Employee Benefits and Pay Schedules

XVII.

A. Leaves

Only benefit eligible employees shall be eligible for paid leaves and absences.

  1. Sick Leave
    1. Personal Illness9
      Sick leave entitlement shall be earned at the rate of eight hours for each month or fraction of a month of employment, and shall accumulate with the unused amount of such leave carried forward each month. Nine hundred sixty hours maximum cumulative sick leave may accrue for eligible employees. No sick leave accrues for part time employment, including summer teaching. Employees using more than five consecutive days of their accumulated sick leave may be required to present a medical doctor’s certification of illness. In the event that an employee leaves the District and has used annual sick leave that has not accrued, a deduction for unearned sick leave shall be made in the employee’s final paycheck. In the event that a new employee does not report the first day of the College term, his or her salary and benefits shall not begin until he/she reports for duty. Regular sick leave policies shall apply to other employees who are absent the first day of a term. Eligible employees who are on any type of sick leave shall not earn regular sick leave until they return to work on a regular full-time basis.
    2. Extended Sick Leave10
      After using his or her accumulated paid leave, including accrued vacation. An employee shall receive 60% of his/her regular base pay for a period not to exceed six months (1,040 hours) inclusive of any holidays, at which time his or her pay shall cease until his/her return to work on a full-time basis. An employee who has used six months (1,040 hours) of extended sick leave must return to work on a full time basis for a minimum of six consecutive months before again being eligible for extended sick leave benefits. Employees utilizing sick leave under this extended sick leave program shall be required to present a medical doctor’s certificate of illness. Before returning to work the employee must present a medical doctor’s certificate indicating his/her fitness to resume his/her normal assigned duties. Employees who are on extended sick leave at the beginning of the fiscal year shall not be eligible for any salary step increase until their return to duty. Lee College may require employees who wish to return to work under this program to receive an independent assessment regarding the employee’s fitness to return to work. This assessment may be provided through the College’s Employee Assistance Program or other medical provider contracted by the College.
    3. Sick Leave Reporting11
      Employees shall be kept informed of the status of their accrued sick leave.
    4. Sick Leave Bank
      The sick leave bank is a pool of hours available to any approved benefit eligible employee who suffers a catastrophic illness or injury and has used all of their paid leave. Any benefit eligible employee is eligible to contribute to the bank. You may contribute 8-96 hours to the bank each fiscal year. However, you must maintain a balance of at least 40 hours of paid leave after the contribution. Terminating employees may contribute up to 96 hours in addition to any hours contributed in the current fiscal year. You may make application to the sick leave bank if you suffer a catastrophic illness or injury and have exhausted all accrued leave. The amount of leave granted cannot exceed 720 hours (90) days or one-third of the hours in the bank whichever is less. A committee composed of two faculty members (one from Hunstville and one from the Main campus), one hourly employee, and one administrative contract employee has been elected to administer the bank. Approval of leave benefits will be awarded on the basis of predefined criteria and the vote of the committee with respect to each individual case.
  2. Family Emergency Leave12
    All full-time, regular employees shall be granted emergency leave with full pay for a period not to exceed 64 working hours annually for family emergency due to illness/bereavement to be taken by the anniversary of the date of employment. These hours do not accumulate. Relatives who qualify as family under terms of this policy shall consist of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt/uncle, grandchild, niece or nephew (or the spouse of any of them), of the employee or his or her spouse, and shall include other related persons living as a family member in the employee’s household. The employee requesting a paid leave for family emergency due to illness/bereavement shall be responsible for providing a satisfactory explanation to support the request for leave within three working days of commitment of the leave (the term “emergency,” by definition, means the situation may possibly not be known in advance). This does not, however, relieve the employee of the responsibility to notify his or her supervisor of the absence. Paid leaves under the terms of this policy must be approved by the appropriate dean.
