An exempt employee shall receive two weeks vacation (10 workdays) per year for the first three years of service (1-3); three weeks (15 workdays) per year for the next four years of service (4-7); and four weeks (20 workdays) per year for eight or more years of service.  Vacation days must be used prior to the end of the employee’s service year unless carryover is approved by the President.  (During the first year of employment or if employment is terminated within the first three months of the new service year, unused vacation will be pro-rated).


The allocation of vacation hours for non-exempt personnel eligible for benefits is available the first day following the employee’s anniversary date.  During the first year of employment or if employment is terminated within the first three months of the new service year, unused vacation will be pro-rated.  For first year non-exempt personnel eligible for benefits, vacation may not be used during the first 90 days of employment except under unusual circumstances and with the prior approval of the employee’s supervisor.

Non-exempt employees eligible for benefits with less than ten years of employment receive two weeks or ten workdays annually of vacation time.  After ten years of employment, non-exempt personnel eligible for benefits receive three weeks or 15 days of vacation upon the completion of the tenth year.  At the beginning of the 11th  year of employment, the additional awarded vacation time will be pro-rated for the remainder of the twelve month period until the beginning of the new service year which occurs on each June 1.  

Vacation days must be used each year unless carryover is approved by the President.



Accrued medical leave provides for continuance of income when an employee is absent due to a personal illness or injury or to care for an ill immediate family member. For purposes of this policy, immediate family is defined as one’s spouse, child or parent who is dependent on the employee for care.

a. To care for an ill family member, as defined above, exempt personnel will be granted medical leave on the basis of 6.67 hours per month employed to a maximum of 80 hours per year. Unused sick leave may accumulate as a reserve for extended illness to a total of six (6) weeks or 30 working days. This maximum accrual is included in the total accrued medical leave for exempt personnel shown in the catastrophic leave paragraph below.

In the event of incapacity of an exempt employee to fulfill normal responsibilities due to their own catastrophic illness or injury, the University will pay whatever portion of the salary is necessary, in addition to other benefits such as Social Security, to bring one’s income up to an amount equal to full salary one month for each year of completed service at Ouachita, with a minimum of one month guaranteed and maximum of six months to be allowed. All prior absences, either for family or employee medical related issues, will be reduced from the total accrued allotment.

b. For benefits eligible non-exempt personnel, medical leave will be granted on the basis of 6.67 hours per month employed to a maximum of 80 hours or 10 workdays per year. Unused sick leave may accumulate as a reserve for extended illness to a total of 6 weeks or 30 working days. If accumulated sick leave does not cover an extended illness, then vacation leave or leave without pay may be granted.

c. Visiting faculty and lecturer adjunct faculty members are entitled to the same medical leave policy as non-exempt personnel.  Part-time adjunct faculty members who teach a minimum of six hours per semester and are benefits eligible as outlined in the Fringe Benefits for Faculty section of the faculty/staff manual are entitled to leave on a pro-rated basis, following the same guidelines as those for visiting faculty and lecturers. Part-time faculty members who teach less than six hours per semester are not entitled to paid medical leave.

d. The University may require certification from one or more health care providers that an employee’s accident or illness actually renders that employee unable to fulfill normal responsibilities. In the event that an accident or illness occurs during a time period when the employee is not required to maintain office hours, the employee is not entitled to carry forward paid medical leave until such time as the employee is obligated to maintain office hours. At termination, unused medical leave expires, i.e., there is no pay in lieu of leave not actually required for medical leave purposes. For additional information on determining your entitlement to sick time, contact Human Resources.

e. Maternity leave falls under the same guidelines as the medical leave policy outlined above.

f. In order to be eligible for the above described policies, the employee must be in an active pay status and available to work the day prior to taking medical leave.

Family and Medical Leave


In compliance with federal law, Ouachita offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave to its eligible employees. Under federal law, an employee is eligible for leave if he or she has worked for the University for at least 12 months and, during that time, logged a minimum of 1,250 hours of service to Ouachita in the immediately preceding 12 month period.

The University guarantees its eligible employees a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period, measured forward from the day the employee’s first FMLA leave begins, for the following reasons:

  1. Birth and care of a child, within one year of birth;
  2. The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, within one year of placement;
  3. To care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition (as defined by the FMLA);
  4. A serious health illness or injury which renders one unable to perform the essential functions of one’s job;
  5. A qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty status.
  6. To care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin who is a covered service member with a serious injury or illness* (Also called Military Caregiver Leave.  Entitlement is 26 weeks.  The FMLA definitions of a “serious injury or illness” for current service members and veterans are distinct from the FMLA definition of a “serious health condition”).

A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • any period of incapacity or treatment connected with inpatient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
  • a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days from work, school, or other regular daily activities that also involves continuing treatment by (or under the supervision of) a health care provider; or
  • any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care; or
  • any period of incapacity (or treatment therefore) due to a chronic serious health condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.); or
  • a period of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective (e.g., Alzheimer’s, stroke, terminal diseases, etc.); or,
  • any absences to receive multiple treatments (including any period of recovery therefrom) by, or on referral by, a health care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (e.g., chemotherapy, physical therapy, dialysis, etc.).

