PSU Sick Leave Policy FAQ
PSU's Sick Leave Policy, adopted effective January 1, 2016, expanded eligibility to accrue and use paid sick leave to all PSU employees. This comprehensive policy covers the applicability, definitions, policy and procedure for the accrual and use of paid sick leave at PSU in compliance with Federal and State laws, including Oregon's "sick time" law.
These FAQs are not intended to replace PSU’s Sick Leave Policy, but to describe application of PSU policy in more detail by the following major topic areas:
How does the 2016 Oregon Paid Sick Leave law affect me?
- If you already earned paid sick leave prior to January 1, 2016, your current accrual rate and maximum sick leave accruals are more generous than this law and will not change. In general, you can disregard FAQ information about sick leave accruals and sick leave balance caps.
- If you were not eligible to earn sick leave prior to January 1, 2016, you will begin accruing sick leave January 1, 2016.
This includes student employees, graduate assistants, PSUFA represented part-time faculty, IATSE represented, temporary, and wage agreement part-time staff employees. PSU policy extends this benefit to work-study student employees as well, though not required under the law.
What is the purpose of PSU's Sick Leave Policy?
- To provide paid sick leave and job protection for employees to care for themselves or a qualifying family member’s physical or mental illness, injury, medical condition, and for preventative health appointments and some public health emergencies.
Who is a qualifying family member?
- For the purposes of sick time, family member is defined to include members of the employee's immediate family (employee's parents, parents-in-law, spouse, partner, children, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or another member of the immediate household).
- Child/children include the biological, adoptive, or foster child of the employee, or of their spouse, partner, grandparent, a parent-in-law, or a person with whom the employee was or is in a relationship of in loco parentis. An employee’s child may be either a minor or an adult at the time qualifying leave is taken.
Sick Leave Accrual:
How much sick leave do I earn?
- Part-time employees (including part-time PSUFA represented faculty, graduate assistants, academic wage, temporary staff, student employees, IATSE, and other whose appointment is less than .50 FTE, and not benefit-eligible: One (1) hour of sick leave is earned for every 30 hours worked until the cap is reached.
- Unclassified employees employed at .50 FTE or more on a 12-month or 9-month benefits-eligible appointment: Eight (8) hours of sick leave for each full-time month of service in a paid status, or a prorated amount for part-time or partial months of service.
- SEIU represented Regular Classified employees: Eight (8) hours for each full-time month of service in a paid status, or a prorated amount for part-time or partial month of service. See Article 40 of the SEIU collective bargaining agreement for further detail.
What is the cap on the amount of sick leave I can earn?
- Part-time employees (including PSUFA represented faculty, graduate assistants, academic wage, temporary staff, student employees, IATSE, and others whose appointment is less than .50 FTE, and not benefit-eligible:
- Up to 40 hours can be earned each fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) based on hours worked. Employees in this group would need to work 1,200 hours to reach the annual accrual limit of 40 hours (1,200 hours / 30 = 40)
- Up to 40 unused sick leave hours may be rolled over on July 1 to the next fiscal year.
- The maximum sick leave account balance is 80 hours.
- Unclassified employees employed at .50 FTE or more on a 12-month or 9-month benefits-eligible appointment and SEIU represented Regular Classified employees:
- Up to 96 hours (maximum of 8 hours per month x 12 months) can be earned each fiscal year based on hours or FTE worked.
- No cap on sick leave hours that may be accumulated or rolled over to the next fiscal year.
Where does payroll get the information to determine accruals?
- For hourly employees, work hours reported on your pay period time sheet determine sick leave accruals.
- For salaried (overtime exempt) employees, such as graduate assistants and PSUFA represented part-time faculty, sick leave accruals are prorated based on appointment FTE as a percentage of a 40 hour work week. For example, a .27 FTE employee earns .36 hours of sick leave per week (40 hours x .27 = 10.8 hours / 30 = .36 hours), which is approximately 1.56 hours per pay month.
