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New program adds parental and caregiver leave, short-term disability
Columbia, Mo.—The University of Missouri Board of Curators on Wednesday approved a new leave program for employees at each of the System’s four universities, MU Extension and MU Heath Care. For the first time, the university will offer paid parental and caregiver leave programs, as well as short-term disability.
The new leave plan, which will take effect January 2024, transitions from a traditional model with separate buckets for vacation, incidental sick and personal days, to a paid time off (PTO) model. Under a PTO model, employees will no longer have to choose from a specific bucket of time, but will instead have the flexibility to use their paid time off however they choose.
“We have some of the hardest-working employees in the state, and it is important that we have a benefits package that retains and recruits the best people,” said Darryl Chatman, UM Board of Curators chair. “I appreciate the work that went into this new plan, which included feedback from thousands of our employees and a national firm that specializes in this area. I’m confident this is a good step forward for our current and future employees.”
Employees will continue to accrue their leave time on a weekly basis based on their annual PTO allotment. Additionally, with the new plan, employees will have the ability to save a maximum of up to two times their annual PTO allotment. For example, if an employee receives 18 days of PTO each year, that employee could accrue up to 36 days of PTO to be used whenever needed.
Because of the 24/7 nature of health care work, hourly workers at MU Health Care will be eligible for an annual PTO cash out program. If a health care employee anticipates he or she will not be able to use all of their PTO in a given year, they can designate some of their PTO and receive a cash payment for that time.
“With the introduction of our parental and caregiver leave programs along with short-term disability, we’ll be able to support our employees at various life stages in ways we haven’t been able to in the past,” said Marsha Fischer, vice president and chief Human Resources officer. “Whether our employees are adding to their families, caring for an immediate relative, or experiencing an unexpected serious health condition, these new programs will provide an important safety net.”
The parental leave program will cover 100% income replacement for up to four weeks in a rolling 12-month period. It will provide paid time off for employees welcoming a child at birth, adoption or foster placement. Leave must be taken within 12 months of the event.
The caregiver leave program will cover 100% income replacement for up to two weeks in a rolling 12-month period. This leave provides paid time off for employees to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition as defined by the university’s Family and Medical Leave guidelines.
The new short-term disability program will cover 60% income replacement for up to 20 weeks for a qualifying medical event, such as a hospitalization or serious health condition.
Employees will continue to have nine paid holidays annually, and campus employees will still have four winter break days.
Any leave that has been accrued under the current plan will be honored. Employees will have the following options:
- Accrued vacation time could be paid out at a future date, added to an employee’s new PTO bank or a combination of those two actions.
- Accrued sick leave could be used to 1.) supplement short-term disability, or 2.) use for qualified sick occurrences if PTO and all other available options are exhausted.
- Personal days would be honored through the day of expiration. Under the current plan, employees receive four personal days on their anniversary date each year, and those days must be used within 12 months. After the new plan goes into effect, employees would have until their upcoming anniversary date to use any remaining personal days.
Details of the new program and transition plan will be available once finalized at https://www.umsystem.edu/ums/hr/modernizing-leave.