Employee Benefits & Leave of Absence Policy
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS & LEAVE OF ABSENCE POLICY 2018-19 ACADEMIC YEAR
I. Employee Vacation, Sick and Holiday Benefit Time
A. Vacation & Sick Benefit Time
NOTE: If a Residency Review Committee (RRC) or Accreditation Board requires a minimum number of weeks of training per year in conflict with this policy, the requirements of the RRC or Accreditation Board of the program in question apply.
Subject to the above condition, each employee is entitled to accrue up to twenty (20) days of vacation and sick time annually at the rate of 1 2/3 days per month.
EXCEPTION: General Dentistry employees are entitled to ten (10) vacation days and five (5) sick days due to the Dental Accreditation requirements and the length of the program.
All vacations shall be taken upon reasonable prior notice as approved by the program director. Unused vacation time may not be accumulated from year to year. However, sick time may be accumulated up to a maximum of one hundred twenty (120) days. Monetary reimbursement will not be given for unused sick or vacation time under any circumstance.
Vacation or sick time used but unearned at the time of termination of employment (with or without cause) must be reimbursed to the employer by the employee. For example, if a employee completes six (6) months of his/her twelve (12) month training, he/she would be entitled to ten (10) vacation days (and sick days) or one-half of the annual accrual. Vacation time taken in excess of this amount will be deducted from the last paycheck. If the final paycheck has already been issued, the employee must reimburse the employer. Checks should be made payable to UMRS or UDRS; as applicable.
B. Holiday Benefit Time
Provided that the employee will meet all accrediting body requirements as to time spent in training, employees may be given up to ten (10) paid holidays per year in addition to vacation and sick benefit time. These days must be scheduled at the discretion of the program director. Any unused holiday time may not be accumulated from year to year. Monetary reimbursement will not be given for unused holidays at the end of an employee’s training program. Program directors are encouraged to rotate national holidays (i.e., Christmas and New Year's) among employees so that employees alternate working during highly sought days off. Holiday schedules shall be made available in the program director's office.
II. Employee Leave of Absence Policies
A. Family and Medical Leave
- Background The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), requires provision of up to twelve (12) weeks of job-protected leave to “eligible” employees for certain family and medical reasons (i.e., birth/adoption and care for a child; physical / psychological care of spouse/child/parent). Spouses who are both eligible and work for the same employer may take a combined twelve (12) week leave if the leave is taken for the birth, adoption, or placement of a foster child, or to care for a seriously ill child or parent. Employees are eligible if they have worked for the current employer at least one year (prior to the leave) consisting of at least 1250 hours worked. Note: if circumstances involved with the family and medical leave of absence are due to a new employee’s documented medical emergency, discretion to waive the eligibility requirement, provide continuation of pay and continuation of health insurance after accrued benefit time is exhausted, may be granted by the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education. Employers must return employees to their former or an equivalent position and cover health insurance costs in full for the length of any lawful leave although the employee is not entitled to accrue benefits during the leave. It is the resident’s responsibility to pay for their monthly health insurance premium if they have not returned to work after the twelve (12) weeks.
- A spouse, son daughter, parent or next of kin can take up to twenty six (26) weeks of leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness. Substitution of paid leave and notice requirements for standard FMLA leave apply.
- An employee is entitled to take FMLA leave for any qualifying exigency (defined by the Secretary of Labor) arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the resident is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.
- A copy of the FMLA Employee Rights is available in the Office of GME. If an employee has any questions concerning this policy, contact the Office of GME at 829-2012.
- All employees who meet eligibility requirements, or a new employee granted a waiver due to medical emergency by the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and who provide the required notice of a qualifying condition shall have access to up to twelve (12) weeks of continuous leave, a reduced schedule leave, or an intermittent leave per academic year with continuation of health benefits not to exceed twelve (12) weeks.
- Employees who seek FMLA should submit a letter to their program director requesting leave and describing the reason for leave with a copy to the Office of GME. Appendix A-Online Request Form (“Resident Request for Family or Medical Leave”) may be used in lieu of a letter of request. Letters must be submitted at least thirty (30) days in advance for foreseeable leave requests (i.e., extended maternity leave, scheduled surgeries, etc). Leave requests related to an employee’s health or the need to care for a relative requires the employee to demonstrate a serious health condition. In the case of leave related to an employee’s health or for the care of a relative, the letter of request must be accompanied by a “Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition” or by a “Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition” Form) or copy of adoption or foster care papers as relevant to the requested leave. FMLA Certification forms can be found here:
The Office of GME may designate an employee’s leave as a family and medical leave if the employee meets the qualifications regardless of whether the employee has requested such leave.
