Discipline ¶358

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  ¶ 358. Incapacity Leave Resulting From Health Matters and Disabling Conditions-1. When clergy who are members of an annual conference (¶ 368) are unable to perform their ministerial work because of incapacity due to health matters and disabling conditions, upon recommendations of the conference board of ordained ministry and the conference board of pensions, and by a majority vote of the executive session of clergy members in full connection with the annual conference who are present and voting, they may be granted annual incapacity leave without losing their relationship to the annual conference; provided, however, that such leave may be granted or renewed only after a thorough investigation of the case by the joint committee on incapacity of the annual conference, which will report its findings to the conference board of ordained ministry and the conference board of pensions. This relationship may be initiated by the clergy member or cabinet with or without the consent of the clergy member through the board of ordained ministry. When incapacity leave is given without the clergy member’s consent, reasonable accommodation shall be offered whenever possible. When a clergy member is granted incapacity leave by the annual conference, if the medical evidence has not yet met the standards for the receipt of benefits as set forth in the Comprehensive Protection Plan, section 5.04, the conference board of pensions may authorize payment of the benefits in the amount that would otherwise be payable from the Comprehensive Protection Plan. The payments shall be made by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits as a charge to the annual conference granting the incapacity leave. If payments from the Comprehensive Protection Plan are subsequently approved, the annual conference will be reimbursed for benefits already paid, not to exceed the amount otherwise payable from the Comprehensive Protection Plan. Each incapacity leave granted by the annual conference shall be recorded in the conference minutes.
2. When clergy who are members of an annual conference are unable to perform their ministerial work between sessions of the annual conference on account of health matters and disabling conditions, with the approval of a majority of the district superintendents, after consultation with the executive committee of the conference board of ordained ministry and the executive committee of the conference board of pensions, an incapacity leave may be granted by the bishop for the remainder of the conference year; provided, however, that such leave may be granted only after a thorough investigation of the case including accommodation provisions by the joint committee on incapacity of the annual conference; which will report its findings to the conference board of ordained ministry and the conference board of pensions. When a clergy member is granted incapacity leave by the bishop, if the medical evidence has not yet met the standards for receipt of benefits as set forth in the Comprehensive Protection Plan, section 5.04, the conference board of pensions may authorize payment of the benefits in the amount that would otherwise be payable from the Comprehensive Protection Plan. The payments shall be made by the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits as a charge to the annual conference granting the incapacity leave. If payments from the Comprehensive Protection Plan are subsequently approved, the annual conference will be reimbursed for benefits already paid, not to exceed the amount otherwise payable from the Comprehensive Protection Plan.
3. When clergy members on incapacity leave provide medical evidence that they have recovered sufficiently to resume ministerial work, or are able to return through reasonable accommodation, they may receive an appointment from a bishop between sessions of the annual conference, thereby terminating the incapacity leave. Such appointment shall be reported immediately by the cabinet to the conference board of pensions and to the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. Such termination of leave, together with the effective date, shall also be recorded in the minutes of the annual conference at its next regular session.47
4. A person under consideration for incapacity leave shall have the right to appear before the joint committee on incapacity or to designate someone to meet with the committee on his or her behalf.
47. See Judicial Council Decision 473.