Requesting a Leave and During a Leave - Managers and HR Representatives
What you need to know
The process for requesting an LOA is designed to be self-service for the associate, with Sedgwick handling as much of the decision-making and administration as possible. If an associate is requesting leave, it’s usually during a challenging time in their life. Your most important contribution is to provide guidance and support to your associate throughout the process. Beyond that, there are some tasks you’re responsible for:
- Helping associates with the request process, when necessary.
- Making approval decisions for personal discretionary leaves.
- Reading all email notifications and completing any action items sent by Sedgwick.
- Helping associates with concerns, including when the associate uses the Open Door.
- Referring associates to the accommodation process to explore options that will allow them to remain working, return from leave or seek accommodation leave options.
- Provide the associate with a copy of the schedule when returning from a job-protected leave.
What Sedgwick does for associates
- Helps the associate with the request and sets up the leave and/or short-term disability claim.
- Determines eligibility.
- Sends associates forms to be completed, required legal notices and other useful information.
- Manages and reviews the leave and disability medical certification forms.
- Makes leave approval and denial decisions according to federal, state and Walmart company leave policies, including military leave and military differential pay, and administers the short-term disability benefits.
- Communicates the leave determination and any other updates, such as when the associate has exhausted job-protected time, to the associate and to their manager/HR representative.
- For salaried associates, Sedgwick takes the associate’s PTO election to use toward unpaid dates and sends this to Walmart to be paid. This is also sent to the associate and their manager/HR representative at the end of the leave, so that the number of PTO days used is deducted from the associate’s available PTO time.
- Provides 24-hour online access to monitor and manage leaves through the viaOne® express.
- Works with the associate’s manager/HR representative and health care providers to assist with their return to work. This may include referring the associate to Sedgwick’s Return from Leave of Absence team, Sedgwick’s accommodation team or the Accommodation Service Center at the Home Office to see if there are reasonable accommodations available to help the associate return to work.
What Sedgwick does for Managers and HR Representatives
- Provides a tracking system, email notifications and reports to help managers/HR representatives monitor the status of leaves and disability claims.
- For salaried associates, Sedgwick tracks down PTO information and sends you the number of PTO days the associate elected to use toward unpaid dates. You’ll need to verify that these days are available. The number of used PTO days will need to be deducted from the associate’s available PTO time.
- Requests review and approval from managers/HR representatives for personal discretionary leave requests and gives the approval (or denial) notification to the associate.
- Provides notification when the associate has exhausted job-protected time.
- Provides access to a hotline to answer questions from managers/HR representatives: 800-492-5678, Option 7. This hotline is only to be used by managers/HR representatives with questions about an associate’s leave or claim.
- For salaried associates’ leaves, Sedgwick will inactivate the associates in the system once a decision is made to place the associate on an LOA, which will include leave type and whether paid or unpaid. HR representatives won’t be required to approve the actions submitted by Sedgwick.
What to do if an associate asks about taking a leave
First, you should let them know that we understand and explain that we have a generous leave of absence program. Tell them that your role is to help them through the process and help them get answers to their questions.
Beyond that, you should print copies of the appropriate leave guide and Wallet Card and make sure the associate’s WIN number is on the Wallet Card. Let them know that they need to submit their leave/disability request to Sedgwick as soon as possible (they can also file in advance of their last day worked for scheduled surgery or pregnancy claims). They can submit their claim by calling Sedgwick at 800-492-5678 or by submitting the request online through viaOne® express. Remember, short-term disability claims are only for the associate’s own health condition.
You should also remind associates to follow normal call-in procedures for their facility or department:
Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs:
- Hourly associates: Call in each absence until the facility has gotten an email from Sedgwick telling them the leave has been requested, typically within a day of being submitted. At that time, the associate is placed on an inactive status. Remember: don’t inactivate the associate if they’re still working and haven’t started the leave yet.
- Salaried associates: Tell their Manager/HR Representative when away from work until the leave begins.
Logistics, Home Office and eCommerce:
- Call in each absence until Sedgwick has approved the leave and the associate is placed on an inactive status.
Remind the associate to check their leave guide to make sure they have all the information before requesting a leave or short-term disability claim. Also, let them know how important it is to provide an accurate work schedule, beginning with the week of the first day of absence, and to include the exact days and hours worked per day. The length of work schedule needed is as follows:
- Hourly associates: 2-weeks schedule.