7. The Office of GME will notify the program director and employee in writing of the employee’s eligibility for FMLA. Accommodations will be made, if possible, for temporary increases in program size resulting from approved leaves of absence.
8. Employees who utilize FMLA benefits must satisfy all training guidelines prior to graduation. Accreditation Board or RRC requirements may necessitate an extension of the training period in order for the resident to qualify for certification. If a leave will result in an extension of training, program directors must notify the employee in writing, with a copy to the Office of GME, outlining the educational ramifications of the leave (i.e., delay in graduation, repeat of a module, etc.). A revised employment contract reflecting the necessary extension of the training must be executed upon the employee’s return to employment. All contract extensions must be made in the training year in which the leave was taken.
9. In the case of employee medical leave, the employee must use accrued and unused sick time and/or converted vacation time in order to receive the normal salary amount. In the case of employee non-medical leave, unused vacation allotment for the current PGY may be used concurrently with FMLA with the mutual consent of the resident and program director.
B. New York State Short-Term Disability Leave of Absence
- UMRS and UDRS purchase short term disability insurance for all employees as required under New York State law.
- The Office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) must be notified by the program of any disability leave.
- An employee is considered disabled and therefore eligible for NYS Short Term Disability insurance benefits in the event of any qualified medical leave for a continuous period in excess of seven (7) consecutive days. Benefits will be paid for a period determined by the disability insurance carrier not to exceed a maximum of twenty six (26) weeks.
- Employees are required to file a disability claim for all medical leaves in excess of seven (7) consecutive days. UMRS/UDRS reserves the right to request detailed medical documentation to support a claim.
- The first seven (7) days of a disability claim are considered a “waiting period” during which no disability payments are made. Employees must use accrued but unused sick time in order to receive pay for this period.
- Following the “waiting period”, employees may use accrued but unused sick time in order to continue receiving their normal salary amount. Once the employee has exhausted all available sick time, he/she may become eligible to receive disability payments of up to $170.00 per week.
- At the employee’s request and with the consent of the program director, any portion of the unused annual allotment of vacation time (both accrued and not accrued) for the current PGY may be converted to sick time in order to continue receiving the normal salary amount. The employee must request the conversion in writing from the program director with a copy to the Office of GME. The program director’s approval must also be made in writing with a copy to the Office of GME. Under no circumstances may employees use the vacation or sick day allotment for future training years.
- The Office of GME must be notified as of the first day the employee is determined unable to work. Completion of a disability claim is mandatory and must be completed within 30 days of the last day worked in order to protect resident rights. To avoid any hardship to the employee, UMRS and UDRS routinely continue the employee’s full pay to the extent that accrued sick time will allow. Failure to file a claim or to comply with the request of the disability insurance carrier will result in the loss of potential disability reimbursement and future rights to disability benefits.
- Under no circumstance may an employee start their training on disability leave.
- Accreditation Board or RRC requirements may necessitate an extension of the training period upon the employee’s return to work in order for the resident to qualify for certification. If a leave will result in an extension of training, program directors must notify the employee in writing, with a copy to the Office of GME, outlining the educational ramifications of the leave (i.e., delay in graduation, repeat of a module, etc). A revised employment contract reflecting the necessary extension of the training must be executed upon the employee’s return to employment. All contract extensions must be made in the training year in which the leave was taken.
- Leave for Pregnancy/Childbirth
Pregnancy/childbirth is a form of disability leave and all above requirements apply. The period of such disability begins at the time the attending physician determines the employee is medically unable to continue work as a resident or fellow. The disability time after delivery is determined by the disability insurance carrier based on the time deemed to be medically necessary by the attending physician and supported by appropriate documentation.
C. New York State Paid Family Leave of Absence Policy
Effective January 1, 2018, UMRS and UDRS will provide paid leave to eligible employees pursuant to New York’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits Law as follows: Paid Family Leave benefits phase in over four years. During 2018, eligible employees can take up to eight weeks of Paid Family Leave and receive 50% of their average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). The AWW is the average of the eligible employee’s last eight weeks of pay prior to starting Paid Family Leave. The SAWW is updated annually. The weekly PFL benefit is capped at 50% of the New York State average weekly wage, which is $652.96 for 2018.
|Year ||Weeks of Leave ||Benefit |
|2018 ||8 weeks |
|50% of employee's AWW, up to 50% of SAWW |
|2019 ||10 weeks |
|55% of employee's AWW, up to 55% of SAWW |
|2020 ||10 weeks |
|60% of employee's AWW, up to 60% of SAWW |
|2021 ||12 weeks |
|67% of employee's AWW, up to 67% of SAWW |
- Eligibility: To be eligible, employees must: (i) regularly work 20 or more hours per week and be employed for at least 26 consecutive workweeks preceding the first full day family leave is taken; or (ii) regularly work less than 20 hours per week and be employed for at least 175 days preceding the first full day leave is taken.
- Permissible Purposes for Leave: Eligible employees will be entitled to paid time away from work (i) to care for a family member with a serious health condition, (ii) to bond with a child after birth or placement for adoption or foster care within the first 12 months after the birth or placement, or (iii) because of any qualifying exigency arising from the fact that an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the armed forces of the United States.
- Notice of Need for Paid Family Leave: An employee must provide at least 30 days advance notice before leave is to begin if the qualifying reason for leave is foreseeable. When not foreseeable, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances and within the time prescribed by our usual and customary notice requirements. Failure to provide timely notice may result in leave being delayed or denied.
- Certification: Eligible employees who wish to take paid leave must comply with applicable certification requirements any may be required to provide additional documentation (such as copies of military orders), as permitted by law.
- Use of Other Leave and Interplay:To the extent permitted by law, employees may elect to charge all or part of their paid family leave time to unused vacation days and receive full pay. In such case, UMRS and UDRS will seek reimbursement from the carrier out of any family leave benefits due prior to the carrier's payment of such family leave benefit to you.
- Job and Benefits Protection: Leave taken under this policy is job protected. UMRS and UDRS must generally restore an employee who returns from leave to the same or a comparable position. While on leave, employees will continue to receive existing health insurance coverage, provided that they continue to pay their share of health insurance premiums. You may lose coverage retroactively to the date an unpaid premium was due (upon proper notice from our carrier) if you fail to pay your portion of the premium in a timely fashion.
- Limitations and Rules Related to Use of Paid Family Leave: Paid family leave may only be taken in full day increments, unless otherwise provided by law.
D. Employee Emergency Medical Crisis (EMC) Leave of Absence
Effective July 1, 2018, new employees are eligible for Emergency Medical Crisis (EMC) leave of absence, in the specific instance of their own mental health medical crisis.The new employee must be under the care of a medical provider and unable to work due to the mental health medical condition, including in-patient hospitalization. The EMC leave of absence period will not exceed a maximum of twelve (12) weeks, during which job protection is provided.
- The EMC leave of absence will be granted at the discretion of the program director in consultation with the office of Graduate Medical Education.
- The new employee will receive an advance of 20 days of sick benefit time; which is the annual allotment.
- The new employee will utilize up to 20 days of vacation benefit time; which is advanced on first day of employment and must be converted to sick benefit time.
- The EMC leave of absence mandates use of the forty (40) combined days of sick and converted vacation benefit time for pay up to eight (8) weeks; maintaining health insurance benefits.
- UMRS and UDRS will continue pay and health insurance benefits during the EMC leave of absence, for the mental health crisis, during the remaining period not covered by sick and converted vacation benefit time, not to exceed a maximum of twelve (12) weeks.
- The new employee must maintain routine contact with the program director and the Lead Physician for Employee Health Services; who will update the office of Graduate Medical Education in regards to employment status during the EMC leave of absence.
E. Short-term Family Illness or Bereavement Leave of Absence
- Employees may use up to fifteen (15) days (three (3) weeks) of accumulated sick leave per year for illness or death in the immediate family. Immediate family is defined as spouse, domestic partner, father, mother, children, in-laws, brothers, sisters, or grandparents.
- Such use is subject to the approval of the program director, but authorization should not be unreasonably denied. Requests that exceed fifteen (15) days must be charged to vacation time for the current training year, and MUST have the prior approval of the program director.
- Sick leave for bereavement purposes may not be used to attend the funeral of someone other than a family member. Rare exceptions to the definition of family members may be made at the discretion of the program director.
- Accreditation Board or RRC requirements may necessitate an extension of the training period upon the employees’ return to work in order for the resident to qualify for certification. If a leave will result in an extension of training, program directors must notify the employee in writing, with a copy to the Office of GME, outlining the educational ramifications of the leave (i.e., delay in graduation, repeat of a module, etc.) A revised employment contract reflecting the necessary extension of the training must be executed upon the employee’s return to employment. All contract extensions must be made in the training year in which the leave was taken.
F. Paternity Leave
- Employees may use their accrued and unused sick time for paternity leave. Such leave may not exceed two (2) weeks and must be requested in advance whenever possible. Use is subject to the approval of the program director, but requests should not be unreasonably denied.
