SUBJECT: Shared Leave Program
The Benefits Committee, representing faculty and staff, has spent more than a year investigating and refining a recommendation to develop a shared leave program for eligible Washburn University employees. Two primary reasons motivated the committee and the administration to pursue the program. First, many major employers, including the Kansas Board of Regents universities and the City of Topeka have such programs. Having a shared leave program would help Washburn compete for employees. Secondly, shared leave is ultimately motivated by the humanitarian concerns of employees for their co-workers who, on rare occasion, have special, if not dreadful, needs for support from their family of co-workers. The policy developed is that, shared leave is an important employee morale issue.
Washburn University will provide an employee up to 65 days paid leave of absence in a fiscal year from a shared leave pool created by donations of leave from employees participating in the shared leave program when: (1) the employee has completed six months of service; (2) the employee has donated at least one day of personal leave and two days of sick leave to the pool in such fiscal year; (3) the employee has exhausted all other paid leave; and (4) a severe health condition of an immediate family member (or of the employee when the employee is ineligible for short-term disability benefits) requires the employee's absence from work. The shared leave program is administered by the Vice President for Administration and Treasurer through the Human Resources.
Limitations imposed upon the design of a shared leave program for Washburn University included:
The employees must be eligible under the rules and volunteer to join the shared leave program.
The employee must give something of value to join the program (in this case, an irrevocable contribution of annual [not sick] leave to the pool).
All accrued personal and sick leave must be exhausted before eligibility for shared leave.
The shared leave may only be used when an employee needs additional leave to care for an ill family member.
Shared leave is not available for employee illnesses unless the employee is medically ineligible to purchase short-term disability through the Washburn group.
The program will have no direct cost to the university and will sunset after three years unless specifically renewed by Board of Regents action.
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: As necessary, and on a case-by-case basis, temporary employees may be needed to cover duties of an individual on Shared Leave. Those costs will be managed from existing budgets if and when they occur.
RECOMMENDATION: President Farley recommends the approval of Shared Leave Program as attached.
(date) Jerry B. Farley, President