Employee Relations
Employee Handbook




 Leave Programs

Absence Reporting

Any deviation from an employee’s normal schedule must be reported in advance to the employee’s supervisor. If an employee will be absent or late to work, the employee should contact the appropriate supervisor as soon as possible on each day of absence so that he/she may plan work schedules accordingly. Planned absences (e.g., vacation) must be approved well in advance using the Leave Reporting and Permission to be Absent Form. For unplanned absences, an employee should submit the same form upon his/her return to work. Each employee should keep a careful record of his/her paid leave time available. At the end of each month, leave forms are forwarded to the Payroll Department for processing. The completed leave form for a Classified Staff employee will accompany the employee’s time sheet when submitted to Payroll.

Paid Leaves

Full-time regular employees may be eligible for paid leaves offered by the District. These leave options include vacation leave, sick leave, personal leave, bereavement leave, court leave, military leave and professional development leave. Part-time employees are not eligible for paid leaves or leave of absence without pay. A short description of each paid leave type follows:

Vacation Leave

New employees may use vacation time when five or more days have been accrued. Vacation may accumulate to a maximum vacation allowance of 40 days. Proposed vacation days must be cleared with a supervisor well in advance. When employment is terminated, any unused accrued vacation will be paid.


Instructional support staff employees (e.g., lab assistants) are normally required to schedule their vacation leave during academic breaks, in accordance with the academic calendar.







Classified Staff:

1 through 60 months of service



61 through 120 months of service



121 through 180 months of service



181 or more months of service



 Administrative/Professional Support Staff



NOTE: Externally-funded employees may be required to use their vacation allowance before the end of the grant/contract.

Sick Leave

After the initial thirty day period, employees are eligible for one day of sick leave per month. Sick leave may accumulate to a maximum of 120 days. Use of sick leave is restricted and may be used for the following reasons:

  • Personal illness, injury or disability;
  • Illness in the immediate family (spouse or unmarried children to age 25);
  • Critical illness of an extended family member (parents, adult children, siblings, grandparents or anyone of a like relationship by marriage up to 10 days per 12 month period);
  • Death of a relative;
  • Child rearing (up to 6 months during child's first year of life);
  • Adoption of a child (up to one month if child is older than 1 year);
  • Paternity Leave (up to one week);
  • Medical appointments which cannot be scheduled outside normal working hours; or
  • A disability covered under the Workers' Compensation (prorated, equal to the difference in the workers' compensation payment and the employee's regular pay rate).

Academic-year faculty members will accrue 12 days of sick leave per academic year. A faculty member employed under a supplemental assignment in the summer (or other academic break) remains eligible to use sick leave; however, such sick leave must be of an unanticipated nature and must be charged in increments of four hours.

Ten percent of accrued unused sick leave is payable to an employee who has at least five years of continuous eligible full-time service upon separation from employment for any reason other than by death. The estate of a deceased employee is entitled to 50% payment for the first 160 hours of accrued unused sick leave, and if the employee had five years of continuous eligible full-time service, the balance, if any, is payable at 10%.

Personal Leave

With prior approval of the employee’s supervisor, an employee is permitted two days of paid personal leave per fiscal year. The benefit reduces to one day when initial employment commences on or after March 1.

Bereavement Leave

The College will grant up to three days of bereavement leave to full-time employees because of a death in the immediate family (spouse, parents, brother, sister, grandparents, children and anyone of a like relationship by marriage).

Court Leave

Upon presentation of proper evidence, necessary time off for jury duty will be granted without loss of leave time to any full-time employee called to serve on a jury or for a court appearance when subpoenaed as a witness, so long as the employee is not the defendant or plaintiff or receiving a fee for the testimony.

Military Leave

Any full-time regular employee who is required to be absent from work for military training or duty is entitled to a maximum of 15 days of paid leave per year to comply with such orders.

Professional Development Leave

Full-time administrative, professional support, classified staff and tenured or probationary faculty with a minimum of three to five years employment with the College (depending on type of leave requested) are eligible for a Professional Development Leave. Such leaves are granted for those individuals who wish to pursue study, research writing, and field observations or work experience to enhance their professional skills and add to the value of employees' subsequent services to the College.

Applications are initiated during the academic/fiscal year preceding the year in which the employee is eligible for such leave. Applications are made in writing and include a plan statement. When the employee returns to the College, he/she shall present a full report regarding the use of the leave to his/her cabinet officer who will forward the report to the President.

After a professional development leave, another leave will not be granted to the employee until another eligibility period of service has been worked. The time on a professional development leave shall count as experience for salary, tenure and/or promotion. In addition, an employee on professional development leave shall continue to be a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas or the Optional Retirement Program of the District.

Employees taking leave for one full semester or longer in any category are expected to return to their College duties for at least one contractual year. If an employee does not return to their duties, the entire compensation of the professional development leave period must be returned to the College except in the case of permanent disability or death.

During the leave, the employee shall not render service for compensation in another institution. This does not include acceptance of a fellowship or other assistance in research. All additional sources of funds must be reported on the professional development leave request.

There are five categories of professional development leave including (l) short term, (2) extended, (3) externship, (4) employee exchange and (5) El Paso Community College Internships.

