.
      6. The employer may provide the HCP with a record of the employee’s absence pattern and ask if the serious health condition and need for leave is consistent with such a pattern.
      7. Any recertification requested by the employer may be at the employee’s expense.
      8. No second or third opinion on recertification may be required.
  10. Certification of Qualifying Exigency
    1. Active duty orders
      1. The first time an employee requests leave based on a qualifying exigency arising out of the active duty or call to active duty status of a covered military member, the employer may require the employee to provide a copy of the covered military member's active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military that indicates that the covered military member is on active duty or call to active duty status in support of a contingency operation, and the dates of the active duty service. This information need only be provided once.
      2. A copy of new active duty orders or other documentation issued by the military shall be provided to the employer if the need for leave because of a qualifying exigency arises out of a different active duty or call to active duty status of the same or a different covered military member.
    2. Required information - The employer may require a certification from the employee that sets forth the following information:
      1. A statement or description, signed by the employee, of appropriate facts regarding the qualifying exigency, including the type of qualifying exigency and any documentation which supports the request for leave.
      2. The approximate date(s) of the qualifying exigency.
        1. If the event is a single, continuous period of time, the beginning and end dates.
        2. If the leave request is for an intermittent or reduced schedule, an estimate of the frequency and duration of the qualifying exigency.
      3. If the event involves meeting with a third party, appropriate contact information for the third party, and a brief description of the purpose of the meeting.
    3. The appropriate DOL form may be used. No information beyond that specified may be required.
    4. Verification
      1. If the certification is complete and sufficient to support the request for leave, no additional information may be requested.
      2. However, if the qualifying exigency concerns meeting with a third party, the employer may contact the third party to verify the nature and time of the meeting.
      3. The employer may contact the Department of Defense to request verification that a covered military member is on active duty or call to active duty status.
      4. If verification occurs pursuant to either item 2 or 3, no additional information may be requested and the employee’s permission is not required.
  11. Certification for Service member (Military Caregiver) Leave
    1. Required information from HCP - An employer may require an employee to obtain a certification completed by any one of the following:
      1. A United States Department of Defense (“DOD”) HCP;
      2. A United States Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) HCP;
      3. A DOD TRICARE network authorized private HCP;
      4. A DOD non-network TRICARE authorized private HCP.
    2. If the authorized HCP is unable to make certain military-related determinations specified below, the authorized HCP may rely on determinations from an authorized DOD representative. An employer may request that the HCP provide the following information:
      1. The name, address and appropriate contact information (telephone number, fax number, and/or email address) of the  HCP, the type of medical practice, the medical specialty, and whether the health care provider is one of the following:
        1. A DOD HCP;
        2. A VA HCP;
        3. A DOD TRICARE network authorized private HCP; or
        4. A DOD non-network TRICARE authorized private HCP.
      2. Whether the covered Servicemember’s injury or illness was incurred in the line of duty on active duty.
      3. The approximate date on which the serious injury or illness began and its probable duration.
      4. A statement or description of appropriate medical facts regarding the covered Servicemember’s health condition for which FMLA leave is requested.
        1. These facts must include information on whether the injury or illness may render the covered Service member medically unfit to perform the duties of the Servicemember’s office, grade, rank or rating and whether the member is receiving medical treatment, recuperation or therapy.
      5. Information sufficient to establish that the covered Service member is in need of care and whether  he/she will need care for a single continuous period of time, including any time for treatment and recovery, and an estimate as to the beginning and ending dates for this period of time.
      6. If intermittent or reduced schedule leave is requested for planned medical treatment appointments, whether there is a medical necessity for the covered Service member to have such periodic care and an estimate of the treatment schedule of such appointments.
      7. If intermittent or reduced schedule leave is requested for other than planned medical treatment (e.g., episodic flare-ups of a medical condition), whether there is a medical necessity to have such periodic care, which can include assisting the covered Servicemember’s recovery, and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the periodic care.
