Benefits & Leaves of Absence

1. Holidays

1.1  Approved Holidays. The following shall be the approved holidays for the term of this Handbook: 

  • New Year's Day
  • Memorial Day 
  • Independence Day 
  • Labor Day   
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • day following Thanksgiving Day
  • day preceding Christmas Day
  • Christmas Day
  • day preceding New Year's Day

Three (3) floating holidays/personal days each calendar year as scheduled by the management.

In the event that the University recognizes an additional approved holiday, such holiday will be added to those holidays observed under 9.1.1, Approved Holidays.

1.2    Work on a Holiday. If a staff member works on an approved holiday, in addition to their holiday pay, they will be compensated at the rate of two (2) times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked on the holiday.

1.3    A staff member will be eligible for a holiday with pay, provided:

A.  They are a regular or probationary full-time staff member on the day of the holiday;

B.  They worked all of the hours of their last scheduled work day prior to and their next scheduled work day after the holiday, unless excused by their supervisor;

C.  They are not on leave of absence or layoff at the time of the holiday;

D.  They are not receiving salary continuation, short-term disability, long-term disability, or workers' compensation at the time of the holiday;

E.  They worked on the holiday if scheduled to work on that day, unless excused by their supervisor.  For full-time staff members who regularly work an eight (8) hour shift, holiday pay shall be for eight (8) hours at the staff member’s regular hourly rate.  For full-time staff members who regularly work a ten (10) hour shift, holiday pay shall be for ten (10) hours at the staff member's regular hourly rate.

2. Vacations

2.1  Vacation Accrual. Full-time and Probationary staff accrue .05 hours of vacation time for each hour worked (maximum 40 hours per week) during the first two years of uninterrupted employment with the University. Thereafter, an additional eight (8) hours per year is added with each calendar year of uninterrupted employment with the University, except that the number of hours earned in any single year shall not exceed one hundred sixty (160) hours.  Unused vacation time may be carried over into the next calendar year providing the number of hours does not exceed the hours earned the preceding year.

Probationary staff members shall earn vacation allowance at the same rate as regular staff.  Staff members shall receive compensation for accrued unused vacation upon leaving the employ of the University provided that the staff member gives at least two (2) weeks notice of their intent to leave.  Vacation time shall not be used to continue employment beyond the last day worked for the University.

2.2  Vacations and Optional Leave of Absence. In the event two or more staff members apply for simultaneous vacations or leaves of absence for reasons within the control of the staff member during the same period of time and if the work requirements do not permit such vacations or leaves of absences, preference shall be given to the affected staff members on the basis of the earlier seniority date and time of submission.

3. Income Protection

3.1    Salary Continuation.  Full-time staff shall have the first 160 working hours of any disability fully paid.  Eligibility for the full 160 hours of salary continuation shall be restored for any disability after the staff member has returned to work for 40 consecutive working hours.

3.2    Usage of Salary Continuation.  Salary continuation may be used for:

A.  Staff member or staff member’s child, spouse, household member or parent’s illness or injury, hospitalization and appointment pertaining to health.

B.   Impending death of staff member’s parent-in-law to a maximum of three (3) working days, if needed.

C.   Death of staff member’s child, stepchild, foster child, spouse, household member, brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, parent, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or grandparent-in-law to a maximum of five (5) working days, if needed.  Extension may be granted in extenuating circumstances by the Human Resources Office.

D.   Attendance at a funeral of a relative other than above [maximum of one (1) day.]

E.   With the supervisor’s approval, a staff member may be released from work for that part of that day needed to attend the funeral of a staff member of the University.

F.   Probationary staff shall be eligible for a maximum of forty (40) hours of salary continuation during their probationary period subject to the limits outlined.

3.3    Miscellaneous Provisions Regarding Salary Continuation. 

A.   The staff member shall notify their supervisor of absence in advance and shall state the expected duration thereof unless the failure to notify is due to circumstances beyond the control of the staff member. 

The supervisor may or may not excuse the absence, depending on the reason given.  If the staff member's absence should extend beyond the expected duration, the staff member must again notify the supervisor.

B.   Any staff member with excessive absenteeism due to illness may be required to provide a doctor's certificate or other acceptable proof of the reason for absence.  The requirement of a doctor's certificate shall continue until the staff member has demonstrated acceptable attendance for a minimum six (6) month period of time.       

C.   Staff members engaging in other employment or profit-making activities while ostensibly ill or injured may lose rights to salary continuation benefits and right to continue as a staff member of the University.

It is clearly intended that salary continuation as herein provided is primarily intended to protect the income of staff members while disabled.  It is clearly intended that no use of salary continuation may be beyond what is considered reasonable for the specific situation.

3.4    Short-term Disability.  The University shall provide full-time staff short-term disability insurance for those absences caused by illness or injury for a period longer than 160 working hours and less than six (6) months, subject to the conditions as stated in the master insurance policy.

3.5    Long-term Disability.  The University shall provide full-time staff long-term disability insurance for those absences caused by illness or injury for a period longer than six (6) months, subject to the conditions as stated in the master insurance policy.

