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Urban (State of Michigan) 4.19

Section 48

LEAVE OF ABSENCE, Waived rights leave

CITE AS: Urban (State of Michigan, 1986 BR 102223W (B85-13293).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Pamela A. Urban

Employer: Secretary of State (State of Michigan)

Docket No: B85 13293 102223W

BOARD OF REVIEW HOLDING: A "waived rights leave of absence" is not a leave of absence within the meaning of Section 48 of the MES Act.

FACTS: The claimant was a member of the Michigan State Employees Association. The contract executed between that organization and the State of Michigan provided for various types of leaves of absences. Article 16, Section D of that agreement provides that an employee may request a "waived rights leave of absence" of up to one year in those situations when an employee must leave his or her position for reasons beyond his or her control and for which a regular leave of absence is not granted. Employees requesting and granted a "waived rights leave of absence" do not have the right to return to state service at the end of the leave but will have the continuous nature of their service protected provided they return to work prior to the expiration of such leave.

In the instant matter the claimant sought and secured a "waived rights leave of absence". While on the "waived rights leave of absence" the claimant filed for unemployment benefits. The employer asserted the claimant was ineligible under Section 48(3) of the MES Act which reads "An individual shall not be deemed to be unemployed during any leave of absence from work granted by an employer either at the request of the individual or pursuant to an agreement with the individual's duly authorized bargaining agent, or in accordance with law."

DECISION: The claimant is not ineligible for benefits.

RATIONALE: In American Telephone and Telegraph Company v MESC, 376 Mich 271 (1965) the Michigan Supreme Court held that a leave of absence meant a temporary authorized release from one's duties for a stated period with the right or duty to return at the end of the period. The claimant in this matter had no right to return at the end of the period at issue. Therefore the Board found the claimant was not on a leave of absence as defined in American Telephone and Telegraph and consequently was not ineligible under Section 48(3).


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