Short-Term Medical Disability (STMD) Leave: Base Pay up to $216k

The university provides eligible staff employees (at no cost) a Short-Term Medical Disability (STMD) Plan benefit that provides income protection when an employee is unable to work due to recovery after childbirth or for their own non-occupational illness or injury or healthcare need (e.g., surgery) that lasts for more than 7 calendar days (elimination period).

For an employee’s healthcare need, the plan provides 60% of stated regular base salary up to $216,000 for up to 25 weeks in a rolling 12-month period.  The maximum benefit is $2,500 per week.

For recovery after childbirth, the STMD plan provides 100% of stated regular base salary up to $216,000.  The benefit is up to 6 weeks for a normal delivery and 8 weeks for a cesarean – however, both include a 7 calendar day elimination period (generally 5 working days) which must be covered by sick or vacation or is otherwise unpaid.

Employees do not need to enroll in STMD in order to be eligible, but must contact Unum to request a STMD leave in order to receive a benefit. Unum pays this benefit directly to the employee on a weekly basis. The amount of the STMD benefit paid by Unum is based on the employee’s base salary as of the date the STMD leave begins.


ELIGIBILITY

Regular full-time and part-time benefits-eligible staff employees may request a new leave/claim after completing at least 6 consecutive months of benefits-eligible service.

Regular full-time staff employees are defined as benefits-eligible employees scheduled to work at least 37.5 hours per week and regular part-time staff employees are defined as benefits-eligible employees who are regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week but less than 37.5 hours per week.

Faculty, postdocs, clinical fellows, students, non-employees and union employees are not covered under the STMD Plan.


DESCRIPTION OF BENEFIT

An employee is considered disabled and eligible to file a claim for STMD benefits if they expect to be out of work for more than 7 calendar days due to a non-work-related illness, injury or healthcare need such as surgery or childbirth. Up to 25 weeks of STMD are available on a rolling 12-month basis from first date of disability for conditions lasting more than 7 calendar days. STMD cannot be taken intermittently.

Employees with accrued sick time balances greater than 50 days are required to use frozen accrued sick time during the period of STMD down to 50 days or less prior to income replacement provided by Unum. See Sick Time Policy for more information.

While on STMD, employees are required to use sick and then vacation time for the first 7 days (elimination period). Employees receiving the 60% benefit are required to use sick time and then vacation to “top up” the remaining 40% of pay until sick and vacation are exhausted.

Employees who have 50 sick days or less do not have the option to elect sick or vacation time instead of the Unum benefit.  Employees are required to contact Unum to request STMD.  Sick and vacation usage is limited to the 40% “top-up”.

All sick time must be exhausted before vacation time can be used for the elimination period or the “top-up.”

Where leave under the STMD Plan also qualifies for leave under the FMLA, both leaves will run concurrently.

Short-Term Medical Disability will start after:

  • Seven calendar day elimination period (week 1). During this waiting period, employees are required to use sick and vacation days. If paid time is not available, the elimination period is unpaid.
  • Approval of leave/claim. The insurance company is responsible for approval or denial of STMD. An employee is considered disabled when Unum determines that an employee:
    • is limited from performing the material and substantial duties of their regular occupation due to their own sickness or injury; and
    • has a 20% or more loss in weekly earnings due to the same sickness or injury.

An employee must be under the regular care of a physician in order to be considered disabled.

The loss of a professional or occupational license or certification does not, in itself, constitute disability.


How STMD works for illness, injury or healthcare need if accrued sick time is 50 days or less:

Week 1

Sick days and then vacation days are used to cover the first 7 calendar day STMD elimination period

*Typically five (5) workdays

Weeks 2 – 2660% STMD income protection begins; paid by the insurance company weekly; 40% “top up” from sick/vacation; paid by WashU on regular pay schedule
Weeks 27 and beyondIf an employee does not return to work prior to the end of the STMD maximum duration, the claim will automatically be triaged to Unum’s Long-Term Disability (LTD) department; 60% salary coverage; if approved for LTD, paid by insurance company
STMD runs concurrent with FMLA where applicable.

How STMD works for sickness, injury or healthcare need if accrued sick time is greater than 50 days:

Weeks 1 – 26

Sick days and then vacation days are used to cover the first 7 calendar day STMD elimination period. (Typically 5 workdays.)

60% STMD benefit begins when sick time is 50 days or less and the elimination period has been met; paid by insurance company; 40% “top up” from sick/vacation; paid by WashU on regular pay schedule

Weeks 27 and beyondIf an employee does not return to work prior to the end of the STMD maximum duration, the claim will automatically be triaged to Unum’s Long-Term Disability (LTD) department; 60% salary coverage; if approved for LTD, paid by insurance company
STMD runs concurrent with FMLA where applicable.

How STMD works for pregnancy post-delivery:

Week 1Sick days and then vacation days are used to cover the first 7 calendar day STMD elimination period. (Typically 5 workdays.)
Weeks 2 – 6
(or 2-8 if caesarean)
100% STMD begins; paid by insurance company
Weeks 7-10
(or 9-12 if caesarean)

Employee may request 100% paid Caregiver/Parental leave for up to 4 weeks; paid by WashU on the regular payroll schedule. Caregiver/Parental leave directly following birth must be taken in consecutive weeks and cannot be interspersed with other types of paid time off (e.g. vacation).

(See Caregiver/Parental Leave policy)

Subsequent WeeksAdditional leave time (e.g. vacation) must be approved by the employee’s supervisor and must be taken after STMD maternity and Caregiver/Parental leave. Sick time cannot be used for baby bonding.
STMD runs concurrent with FMLA where applicable.

REQUESTING A LEAVE/CLAIM

Employees must notify their supervisor in writing and contact Unum at 1-866-371-5723 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm CST Monday–Friday or submit a claim using Unum’s free mobile app or by visiting unum.com.

For foreseeable qualifying events, eligible employees must notify their supervisor and UNUM at least 30 calendar days in advance of the start date of the leave. If advance notice is not possible, employees must notify their manager and UNUM as soon as they are aware they will be absent from work for more than 3 days in a row due to their own health condition.

Employees must provide required documentation to the insurance company.

If an employee has an open STMD claim, an LTD claim will be automatically set up if they are not able to return to work after STMD benefits end.

What if I am Approved for Short Term Medical Disability?

STMD benefits will be paid by Unum on a weekly basis. Benefits eligibility continues and employees remain financially responsible for the cost of health and insurance benefits while on STMD.

Regular taxes and deductions (e.g., medical, retirement) will be withheld to the extent there is WU pay available (e.g., 40% “top up”).

Retirement Savings Plan (403(b)) contributions will not be deducted from STMD paid by Unum and are not taken retroactively upon the employee’s return to work.

Any associated university contributions to the Retirement Savings Plan will only be made on WashU pay.

Holidays occurring during STMD will be recorded as such and do not extend the leave period or augment pay.

Sick and vacation time continue to accrue on hours paid by WashU (e.g., 40% top up via sick or vacation).

Employees who are on STMD are not eligible for Caregiver/Parental leave concurrent with STMD. Caregiver/Parental leave can be requested while on STMD (e.g. a request for caregiver/parental leave following STMD), but can only be taken if the employee is released from their own health condition.

See the summary plan description in the Plan Documents section of the HR website for more information.

If anything herein is in conflict with the Plan Document, the Plan Document supersedes.

The university reserves the right to modify this Plan in whole or part at any time.


STMD FAQs (PDF)