4.18.4 Sick Leave

A. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide administration of sick leave for employees of the University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler).

B. Authority/Persons Affected

Texas Government Code Section 661.201-661.206, 661.033-661.034, Leave

The University of Texas Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 30201, Leave Policies

Persons affected: This policy applies to any employee who is appointed to work at least twenty (20) hours per week for a period of at least four and one-half months. For purposes of this policy, faculty must be appointed for at least fifty percent (50%) time for at least four and one-half (4.5) continuous months. Students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment are not covered by this policy.

C. Definitions

  1. Benefits-eligible Employee – An employee who is eligible to be a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), or Optional Retirement Package (ORP) and required to work at least 20 hours per week, or appointed to at leave 50% of a full time appointment, in a position that is expected to last at least four and one half months. 
  2. A documented medical condition – for purposes of using sick leave, exists when the employee submits a licensed practitioner’s certification to the employee’s supervisor as to the nature of the sickness, injury, or confinement due to pregnancy.
  3. An employee’s confinement due to pregnancy – for purposes of using sick leave, means inability to perform duties caused or contributed to by pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth or recovery. The employee seeking to use sick leave to cover the impairment must provide a licensed practitioner’s certification that the impairment causes the employee to be unable to work. Sick leave may not be used in conjunction with parental leave or family and medical leave once an employee has recovered from temporary impairment related to pregnancy or confinement.
  4. An immediate family member – is defined as those individuals who live in the same household as the employee and is related to the employee by kinship, adoption or marriage; or are foster children certified by the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services; and an employee’s minor child regardless of whether the child lives in the same household.
  5. A licensed practitioner’s certification – is a document signed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or other health care professional, competent within their scope of practice to make a medical evaluation of the employee’s sickness, injury or confinement due to pregnancy.
  6. Sick Leave Abuse – occurs when an employee uses sick leave for unauthorized purposes or misrepresents the actual reason for charging an absence to sick leave. Abuse may also occur when an employee establishes a pattern of sick leave usage over a period of time such as the day before or after a holiday, on Mondays or Fridays, after paydays, any one specific day, half-day, or a continued pattern of maintaining zero or near zero leave balances.
  7. Sickness or injury – for purposes of using sick leave, includes an absence required for medical, dental, optical examination or treatment; or for physical therapy and laboratory work or tests as order by a licensed practitioner.

D. Policy and Procedures

  1. Full-time, Benefits-eligible Employees, (faculty & staff), shall accrue eight (8) hours of sick leave for each month of employment. A part-time employee accrues sick leave on a proportionate basis. This sick leave entitlement will be received for each month, regardless of the number of hours worked in that month. Sick leave accrual will terminate on the last day of employment.
  2. Sick leave may be used immediately upon employment when a Benefits-eligible employee is out due to sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement of self or immediate family member. 
  3. Sick leave for members of an employee’s family who do not reside in the same household may only be taken to provide care to a spouse, child, or parent of the employee who needs such care as a direct result of a documented medical condition. Sick leave cannot be used for an employee’s parent-in-law if they do not live in the same household.
  4. All employees who must be absent under the conditions identified in (2) and (3) above must record the number of hours used. This applies to faculty members, even if the faculty member was not scheduled to teach classes during the period of absence.
  5. To be eligible to use sick leave during a continuous period of more than three (3) work days, an employee must contact the Office of Human Resources, and must provide acceptable medical documentation of the condition.
  6. UT Tyler may require medical documentation for use of sick leave taken during a continuous period of three (3) or fewer work days. Contact the Office of Human Resources for additional guidance.
  7. A Benefits-eligible Employee whose sick leave balance is insufficient to cover an absence from work due to illness must use other accrued, paid leave. If other paid leave is insufficient to cover the absence, the employee will be placed on leave without pay.
  8. Donation of Sick Leave
    1. A Benefits-eligible Employee may donate sick leave to another Benefits-eligible Employee at UT Tyler if the recipient
      1. Meets the sick leave eligibility requirements (See 2, 3 & 4 above.)
      2. Has exhausted their own sick leave; and
      3. Has exhausted any hours they are eligible to withdraw from the sick leave pool.
    2. An employee who receives donated sick leave may use the donated sick leave based on the same circumstances as accrued sick leave.
    3. An employee may not provide or receive remuneration, or a gift of any kind, in exchange for donated sick leave.
    4. The dollar value of donated sick leave will be reported as the donor’s income and UT Tyler will withhold taxes as the law requires.
    5. For further information on donation of sick leave please see Texas Government Code, Chapter 661.207.
  9. Benefits-eligible Employees transferring from one state agency to UT Tyler or within UT Tyler shall retain their unused sick leave, provided there is no break in service.
  10. The estate of a deceased employee is entitled to payment for one-half of accumulated sick leave, or for 336 hours of sick leave, whichever is less. Please refer to Texas Government Code, Chapter 661.031 for additional provisions and exclusions.
  11. Separated Benefits-eligible Employees cannot be paid for unused sick leave.
  12. A separated Benefits-eligible Employee may have his or her sick leave balance restored if:
    1. Re-employed by UT Tyler within twelve (12) months of separation, provided there has been a break in service of at least thirty (30) calendar days, or
    2. Re-employed by the state, other than UT Tyler, within twelve (12) months of separation (no break in service required), or
    3. Separated from UT Tyler under a formal reduction-in-force and is re-employed by the state within twelve (12) months of separation with no minimum break in service.
  13. Sick leave pool is an option during a catastrophic illness or injury, or if a Benefits-eligible Employee has previously donated time to the pool. (Donations to sick leave pool are not subject to taxes.) If an employee is eligible for sick leave pool, he/she is only eligible to withdraw from the pool up to the maximum allowed by law, regardless of the number of hours donated to the pool. (See UT Tyler HOP 4.18.9 Sick Leave Pool)

E. Responsibilities

  1. Benefits-eligible Employee
    1. Submits request, in advance when possible, to use available leave time to his/her immediate supervisor.
    2. Provides requested documentation supporting the need to use leave.
  2. Supervisor
    1. Reviews and, as appropriate, approves or denies requests for use of available leave time.
    2. Maintains records of leave used.
    3. Contacts the Office of Human Resources when medical leave documentation is received.
  3. Office of Human Resources
    1. Processes requests that require medical documentation.
    2. Assists departments in tracking employee’s accrued and used leave balances.

F. Review

This policy shall be reviewed by Human Resources every five years or as legislation changes.

ORIGINALLY APPROVED:  12/01/2001

LAST AMENDED:  02/2019