Staff HR Policy D-721.01
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Culture

Wage Continuation Procedure

Wage Continuation is Northwestern Michigan College’s (NMC) self-insured program for short-term serious health conditions Eligible employees may request this benefit as outlined in this procedure. Eligibility is determined according to the definition of full-time regular employees, in the Definition of Employee Categories (D-732.00)  who have completed 90 days of employment at NMC. Employees not working because of work-related injuries covered under Workers' Compensation are ineligible for Wage Continuation.

The Wage Continuation period will run concurrently with Family Medical Leave (FMLA) whenever an employee is eligible for FMLA due to their own serious health condition. Refer to Policy D-722.00 and Procedure D-722.01 for FMLA eligibility. Wage Continuation is a benefit that will pay the employee for time off that is unpaid under the FMLA regulations and does not replace or circumvent FMLA.

NMC has attempted to address the most common situations for accidents and illness and how the Wage Continuation benefit applies. The Director of Human Resources, or designee, reserves the right to address unusual circumstances and administer this benefit as is practical.

Initial Qualification for Wage Continuation:

Accident

  1. After an employee has been off work for one (1) work day or a part of a work day due to a single serious health condition caused by an accident, the employee may request to be paid under the Wage Continuation provisions.
  2. A Wage Continuation Employee Request Form must be completed and signed by the employee or designee in order to be paid under this benefit.
  3. The first work day off due to a single serious health condition caused by an accident will be paid under Wage Continuation provisions.

In order to qualify for Wage Continuation, a medical certification will be required. The employee must submit the medical certification to the Office of Human Resources as soon as is practical or within 15 days maximum of receiving the request form. If there are questions or the nature of the serious health condition needs clarification, then NMC's physician will contact the employee's physician to determine if a second opinion is necessary. NMC reserves the right to require medical certification from NMC's physician. If the employee does not obtain the required certification within the 15-day period, their leave will be handled according to the  Family Medical Leave Act, which states that leave will be denied if necessary certification is not provided.

Illness

  1. After an employee has been off work for 15 consecutive work days due to a single serious health condition due to illness the employee may request to be paid under the Wage Continuation provisions.
  2. A Wage Continuation Employee Request Form must be completed and signed by the employee or designee in order to be paid under this benefit.
  3. The 15-day qualification period will be handled according to the following Wage Continuation provisions.
    1. The employee will first be paid using their accrued sick leave time. If the employee's sick time accrual is less than 15 days, the employee may request the use of vacation time if available or the remainder of the 15 days will be unpaid.

In order to qualify for Wage Continuation, a medical certification will be required. The employee must submit the medical certification to the Office of Human Resources as soon as is practical or within 15 days maximum of receiving the request form. If there are questions or the nature of the serious health condition requires clarification, then NMC’s physician will contact the employee’s physician to determine if a second opinion is necessary. NMC reserves the right to require medical certification from NMC’s physician. If the employee does not obtain the required certification within the 15-day period, their leave will be handled according to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which states that leave will be denied if necessary certification is not provided.

The employee must be actively at work or on an approved leave day other than Wage Continuation in order to qualify for Wage Continuation. A new Wage Continuation period will not  be approved for a new serious health condition unless the employee has been released to return to work from the original serious health condition. The employee must be at work for at least one full workday. All other qualifications as stated above will apply.

Wage Continuation Pay

Wage Continuation will provide pay for the balance of a total of 180 calendar days (including weekends) after the initial qualification period has been met.

Pay Schedule

  1. Day 1 through Day 15 will be paid using all sick time accrued prior to the beginning of the leave, then by vacation time if the employee chooses, or will be unpaid leave for the qualification period.
  2. Day 16 through Day 60 will be paid at 100% of base pay
  3. Day 61 through Day 180 will be paid at 66.67% of base pay
  4. Sick or vacation leave may not be used to make up the remainder of the base pay on Days 61-180.
  5. Leave time will be reported to MPSERS according to their guidelines (currently normal assigned hours). MPSERS service hours remain the same but the pay is reduced.

Continuing Certification Required

  1. A minimum of one additional certification will be required from the employee’s physician or NMC's physician when the employee has been off work for 12 work weeks. Certification may be required every 30 days in order to continue pay under this policy, depending on the circumstances of the accident/illness. NMC reserves the right to require medical certification from NMC’s physician. Additional certifications may be required from the employee's personal physician. NMC will pay expenses or any deductible and co-pay, after health plan coverage for required certifications. No additional expenses will be paid by NMC.
  2. Where the duration of the absence is anticipated to be more than 90 days, applications for Long Term Disability and MPSERS Retirement Disability (if applicable) should be started. This process may change if the duration of the anticipated absence changes.

