2023 Leave of Absence Policy Template – Download Now!

A comprehensive leave of absence policy template is essential for any workplace as it provides clarity and sets expectations for both the employer and employees. It allows employees to take a leave of absence without the fear of losing their job or finding alternative employment, and employers to retain valuable employees.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for a leave of absence, employees must meet certain criteria. First, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months.

Second, the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months. Finally, the employee must be working at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

Meeting these requirements ensures that the employee is eligible for job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This means that they are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for certain qualifying situations, such as a serious health condition, the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Types of Absences

When creating a leave of absence policy template, it is essential to consider the different types of absences employees may need to take. These are the most common types of absences:

Medical

Medical leave of absence is necessary when employees need to take time off due to illness, injury, or a medical procedure. Employers may require documentation from a healthcare professional to verify the need for the leave of absence.

Employees may be eligible for short-term disability benefits or paid time off during medical leave.

Personal

Employees may need to take time off for personal reasons, such as attending to a family member’s illness, taking care of a new child, or attending a family event. Personal leave is typically unpaid, and employers may require advance notice and documentation from the employee.

Paternity/Maternity

Maternity or paternity leave is necessary when employees become new parents. Employers may provide paid or unpaid leave for a set period, typically six weeks to three months, depending on the company’s policy.

The leave may be taken all at once or intermittently, depending on the employee’s needs.

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It is crucial to have a clear and concise leave of absence policy template to ensure employees and employers alike understand their rights and responsibilities. By providing various policies for different types of absences, employers can support employee well-being and retain valuable staff members.

Requesting Leave

Employees who need to take a leave of absence can do so by submitting a request to their supervisor or HR department. The request should indicate the reason for the leave and the expected duration.

Depending on the company, employees may be required to fill out a specific leave of absence form or provide medical documentation to support the request. It is important for employees to follow company policy and procedure when requesting a leave of absence to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion.

Job Guarantee and Reinstatement

When an employee takes a leave of absence, the leave policy should outline what guarantees the employee has for returning to their job. Typically, employees have the right to reinstatement to the same job they had before their leave, or a similar one with the same pay and benefits.

However, if the employee’s position is no longer available due to a layoff or company restructuring, the employer is not required to guarantee reinstatement. Employers should communicate with employees throughout their leave and provide regular updates about any changes to their position or company status.

Employees should also communicate with their employer if they need to extend their leave or have any concerns about returning to work.

Benefits and Compensation

When an employee takes a leave of absence, it is important to consider what benefits and compensation they are entitled to receive.

Continuation of Health Benefits

During a leave of absence, an employee’s health benefits may continue if the employer has a policy in place that allows for this. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), an employee may be entitled to continue their health benefits for up to 18 months at their own expense.

However, some employers may choose to offer continued health benefits as part of their leave policy.

Accrued Vacation and Sick Time

During a leave of absence, accrued vacation and sick time may continue to accrue or may be frozen depending on the employer’s policy. For example, an employer may choose to allow an employee on leave to continue accruing vacation time but freeze their sick time.

Alternatively, an employer may choose to freeze both vacation and sick time during the leave period. It is important for employees to review their company’s leave policy to understand their entitlements.

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Extended Leave of Absence

An extended leave of absence is a type of leave with or without pay that lasts longer than 15 consecutive workdays. It may be requested by employees who need more time off than their available vacation or sick time, such as in the case of a serious illness, injury, military service, or caregiving.

The length of an extended leave of absence can vary depending on the circumstances and may be subject to approval by the employer.

Employers need to have a clear and comprehensive leave of absence policy in place to address extended leaves of absence. This policy outlines the eligibility requirements, the procedures for requesting and approving leave, and the benefits and job protection available to employees.

Employers also need to ensure that their leave policy complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Offering extended leave of absence to employees is essential in maintaining employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. It also helps employers to avoid possible legal issues related to discrimination or wrongful termination, by providing a clear set of guidelines for managing employee leaves of absence.

Return to Work

When an employee is ready to return to work following a leave of absence, they should first inform their employer of their intention to do so. The employer should then consult with the employee to determine if there are any work-related accommodations that need to be made to facilitate their return.

The timeline for the return will depend on the type of leave taken and the employee’s specific circumstances. For example, if the employee took FMLA leave, they are entitled to return to the same or an equivalent position after up to 12 weeks of leave.

If they require additional time off or special accommodations, their employer may need to engage in the interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made.

It is important for employers to have a clear return to work policy that outlines the steps employees should take when they are ready to return to work from a leave of absence.

Enforcing Leave of Absence Policy

As stated in the leave policy, employees are eligible to avail of leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. All leaves are considered as time off for the reasons stated and necessary for the protection of the employee.

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In cases wherein an employee violates a leave of absence policy, the policy mandates that the employee may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge. Any employee who intentionally violates or misuses this policy or who misrepresents any statement or condition under this policy may face appropriate consequences.

Employers must take the violation of the leave policy seriously and enforce the necessary actions to avoid employees taking advantage of the company’s policy.

It is best to notify the employees in writing of their violation, reiterate the policy guidelines, and provide any proper documentation that demonstrates the breach of the policy. Additionally, a meeting between the concerned employee, HR representative, and the employee’s supervisor may help clarify the situation and discuss the necessary disciplinary action, if needed.

In summary, enforcing the leave policy is essential to the success of any organization that values its employees. It sets a standard for maintaining institutional fairness that enables the company to keep track of employees who violate the policy and take corrective action when necessary.

Resources

When it comes to learning more about the company’s leave of absence policy, there are a variety of resources available for employees. From company-provided materials to HR assistance, employers should make sure to offer clear and accessible information for all employees.

Available Forms

When an employee needs to request a leave of absence, it’s important for them to have access to the right forms and documents. Employers should provide employees with clear instructions on how to access the necessary forms, as well as a compilation of all required documentation.

Human Resources Contact

Employees should have a clear point of contact within HR to answer any questions or address any concerns regarding leave of absence policies. Employers should provide employees with the necessary information to get in touch with HR representatives, whether it be through phone, email, or in-person meetings.

Conclusion

A comprehensive leave of absence policy is essential for employers to provide clarity and expectations when employees need to take a leave. A leave policy allows valuable employees to stay with the company, where without it, employees may feel forced to resign.

Whether it be maternity or disability leave, each leave policy should have clear legislation to follow. It is important that employers have a process for returning employees back to work, and any employee who violates a leave policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

Overall, having a thorough leave of absence policy in place benefits both the employer and the employee.

References

Lora Turner
 

Lora Turner is an Experienced HR professional worked with the large organizations and holding 15 years of experience dealing with employee benefits. She holds expertise in simplifying the leave for the employee benefits. Contact us at: [email protected]