The Reduced Paid Leave program is designed to assist employees with an illness or injury who have exhausted their Extended Illness Bank. 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 provided through the PTO program, and is case managed by the HR Leave Center. RPL provides job protected leave.
Comparison of Reduced Paid Leave and Short Term Disability
All benefits eligible full-time and part-time (at least .5FTE/20 hours per week), non-educational employees who are eligible for the PTO program, and who have:
Met a seven calendar-day elimination period and have either:
1. Exhausted all accrued EIB leave and are 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
2. Exhausted all accrued leave banks and are unable to work due to the catastrophic illness or injury of an immediate family member, and have satisfactorily completed their 180-day probationary period.
- 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 under RPL are 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 will receive 50 percent of their base salary prior to any required deductions. If an approved institutional holiday occurs while on RPL, employees will receive 50 percent of their base salary for that holiday.
Employees are eligible for RPL for their own illness or injury beginning on their first day of employment. However, they must satisfy the 180-day probationary period before being eligible for RPL for an immediate family member’s catastrophic illness or injury. If an employee is unable to work due to their own illness or injury, they may not receive RPL for an immediate family member’s catastrophic illness or injury.
7-Day Waiting Period: When the absence is for an employee's illness/injury, it may be necessary to use Paid Time Off, Preserved or Earned Holiday, or Compensatory Leave prior to meeting the seven-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, do require 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/injury of your own and one catastrophic illness/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 it is determined the employee is able to perform the essential job functions of their position either with or without reasonable accommodation, or
- The end of a 90-calendar day illness period that is calculated over a rolling 12 months measured backward from the current date.
- For your immediate family member’s catastrophic illness/injury:
- The date the immediate family member’s illness/injury ceases to be catastrophic in nature, or
- The point at which the sum of all family member illness periods reaches 90 calendar days as calculated over a rolling 12 months measured backward from the current date.
- 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 pay. 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 paid time.
- Each new illness period requires you to satisfy a new elimination period.
The review and determination for the duration of awarded RPL is based on the criteria below:
- physical and/or cognitive demands of the position
- diagnosis leading to the surgery or treatment
- recommendations using disability guidelines for 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.
STEP 1: Employee notifies their manager of their need to take leave without disclosing medical facts.
- 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 of learning of the need.
- You are expected to follow departmental call-in procedures to start or change your leave.
STEP 2: Initiating RPL: Employee contacts the HR Leave Center at 713-745-3652 (5-FMLA). The HR Leave Center will verify leave eligibility.
- An application and Release of Medical Information form is required for each request or illness period. Submit these documents to the HR Leave Center soon after receiving them as both must be completed & submitted before returning to work.
- With the exception of pregnancy without complications, all requests require a completed Licensed Practitioner's Statement.This statement must be submitted to the HR Leave Center within 15 calendar days from the date an employee receives the form from the HR Leave Center. The Licensed Practitioner’s Statement 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, clinical psychologist
- Nurse practitioner and nurse midwife acting within the scope of their specialty
- Physician assistant acting within the scope of their practice.
STEP 3: The HR Leave Center reviews the request and approves or denies.
- This 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/injury.
STEP 4: The HR Leave Center will inform the employee and manager of the approval or denial of the application and duration if applicable.
- The HR Leave Center will work with Payroll Services to ensure proper payment of RPL.
STEP 5: While on RPL, employees may be required to provide medical updates to the HR Leave Center.
STEP 6: While on leave: Managers are not allowed to assign work during the RPL award period. Similarly, employees are not to perform work during the RPL award period.
- The application and release of information must take place before you return from leave. Once you return from leave, you are no longer eligible to apply.
- 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. 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.
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.