Employee's Responsibility

  1. After requesting Wage Continuation pay the employee will cooperate in a timely manner and obtain medical certification from their physician or NMC's physician as soon as is practical or within 15 days at a maximum of receiving the request form. NMC reserves the right to require medical certification from NMC’s physician.
  2. During the Wage Continuation period, it is the employee's responsibility to contact the FMLA administrator in the Human Resources office at least once every two weeks regarding their fitness for duty or intention to return to work. Failure to comply may result in time without pay.
  3. When practical the employee will give 30 days’ notice of their intent to return to work.
  4. The employee will be required to provide fitness for duty certification.

Wage Continuation pay may be denied if the employee does not satisfy these requirements.

Return to Work

  1. If the employee returns to work for a period of less than 30 calendar days, before the maximum benefit of 180 days is paid out, the 15 day requirement for illness will be waived for future time off related to the same illness/injury and the original 180-day period will resume. Another medical certification will be required according to provisions under “Continued Certification Required”, item 1. NMC reserves the right to require medical certification from NMC’s physician.
  2. If the employee returns to work for a period of more than 30 calendar days but less than 6 months before the maximum benefit of 180 days is paid out, the 15-day qualifying requirement for illness will apply for future time off related to the same illness/injury and the original 180-day period will resume. Another medical certification will be required according to provisions under “Continued Certification Required”, item 1. NMC reserves the right to require medical certification from NMC’s physician.
  3. If the employee returns to work for a period of at least 6 months before the maximum benefit of 180 days is paid out, future time off related to the same illness/injury will be treated as a new Wage Continuation period will begin. Another medical certification will be required according to provisions under “Continued Certification Required”, item 1. NMC reserves the right to require medical certification from NMC’s physician.
  4. NMC requires the employee to provide a medical certification of the employee's fitness to return to work including any restrictions and their duration. This applies only to the health condition which caused the employee to be unable to perform the functions of the employee's job. This requirement will be communicated to the employee when it is determined that the concurrent use of FMLA will be counted during Wage Continuation and it must be job-related and consistent with business necessity pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  5. If all of NMC's notification responsibilities have been met and the employee fails to provide a fitness for duty certificate as required at the time the employee is to return to work, NMC may delay the return to work until it is provided.
  6. Upon return to work, returning the employee to a position will be as follows:
    1. If the leave qualified for FMLA and the 12-week period has not expired, placement will be made in the same or an equivalent job according to FMLA standards.
    2. If the leave qualified for FMLA and the employee has been out past the 12- week period, every effort will be made to return the employee to the same or an equivalent position, however, there is no guarantee of placement or continuing employment.
    3. If the leave did not qualify for FMLA and the employee has been out past 12 weeks, every effort will be made to return the employee to the same or an equivalent position, however, there is no guarantee of placement or continuing employment.
  7. If an employee is found to have fraudulently obtained Medical Certification to qualify for FMLA and/or Wage Continuation from NMC, job restoration and maintenance of benefits will NOT be protected.
  8. Employees found working outside of NMC while they are restricted from working under Medical Certification and are on FMLA and/or Wage Continuation will have job restoration, maintenance of benefits and Wage Continuation pay terminated. Disciplinary action up to and including termination may take place.

Applicable Benefits:

All benefits pertaining to the employee's classification shall continue to apply including wage and hour reporting for retirement, except the following:

  • Sick leave accrual will be discontinued during the use of Wage Continuation since the employee is not currently working.
  • Vacation leave accrual will be discontinued during the use of Wage Continuation since the employee is not currently working.

If the employee returns to work for less than full-time, as defined in the Definition of Employee Categories, these benefits will accrue at the rate of actual hours worked.
This policy supersedes the benefits of FMLA in pay status only. All other provisions of FMLA regarding benefits apply except where stated in "Applicable Benefits".

if the employee is not released to work Upon Completion of the Total 180 Days of Absence

  • The College reserves the right to fill the employee's position or determine if it will remain open. No regular pay will be in effect after the total 180-day period.
  • Faculty who have chosen to have their contract paid over 26 pays will have the earnings over the 180-day period calculated, including the corresponding deferred pay amount, and this prorated amount will be paid out.
  • After the 180 days, and all accrued leave have been paid out, if the employee is unable to return to work, employment will be terminated unless there is assurance in writing from the employee's health care provider that the employee will be able to return to work within a reasonable period of time.
  • The Maintenance/Custodial staff will follow their employee bargaining agreement if applicable.

The college maintains the right to administer this procedure according to the requirements listed and to terminate pay if the employee does not comply with these requirements.

This policy supersedes the benefits of FMLA in pay status only. All other provisions of FMLA regarding benefits apply except where stated in “Applicable Benefits”.

The Director of Human Resources reserves the right to waive and/or alter any portion of this procedure depending on individual circumstances to meet the needs of the employee and the institution.



Authorized as 1436.01 on 11/21/01
Renumbered July 27, 2010
Revised April 20, 2012
Revised May 10, 2013

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