3.1. 10 Short Term Disability

Policy Section: Leaves of Absence

Policy Number and Title: 3.1.10 Short Term Disability
Applicable to: All Employees
Effective Date: August 25, 2016

Policy Description

The Princeton University short term disability benefit provides income protection in the event of a short term disability where the injury or illness is not work related. The policy is administered by the Office of Human Resources. Short term disability benefits may be available for up to a maximum of 26 weeks of an approved disability during any 12-month period.
Both short term disability and workers’ compensation benefits count toward the same 26 week maximum.
The first 12 weeks of short term disability or workers' compensation leave is charged concurrently to any time you may have available under family and medical leave.
For more information about the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and New Jersey (FLA) family leave, see Policy 3.2.1 Family and Medical Leave.

Application of This Policy

The Princeton University Short Term Disability Policy applies to staff and dean of faculty employees1 who are unable to work because of a medically certified illness or injury that is not work-related.

Short Term Disability Pay

The Princeton University Short Term Disability Policy is established in accordance with the Temporary Disability Law of the State of New Jersey and the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • For all benefits-eligible employees, the University supplements the New Jersey Temporary Disability rate to full base salary for up to a maximum of 12 weeks for any approved disability and to 75% of full base salary for an additional 14 weeks for any approved disability. The combined period of supplemental disability pay or any continued period of disability is limited to 26 weeks in total per any 12-month period. Any qualified disability period during an unpaid leave of absence, scheduled non-working period, or post employment will be paid in accordance with the state formula in effect at the time of the approved absence.
  • For employees working a less-than-12-month schedule but who are scheduled to work during their standard non-working period, consideration will be given when establishing the disability benefit rate.
  • Probationary and casual employees may be eligible for the minimum legal benefit as defined under the New Jersey State statute.
  • Employees who are members of a union may be paid according to a different schedule and/or rate. Supervisors should consult the applicable contract to determine the appropriate short term disability rate.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a short term disability leave, employees must meet the following basic criteria and:
  1. be unable to perform their regular jobs or any work appropriate to the disability that may be offered;
  2. be disabled for at least eight full consecutive calendar days as certified by a licensed health care provider; if employees work less than 80% on the day that they become disabled, it is counted toward the eight consecutive day requirement.
  3. be under the care of the appropriate licensed health care provider for the presenting condition who certifies the limitation that prohibits employees from working and provides the treatment plan, regimen, and schedule for recovery and return to work;
  4. be following the treatment plan as provided by their health care provider;
  5. complete and submit the Application for Temporary Disability Benefits to the Office of Employee Health; and
  6. furnish disability medical certificates that are acceptable to the Office of Employee Health.
The University reserves the right to:
  1. confer with the employees’ attending health care providers;
  2. have employees examined by the Office of Employee Health;
  3. have employees referred by the Office of Employee Health for an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or a Functional Capacity Examination (FCE) by a health care provider designated by the Office of Employee Health or for a medical case management review by a designated third party provider;
  4. assign employees to a temporary position (or light duty) appropriate to the disability; and
  5. provide the necessary work accommodations to require a partial or full return to work based upon approval from Office of Employee Health.
  6. The University has the final responsibility for determining employee eligibility for short term disability benefits.

Confidentiality of Records

In all cases, the Office of Employee Health and Human Resources work with the supervisor and the employee to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed while maintaining the confidentiality of the employee's medical information.
The supervisor and Human Resources should not find it necessary to inquire about the employee’s underlying medical condition or diagnosis nor is it necessary for the employee to share such information with Human Resources or the supervisor. Rather, the supervisor and Human Resources need only communicate with the employee about the employee’s ability to perform the job duties or plans to return to work.
The employee is required to discuss the anticipated period of absence and plans to return to work with the supervisor or Human Resources.

1 DoF employees are eligible for short term disability benefits, as described in this policy. Faculty with approved summer pay will receive summer pay during an approved disability period in accordance with the agreement. DoF employees should consult with the Office of the Dean of the Faculty for more specific details.