  3. Maternity Leave of Absence13
    Maternity leave without pay may be granted upon recommendation of the President and approval of the Board. Such leave shall be for a specified time, not to exceed one calendar year from the date the leave is granted. An employee who becomes pregnant but does not enter this leave-of-absence status shall be entitled to regular and extended sick leave benefits above–but only for the time she is physically disabled, as indicated by her medical doctor’s signed certificate. She must have a signed medical doctor’s certificate, certifying her ability to return to work. Any additional time shall be treated as maternity leave as defined in this policy.
  4. Professional Leave14
    An administrator or faculty member on regular status may apply for a professional growth leave of absence to the appropriate dean. Professional growth leaves of absence shall be without pay and will be granted on the basis of a twelve month period or less, Granting of such leaves shall not be automatic and will depend on the staff requirements of the College at the time of application. Such application shall be made at least six months prior to the proposed leave period. Such leave may be renewed if it does not disrupt College staffing or cause other unusual institutional inconvenience. The time spent on this type of leave shall be counted for longevity purposes for salary step increases and the following fringe benefits shall be available: educational assistance, participation in the College group insurance plan, accumulation of a pro rata share of sick leave, and participation in the approved retirement plan.
  5. Leave With Pay15
    Upon specific need of the College as determined by the Board, leave with pay may be granted to an employee
  6. Military Business16
    Employees may use their sick leave to take required physical examinations for the Armed Forces.
  7. Jury Duty17
    An employee shall be granted, with regular base pay, whatever time is required for serving on jury duty. Proof of such service may be required.
  8. Personal Leave Day18
    All full-time College employees are eligible for one personal leave day annually to be taken by the anniversary of the date of employment. All personal leave days shall have the prior approval of the supervisor and shall not interfere with the ongoing work of the unit. A personal leave day shall be charged for any personal leave day, or portion thereof, taken. Personal leave days shall not be carried forward into subsequent years. No pay is granted for unused personal leave days.
  9. Educational Assistance19
    Lee College Board of Regents recognizes that community education is essential to the growth and well being of the professional staff of the College. Although there is a recognized contribution to the professional in assisting a staff member to continue his or her education, the primary purpose is to provide a higher quality of future service to the administrative or faculty position filled by the individual at the College. Any full time professional staff member whether administrator or faculty member shall be eligible to apply for educational assistance that shall cover reimbursement for specified costs for completion of courses approved in advance by the District. The District shall reimburse eligible employees for one half of the actual costs of tuition, registration and other regular instruction fees and required textbooks after deducting the amount of any other financial assistance toward these costs to which the individual is entitled under federal, state, or local legislation or from other institutional sources. Reimbursement shall be made upon successful completion of courses of study at accredited universities or vocational institutions approved by the appropriate dean. All courses must be approved by the appropriate dean prior to registration. Educational assistance reimbursements and stipends for resultant hours earned above the master’s degree shall only be paid for courses of study within the specific area of assignment of the individual or in the field of education. Any exceptions shall be considered by the Board upon the recommendation of the President. Correspondence courses are not covered by this policy. REIMBURSEMENTS FOR GRADUATE LEVEL COURSES ARE CONSIDERED TAXABLE INCOME, PER SECTION 127, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE CODE.
  10. Family Medical Leave Act
    The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.Eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period for qualifying reasons or up to 26 workweeks in a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave.Employee Eligibility:
    An employee may be eligible for FMLA leave if he/she:

    1. Has been employed by Lee College for at least 12 months as of the date the FMLA leave is to start and
    2. Has worked at least 1,250 hours for Lee College during the 12-month period immediately before the date the FMLA leave is to start.

    Circumstances that Qualify for FMLA:
    The following are circumstances that may qualify an eligible employee for FMLA:

    1. The birth of a child and to bond with the newborn child within one (1) year of birth;
    2. The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to bond with the newly placed child within one (1) year of placement;
    3. A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care;
    4. To care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care;
    5. Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

    FMLA leave can be taken for more than one qualifying reason in the same 12-month leave year. However, multiple serious health conditions or qualifying reasons for leave do NOT increase the total FMLA leave entitlement available.

    Requesting FMLA Leave:
    To request FMLA leave, an employee should contact the Benefits Specialist in the Human Resources Office at 281.425.6875. The Benefit Specialist can also answer questions employees may have regarding FMLA leave.

    Twelve-Month Period:
    For purposes of an employee’s entitlement to FMLA leave, the 12-month period shall be measured backward from the date an employee uses FMLA leave.

    Combined Leave for Spouses:
    If both spouses are employed by the College District, the College District shall not limit FMLA leave for the birth, adoption or placement of a child, or to care for a parent with a serious health condition, to a combined total of 12 weeks, nor shall the College District limit military caregiver leave to a combined total of 26 weeks. See DECA (LEGAL).

    Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave:
    The College District shall permit use of intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave for the care of a newborn child or for the adoption or placement of a child with the employee. See DECA (LEGAL) for use of intermittent or reduced schedule leave due to a medical necessity.

    Certification of Leave:
    If an employee requests leave, the employee shall provide certification, as required by FMLA regulations, of the need for leave. See DECA (LEGAL).

    Fitness-For-Duty Certification:
    If an employee takes FMLA leave due to the employee’s own serious health condition, the employee shall provide, before resuming work, a fitness-for-duty certification. If the College District will require certification of the employee’s ability to perform essential job functions, the College District shall provide a list of essential job functions to the employee with the FMLA designation notice.

    Failure to Return:
    If, at the expiration of FMLA leave, the employee is able to return to work but chooses not to do so, the College District may require reimbursement of premiums paid by the College District during the leave. See DECA (LEGAL), RECOVERY OF BENEFIT COST.

    Definitions:
    Family
    The term “immediate family” is defined as:

    1. Spouse
    2. Son or daughter, including biological, adopted or foster child, a son- or daughter-in-law, a stepchild, a legal ward or a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis.
    3. Parent, stepparent, parent-in-law or other individual who stands in loco parentis to the employee.
    4. Sibling, step-sibling and sibling-in-law.
    5. Grandparent and grandchild.
    6. Any person residing in the employee’s household at the time of illness or death.

    For purposes of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the definitions of spouse, parent, son or daughter and the next of kin are found in DECA (LEGAL).

    Family Emergency
    The term “family emergency” shall be limited to disasters and life-threatening situations involving the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family.

    Leave Day
    A “leave day” for purposes of earning, use or recording of leave shall mean the number of hours per day equivalent to the employee’s usual assignment.

    Catastrophic Illness or Injury
    A catastrophic illness or injury is a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family that requires the services of a licensed practitioner for a prolonged period of time and that forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee and to lose compensation from the College District. Such conditions typically require prolonged hospitalization or recovery or are expected to result in disability or death. Conditions relating to pregnancy or childbirth shall be considered catastrophic if they meet the requirements of this paragraph.

    Earning Leave
    An employee shall not earn any form of paid leave when he or she is in unpaid status. An employee using full or proportionate paid leave shall be considered to be in paid status.

    Deductions
    Leave Without Pay
    The College District shall not approve paid leave for more leave days than have been accumulated in prior years plus leave currently available. Any unapproved absences or absences beyond accumulated and available paid leave shall result in deductions from the employee’s pay.

    Leave Proration

    Employed for Less Than Full Year
    If an employee separates from employment with the College District before his or her last scheduled workday, or begins employment after the first scheduled workday, paid leave shall be prorated based on the actual time employed.
    If an employee separates from employment before the last scheduled workday of the academic year, the employee’s final paycheck shall be reduced for paid leave the employee used, but had not earned, as of the date of separation.
    Employed for Full Year
    If an employee uses more paid leave than he or she earned and remains employed with the College District through his or her last scheduled workday, the College District shall deduct the cost of the excess leave days from the employee’s pay in accordance with administrative regulations.

    Recording
    Leave shall be recorded as follows:

    1. Leave shall be recorded in increments of 1/4 hour for all employees.
    2. If the employee choose to offset leave against worker’s compensation benefits, leave shall be recorded in the amount used.

