Wilkes University provides a short-term disability (STD) program to replace income at 100% of base pay for eligible employees who are unable to work due to pregnancy, a qualifying non work related illness or injury. Regular full-time and nine/10 month full-time employees who do not receive PTO are eligible to participate in the STD plan effective on the first day of the month coinciding with or next following a 90 day introductory period.
In order to qualify for STD benefits, employees must first fulfill a waiting period. This is the length of time between the onset of a qualifying disability and the time when benefits under the disability insurance program first become payable. During this waiting period, employees who are eligible for sick and vacation time must use all accrued time and all personal time before STD is paid. If an employee exhausts all accrued sick and vacation time and personal time prior to the end of the waiting period, the balance of the waiting period will be unpaid time off until the STD payments begin. The waiting period for twelve month full time faculty and regular full-time staff is 30 days. Nine/ten month full-time faculty and staff must fulfill a 7 day waiting period.
In the event that an employee’s pregnancy or qualifying illness/injury results in intermittent days/weeks away from work, STD will begin after the employee has missed a total of 30(staff) or 7 (faculty) days from work within a 90 day period. Once the waiting time has been fulfilled, STD may be paid on an intermittent basis as necessary.
All Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) certification paperwork must be completed and returned to Human Resources before any STD can be paid (see Family and Medical Leave Policy). STD time runs concurrently with FMLA time. An independent medical examination may be required at the sole discretion (and expense) of the University. Disabilities covered by workers' compensation are excluded from STD coverage (Worker's Compensation Insurance Policy).
The total amount of time off for STD leave will not exceed a period of six months which includes the waiting period (whether paid using sick, vacation and personal time or unpaid). When applicable, the period of time off for STD for nine/ten month full-time faculty and staff includes time during months not normally worked. Nine/ten month full-time faculty and staff will only receive STD payments during normal work periods. Deferred salary will continue to be paid during summer/non-working months.
If an employee becomes disabled again from the same or related cause within 90 calendar days of his/her return to active work from STD leave, the employee will not be required to fulfill another 30 or 7 day waiting period (based on position).
The total amount of leave for pregnancy is usually six weeks for a normal delivery (which is inclusive of the applicable waiting period) and eight weeks for a cesarean section (which is inclusive of the applicable waiting period). This amount of time may be extended based on appropriate medical documentation.
STD payments will be made through the Payroll process. Benefit participation and normal payroll deductions will continue while employees receive STD pay. Vacation and Sick (when applicable) leave will not accrue during periods of STD leave. Employees on STD do not receive holiday pay (see Holiday policy).
Employees who exhaust STD benefits may be eligible to apply for Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance benefits. The original date of disability is used to determine LTD eligibility. Any part of a nine or ten month employee’s disability occurring during summer/non-working months will count toward the total six (6) month STD time. The Human Resources Department will provide employees with information about LTD in advance of STD end.
Full-time employees may participate in the STD plan subject to all terms and conditions of the policy. Employees with questions may contact the Human Resources Department for more information.