  • Short-term Leave of Absence is leave of less than one semester during an academic or fiscal year. Full-time regular faculty and staff must complete a minimum of three years of continuous full-time service to be eligible for this type of leave.
  • Extended Leave may be granted for an academic or fiscal contractual period during which the staff member receives one-half of his/her regular salary or may be granted for one-half of the academic or contractual period with full salary. A tenured faculty member or a full-time regular staff member with five years of continuous full-time service is eligible for this type of leave.
  • Externships are paid leave for up to one semester for work experience in the teaching/working field as a means of updating professional expertise. A probationary or tenured faculty or a regular staff member who has worked for five consecutive years with the College is eligible.
  • Employee Exchange is an exchange of tenured faculty for one semester or one academic year or an exchange of a regular staff member for a period up to one year, between two academic institutions or organizations. This type of leave is designed to enrich the participant's knowledge of the College, a specific discipline, department, student needs and/or teaching approaches. All tenured faculty and full-time regular staff with a minimum of five years of continuous service are eligible to apply for this type of leave.
  • Internship Leave is an assignment for up to one year to another EPCC department to increase knowledge in specific operations as well as relationships to overall College operations. Probationary and tenured faculty and full-time regular employees with three years of continuous full-time service are eligible for this program.

Unpaid Leaves

A leave of absence is defined as an absence without pay for one full pay period or more. With the interest of the institution being given first consideration, and for good cause, a leave of absence without pay may be granted to a full-time regular employee upon approval of the President and the Board of Trustees.

A leave of absence will in no way affect an employee’s status at the College. Upon return from the leave of absence, the employee will be eligible for the same position or one of equal pay and status unless the employee is physically or mentally unable to perform the duties of such a position.

An employee must notify his/her supervisor of their intention to return from a leave of absence before the end of the leave. Failure to return from an approved leave of absence will be considered as a resignation.

The employee on leave may continue insurance benefits through the College at the employee's expense in accordance with the rules and regulations of the GBP. Coverage can be maintained up to 12 months (24 months for an educational leave) on a direct pay basis.

Employees interested in a leave of absence without pay should reference Policy 3.32.18 for specific information.

  • Educational Leave of Absence Without Pay

    Because funds for professional development leaves are limited, employees may also request a leave of absence without pay for up to one year for the purpose of academic study. In certain cases, such a leave of absence may be extended upon request.

  • Medical Leave of Absence Without Pay

    Except for worker’s compensation absences, a medical leave of absence without pay may be requested for temporary disability and shall not exceed one year. A physician’s statement must be submitted to support the request and will also be required to release the employee to return to work.

  • Military Leave of Absence

    A leave of absence without pay may be requested by a full-time regular employee in order to enter into active duty with the regular or reserve Armed Forces of the United States, with the Texas National Guard or with the Texas State Guard. An honorable discharge, within five years of the date of enlistment or call to service, is required for restoration to employment with the College.

  • Personal Leave of Absence

    A leave of absence without pay may be requested to handle pressing personal obligations. Normally, this type of leave will not exceed one (1) year.

  • Part-time Leave of Absence

    Part-time employees are not eligible for paid leaves or leaves of absence without pay.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (revised 9/2/2009)

Basic Entitlement

FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;
  • To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.

Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.

FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.

An employee must exhaust available paid leave before using the balance of the weeks as leave without pay. Eligible employees may request a reduced load or partial leave. This refers to a leave schedule that reduces the usual number of hours per pay period. The reduction may be intermittent or a fixed percentage according to the employee’s need.

The employee's medical insurance continues through the leave. Optional coverage continue provided the employee remits his/her portion of dependent and optional premiums.

The employee should provide 30 days advance notice when the leave is foreseeable. The employee must file an application and attach a valid certification. Materials and additional information on family/medical leaves are available through the Employee Benefits Office.

The full text of the Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act may be reviewed at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmlaen.pdf

Continuing Insurance Coverage During Leave Without Pay Status

During a leave without pay, employees may continue all insurance coverage.

To continue coverage during the leave without pay status, employees are required to pay the monthly premium when due. The premium payment is due on the 1st of each month and must be received by the Employees Retirement System no later than 30 days after that date. If the total premium (partial payments are not accepted) is not paid within this time, all coverage will be canceled effective the end of the month for which the last premium was paid.

Coverage can be continued for a maximum period of 12 continuous months. An additional 12 months may be allowed for employees in a leave without pay status certified for educational purposes. At the end of the maximum period, employees have the option to continue coverage under the provisions of COBRA, provided certain eligibility criteria is met.

For employees on FMLA and who are in a leave-without-pay status, the State/College contributes the cost of the insurance as it does for working employees. The premium due from the employee is based on the amount owed after the state/employer contributes its share of the cost.

If the total premium is not paid when due, all coverage will be canceled, except employee-only health. While on FMLA, the employee will continue to have employee only health coverage on the date the other coverage are canceled. If at a later date the leave is changed from FMLA leave to another type of leave-without-pay status, the employee will no longer be eligible for the state/employer contributions. In this event, the premium due from the employee will increase and a new premium will be required to continue coverage.