Short-Term Disability Policy
Overview and eligibility
Vanguard provides short-term disability (STD) income replacement benefits to eligible crew members who are unable to work because of a qualifying illness or injury. Vanguard has delegated day-to-day benefits administration, including determination of eligibility, amount, and duration of STD benefits, to Sedgwick, a third-party STD management company. Vanguard has also established a formal claims determination and appeal process and delegated its responsibilities for these to the third-party STD management company. Vanguard pays the full cost of STD coverage for eligible crew members.
You are eligible for STD coverage if you work full-time (37.5 hours a week) or part-time (at least 30 hours a week). If you work less than 30 hours a week, or are a temporary/seasonal employee or a contractor, you are not eligible for STD benefits.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may qualify for STD benefits when the same or a related illness or injury prevents you from being at work for more than the elimination period, as defined in the Definitions section of this policy (which is also the STD booklet in Appendix A of the Summary Plan Description [SPD] for The Vanguard Group, Inc. Benefit Plan [Benefit Plan]). The maximum payable STD period is 180 calendar days. Benefits are payable based on the chart below. After 180 calendar days, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. Please see the Benefit Plan SPD for details on long-term disability benefits.
Two consecutive periods of disability due to the same or related cause or condition and separated by a period of not more than 30 days will be considered as one disability benefit period. Periods of disability for different conditions separated by at least one day of full-time active work shall be considered a different disability benefit period (claim), subject to a new elimination period. If you are out of the office for different conditions for overlapping periods of time, only the first condition requires an elimination period.
STD benefits are based on employment status, "salary," "level," and "full years of service" on the date you became disabled. Your disability benefits will be payable for an approved "Period of Disability." These terms are defined in the Definitions section of this policy. STD benefits, if approved, will be paid according to the schedule below. The paid disability period is equal to the duration approved by our third-party disability management company.
|Grade level||Full years of service||Weeks at full pay*||Weeks at 66⅔% pay*|
||Less than 10 years||0–13 weeks||14–26 weeks|
|More than or equal to 10 years||26 weeks||0|
||Any years of service||26 weeks||0|
|*Up to the actual approved disability duration.|
In order for you to receive benefits, you must be under the continuous care of a physician who, with respect to your disability, is practicing within the scope of his or her license. You must also be under a defined course of treatment appropriate for your disability. If a disability is a mental or nervous disorder, your treatment must include care by a board-certified, licensed physician who specializes in psychiatric medicine. Confirmation of treatment from a psychiatrist must be provided to the third-party disability management company within 30 days from the date your claimed disability began. Failure to provide the third-party disability management company with the required psychiatric medical documentation may lead to a denial or termination of benefits.
Your physician may be required periodically to certify in writing that you continue to be disabled, and you must follow appropriate care and treatment recommended by that physician to be eligible to receive STD income benefits. You may be required to undergo an examination by an independent physician to determine the validity and extent of the disability. Such an examination may be requested at any reasonable time and place. The cost of any independent physician examination will be covered by Vanguard. Approved STD benefits will continue until the earliest of the following dates:
- You are not totally disabled;
- You reach the maximum benefit period payable under the Short-Term Disability Policy;
- You fail to provide required proof of disability;
- You fail to comply with any of the requirements under the policy, including a refusal to allow an independent medical examination;
- You die;
- You begin a leave of absence other than a disability absence;
- Your employment is terminated.
- Elimination period (full short-term disability): A period of continuous disability equal to one scheduled work week. In order to be considered for full disability by our third-party disability management company, you must exceed or know that you will exceed (e.g., for scheduled surgery) the elimination period. For example, in the case of an unscheduled absence, if your normal work week is Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the elimination period is the first Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday that you do not report to work. You would exceed the elimination period and report the illness as a disability if you miss work on the second Monday. The coverage is retroactive back to the first Monday. Note: When returning to work on partial short-term disability, there is no new elimination period that needs to be met.
- Elimination period (partial short-term disability): A period of continuous disability equal to one scheduled work week. To be considered for partial disability by our third-party disability management company, you must exceed or know that you will exceed the elimination period. For example, if your normal work week is Monday through Friday, 7.5 hours per day, the elimination period would be met once you have been out for a total of 37.5 hours. The time that you miss must occur on consecutive days. This may take two or more weeks depending on the number of hours you are absent per day. Once you have exceeded 37.5 hours, you are eligible for short-term disability. The coverage is retroactive back to the first day out of the office.
- Period of disability: A period when you are unable to perform all, or substantially all, of your job duties due to an illness or injury, excluding "light-" or "limited-" duty capability, as determined by our third-party disability management company, an independent physician, and/or your attending physician. Satisfactory objective medical documentation of the disability is required.