Where can I see my sick leave balances?
- On your paycheck stub in banweb (banweb.pdx.edu)
- Under Leave Balances on the Employee Services tab in banweb
Can I use sick leave as soon as I accrue it?
- You can use sick leave as soon as it posts to your leave balance, which will happen at the end of each pay period.
- Sick leave earned during the January pay period (Dec 16 – Jan 15) will be available for use during the February pay period (Jan 16 – Feb 15).
- Remember to follow your department’s requirements for reporting out as sick and for scheduling sick leave use for foreseeable reasons.
Will I begin to accrue sick leave again if my balance drops below 40 hours?
- The maximum accrual each fiscal year is 40 hours. If you have already earned 40 hours for the year, you will begin accruing sick leave again at the next fiscal year, July.
Sick Leave Use:
What are the most common qualifying reasons to use sick leave?
- To care for your, or a qualifying family member’s, physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition, and for preventative health appointments (medical/dental/vision).
What are the less common qualifying reasons to use sick leave?
- For certain public health emergencies or domestic violence. Please contact HR for assistance.
How do I use sick leave?
- Follow your department’s established procedures for reporting as out sick. Speak with your supervisor for clarification or, if applicable, refer to your collective bargaining agreement.
Do I need to use sick leave if I have flexibility in when I do my work?
- If you have flexibility in when you perform your assigned work (for example, grading papers) you may not need to use your available sick leave balances, should you complete your assigned work at a different time with the approval of your supervisor within established due dates.
- If you are not able to perform your assigned work you will need to use your available sick leave, and your supervisor may need to assign your work to someone else.
- If you don't use your available sick leave balances your balance will accumulate up to 40 hours per year and up to 80 hours maximum.
Do I have to find someone to cover my work (coverage) for my absence?
- No. It is your department’s responsibility to find coverage, if needed, when you use sick leave. You can assist by providing as much notice as possible.
How much advanced notice do I need to give my supervisor?
- Unplanned absences: As soon as possible, before the start of your scheduled work shift if you can. Also state the anticipated length of sick time needed and notify your supervisor as soon as you know there is a change in your need for sick leave.
- Planned appointments: As soon as possible. You must make a reasonable attempt to schedule appointments so that they do not unduly disrupt work operations. You may be required to give up to 10 days advance notice.
Do I need a doctor’s note if I am sick?
- Only if Human Resources requests that you obtain one. If a note is requested, HR will provide further information and instruction.
If I have sick leave accrued, do I have to use it to cover a qualifying absence? Or can I choose to take unpaid time instead and save my sick leave?
- For unplanned qualifying absences: You must use and exhaust your balance before taking sick time off unpaid.
- For planned qualifying absences: It is generally expected that you will use sick leave; however, if you request it, your department management has the discretion to approve an adjustment to your work schedule to make up the time.
What happens if I don't have enough sick leave and I have a qualifying absence?
- After earned sick leave balances have been exhausted, employees may take additional unpaid sick time up to a combined total of 40 hours paid sick leave and unpaid sick time per year.
How do I report the sick leave I use?
- Hourly employees: Timesheet in Web Time Entry through banweb. Select the sick leave earn code, then enter the number of scheduled work hours you missed due to a qualifying absence.
- Salaried employees: Leave Report, currently a paper report coordinated in your department. The Leave report is transitioning to an online report through banweb. Select the sick leave "leave type" and report the number of scheduled work hours missed due to a qualifying absence. For example, when a graduate teaching assistant or part-time faculty member misses a scheduled class due to a qualifying absence, they are required to use available sick leave to cover the absence.
Can I transfer sick leave balances to someone else in need?
- Currently, only SEIU represented employees may donate Vacation leave or Compensatory time to other SEIU employees. This is a contractual agreement described in Article 40 of the SEIU contract. Please contact HR or SEIU for information.
Job Changes & Sick Leave Transfer FAQ
Does my sick leave transfer between jobs at PSU?
