Time-Off Benefits & Leave Plans (Chapter 5)
Sick Leave for Non-Exempt/Admin. Support Staff (Section 506)
The college grants paid sick leave to eligible staff who are unable to work due to personal illness or injury that is not work related.
If you are employed in a regular, casual, limited-term, or hold a temporary position, you are eligible for paid sick leave. If you work a regular part-time schedule of half time or more, you are eligible for prorated sick leave based on the number of hours you are regularly scheduled to work.
Employees who do not meet the College's benefits eligibility criteria, may accrue up to five (5) days of earned sick time in accordance with Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law. Please refer to the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time policy (Section 523) for more information regarding this law.
Sick Leave Availability
You accrue sick leave at the rate of one day per month of eligible service. If you work a 9-, 10-, or 11-month schedule, your sick leave entitlement is prorated based on the amount granted to 12-month employees (i.e., one day per month of eligible service). You begin to earn sick leave starting with your date of hire and earn prorated hours each month. Your sick leave accrual (in hours) appears on your pay stub. If you are a casual employee, you earn one hour of sick leave for every thirty hours of work.
The college encourages you to accumulate sick leave in order to protect yourself in the case of a lengthy illness or disability. Earned but unused sick leave may be carried forward and accumulated from year to year.
Six months is the waiting period for long-term disability (LTD) income benefits. If your accrued sick leave exceeds six months, and if you qualify for LTD benefits, the remainder of your sick leave, if any, is reserved and you begin receiving LTD benefits after completion of the waiting period.
Terms and Conditions of Sick Leave Use
Paid sick leave is based on your regular rate of pay. The length of paid sick leave to which you are entitled for a certified illness or injury will depend upon the number of days of sick leave you have available. Please note the following:
- Sick leave covers an absence due to non-job-related accidents or medical conditions (workers' compensation benefits apply in the case of a job-related accident or illness).
- A staff member is entitled to charge up to forty (40) hours of absence in any fiscal year (July 1–June 30) to her/his accrued sick bank when the illness of a staff member's child (or legal ward), spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse who is regularly dependent on his/her care requires the staff member's absence from work. A medical statement may be required for approval.
- If possible, you should schedule medical or dental appointments outside of regular work hours. If this is impractical, check with your supervisor in advance about adjusting your work schedule. Sick leave may be used for doctor, dentist, and other medical appointments which cannot be scheduled outside of work hours.
- Paid sick leave is provided to protect you financially in the event of an illness or disability. No payment is made for unused sick leave if you leave the college.
- If your paid sick leave is exhausted, available personal time or vacation time will be used to extend the term of paid leave.
When all paid leave is exhausted, you may be eligible for an unpaid leave under one of the college's leave plans. See the sections Family Leave, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Short-term Absence Without Pay, and Leave Without Pay for additional information.
Effect of Sick Leave on Other Paid Time and Benefits
While on paid sick leave, you continue to earn personal time. Vacation normally accrues during paid sick leave; however, vacation does not accrue during any combination of paid or unpaid leave which exceeds 12 consecutive work weeks. All benefits remain in effect. You may be eligible, upon certification, for paid holidays, bereavement leave, and supplemental jury duty pay while you are on paid sick leave of up to 10 work days. Recess time cannot be rescheduled to extend paid sick leave. You earn sick leave during all absences except the following:
- FMLA Leave;
- Leave Without Pay;
- Long-Term Disability Leave.
If you are absent for more than twenty-four hours of consecutively scheduled work due to illness, accident, or surgery, or at other times at the discretion of the college, the college may require you to submit a doctor's statement or other medical evidence indicating your degree of fitness and your ability to resume the duties of your job.
Your supervisor may require medical certification for an illness of any length when, in his or her judgment, there is a question of (1) illness or injury affecting your ability to perform safely on the job; (2) possible contagion; (3) possible work-relatedness of the disability; or (4) possible abuse of sick leave benefits.
Unauthorized or excessive absences will be cause for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
If you are ill or injured and are unable to report to work, you are responsible for notifying your supervisor or department head as soon as possible.
In the case of routine minor illnesses (cold, flu, etc.), you are expected to call and inform your supervisor each day that you will not be reporting. Such notice will assist your supervisor in scheduling or reassigning work.
If your medical leave will be lengthy, you should contact your supervisor or department head on a regular basis to report on your progress and the estimated or actual date of your return to work.
Replacement of Staff on Medical Leave or Disability
Under normal circumstances, the college will hold a position open for a regular full- or parttime employee with a serious illness or disability during the first 12 months of an authorized paid or unpaid leave. During such an authorized leave the employee's position will normally be filled on a temporary basis only. Following 12 months of absence, the staff member's employment will be terminated.
The college reserves the right to fill a position on a regular basis prior to 12 months in situations such as the following: 1) in the case of senior administrators who occupy strategic positions; 2) when the college's or the department's needs require this action; or 3) where it appears highly unlikely that the employee will be able to return to work. The decision to fill a position prior to 12 months must be approved by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources.
Medical Leave Application Process
As soon as it is apparent that you will be out of work for 10 or more consecutive work days with any medical disability, you should obtain the following three forms:
- Employee Application for Medical Leave
- Attending Physician's Statement
- Physician's Approval to Return to Work
You should promptly complete the Employee Application for Medical Leave form and submit it to the Office of Human Resources and give the Attending Physician's Statement to your doctor requesting that s/he return the completed form as soon as possible to the Office of Human Resources.
In most cases the Attending Physician's Statement will provide the college with the medical information necessary to administer this plan. However, in those situations where the college believes that more complete medical information is necessary, the college reserves the right to have you sign a Medical Release Form allowing the Office of Human Resources and/or the Office of Health Services or another college-designated physician to contact your physician directly to discuss your medical condition. Upon review of your application and your physician's statement, the Office of Human Resources will confirm, in writing, to you and your department head the terms of your medical leave and the expected date (if known) of your return to work.
Return to Work Certification
When you have been examined by your personal doctor and have been cleared to return to work, you should ask your doctor to complete the Physician's Approval to Return to Work form and provide it the Office of Human Resources. The college may require you to be examined by a college-designated physician before returning to work to ensure your ability to resume the duties of your job.
In the event of serious or permanent disability (either full or partial) which will prevent you from returning to work for an extended period of time, you should contact the Office of Human Resources regarding your potential eligibility for long-term disability (LTD) benefits. The Office of Human Resources will review your situation with you and will assist you in completing the LTD application.