IV.E. Employee Benefits

IV.E.1. Comprehensive Benefits

IV.E.1.01 Benefit Plan

The System, through the State of Texas and administered through the Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) provides all eligible employees with a comprehensive benefit plan to include medical, dental, long and short-term disability, life insurance, retirement plans, premium conversion option, flexible spending accounts, and deferred compensation plans.

The State of Texas has qualified the plans under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. The State of Texas reserves the right to amend, modify or terminate its welfare and benefit plans at any time and for any reason.

IV.E.1.02 Medical Plan

All full-time employees are eligible to participate in the medical plan beginning the first day of the month following a 90-day waiting period. Optional benefits, such as dental, term life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and long-term disability are available the first day of employment.

Detailed information on the premium conversion and flexible benefits account plans and options eligibility will be made available to all employees by the Human Resources Department upon enrollment.

Employees, spouses, and dependents covered by the State's health benefit plans will be notified of their right to continue health insurance coverage in certain situations, including lay-off, discharge or reduction in hours of employment and separation or divorce, as required by law.

The State reserves the right to amend, alter, or terminate its benefit plans.

IV.E.1.03Continuation of Health Insurance Benefits - Eligible Retiring Board Members

LSCS will pay from local funds the full costs to continue the health insurance benefits for a retiring, through voluntary retirement or loss of election, board member who has served as a member of the LSCS Board of Trustees for ten (10) or more years and, as of the date of his or her departure, is at least fifty-five years old.

IV.E.1.04Payment of Health Insurance Benefits - Board Members

The System is authorized to pay from local funds the premium costs for members of the Board of Trustees who were appointed or elected, and enrolled in the health insurance plan, prior to September 1, 2003.

IV.E.1.05Continuation of Group Insurance Benefits

Group medical/dental benefits and other insurance plans will remain in effect during periods of leave without pay if the employee is on Family Medical Leave. During these periods of leave the employee must pay all premiums for health insurance, including the dependent and employee coverage cost usually paid by the System.

IV.E.1.06Tex-Flex Participation

Participation in the Tex-Flex dependent care and medical care reimbursement plan by employees enrolled in the plan shall remain in effect for the plan year.

IV.E.1.07Workers' Compensation Benefits

An employee who is receiving workers' compensation benefits and who has exhausted all available leave shall be placed on leave without pay.

The System shall continue to make all benefit contributions for the employee. The employee shall be responsible for all premium contributions for eligible covered dependents.

IV.E.1.08Family Medical Leave

During any period that an eligible employee takes unpaid Family Medical Leave, the System shall continue the employee's coverage under the group health plan for the duration of the leave at the level and under the conditions coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued on active duty with the System. In order to continue dependent medical coverage, the employee must pay the dependent coverage premiums.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

IV.E.2. Employee Retirement Benefits

IV.E.2.01Social Security and Medicare

LSCS will deduct from wages of designated employees any amounts of social security tax required by federal law. All employees must make contributions to Medicare in accordance with federal law. Federal law provides that certain employees who were hired on or before March 31, 1986, and who have remained continuously employed by the System may be exempt from making contributions to Medicare.

IV.E.2.02LSCS Benefit Plans

LSCS participates in the health insurance and retirement benefits plans of the State of Texas, administered by the Texas Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) and the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP). The benefits offered and an employee's eligibility to participate in the ERS benefits plans are established by the Texas Employees Group Benefits Act, as amended, from time to time, and regulations adopted by the legislature and ERS.

IV.E.2.03Retirement Benefits

Every employee of the System is required to be enrolled in a qualified retirement plan beginning with the first day of employment. The Board of Trustees shall not require retirement of any employee on the basis of age. Both the System and each employee are required to contribute a specified percentage of the employee's monthly gross salary to the appropriate retirement account. The employee contribution will be through payroll deduction. Employees who are active retirees in the Social Security system are ineligible to participate in any retirement plan.

IV.E.2.04Teacher Retirement System (TRS)

All full-time personnel, except those employees enrolled in the Optional Retirement Program, shall be members of the Teacher's Retirement System of Texas.

Benefits payable upon the death or retirement of an employee and any restrictions or limitations upon participation in the retirement system will be in accordance with the Teacher's Retirement System of Texas (TRS).

An employee participant with TRS will have vested rights after five (5) years of employment.

IV.E.2.05Optional Retirement Program

An employee participant with the ORP shall be responsible for selecting an approved ORP provider and will have vested rights after one year and one day of employment. Failure to complete the sign-up process for ORP will cause an employee to permanently lose the option to participate in ORP during his or her employment with any agency in Texas Public Higher Education, and the employee will be automatically enrolled in TRS.

IV.E.2.06TIAA-CREF Plan

All employees not eligible for TRS or ORP (with the exception of current social security retirees) will be required to participate in TIAA-CREF a qualified defined contribution retirement plan. The employee, through payroll deduction, will contribute a percentage of salary and shall have immediate vesting rights.