- Accreditation Board or RRC requirements may necessitate an extension of the training period in order for the resident to qualify for certification. If a leave will result in an extension of training, program directors must notify the employee in writing, with a copy to the Office of GME, outlining the educational ramifications of the leave (i.e., delay in graduation, repeat of a module, etc.). A revised employment contract reflecting the necessary extension of the current training year must be executed upon the employee’s return to employment.
G. Unpaid Leave of Absence
- Program directors may, at their discretion, approve an employee’s request for leave without pay. All leave of absence requests must be communicated in advance and in writing to the program director with a copy to the Office of GME.
- Program directors must consider the applicable Accreditation Board and RRC requirements in determining whether such leave may be granted. These requirements may necessitate an extension of the training period in order for the resident to qualify for certification. If a leave will result in an extension of training, program directors must notify the employee in writing, with a copy to the Office of GME, outlining the educational ramifications of the leave (i.e., delay in graduation, repeat of a module, etc.). A revised employment contract reflecting the necessary extension of the training must be executed upon the employee’s return to employment for the year of training in which the leave was taken.
- Leave without pay will result in termination of employee benefits according to standard practice for termination of benefits. Employees have the option to continue health benefits under the appropriate COBRA rules, and solely at the employee’s expense. Notice of COBRA eligibility and cost will be sent to the employee by the Office of GME upon receipt of the notice that a leave has been approved by the program director.
III. Employee Compensation and Benefits
A. Health Insurance (Medical & Dental)
- All employees employed by UMRS or UDRS are provided with health insurance at no cost to the employee for single or family coverage. Coverage for health insurance is effective on the first day of employment.
- The Medical Insurance Plan is administered by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and includes prescription coverage and vision discounts. The plan has no in-network pre-existing condition clause.
- Employees who are covered under a health insurance plan other than one provided through UMRS or UDRS, may be eligible for a health insurance buy-out option. Employees will be required to request enrollment and provide a certificate of coverage from their medical plan provider annually to the Office of GME.
- An employee who is married to another employee and are both employed by UMRS/UDRS must enroll in the UMRS/UDRS family medical insurance plan under one resident. Employees who are covered under the UMRS/UDRS medical insurance through a spouse are not eligible for the medical insurance buy-out.
- The Dental Insurance Plan is also administered by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. The plan provides both in-network and out-of-network benefits.
2. New employees enroll in the health insurance plans during regularly scheduled new employee orientations. Health insurance contracts are in effect from July 1 through June 30 of each year. Open enrollment is held in June of each year for coverage to start on July 1. Employees may make changes to their health insurance coverage only during the annual Open Enrollment period, except in the case of a qualifying life event such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, or gain / loss of employment.
3. Employees must notify the Office of GME of any qualifying life event (i.e., marriage, birth, gain or loss of spouse insurance coverage) through the benefit enrollment web site in accordance with the notification requirements of the Plan in order to make appropriate changes to health insurance coverage. Failure to do so will result in a delay in coverage until the following Open Enrollment period (June of each year for coverage effective July 1).
4. If the employee terminates employment between the first (1st) and fifteenth (15th) of the month, health insurance coverage ends on the fifteenth (15th) of the month in which employment ends. If the employee terminates employment between the sixteenth (16th) and last day of the month, health insurance ends on the last day of the month in which employment ends.
5. Employees and their dependents are permitted to continue health insurance coverage, typically for up to eighteen (18) months following loss of eligibility under the group plan, at their own expense, through COBRA Continuation Coverage. Plans are available for both out-of-area and local (WNY) coverage. The Office of GME sends notice of the employee and/or dependent’s COBRA rights and conditions for purchase of this coverage upon notice of the loss of eligibility under the group plan.
B. Group Long-Term Disability Insurance
- All employees employed by UMRS or UDRS are covered under a group long-term disability insurance plan. This coverage is provided at no cost to the employee. Employees should refer to the plan contract for specific coverage and eligibility information.
- This plan offers the option for conversion to an individual plan, provided qualifying conditions are met during employment. Employees should contact Richard Godshaw at Walsh Duffield Companies, Inc. to explore these options prior to graduation by phone: (716) 362-7367 or email.
C. Retirement plan and Financial planning
UMRS and UDRS offer employees the opportunity to establish an IRA or Roth IRA Retirement Plan with an outside financial vendor through the convenience of payroll deduction. Employees should contact Richard Godshaw at Walsh Duffield Companies, Inc. to discuss these options during employment, by phone: (716) 362-7367 or email.
D. Group Term Life Insurance
$50,000 of term life insurance is provided at no cost to employees employed by UMRS or UDRS. Employees should refer to the plan contract for specific coverage information.
