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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: January 24, 2006
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs

2.06 Medical Absences and Teaching Continuity

  1. Policy Statement
    The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) recognizes the importance of teaching continuity during the long semester and the needs of faculty members in this teaching setting with regard to medical conditions for both employee and qualified family member. It is the policy of UTSA to require departments to ensure continuity in classroom instruction.
  2. Purpose
    This policy is to ensure continuity in classroom teaching during the long semester. The policy provides an opportunity for a faculty member to request time off from classroom instruction in accordance with the requirements established by law and policy with a guarantee of employment.
  3. Scope
    The policy applies to all benefits eligible faculty (tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure track) on the instructional budget in a long-session semester.
  4. Department Chair Responsibility
    When a faculty member is not available to teach during a long semester, the department chair is responsible for securing the services of a qualified instructor to teach the appropriate classes. When adequate departmental or college funding is not available, requests for supplemental funds to cover any additional instructional costs may be submitted by the dean to the provost.
  5. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    By law, the FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid job protected leave to "eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons." The twelve (12) work weeks can be either continuous or intermittent. Employees are eligible if they have worked a period of twelve (12) months and 1250 hours with their employer during the year preceding the start of the leave. Employees eligible for FMLA leave must first use all available and applicable paid vacation and sick leave concurrent with FMLA leave, except that an employee who is receiving temporary disability benefits or workers compensation benefits is not required to first use applicable paid vacation or sick leave while receiving those benefits.

    Consistent with the FMLA, eligible faculty can take leave for their own serious health condition; for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child; and to care for a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition. If eligible for FMLA or parental leave, the faculty member will be required to follow the policy adopted by UTSA (HOP 4.20 Authorized Leave).

  6. Leave Requests Beyond FMLA/Parental Leave
    If the faculty member requires or requests leave (paid sick leave or unpaid sick leave) beyond the federal FMLA or state parental provisions, the following procedure must be followed.
    1. Request (in writing) to the department chair an extension of time off to be released from regularly scheduled classroom teaching responsibilities. The request must include the following information:
      1. Number of additional weeks requested (beyond 12)
      2. Whether or not the additional time off is as a result of continued medical necessity
        1. If medical condition requires additional time off beyond twelve (12) weeks: (1) Coordination must occur with Human Resources (HR) and providing additional medical documentation will be required.
          (2) Faculty member can not be required to perform work unless approved by the physician and coordinated/approved with the department chair.
        2. If the medical condition has been resolved and does not require additional time off, but the faculty member desires a restructured work assignment (e.g., work from home or additional duties on campus) OR an unpaid leave of absence (no work will be performed), a request must be made in writing to their department chair. The period of the restructured faculty workload or unpaid leave of absence must continue to the end of the applicable semester. (1) If work will be performed (to maintain paid employment), the request must include the description of the non-classroom instructional activities, research and other scholarly academic activities to be performed during the period of restructured workload; and how these activities contribute to the mission and goals of the university. (2) If work will not be performed, the request must stipulate that the faculty member understands that leave is without pay and premium sharing will stop. The faculty member should contact HR Benefits (458-4250) for additional information.
  7. Procedures for Leave Requests
    1. The faculty member shall notify the department chair and Human Resources (with his/her request for leave due to a medical condition [to include pregnancy or adoption] for self or covered family member) with at least thirty (30) days advance notice when foreseeable and where practicable). If thirty (30) days notice is not practicable, such as lack of knowledge of approximately when leave will be required to begin, notice must be given as soon as practicable.
    2. When the department chair receives a request for leave (whether for consecutive or intermittent time off or for a reduced leave schedule) under this policy, the chair, in coordination with HR, will provide the dean a recommendation on the leave request and on the proposed restructured workload for the faculty member. The dean will provide the faculty member a final decision in writing on the leave request and restructured workload.
    3. Use of sick leave “ University employees, including faculty, shall use available sick leave, pursuant to the university sick leave, FMLA, and parental leave policies (HOP 4.20 Authorized Leave), when requesting leave. The use of such leave runs concurrently with FMLA. Faculty who do not have sufficient sick leave time may be eligible to apply for the sick leave pool through Human Resources.
    4. Leave for more than twelve (12) weeks “ Refer to VI A. b. (1) and (2). The chair will review the restructured workload and/or unpaid leave request and forward a recommendation to the dean. The dean will make a final decision on this request and notify the faculty member in writing within a reasonable period of time.
    5. A faculty member approved for a restructured faculty workload will continue on their regular appointment during the period of this assignment and will complete the agreed-upon plan.
  8. Extensions of Probationary Period for Tenure-Track Faculty See HOP 2.10 Faculty Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion and Regents Rules and Regulations Series 30000, Rule 31007, Section 5.