- Salaried associates: 3-weeks work schedule.
- Drivers: Current work schedule of 4-weeks and the name of their program.
Finally, make sure the associate knows that one of the most common reasons for denial of a leave is missing or incomplete paperwork. Tell them how important it is to respond to Sedgwick’s requests for information as soon as possible. Let them know that they need to follow up with their health care provider to make sure the medical information is submitted. It’s their responsibility to make sure that all paperwork is completed and provided to Sedgwick.
If an associate starts to miss work
When an associate misses more than three days of work or misses any number of days due to a chronic condition, here’s what you need to do:
- See if the associate has requested a leave from Sedgwick by monitoring your emails from Sedgwick, the Leave Status Report (emailed by Sedgwick each Wednesday; Fulfillment Center receives daily) and viaOne® express.
- If the associate hasn't requested a leave, send them the Leave Request Letter and include a copy of the appropriate leave guide and the Wallet Card with the letter. Enter the associate’s WIN on the Wallet Card.
- Keep copies of the Leave Request Letter in the associate’s medical file.
- Let the associate know they have five days once they get the Leave Request letter to either submit a leave request or contact their manager to talk about going back to work.
- For salaried associates/drivers: HR should place the salaried associate on an Unapproved Absence in the system if the associate hasn’t submitted a leave request to Sedgwick or contacted their Manager/HR representative within five days from the date the Leave Request letter was mailed. This will stop the associate’s pay.
- For salaried associates/drivers: HR should place the salaried associate on an Unapproved Absence in the system if the associate hasn’t submitted a leave request to Sedgwick or contacted their manager/HR representative within five days from the date the Leave Request letter was mailed. This will stop the associate’s pay.
- Enter the begin date and an end date for the Unapproved Absence. A two-week period is recommended.
Remind salaried associates/drivers:
If supporting information isn’t received within 20 days from the date that Sedgwick sent the initial packet to the associate,
the leave will be denied and Sedgwick will update the associate’s status in the system to an Unapproved Absence and stop
their pay on the first day of the pay period in which the 21st day falls.
- If the information is received after the 21st day, Sedgwick will process the leave and the associate will receive pay for the time missed, if a disability is approved.
- If supporting information isn’t received within 20 days from the date that Sedgwick sent the initial packet to the associate, the leave will be denied and Sedgwick will update the associate’s status in the system to an Unapproved Absence and stop their pay on the first day of the pay period in which the 21st day falls.
- Let all associates know that if they fail to request a leave, return to work or respond to the letter within five days from receipt of the Leave Request letter, you must partner with next-level HR and legal counsel prior to considering termination of employment for failing to return from leave.
If you get the initial notification of the leave request from Sedgwick after placing the associate on an Unapproved Absence, you should return the associate to the system from the Unapproved Absence. Enter this action as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the pay period. The associate’s pay will resume for the pay period in which the claim was filed. If there are any pay discrepancies, please call Sedgwick and they’ll review them. If there’s an underpayment, Sedgwick will send the payment on a file to Walmart’s payroll.
When a leave has been requested
Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs:
- When an associate requests leave, HR should place them in an inactive status in the system once they’ve heard from Sedgwick that the leave has been requested, unless they’ve already returned to work. See the Attendance and Punctuality Policy for more details.
Field logistics facilities:
- HR should inactivate the associate in the system upon notification from Sedgwick that the leave has been approved.
- The HR Shared Services Team will inactivate Home Office hourly associates, hourly pharmacists, vision managers, market assistants and hourly associates who have salaried benefits, such as managers in training. Once approved, the associate’s status in the system will be updated for you.
Sedgwick will update the associate’s status in GAIN and place the associate on leave, paid or unpaid, with the appropriate leave type.
Driver Associates HR will place the driver on the appropriate leave type upon notification from Sedgwick that a decision has been made.
If you’re asked to approve a personal discretionary leave
Sedgwick will make eligibility decisions regarding all leaves, and approval decisions regarding medical, military and non-discretionary personal leaves.
Managers/HR representatives are responsible for approving (or denying) personal discretionary leaves. When an associate submits this type of request:
- You’ll get an email from Sedgwick asking you to approve or deny the request.
- If you have questions about the need for the leave, talk about it with the associate.
Make your decision, based on:
- The needs of the business
- The associate’s overall job performance
- The reason for the leave, and
- The amount of leave already taken by the associate.
