Leave for Yourself

Leave for yourself

You may need to take time away from work for medical issues or injuries, military service, or other personal reasons. Columbia University offers a variety of leave options to accommodate your personal needs and support your wellness.

 

Medical (not work-related) Leave

Do you need to take a leave of absence for your own health condition? Types of reasons for this type of leave include:

  • pregnancy
  • accident
  • illness
  • injury not related to work

These are all considered non-occupational medical leaves, and you may be eligible for a short-term disability leave. You can take a medical leave for a set period of time, on a reduced schedule, or sporadically.

Steps for All Employees

1. You must notify your supervisor of your absence and submit a medical note after one work week of absence. 
 
2. Your Supervisor or HR Departmental contact will provide you with additional information on state/federal leaves, including:  

3. Family and Medical Leave Act (if eligible):


Cigna
1-888-842-4462
PO Box 29221
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9221
Telephone:  (888) 842 4462
Fax: (800) 642-8553
Fax for extensions/updates: (866) 472-3221

For All Employees

  • If you are eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), FMLA will run concurrently with Medical Leave.
     

Officer of Administration

  • Full-Time Officers of Administration, including those in an 11-month program: eligible for a paid medical leave with salary continuation for up to six months, during a rolling 12-month period. It will run concurrently with New York State Disability (NYSDBL). 
     
  • New York State Disability provides a weekly cash benefit, up to $170/week, for up to 26 weeks, for a short-term disability leave. There is a seven-day waiting period in which you will not receive this benefit. If you are utilizing salary continuation, the NYSDBL payments will be remitted to Columbia.
     

Officers of Instruction, Research and Libraries

All Other Officers of Administration, including Nine-Month, Ten-Month Part-Time Officers of Administration, and Non-Union Support Staff

  • You may be eligible for partial payment by NYSDBL, as determined by New York State law, based on your time of employment. Reach out to your Departmental HR contact for more information about your eligibility.
     

Union Support Staff

  • Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), paid leave may be available. Employee’s eligible for paid leave by the University will remit any NYSDBL payments to the University. The CBA should be consulted for more information.

Prior to Returning to Work:

  1. Submit medical certification from your physician (doctor’s note) to the CUHR Leave Management Office and appropriate carrier (PMA for Worker’s Compensation or Cigna* for NYSDBL).  
     
  2. Reach out to your Departmental HR contact to provide an update on your return to work. 
     
  3. If you require a workplace accommodation, please contact the CUHR Leave Management Office to coordinate prior to your return to work.
     
  4. For additional information, please review the Medical Leave of Absence Policy.

*1199 Clerical and Cafeteria employees should submit the document to CUHR Leave Management Office only. Maritime Workers, Officers of Instruction and employees working out of state should contact the CUHR Leave Management Office.

Other Types of Leave

Workers' Compensation is a medical leave of absence that applies to you if you need to miss work due to a workplace incident, accident or job-related illness. All Columbia University employees are covered by the New York State Workers' Compensation Law. Workers' Compensation is insurance that will provide you with cash and/or medical care if you have been injured or become ill as a direct result of your job.

Steps for Workers' Compensation

  1. Seek medical attention if you need immediate help.
     
  2. You should report the incident to your supervisor, and complete a Departmental Accident Report Form for Workers’ Compensation Benefits.
     
  3. Make sure to complete this form within 24 hours of the incident, to make sure that there is no delay in the process.
     
  4. If you will be absent from work due to your injury you should also be sure to ask your Departmental HR contact to provide you with any applicable forms to complete, for you to return to the CUHR Leave Management Office.
     
  5. You will also need to provide your supervisor and CUHR Leave Management with a doctor’s note to cover your absence, and keep them properly updated on your return to work date.
     

If you need medical treatment, you should seek medical attention immediately at a location most convenient to you. Please note that any private physician authorized by the Workers' Compensation Board can be used.

See NY State Workers' Comp poster

Treatment locations near campuses:

Morningside/Manhattanville Campus:

Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Emergency Room
1111 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10025
(212) 523-4000
 
Medical Center:


Workforce Health and Safety
1st floor Harkness Pavilion.
Open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(212) 305-7590. 
Note: You must have a Columbia University ID to be seen.
 
or
 
New York Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Room
630 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-2500
 
Lamont Campus:


Nyack Hospital 
160 N Midland Ave
Nyack, NY 10960
(845) 348-2000

When receiving treatment for a workplace injury, you will not need to pay the doctor or hospital and your private insurance should not be billed. If any charges are incurred, you should save all receipts and mail them to our insurer, PMA, for processing.*

*Employees working out of state should contact the CUHR Leave Management Office.
 