    Order of Use
    Use of extended sick leave or sick leave bank shall be permitted only after all available local leave has been exhausted.

    Concurrent Use of Leave
    When an absent employee is eligible for FMLA leave, the College District shall designate the absence as FMLA leave.

    The College District shall require the employee to use paid leave, including compensatory time, concurrently with FMLA leave.

    An employee receiving workers’ compensation income benefits may be eligible for paid or unpaid leave. An absence due to a work-related injury or illness shall be designated as FMLA leave.

    Medical Certification
    An employee shall submit medical certification of the need for leave if:

    1. The employee is absent more than five (5) consecutive workdays because of personal illness;
    2. The College District requires medical certification due to a questionable pattern of absences or when deemed necessary by the supervisor;
    3. The employee requests FMLA leave for the employee’s serious health condition or that of a spouse, parent or child; or
    4. The employee requests FMLA leave for military caregiver purposes.

    In each case, medical certification shall be made by a health-care provider as defined by the FMLA. See DECA (LEGAL).

    NOTE: For College District contribution to employee insurance during FMLA leave, see CKD (LOCAL).

    For more information:
    Contact the Benefit Specialist in the Human Resources Office at 281.425.6875 or hr@lee.edu.

  11. Modified Duty Program:20
    The College shall, in strict compliance with the conditions listed below, implement a modified duty program for employees who have been injured either during the course and scope of employment or who have an off-the-job illness or injury that may permit an employee to return to work prior to full recovery, by:

    • Modifying the employee’s regular assignment so that the physical demands are consistent with the restrictions imposed by the physician, and/or
    • Assigning the employee alternate duties that are consistent with the physician’s restrictions.
    1. Conditions:
      This program will be administered on a case-by-case basis, and when all the following conditions are met:

      1. The College is able to identify needed tasks that can be assigned as modified duty. Modified duty shall be assigned and withdrawn at the discretion of the College.
      2. The employee authorizes his or her physician to release to the College any medical assessments required for the implementations of the program.
      3. The employee’s physician, after a review of the physical demands of the regular duties in the employee’s job description and an analysis of the tasks identified for modified duty, agrees to:
        • List specific restrictions on regular duty tasks that the employee can safely perform without significant risk or reinjury.
        • Recommend the employee as physically able to participate in the modified duty program and indicate the tasks the employee can perform that are consistent with any medical restrictions imposed.
        • Report to the College, at intervals not to exceed 30 days, on the employee’s recovery progress including, if possible, the anticipated date of complete recovery.
    2. Secondary Independent Assessment:
      Lee College may require employees who wish to return to work under this program, to receive an independent assessment regarding the employee’s fitness to return to work. This assessment may be provided through the College’s Employee Assistance Program or other medical provider contracted by the College
  12. Employee Assistance Program
    Lee College has arranged with the University of Texas Employee Assistance Program (UTEAP) to provide a plan for assessment, referral, and prevention of emotional, family, legal, medical, substance abuse, and financial problems affecting personal functioning, job performance and the workplace environment. Affiliation with the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center provides the stability of a major university health science center and access to university resources which include management consultants, economists, treatment specialists and contemporary research regarding employee problems. An EAP is a professional assessment, short-term counseling, referral and case management service offered as a benefit to employees. The primary goal is to help employees with personal problems so that those problems do not interfere with work performance. Confidential, professional assessment and referral services are provided to employees to address a variety of personal problems such as family, marital, legal, financial, alcohol, or other drug related issues. The EAP case managers will help the employee identify the problem, offer guidance and if necessary, refer the employee to an affordable, competent resource for appropriate care. EAP services are available to employees and their immediate family members. For information or assistance, you may call 800.346.3549 or 713.500.3327. The EAP is located at 700 Fannin, Suite 1670, Houston, Texas 77030.