- You can choose to approve or deny the leave entirely, or approve a portion of the time requested.
- Respond to Sedgwick’s email within two business days.
- If a Manager isn’t available when the email is received, the HR representative should forward the email to the acting supervisor to make the decision.
Be sure to review and respond in a timely manner to any email requests from Sedgwick when a decision is needed
for a discretionary leave. If Sedgwick doesn’t get a response to the email request for a decision regarding a
personal discretionary leave, they’ll send a second email within five days. This email lets you know that if
they don’t get a decision within two business days, Sedgwick will:
- Approve a current leave request, if the associate has leave time remaining, or
- Deny the leave if the request is future-dated. In that case, the associate would need to resubmit the leave request.
When a leave is in progress
Make sure to review these communications from Sedgwick:
Leave Status Reports
- Received each Wednesday (Field Logistics facilities will receive daily)
- Includes all associates who have submitted a leave to Sedgwick; the status, type and leave dates; and other useful information, including if the certification has been received, if applicable to the leave type requested by the associate.
Intermittent Leave Reports
- Received daily if you have an associate who is on an intermittent leave and has reported an absence
- Received the day after the absence has been reported
- Includes the dates and amount of missed time that was reported to Sedgwick for the absences
The intermittent report includes a column showing Y or N if PTO should be deducted from the associate’s PTO tracker.
- N indicates the absence is associated with a a previous disability and PTO should not be deducted.
- Y indicates the absence isn't associated with a previous disability. PTO should be deducted for the absence. Email notifications regarding specific leave/disability claim status updates.
- Check viaOne® express to review the status of the leave/disability claim.
When deducting PTO time for salaried associates and drivers, keep in mind that PTO is only required to be used in full-day or half-day increments; therefore, it should only be tracked in those increments.
While a leave of absence is generally unpaid, there are options to help an associate keep their income on an approved leave of absence. Depending on their job type and circumstances, these can include:
- Paid Time Off (PTO)
- Short-term disability (STD)
- Long-term disability (LTD)
- Parental pay
- Family care pay (salaried associates and OTR drivers only)
- Military leave pay differential
Parental pay and family care pay for non-eCommerce associates
- Available for salaried associates, OTR drivers, and full-time hourly associates who have at least 12 months of service.
- The parental benefit supports associates who become a parent through a birth, adoption or foster-care placement, with up to six weeks of protected paid time away from work within a rolling 12-month period.
- Salaried associates and OTR drivers can receive two work weeks of pay under the Family Care Pay policy, if eligible, within a rolling 12-month period. The leave request must also have been requested through and approved by Sedgwick for family care leave for an immediate family member, including a spouse/partner, child or parent.
- The associate has 20 days to provide medical certification to support a request for a family care leave.
Family care pay is only available for continuous leaves; it isn’t available for intermittent family care leaves.
- Salaried associates: If an intermittent family care leave is requested and approved, the associate can use PTO for the missed time from work.
- OTR drivers: If an intermittent family care leave is requested and approved, the driver can use available PTO, personal sick or safety day (if available) requested through their HR manager.
- Hourly associates aren’t eligible for family care pay, but can use PTO or their legacy balances. See the Paid Time Off (PTO) policy for more details.
- Pay for salaried associates and OTR drivers will be stopped when the two work weeks have been exhausted for the rolling 12-month period. PTO can be used for unpaid leave time.
- Parental pay must be used continuously.
Parental and Family Care Pay for eCommerce associates
This policy gives associates time off when an immediate family member, including a parent, spouse, partner or child, has an eligible medical condition. It provides 100% of their salary for up to two weeks per rolling 12-month period. For the birth, adoption or foster-care placement of a child, parental pay for moms and dads pays 100% of their salary for up to 12 weeks within 12 months of the event. Parental pay can be used in one-week increments.
For the birth, adoption, or foster-care placement of a child, parental pay for moms and dads pays 100 % of the associate’s salary for up to six weeks within 12 months of the event. Parental pay can be used in one week increments.
Military leave and military differential
When a military leave is requested, Sedgwick will determine if the associate is eligible to receive military differential pay. Associates have 20 days to submit their military orders and military earnings statement. They’ll receive military differential pay when their military pay is less than their regular Walmart pay. Salaried associates can contact Sedgwick to elect to use available PTO during their military leave, even when they’re receiving military differential pay.