- Physician: A legally qualified and licensed doctor of medicine (M.D.) or osteopathy (D.O.) and, to the extent required by applicable law, another practitioner practicing within the scope of his/her license. The plan administrator may require, in its sole discretion, that any physician have training as a specialist or be a practicing specialist in a field of medicine. A physician must be someone other than you, your spouse, daughter, son, mother, father, sister, or brother by marriage, blood, or adoption, or registered domestic partner. If your disability is a mental or nervous disorder, your treatment must include care by a board-certified, licensed physician who specializes in psychiatric medicine.
- Salary: Your regular straight-time earnings in effect immediately before the period of absence due to disability, excluding overtime pay, bonus, Partnership payment, shift differential, commissions, or any other extra compensation.
- Level: Your level in effect immediately prior to the period of absence due to disability.
- Scheduled work week: A calendar week consisting of the days you normally work.
- Years of service: Your number of years of continuous service beginning with your date of hire.
Request for short-term disability (STD) leave
Note: A family member or designated person can make the appropriate notifications if you are unable to do so.
Notify your next level of management as soon as possible if the period of absence due to an illness is expected to exceed the elimination period (generally one scheduled work week). For a scheduled absence (e.g., maternity), the notice should be at least 30 days in advance if possible.
Complete a Request for Leave of Absence in Workday. If you are not in the office, your manager or a Crew Central™ representative must complete the request on your behalf. This is how Crew Central is notified of your leave. Please ensure your home email address (not your Vanguard email address) is listed in your Workday profile as an alternate way to reach you and for contingency purposes.
Contact Sedgwick, the third-party disability management company, within 24 hours of the time you know your absence will exceed the elimination period (generally one scheduled work week).
To contact Sedgwick online:
- Log on to claimlookup.com/vanguard.
- Enter your Username and Password, or select New User to set up your account.
- When registering as a new user, you will be prompted for your employee ID. This is your crew ID with leading zeroes to make the ID nine digits long. Example: 000012345.
- After you complete and submit the form, you will see a confirmation page with your permanent claim number and next steps (e.g., call doctor, call supervisor, complete the forms).
- Sedgwick will send you confirmation emails throughout the leave with the next steps you need to take to continue the claim-filing process.
To contact Sedgwick by email:
To contact Sedgwick by phone:
- Call 800-495-2310. Agents are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time. The Sedgwick Interactive Voice Response system is available 24/7.
To contact Sedgwick by fax:
- Dial 859-264-4375.
To contact Sedgwick by mail:
P.O. Box 14648
Lexington, KY 40512
Note: STD benefits can be reduced or denied if you do not report a claim within ten business days of the date your disability began.
Crew Central will process your STD leave request in Workday.
Crew Central will track your STD time to ensure that you are paid appropriately based on Sedgwick's approval. (If the STD claim is not approved, your pay will be suspended. There is an initial 21-day grace period in order for you to get approval for STD benefits from Sedgwick.)
If you qualify for partial short-term disability, you are required to enter your time off in Workday in order to get paid appropriately.
Crew in exempt and overtime-eligible roles who qualify for STD benefits are required to record any hours not worked in Workday as "Short-Term Disability." In addition, crew members in overtime-eligible roles are to record hours worked as "Regular." Supervisors/managers must approve the partial hours in Workday. Also, be sure that your physician continues to provide the third-party administrator for STD benefits with ongoing medical documentation so that your claim continues to receive further approval, if needed.
Crew Central will send you information on short-term disability within one to two business days from receipt of the leave request. Resources include applicable leave policies and forms to return to Vanguard.
Note: If you qualify for short-term disability because of the birth of a child, you must add the child to your health plans within 30 days of the birth to be covered by the plans.
Sedgwick will send a packet to you containing a letter explaining their procedures and two Authorization and Release forms.
STD claim notice and approval
STD claim evaluation process
- Sedgwick will wait for receipt of objective medical information from your physician to verify the STD claim.
- Sedgwick will keep you and Crew Central informed of the status of your claim, and will follow up with your physician for the duration of the STD period.
- You must contact Sedgwick immediately if any information regarding your medical condition changes.
- You must also contact Crew Central if your estimated date of return to work or your ability to work changes.
- If needed, Sedgwick may ask your manager to complete a Job Evaluation Summary to determine job functions and physical requirements.
- You must notify Sedgwick and Crew Central immediately of any address or telephone number changes during the course of a leave.
Note: It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your physician(s) cooperates with Sedgwick and provides all medical documentation requested. If Sedgwick fails to receive the appropriate medical documentation, it will result in a delay or denial of STD benefits.
STD claim approval
- Sedgwick will notify you and Crew Central when a claim for STD income benefits is approved or denied.
- Crew Central will ensure that you are paid appropriately based on Sedgwick's approval of your claim and the benefits schedule. Direct deposit pay statements are available online on Workday, which you can access by logging on to CrewNet External at crewnet.vanguard.com.
STD claim closed
- If Sedgwick does not receive objective medical information supporting a short-term disability within 21 days, they will close the claim. If a claim for STD income benefits is closed (after consultation with an independent physician if necessary), Sedgwick will notify you and Crew Central.
- Crew Central will contact you to determine the next steps. You may be eligible to apply for another type of leave (e.g., unpaid family and medical leave) or you may notify Vanguard of your intent to return to work via a Certification of Return to Work Status Form signed by your health care provider.
STD claim denial
- If medical documentation does not support your disability, a claim for STD income benefits will be denied. Sedgwick will notify you and Crew Central.
- Crew Central will contact you to determine the next steps.
- Crew Central will adjust your leave request and pay as necessary based on the decision.
- You must either return to work within three days of receiving the denial letter, apply for another type of leave, or appeal Sedgwick's decision. Appeal instructions will be sent with the denial letter from Sedgwick. You may also refer to the SPD.
STD appeal process
- You may appeal a STD denial decision by notifying Sedgwick in writing within 60 days of receipt of the denial letter. The attending physician in the appeal process must provide additional medical information.
- Sedgwick will notify you and Crew Central in writing of the appeal decision. Sedgwick has 45 days to present a final decision on the appeal.
- If the appeal decision reverses the denial, Crew Central will adjust your leave request and pay as necessary.
- If the appeal decision confirms the denial, you must either return to work within three days of receiving the denial letter, apply for another type of leave, or notify Vanguard of your intent to return to work via a Certification of Return to Work Status Form signed by a health care provider. If you do not return to work and are not on another type of approved leave, your employment may be terminated.
Short-term disability income benefits will not be paid for the following:
- Disability that begins after notification of termination of employment for any reason.
- Disability caused by working conditions or an accident at the workplace (workers' compensation may apply in these cases).
- Day of absence from work due to disability during which you perform any work for remuneration or profit.
- Disability caused by elective cosmetic surgery to improve appearance, except for cosmetic surgery required due to an illness or injury.
- Day of absence during which you are not in compliance with this policy (e.g., you are not under the care of a licensed physician as defined by applicable state law and this policy).
- Day of disability that occurred before you notified your manager of your disability unless Vanguard determines the delay was due to a reasonable cause.
- Day of disability resulting from illness or injury sustained during, or as a result of, committing a crime.
If you are receiving treatment for alcohol or drug abuse and a physician refers you to participate as a resident in either an employer-approved alcoholism recovery home or an approved drug-free facility, your benefits while receiving such treatment will initially be limited to:
- Full-time resident alcohol recovery.
- Resident drug recovery.
Benefits for an additional 60 days of resident alcohol recovery care and 30 days for resident drug recovery are available, if your physician certifies that such continued treatment is necessary.
Compensation while on short-term disability
STD benefit payments are paid in accordance with each pay cycle and are required to meet the regular payroll deadlines shown on the payroll calendar.
If you return to work in the middle of a pay period, you will not receive pay until you have worked for a full pay period.
If you return to work on a light- or limited-duty basis for less than the number of your regularly scheduled hours, you will receive pay at the straight time rate for time worked, plus the prorated portion of STD benefits for hours not worked. Such payment is subject to the applicable maximums and duration of benefits. If you refuse to accept light or limited duty, and are capable of the assignment, your STD benefits will cease and you may be terminated.
If your employment is terminated for any reason, you will be required to reimburse Vanguard for any overpayments of STD benefits and any missed medical, prescription, dental, vision, life insurance, dependent life insurance, and/or legal premiums.
If you receive payments for any STD benefits under this plan, you will be required to reimburse Vanguard in full for any such benefits that have been paid or that will in the future have to be paid, if you receive any recovery, therefore, in the form of a judgment, settlement, payment, or compensation (regardless of fault, negligence, or wrongdoing) from a tortfeasor, liability insurer for a tortfeasor, or any other source.
You will be required to give Vanguard a first lien on any and all amounts described above. In the event Vanguard does not receive payment in accordance with the foregoing, it may—in its sole discretion—bring legal action against you or reduce the amount of any future claim payments to you.
Any STD benefits paid to you in error may be recovered by Vanguard. In situations of overpayment, Vanguard will recover the overpayment directly from you or your next pay.
Partnership and bonus payments are not impacted by time on approved STD leave. Both bonus and Partnership are on the normal payment date. Please see the Partnership Plan Policy and the Bonus Program for details.
Your review will be completed by your manager during the year-end time frame. Your appraisal and merit conversations will be held upon your return to the office. The guidelines are detailed in the Performance Management Policy.