B. Vacations21

All full-time employees other than faculty shall be entitled to a vacation with pay as outlined below. An eligible employee shall be entitled to a vacation each year based on continuous active service with the District. Vacation credit will be granted for each month of employment, or part thereof, as follows:

Level I, Years 1 through 7: 7 hours per month
Level II, Years 8 through 15: 10 hours per month
Level III, After 15 years: 14 hours per month

An employee shall be eligible to schedule a vacation, to the extent of the employee’s accrued vacation time, at any time in a vacation eligible position. Vacations shall be scheduled and approved well in advance by the appropriate supervisor. Vacation time shall be taken so as not to interfere with the operation of the College. Vacation leave accrues, from date of employment, for each month employed. Employees may accumulate annual vacation leave in accordance with their years of service as follows:

Level I, Years 1 through 7: 124 hours
Level II, Years 8 through 15: 160 hours
Level III, After 15 years: 208 hours

Administrators at the level of dean or above shall be placed at Level 2. If such administrators have 15 or more years of full-time professional service in a higher education setting, they shall be eligible for Level 3.

College personnel moving from faculty to administrative positions shall retain their accumulated years of experience as a part of the formula for calculating vacation days. Employees shall not be paid for accrued vacation time except upon termination from College employment. If the terminating employee has had at least twelve months continuous employment in a vacation eligible position, he or she will be paid for accrued vacation time at his or her then existing regular base pay rate, not to exceed the maximum allowed accumulation stated above.

C. Holidays22

All regular full-time employees as defined above, except for persons designated faculty, shall be entitled to the following holidays and days off at regular base pay rates in addition to vacation time earned. When the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday shall be taken on the proceeding Friday or the following Monday. Days off are to be scheduled by the College.

HOLIDAYS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

  • Labor Day (one day).
  • Thanksgiving (two days).
  • Christmas (one day).
  • New Year’s Day (one day).
  • Martin Luther King Day (one day)
  • Memorial Day (one day)
  • Independence Day (one day).

DAYS OFF ARE AS FOLLOWS:

  • Winter Break: five days.
  • Spring Break: five days.

D. Retirement

  1. Teacher Retirement System of Texas
    All benefit eligible personnel, except faculty members and administrators in the Optional Retirement Program, shall be members of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Specific contribution percentages by the College, State and the employee as well as rules governing the program are available in the Human Resources Office.
  2. Optional Retirement Program
    All faculty members and eligible administrators (grade 3 and above) shall be eligible and have the opportunity to participate in the Optional Retirement Program, subject to such rules as may be prescribed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Specific contribution percentages by the College, State and the employee are available in the Human Resources Office. The amount available for an ORP participant’s retirement benefit is dependent upon the contribution rate, total salary earned while a participant, individual investments selected and the performance of those investments. All newly hired employees are hereby notified that the state contribution rate for ORP may fluctuate over time.
  3. OBRA
    The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA ’90) requires institutions of higher education to provide a qualified pension plan for part-time employees who are not otherwise qualified for membership in either TRS or ORP. Therefore, effective January 1, 1991, Lee College has implemented the Money Purchase Plan for part-time employees. The Ohio National Insurance Company administers the plan. OBRA ’90 requires that the college verify eligibility under the plan each semester.

E. Educational Benefits/Educational Assistance23

The District shall pay the tuition and fees for employees’ spouses, and dependent children (as defined by the IRS) who enroll for credit in courses at Lee College where college credit is awarded. Employees, spouses, and children may audit a credit granting course at Lee College for no credit with the permission of the President or the instructor and division chair. Such audit enrollees shall not be considered among registrants to ensure class formation. The District may pay tuition costs under this policy for any community education classes taken at Lee College that are job-related. In order for the District to pay for a community education course, the President and appropriate Dean must authorize the employee to take the course.

Dependent children shall be defined as those children who meet the dependent requirements stated in the federal student aid guidelines.

F. Salary and Salary Increases24

Personnel shall be paid according to a salary schedule or wage scale adopted by the Board after recommendation by the College President. Copies of the appropriate schedule shall be distributed to all personnel at the beginning of each academic year.