- Yes. There may be limitations to balances of over 80 hours as described in Section 5 of the Sick Leave Policy.
If I transfer from a job that allows a sick leave balance of more than 80 hours to a job that caps my balance at 80 hours, what happens to my excess sick leave?
- Your excess hours will be tracked in Banner, and if you return to a job within the timelines specified in Section 5 of the Policy, the hours above the 80 hour cap will be reinstated.
What happens to my sick leave balance when my employment with PSU ends?
- Your ending balance will be tracked in Banner, and if rehired within the timelines specified by job type in Section 5 of the Policy, those hours may be eligible for reinstatement.
- Retirement: If you leave due to retirement, your ending sick leave balance is forfeited and is not eligible for reinstatement.
Does my sick leave get cashed out?
- No. Sick leave can only be used for qualifying absences. It cannot be cashed out.
Does my sick leave transfer to other jobs with the State of Oregon or to other universities?
- If the receiving employer or university’s sick leave policy allows.
Can I ask my employees to find someone to cover their work (coverage) when they are out sick?
- No. Both Oregon law and PSU Policy clearly prohibit the employer (any employee acting on behalf of PSU regarding the employment of another PSU employee) from requiring or encouraging an employee who is out due to a qualifying absence to find a replacement worker to cover their shift.
- It is a manager's responsibility to find coverage and this may not be passed on to employees.
- You are encouraged to plan and identify potential replacement workers in advance so you are prepared should a qualifying absence occur.
Can sick leave be charged to Federal Work Study (FWSP) funds?
- No. Although PSU policy extends paid sick leave accrual to FWSP student employees, Federal Work Study funds cannot be used to pay for sick leave taken.
- Departments will be assessed the full wage amount for sick leave taken by FWSP funded student employees.
If an employee earns sick leave from multiple jobs, what department is charged for sick leave when they take it?
- The department they were scheduled to perform work for at the time of the qualifying absence is charged for available sick leave balances taken, regardless of where hours were worked that resulted in the accrued sick leave balances.
How do I create a procedure for handling calling out sick and for scheduling sick time off in advance for qualifying absences?
Procedures for calling out sick should include:
- A main point of contact, usually the direct supervisor, and their contact information.
- How contact should be made (email, phone, text, etc.).
- Expectations for reporting sick leave or other paid leave on applicable timesheets or leave rosters.
- In the employee’s absence, the supervisor needs to ensure that leave time is recorded and paid appropriately.
Procedures for scheduling sick time off in advance for planned appointments should include:
- A clearly written process for requesting time off that is compliant with applicable wage, hour, and leave laws, as well as with applicable collective bargaining agreements.
Contact Employee Relations for assistance developing, or for a compliance review of, your procedures.
What if an employee takes or schedules more paid sick leave than they have accrued?
- They can be paid for the time that is available.
What if I think my employee is abusing or misusing their sick leave?
- Contact HR Employee Relations if you have attendance related concerns.
Leave Balance Reports
What reports are available to help supervisors track leave balances?
- DataMaster (Cognos) reports, under Production Content, Human Resources, include:
- Leave Balances by Employee ID - H0007
- Leave Balances by (Home) Organization Code - H0008
- Employee Managers and Time Approvers by Organization Code - H0019
- Banner reports, under HR Quick Menu, General Campus, Campus Reports, include:
- Employee Leave Balances - PEALEAV (look up screen)
- Monthly Leave Balances - ZPHRMLR (job submission report by Home Org)
- Quarterly Leave Report - ZPHRQLR (job submission report by Home Org)
- Yearly Leave Report - ZPHRYLR (job submission report by Home Org)
Additional information about PSU’s Sick Leave is available in the Sick Leave Policy.
Additional information about Oregon's Sick Time law can be found on the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) website. Please be aware that PSU policy varies from BOLI’s information. PSU policy is more generous than required by law; for example, although not required by law, PSU has extended paid sick leave accrual to Federal work-study students.
If you still have questions after reading the policy and the FAQs, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org