Extended Sick Time (EST) FAQs
What is EST?
EST is the University’s Short Term Disability benefit that provides 100% of a staff member’s hourly rate or monthly salary for an approved extended illness or injury after a seven-calendar day elimination period, for up to six months.
What is the cost of EST to me?
What is considered a disability for Extended Sick Time?
Things such as the birth of a child, injuries, accidents, surgeries, and serious illnesses are covered under Extended Sick Time.
How long can I receive EST benefits?
Do I have to use all my vacation and sick time before going on EST for a personal health issue?
Is there a pre-existing condition provision for the EST program?
Does the new program affect me if I’m on Workers’ Compensation?
Staff members who are receiving Workers’ Compensation should continue to coordinate their time off work with the Office of Risk Management. Individuals receiving Workers’ Compensation must have their time off tracked in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), so those on Workers’ Compensation must also contact The Hartford to complete the FMLA paperwork.
What do I do if I have a personal illness or injury that prevents me from coming to work?
Under the Absence program, staff members with a personal illness or injury that prevents the staff member from coming to work between one and five days should contact their manager and report the absence as incidental sick time.
Staff members with a personal illness or injury that prevents coming to work for more than five business days should contact The Hartford Insurance Company regarding eligibility for Extended Sick Time (EST) payments. The Hartford’s hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, and they can be reached at 1-888-541-7283. Please be prepared to provide your doctor’s contact information, including the doctor’s phone number.
How do I file an Extended Sick Time claim?
- Please refer to the brochure File a Claim With Confidence.
- The Hartford: 1-888-541-7283 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Central Time
- thehartfordatwork.com is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7)
- 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?
I have a sick family member who requires extended care. What are my options?
If I want to take a personal leave, what do I do?
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.
Do vacation and service accrue while staff are out on Extended Sick Time?
How do I continue my health and dental benefits while I’m on EST?
Once I am approved, how will I receive my EST benefit payments?
What appeal option do I have if my doctor’s treatment plan conflicts with The Hartford’s recommendation for my return?
What if I am out intermittently for the same disability? Will I need to fulfill the elimination period each time I am out?
- As long as these absences are related to the initial condition, occur within 90 days from the most recent return to work for a related illness, and the condition and first absence was approved by The Hartford, they are considered a recurrent disability. This means the absence is paid as EST without having to satisfy another seven calendar day (five business days) elimination period.
- If the absences are not within the above time frame and do not qualify, staff may use incidental sick time (IST), personal floating holidays, or accrued vacation time to cover their absence.
- If a staff member has exhausted the options above that allow for paid time away, the staff member may continue in an unpaid status.
Please contact the Human Resources Benefits team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-491-7513 if you have a question not addressed here.