    3. The employer may also ask the employee and/or the covered Service member to include the following information in the certification:
      1. The name and address of the employer of the employee requesting leave to care for a covered Service member, the name of the employee requesting such leave, and the name of the covered Service member for whom the employee is requesting leave to care.
      2. The relationship of the employee to the covered Service member.
      3. Whether the covered Service member is a member of the Armed Forces, the National Guard or Reserves; and his/her military branch, rank and current unit assignment.
      4. Whether the covered Service member is assigned to a military medical facility as an outpatient or to a unit established for the purpose of providing command and control of members of the Armed Forces receiving medical care as outpatients, and the name of the medical treatment facility or unit.
      5. Whether the covered Service member is on the temporary disability retired list.
      6. A description of the care to be provided and an estimate of the leave needed to provide the care.
    4. The appropriate DOL form may be used to obtain certification that meets the FMLA’s requirements.
      1. No information may be required beyond that specified on the certification.
      2. Authentication and/or clarification of the certification may be sought.
      3. Second and third opinions and recertification are not permitted.
      4. Confirmation of covered family relationship to the covered Service member may be required.
    5. Invitational travel order (“ITO”) or invitational travel authorization (“ITA”).
      1. An employer must accept an ITO or an ITA as sufficient certification to allow FMLA leave.  No additional or separate certification may be required.
      2. If leave is needed beyond the period specified in the ITO/ITA, the employer may request certification from one of the authorized HCPs listed in B.1.
      3. The employer may seek authentication and clarification of the ITO/ITA.  The employer may not seek a second or third opinion, or a recertification during the period of time in which leave is supported by an ITO/ITA.
      4. The employer may require an employee to provide confirmation of covered family relationship to the covered Service member.
  12. Intent to Return to Work
    1. An employer may require an employee on FMLA leave to report periodically on his/her status and intent to return to work.
    2. If an employee gives an unequivocal notice of intent not to return to work, the employer’s obligations under FMLA to maintain health benefits and to restore the employee cease.
      1. However, these obligations continue if the employee indicates he/she may be unable to return to work but expresses a continuing desire to do so.
    3. An employee may need more leave than initially requested or the employee may not need as much leave as initially requested.
      1. In the latter instance, the employee may not be required to take more FMLA leave than necessary to resolve the circumstance that precipitated the need for leave.
      2. The employer may require the employee to provide reasonable notice (i.e., within two business days) of the changed circumstances where foreseeable.
      3. The employer may also obtain information on such changed circumstances through requested status reports.
  13. Fitness-for-Duty Certification
    1.  As a condition for restoring an employee whose own serious health condition required FMLA leave, the employer may impose a uniformly-applied policy or practice that requires all similarly-situated employees to provide certification from their HCPs that the employee is able to resume work.
    2. The fitness-for-duty certification may only pertain to the specific health condition that required FMLA leave.
    3. The certification must state that the employee is able to resume work.
      1. Additionally, the employer may require the certification to specifically address the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of his/her job.
      2. In order to do so, the employer must provide the employee with a list of the essential functions of his/her job no later than with the designation notice.
      3. The designation notice must indicate that the certification must address the employee’s ability to perform those essential functions.
    4. Authentication and/or clarification of the certification is allowed. However, the employee’s return to work may not be delayed while contact with the HCP is being made.
    5. No second or third opinions may be required.
    6. The cost of a return-to-work certification shall be borne by the employee.
    7. Restoration may be delayed until the employee submits a required fitness-for-duty certification if the employer has provided notice of the need for such in the designation notice.
    8. If a fitness-for-duty certification is required, an employee who does not provide such or who does not request additional FMLA leave is no longer entitled to reinstatement under the FMLA.
    9. Return from intermittent or reduced schedule leave.
      1. The employer may not require a new certification after each absence if the employee is on intermittent or reduced scheduled leave.
      2. However, an employer is entitled to a certification for such absences up to once every 30 days if reasonable safety concerns exist regarding the employee’s ability to perform his/her duties, based on the serious health condition for which leave was taken.
