A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Leaves of Absence


  1. 6.1      Absence
  2. 6.2      Vacation
  3. 6.3      Jury duty
  4. 6.4      Short-term missions
  5. 6.5      Military leave
  6. 6.6      Fire and ambulance calls
  7. 6.7      Bereavement leave
  8. 6.8      Holidays
  9. 6.9      Holiday pay for part-time employees
  10. 6.10    Sick leave
  11. 6.11    Emergency sick leave pool
  12. 6.12     Maternity/paternity leave
  13. 6.13     Family and medical leave act
  14. 6.14     Disability insurance
  15. 6.15     Long-term total disability benefits plan

6.1  Absence

Absences from work fall under three categories:

1.      Excused absence - with pay

*Vacations

*Holidays

*Sick days

*Bereavement days

2.      Excused absence - without pay

*Snow days

*Other - as approved administratively

3.      Unexcused absence - without pay

Supervisors should be notified within the first half-hour of the working day of illness or other need of absence, not including vacation days.  Advance arrangements should be made with the supervisor for anticipated absences.

Unless announced otherwise by the college, charged to vacation or made up, time missed because of weather conditions will be without pay.

Unexcused absences will be charged to vacation or be without pay if vacation time is unavailable.  Persistence in the practice of not notifying your supervisor when you are absent will be cause for disciplinary action or dismissal.

6.2  Vacation

Purpose

The purpose of Houghton College's vacation policy is to allow for an equitable and uniform system of absence from one’s duties to allow for physical, mental and spiritual renewal.

Policy

I.          Eligibility

All employees regularly scheduled to work a minimum of 20 hours per week for at least nine months are eligible for vacation.

II.        Policy

  • Houghton grants vacation on a fiscal year basis to eligible employees.  All vacation is granted on June 1.  An employee is eligible to take granted vacation under the assumption that the employee will complete the full fiscal year of service.  Vacation may therefore be taken in advance of the employee’s actual completion of service during the fiscal year.
  • In the event the employee takes vacation during the fiscal year and then voluntarily terminates employment prior to the end of the fiscal year, any vacation taken but not earned must be reimbursed to the college by the employee.  Vacation is considered earned at the rate of 1/12 per full month worked during the fiscal year.
  • New employees will be granted vacation on a pro-rated basis for each full month of service remaining in the fiscal year after the date of hire. New employees are eligible to take vacation after three months of employment. 
  • Accrued and unused vacation will be paid to the employee or beneficiary in the event of the employee’s termination, retirement or death.  This vacation will be calculated using the employee’s current rate.
  • One half-day, not chargeable to vacation, will be allowed for an employee to attend the Houghton College graduation ceremonies of a child or spouse.  If available, the employee may elect to take a half-day vacation to allow for a full day off.
  • If an official, college-observed holiday occurs during an employee’s vacation, the employee will not be charged vacation for that day.

III.       Scheduling of Vacation

  • All vacation must be approved by one’s supervisor.  If at all possible, it should be scheduled at least 30 days in advance for vacations of longer than one day and 24 hours in advance for single or half-day vacations.  However, realizing that one’s personal and professional schedule does not always allow advance scheduling, this notice requirement may be waived by the appropriate supervisor. 
  • Vacation will be scheduled to ensure that, in the opinion of the supervisor, adequate coverage will be provided in the work area.  Your supervisor reserves the right to deny a request for vacation when it would significantly interfere with operational capability.
  • It is the opinion of the college that vacations of longer than a single day provide the employee with maximum physical, mental and spiritual renewal.  Therefore, the college strongly urges that employees take at least one week-long vacation each year.  However, in an attempt to maintain flexibility and to allow each employee to decide how best to utilize their own vacation days, employees may take vacation days in the manner they desire, provided they have supervisory approval.

IV.       Vacation Carryover

All vacation must be used by May 31 of the fiscal year in which it is granted.  No carry-over of vacation from one fiscal year to the next is permissible.

V.        Vacation Schedule           

Service Anniversary

Reached During Fiscal Year                 Days Per Year              Hours Per Year

            1 - 2                                                 12                                   96

            3 - 4                                                 14                                 112                              

            5 - 6                                                 16                                 128

            7 - 15                                               17                                 136

            16+                                                  22                                 176

*This schedule represents the vacation available for an individual working 40 hours per week, 12 months per year.  If you work less than 40 hours per week or are scheduled to work less than 12 months, the above amounts will be pro-rated.

6.3  Jury Duty

The college urges each employee to discharge their civic duty when called upon for jury duty.  During jury duty service, the employee’s normally scheduled pay will continue, provided the employee will give to the college monies paid by the courthouse for services rendered excluding transportation.  Since the college pays wages while the employee is on jury duty, the employee is expected to return to work any day or part of a day the jury is not in session.

