604: Short- and Long-Term Disability Leave

Statement

The university provides short-and long-term disability benefits for eligible administrative employees (staff & academic and administrative professionals (AAP)). Full eligibility terms and conditions of disability benefits are contained in the summary plan description available on the Department of Human Resources website.

Prior to July 1, 2022, AAPs were covered under the university’s Salary Continuance program which replaced 100% of income for up to 10 weeks in the event that an AAP became unable to work due to an injury, illness, or other medical scenario such as a scheduled surgery or birth of a child.

Philosophy

Short- and long-term disability benefits are intended to provide continuation of income for periods of time during which an employee is medically disabled and unable to work. 

Procedures

Eligibility for Short Term Disability
Full-time administrative employees (Staff and AAP) scheduled to work 30 hours or more per week

Eligibility for Long Term Disability
Full-time Faculty, Staff and AAPs

Application for Benefits 
Employees must initiate their disability claim thirty days prior to their anticipated absence by contacting MetLife at 1-877-638-8262. Once MetLife has entered the claim into their system, its status can be viewed at metlife.com/mybenefits.

Notification to Department 
An employee must notify their supervisor 30 days in advance of their upcoming disability leave, when possible. Additionally, supervisors will receive a GMS notification once leave has been approved. Supervisors can then view the approved leave period within GMS.

Waiting Period for Short Term Disability
Once a short-term disability claim is approved, there is a one week (5 business days) waiting period between the first day of the disability event and the beginning of the income replacement. An employee is eligible to use accrued sick or paid leave hours during this waiting period, or can choose to take it unpaid. An employee is also eligible to use accrued leave benefits subsequent to the expiration of short-term disability benefits and/or while waiting for a determination on an application for long-term disability benefits. 

Salary Continuance Leave Bank for AAPs
As of July 1, 2022, all AAPs have access to a one-time 90-day Salary Continuance bank (available in GMS) that can be used for the purpose of paid time off for one’s own (or a family member’s) illness, medical treatment, medical care, or family bonding that is not covered under the Short Term Disability plan or the University’s Paid Parental Leave policy. The Salary Continuance bank can also be used to cover the unpaid 1-week waiting period before Short Term Disability payments begin. The 90-day Salary Continuance leave bank will be available through June 30, 2027; at that time any unused time remaining in the bank will be forfeited. If an AAP leaves the university prior to June 30, 2027, any unused leave is not payable upon termination of employment.

Coordination with Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
An eligible employee who is medically disabled and unable to work should contact MetLife to request unpaid, job protection leave under the Family and Medical Leave policy as well as apply for disability benefits for payments. Approval of an FMLA request does not guarantee that disability benefits will be paid. 

Leave covered by short- or long-term disability benefits that also qualifies as medical leave under the Family and Medical leave policy is counted against the employee’s leave entitlement for family and medical leave.

Coordination with DC Paid Family Leave and Other State Paid  Leave Programs
Eligible employees should apply for Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits from the District of Columbia (or, for those employees with a full-time telework designation outside of the District of Columbia, their state of residence, if benefits are available). Any paid leave benefits that an employee is eligible to receive will offset the disability benefit amount you receive from Georgetown University.

Termination of Employment
An employee who is covered by short- and long-term disability benefits may be terminated if they are absent from the job for a period of one year due to a disability. Reasonable accommodations to enable the employee to return to work within a year will be considered when relevant. Any termination decision must be in accordance with any applicable federal, state, and local law. 

A probationary employee may be terminated at any time in accordance with the Probationary Employment Period Policy

Termination of employment will result in the termination of short-term disability benefits. Termination of employment, in itself, will not result in the termination of long-term disability benefits. 

Responsibility

It is the responsibility of an employee to follow the application and notification procedures outlined in this policy. It is the responsibility of a supervisor to inform an eligible employee of the availability of leave benefits in the event of the employee’s disability.

Resources

Questions concerning short- and/or long-term disability benefits should be directed to the Department of Human Resources. Questions concerning the application of the policy should be directed to the appropriate Client Services Partner.