Policies & Contracts

512 - Sick Leave

Subject: Sick Leave

Section: U512

Date: July 1, 2017


Purpose:

To provide for the administration of sick leave accrual and usage.

who is governed by this policy:

This policy applies to all benefits eligible staff employees, non-benefits eligible staff employees, seasonal employees, temporary employees, and student employees.

Policy statement:

Employees begin accruing sick leave at their most recent date of hire. Sick leave may be used in accordance with the procedures set forth below for absences due to the employee’s own illness or injury, or for receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventive medical care and for absences due to a Family Member’s illness or injury, or to care for a Family Member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis or preventive medical care. Employees may also use sick leave if they or a Family Member are a victim of domestic violence or a sex offense, or if they need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.

A.   Benefits Eligible Staff Employee Sick Leave Information

  1. A benefits eligible staff employee accrues two (2) standard workweeks of sick leave per year.
    1. For example: a benefits eligible staff employee with a standard workweek of 37.5 hours per week accrues 75 hours of sick leave per year; a benefits eligible staff employee with a standard workweek of 40 hours per week accrues 80 hours of sick leave per year; and a benefits eligible staff employee with a standard workweek of 20 hours per week accrues 40 hours of sick leave per year.
  2. A benefits eligible staff employee is credited with earned sick leave in the amount of one-twelfth (1/12) of his/her annual accrual after each completed month of service to the University.
  3. A benefits eligible staff employee scheduled to work irregular hours each week will accrue at a rate based on the average weekly hours scheduled per month, with a minimum accrual rate of 40 hours per year. 
  4. A benefits eligible staff employee will not accrue sick leave during any month in which he/she is in an out-of-pay status (i.e., on leave of absence), on sick leave, on Workers’ Compensation, or on Short-Term/Long-Term Disability, for more than one-half (1/2) his/her standard working hours. (See Policy U513 Short-Term Disability and U514 Long-Term Disability.)
  5. A benefits eligible staff employee who transfers to a non-benefits eligible, temporary, or student employee position may retain a maximum of 60 hours of their accrued, unused sick leave. Upon transfer the employee will accrue sick leave as described under Section B of this Policy.

 B.   Non-Benefits Eligible Staff, Temporary Staff, Seasonal Staff and Student Employee Sick Leave Information

  1. Any employee not eligible for benefits (including non-benefits eligible staff, temporary staff, seasonal staff, and student employees) accrues sick leave at a rate of one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. For exempt employees in these categories, the accrual is calculated using their total scheduled weekly hours for active jobs as indicated in the human resources system. 
  2. Sick leave accruals will be available for employees covered by this Section B after the close of the payroll where the accrual occurred. 
  3. For employees covered by this Section B, the sick leave year is each January through December.
    1. Sick leave accrual is capped at 40 hours per year.
    2. A maximum of 60 hours of accrued sick leave may be carried over from year to year.
    3. A maximum of 60 hours of accrued sick leave may be used within one year.
  4. An employee covered by this Section B who transfers to a benefits eligible position will retain their accrued, unused sick leave, and upon transfer the employee will begin accruing sick leave as described under Section A of this Policy.

 C.   Administration of Sick Leave for All Employees

  1. Each unit is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of an employee’s record of accrued and used sick leave. Each unit should establish and communicate rules for requesting sick leave and call-in procedures.
  2. Employees must record sick leave that is taken on the appropriate time off calendar.
  3. An employee who has been granted time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) may use sick leave to be paid for what would otherwise be unpaid time under the FMLA or VESSA. (See Policy U522 Family and Medical Leave of Absence and Policy U526 Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Leave.)
  4. For an exempt employee absences of less than one full day are neither to be charged to accumulated sick leave time, nor to be deducted from pay. Exempt employees who use sick leave to be paid while granted time off under FMLA may have sick leave accruals deducted on an hour-for-hour basis.
  5. Sick leave use for an exempt employee is based on the employee's average scheduled hours per day. An exempt employee who takes a full-day absence will have accruals deducted at a rate equal to the employee’s average scheduled hours per day for each day of sick leave taken. 
    1. Example #1: An exempt employee who works a five (5) day, 37.5 hour standard workweek will have 7:30 hours deducted from his/her sick leave accrual balance for each day of sick leave taken. To calculate: 37.5 hours per week ÷ 5 days per week = 7:30 hours per sick day. 
    2. Example #2: An exempt staff employee who works a four-day, 20-hour standard workweek will have 5.0 hours deducted from his/her sick leave accrual balance for each day of sick leave taken. To calculate: 20 hours per week ÷ 4 days per week = 5.0 hours per sick day.

