Sick Leave

I.      Policy
The University of Puget Sound (the “university”) provides sick leave benefits to compensate for those occasional instances when a staff member’s absences are necessitated because of illness, injury, or any other temporary disability, and to provide some measure of income protection for a staff member’s extended illness or disability.

II.    Eligibility and Scope
A regular staff member begins earning sick leave from his or her effective date of employment. A staff member in a temporary position is not eligible for sick leave benefits except when stipulated in a written agreement for a long-term temporary appointment which has been authorized by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources or his or her designee.

A staff member is eligible to use sick leave in the following circumstances:

  • When a staff member experiences a temporary disability (including temporary disability due to pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, and childbirth) which is incapacitating and which prevents performance of assigned tasks;
  • When a staff member has a medical or dental procedure or checkup that cannot be scheduled outside of regular working hours;
  • When a staff member has been exposed to a contagious disease that would affect the health of others;
  • When a member of a staff member’s immediate family is ill or has been injured and a staff member’s presence is needed. Immediate family for the purpose of this policy shall include a staff member’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, biological child, adopted child, foster child, step child, sibling, or any other person living in a staff member’s household. 

A staff member in a non-exempt position will be paid at his or her regular hourly rate for all hours recorded as sick leave. Hours recorded as sick leave will not be included in the calculation of overtime.

Unless on an approved FMLA leave, a staff member in an exempt position should report sick leave in full-day increments. If the staff member works any part of the day, no sick leave should be used that day. A staff member on an approved FMLA leave may report sick leave in less than full-day increments.

III.   Sick Leave Accumulation
Full-time staff members accrue sick leave each pay period, equivalent to 12 days per year. For staff members in a non-exempt position, or an exempt staff member with leave without pay, the formula to determine sick leave earnings is .046154 times the number of hours worked and/or paid leave hours during the pay period. Sick leave does not accrue on overtime hours worked.

Sick leave is cumulative and accrues to a maximum of 1,040 hours (the equivalent of 130 work days for full-time staff members). Sick leave does not accrue once the number of accrued hours reaches 1,040 hours. Once the number of accrued hours drops below 1,040 hours, sick leave will once again accrue at the standard accrual rate, up to a maximum of 1,040 hours.

Sick leave will not be advanced, but must be earned prior to the pay period in which it is used. Sick leave accumulated from the prior pay period will be applied to time off during the current pay period. If, after the prior pay period’s leave hours are applied there is leave without pay, then the current pay period’s leave accumulation will be calculated on a prorated basis and will be available for use during the following pay period.

A staff member who transfers from one department to another takes along unused, accumulated sick leave hours which are available for immediate use.

Accumulated, unused sick leave is not compensable on termination of employment, except as provided in the Retirement from University Employment policy.

A staff member who is rehired within one year of termination of employment will be credited with the unused, accumulated sick leave as recorded in the leave reporting system of record at the time of her or his voluntary termination.

IV.    Sick Leave Use
When a personal or immediate family member illness occurs which prevents a staff member from reporting to work, the staff member must notify his or her supervisor as soon as possible, but in no case later than 30 minutes after the beginning of a staff member’s scheduled shift. If a staff member has an absence that lasts for more than one day, the staff member must notify his/her supervisor each day unless alternate arrangements have been made in advance with a supervisor. Some departments may require notification up to several hours in advance of the time a staff member’s shift begins due to operational needs.

A staff member must be the one to notify the supervisor unless he or she is medically unable to do so. A staff member should provide notification directly to a supervisor, unless another individual has been officially authorized by the department to accept notifications of absences. A supervisor may specify methods of notification (for example, requiring voice-to-voice notification instead of electronic message).

Illness or injury occurring during a staff member’s vacation leave will not be charged to sick leave unless a staff member or an immediate family member is hospitalized.

Sick leave for a part-time staff member is not intended to extend the number of approved workdays/workweeks or to provide monetary compensation in lieu of time off at the conclusion of the nine-, ten- or eleven-month period.

V.  Problematic Absenteeism
The university may view absenteeism as problematic when short-term absences (of less than three days duration) exceed the rate of six occurrences per year, and/or there is a pattern of absences immediately before or following days off and holidays. Problematic absenteeism and/or failure to notify a supervisor according to established university and departmental policies may result in corrective action, up to and including termination of employment.

VI. Return to Work and Medical Certification
The university, at its discretion, reserves the right to require a staff member to submit medical certification of personal or family illness or injury at the request of a supervisor, depending on departmental policies or the frequency of a staff member’s absence from work. Medical certification should verify that a staff member or the family member was treated for an illness or injury, not just that the individual was seen by a health care provider, in order for sick leave to be authorized. Medical certification must be forwarded to Human Resources whenever a staff member is absent as a result of personal illness or injury in excess of five consecutive working days.

A staff member applying for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leaves (see Family and Medical Leave Act policy) because of his or her own serious health conditions or to care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition will be required to use accumulated sick leave hours before unpaid FMLA leave begins. A staff member’s paid sick leave will be counted in determining a staff member’s FMLA leave entitlement of 12 workweeks.

The university may, upon review of the circumstances, contact a staff member to notify him or her that his or her absence may qualify for an FMLA leave or invite the staff member to request accommodation for a temporary or ongoing disability.

VII.  Workers' Compensation Time Loss Benefits and Sick Leave Supplementation
Regular staff members who are injured on the job and who are released from work for over three days following the date of injury are eligible to supplement their time-loss benefits with sick or vacation leave payments. The authorization for release from work must be approved by the third party administrator for Workers' Compensation and be identified as a time loss injury. The staff member will receive Workers' Compensation time loss benefits for time away from work and will be given the opportunity to supplement time loss benefits with sick or vacation leave, as follows: for every seven-day period for which the staff member receives non-taxable time loss benefits, the staff member may choose to supplement the time loss benefits with ten hours of sick leave pay (or vacation leave pay if sick leave has been exhausted).

Supplementation will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Generally supplementation will be addressed at the point when the injured staff member returns to work because most injured staff members return to work within a month. In situations when it is clear that the staff members will be on time loss benefits for longer than a month, Human Resources will apprise the staff member of the supplementation option while the staff member is off work so that supplementation payments can be made in a timely manner.

The staff member must have sick and/or vacation leave accrued at the time of injury. Supplementation will not be offered until the injury has been clearly determined to be a Workers' Compensation claim. Supplementation will not be available to staff members who return to work on a reduced work schedule.

VIII.  Responsibilities
All requests to use accumulated sick leave hours will be acted on by a staff member’s supervisor or department head. Abuse of the sick leave policy may result in corrective action.

The leave reporting system of record maintains records of sick leave earned and used. Individual sick leave balances for the pay period are displayed on the staff member’s direct deposit advice.

Origination Date: 9/1958
Revised: 2007, 3/16/2011, 1/2013 , 4/2013