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Staff Educational Leave of Absence

Eligibility

An employee is eligible to request and be considered for a Staff Educational Leave of Absence after one year of benefits-eligible service. The staff member must fill out an Application for Staff Leave of Absence and receive the approval of his/her immediate supervisor, the appropriate dean or director, and the appropriate vice president or designee. The leave request should be submitted as soon as possible, but ordinarily not less than 30 calendar days before the leave is to begin.

When a Leave of Absence May Be Considered

An employee is eligible to request a Staff Educational Leave of Absence if the purpose is to pursue one’s educational development and if it is beneficial to the employee and to the University. A summary of the educational development plan and how it will enhance the individual’s SMU career must be attached to the Application for Staff Leave of Absence.

Duration of Leave

A Staff Educational Leave may extend for a period of not more than one year.  The leave may not be intermittent.

Financial Arrangements During a Leave of Absence

The University will make no wage or salary payments to the absent employee other than those authorized by other SMU policy.

  • The employee must use all accrued vacation days at the beginning of the leave.
  • Vacation and medical leave accruals are suspended during the period covered by the Staff Educational Leave of Absence.  
  • Certain employee benefits may be maintained during a Staff Educational Leave of Absence if the employee so specifies on the Application for Staff Leave of Absence and agrees to pay the total premiums involved, including the University’s and the employee’s portion of the premium.

Resumption of Service

While both the employee and SMU may anticipate the employee’s return to work upon expiration of the leave of absence, circumstances for either or both parties may change in the interim. Also, the employment relationship between the parties is at-will, so there is no guarantee of reinstatement if the employee chooses to return to work at SMU, and the employee is free to decide not to return. Assuming the employee chooses to and is able to return to SMU upon expiration of the leave of absence, he or she will be considered for the position he or she left, if it remains available, or any open position for which the employee is qualified.