These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are both highlights and a summary of the program so staff may be better informed when it begins September 1, 2012. Please contact the Benefits Division at email@example.com or 847-491-7513 if you have a question not addressed here.
Why is the University changing its absence program?
After a comprehensive review of the current sick time, short and long term disability plans, the program was redesigned in order to meet the needs of Northwestern’s diverse workforce. The design and features of this new program are based upon feedback around a number of considerations, including input and suggestions received from staff and supervisors/managers; ensuring long term disability income protection for all staff at affordable rates; addressing individual and organizational challenges associated with the current time-off programs; safeguarding the confidentiality of personal health information; ensuring financially sound and administratively efficient and compliant programs; and maintaining a competitive program in comparison with peer universities and other relevant labor markets.
Will Northwestern continue to manage the approval process for leaves of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
Yes. An employee should contact the Benefits Division to apply for this leave. This process, if approved, ensures a staff members’ position is held for up to 12 weeks. For additional information, visit the policies & procedures section.
Questions about Extended Sick Time (EST)
All active benefits-eligible full-time and part-time staff including post doctoral fellows. Full-time is any regularly scheduled hours more than 35 per week and part-time is 17.5 hours per week.
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).
What happens to my existing sick bank?
Existing sick day balances for exempt employees will be eliminated since the Extended Sick Time (EST) provides 100 percent of base wages / salary for an approved absence. For non-exempt staff, any unused sick days as of August 31, 2012 will be frozen and paid out upon retirement based on the current policy (not to exceed $3,000). Hours for the retirement payout will be listed on Kronos under the accrual balances.
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?
How do I file an Extended Sick Time claim?
What else is required when I file a claim?
What can I expect when I am on an Extended Sick Time 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?
Is there a pre-existing condition provision for the EST program?
Do vacation and service accrue while staff are out on Extended Sick Time?
Yes, provided the EST has been approved by The Hartford.