If an employee terminates employment from the System for any reason, he or she may withdraw the TlAA-CREF deposits made plus any interest earned on such deposits in accordance with State and Federal regulations.

IV.E.2.07Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA)

All full-time and part-time employees are eligible to participate in the System's Optional Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) Compensation Plan. An employee participating in the Plan shall be responsible for selecting a TDA provider approved by the System. Each contribution is subject to current federal tax law limitations.

IV.E.2.08Texa$aver 457 Plan

All fulltime employees are eligible to participate in the system approved 457 plans. An employee participating in the plan shall be responsible for selecting an approved provider. Each contribution is subject to current federal tax law limitations.

IV.E.2.09Retirement

Retirement from employment with the System will occur when an employee elects retirement under the provisions of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) or Optional Retirement Program (ORP), or meets the conditions for disability retirement established by the State of Texas.

The System shall provide retirees with such benefits as established by the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program.

An employee who is re-employed following retirement must be enrolled in the TIAA-CREF retirement plan unless the employee has also retired from Social Security.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

IV.E.3. Leaves and Absences

IV.E.3.01Leave

All absences from work shall be reported to and approved by the employee's immediate supervisor in accordance with the policies and procedures of the System. Any employee who is absent from work without approved leave, and without appropriate notification to his or her supervisor, shall forfeit compensation and shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge from employment.

Any employee who is absent from work for three consecutive workdays without contact with or approval from the employee's immediate supervisor shall be considered to have abandoned the position and to have resigned from the System.

The Human Resources Department will maintain records of the vacation and sick leave accrual and absences of each employee, and the reasons therefore, whether from sickness, vacation, other paid leave, or leave of absence without pay. Any medical information or documentation that identifies injury, illness or disability of an employee or his or her relatives or domestic partners are to be treated as confidential and are to be immediately sent to the System Office Human Resources Department for storage in an appropriate confidential manner.

IV.E.3.02Sick Leave - Eligibility

All fulltime employees who are in positions requiring twelve months of service, shall be eligible for twelve (12) sick leave days per year. Sick leave shall be accrued on a monthly basis to a maximum of 600 hours.

Fulltime employees assigned to work less than twelve months shall earn one day of sick leave per month for their period of employment.

IV.E.3.03Use of Sick Leave

Accumulated sick leave may be used for personal illness or illness of a family member or a domestic partner or adoption of a child. An employee may be required to produce appropriate medical documentation of the illness, particularly when the absences recur in a pattern, or when the absence for illness may qualify for Family Medical Leave or short term disability leave.

For purposes of the sick leave portion of this policy, the following meanings apply:

"Family" means a husband, wife, child (natural, foster, step, or adopted), parent (natural, step or adoptive), grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, sister, brother, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle and in-laws in the same degree of relationship as listed above. An employee may also use sick leave to care for an individual who is in the employee's legal custody.

"Domestic Partner" relationship refers to an unmarried couple who:

  1. Have resided together for at least six months and intends to continue to do so permanently;
  2. Are not related to one another by blood to a degree of closeness that would prohibit marriage, were they of the opposite sex;
  3. Are mutually responsible for basic living expenses;
  4. Each have attained the age of consent; and
  5. Each partner is not married to or in a Domestic Partnership with anyone else.

An employee may not request to use sick leave for the illness of a Domestic Partner unless, prior to the request for leave, the employee has filed an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with the System Office Human Resources Department.

IV.E.3.04Personal Leave

Employees may use a maximum of 2-5 days of sick leave per year for personal leave based on years of service as of September 1st of each year. Advance approval of the immediate supervisor is required.

Faculty should give sufficient notice of their need to take a personal leave day to the Dean to ensure appropriate class coverage.

Adjunct faculty are allowed one personal leave period per course taught each semester with no reduction in pay. (This is calculated by taking contact hours divided by number of weeks in semester) The adjunct faculty must give sufficient notice of the need to take leave to the Department Chair to ensure appropriate class coverage.

IV.E.3.05Professional Leave

Professional leave may be approved for employees to attend conferences or workshops. The conference or workshop must be related to the employee's teaching or working assignment, in the best interest of the System, included in the departmental budget, and approved by the employee's supervisor.

IV.E.3.06Vacation Leave - Eligibility

Paid vacation leave shall be available to all full-time non-faculty employees who are in positions requiring twelve months of uninterrupted service. An employee is entitled to use accrued vacation leave upon approval of his or her supervisor.

IV.E.3.07Accrual of Vacation Leave

Vacation leave is calculated and earned on the first day of each pay period, according to the employee's status; and, for non-contractual employees, according to years of service.

Non-Contractual Employees

Length of Service Annual Accrual Per Month
1-5 years 12 days (96 hours) 8 hours
6-10 years 16 days ( 128 hours) 10.67 hours
11 + years 20 days (160 hours) 13.34 hours

Contractual employees shall earn 13.34 hours per month beginning with the first month of employment.

