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Purpose of Sick Leave Benefit


In order to provide a reasonable amount of coverage of a staff member’s salary during absences from work that result from a short-term illness or injury or incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the University in accordance with Seattle's Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance, SMC 14.16 provides paid sick/safe time leave to employees. Sick/safe time leave may be used for:

  • physical or mental illness, injury, or medical appointments of the employee;
  • physical or mental illness, injury or medical appointments of the employee's minor child, adult child who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability, spouse, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent;
  • family bereavement (up to 5 days);
  • closure of the University or the school or place of care of the employee’s child by order of a public official to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin, or hazardous material; or
  • reasons relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking involving the employee or a family member, which include seeking legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies, seeking treatment by a health care provider for mental or physical injuries, obtaining services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other social services program, obtaining mental health counseling, or participating in safety planning or relocation (Safe Time).

Please see the Family Care policy for further information relative to using sick/safe time leave to care for family members. This sick/safe leave policy’s intent is to provide income protection during qualifying absences only and does not accrue to become a cash benefit obligation of the University to the employee if the leave is not utilized during the staff member’s employment period at the University (i.e., unused leave is not paid out to terminating employees.)

Table of Contents


 

Sick Leave Eligibility


All employees are eligible for sick/safe time leave and may take accrued sick/safe time leave up to the amount accrued.

Regular full-time and regular part-time (regardless of FTE status) employees are eligible to use sick/safe time leave immediately as it accrues. Temporary employees are not eligible to use sick/safe time leave until the 180th day following the commencement of their employment with the University.

Individuals performing services under a work study agreement are not eligible for sick/safe time leave.

 

Description of Sick Leave Benefit


Sick/safe time leave accrues for all employees from the commencement of employment, at the rate of 10 hours per month up to a maximum of 120 hours per year for a regular full-time employee (1.0 FTE). The monthly accumulation of hours for staff who work less than 1.0 FTE is prorated based on their FTE percentage for hours worked per pay period.

Temporary employees (regardless of FTE status) and Faculty accrue sick/safe time leave at the rate of 1 hour leave per 30 hours worked.

Unused sick/safe time leave accumulates from year to year, up to the following maximums:

  • 520 hours for 1.0 FTE regular full-time employees;
  • 520 hours prorated based on FTE percentage for regular part-time employees who work at least 0.5 but less than 1.0 FTE;
  • 72 hours for faculty; and
  • 72 hours for part-time employees who work less than 0.5 FTE; and
  • 72 hours for temporary employees (regardless of FTE status).

The University will reinstate previously accrued but unused sick/safe time for staff who separate from employment with the University and are rehired within seven months.

 

Sick Leave Usage Requirements


Staff who are unable to report to work due to a personal illness, a dependent child's, spouse's, or parent's illness or injury, or an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking affecting an employee or employee’s family/household member must contact their supervisor as soon as possible but no later than one hour after the employee expected start of the work day. If a situation requiring sick/safe time leave occurs during the work day, the supervisor must be notified before the employee leaves the campus unless emergency medical treatment is needed and the supervisor is not readily accessible.

When the need to use sick/safe leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide his or her supervisor with a written request at least 10 days in advance.

Absences in excess of three working days, whether for the illness or injury of an employee, the employee's dependent child, spouse, or parent, or for an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking must also be reported to the Office of Human Resources at 206-281-2809.

The absence will be evaluated in light of the University's Family and Medical Leave policy and the sick/safe time leave used by the employee may be designated as Family and Medical Leave. The evaluation may include a request by the University for physician certification of the necessity for sick leave and, in the case of an absence to care for an employee's spouse or parent, certification that the employee's presence is necessary for the care of the spouse or parent. The University reserves the right, at the University's expense, to require a second medical opinion. The University may also request documentation to support a request for safe time leave involving an incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

 

Use of Sick Pay for Maternity Leave


Please see Staff Short Term Disability / Maternity Leave policy.

 

Use of Sick Pay for Paternity Leave


Up to five days of sick pay may be taken by the father of a newborn child within the first two weeks of birth.

If, through childbirth, the employee's spouse experiences a serious or emergency health condition, or if the child has a health condition that requires supervision, the employee may be eligible for sick leave use above the five days (see Family Care policy for further information).

Family medical leave allows eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid time off for specified family and medical reasons including the birth of a son or daughter or to care for the child after birth. Family medical leave may run concurrent with paid time off that is taken for paternity leave. Please see the University's Family Medical Leave policy for further information.

 

Use of Sick Pay to Care for a Newly Adopted Child


Based on an employee's years of service as indicated below, accrued sick leave may be used by an employee who is the *primary caregiver of a newly adopted child within the first two weeks following the adoption, or placement in the home:

Years of Employment
Accrued Sick Leave Usage
Less than one year:
Up to five days of sick leave (or maximum accrued sick leave, if less).
One year or greater:
Up to six weeks of sick leave (or maximum accrued sick leave, if less).

Limitations and Exclusions

  • *When a mother and father of a newly adopted child are both employees of the University and eligible for this benefit, only one employee is entitled to use this benefit.
  • If the newly adopted child has a health condition that requires supervision, the employee may be eligible for additional sick leave use (see Family Care policy for further information).
  • Family medical leave allows eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid time off for specified family and medical reasons, including the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care, and may run concurrent with paid time off to care for a newly adopted child. Please see the University's Family Medical Leave policy for further information.

 

Use of Sick Leave for Bereavement


Up to five days of sick pay may be taken upon the death of the employee's spouse, parent, father-in-law, mother-in-law, child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

Limitations & Exclusions

  • A physician's release authorizing an employee's return to work may be required by the University in cases of surgery, prolonged illness, or excessive absenteeism.
  • Since the purpose of sick/safe time leave is to minimize economic hardship resulting from illness or injury, unused sick/safe time leave will not be paid out at termination.

 

Reporting Sick Leave


Exempt and Nonexempt staff reports sick leave on an hourly basis each pay period using the University's online reporting system.  All leave reported must be approved by the staff member's supervisor. Leave will be reported in one-hour increments. Sick hours reported should be based on your expected work schedule.  For instance, if your weekly work schedule is four days a week at 10-hours a day and you miss a whole day, you would report 10 hours of sick if you took a full day of sick leave on a day you were expected to work.  Similarly, if you are a part-time employee working three days a week at 5-hours a day, you would report 5 hours of sick leave for a whole day missed if it were a day you were expected to work. 

Illnesses in excess of 3 working days may be covered under the provisions of the Family Medical Leave of Absence Policy. Disabilities and maternity leaves are covered under the Short Term Disability and Extended Short Term Disability leave policies. Disabilities with a duration in excess of six months are covered under the Long Term Disability Insurance Policy.

Any questions on the use and reporting of the Sick Leave policy, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 206-281-2809.  Additional information may be found posted on the Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance posted in the HR and Facilities building, or by going to:  http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/paid-sick-and-safe-time.