4.23 Education Leave Policy

See version history

I. Definitions

A. Education Leave: A specified period of more than three weeks during which an employee is released from all College duties and responsibilities and undertakes an activity designed to enhance the job performance of the employee upon return to the College.

B. Education Leave Agreement: A specification of the obligation assumed by an employee to resume employment with the College after the leave or, failing that, to repay the College for the salary and fringe benefit compensation received while on leave.

C. Supervising Administrators: All the persons (department level and higher) who have line responsibility for an employee.

D. Immediate Administrator: The administrator (department level or higher) who exercises direct supervision of an employee.

E. College Funds: Any funds, regardless of source, available to the College, including CPCC Foundation and Professional Development funds.

F. Year: Any period of twelve consecutive calendar months. Nine or more months of service during any year are equivalent to one year of service; in no case shall more than one year of service be credited during any year.

II. Policy

The President may authorize education leave for a full-time employee provided the activities planned for the leave are directly related to improving the regular duties assigned to the employee and satisfy any specific criteria established by the College. Furthermore, as stipulated in State Board of Community Colleges Code 1C SBCCC 400.96, the employee must sign an Education Leave Agreement certifying that if he/she fails to resume employment and work for a stated period at the end of the leave, he/she will repay any salary and benefits received during the leave (or a prorated portion if the agreement is honored in part). College funds may be used to pay the employee's full salary and benefits for a leave of no more than one semester.

III. Education Leave Without Pay or Benefits


A. Guidelines

An education leave without pay and benefits for a period of up to one year may be approved for the purpose of improving the job performance of the employee through study, research, or holding a temporary position directly related to the employee's College duties.

Those eligible for such leave are employees who have worked full-time for the College for three consecutive years immediately prior to the term during which the education leave without pay is taken.

The employee must sign an Education Leave Agreement stating the employee's intent to resume employment at the end of the leave period.

Upon the employee's return from the leave, the employee's salary will be determined by adding to the employee's last received monthly salary all across-the-board pay increases that the employee would have received had he/she not taken the leave. During the leave, department seniority will accrue. However, accrual of service credit for longevity pay and retirement will not continue during an unpaid leave of absence. Health, dental, and vision insurance may be continued during the leave if the employee pays the full cost of coverage. All other benefits will be terminated and re-enrollment will be necessary upon the employee's return to employment at the end of the leave period. The leave may be extended beyond one year by the President, but the aforementioned benefits and salary increase will not be awarded for the extended leave.

Upon an employee's return after an education leave without pay and benefits, the College may assign the employee to the position that he/she vacated or may reassign the employee by transfer to any other position for which the employee is qualified. A position may not be available if the President has authorized a job class reduction for the employee's job classification or if the employee's position has been discontinued as the result of a reduction or financial exigency as defined in Policy 4.07 or Policy 4.08.

B. Procedure

The employee will submit to the immediate administrator the Agreement for Education Leave Without Pay and Benefits. The applicant shall attach a document explaining in detail the information needed by all supervising administrators and the Professional Development Advisory Committee to determine whether the proposed activities satisfy the criteria set forth for education leave without pay and shall include a statement of intent to return to the College after the leave.

The employee's supervising administrator will review the application and determine whether the activities described in the application meet the requirements for an education leave without pay. Approved proposals will be forwarded to the Professional Development Advisory Committee for review.

The Professional Development Advisory Committee will review the application and accompanying documents. A copy of the application and the Committee's recommendation will be sent to the Vice President. A copy of the Committee's recommendation will be sent to the employee's supervising administrator and to the employee.

The Vice President will review the application, the Committee's report, and the involved administrators' recommendations and send his/her recommendation to the President for final approval/denial. The Director of the Center for Leadership and Staff Development will be informed of the decision and will notify the employee, the supervising administrator, and the Human Resources Department. The Director will forward the properly executed Education Leave Agreement to the Human Resources Department.

If the length of the education leave without pay is greater than one semester, written confirmation of intent to resume employment will be provided by the employee within 30 days of the anticipated return to work.

IV. Education Leave With Pay and Benefits

A. Guidelines

An education leave with pay for a period not to exceed 18 calendar weeks may be approved for the purpose of improving the job performance of the employee through advanced study at an accredited institution, through targeted job-related study at a specialized institute, or through holding a temporary position directly related to the employee's duties. Subject to the approval of supervising administrators, College funds can be used to grant an education leave with pay if all six of the following conditions are met:

1. The individual has worked full-time for the College for three consecutive years immediately prior to the term during which the education leave with pay is taken.

2. The employee has entered into an Education Leave Agreement either to resume employment with the College following the leave for a return period of three weeks for every week of leave or to repay the salary and benefits received during the leave (or a pro-rata portion if the agreement is honored in part). The agreement may be abrogated for reasons judged by the President to be appropriate.

3. The education leave with pay does not exceed a period of 18 calendar weeks.

4. The employee has not received an education leave with pay during the 36 months immediately preceding the leave.

5. College funds are available.

6. The activities planned for the education leave are directly related to improving the employee's competence to perform the regular duties assigned and meet any special criteria set forth for the particular source of funds being used.

During the paid leave of absence, department seniority, vacation leave, and sick leave will continue to accrue; and the employer's share of fringe benefits will continue to be paid by the College.

Upon an employee's return after an education leave with pay, the College may assign the employee to the position he/she vacated, unless a reduction in force has been made necessary by financial exigency or by a reduction in the employee's program. If there was a reduction in force during the period of the employee's leave, the process defined in Policy 4.07 or Policy 4.08 will be in effect.

In instances where the employee does not return to work because of job class reduction, program reduction, or financial exigency, the costs incurred in maintaining salary or benefits do not have to be repaid.

B. Procedure

Each January the President shall announce the objectives for which education leaves with pay will be granted for the fiscal year to begin in July.

The employee will submit to the immediate supervisor an Application for Education Leave with pay. The application shall explain in detail the information needed by all supervising administrators and the Professional Development Advisory Committee to determine whether the proposed activities satisfy the purposes defined for education leave with pay and meet one or more of the objectives approved for the year in which the leave is requested. The employee's application must bear the endorsement of his/her immediate administrator.

The employee's supervising administrators will review the application and decide on the appropriateness of the proposal within the context of work group priorities and CPCC policies. Approved proposals will be forwarded to the Professional Development Advisory Committee.

The Professional Development Advisory Committee will review the application to determine if criteria and guidelines are met for the North Carolina Department of Community Colleges and Central Piedmont Community College. It will also determine the availability of centralized funds. A copy of the application and the Committee's recommendation will be forwarded to the Vice President. A copy of the Committee's recommendation will be sent to the employee's supervising administrator and to the employee.

The Vice President will review the application, the Committee's report, and the involved administrators' recommendations and send his recommendation to the President, who will render a final approval/denial. The Director of the Center for Leadership and Staff Development will be informed of the decision and will notify the employee, his/her immediate administrator, and the Human Resources Department. The Director will forward the properly executed Education Leave Agreement to the Human Resources Department.

The Human Resources Department will make arrangements to ensure continuation of fringe benefits and salary.

C. Leaves for Less Than Three Weeks

Activities requiring the staff member to be absent from the job for three weeks or less for professional development may be authorized without requesting a leave of absence.

Changes approved by Cabinet on October 21, 2005; February 18, 2013