Employees may accumulate vacation leave up to a maximum of 400 hours. Any vacation leave accumulated in excess of this maximum shall be used during the fiscal year or be forfeited on August 31. Employees may not take more vacation time than they have accrued.

IV.E.3.08Change of Position

In the event that an employee's position will change from a position that accrues vacation leave to one that does not, the employee must use accrued but unused vacation leave prior to the effective date of the change of status. Upon the request of a supervisor, approved by the LEO and the Chief Human Resources Officer, an employee changing positions may be paid for the value of the accrued leave.

IV.E.3.09Bereavement Leave

All full-time employees may take up to three days of paid excused absence and use sick leave or other leave if more time is needed from work in the event of the death of a family member. "Family" means a husband, wife, child (natural, foster, step, adopted), parent (natural, step or adoptive), grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, sister, brother, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle or in-laws in the same degree of relationship as listed above, or Domestic Partner or an individual for whom the employee has legal custody. The definition for "Domestic Partner" is included in the "Use of Sick Leave" Section, above.

If additional time off is requested and approved, it may be charged to vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory time or leave without pay.

IV.E.3.10Holidays

All offices will be closed in observance of the holidays indicated in the academic calendar.

Full-time employees required to work on a holiday shall be paid their regular rate of pay and will accrue the holiday to be taken on an alternative date with the approval of their supervisor and LEO.

Full-time employees required to work on a holiday who are not able to use hours on an alternate day due to scheduling difficulty, will be paid for the holiday hours. If the employee is non-exempt, the employee is entitled to overtime pay, instead of compensatory time, for hours worked in excess of forty on a holiday week.

If a holiday falls within an employee's vacation leave, such holiday will not be charged as vacation time and the vacation leave will be extended accordingly.

IV.E.3.11Religious Holy Days

The System shall not discriminate against, or penalize in any way, an employee who is absent from work for the observance of a religious holy day and gives proper notice of that absence.

"Proper notice" shall consist of providing to the supervisor a list of religious holy days to be observed during the semester. A faculty member must give notice to his or her Dean and to all students whose class would be canceled due to the faculty member's absence.

The leave time to observe religious holy days may be charged to vacation leave, compensatory time (if applicable), or leave without pay.

IV.E.3.12Jury Duty or Legal Duty

A full-time employee required to appear for jury duty or to testify in court proceedings in which he or she is not a party shall be released from his or her assigned duties as necessary with no loss of salary or reduction in leave. An employee will not be discharged, disciplined, or otherwise penalized because he or she complies with a notice of jury duty or a valid subpoena to appear in a civil, criminal, legislative, or administrative proceeding. An employee must provide a photocopy of the jury notice or subpoena with his or her leave form.

IV.E.3.13Military Service - Non-Discrimination

The System shall not deny initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment on the basis of membership in a uniformed service, performance in a uniformed service, application for uniformed service, or obligation to a uniformed service. The System shall not take adverse employment action or discriminate against any person who takes action to enforce protections afforded by the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The System shall post, in accordance with federal law, a written notice of the rights, benefits and obligations of such persons and the System under USERRA.

IV.E.3.14Military Leave - Short Term

All employees of the System who are members of the state military forces or of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces shall be granted a leave of absence from their duties without loss of time, vacation time, or salary on all days during which they are engaged in authorized training or duty ordered or authorized by proper authority, not to exceed 15 days in a fiscal year.

Such employees who are ordered to military duty as described in this Section shall be restored, when relieved from duty, to a position with similar rank and pay as that held by them when ordered to duty.

IV.E.3.15Military Leave - Long Term

Any employee, other than a temporary employee, who leaves his or her position for the purpose of entering into active duty with the regular or reserve Armed Forces of the United States or with the Texas National Guard or Texas State Guard, if discharged, separated, or released from such active duty under honorable conditions within five years from the date of enlistment or call to active service, shall be restored to employment in the same position with the same rate of pay as that held at the time of entering into active service, or to a position of like seniority, status, and pay if the employee is still physically and mentally qualified to perform the duties of such position.

If such employee is not qualified to perform the duties of his or her previous position by reason of disability sustained during such military service, but is qualified to perform the duties of another position with the System, the veteran shall be restored to employment in the other position which he or she is qualified to hold and which will provide like seniority, status, and pay, or the nearest approximation.

Any employees restored to employment shall be considered to have been on leave of absence during military service and shall be entitled to participate in retirement and all other benefits available to other employees in like positions. Such employee shall not be dismissed from his or her position, without cause for one year following restoration of employment.

Veterans eligible for restoration to employment under the terms of this policy shall make written application for such restoration to the Chair of the Board within 90 days after discharge or release from active federal or state military service and shall attach to such application evidence of discharge, separation, or release under honorable conditions.

