A Simpler Way to Support Employees
The University is transitioning to a new, employee-centered process for tracking and managing certain workplace leaves of absence starting December 1. A dedicated staff in the Office of Human Resources (OHR) will manage the process for faculty and staff taking a parental, personal, military, or other extended leave of absence, including leaves covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Requesting a Leave on Behalf of an Employee
Employees will have three options to submit their leave request: self-service using MyU, calling, or emailing the Leave Administration team.
Supervisors, family members, and HR staff will also be able to submit a leave request on behalf of the employee by contacting the Leaves Administration team at:
- Email [email protected].
- Or, call OHR’s Leave Administration team at 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 and choose option No. 2, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Documents can be faxed to 952-232-4915
Once you submit a request, a leave specialist will contact you within one business day. They will also update the supervisor and local HR Lead on the leave of absence requests, track the time away and work with the employee on benefits coverage, and help to communicate and coordinate the return to work plan.
Helping to Support the Entire Person
Employees who need to take an extended time away from work for a parental, medical, personal, or military leave will be supported by the Leave of Absence Team who will help connect them with resources from the University so they can focus on themself, their health, their family, or their service to the country.
Frequently Asked Questions for Supervisors
Q. Why did the University adopt a new leave of absence process?
A. The PEAK Initiative identified complex leaves of absence as an opportunity for improved service. Supervisors who had an employee recently take a leave of absence provided recommendations that are being incorporated into the new leave approach. The new, human-centered approach to leaves will help streamline leave management and provide an improved, more equitable experience systemwide.
The Leave of Absence team will measure and monitor the quality of service and look for continued opportunities to improve the experience for employees, supervisors, and the HR community.
Q. Which employee groups are affected by the transition and how?
A. Faculty, staff, and federal benefits employees in Extension will follow the new leave of absence process by contacting the Leave Administration team or using MyU for self-service. The Leave Administration team will work with the appropriate staff person to ensure time is tracked appropriately on any federal log documents.
Medical School Faculty employed by the University of Minnesota Physicians (UMP) and Trades employees will follow slightly different steps, outlined below:
Federal Benefits Employees
- Employees who receive federal benefits will follow the new leave of absence process by contacting the Leave Administration team or using MyU for self-service.
- The Leave Administration team will work with the appropriate staff person to ensure time is tracked appropriately on any federal log documents.
Medical School Faculty Employed by University of Minnesota Physicians (UMP)
- The faculty member will need to inform both UMP and the University’s Leave Administration team about their leave since the HR systems are not integrated.
- In addition, these employees will file two separate disability (U of M and UMP) claims if appropriate.
- Those covered by the Trades bargaining unit are not eligible for University leaves since they receive benefits through their trade union.
- However, they qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Their time away under FMLA will be tracked through OHR’s Leave team using the new processes (phone, email, or MyU submission).
- In addition, Trades staff who contact the Disability Resource Center will be directed to OHR if their issue qualifies under either FMLA or ADA.
Q. What are the benefits of the new leaves process?
A. Centralizing the leave of absence process will improve tracking, reporting, and compliance for complex leaves, such as those that fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), disability, or military categories.
It also will free supervisors and HR unit staff to focus on other aspects of their jobs, removing the burden of managing what are, at times, complex and administrative-heavy tasks with compliance risk.
Q. How will employees submit a leave request?
A. Employees can submit leave requests through MyU or by contacting OHR Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. CST at 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 (choose option No. 2), or at [email protected]. A team member will respond within one business day.
Q. What if an employee needs to take an emergency leave?
A. An employee’s supervisor, family member, or emergency contact can initiate a leave request on behalf of an employee by contacting OHR Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. CST at 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 (choose option No. 2), or at [email protected]. A team member will respond within one business day.
Q. How will supervisors be informed of employee leaves status?
A. Leave of absence specialists will update HR Leads and supervisors on employees’ leave status and expected return dates.
Q. What steps should supervisors take if an employee expresses a desire to take a leave of absence?
A. Supervisors should direct employees to submit a leave request through MyU or by contacting the Leave Administration team Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. CST at 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 (choose option No. 2), or at [email protected].
Q. What is the plan for employees on leave before the December 1, 2022, transition date?
A. Local HR staff will contact that individual to discuss next steps. Supervisors will be copied on those communications. The administration of the employee’s leave may stay with local HR, or it may transfer to the central Leave Administration team in OHR. It will depend on the length of the leave.
This project is part of the PEAK Initiative, which aims to help align our people, provide a work community that supports them, and prioritize employee experiences.
Checklist for Supervisors
Prior to employee Leave (~4 weeks+)
Prepare for employee leave of absence:
Review Leave of Absence page.
Contact the Leave Administration team for further questions.
Put employee in touch with Leave Administration team if they have further questions.
You will be contacted by a Leave Administrator upon your employee’s leave approval or if more information is needed.
Prior to employee Leave (~1-2 weeks)
Plan coverage for work:
Confirm leave timing with employee and discuss work transition while on leave at a high level.
Discuss your employee’s leave with your HR Lead to receive guidance on transitioning your employee’s work to others, if needed.
Plan with Leave Administrator:
Review employee’s pay and absence plan developed with Leave Administrator.
3. Employee Leaves
During employee’s time away
Track employee leave status:
Look out for communications from your employee or leave administrator in case they have notified you of plans changing.
If employee extends leave, adjust workforce plans as needed; reach out to HR Lead for guidance, if needed.
4. Employee Returns
Upon employee’s return
Prepare for employee’s return to work:
Your Leave Administrator will reach out 1-2 weeks prior to your employee’s planned return to confirm the return and will notify you of plans.
Work with your employee and the DRC to understand any accommodations they’ll need when returning from their leave, including a phased return, if needed.
Acknowledge employees who have provided coverage for the employee out on leave to encourage team motivation and morale.