  6. A non-exempt employee will have accruals deducted on an hour-for-hour basis. Accrued sick leave must be used in increments of at least 30 minutes.
  7. When an employee is absent for a reason covered by this Policy, and sick leave accrual is exhausted, the employee is in out-of-pay status unless he/she is benefits eligible, elects to use accrued vacation and/or personal holiday time, and has received supervisory approval to do so. (See Policy U509 Vacation and U511 Personal Holidays.)
  8. An employee who is absent and who is compensated under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act or the Illinois Occupational Diseases Act will not have sick leave accruals deducted. In these cases, an employee can use sick leave accruals to supplement the difference between Workers’ Compensation payments and the employee’s regular salary.
  9. Pay for sick leave will be at the employee's regular base rate of pay at the time the sick leave is used. Bonuses and other variable compensation are not included in calculating sick leave pay. Sick leave hours are not considered "hours worked" in calculating overtime. (See Policy U304 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping, and Tracking Absences.)
  10. An employee’s accrued sick leave balance expires upon termination of employment, unless the employee is rehired within thirty (30) days. Accrued, unused sick leave is not paid out upon termination of employment.
  11. When the need to use sick leave is reasonably foreseeable, such as a scheduled appointment with a healthcare provider, the employee should notify the unit seven days in advance when possible. When the need to use sick leave is not reasonably foreseeable, the employee should notify the unit as soon as is practicable.
  12. When using sick leave, an employee must follow unit sick leave request and call-in procedures. The notification required may be via phone, email or text message.
  13. Employee attendance records may be reviewed to determine if there has been an excessive use of sick leave. Excessive use of sick leave may result in corrective action. (See Policy U703 Progressive Corrective Action.)
  14. An employee who is absent for more than three (3) consecutive work days may be required to provide certification that the use of sick leave was permissible under this Policy. Failure to provide such certification if requested may result in corrective action. An absence of this length may also implicate time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. (See Policy U703 Progressive Corrective Action and U522 Family and Medical Leave of Absence.)

Key definitions:

Word/Phrase Definition
Family Member An employee’s child, legal guardian or ward, spouse under the laws of any state, domestic partner, parent, spouse or domestic partner’s parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. A child includes not only a biological relationship, but also a relationship resulting from an adoption, step-relationship, and/or foster care relationship, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis. A parent includes a biological, foster, stepparent or adoptive parent or legal guardian of an employee, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child.  This definition applies only to this Sick Leave Policy 512, and not to other University policies or benefits referencing Family Members or similar terminology.

roles and responsibilities: 

Governed Party Roles and Responsibilities 
Employee The Employee is responsible for following the Supervisor’s time off request procedures and recording sick leave use. 
Supervisor The Supervisor is responsible for setting time off request procedures, ensuring they are followed, verifying the use of sick leave is appropriate, monitoring for pattern absences, and approving sick leave use in the time off calendar. 
HR Partner The HR Partner is responsible for ensuring employees are categorized accurately to ensure sick leave is accrued and used correctly. 

related information:

Policy U304 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping, and Tracking Absences

Policy U509 Vacation

Policy U511 Personal Holidays

Policy U513 Short-Term Disability

Policy U514 Long-Term Disability

Policy U522 Family and Medical Leave of Absence

Policy U526 Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Leave

Policy U703 Progressive Corrective Action

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

Illinois Occupational Diseases Act

key contacts:

Name Email Extension
Center of Expertise - Employee & Labor Relations elrelations@uchicago.edu  4-7345

Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit.