Policy 402B - Safe and Sick Leave for Full-time Staff

Section: Time Off
Policy Number: 402B
Responsible Office: HR/HR Services
Effective Date: 4/1/14
Revised: 5/5/18; 11/7/19

Adapted from Policy #402, revised: 06/30/02; 11/20/03; 02/20/08

 

Scope

This policy applies to full-time staff. Staff employees on a Reduced Schedule are eligible for paid sick time on a prorated basis, depending on their schedule. Part-time staff should refer to policy #402C.

Uses of Safe and Sick Leave

Beginning on January 1 of each calendar year, all regular full-time staff may use safe and sick leave on a continuous or intermittent basis for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member (defined below), and to seek assistance or take other safety measures if the employee or a family member may be the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking. 

“Family member” is defined as including spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or the child or parent of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner, any other individuals related by blood to an employee or any other individuals whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Examples of permissible uses of safe and sick leave include:

  • An employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or need for medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or need for preventive medical care.
     
  • To care for a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or who needs preventive medical care.
     
  • When the University is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency, or when an employee needs to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.
     
  • Obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program; 
     
  • Participate in safety planning, relocate, or take other actions to protect the employee’s safety or that of the employee’s family members, including enrolling children in a new school;
     
  • Meet with an attorney or social service provider to obtain information and advice related to custody; visitation; matrimonial issues; orders of protection; immigration; housing; discrimination in employment, housing, or consumer credit.
     
  • File a domestic incident report with law enforcement or meet with a district attorney’s office; and
     
  • Attend civil or criminal court dates related to any act or threat of domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking.

Employee notice: When an employee’s need to use sick or safe leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide his or her immediate supervisor seven days’ written notice. When the employee’s need for safe or sick leave is not foreseeable, the employee must provide his or her immediate supervisor as much written notice as possible.   

Allotment of Safe and Sick Leave

Regular full-time staff are granted paid coverage for sick time up to a maximum of 10 days per year for absences from work for reasons that include the care and treatment for the employee or a family member, unless additional leave is provide by law.  Up to two (2) of the 10 days of sick time coverage per year may be used for special situations of a personal nature, unless additional leave is provided by law. (See also policy #403, Personal Time.) 

Any unused portion of sick time may be carried over to the following calendar year and accumulated to a maximum of 60 days. Sick time does not accrue during any period of unpaid leave. Upon separation from employment, any unused safe and sick leave shall have no monetary value.

Each calendar year, the use of safe leave for the employee shall not exceed 40 hours, and the use of safe and sick leave for a family member of the employee shall not exceed 40 hours, unless additional leave is provided by law. This 40-hour safe and sick leave balance is replenished at the beginning of each calendar year.

Documentation Requirements

Supervisors are responsible for tracking safe and sick leave accurately on employees’ timesheets by indicating Sick/Personal Leave and including comment in online timesheet or department timekeeping system. 

For absences of more than five (5) consecutive days, full-time staff employees are required to submit to the Employee Benefits Office documentation from a licensed medical provider, or in the case of safe leave reasonable documentation from a social services provider, attorney, law enforcement, clergy member, or notarized letter by the employee indicating the need for safe leave.  The documentation from a licensed medical provider must attest to both the existence of a need for sick leave and the date on which the staff is “cleared” to return to work. The documentation for safe leave must indicate the need for safe leave. Documentation provided by an employee will be maintained in the employee’s confidential benefits file.

Failure to provide documentation when requested may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. 

If a full-time staff employee who has been out on an extended sick leave of one month or more is released by his or her treating physician for part-time work, he or she may receive full-time pay for working half-time hours (3½ hours a day) for a period up to three (3) weeks. If the part-time hours extend beyond three (3) weeks, the employee must use any accrued paid leave balance or request leave without pay.

Continuation of Benefits

Paid safe and sick leave provides continuation of a full-time employee’s salary and benefits during periods of absence from work for the purposes specified above. Paid sick time does not guarantee that the employee’s position will be held open during the period of absence or that the employee will be reinstated to active employment when the employee returns to work. 

During periods of safe or sick leave, regular deductions, including those for fringe benefits, shall continue to be taken from the employee’s salary. 

For information concerning time off from work for purposes other than illness or disability, refer to additional policies in the Leave and Time Off sections of the Human Resources Policy Manual.

Compliance and Non-Retaliation

In the event of a conflict between this policy and a law that provides greater leave benefits to the employee, the law providing the greater leave benefits shall apply. The University cannot require that employees or a health care or service provider disclose personal health information or the details of the matter for which an employee requests sick or safe leave, unless disclosure is required by law. The University shall keep information about an employee or an employee’s family member obtained solely because of the Paid Safe and Sick Leave law confidential unless the employee consents to disclosure in writing or disclosure is required by law. 

Employee misuse of safe or sick leave, including unapproved absences after exhausting safe or sick leave, may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Retaliation against any employee for appropriate use of paid safe or sick leave is unacceptable and strictly prohibited. Any employee who feels he or she has been retaliated against should immediately report the matter to Human Resources. Employees also have the right to file a complaint with the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.

For more information, refer to the Notice of Employee Rights and to the Frequently Asked Questions published by NYC Consumer Affairs.

St. John's University, New York
Human Resources Policy Manual