IV.E.3.16Leave of Absence without Pay

A full-time System employee may be granted an unpaid leave of absence if the employee submits a written request for the leave, showing benefit to the System if the leave is approved; that a suitable replacement is available; and that the leave has been approved by the LEO and Chancellor.

Contractual employees who are approved for leave without pay shall submit similar documentation to the Board.

IV.E.3.17Long-Term Disability

An employee who becomes eligible for State of Texas long-term disability benefits will be placed on inactive status. An employee will be removed from inactive status and returned to active status if he or she returns to work with documentation from his or her licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) showing that the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. An employee will be terminated if he or she has been absent from work for twelve (12) consecutive months from the onset of the disability or illness, without return to work. FMLA leave is not counted toward the 12 month time.

The System may re-activate the employee in the position held by the employee prior to the date of his or her disability, injury, illness, or medical condition, or transfer the employee into another position, provided that the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the job, and the one-year period has not expired.

IV.E.3.18Short-Term Disability

The System Office Human Resources Department is responsible for managing a short-term disability program to provide short-term, reduced compensation to an eligible full-time employee who has a documented illness, injury, or medical condition that prevents the employee from performing his or her job.

When supported by documentation from a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.), an employee is eligible to receive short-term disability benefits up to 90 calendar days per fiscal year if:

a. He or she has been absent for the same illness, injury, or medical condition for five or more working days, and

b. He or she has exhausted all paid leave, including sick leave, vacation leave, personal leave, and compensatory time.

Once an employee qualifies for short-term disability, he or she shall receive salary at a rate of pay equal to sixty percent (60%) of his or her salary per fiscal year as long as he or she remains disabled, not to exceed ninety (90) calendar days. An employee who is on short-term disability leave may not return to work unless his or her licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) submits clear and unequivocal documentation that the employee is able to perform all the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. The System Department of Human Resources may require an employee to submit to a physical examination performed by a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) chosen by the System, prior to his or her return to work.

IV.E.3.19Sabbatical Leave

Sabbatical leave refers to an award of a specific period of leave during which an eligible faculty member or administrator will be released from his or her responsibilities to the System to engage, full-time, in professional development, study, research, writing, work experience related to his or her field of work, or to address the strategic needs of the System.

A faculty member may be awarded sabbatical leave for either:

  1. one full semester, in which case he or she would receive his or her full salary and benefits for the semester ; or
  2. two semesters, in which case he or she would receive one-half (50%) of his or her annualized nine-month salary and full benefits.

An administrator may be awarded sabbatical leave for a period of five months, during which time he or she will receive his or her full contract salary and benefits.

Full-time faculty and full-time administrators with at least seven years of continuous service to the System in a contractual position are eligible to be awarded a sabbatical. A faculty member or administrator who was awarded a sabbatical at any time during the previous seven years is not eligible to be awarded a sabbatical.

During the time that an administrator or faculty member is on sabbatical leave, he or she may not continue to perform additional services or receive any stipend, program coordinator pay or overload pay.

Any faculty member or administrator who is awarded sabbatical leave must serve two complete contract years of full-time service to the System following return from sabbatical leave. A faculty member or administrator who takes sabbatical leave and does not fulfill this service requirement must repay the full value of the leave on a pro-rata basis considering how much of the two years have been completed.

The Chancellor will appoint a committee consisting of one administrator, one faculty member from each college and one professional contractual staff member from each college to develop procedures regarding the application process and timelines for selecting persons to be awarded sabbatical leave.

Each year, the Chancellor shall determine the number of available sabbatical leave awards. The award process shall be conducted at each location in accordance with the System procedures.

IV.E.3.20Faculty Leave Banking

The Chancellor shall establish a Faculty Leave Banking program to permit faculty, and other full-time employees who teach, to convert compensation earned through extra service assignments into a future leave pool. This program shall permit an eligible employee who has earned the equivalent of a full-semester of banked leave plus three additional contact hours to take a semester's leave with full pay.

An eligible employee who has elected the leave banking option may reverse the election at any point before he or she has taken the banked leave. If an eligible employee reverses the election, the amount of salary to be paid is the same amount that he or she would have been paid if the leave banking option had not been elected and shall not reflect any interest earnings, salary adjustments or subsequent reclassifications.

IV.E.3.21Sick Leave Pool

The Chancellor has established an optional sick leave pool program for the benefit of full-time employees. The pool is intended to provide additional paid sick leave to participating members of the pool who have exhausted all leaves due to extensive or recurrent medical problems.

Participation in the sick leave pool is voluntary. A full-time employee is eligible to join the pool after completing twelve (12) months of employment if he or she has accumulated at least 80 hours of unused personal sick leave. Enrollment periods shall be held in March and September of each year and at other times authorized by the Chancellor. The sick leave pool program will be administered by LSCS Department of Human Resources.

