Leaves of Absence

When should I call the Disability Benefits team, and when should I call the FAS Leaves Liaison?

The Disability Benefits team oversees disability benefits programs and is the main point of contact for issues related to STD, LTD, and workers compensation claims. They are the ones who receive your confidential medical certification information from your health care providers to evaluate and determine whether your claim qualifies for benefits. If you have a question or concern regarding your medical information, recertification of your STD benefit, or how you are being paid during your STD period, contact Disability Benefits directly at 617-496-4001 or… Read more about When should I call the Disability Benefits team, and when should I call the FAS Leaves Liaison?

I am completing the Request for FMLA, but I’m not sure which days I will be taking as Parental Leave within the first 13 weeks after the birth. Also, I may wish to take this time intermittently. What should I put in the date fields on this form?

Use the baby’s due date, or date on which you expect to take custody of the child in the case of adoption or foster care, as the expected start date of the leave. Use the last day of the 13 week period as the expected end date on the form. Below these dates, indicate that you are requesting to take your Parental Leave on an intermittent basis throughout this period.

What is a Fitness for Duty Certification?

A Fitness for Duty Certification is a signed statement from your treating health care provider which indicates that you are able to return to work, and also indicates any restrictions that may apply when you return to work. The Disability Benefits team considers a return to work/clearance letter the “fitness for duty certification”. They receive, approve and release employees who return to work following the receipt of this letter. Senior Disability Case Manager, Michele Clopper, will work with you, your manager and department administrator and HR Consultant to create a formal return to… Read more about What is a Fitness for Duty Certification?

When an employee goes on STD, Parental, or Maternity leave, who pays for it?

STD pay is funded by a central fund and the department is not charged for an employee’s salary during this period. However, if an employee has to use sick time during the two-week waiting period or sick time spend down, or elects to substitute sick time instead of receiving STD pay, this pay would be charged to the department.

Parental Leave is paid for by the employee’s department.

In the case of Maternity Leaves (composed of both STD and Parental Leave), in most cases the first eight weeks of leave are paid for by STD, the next four weeks are paid for by the department, and… Read more about When an employee goes on STD, Parental, or Maternity leave, who pays for it?

What is the role of the Senior Disability Case Manager?

The Senior Disability Case Manager, Michele Clopper, manages all reasonable accommodation requests for employees with a disability, and partners with the Disability Benefits team and the FAS Leaves Liaison when an employee’s return to work plan includes accommodations to the physical work environment or to how the work is being performed.

Any employees struggling with their work due to a medical condition should reach out to Michele for guidance.

The FAS Leaves Liaison and Department Administrators should also reach out to Michele if an employee with a known medical condition… Read more about What is the role of the Senior Disability Case Manager?

What is the role of the Disability Benefits Office, and when should I be contacting them rather than the FAS Leaves Liaison?

The Disability Benefits team, managed by Patricia Conde, is the group that oversees disability benefits programs and the main point of contact for issues related to STD, LTD or workers compensation claims. They are the ones who receive confidential medical certification information from an employee’s health care providers, to evaluate and determine whether an employee’s claim qualifies for benefits. Patty Conde is the main point of contact for questions related to the employee’s specific claim being certified, and any recertification timeline.

If you have a question about FMLA, or… Read more about What is the role of the Disability Benefits Office, and when should I be contacting them rather than the FAS Leaves Liaison?

Is it acceptable for a manager or department administrator to contact an employee who is out on STD?

This can vary on a case-by-case basis, but in general, employees out on STD are not expected to be available during this period. Any communication with them can be routed through the FAS Leaves Liaison. Employees going out on STD for an extended length of time are encouraged to check in with their manager or department administrator, if possible, within a week of their return, to confirm their return to work date. If you are a department administrator or manager and are concerned about a lack of contact with an employee, contact the FAS Leaves Liaison or your HR Consultant for guidance.

Can employees use paid time off after the end of their STD period while awaiting a determination on their eligibility for Long-Term Disability (LTD)?

Any paid time off used at the completion of an employee’s 26-week STD period while awaiting an LTD determination should be approved by the employee’s DA/manager and HR Consultant. It’s important to note that any paid time off used is not credited back to the employee if LTD is approved retroactively. Sick and personal time is considered “deductible income” and using either will cause the employee’s LTD payment to be reduced. Vacation time may be used with no impact to LTD pay.

What is the difference between STD and the FMLA?

STD is an insurance program which provides salary replacement for eligible employees who are experiencing a physical or mental health condition which results in an inability to perform the essential functions of their job. For more information on STD at Harvard, see the relevant page on HARVie.

FMLA is a federal regulation which provides job-protected leave for up to 12 weeks a year for eligible employees who need to take time off for certain federally-protected reasons: their own serious health condition or that of a dependent relative, or following the birth of a child, or the… Read more about What is the difference between STD and the FMLA?

What is the STD sick time “spend down”?

In addition to a two-week waiting period before the STD salary coverage period begins, employees also need to use, or “spend down”, a certain amount of their available sick time before STD will begin to cover their salary. Administrative and professional staff must be out of work for two continuous weeks and then "spend down" an additional 25 days of sick time (if available) or spend down to a balance of 40 days, whichever comes first, before STD salary coverage will begin. Clerical and technical staff and postdocs must be out of work for two continuous weeks and then "spend down" 15… Read more about What is the STD sick time “spend down”?

Are foster parents eligible for paid Parental Leave?

No. Foster parents can apply for Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) to care for a child after placement for foster care, but they are not eligible for paid Parental Leave and would need to use vacation, personal, or accrued compensatory time to be paid during an FMLA Leave.

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