Per Policy 3.04.06 – “A North Idaho College employee may request leave without pay (LWOP). Consideration is given to such requests on an individual basis in light of the reason for which it is requested and the effect that granting it will have on the employee's department or program. Approval by the employee's administrative superiors and the president is required."
Leave without pay should only be used when there is an expectation and a commitment to return.
I. Non-medical Leave Without Pay
- Eligibility & Duration – Benefits eligible employees may request LWOP. A LWOP is intended for leaves extending longer than two work weeks and may be approved for up to a maximum of one year.
- Requesting leave - Employees who request leave without pay must complete the Leave Without Pay Request Form and submit it to their immediate supervisor, President’s Cabinet member and Human Resources. As noted above and per policy 3.04.6, LWOP requests will be considered on an individual basis in light of the reason for which it is requested and the effect that granting it will have on the employee's unit or program. If the request is approved by the President’s Cabinet member, they will forward it to the president for final approval. Once approved, the employee will be notified by their PC member and advised in writing by Human Resources.
- Benefits continuation – When an employee who is covered by the North Idaho College medical insurance plan is on an approved LWOP, the employee is eligible to remain on the college medical insurance plan provided that the employee continues to pay the employee portion of the premium payment. NIC will continue to pay the regular NIC contribution of the Employee Only medical insurance premium while an employee is on LWOP. If an employee has covered dependents, they will be responsible for the difference between the regular NIC contribution of the Employee Only medical insurance premium and the entire premium cost for their coverage level. Premiums are due by the last day of the month prior to the month of coverage. In the event premiums are not received timely, coverage may be terminated by NIC, and the COBRA coverage process will be initiated, per policy 3.04.06. Other benefits (such as dental, vision, short-term and long-term disability, basic life insurance, Aflac, voluntary life insurance, and flexible spending accounts) will end the last day of the month in which leave started. The employee will be eligible to elect COBRA coverage for medical (for dependents), dental, and vision.
- Compensation - Employees with LWOP absences of 12 consecutive weeks or more will not be eligible for a step increase in the following fiscal year. Therefore, upon return from leave, regardless of whether a step is approved by the Board of Trustees, an employee (either faculty or staff) will not receive an additional step, but will maintain their step from the prior fiscal year.
- Sick, vacation or personal leave – While on leave without pay, employees will not accrue sick, vacation or personal leave (if applicable) and are not eligible to use accrued sick leave. Per Policy04.02, “if an employee goes on leave without pay (LWOP) at any time during a pay period, the annual leave accrual may be prorated for that pay period.” All accrued annual (vacation) or personal leave (if applicable) must be used prior to going unpaid.
- Years of Service – For the purpose of NIC retirement benefits, the time an employee is on LWOP will count towards their years of service. For employees enrolled in the PERSI Base plan, PERSI calculates total service separately from NIC. PERSI includes total months of service with contributions, which by definition would exclude LWOP.
- Reinstatement to position – Employees returning from LWOP will be reinstated to a position that is the same or equivalent to the position they held prior to going on leave. LWOP does not preclude the employee’s position from being subject to reorganization or reductions in force.
- Resignation or termination while on leave – If the employee does not return to active service, their benefits will end the last day of the month in which they terminate. Any funds received by the employee from the Professional Development (PD) fund within twelve months of resignation must be repaid to NIC by the employee, as per the PD agreement.
II. Medical Leave Without Pay
Employees who meet the criteria for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) due to a serious health condition of their own or a family member, or under the FFCRA may contact HR directly and do not need to request approval for the leave from their administrative superiors or the president.