        1. “Reasonable safety concerns” means a reasonable belief of significant risk of harm to the individual employee or others.
        2. The nature and severity of the potential harm, and the likelihood that potential harm will occur must be considered in making this determination.
      3. The employer must inform the employee at the time the designation notice is issued that for each subsequent instance of intermittent or reduced schedule leave, the employee will be required to submit a fitness-for-duty certification unless one has already been submitted within the past 30 days.
      4. An employee may not be terminated while awaiting such a certification.
    10. If an employee’s serious health condition may also be a disability under the ADAAA, the FMLA does not prevent the employer from following the procedures for requesting medical information under the ADAAA.
  14. Failure to Provide Certification
    1. Foreseeable leave
      1. If the employee fails to provide certification in a timely manner, FMLA coverage may be denied until certification is provided.
    2. Unforeseeable leave
      1. FMLA coverage may be denied if the employee fails to provide a certification within 15 calendar days from receipt of the request for certification unless not practicable due to extenuating circumstances.
        1. Absent those circumstances, if the employee fails to timely return the certification, FMLA protections can be denied following expiration of the 15-day time period until a sufficient certification is provided.
        2. If the employee never produces the certification, the leave is not FMLA leave.
    3. Recertification
      1. An employee must provide recertification within the time requested by the employer (which must allow at least 15 calendar days after the request) or as soon as practicable under the particular facts and circumstances.
        1. Failure to do so may result in denial of continuation of FMLA leave protections until a sufficient recertification is produced.
        2. If one is never provided, the leave is not FMLA.
      2. Recertification does not apply to leave taken for a qualifying exigency or to care for a covered Service member.
    4. Fitness-for-duty
      1. The employee must provide medical certification at the time he/she seeks reinstatement if such is requested pursuant to the employer’s policy or practice, if the employer provided the required notice.
      2. If the employee fails to do so, restoration may be delayed until the certification is provided.
      3. Unless the employee provides either a fitness-for-duty certification or a new medical certification for a serious health condition at the time FMLA leave is concluded, the employee may be terminated.
  15. Job Restoration
    1. Right to Reinstatement
      1. Upon returning from FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to his/her original position or to an equivalent position.
        1. An equivalent position is one that is virtually identical to the former position in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions, including privileges, perquisites and status.
        2. This involves restoration to a position having the same or substantially similar duties and responsibilities and having substantially equivalent skill, effort, responsibility and authority.
        3. An employee is entitled to such reinstatement even if the employee has been replaced or his /her position has been restructured to accommodate the employee’s absence.
        4. This applies only to employees returning from FMLA leave and may not apply to employees who used additional leave beyond the 12/26 workweek FMLA entitlement, as provided in other TBR leave policies.
      2. An employee returning from FMLA leave is entitled to any general or unconditional pay increases that all other employees have received during the period the employee was on leave.
      3. An employee is entitled to shift or work schedule assignments equivalent to those in effect prior to the beginning of the leave period and to the same or a geographically proximate work location where previously employed.
      4. If an employee is no longer qualified for the position because of the employee's inability to attend a necessary course, renew a license, etc., as a result of the leave, the employee shall be given a reasonable opportunity to fulfill those conditions upon return to work.
    2. Limitations on Reinstatement
      1. An employee has no greater right to reinstatement or to other benefits and conditions of employment than if he/she had been continuously employed during the FMLA leave period.
        1. Thus, if a work location is closed, a shift eliminated, overall work hours for an entire unit reduced, or positions abolished through a reduction in force, the employee is only entitled to conditions that would have been in effect for the employee if the leave had never been taken.
          1. For example, if an employee's shift is eliminated during the time period that leave was taken, the employee is not entitled to assignment to the previous shift's work hours or to shift differential pay when he/she returns from leave that other employees formerly on the shift no longer receive.
        2. However, the employee is entitled to employment in a position meeting all other previous employment conditions.
        3. An employer must be able to show that he/she would not otherwise have been employed at the time reinstatement is requested in order to deny restoration to employment.