6.4  Short-Term Missions

In accordance with the vision statement of Houghton College, the college encourages its employees to serve on short-term mission trips as they become available.  Therefore, this policy is established to assist staff members who desire to serve on such trips.

Staff members may apply for up to 3 short term mission days.  Short term mission days will be granted on a “first come first served” basis. A maximum of 24 days will be granted to all Houghton staff members in any fiscal year.  Staff members will be granted short term mission days no more than once every three fiscal years.  If short term mission days are granted and the staff member does not use them for the approved trip during that fiscal year, the time will be forfeited. Unused short term mission days may not be exchanged for regular vacation hours.   If a staff member leaves the employment of Houghton College for any reason after the short term mission day is approved, but before it is taken, the time will be forfeited and not paid out in any manner.

In order to qualify for short term mission days, the following requirements must be met:

The mission trip must be sponsored by a tax-exempt organization. Donations for the mission trip must be considered tax-deductible. (For example, a “tour” sponsored by a college/university would not qualify). The primary purpose of the trip must be missions-related, not pleasure, sightseeing, etc. At a minimum, the staff member must use the same number of personal vacation days as short term mission days granted.

To apply for short term mission days, staff members should consult with their supervisor to make sure that the proposed days off are acceptable. Once the dates are approved by the supervisor, a written request should be submitted to the Staff Cabinet President outlining the sponsor, destination, dates, and purpose of the trip. The Staff Cabinet (or sub-committee of the Staff Cabinet) will review the request and make a recommendation to the Human Resources Department. The Human Resources Department will consider the Staff Cabinet’s recommendation and make the final decision.

6.5  Military Leave

All employees who are members of the National Guard or are military reservists will be granted two weeks leave per year without pay when engaged in training.  The staff member may elect to consider this period a part of paid vacation.

6.6  Fire and Ambulance Calls

An employee shall receive full pay for time spent during regular working hours in fighting fires as a Houghton Fire Department volunteer or in nonscheduled driving or attending of an ambulance for the Houghton Volunteer Ambulance Service.

6.7  Bereavement Leave

Three days, not chargeable to sick days, may be taken for death of first of kin (mother, father, husband, wife, child, brother, sister, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandchild  and grandparents).  Additional allowances for travel are:

  • One additional day, chargeable to sick days, for distances of less than 500 miles one way.
  • Two additional days, chargeable to sick days, for distances of 500 - 1,000 miles one way.
  • Three additional days, chargeable to sick days, for distances over 1,000 miles one way.

One day, chargeable to sick days, may be taken for close relatives (aunt, uncle, cousin, niece or nephew.)

6.8  Holidays

The following are paid holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Wednesday before Thanksgiving
  • Thanksgiving
  • Friday after Thanksgiving
  • Day before Christmas
  • Christmas
  • Day after Christmas

Notification of any changes, due to Houghton College registration or other causes, will be given by the Human Resources Office at least 30 days in advance.

All full-time employees and part-time employees regularly scheduled to work 20 hours per week or more are eligible for holidays.  Employees required to work on a holiday will be given a discretionary holiday, to be approved by their immediate supervisor.  Double pay for holidays worked is not permitted.

If a holiday falls within an employee’s vacation period or sick leave, the day of the holiday will not count against the vacation period or sick leave.

6.8.1  Holiday Pay for Part-time Employees

Employees who are normally scheduled to work on the day a holiday falls will receive a prorated holiday for that day.  (For example, a 20-hour-per-week employee will receive four (4) hours of holiday pay if  normally scheduled to work on the day the holiday falls.)

If an employee is normally scheduled to work more hours that day than the amount of the prorated holiday, with supervisory approval, they can work the extra hours some time during the pay period in order that their check will be for the same number of hours as a normal pay period. 

If an employee is not normally scheduled to work on the day a holiday falls, a prorated amount of paid time off at some point in the future will be granted.  The scheduling of this time off must be approved by the supervisor.  Further, this time off must be used within 60 days from the date of the holiday.

6.9  Sick Leave

The purpose of Houghton’s sick leave policy is to provide a measure of economic assurance under conditions of significant, but temporary, health problems.  Full-time employees accrue sick days on the basis of one day per month of working time as contained in a letter of agreement (prorated for employees working 30 or 35 hours per week).  Note:  Bereavement days are separate from sick days.

Unused sick days may be accrued to a maximum of 60 days (prorated if you work 30 or 35 hours per week), tabulated at the close of the fiscal year. Retiring or terminating employees cannot receive compensation for unused sick days.  Necessary medical and dental appointments may be charged to sick leave.