In order to participate in the pool, each employee must contribute a minimum of 3 days (24 hours), 5 days (40 hours) or a maximum of 10 days (80 hours) of sick leave . Contributed sick leave days will not be returned to the employee contributing, except as an award of pool benefits. An employee will not be required to replenish the pool unless he or she has been found by the LSCS Department of Human Resources to have abused the privilege of the sick leave pool.

Employees participating in the pool may request to use days from the sick leave pool only after exhausting all accrued and unused sick leave, vacation leave and compensatory time, if eligible. The maximum number of days available to be drawn from the sick leave pool is 30 working days in a fiscal year (September through August).

Once an employee has used all available days from the pool, he or she will be able to again use the pool the next fiscal year. An employee utilizing the sick leave pool will continue to accrue leave.

Utilization of sick leave from the sick leave pool will at all times be contingent upon the availability of sick leave days in the pool. Any sick leave drawn from the pool must be used for the employee's personal illness, accident, surgery, or injury and must be supported by a licensed physician's statement on a form approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer or his/her designee.

Alleged abuse of the sick leave pool will be investigated by the Chief Human Resources Officer and or his/her designee. Any employee found to have submitted incorrect or false documents to support leave will be required to repay all sick leave credits drawn from the pool, will be subject to suspension or removal from the pool and may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge of employment.

An employee who becomes a member of the sick leave pool will remain a member as long as he or she continues as a full time employee, and is not suspended or removed from the pool. An employee who wishes to terminate his or her membership in the sick pool must do so by submitting a written request to the Human Resources Department.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 5, 2010

IV.E.4. Comprehensive Disability Program

IV.E.4.01 - Disability or Injury

The System offers a comprehensive disability policy for all benefits eligible employees in order to create a comprehensive system-wide disability or injury program for both illness or injury off-the-job, and on-the-job illness or injury.

IV.E.4.02 - Scope

This policy applies to all full-time, permanent employees of LSCS. This policy does not extend disability benefits to part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees. Part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees are eligible for state mandated workers' compensation benefits.

IV.E.4.03 - Definitions

"Disability" is a permanent, physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual.

"Illness, Injury, or Medical Condition" is a temporary or permanent physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit one or more of the major life activities of an individual.

"Long Term Disability" is a sickness, accidental bodily injury, or pregnancy that causes one to either be unable to perform with reasonable continuity the essential functions of one's own occupation, "

"Reasonable Accommodation" is a modification of the work environment and/or work process that enables a person with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job. The determination of what accommodations are reasonable shall be at the sole discretion of the System.

IV.E.4.04 - General Provisions

  1. a. All provisions of the policy apply to both off the job and on-the-job illness or injury, with the exception of state-mandated workers' compensation benefits. See Workers Compensation Policy.
  2. b. An employee who experiences an illness or injury that renders him or her incapable of performing regularly assigned duties shall be required to use all appropriate leave balances before applying for long-term disability benefits.
  3. c. An employee who becomes eligible for long-term disability benefits will be placed on inactive status. Inactive status will terminate upon the earlier of the following occurrences:
    1. The employee returns to work and is able to perform the essential functions of his or her position; or
    2. The expiration of twelve (12) consecutive months on inactive status.
  4. d. While on inactive status, the employee will cease to accrue vacation and sick leave.
  5. e. The System will maintain the employment of an individual with a disability, illness, injury, or medical condition for twelve months. Within the twelve-month period, the System may re-activate the employee in the position held by the employee prior to the date of his or her disability, injury, illness, or medical condition or transfer the employee into another position, provided that the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the job and the twelve-month period has not expired.
  6. f. After one year, an employee's ability to perform the essential functions of his or her regular position will be evaluated according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If the employee is unable to perform the essential functions of the position with a reasonable accommodation, the employee will be terminated. (See also Section IV.E.3.17 Long Term Disability and IV.3.18 Short-Term Disability, Board Policy Manual).
  7. g. An employee who experiences an on-the-job injury or illness that renders him or her incapable of performing his or her regularly assigned duties is eligible for workers' compensation benefits.   
    1. Upon becoming disabled from an on-the-job injury, the employee shall provide to the Human Resources Department a medical slip from the physician, specifying the injury and probable length of the disability. If the employee is off-duty more than seven days, the employee will be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
    2. An employee who is receiving workers' compensation benefits may choose to use accumulated sick leave concurrently. If the employee chooses this option, the System shall pay the difference between the weekly income benefits received under workers' compensation and the employee's regular weekly compensation. Sick leave shall be charged proportionately.

IV.E.4.05 - Family Medical Leave

An employee taking Family Medical Leave Act leave, and receiving workers' compensation wage benefits, may not use any accumulated sick leave until the Family Medical Leave expires (See Section IV.E.3 Leaves and Absences). The System shall pay the difference between the weekly income benefit received under workers' compensation and the employee's regular compensation. If the employee's accrued sick leave is exhausted and the employee is still absent from work due to job injury, the employee shall be placed on leave without pay status (See Section IV.E.3 Leaves and Absences).

IV.E.4.06 - Return to Full Duty

The System reserves the right to require an independent physical or mental assessment, at the System's expense, upon the return to work of the employee from a work-related or non-work related disability, illness, injury, or medical condition.

IV.E.4.07 - Long-Term Disability Insurance

The System offers long-term disability (LTD) insurance, through the State of Texas, for full-time employees. An individual with a disability as defined in this policy is eligible to apply and receive LTD benefits.

IV.E.4.08 - Medical Records

All medical records obtained pursuant to this policy will be maintained in confidential medical files.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

IV.E.5. Workers' Compensation Program

IV.E.5.01 - Options

The System shall extend workers' compensation benefits to its employees by choosing one of the following options:

  1. Becoming a self-insurer.
  2. Providing insurance under workers' compensation insurance contracts or policies.
  3. Entering into interlocal agreements with other political subdivisions.

IV.E.5.02 - Definitions

The "Texas Workers' Compensation Act" provides wage replacement, rehabilitation, and medical benefits for employees who become injured or ill in the course and scope of employment, as well as compensation for dependents of an employee who dies as a result of an on-the-job illness or Injury.

"On-the-job Illness or Injury" is a disability, injury, illness, or medical condition that occurred as a result of the employee performing the assigned duties of his or her occupation within the course and scope of employment.

"Modified Duty Assignment" is when an employee, who is released to return to duty in less than a full, unrestricted status by the treating physician may be required to work in a position or department other than his or her original position or department. Duties will be assigned in accordance with the employee's limitations or restrictions, and/or the needs of the System.

"Course and Scope of Employment" is activity of any kind or character that is related to and originates in the work, business, trade, or profession of the employer, and that is performed by an employee while engaged in the business of the employer.

IV.E.5.03 - Coverage

For the purposes of this policy, "employee" means every full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary person in the service of the System.

IV.E.5.04 - Reporting Responsibility

The System shall report to its insurance carrier on each:

  1. Death;
  2. On-the-job injury;
  3. On-the-job injury that results in an employee's absence from work for more than one day; and
  4. Occupational disease of which the System has received notice of injury or has knowledge.

"Knowledge" means receipt of written or verbal information regarding diagnosis, or diagnosis through examination or testing by a doctor employed by the System.

A supplemental report shall be filed with the System insurance carrier and provided to the employee within ten (10) days after:

  1. the end of each pay period in which the employee has a change in earnings as a result of the injury; or
  2. the employee resigns or is terminated.

For injuries that require the filing of a first report of injury, the System shall file the supplemental report with the System's insurance carrier after:

  1. the employee returns to work; or
  2. the employee, after returning to work, experiences an additional day of disability as a result of the injury.

The System shall file a wage statement showing the amounts of all wages paid to the employee.

IV.E.5.05 - Notice to System Employees

The System shall notify its employees:

  1. of the Commission's ombudsman program to assist injured workers and persons claiming death benefits in obtaining benefits under the Texas Workers' Compensation Act; and
  2. of the 24-hour-a-day toll-free telephone system for reporting violations of an occupational health or safety law.

IV.E.5.06 - No Retaliation or Discrimination

The System shall not suspend, terminate, or otherwise discriminate against an employee for making a good faith report of a violation of an occupational health or safety law.

A person may not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee because the employee has:

  1. Filed a workers' compensation claim in good faith;
  2. Hired a lawyer to represent the employee claim;
  3. Instituted or caused to be instituted in good faith a proceeding under the Texas Workers' Compensation Act; or
  4. Testified or is about to testify in a proceeding under the Texas Workers' Compensation Act.

IV.E.5.07 - Sick and Vacation Leave Use

During the time an employee is receiving weekly workers' compensation benefits, the employee may elect to receive previously accrued sick or vacation leave benefits in an amount equal to the difference in the weekly compensation benefit and the weekly compensation the employee was receiving prior to the injury or illness resulting in the claim, with a proportionate deduction in the employee's sick and vacation leave balance. The sum of weekly workers' compensation payments and the amount of sick leave paid shall not exceed the amount of weekly compensation the employee was receiving prior to the illness or injury.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

IV.E.6. Family and Medical Leave Act

IV.E.6.01 - Eligibility

An employee who has been employed by the System for at least twelve months and for 1,250 hours during the previous twelve month period, shall be entitled to a total of twelve workweeks of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, without loss of any employment benefit accrued prior to the beginning of the leave, during any twelve month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Because of the birth or adoption, including placement for foster care, of the employee's child and in order to care for the child, provided the leave is taken within 12 months of the birth, adoption, or placement of the child. By agreement between the employee and the System, this leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule;
  2. To care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent if the spouse, child or parent has a serious health condition; or
  3. A serious health condition of the employee.

IV.E.6.02 - FMLA Year

The twelve-month leave year shall correspond to the System's fiscal year, beginning on September 1 and terminating on August 31.