      2. If an employee can no longer perform an essential function of the position because of a physical or mental condition, including the continuation of a serious health condition or an injury or illness also covered by workers’ compensation, the employee has no right to restoration to another position under the FMLA.
        1. However, the provisions of the ADAAA may apply. Such cases should be referred to the ADAAA coordinator.
      3. If an employee should require more or less FMLA leave than was originally anticipated, he/she is required to provide the employer 2 business days’ notice where feasible.
        1. Regarding an employee who wants to return to work earlier than anticipated, he/she shall be restored once such notice is given, or where such notice is not feasible.
      4. In situations where an employee notifies the employer that he/she is not returning to work, the obligation to restore the employee to a position ends.
        1. Should the employee indicate he/she is unable to return to work but continues to want to return, restoration requirements remain in effect.
      5. If an employee was hired for a specific term or only to perform work on a discrete project, the employer has no obligation to restore the employee if the employment term or project is over and the employer would not otherwise have continued to employ the employee.
  16. Prohibition against Interfering with Employee Rights
    1. FMLA prohibits interference with an employee’s rights under the law, and with legal proceedings or inquiries relating to an employee’s rights.
    2. “Interfering with” the exercise of an employee’s rights would include, for example, not only refusing to authorize FMLA leave, but discouraging an employee from using such leave.
    3. FMLA’s prohibition against interference prohibits an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee or prospective employee for having exercised or attempted to exercise FMLA rights.
    4. Employees cannot waive, nor may employers induce employees to waive, their prospective rights under the FMLA.
    5. This does not prevent the settlement or release of FMLA claims by employees based on past employer conduct without the approval of the Department of Labor or a court.
  17. Recordkeeping
    1. Records must be made, kept and preserved in accordance with the recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
      1. The records must be kept for no less than 3 years and made available for inspection, copying and transcription by representatives of the Department of Labor upon request.
    2. Required records:
      1. Basic payroll and identifying employee data.
      2. Dates FMLA leave was taken. The leave must be designated in records as FMLA leave.
      3. The hours of leave taken, if less than in increments of a day.
      4. Employee notices provided to the employer and notices given to employees as required by the FMLA.
      5. Documents describing employee benefits or employer policies and practices regarding paid and unpaid leave.
      6. Premium payments of employee benefits.
      7. Records of any dispute between the employer and an eligible employee regarding designation of leave as FMLA leave.
    3. Confidential records
      1. Records and documents relating to certifications, recertification or medical histories of the employee or their family members created for purposes of FMLA, shall be maintained as confidential medical records in separate files, separate from the usual personnel files.
      2. If the ADAAA is also applicable, such records shall be maintained in conformance with ADAAA confidentially requirements.
  18. Impact of FMLA Leave on Health Insurance and Other Benefits
    1. Insurance Coverage
      1. For the duration of FMLA leave, the employer is required to maintain an employee's health coverage under the State Group Insurance Plan under the same conditions coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued working.
        1. It is very important that the employer communicate approval of FMLA leave to the insurance preparer.
      2. The same health benefits provided to an employee prior to taking FMLA leave must be maintained during the FMLA leave.
        1. For example, if family coverage is provided to an employee, family coverage must be maintained during the FMLA leave.
        2. Moreover, an employee temporarily working a reduced schedule (for purposes of this section, less than 30 hours per week) during a period of FMLA leave is entitled to maintain the same insurance coverage(s) that were in effect prior to the FMLA leave period.
      3. If an employer provides a new health plan or benefits, or changes health benefits or plans while an employee is on FMLA leave, the employee is entitled to the new or changed plan/benefits to the same extent as if the employee were not on leave.
        1. For example, if an employer changes a group health plan so that dental care becomes covered under the plan, an employee on FMLA leave must be given the same opportunity as other employees to receive (or obtain) the dental care coverage.