Sick days may also be used in situations which involve serious illness or injury to an employee’s immediate family (spouse, child, parent or other member dependent on the employee).  Extended absence must be approved by the administrator, in consultation with the Executive Director of Human Resources.

When an employee is hospitalized or confined to bed by medical direction while on vacation, the period of disability should be charged to accumulated sick leave.  Written doctor’s statement or hospital verification is required for this change.

6.10  Emergency Sick Leave Pool

Purpose:  The purpose of the sick leave pool is to allow employees to voluntarily contribute sick days to a pool from which an individual with a significant illness or injury could receive additional sick days. Individuals who had a family member with a significant illness or injury requiring the employee to be away from work for an extended period of time would also be eligible to receive additional sick time from the pool.

Guidelines for Contributing Sick Leave to the Pool:

  • A maximum of 40 hours per year per individual can be donated.
  • Sick leave may be donated in increments of 1/2 days.
  •  Employees must have a minimum of 10 days of sick leave remaining after donating the sick leave.

Guidelines for receiving sick leave from the Pool:

  • The individual must have at least one year of service.
  •  Individuals must be off from work for at least two weeks before any sick leave can be received from the pool.
  • All available sick leave must be exhausted.
  • Three-quarters of an employee's annual vacation allotment must be exhausted.
  • In the case of illness or injury to the employee, the individual must be approved for disability by the college’s short term disability insurance carrier or workmen's compensation carrier.  In the case of a dependent, a statement from the doctor may be requested by the Committee.
  • Employee must have two weeks of accrued sick leave available before the beginning of the current illness or injury. The Committee has the authority to waive this requirement if, in their opinion, extenuating circumstances exist.

Administration:

  • Initial announcement of program and solicitation of sick leave will be done by the Staff Cabinet in cooperation with H.R.
  • Human Resources will maintain a record of the amount in the sick leave pool, the amount donated, etc.
  • A committee of the Executive Director of Human Resources, Staff President (or designee) and one other staff or administrative employee agreed upon by both the Staff President and the Executive Director of Human Resources. will review requests for sick leave from the pool.
  • The sick leave granted will be used to supplement any disability paid to bring an employee to “full salary.”  In the case of a work related injury, the additional sick leave will be used to supplement workers compensation payments up to 80% of the employee's normal salary.
  • If an employee returns to work prior to using all sick leave granted from the pool, it will be returned to the pool.

6.11  Maternity/Paternity Leave

If an employee is medically disabled prior to and after the birth of a child, she is eligible for benefits under the disability program and under the provisions of the normal sick leave policy.

Additionally, employees (both mothers and fathers) are authorized to use 25% of available sick time for maternity or paternity leave following the birth or adoption of a child.  A minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 10 days can be used for this purpose.

6.12  Family and Medical Leave Act

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave in a 12 month period and be restored to the same or an equivalent position upon return from leave, provided they have worked for the college at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months.  The 12 month period begins the first day you take FMLA leave and extends for 12 months.

Family and Medical Leave may be granted for any of the following reasons:

1.     Birth of child of employee and in order to care for such child.

2.     Placement of child with employee for adoption or foster care

3.     Care for spouse, child or parent of employee due to a serious health condition.

4.     Personal leave due to a serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.

Please contact the Human Resources Office for additional information on this benefit.

6.13  Disability Insurance

All staff and student employees are covered under the New York State Disability Benefits Law which provides coverage for non-work related injury.

The premium payment is shared by the employee and the college. Each covered employee pays one-half of one (1) percent of monthly salary or a maximum of $2.60 per month.  Benefits to the employee begin after the 7th day of disability and may continue 26 weeks, if needed.  Payments cover approximately half of weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $170 per week.

Claim forms are available in the Human Resources Office and must be filed within 20 days of beginning of disability.

6.14  Long-term Total Disability Benefits Plan

A non-contributory Total Disability Benefit Plan is provided for all full-time Houghton College employees. Total disability under this program is the “inability of the employee, by reason of sickness or bodily injury, to engage in any occupation for which the employee is reasonably fitted by education, training or experience.”

The plan provides for benefits beginning on the first of the month following six (6) consecutive months of total disability and continuing during such disability until age 65.  The monthly income benefit combined with any benefits payable from Social Security and Workers’ Compensation provides for an amount equal to 60 percent of the first $2,000 of covered monthly salary plus 40 percent of covered monthly salary in excess of $2,000, but not to exceed $1,500 monthly.

Also, a monthly waiver benefit based on a percentage of your monthly salary will be credited as premiums to your TIAA-CREF retirement plan, if you are enrolled.