Published on Rhodes College: College Handbook Employee Policies (

Short Term Total Disability Leave - Staff

Eligibility: All full time 10 and 12 month employees are eligible for this benefit.

Benefit: Eligible employees earn short-term disability leave in proportion to their employment status (i.e. hours/week and months/year). An employee accumulates one month of short-term total disability leave for each full year’s service to the College up to the maximum allowable accumulation. No disability leave accumulates for a fraction of a year’s service. Sick leave and vacation leave will not accrue while 12 month employees are on short-term disability leave.

Maximum: The maximum allowable accumulation of short-term total disability leave will not exceed five months. For any individual employee the actual short-term total disability leave accumulation, when added to the employee’s available paid benefit time, will not exceed six months. Short-term total disability leave may not commence until all paid benefit time has been used, and eligibility has been approved.

Utilizing Benefit: For employees to become eligible for short-term total disability a written statement from the physician certifying disability must be submitted to the Benefits Services Manager and approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer.

The College reserves the privilege of requiring a second medical opinion from a College-designated physician before approving disability benefits. Should the medical opinions of the employee’s physician and the College-designated physician concerning total disability differ, a third physician, chosen mutually by the employee and the College, will be asked to render an opinion. The majority opinion of the three physicians will be binding.

Short-term total disability leave may not commence until all paid benefit time has been used, and eligibility has been approved. Once a date of leave is established, the employee will be notified if they owe any outstanding debts to the College, and a plan to pay debts will be developed. If sick and vacation leave have been exhausted and eligibility is still pending, the employee will be on an unpaid leave status. If the disability is approved, the College will retroactively pay the employee for this unpaid leave. While an employee is on an unpaid leave, the employee will be responsible for the entire premium (100%) for benefits.

The College may require that the eligible employee provide status reports at least every thirty (30) days regarding the employee’s condition.

The College, when circumstances allow, will keep the employee’s position open for the employee to reassume upon the termination of the leave. However, when the orderly functioning of the College requires replacement, the College may fill the position once the employee has exhausted their FMLA Leave, if applicable. In such cases, the College will make every effort to find an equivalent position for the employee elsewhere in the College.

Each time an employee utilizes short-term total disability leave; the total amount of the employee’s accrued short-term total disability leave time is reduced by the amount of short-term total disability leave utilized. Once short-term disability leave is exhausted, no further accumulation will occur. In addition, each time an employee utilizes short-term disability leave, the employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits will begin and the total amount of the employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits will be reduced by the amount of short-term disability leave utilized (refer to the Family and Medical Leave Act).

Leave after exhaustion of benefit: Should an employee anticipate the disability to extend longer than the eligible period of short-term total disability, a request for a leave of absence must be made to Human Resources. (See Leave of Absence Without Pay Section). A covered employee who is totally disabled for more than six months may be eligible for certain benefits. Included in this coverage is the continuation of the employee’s medical benefit plan subject to COBRA limitations. Failure to return to work at the end of a leave of absence will be considered a resignation. Any employee who has been on leave of absence for over 180 days is terminated automatically, unless the leave is for any work related or non-work related disability, the employee remains unable to work due to the disability, and a reasonable accommodation can be made. Any employee who believes that he or she needs additional leave in excess of 180 days as a reasonable accommodation should contact the HR office as soon as possible so the College may consider whether it can grant the extension without causing undue hardship, or if another reasonable accommodation is available. Any termination under this policy is “no-fault.”

Benefit upon Termination: As of the date of retirement, resignation, or termination of employment, the employee forfeits all accrued short-term total disability leave. Should the employee, again be employed by the College, he or she receives no short-term total disability benefits due to prior service.

In cases in which an employee has been employed by the College for a definite period of time, ending at a specific date, short-term total disability leave will under no circumstances continue to pay the employee’s salary subsequent to the scheduled date of termination of employment.

Short-term total disability due to pregnancy is treated the same as any other type of short-term total disability for the purposes of this Short-Term Total Disability Leave Policy.

Please contact the Benefits Services Manager if you have any questions about this leave.


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