3.6    Disability Retirement Credit. The University shall provide for continued participation in the retirement program for any eligible staff member receiving benefits under the disability program.

4. Retirement

4.1    University Base Plan. Full-time staff will be eligible to participate in the base retirement plan comprised of three investment alternatives:

1)     Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA),
2)     College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF),
3)     Fidelity Investments - institutional retirement plan

Full-time staff will begin participation immediately upon employment.  Participants are fully vested after completion of two years of employment. The university will make a contribution equal to 8% of the participant's base salary.  No contribution is required from the staff member.  Participants may elect an allocation of their university contribution among the three investment alternatives once a year.  Allocation changes within those alternatives will be allowed as frequently as permitted by that carrier.

The normal retirement age used as a basis for calculating a full benefit is age 65.  There is no mandatory retirement age

A more detailed description of the base retirement plan related to pay out options, availability of funds and allocation changes and transfers within funds are contained in the materials available in Human Resources.

4.2   Medical Insurance for Retirees.  The University will make available a medical insurance plan for official retirees in the same manner and on the same basis as applies to all the University’s other official retirees.

An official retiree (including early retirees) for purposes of this benefit, will be defined as any regular staff member who is employed by the University at the time of retirement, who is vested in a University sponsored retirement plan and whose years of University service and age total a minimum of 75.  Coverage for the spouse of the retiree or early retiree is available on the same basis as for other University official retirees.

The University retains the right to modify or terminate this plan upon reasonable notice to staff members and retirees.

5. Medical Insurance

The University shall make available medical insurance to the staff members covered by this handbook to the same extent and in the same manner as is available to other University staff members, such as Faculty and the Executive, Administrative and Professional Staff. 

It is the University’s goal to have the same medical insurance plans offered uniformly to all University groups and staff members.

The University retains the right to make changes to the medical insurance plans it offers provided that the changes are the same for each staff member group.  The University will notify the Unit Representative of and discuss with the representative changes prior to making the changes.

The University shall make available vision insurance to the staff members covered by this handbook to the same extent and in the same manner as is available to other university staff members, such as Faculty and Executive, Administrative and Professional Staff.  It is the University’s goal to have the same vision insurance plan(s) offered uniformly to all university staff member groups and staff members. 

6. Life Insurance

The University shall continue to make available a group life insurance program.  The program shall be the same basic program as applicable to the University's other staff members.  The minimum life and accidental, death and dismemberment insurance amount will be an amount equal to base salary.

7. Dental Insurance

The University shall make available dental insurance to the staff members covered by this handbook to the same extent and in the same manner as is available to other University staff members, such as Faculty and the Executive, Administrative and Professional Staff. 

It is the University’s goal to have the same dental insurance plan(s) offered uniformly to all University staff member groups and staff members. 

8. Worker's Compensation

Staff members of the University shall be entitled to benefits as required under the Worker's Compensation Act.  Staff members, within twenty-four (24) hours of an accident, whether or not medical care or absence from work seems necessary, shall report such incident to their supervisor.  The University agrees to pay the difference between the worker's compensation benefit and the staff member’s regular pay not to exceed an amount equal to twenty (20) days of salary continuation.

9. Academic Participation

A.    A full-time staff member, with the approval of their supervisor, may attend Grand Valley State University courses each semester, tuition free, if the course is taken outside the normal work week schedule and is taken for credit.

B.    Spouses and eligible dependents of full-time staff members and retirees are eligible for a fifty percent (50%) reduction of their tuition costs for all Grand Valley State University courses.  Spouses, household members and eligible dependents that use this benefit are subject to the admission and academic requirements of the University.

10. Job Share Classification

In unique circumstances, it may be beneficial for two staff members to enter into a handbook to job-share.  A job-share position shall be defined as a full-time position shared by two (2) staff members.  Approval of a job-share shall rest with the University after consultation with the staff members. 

A.    The University shall determine a regular job-share schedule, between 40 and 60 hours in a two-week period. 

B.    Individuals interested in job-sharing should contact the Human Resources Office.  When a job-sharing opportunity becomes available, the Human Resources Office will contact those who have expressed an interest and facilitate job-share matching after application by the staff member.  Job-share opportunities shall be posted.

C.    Benefits will be provided to staff members in a job-share position as follows:

  • Medical Insurance will be made available.  The cost of coverage to the University shall not exceed the cost of coverage for one staff member.  
    • If both job-share staff members do not elect coverage, each will receive 50% of the credit given to regular full and part-time staff.
    • If one job-share staff member elects medical insurance and the other does not:  the staff member without coverage will receive 50% of the credit given to regular full and part-time staff members, the other job-share staff member will pay the cost of the credit given to the other staff member plus the cost charged to regular full and part-time staff members for the option that they select.
    • If both job-share staff members elect medical coverage, each staff member will pay 50% of the group cost for the plan chosen.  The University will pay the remaining 50%.  Group costs will change annually.
       