IV.E.6.03 - Intermittent Leave Option

An eligible employee may take FMLA leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary to care for a spouse, parent, or child or to receive planned medical treatment for him or herself.

The System may allow an employee to take intermittent FMLA leave for child care or adoption purposes, but only if an eligible employee complies with the 30 days' notice requirement for leave that is foreseeable.

If an employee requests FMLA leave to care for a spouse, parent, or child or because of his or her own serious health condition that is foreseeable, based on planned medical treatment, the System may require the employee to transfer temporarily to an available alternative position offered by the System for which the employee is qualified and that has equivalent pay and benefits and better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the employee's regular employment position.

IV.E.6.04 - Instructional Employees

An eligible instructional employee who requests FMLA leave to care for a spouse, parent, or child, or because of his or her own serious health condition that is foreseeable, based on planned medical treatment, and who would be on leave greater than 20 percent of the total number of working days in the period during which the leave would extend, may be required to choose either to:

  1. Take FMLA leave for periods of a particular duration not to exceed the duration of the planned medical treatment; or
  2. Transfer temporarily to an available alternative position offered by the System for which the instructional employee is qualified, and that has equivalent pay and benefits and better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the teacher's regular employment position.

IV.E.6.05 - Continuity of Health Plan Coverage

During any period that an eligible employee takes FMLA leave, the System shall maintain coverage under any "group health plan" for the duration of the leave at the level and under the conditions coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued in active duty with the System. However, the employee will be responsible for paying dependent coverage.

IV.E.6.06 - Use of Vacation and Sick Leave

Any accrued sick and compensatory leave balances must be taken before taking unpaid FMLA leave. The use of accrued sick leave is restricted to those circumstances that would otherwise qualify the employee for sick leave usage under System policies. However, an employee taking FMLA leave and receiving workers' compensation benefits may not use sick leave until the FMLA leave has expired.

The System shall not require employees to use FMLA leave concurrently with all applicable paid leave or with workers compensation leave. Employees may use this leave after exhausting all applicable paid and temporary disability leave.

An employee may use FMLA leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule upon written agreement between the System and the employee, for the care of a newborn child or upon the adoption or placement of a child with the employee.

Upon request for FMLA leave for the employee's serious health condition or that of a spouse, parent, or child, the employee shall provide medical certification of the illness or disability. The employee must provide re-certification not more often than every 30 days thereafter unless:

  1. The employee requests an extension;
  2. There are significant changes in circumstances; or
  3. The System receives information that casts doubt upon the continuing validity of the certification.

The employee's request for reinstatement shall be accompanied by medical certification of the employee's ability to perform essential job functions.

If, at the expiration of the FMLA leave, the employee is able to return to work but chooses not to do so, the System shall require reimbursement of the employee benefits contribution made by the System during the period in which such leave was taken as unpaid leave.

The System may uniformly require, as a prerequisite for reinstating an employee whose FMLA leave was due to their own serious health condition, medical certification of their ability to resume work.

IV.E.6.07 - Workers' Compensation and FMLA

An employee who is on FMLA leave and simultaneously receiving workers' compensation wage benefits shall inform the appropriate administrator whether he or she chooses to use available paid leave. Any paid leave used shall be offset against workers' compensation wage benefits. Under offset provisions, the System shall pay the difference between the weekly income benefit received under workers' compensation and the employee's regular weekly compensation and shall charge leave proportionately.

IV.E.6.08 - Restoration to Position

An employee who takes FMLA leave is entitled to be restored to the position held when the leave commenced or to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

IV.E.6.09 - Married Family Members

A husband and wife who are eligible for FMLA leave, and who are both employed in the System, may be permitted to take only a combined total of twelve weeks of leave during any twelve-month period if the leave is taken:

  1. For the birth of a son or daughter or to care for the child after birth;
  2. For the placement of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care, or the care for the child after placement; or
  3. To care for a child, parent, or spouse with a serious health condition.

Where the husband and wife both use a portion of the total twelve-week entitlement for one of the purposes noted above, each spouse shall be entitled to the difference between the amount he or she has taken individually and twelve weeks of FMLA leave for a purpose other than those listed above.

An employee who takes FMLA leave under these provisions is entitled to be restored to the position held when the leave commenced, or to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

IV.E.6.10 - No Restoration to Position

The System may deny restoration to a position held by an employee who is on FMLA leave if the employee fails to provide a fitness-for-duty certificate to return to work.

IV.E.6.11 - Notice

The System shall post and keep posted in conspicuous places on each campus where notices are usually posted, a notice approved by the Secretary of Labor that sets out excerpts from summaries of the FMLA and information pertaining to the filing of a claim.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

IV.E.7. Employee Medical Issues and Examinations

IV.E.7.01 - Testing for Communicable Diseases

Food service personnel shall comply with health requirements established by the city, county and state health authorities. Pre-employment, or later on-the-job testing of employees to detect the presence of HIV will not be done except in response to specific on-the-job exposures or under Court-enforced order under the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act.

