22.3 Sick Leave Policy: Leave for Medically Related Disability, Family Caregiving, Funerals, Service as a Pallbearer, Adoption, and On-the-Job-Injury

(President 1/31/77; amended 2/99; 5/03; 10/04; 1/06; 3/06 [Regents approved 9/14/05]; 5/06; 6/07; 10/1/10; 10/14; 7/1/17)

Effective July 1, 2017, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version.

  1. General policy. An absence due to a medically related disability, family caregiving, funeral, service as a pall bearer, adoption, and/or on-the-job-injury is a sick leave absence and is to be charged against an employee's accrued sick leave credits unless other rules apply. Sick leave credits can only be used for sick leave absences, except as provided in subparagraph i below.
  2. Accrual. Faculty and staff in regular appointments accrue sick leave. 
    1. Sick leave credits accrue at the rate of 12 hours per month of service for a full-time employee. A part-time employee will accrue the fractional proportion of the full-time entitlement. Persons holding an academic year appointment are considered to be employed 9/12 of a calendar year; those holding summer session appointments are considered to be employed for this purpose for 2/12 of a calendar year.
    2. Sick leave credits accrue when an employee is in pay status.
    3. Sick leave credits do not accrue during any absence without pay.
    4. Holidays falling during a period of absence defined as sick leave are paid as holidays and are not charged to the employee's sick leave accumulation.
  3. Sick leave. 
    1. Each full- or part-time, regular, and continuous employee is able to use, as indicated in paragraph (2) below, a leave of absence due to a medically related disability, family caregiving, funeral, service as a pall bearer, adoption and/or on-the-job-injury at the normal rate of pay when accrued leave is available. Employees hired on a temporary, on-call, provisional, project, or emergency basis, as well as students hired through the Office of Student Financial Aid and students hired in positions reserved specifically for student employees, are not entitled to sick leave.
    2. Restrictions on sick leave absences. A department will, when satisfied by evidence presented, grant the following amount of paid time off to be charged against and not to exceed the employee's accrued sick leave for:
      1. Medically related disability: A leave for a medically related disability to the extent that the birth mother, who is the employee, has accrued sick leave credits to cover the period. The time during which the employee is unable to work because of a medically related disability caused or contributed to by a pregnancy-related condition is treated as a medically related disability. Birth mothers are entitled to leave for any period of pregnancy-related temporary disability, to be charged against accrued sick leave. Based on current medical practice, a leave of no more than six weeks would not require documentation of disability. If an employee's accumulated sick leave is insufficient to cover the period of pregnancy-related disability, the employee will, at the employee's request, be granted a leave of absence to be charged to vacation time, compensatory time, or a leave of absence without pay. Any authorized leave beyond the period of disability is considered as vacation or a leave of absence without pay. See also III-22.8 Parental Leave.
      2. Family caregiving leave is available so that a faculty or staff member may provide care of and necessary attention to an ill or injured family member. Family caregiving leave was established to assist the faculty or staff member with his or her family-related responsibilities. Family caregiving leave is in addition to vacation leave that can also be used for care and necessary attention of an ill or injured family member.

        The maximum usage per year of family caregiving leave includes the current calendar year allowance of up to five days of sick leave (40 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time), as well as any unused allowance from the previous calendar year, up to 80 hours in total (pro-rated for part-time) for the care of and necessary attention to ill or injured members of the employee's immediate family. Carryover of the unused allowance from the previous year applies to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement only if the benefit has been negotiated and is contained in the agreement.

        Family caregiving leave is paid leave charged to accrued sick leave. Appropriate verification of the status of the ill or injured person may be requested.