PMA

PMA Customer Service Center
P.O. Box 5231 Janesville, WI 53547-5231
Telephone: (888) 476-2669
Fax: 800-432-9762
Email: claimsmail@pmagroup.com

Useful Information

For All Employees
Officer of Administration
  • Full-Time Officers of Administration, including those in an Eleven-Month Program: eligible for a paid medical leave for up to six months (salary continuation) during any rolling 12-month period when extended absence is caused by a work related accident or illness. Workers’ Compensation will run concurrently.  
Officers of Instruction, Research and Libraries
All Other Officers of Administration, including Nine-Month, Ten-Month Part-Time Officers of Administration, and Non-Union Support Staff
Union Support Staff
  • Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), paid leave may be available. Employee’s eligible for paid leave by the University will remit any payments received by Workers’ Compensation to the University. The CBA should be consulted for more information.

Returning to Work

Prior to returning to work, submit medical certification from your physician (doctor's note) to the CUHR Leave Management Office and appropriate carrier (PMA for Workers' Compensation or Cigna for NYSDBL).  Please also reach out to your Departmental HR contact to provide an update on your return to work. If you require a workplace accommodationcontact the CUHR Leave Management Office to coordinate with you and your department prior to your return to work.

A personal leave is an unpaid leave of absence for personal reasons that are not covered by other types of leaves offered by the University/State, or for additional time beyond the allowed time of a University permitted leave. Typical reasons include illness in the family, education, and other compelling personal needs.

Steps to Request a Personal Leave (if eligible):

  1. For other types of leave which are neither PFL nor FMLA, eligible employees may consider requesting a personal leave of absence.
     
  2. An employee requesting Personal Leave must submit a written request to their supervisor and/or Departmental HR contact as far in advance as possible and indicate an anticipated return to work date. 
     

Useful Information 

Officers of Administration

You are eligible to apply for an unpaid personal leave of absence. University policy allows you to take an unpaid leave for up to six-months. This type of leave is only granted in cases not covered by any other University policy, and requires the approval of both your department head and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources. Occasionally, substitution of paid time off is permitted by using your vacation, personal, or NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable. Twelve months of employment is required before you can apply for a personal leave.

Non-Union Support Staff 

You are eligible to apply for an unpaid personal leave of absence. University policy allows you to take an unpaid leave for up to six-months. This type of leave is only granted in cases not covered by any other University policy, and requires the approval of both your department head and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources. Occasionally, substitution of paid time off is permitted by using your vacation, personal, or NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time, if applicable. Twelve months of employment is required before you can apply for a personal leave.

Union Support Staff

Each Union’s Collective Bargaining agreement outlines the benefits available for personal leaves. A full description can be found in your union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

 

A long-term disability (LTD) leave of absence is available following a medical leave of six months or longer and requires an application process through the University’s LTD insurance provider.

Eligibility

All full-time Officers are automatically covered under the Basic LTD Insurance plan at no cost. Officers may elect to buy additional coverage under the Optional LTD insurance plan.

Benefit Description

Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits replace a portion of your income if you become ill or injured and cannot work. You may apply for LTD benefits when experiencing work-related or non-work related injuries or illnesses that are expected to extend beyond six months. The Cigna LTD Summary Plan brochure describes the benefit in greater detail. 

Requesting a Leave of Absence

The steps below are applicable to Officers of Administration, Officers of Research and Officers of the Libraries. Officers of Instruction should contact Cigna at 800-842-4462 to initiate a claim.

  • Approximately 30 calendar days prior to the completion of 26 weeks of disability, a Cigna LTD claims manager will reach out to you directly to review any eligible LTD benefits.
     
  • The Cigna claims manager will work directly with you and your physician to transition to LTD. LTD benefit questions can be directed to Cigna at 888-842-4462. 

If you need to take a Military related leave, please consult with your HR Departmental contact or the CUHR Leave Management office to understand the available leave options.

FMLA Policy

Paid Family Leave Policy

Prior to returning to work, please reach out to the CUHR Leave Management Office as well as your Departmental HR contact to provide an update on your return to work. If you require further assistance, please contact the CUHR Leave Management Office to coordinate prior to your return to work.

 

notice

Important Notices

The Leaves of Absence section is intended only to provide information and guidance for processing leaves for Columbia University Officers, staff and union employees. The writers of the content have exercised their best efforts to ensure accuracy of the information, but accuracy is not guaranteed. If there are any discrepancies between the information on the website, verbal representations and the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or applicable University policies, the CBAs and applicable policies will always govern. The information is subject to change from time to time. The information contained on the website is intended to provide examples and does not replace the CBAs or University policies.

In addition to FMLA, other University policies and laws, if eligible, will run concurrently, including NYC Earned Safe/Sick Time.

FMLA does not supersede any University policy or collective bargaining agreement that provides greater family or medical leave rights than the rights established under FMLA. Conversely, FMLA provides that the rights established for employees under FMLA cannot be diminished by any policy or agreement.

The leave granted under FMLA generally is a lesser benefit than that available under various University policies and collective bargaining agreements. Because the University meets or exceeds FMLA requirements in many respects, this policy designates many existing types of leave as FMLA leave, so that the University leaves and the FMLA leave run concurrently.