E. Supplemental Group Term Life Insurance
Employees employed by UMRS or UDRS have the opportunity to purchase supplemental life insurance in amounts of $50,000, $100,000, $200,000, or $300,000. Employees may also purchase supplemental life insurance for their spouse who is not employed by UMRS or UDRS in amounts of $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 not to exceed 50% of the coverage purchased for themselves. Evidence of insurability is required for coverage at the $300,000 level (employee) and $150,000 level (spouse). Coverage for dependent children is also available. Employees can enroll in (or increase) this coverage during the annual Open Enrollment period or as a result of experiencing a qualifying life event provided the event has been reported in accordance with the notification requirements of the plan. Employees who wish to elect or increase this coverage at any other time will be required to submit full medical information to the life insurance carrier at their own expense.
F. Flexible Spending Accounts
Employees employed by UMRS or UDRS have the opportunity to contribute to a health care and/or dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) on a pre-tax basis. Contributed funds can be used to offset the cost of eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses as determined by the IRS. The minimum annual contribution for a health care FSA is $300 and the maximum annual contribution is $2,000. The maximum annual contribution for a dependent care FSA is $5,000. There is no minimum annual dependent care FSA contribution.
Annual contributions are based on the plan year of July 1 through June 30. Employees can enroll in a FSA during the annual Open Enrollment period. Employees may also enroll in a FSA or make changes to an existing FSA election as a result of experiencing a qualifying life event, provided the election or change is consistent with the event and the event has been reported in accordance with the notification requirements of the Plan. Enrollments or election changes made at any time during the plan year other than the annual Open Enrollment period are subject to pro-rated (monthly) contribution limits in order to meet plan and IRS requirements.
G. Voluntary Vision Insurance
- Plan provides in-network and out-of-network benefits including; eye examination, retinal imaging, materials/eyewear, lens enhancements, frame allowances, contact lenses and value added features. See plan document for details and payroll deductions.
H. Voluntary Qualified Transportation Account (QTA)
- The QTA plan allows employees to elect payroll deductions and pay into reimbursement accounts for qualified parking and transit out-of-pocket expense; as defined in IRS section 132.
- Employees are solely responsible for determining their eligibility for participation in the plan as defined by the IRS.
I. Voluntary Identity Theft Insurance
- An important benefit to consider in today’s world of advancing forms of technology.
- Resolution topics include; loans, banking/credit, government/other, healthcare, criminal, utilities, housing, investment/retirement, taxes and more.
J. Voluntary Legal Services Insurance
- Provides options to receive legal assistance.
- Telephone and office consultations available.
- Document preparation includes; affidavits, deeds, demand letters, mortgages, promissory notes and review of any personal legal document.
- Legal representation topics include; estate planning, family law, juvenile matters, money matters, traffic offenses, consumer protection, real estate matters, defense of civil lawsuits, elder law matters, immigration assistance and personal property protection.
Refer to plan documents for complete descriptions of benefit information.
K. Prescription Name Stamp
- Employees in programs that require the use of a prescription name stamp will receive one (1) prescription name stamp at no cost through the Office of GME. Employees in these programs will be given their prescription stamp during their orientation or as soon thereafter as practical.
- Replacement prescription stamps can be ordered through the Office of GME at a cost of $40.00 each. Checks should be made payable to UB Foundation and payment must be made in advance.
L. Lab Coats
- All new employees will receive two (2) white lab coats with University insignia free of charge at the start of their residency. Replacement and laundering of the coats are at the owner's expense. Lab coats will be distributed during employee orientations, or as soon thereafter as practical.
- Employees may purchase additional lab coats at a cost of $25.00 each at any time during the year from the Office of GME. Checks should be made payable to UB Foundation and payment must be made in advance.
M. University Privileges
Upon receipt of all necessary paperwork, by the Office of GME, each employee will receive the faculty title of Clinical Assistant Instructor. Appointment as a Clinical Assistant Instructor at the State University of New York, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences or School of Dental Medicine permits employees to use all campus facilities, such as libraries, gymnasium and parking according to University faculty guidelines. Employees may also attend University at Buffalo events at the faculty rate. After all employment requirements have been met, the employee can obtain a faculty ID card.
N. Certificates of Completion
At the end of each employee’s training, the program director will recommend the employee for a University Certificate of Residency or Fellowship Completion. Duplicate certificates will be provided to the employee upon request from the relevant program coordinator. A processing fee will be required for the duplicate certificate. A personal check for payment in advance should be made payable to: UB Foundation.
Appendix A - Online Request Form
GMEC Approved Date: October 16, 2018