  • Dental Insurance will be made available. The cost of coverage to the University shall not exceed the cost of coverage for one staff member. 
    • If both job-share staff members do not elect coverage, each will receive 50% of the credit given to regular full and part-time staff.
    • If one job-share staff member elects dental insurance and the other does not:  the staff member without coverage will receive 50% of the credit given to regular full and part-time staff members, the other job-share staff member will pay the cost of the credit given to the other staff member plus the cost charged to regular full and part-time staff members for the option that they select.
    • If both job-share staff members elect dental coverage, each staff member will pay 50% of the group cost for the plan chosen.  The University will pay the remaining 50%.  Group costs will change annually.
       
  • Life Insurance will be provided equal to their base hourly rate of pay times 1040 hours.
     
  • Vision Insurance will be made available to the same extent and at the same rate as is available to other University staff members.
     
  • Staff members will be paid 4 hours for each approved holiday listed in Holidays: Section 1, Benefits.
     
  • Vacation will be accrued according to the provisions as outlined in Section 2, Vacation.
     
  • Salary Continuation will be provided for actual work hours missed due to a disability up to maximum of forty (40) working hours per calendar year and is subject to Section 3.2 and 3.3.
     
  • A Retirement Plan will be provided according to the provisions for part-time staff members outlined in the plan document.
     
  • Medical Insurance for Retirees will be made available to the same extent and in the same manner as is available to other part-time University staff members.

D.    It is understood that workspace will be shared.

E.    If requested, staff members sharing a position will coordinate vacation time and work full-time on days that the other staff member is on vacation.

F.    The University may convert a job share position to a regular full-time position.  If it does, the University will give the staff members a minimum of a one (1) month notice.  If the position is converted to a full-time position, the most senior staff member shall be offered the full-time position and the remaining staff member may exercise their rights under section 7 of the handbook.

G.    Unless specifically addressed above, other provisions of the handbook apply to job-share staff members.

H.    It is expected that the staff members will work together to communicate daily work needs.  It is understood that staff members, at their discretion, may need to use unpaid time before or after their regular shift, or on days they are not scheduled to work, to effectively communicate.

I.    No full-time position, held by an incumbent, shall be converted to a job-share if the incumbent does not wish to job-share.

J.    Job-sharing is purely voluntary on the part of the staff member.

Leaves of Absence

1.    Definition.  A leave of absence is an approved absence from University's employment for more than one month without compensation.  Absences for less than one month shall normally be considered as lost time and are subject to supervisor's approval.  Thereafter, the staff member shall retain seniority but will not accumulate further seniority until returning to work.  Applicable conditions of the Family and Medical Leave Act will be followed in approving leaves of absence.

2.    Leaves of Absence Without Pay.  A leave of absence without pay may be granted to a staff member for personal reasons for a period up to twelve (12) months.  A request for a leave of absence shall be submitted in writing, stating the reasons for the request.  The conditions under which the leave of absence is granted shall be specified in writing by the University.  If the staff member's job is not held open during the leave period, the staff member shall be eligible to return to the next position open provided they are qualified. Failure to return at the expiration of the approved leave of absence shall result in termination of employment.  The staff member may continue health insurance at their own expense if the staff member arranges a pre-payment for the leave of absence period.   Staff members taking a leave for the convenience of the University will have their group insurance continued.  Staff members may elect to have their accumulated vacation retained in their accounts pending their return or termination.  Vacation or sick leave benefits shall not accrue during the leave period although the previous balance will be maintained.

2.1   Military Leave of Absence.  Upon application, a military leave of absence without pay will be granted to staff members who are inducted through Selective Service or voluntary enlistment, or those called through membership in the National Guard or reserve component into the Armed Forces of the United States.  Credited service for military service shall be determined by the retirement plan.

2.2   Educational Leave of Absence.  Leaves of absence may be granted up to six (6) months under the above provisions only if the course would be beneficial to both the University and the staff member.

3.    Leaves of Absence with Pay.

3.1   Salary Continuation and Short-Term Disability.  A staff member on salary continuation or short-term disability shall be entitled to return to their previous position provided that they are released to return to their position within six (6) months from their last day worked.

The University will continue benefits for staff members receiving salary continuation or short-term disability pay.

3.2   Extended Sick Leave.  When a staff member’s salary continuation and short-term disability pay have been exhausted, the staff member may request to be placed on extended sick leave if the staff member continues to be unable to perform the duties of their position due to the illness or accident.  Such request must be made thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of short-term disability payments.  Extended sick leave may continue for up to eighteen (18) months from the staff member’s last day worked.

If the staff member is released to return to work during his/her extended sick leave, he/she will be offered the next available position for which he/she is qualified. Such position shall be equal in hours to the position previously held.  The University will pay the cost of COBRA medical coverage during the first twelve (12) months of extended sick leave.

3.3   Pay for Military Duty.  A staff member, who loses time from work during their regular schedule of hours because of military training as a reservist or National Guardsman or due to a civil disturbance, not exceeding four (4) weeks per year, shall be paid the difference between their base military pay and their regular salary.

3.4   Pay for Jury Duty.  A staff member who loses time from work during their regular schedule of hours because of jury duty shall be paid the difference between their pay for jury duty pay and their regular pay.



Page last modified August 14, 2014