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Dock Pay vs Leave Without Pay

When a faculty or staff member must be away from UNT and does not have enough accrued leave of any type to be off work with pay, the individual may have pay docked or be granted Leave Without Pay (LWOP.) Here is information that explains how this process should be correctly recorded using the electronic payroll action request, known as ePAR.

Docked Pay

Docking pay is a practice where managers place a salaried faculty/staff member in a short-term non-pay status on a daily basis when the individual does not have sufficient, appropriate and eligible leave for an absence.

Responsibilities:
  • Managers or their designee must monitor the situation closely and enter dock-daily basis in time records.
  • A faculty/staff member must use all applicable leave prior to going to dock status.
  • Dock should be used when a faculty/staff member is out for short periods.
  • Any leave of 10 days or more should be recorded as Leave Without Pay.
NOTE: If you know at the onset that the faculty/staff member will be out more than 10 days, do not use Dock for the first three (3) days. Instead, immediately create the Leave Without Pay ePAR.

Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

Leave without pay (LWOP) is a temporary non-pay status for salaried faculty/staff member absences that can be granted upon request or at supervisory discretion when someone will be in an unpaid status for 10 or more working days. This action removes the faculty/staff member from payroll.

Responsibilities:

Faculty/staff member-initiated leave without pay for non-medical purposes must be requested with the Leave Without Pay Request form.

  • If a faculty/staff member submits a LWOP request for personal reasons, the manager will need to balance the request with departmental needs to determine whether to approve the request.
  • Managers or their designee should submit an ePAR to put a faculty/staff member on LWOP.

Faculty/staff member-initiated LWOP for medical purposes must use eLeave for available leave and the appropriate form for the LWOP portion of the leave.

  • If an individual requests a significant amount of time off for medical reasons - medical procedure, birth of a child, caring for a family member - the supervisor should direct him/her to Human Resources and FMLASource, or to FMLASource at 1-844-837-9301 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
  • The supervisor should request anticipated leave dates and advise the office administrator/timekeeper.
  • The office administrator/timekeeper should review the requester’s leave balance to calculate if enough leave will be available.
  • Leave balances can be found in EIS:
    • On the faculty/staff member timesheet under Leave/Compensatory time tab.
    • By running the Leave balances-by-department report in the Time and Labor work center.
    • Running the query – REC_GBYP_TL_LEAVACCRL_VAC or REC_GBPY_TL_LEAVACCRL_SCK
Note: If the faculty/staff member does not have enough leave available, an ePAR will be needed to record leave without pay.

Manager-initiated leave without pay must occur if someone is out for 10 or more working days. However, if a manager knows that a faculty/staff member will be out for more than 10 days, the manager should immediately use LWOP. Managers and timekeepers must closely monitor the situation.

Note: It is important that a faculty/staff member be returned from leave using an ePAR.

Important Notes/ Points:

  • Carefully observe Payroll ePAR deadlines.
  • Things do not always go as planned. The faculty/staff member may need leave earlier than expected or may be unable to return at the anticipated date. Administrators should monitor these closely.
Example of correct way to handle LWOP situation:
  1. Faculty/staff member notifies Manager on April 24 that leave is needed for 6 weeks starting May 4, with an anticipated return date of June 16.
  2. The supervisor will instruct the faculty/staff member to contact Human Resources, or contact FMLA Source® online or by phone at 1-844-837-9301 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.
  3. The supervisor will notify the department administrator of leave dates for the faculty/staff member.
  4. The administrator will then verify current leave balances for the faculty/staff member.
    • In this example, the faculty/staff member has 62 hours of sick time and 32 hours of vacation on April 24 when the administrator is notified. Since the faculty/staff member intends to work the first few days of May, he/she will receive additional accruals for May. In this example, the faculty/staff member is accruing vacation at 10 hours per month. To complete the entire 6-week leave time as a standard 40-hour faculty/staff member, he/she would need 240 hours.
    • Including the May leave time, the faculty/staff member will have 70 hours of sick time and 42 hours of vacation if no time off is used before the leave. It is important for administrators to keep track of time used prior to a requested leave. This will give the faculty/staff member a total of 112 hours, when 240 would be needed. On May 24, this faculty/staff member would run out of leave time.
    • The ePAR deadline for the May payment paying June 1 is May 15.
    • The ePAR to place the faculty/staff member on LWOP must be completed with approvals no later than May 15.
  5. When the faculty/staff member returns from leave, an ePAR must be submitted to return the individual from LWOP and to be paid again.

In this hypothetical example, accruals for sick and vacation for May would not be available should the faculty/staff member begin leave before the end of April. Thus, he/she would exhaust leave time sooner than anticipated.

If the faculty/staff member had applied for sick pool or sick leave donation, but it had not been approved by the ePAR deadline date, an ePAR would be needed to prevent an overpayment. If, at a later date, the faculty/staff member is approved for sick pool or sick leave donation, an ePAR to return from LWOP can be completed and sick pool hours added.

If a faculty/staff member exhausts accruals past the docking period while on FMLA, the administrator should complete an ePAR for LWOP/FMLA or Parental Leave or LWOP/Health.