        In the event that the faculty or staff member does not have accrued sick leave, family caregiving leave is not available. However, the department or unit is encouraged to permit the faculty or staff member to use vacation or leave without pay to respond to family-related responsibilities. See also https://hr.uiowa.edu/policies/clarification-family-caregiving-leave.
      3. Funeral leave: A maximum of three days charged to sick leave (24 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for each occurrence of death in the employee's immediate family. (See III-22.4 for funerals for the employee's immediate family.)
      4. Service as a pall bearer: A maximum of one day charged to sick leave (8 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for each service as a pallbearer at the funeral of a person not a member of the employee's immediate family.
      5. Adoption: A maximum of five days charged to sick leave (40 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) by a newly adoptive parent. Departments should work with prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt through an adoption agency with specific requirements for parental leave, to the extent the adoption leave is not sufficient to undertake an adoption. See also III-22.8 Parental Leave.
      6. On-the-job injury: See III-33 Accidents; III-18 Insurance.
    3. Sick leave may be granted on presentation of satisfactory evidence by the employee. No other absence may be charged against sick leave except as described in paragraphs (2)(a) through (2)(f) above. The employing department may set the standards for satisfactory evidence which may include a doctor's statement or other applicable documentation. Where there is reason to believe the employee is abusing the sick leave privilege or may not be physically able to return to work, the department may also require a doctor's statement.
  4. Use of sick leave credits.
    1. Sick leave credits are used at the rate of one hour for each hour of absence.
    2. Sick leave may be used by a faculty member during the academic year or the summer session because of a medically related disability which occurs before a semester or a summer session begins to the extent that sick leave credits are available, and provided that a definite commitment of employment during that period has been consummated before the onset of the disability. For the payment of sick leave benefits, faculty members are considered to be "on duty" five days per week, eight hours a day, even though their classes may be scheduled on more or fewer than five days per week.
    3. Medical and dental appointments which cannot be arranged for off-duty hours are to be charged against sick leave unless other rules apply. Generally, an absence for routine medical and dental care should not exceed two hours.
    4.  If a staff member becomes ill during the five working days immediately before a scheduled vacation, the staff member may arrange with the department to postpone the vacation to a mutually satisfactory date. Except for instances in which the staff member is under the care of a physician, sick leave does not apply to an illness incurred during vacations or a paid holiday. If a staff member is under the care of a physician while on his or her paid vacation, the employee may use sick leave for those days upon presentation of satisfactory documentation of such care.
    5. Upon the exhaustion of sick leave, the employee is eligible to use accrued vacation credits for the approved leave.
    6. Increments of accrued sick and vacation leave are available for use on the first day of the month following the month earned. Employees transferring employment within the University during a given month will transfer all leave accrued to date of the transfer.
  5. Recording and reporting absences.
    1. Each department must report and keep a record of any faculty or staff member's absence charged to sick leave, vacation, or unpaid leave. The employee has the responsibility of reporting and recording on the absence or departmental report form the reason for the absence and categorizing it properly. If the absence is due to an injury incurred while on duty, the procedure in III-33 Accidents is followed. Consult III-22.4 for leave to attend funerals of those other than the employee's immediate family.
    2. Each department is responsible for terminating the pay of any faculty or staff member who has exhausted available sick leave and vacation credits. Such notification is made through the online transaction system and administrative channels as necessary to reach Payroll by the last day for which the staff member is paid sick leave or vacation benefits.
  6. Payment of sick leave.
    1. Payment of sick leave is made on regular payroll dates.
    2. If a faculty or staff member becomes entitled to benefits under Workers' Compensation while still eligible for sick leave payments, the staff member's regular salary will continue to be paid, reduced by Workers' Compensation benefits. Credit for Workers' Compensation benefits will be used to purchase additional days of sick leave for the employee and the total amount of sick leave credit so realized will be exhausted on the staff member's behalf. The University Benefits office will compute the number of days of additional sick leave due to the employee and notify the department involved.
  7. Extended total disability.
    1. An employee meeting all requirements for the University long term disability insurance program at the time of the onset of a disability and who continues to be disabled through the greater of 90 working days or the exhaustion of accumulated sick leave is eligible to receive benefits under the insurance plan. The insurer determines whether any insurance benefits are paid and establishes the beginning date of the total disability for that purpose.
    2. The University Benefits Office should be contacted at such time as it is suspected that an employee may be off work 90 or more working days or absent 20 percent or more for four or more continuous months to initiate the completion of the necessary application forms for Long Term Disability benefits. Section III-18.3 contains specific information concerning the Long Term Disability program.
  8. Return to work.
    1. When an employee is on a paid leave of absence, the University considers itself obligated to hold the employee's position open for as long as the employee has sick or vacation credits or when on an absence covered by Workers' Compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or other unpaid medical leave has been approved. The employee may return to this position immediately upon ability to perform the essential functions of the position. The University may fill the position on a permanent basis after the employee has exhausted sick leave and vacation except in the case of an employee with academic tenure, or an employee who is on a leave of absence pursuant to Workers' Compensation, the ADA, the FMLA, or other approved leave. In addition, the employee may have the right to return to comparable employment pursuant to the FMLA, ADA, or Workers' Compensation.
    2. As an employee seeks to return to work from a leave, the employee may receive University assistance in returning to his or her position by contacting his or her supervisor, HR Representative, or University Faculty and Staff Disability Services.
    3. Where illness or limitation continues but does not render the employee unable to work, the University will offer an interactive process and attempt to identify reasonable accommodation to the employee's limitations.
    4. An employee unable to perform the essential functions of the current position with reasonable accommodation may request assistance in seeking a vacant position within the University from University Faculty and Staff Disability Services.
  9. Sick Leave Transferred to Vacation.
    1. Employees are encouraged to accrue and maintain a minimum of 720 hours of sick leave, where possible. However, an eligible employee may elect to convert sick leave to vacation for any month in which there has been no absence charged to sick leave. The election must be made on the Monthly Time Report. The exchange formula is to receive 4 hours of vacation time in lieu of the 12 hours monthly sick leave accrual. Employees may also make arrangements to automatically convert sick leave to vacation in every month possible. Once an election to transfer sick leave to vacation has been selected and processed through a monthly payroll cycle, the election for that month is irrevocable.
    2. Eligibility is limited to regular employees who have accumulated a minimum of 240 hours of sick leave. Faculty and staff who do not accrue vacation are ineligible for this program.
    3. Any sick leave transferred to vacation will be allowed to accumulate up to two times the annual entitlement. If the use of sick leave reduces an employee's sick leave account below 240 hours, the account must be built up to 240 hours before eligibility conversion is restored.

(See IAC [681]3.143; [681]3.148; see also III-22.8 Parental Leave. Merit system staff should consult III-24.3 for applicable policies.)