Personal Leave

Purpose

The purpose of a personal leave is to provide staff member with approved time off for personal needs.

Eligibility

Service. Staff members must be in a benefits-eligible position and have worked at the University for at least 12 consecutive months.

Standing. Good standing is required in order to qualify for a personal leave.

Provisions

Pay. Personal leave starts with use of accrued vacation and personal floating holidays. No sick time is paid during personal leave. After accrued vacation and personal floating holidays have been paid, the leave continues as unpaid leave.

Benefits. An individual on a paid personal leave will continue their benefits through payroll deduction. An individual on an unpaid personal leave can continue benefits by paying via direct bill. The University continues to pay the employer portion of the benefit. The dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) is temporarily frozen during a leave of absence whether the leave is paid or unpaid. Commuter benefits are temporarily terminated when on a leave of absence. This benefit can only be used when the employee is actively at work. The deadline to make changes to commuter benefits is the 5th of the month prior. Please make any necessary changes prior to that deadline. For additional question on the commuter benefits, visit http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/payroll/payment/pretax-transit/.

Application procedure

  1. A staff member must submit a Request for Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence form to the staff member's supervisor and Business Administrator/Head of Department. A supplemental letter outlining the leave must be completed by the staff member and turned in with the form. Thirty days notice is needed except in emergencies.
  2. The supervisor evaluates the request and either grants or denies it. The school's or department's operational and staffing needs, availability of replacements, reason for the staff member's request, and the staff member's job performance and attendance should be considered in deciding whether to grant a Personal Leave. The supervisor's signature and Business Administrator's/Head of Department's signature must appear on the completed form.
  3. The form and supplemental letter are then submitted to the assigned HR Business Partner for the school, department or unit.
  4. The assigned HR Business Partner reviews the request for consistency and policy compliance. If the form is completed accurately, the HR Business Partner signs the form, notifies and returns the form to the supervisor and BA/Head of Department to let them know that the leave has been reviewed.

Procedures During the Leave

  1. Supervisors/Department Administrators/ Business Administrators are responsible for the following steps:
    1. Complete a Position Data/Appointment Form to initiate the leave processing by signing into myHR and completing the form. Ensure that the appropriate action/reason code is recorded, as well as the staff member's expected return to work date. If you need assistance completing this form, contact your assigned Payroll Coordinator for assistance or call 847-467-7506. A list of Payroll contacts can be found on the Payroll Information for Administrators web page.
    2. Once the Position Data/Appointment Form is completed, the form should be submitted to your Payroll Coordinator.
    3. Send completed, signed by the HR Business Partner, Request for Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence form to Benefits (benefits@northwestern.edu) for processing benefit plan changes.
    4. To have the person reinstated to regular status, complete a Position Data/Appointment Form when the staff member returns from leave and send to your Payroll Coordinator for processing.
  2. The supervisor is responsible for entering the staff member's paid time off into the timekeeping system during the leave and notifying the appropriate Payroll representative of a monthly paid (MON) staff member's Unpaid Personal Leave to ensure that the corresponding reduction in pay is made.
    1. A staff member must exhaust all vacation and personal floating holiday time before any Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence is granted unless the leave is being requested because a staff member's work authorization has expired and the renewal is being sought in coordination with the International Office. Questions regarding entering a staff member's paid time off in the system can be directed to the Kronos Help Desk at 847-467-7606 or mytime@northwestern.edu.
  3. If a staff member exhausts all available time off and additional Unpaid Personal Leave is granted, then the supervisor is responsible for completing another Position Data/Appointment Form and submitting it to the assigned Payroll Coordinator.
  4. While on Personal Leave, staff members are expected to be reasonably responsive and communicative with their supervisor and department.

End of the leave

Return to work. Approval of the leave request does not guarantee job reinstatement. Reinstatement is at the discretion of the department. If the staff member is not reinstated or does not return to work when the Personal Leave ends and has not been approved for additional leave of absence or other reasonable accommodation as required by law, employment will be terminated.