Sick Leave (staff)

Paid sick leave is a benefit provided to employees of Southwestern University to prevent loss of income during periods of absence from work for certain conditions.  Paid sick leave may be used for absences due to illness, injury, doctor’s appointments, dental care, illness in the employee’s immediate family, and birth or adoption of a child as per the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Immediate family means persons related by kinship, adoption or marriage who are residing in the same household.  They must be totally dependent upon the employee for personal care or services on a continuing basis.  As per the FMLA guidelines (please refer to Appendix D), employees may also use paid sick leave to care for their spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition.

After successful completion of the initial evaluation period(s), the employee will be eligible to use any sick leave time he/she may have accrued.

Employees begin accruing paid sick leave from the time employment commences at the rate of one (1) day per month.  For employees who do not work full-time (40 hours per week), paid sick leave is pro-rated based on the employee’s full-time equivalency (FTE).  As of July 1, 1996, a benefit eligible employee must work a minimum of 75% FTE (30 hours per week) in order to earn sick leave.  Continuing part-time employees were grandfathered under the half-time FTE guidelines (20 hours per week) established prior to July 1, 1996.  A maximum of 66 days (528 hours for a full-time employee) of unused sick leave may be accumulated.  The maximum accumulation will be pro-rated for part-time employees.

Should a University holiday occur while an employee is off work due to one of the above reasons, the time for that day will be charged as a paid holiday rather than as sick leave, unless the employee has exhausted their accrual of sick time and vacation time and therefore is in a leave without pay status.

Employees who must be absent for one of the above reasons may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Policy.  Please refer to this policy for eligibility, options and requirements.

For periods of absence for one of the above reasons that are not covered by the Family and Medical Leave policy, the following provisions apply:

a.         Vacation leave may be used after paid sick leave is exhausted.

b.         If additional time off is needed after all paid leave benefits have been exhausted, the employee may request a leave of absence without pay.  Such a request must be approved by the employee’s immediate supervisor and by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.  Whether or not to grant such a leave without pay is solely at the discretion of Southwestern University and there is no guarantee that the employee will return to his/her former position or to any other position upon completion of the leave of absence without pay.  While on leave of absence without pay, the employee will be responsible for paying all of his/her insurance premiums.  Failure to pay these premiums may result in cancellation of the employee’s insurance.

c.         When an employee is unable to come to work for one of the above reasons, the employee’s supervisor must be notified as soon as possible.  The employee must speak directly with his/her supervisor and follow up with phone calls to the supervisor on a daily basis, if the employee is unable to return to work after one day.  If an employee fails to report to work and does not notify his or her supervisor within 3 business days, the employee will ordinarily be considered to have abandoned the job, unless there are extenuating circumstances.  The employee must also contact his or her supervisor periodically to discuss the status of the need for the time off and the employee’s expected date of return.

d.         At the supervisor’s discretion, an employee may be required to present a physician’s statement.

e.         To the extent possible, use of sick leave should not interfere with the overall productivity of the department.  Employees are encouraged to schedule medical and dental appointments during non-working hours whenever possible. The approval of sick leave is at the supervisor’s discretion.

f.          At no time should sick leave be used to extend vacation time.