When determining an employee’s placement on the District’s salary schedule or wage scale, the employee’s position, responsibilities, experience, education, and years of service shall be considered.

Annual stipends may be adopted for specified administrative positions, division chairs, and any other positions recommended by the President and approved by the Board.

Salary increases are considered annually based on 1) the needs of the institution, 2) the availability of funds, and 3) approval by the Board of Regents. If granted, the increase affects everyone uniformly.

G. Substitute Instructor Pay Policy:

The first three (3) hours substituted by a full-time faculty member is a courtesy (unpaid); part-time faculty are paid. The first week is $15 per class hour. The second consecutive week of the same class is paid at the rate off $22.92 per lab class hour and $34.38 per lecture class hour. Additional information is available in the Faculty Workload Policy in Appendix G.

H. Direct Deposit

As an added benefit, Lee College has implemented Direct Deposit, which provides automatic deposit of pay into a personal checking account. Direct Deposit is a voluntary benefit. Thanks to new advances in electronic banking, everyone who has an account with almost any bank or financial institution in Texas or elsewhere in the USA may have this convenience. The employee receives a regular earnings statement reflecting the payroll information for personal records.

To enroll, an employee completes a Direct Deposit Authorization form and turns it in to the payroll office.

If an employee opts not to have Direct Deposit initiated for payroll check, he or she can either have the check mailed directly to his or her home or can pick up the check at the cashier’s window in the Business Office (or the Huntsville Office). However, the payroll office will no longer provide “special handling for payroll checks on an individual basis.

I. Overtime and Compensatory Time Off

Classified (non-exempt) employees are covered under provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and therefore are eligible to receive premium overtime pay, or compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

The rules are:

  • Overtime pay, or compensatory time off, must be paid at the rate of time and one-half (1 1/2) of regular pay for all hours actually worked in excess of forty (40) hours in any work week
  • Hours paid, but not worked, are not to be counted when computing premium overtime pay. (This includes, but is not limited to: holidays, vacations, personal and family illness, bereavement, and jury duty.)
  • All employees are expected to prepare and submit reports as requested by their immediate supervisors or other proper college officials.
  • An employee’s work schedule may be adjusted to require more or less than eight (8) hours work per day as long as the maximum hours worked within the week do not exceed forty hours.
  • Compensatory time off should be taken within the next pay period after which the overtime was worked.25
  • Compensatory time earned by nonexempt employees may not accumulate beyond a maximum of 60 hours unless an extension is authorized in writing by the College President or designee.26
  • These rules apply only to classified (non-exempt) employees. Overtime work is to be kept to a minimum because of costs. Departments shall permit overtime work only when it is essential to the operation of the department. Overtime work by non-exempt employees requires approval in advance by the appropriate supervisor who has the authority to schedule work and approve overtime compensation.
  • Each employee and department, as well as the payroll office must maintain an accurate record of actual hours worked, overtime hours, and compensatory time earned and taken. At the end of each pay period the appropriate Dean must review all overtime payments.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT COMPENSATORY TIME OFF MUST BE TAKEN AT THE DISCRETION OF THE IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR

9 Board Policy DEC Local Issued 5-9-94
10 Board Policy DEC Local Issued 5-9-94
11 Board Policy DEC Local Issued 5-9-94
12 Board Policy DEC Local Issued 5-9-94
13 Board Policy DEC Local Issued 5-9-94
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17 Board Policy DEC Local Issued 5-9-94
18 Board Policy DEC Local Issued 5-9-94
19 Board Policy DEB Local Issued 11-8-99
20 Board Policy DI Local Issued 8-10-98
21 Board Policy DED Local Issued 10-05-92
22 Board Policy DED Local Issued 10-05-92
23 Board Policy DEB Local Issued 11-8-99
24 Board Policy DEA Local Issued 12-18-2000
25 Board Policy DEA Legal issued 12-18-2000
26 Board Policy DEA Local Issued 12-18-2000