A “qualifying exigency” arises out of the foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent who is a member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves.  If the military member is on covered active duty, the employee may take FMLA for the following qualifying exigencies:

  • Short-term deployment;
  • Child care and related activities for a child of the deployed military member, including arranging for alternative childcare;
  • Certain military events, such as official ceremonies and briefings;
  • Making financial or legal arrangements to address the military member’s absence;
  • To care for the military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care;
  • Attending counseling for the employee, military member, or the child of the military member;
  • Taking up to 15 calendar days to spend time with a military member who is on short-term, temporary rest and recuperation leave during deployment;
  • Certain post-deployment activities within 90 days of the end of the military member’s covered active duty;
  • Any other event that the employee and employer agree is a qualifying exigency.

“Military caregiver leave” allows an employee to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.  A covered service member is:

  • A current member of the Armed Forces who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is in outpatient status, or is on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness that may render the service member medically unfit to perform his or her military duties; or
  • A veteran of the Armed Forces, discharged, other than dishonorably, or released within five years prior to the date the employee’s military caregiver leave begins and who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a qualifying serious injury or illness that rendered the veteran medically unfit to perform his or her military duties, or an injury or illness that qualifies the veteran for certain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs or substantially impairs the veteran’s ability to work.  It includes injuries or illnesses that were incurred or aggravated during military service but that did not manifest until after the veteran left active duty. 

Spouses employed by the same employer are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 workweeks of family leave for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for a parent, but not a parent-in-law, who has a serious health condition.  Leaves for childcare must conclude within 12 months of the date of birth, adoption, or placement.

Unless the FMLA leave runs concurrently with workers’ compensation leave, employees requesting leave will be required to use accrued vacation days or medical leave as part of the 12 week leave.

The employee is obliged to give at least 30 days advance notice of any foreseeable need for leave. For unforeseeable leave, employees must give notice as soon as possible and comply with OBU’s normal call-in procedures for sick time.

Eligible employees requesting leave must provide certifications by medical professionals documenting the health conditions of the employee, spouse, child or parent. The University, at its own expense, may require the employee to secure second and third medical opinions should the University believe there is reason to doubt the validity of the initial certification.

During the leave period, the University will continue to pay its share of the employee’s premium payments under Ouachita’s group health insurance plan. An employee on Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave must pay his or her share of the premium within 30 days of the due date, or the University has the option of canceling the insurance (provided the employee is given at least 15 days written notice) or paying the employee’s premiums and recouping them after the employee returns to work. If the employee declines health insurance coverage during FMLA leave, the University may cancel the coverage, and the University will reinstate it unconditionally when the employee returns to work. Other types of employee fringe benefits, such as life insurance, disability insurance, employee assistance programs, tuition reimbursement, and employer annuity contributions, may be discontinued during FMLA leave in accordance with the employer’s policies, but these benefits must be reinstated immediately upon the employee’s return to work. The employee must reimburse the University the amount of these premium payments if he or she does not return to work at the expiration of the leave period.

Under some circumstances, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently–which means taking leave in blocks of time, or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule. Where FMLA leave is for birth or placement for adoption or foster care, use of intermittent leave is not allowed. FMLA leave may only be taken intermittently whenever it is medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member, or because the employee is seriously ill and unable to work or due to a qualifying exigency. If the need for intermittent leave is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment, the employee is responsible for scheduling the treatment in a manner that does not unduly disrupt operations, subject to the approval of the health care provider.

Upon return from leave, the employee is entitled to his or her former position or an equivalent position with equivalent pay and benefits. However, the University may deny reinstatement until an employee has submitted a fitness-for-duty certification. The University may, at its discretion, deny an employee who is among the highest paid ten percent of the University’s personnel the right to return to his or her job if the denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of the University.

For more information on how the FMLA may benefit an employee in need of medical leave, look at: “The Employee’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act“.

Additional Leave


There may be occasions during employment when the best interests of the employee and/or the University would be served if the employee were granted a leave of absence without pay. This leave may be granted for a relatively short time provided it is recommended by the appropriate administrative officer and approved by the President.



An employee of OBU who is a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States is entitled to military leave without pay in accordance with applicable provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Accrued vacation time may be used for military leave. A copy of the employee’s official orders must accompany the employee’s written request for military leave.



When, in response to a subpoena or by direction of proper authority, an employee appears as a witness or serves as a juror in any court of law, the employee may be granted time off with pay. Such leave should involve only that part of each day required for actual jury or witness duty.



If death occurs within an employee’s immediate family, leave will be granted, with pay, for a period not to exceed three days. An additional two days may be given if circumstances require travel out of the surrounding area or if it is determined that an earlier return would cause a hardship for the employee.  Any additional time taken will result in leave without pay or the loss of medical leave time to the employee.  Immediate family is generally defined as one’s spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and spouse’s parents.

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