Other benefits while on short-term disability
FlexCare benefits and payments
The FlexCare program includes coverage for health, dental, vision, prescription, life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), purchased paid time off (PTO), and group legal. You will continue to pay for coverage on a biweekly basis while you are on short-term disability. If you do not qualify for short-term disability and go on an unpaid leave and elect to cease participation in FlexCare benefits while on unpaid leave, FlexCare benefits will be discontinued during the leave and reinstated upon return to active employment once you notify Crew Central. Under this option, you cannot submit any claims for FlexCare benefits.
You are not eligible for—and cannot submit claims for—dependent day care FSA-related expense reimbursements while on any leave, paid or unpaid, including short-term disability. However, there is a 14-day grace period from the first day of leave that you can use the FSA and be reimbursed for it. (For example, if you go out on leave 1/1/2017, you can use the FSA and be reimbursed for expenses incurred through 1/15/2017.)
Benefit deductions will continue to be taken from your pay for the period of the STD leave. If your STD pay is not enough to cover the cost of your FlexCare elections, the missed payroll deductions will be deducted from your pay when you return to work.
Annual Open Enrollment
If you are on short-term disability during the annual Open Enrollment period, the Open Enrollment information will be forwarded to your home address if we do not have your home email address on file. If you are unable to complete the Open Enrollment information, your previous year's elections will remain in effect for the new calendar year, excluding the flexible spending accounts, legal plan, and the purchase of additional PTO, which will terminate at the end of the calendar year.
Other benefits while on short-term disability
- Paid time off (PTO). PTO will not accrue during your STD leave. PTO accrual is based on the time actually worked.
- Holiday time. Holiday time will not be paid during STD leave. For more details, please refer to the Payroll Practices Policy.
- Academic Assistance Plan. In order to receive reimbursement, you must have been employed with Vanguard full-time prior to the start of the course and must not be on a paid or unpaid leave of absence at the time the reimbursement is scheduled to be paid to you. If you are on a paid or unpaid leave of absence (including short-term disability), you will not receive such reimbursements unless and until you return to work.
- Personal leave. You may request a personal leave after your STD benefits have expired. See the Personal Leave Policy for more information.
- Unpaid family and medical leave. STD leave runs concurrently with family and medical leave to the extent that it is available.
- Volunteer time off (VTO). STD leave will not affect your VTO; however, you may not use VTO while on STD leave.
- Retirement and Savings Plan (RSP). Salary deferrals and matching contributions (if eligible) to the Vanguard RSP may be continued during your STD leave (adjusted accordingly for any reduction in pay due to your short-term disability). Your payments on plan loans
will continue during STD leave.
Vanguard quarterly contributions to the Retirement Plan source are based on your quarterly earnings if you are eligible; therefore, your quarterly contribution will be decreased as a result of any reduction in pay due to STD leave during the quarter.
STD leave will not be treated as, or counted toward, a "break in service" under the RSP.
Computer access while on short-term disability
Vanguard reserves the right to restrict your computer access while you are on short-term disability.
Return to work after short-term disability
Crew Central will contact you approximately three working days before your expected return-to-work date to discuss your return. Crew Central will also contact your manager. Prior to returning, you must have your health care provider complete a Certification of Return to Work Status Form. This form must be returned to Crew Central no later than 10 a.m. the day you return. The Certification of Return to Work Status Form should include any restrictions in hours or duties. This form is included in the initial benefits packet provided by Crew Central.
- You or your direct supervisor must contact Crew Central the day you return to work to confirm that you have returned.
- Crew Central will update Workday to reflect your return from leave.
- Crew Central will adjust, recover, or resume your pay as appropriate.
- Crew Central will also adjust your PTO and notify you of any adjustments.
- If you do not return to work on the agreed-upon date, your employment may be terminated.
Light and limited duty provision
Vanguard's Short-Term Disability Policy includes a light and limited duty provision. If an attending physician determines that you are capable of working or returning to work on a light- or limited-duty basis, you may be assigned a different job temporarily, subject to Vanguard's business requirements. The physician should indicate the number of hours you may work. The intent is to provide temporary work assignments until you are able to return to your regular job and schedule.
If your STD leave does not exceed your FML entitlement, you will be returned to your original or an equivalent position in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
If your STD leave exceeds your FML entitlement, you may be returned to your former position if it is available. If the former position is no longer available, you may post for another position within the company. You will have 60 days to obtain a new position, during which you will be on an unpaid administrative leave. An Employment Department contact will be assigned to you during the 60-day period.
Departmental management is responsible for implementing and enforcing this policy. The Human Resources managing director is responsible for the overall administration and interpretation of the policy.