      4. Notice of any opportunity to change plans or benefits must also be given to an employee on FMLA leave.
        1. If the plan permits an employee to change from single to family coverage upon the birth of a child or otherwise add new family members, such a change in benefits must be made available while an employee is on FMLA leave.
        2. If the employee requests the changed coverage it must be provided by the employer.
      5. The employer is responsible for advising the employee of his/her options to continue or discontinue insurance coverage(s) prior to the beginning of the leave period.
        1. If the employee elects to continue insurance coverage(s), the employer must provide the employee with written notice of the terms and conditions under which premiums must be paid.
      6. If coverage is not to be continued, the employee must contact the insurance preparer prior to the beginning of the leave.
        1. When an employee returns from leave, the employee is entitled to be automatically reinstated on the same terms as prior to taking the leave, including family or dependent coverage, without any qualifying period, physical examination, exclusion of pre-existing conditions, etc.
      7. To ensure that an employee on unpaid FMLA leave is reinstated with the same benefits in effect prior to the leave period, the employer shall pay the employer as well as any employee portion of premiums which has not been remitted. Premiums paid on behalf of the employee will be deducted from the employee's paycheck following his/her return to work.
      8. For purposes of determining insurance premium payment responsibilities, an employee is deemed to have returned to work if he/she has returned for 30 calendar days.
        1. An employee who retires immediately following FMLA leave or during the first 30 days after returning to work is also deemed to have returned to work.
        2. If the employee fails to return to work or does not stay 30 calendar days, the employer portion of the insurance premium paid during FMLA leave may be recovered except for the following reasons:
          1. The continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition which would entitle the   employee to leave under FMLA; or
          2. Other circumstances beyond the employee's control, such as an unexpected transfer of the employee's spouse to a job location more than 75 miles from the employee's worksite or the lay-off of the employee while on leave.
      9. If the employee fails to return to work due to a serious health condition, the employer may require medical certification of the employee's or the family member's serious health condition.
      10. The employer portion of the health premium may not be recovered during workers' compensation leave designated as FMLA leave.
    2. Longevity
      1. An employee on FMLA leave, paid or unpaid, shall receive longevity in accordance with the provisions of TBR Guideline P-120 Longevity Pay.
      2. Note: The employer may not eliminate benefits which otherwise would not be provided to part-time employees.
      3. Therefore, an employee who has been temporarily transferred to a part-time position during a period of FMLA leave retains eligibility for longevity pay regardless of the percentage of employment.
    3. Leave Accrual
      1. Employees shall accrue leave in accordance with the annual and sick leave policies.
      2. Due to the fact that leave is based on the number of hours worked per week, the accrual rate may be proportionately reduced.
Sources: 

TBR Meeting, June 25, 1995 (Finance and Administration approval January 17, 1996); TBR Meeting, March 29, 1996 (Finance and Administration approval November 13, 1996); TBR Meeting September 28, 2007; TBR Meeting June 26, 2008; TBR Meeting March 25, 2010 (Complete Revision)

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:13
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

The purpose of this policy is to establish the criteria and process regarding educational leave for employees at the System Office and institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Introduction
    1. It is the policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents to provide time off to regular TBR employees, to continue their education and/or participate in research, grants, or fellowships on a full-time basis.
    2. Requests for educational leave for regular employees must be approved in advance by the president/director/Chancellor. Such approval must specify the length of the leave which normally should not exceed twelve (12) months.
    3. Each request for leave will be evaluated on its own merits and approval will depend upon the evidence provided as to the enhancement of the employee's value to the institution/System Office resulting from the leave.
    4. Leave of absence for periods exceeding one (1) year may be granted upon recommendation of the president/director and approved by the Chancellor as stated in Policy 5:01:01:03.
  2. Educational Leave of Absence with Pay
    1. Employees on educational leave of absence and receiving compensation through the payroll system of the institution/System Office, regardless of the original source of the funds, are eligible for the following benefits:
      1. Retirement (Refer to Section IV. of this policy, Retirement Credit, for procedures to request retirement credit.)
        1. Regular full-time employees who have received final approval from the institution/System Office and the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) for the period of the leave will continue to accrue creditable service and/or to have employer contributions paid on their behalf.
