The Reduced Paid Leave program is designed to assist employees with an illness or injury who have exhausted their Extended Illness Bank or sick leave. RPL provides a reduced salary (50% of base pay prior to any required deductions) benefit during an illness period maximum of 90 calendar days. This benefit is case managed by the HR Leave Center. RPL provides job protected leave.
Employees eligible to apply for RPL must meet the each of the following eligibility:
- Work in a benefits-eligible position, including those in educational appointee, student or trainee position, in a full or part-time position (at least .5FTE/20 hours per week),
- Met a seven calendar-day elimination period and
- Exhausted accrued EIB or sick time and are either:
- unable to perform the essential job functions of their position due to an illness or injury that directly results in a significant, adverse change to their physical or mental condition, or
- unable to work due to the catastrophic illness or injury of an immediate family member and have satisfactorily completed their 180-day probationary period with the institution.
A catastrophic illness or injury is one that is immediately life-threatening or likely to be fatal within the next 12 months. Immediate family members include spouses or children (including certified foster children) or stepchildren. Stepchildren must have permanently resided in the employee's household prior to the onset of their illness.
While on RPL, employees receive 50% of their base salary prior to required deductions. If an approved institutional holiday occurs while on RPL, employees will receive 50 percent of their base salary for that holiday.
Employees can apply for RPL:
- On their first day of employment for their own illness or injury
- After they satisfy the 180-day probationary period with the institution for an immediate family member’s catastrophic illness or injury
Seven calendar day elimination period: When the absence is for an employee's illness or injury, applicable accruals will be used if EIB or sick leave is exhausted to meet the seven calendar day elimination period. Once this elimination period is met, employees are not required to exhaust these banks in order to receive RPL. Absences for immediate family member’s catastrophic illness or injury require the exhaustion of all leave accruals prior to receiving RPL.
Multiple Requests for RPL: RPL is available for a maximum of two illness periods within a rolling 12 months. The two illness periods may be:
- Two unrelated diagnoses for your own illness/injury
- One illness or injury of your own and one catastrophic illness or injury of an immediate family member
- Two unrelated catastrophic illnesses/injuries of immediate family members. Note: The sum of all family member illness periods cannot exceed 90-calendar days as calculated over a rolling 12 months.
RPL ends the earlier of:
- For your own illness/injury:
- The date your physician releases you to return to work, or
- The end of a 90 calendar day illness period within 12 months of the current illness period.
- For your immediate family member’s catastrophic illness/injury:
- The date the immediate family member’s illness/injury ceases to be catastrophic, or
- The point at which the sum of all family member illness periods reaches 90 calendar days within a rolling 12 months.
- If you have applied or been approved for payments from the short-term disability coverage offered by The University of Texas System, you are not eligible for RPL for the same period.
- If you are approved for Long Term Disability benefits, you are no longer eligible for RPL if there is an overlap of the payment periods.
- An employee may not receive both Workers’ Compensation and RPL. If an employee has filed, is filing or intends to file a Worker's Compensation claim or appeal, they are not eligible to apply for RPL.
- Approved RPL runs concurrently with Family and Medical Leave and Parental Leave.
- RPL may not be supplemented with other accrued leave.
- Each new illness period requires you to satisfy a new elimination period.
- An employee cannot apply for RPL for a past leave period after returning to work.
The review and determination for the duration of awarded RPL is based on the:
- physical and/or cognitive demands of the position
- diagnosis leading to the surgery or treatment
- recommendations using disability guidelines for the two criteria above
Note: RPL may be awarded for a duration different from the incapacity noted by the physician.
RPL cannot be used for:
- Absences due to any treatment or procedure that is deemed non-medically necessary (e.g., cosmetic, infertility, sterilization),
- Intermittent absences,
- Illness/injury requiring care outside of the United States other than unplanned, emergency care while traveling.
- Absences related to dental services such as those provided for the routine care, treatment, extraction, removal or replacement of teeth or structures directly supporting the teeth, or
- Absences related to dental-in-nature Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery or any procedures related to Dental Implants.
Process for Requesting & Using RPL
STEP 1: Employee notifies their manager of their need to take RPL
- Do not discuss medical information.
- If the need is foreseeable, give your manager 30 days' notice.
- If the need is not foreseeable, notify your manager within one to two working days once you are aware of the need to take leave.
- You are expected to follow departmental call-in procedures.
STEP 2: Employee requests RPL from the HR Leave Center
- Contact HR Leave Center at 713-745-3652 (5-FMLA) to request RPL providing accurate and complete information
- Work with the HR Leave Center (and manager as needed) to discuss required documentation and expectations.
STEP 3: Employee provides documentation
- An application and Release of Medical Information form is required for each RPL request.
- With the exception of pregnancy without complications, all RPL requests require a completed Licensed Practitioner's Statement. This form must be completed by a practitioner who is a health care provider with a current license and authorization to practice within the United States with one or more of the following credentials:
- MD, DO, podiatrist, dentist or clinical psychologist
- Nurse practitioner and nurse midwife acting within the scope of their specialty
- Physician assistant acting within the scope of their practice
- The completed application, Release of Medical Information and Licensed Practitioner's Statement (if applicable) must be received by the HR Leave Center within 15 calendar days from the date the forms were sent to the employee.
- While on RPL, employees may be required to provide medical updates to the HR Leave Center.
STEP 4: The HR Leave Center approves or denies the leave
- The HR Leave Center reviews the medical documentation and approves or denies the request.
- The review includes an evaluation of information from any medical professional, hospital, medical facility, and medical provider as defined by regulations adopted pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and as it relates to the illness/injury for which RPL has been requested.
- As appropriate, an MD Anderson physician in Employee Health and Well-Being may review medical information regarding the illness or injury.
STEP 5: The HR Leave Center communicates the decision about leave
The HR Leave Center will inform the employee and manager about the approval or denial of the RPL request and duration (if applicable.)
- It is important to keep in touch with employees on RPL to make return to work arrangements, plan for the department's operational needs and enhance potential retention.
- To maintain compliance with FML law, read How to Talk to Employees on Extended Leave as guidance.
Follow instructions from your manager about maintaining contact with them during your leave period.
STEP 6: While on leave
- Unless you are cleared by your provider to return to work earlier than expected, RPL can only be taken in the amount that was approved. Employees must choose to accept the full amount of approved RPL hours or not use the leave. This means, when you're approved to use RPL and have exhausted your EIB or sick leave, you have the choice to:
- Exhaust your approved RPL hours followed by your leave accruals (if approved) OR
- Exhaust your accrued leave hours followed by your RPL hours (if approved.)
- Managers are not allowed to assign work during the RPL award period. Similarly, employees are not to perform work during the RPL award period. This includes but is not limited to attending meetings or conferences or checking or responding to work-related emails.
Rules & Exceptions
- If you or your immediate family member does not authorize the release of medical information, the request may be denied.
- If you are taking leave for childbirth or a planned surgical procedure, you should initiate the RPL application process before going out on leave.
- When approved for RPL, you will continue to accrue PTO and EIB or sick and vacation. However, you may not use this accrued time while on leave.
- Abuse of this leave or falsification of any documentation may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Insurance While on Leave
Return to Work
The estate of a deceased employee is not entitled to any remaining RPL hours (or pay) allocated.
All information relating to requests for RPL is confidential and is shared on a need to know basis. Medical certifications will be treated as confidential and HIPAA protected. Relevant medical information may also be reviewed in relation to other job protected leave as requested by the employee.