Communicable diseases include, but are not limited to. measles, influenza, viral hepatitis-A (infectious hepatitis), viral hepatitis-B (serum hepatitis), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV infection) and AIDS, leprosy, and tuberculosis.

IV.E.7.02 - Employee Physical Examinations

A medical examination may be required of any employee when, in the judgment of the immediate supervisor, after consultation with the Location Executive Officer (LEO) and the Chief Human Resources Officer, the employee's condition interferes with the ability to perform job-related functions or may pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the employee or others. An employee may be suspended from employment with pay pending fitness for duty examination.

IV.E.7.03 - Reasonable Accommodations

If it is determined that an employee poses a direct threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others or that the employee is not able to perform essential job-related functions, the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee shall ask the medical professional to determine what reasonable accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate the direct threat or enable the employee to perform job-related functions.

IV.E.7.04 - Exposure to Blood-borne Pathogens

The Human Resources Department is responsible for identifying employees who serve in support positions such as food service or any other employees who can "reasonably anticipate occupational exposure to a blood borne pathogen." The System shall annually review, and modify as appropriate, the minimum exposure plan provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

IV.E.7.05 - Immunization and Testing

The System shall offer Hepatitis "B" vaccination to those employees who can reasonably anticipate occupational exposure to a blood-borne pathogen. The System will provide for post-exposure testing as well as post-exposure Hepatitis "B" vaccination.

IV.E.7.06 - Workers' Compensation

To qualify for workers' compensation benefits, the employee claiming occupational exposure must report the exposure to the immediate supervisor within 48 hour of the exposure.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

IV.E.8. Accommodating Employees with Disabilities

IV.E.8.01 - Legal Obligations

LSCS will provide necessary and reasonable workplace accommodations for known disabilities of a qualified employee who is capable of meeting all the essential requirements of his or her job under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1976 ("Section 504").

No presumptions are, or should be, made that the existence of a physical or mental impairment will necessarily cause any limitations in an employee's ability to perform his or her job. In fact, in most instances, absent a specific notification by an employee of the existence of specific limitations caused by a disability, it shall be presumed that a disabled or impaired employee is not limited in his or her ability to perform his or her job. Any accommodation request will be evaluated against the prevailing legal standards of the ADA and Section 504.

IV.E.8.02 - Request for Accommodation

Except with respect to employees or applicants with visible and obvious health or mental impairment(s), it is the responsibility of the employee or applicant to inform the System of the existence of a disability that limits his or her ability to perform his or her job. The employee must provide the System Human Resources Department with documentation provided by an appropriate health care professional:

  1. diagnosing the existence of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and
  2. indicating that the employee will be able to meet all of the essential requirements of the job with the requested accommodation.

IV.E.8.03 - Consideration of a Request for an Accommodation

The System Human Resources Department will review the medical documentation regarding the existence of a disability and the requested accommodation with the employee, and if authorized by the employee, with his or her medical professional.

In weighing the requested accommodation, the Human Resources Department will determine first whether the employee will be able to meet all of the essential functions of the job, as determined by the job description.

IV.E.8.04 - Referral to System Medical Professional

The System Human Resources Department may require an employee who has requested an accommodation to be examined by a medical professional identified by the System. The sole purpose of such consultations will be to advise the System regarding the requested accommodation or to evaluate the employee's ability to perform the essential requirements of a position. The employee will not be responsible for the expenses of any such consultation, and will be provided with written information submitted by the consulting medical professional regarding the nature of the accommodations requested.

IV.E.8.05 - Denial of Requested Accommodation

The System Human Resources Department office may deny a requested accommodation if:

  1. It is determined that even with the requested accommodation, the employee will not be able to perform all of the essential requirements of the job, as defined in the job description, and by the supervisor;
  2. The medical documentation does not establish the existence of a disability within the terms of the ADA or Section 504: or
  3. The System determines that the employee, with or without an accommodation, poses a risk of harm to him/herself or to employees, students or members of the public with whom he or she may come in contact.
  4. Any other basis provided by the ADA, Section 504, or other law.

IV.E.8.06 - Confidentiality of Medical Documentation

All medical records and information pertaining to an employment-related medical examination, employee's disability, or requested accommodation shall be maintained in the confidential files created and maintained in the System Human Resources office.

Information obtained regarding the medical condition or history of the applicant or employee shall be collected and maintained by the physician conducting the examination. The System shall only receive and accept a summary of the candidate's ability to perform the job either in response to questions posed or on a form created for such a summary.

Information pertaining to job-related limitations shall be released on a need-to-know basis only. Supervisors or other LSCS employees who are included in the accommodation review process shall ensure that any documentation or other information provided by an employee or applicant shall be kept confidential, except in accordance with this policy.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

preload menu background image