        2. Individuals who receive TCRS approval and who continue in the retirement program should not participate simultaneously in any other retirement system.
        3. Employees whose request for retirement credit is denied by TCRS will be removed from participation in the retirement program for the duration of the leave.
      2. Basic Group Insurance
        1. Employees on approved educational leave who receive compensation from the institution/System Office may continue their participation in the basic group insurance program.
        2. The employee's portion of the premium will be withheld by payroll deduction and the institution/System Office will pay the employer's portion.
        3. The amount of the deduction and scheduled life insurance coverage will be the deduction and life schedule in effect immediately prior to the beginning of the leave.
      3. Other Group Insurance
        1. Employees on approved leave with pay may, at their option, continue membership in other group insurance plans available to active employees.
        2. In all such plans except the group medical/life insurance plan noted above, the full cost of the plan is born by the employee.
        3. These premiums will be withheld by payroll deduction in accordance with established procedures.
      4. Unemployment Compensation Benefits
        1. The institution/System Office will provide unemployment benefits based on the provisions of State and Federal unemployment compensation acts.
      5. Social Security
        1. Employees will continue participation in Social Security with coverage and applicable taxes based on the compensation paid during the leave.
      6. Federal Withholding Tax
        1. Federal withholding taxes will be based on compensation paid to the employee during the leave and upon the applicable withholding tables.
      7. Longevity Pay
        1. Employees on approved educational leave with pay are considered to be eligible for longevity pay, and payments will be made on the regular schedule.
      8. Educational Assistance
        1. Refer to the eligibility requirements contained in the various programs of Guideline P-130.
    2. Employees on educational leave are not eligible to accrue or use annual, sick or other leave benefits during the period not worked.
  3. Educational Leave of Absence without Pay
    1. Employees on an approved educational leave of absence and receiving no compensation from the institution/System Office are eligible for the following benefits:
      1. Retirement (Refer to Section IV. of this policy, Retirement Credit, for procedures to request retirement credit.)
        1. Employees who have received approval from the institution/System Office and TCRS will receive retirement credit for the period of the leave.
      2. Basic Group Insurance
        1. Employees on approved educational leave without pay are eligible to continue their participation in the group medical/life insurance program.
        2. If they elect continuation of coverage, employees must pay both the employee and employer share of the premium.
        3. The Department of Finance and Administration (Benefits Administration Office) will bill the employee for the full premium, in advance, on a monthly basis.
        4. The rate of contribution and the life insurance coverage will be the rate and life schedule in effect immediately prior to the beginning of the leave.
      3. Other Group Insurance
        1. Employees on approved leave without pay may, at their option, continue membership in other group insurance plans available to eligible employees.
        2. In all such plans, the full cost of the plan is born by the employee.
      4. Educational Assistance
        1. Refer to the eligibility requirements contained in the various programs of Guideline P-130.
    2. Employees on an approved educational leave of absence and receiving no compensation from the institution/System Office are not eligible for the following benefits:
      1. Unemployment Compensation Benefits
        1. Unemployment benefits will not be provided for employees who do not receive compensation from the institution/System Office while on leave.
      2. Social Security
        1. The institution/System Office will not make any contributions during a leave without pay.
      3. Longevity Pay
        1. Longevity is not payable during a leave of absence without pay, nor is the period considered as eligible service.
      4. Leave Benefits
        1. Employees on educational leave are not eligible to accrue or use annual, sick or other leave benefits during the period not worked.
      5. Educational Assistance
        1. Refer to the eligibility requirements contained in the various programs of Guideline P-130.
  4. Retirement Credit
    1. An Application for Retirement Credit for Educational Leave of Absence form should be submitted along with a written request for a leave of absence to the president/director/Chancellor. If the leave request is approved, the application for retirement credit should then be forwarded to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System. The TCRS Board of Trustees is responsible for granting final approval for retirement credit.
