Extended Sick Time FAQs

Please contact the Benefits Division at benefits@northwestern.edu or 847-491-7513 if you have a question not addressed here.    

Questions about Extended Sick Time (EST)

Who’s eligible?
All active benefits-eligible full-time and part-time staff including post doctoral fellows. For employees hired after January 1, a 37.5 hour workweek is the minimum to be considered full-time;18.75 hours/week is the minimum to be considered benefits-eligible part-time.  

What is the cost of EST to me?
There is none. The University pays the full cost.     

How long can I receive EST benefits?
After the seven-calendar-day elimination period, the plan will pay 100 percent of your salary for up to 26 weeks (this time period includes the elimination period).    

Do I have to use all my vacation and sick time before going on EST for a personal health issue?
No. Extended Sick Time will be paid for an approved absence after a seven-calendar-day elimination period. Employees can use incidental sick and vacation time during this waiting period to continue getting paid.

What is considered a disability for Extended Sick Time?

  • You are considered disabled if you are unable to perform one or more of the essential duties of your occupation.
  • Things such as the birth of a child, injuries, accidents, surgeries, and serious illnesses are covered under Extended Sick Time.

How do I file an Extended Sick Time claim?

  • For a scheduled absence, you may call up to 30 days prior to your last day at work.
  • For an unscheduled absence, call as soon as possible.
  • You will speak with a nurse when you file your claim.

 

What else is required when I file a claim?

Contact your manager or supervisor to let him or her know about your absence from work.

 

What can I expect when I am on an Extended Sick Time claim?

  • When a decision is made on your claim you will receive a phone call and a letter from The Hartford.
  • Extended Sick Time benefits will be included in your biweekly or monthly paycheck from   Northwestern University.
  • Resources available to you if you want to obtain information about your claim:

–        Call and speak to a representative during regular business hours (Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Central Time)

–        Call and use the automated voice system available 24/7

–        Go online to www.thehartfordatwork.com available 24/7

 

What do I need to do if something changes during my Extended Sick Time? 

  • Contact The Hartford if you need to request an extension of your claim.
  • Contact The Hartford if you are going to return to work earlier than expected.

 

Is there a pre-existing condition provision for the EST program?
No.

Do vacation and service accrue while staff are out on Extended Sick Time?
Yes, provided the EST has been approved by The Hartford.