    2. To be considered for retirement credit, the leave must be for the purpose of attending school or engaging in academic research related to employment, and must be intended to increase the employee's usefulness to the institution/System Office. Approval by TCRS is granted conditionally upon the employee's immediate return to employment after the leave for a period of at least one year of service. An individual may not receive retirement credit for educational leave in excess of two years during the individual's lifetime.
    3. Example of the types of leave which will be considered for retirement credit is as follows:
      1. The leave is for formal study at an institution of higher education leading to an advanced degree in a field relevant to the faculty/staff member's area of professional responsibility.
      2. The leave is for a formal period of research or post- doctoral study in a field related to the faculty/staff member's area of professional responsibility. Such leaves will include, but not be limited to, periods of study supported by grants, such as the Guggenheim, Fulbright-Hays, Rockefeller Foundation, or Ford Foundation fellowship.
      3. In rare cases, retirement credit will be allowed for an approved educational leave for formal study leading to an undergraduate degree or professional certification directly related to enhancing an employee's ability to perform his/her job. A written statement justifying the leave must be provided and approved by the president/director/Chancellor.
    4. When retirement credit is approved for a leave of absence which occurs after 1981, creditable service and/or contributions during the leave will be handled in the following manner:
      1. Employees Receiving Compensation
        1. TCRS Member Creditable service in TCRS will be granted for the period of the leave and the employer contribution will be made based on the rate in effect during the period of the leave and the annualized salary in effect immediately prior to the educational leave; however, employer provided employee contributions will not be credited to the employee's account.
        2. ORP Member Employer contributions equal to 10% (11% of salary above the Social Security wage base) of the annualized salary in effect immediately prior to the educational leave will be made.
      2. Employees Receiving No Compensation
        1. TCRS Member Creditable service will be granted but no employer contributions will be made during the leave period.
        2. ORP Member Employer contributions equal to 10% (11% of salary above the social security wage base) of the annualized salary in effect immediately prior to the educational leave will be forwarded to the ORP.
        3. If the employee is an ORP member and does not return to service following the educational leave of absence, the institution/System Office should request a refund from the ORP vendor(s) of the employer contributions which were made during the leave period.
        4. If retirement credit is approved for a leave of absence which occurred prior to July 1981, the TCRS member must pay employee contributions plus interest based on the salary earned in the year immediately prior to the commencement of the leave; the ORP member must contact the TCRS Prior Service Section directly to initiate an individual calculation.
Sources: 

TBR Meeting: June 25, 1993. Source: TCA 2-1-106, TBR Meeting: June 25, 1993; October 2, 1998.

Policy Number: 
5:01:01:12
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Personnel Policies
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office
Purpose: 

It is the policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents to provide employees time off to vote in state, national, and local elections and to establish a procedure for reporting the time missed from work.

Policy/Guideline: 
  1. Eligibility
    1. Employees who are registered voters may receive reasonable time off to vote if they request such time off before 12:00 noon the day before the election.
    2. The supervisor may specify the hours during which the employee may be absent to vote, and the time off may not exceed three hours.
    3. No time off will be granted if the polls in the county where the employee is a resident are open three (3) or more hours before the employee is scheduled to begin work or if the polls close three (3) or more hours after the employee's work schedule ends.
    4. Time off to vote shall be recorded as non-duty pay hours.
    5. Time off to vote is recorded for non-exempt employees as non-worked time when calculating overtime.
  2. Voting Technicians  
    1. In accordance with T.C.A. § 2-9-103 , any full-time employee appointed by a county election commission to work part-time as a voting machine technician, shall be granted unpaid leave for the day(s) required for the technician's duties.
    2. Supporting documentation may be required by the appropriate approving authority for the period of duty.
      1. An employer may not require the employee to use accrued annual leave and/or compensatory time for this period. However, either may be used at the employee's option.
Sources: 

TCA 2-1-106, TBR Meeting: June 25, 1993; October 2, 1998.

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