Effective Date Nov 1, 2015
|Applicable Employee Classes:||Revised Date:||Approved by:|
|All benefit eligible employees||November 2015||Dr. T. Dwayne McCay, President|
6.15 Sick Leave Bank
Policy and Procedure
The Sick Leave Bank at FIT has been established to help an employee who is or has an immediate family member that is incapacitated and whose sick, personal, and vacation leave have all been exhausted. The Sick Leave Bank program is a voluntary, confidential program created to provide its members the opportunity to remain in full-pay status and to provide continued pay deductions for payment of benefit premiums. This program may be used during most immediate family or medical emergencies. Family or medical emergencies are defined in the Sick Leave Bank Application Form.
Sick leave contributed to the Sick Leave Bank may not be designated for the use of a particular individual, but will be made available to all eligible members.
Eligibility and Contributions for the Sick Leave Bank
- Eligibility and Contribution: Employee participation in the Sick Leave Bank is strictly voluntary. During the annual Benefits Open Enrollment period, any employee in a position that earns sick leave may join the Bank provided that other eligibility requirements are met. Participation in the Sick Leave Bank requires completion of the Sick Leave Bank "Application Form" at Open Enrollment as well as meeting all requirements.
- Initial Contribution: The minimum initial contribution required to join the Sick Leave Bank is 8 hours of accrued sick leave. The maximum initial contribution is 120 hours of the employee’s accrued sick leave, provided that the employee shall have a minimum 80 hours of unused sick leave remaining after making the initial contribution to the Bank.
- After Initial Participation: Employees may continue to contribute each year to the Sick Leave Bank by donating a flat number of hours during the Benefits Open Enrollment Period. Should the balance of the Bank be reduced to less than 100 hours, a special enrollment period will be opened to replenish the Bank. Employees will be given ten days written notification of the special enrollment period and each employee in the Bank will be given an opportunity to donate. If the Bank has not been sufficiently replenished following special enrollment, the University reserves the right to dock each Member of the Bank 16 hours of sick time in order to keep the Sick Leave Bank operational. Written notice will be sent to the Members prior to this occurring.
- Contribution Limitations: Any sick leave eligible employee of Florida Institute of Technology will be eligible to participate in the Sick Leave Bank provided that the employee shall have a minimum of ten full-time days (80 hours) of unused sick leave remaining after making the initial contribution to the Bank. Sick leave may not be advanced for the purpose of contributing to the Bank. An employee already on sick leave will be allowed to join the Bank. However, enrollment must be in accordance with eligibility requirements and during initial or designated open enrollment periods.
- Withdrawal from Membership: An employee may withdraw their membership once per year during the annual Open Enrollment Period. An employee who chooses to withdraw their membership from the Sick Leave Bank will not be given back any sick leave already contributed to the Bank.
- Reenrollment/Reinstatement: Reenrollment will be allowed once per year during the annual Open Enrollment Period. An employee who wishes to re-enroll will be required to make an initial contribution amount of at least 8 hours. An employee may be reinstated in the Bank following a break in service of less than one year without meeting initial eligibility requirements. However, the employee will be required to contribute any assessments made during the break in service.
- Contribution: Once a contribution is made to the Sick Leave Bank, it becomes the property of the Sick Leave Bank and is not refundable to the donor.
Withdrawal of Sick Leave from the Bank
- A participating employee may withdraw sick leave from the Bank only after all of his or her previously accumulated sick leave and vacation leave have been depleted.
- A participating employee who uses sick leave from the Bank will not be required to recontribute such sick leave to the Bank. However, all leave accumulated while drawing hours from the Bank shall be applied towards the leave of absence in progress before continuing to draw time from the Bank.
- Any sick leave drawn from the Bank may be used only to cover time when the employee is certified as unable to work. Withdrawal of leave from the Bank will require, in all cases, a physician's statement testifying that the employee is unable to work or stipulating the incapacitation of the employee’s family member, citing the nature of the medical condition and estimating the anticipated duration of the inability to work. “Unable to Work” certifications must meet the definitions of an allowable absence as stated in the Family Medical Leave Act Policy.
- No more than 150 hours may be withdrawn by a member within any twelve month period. The maximum number of hours a member may withdraw from the Bank is 300 within any four (4) consecutive years of employment. The intent of the Sick Leave Bank is to provide coverage for extended periods of continuous incapacitation, rather than for short term illnesses. Therefore, the minimum length of time a member must be certified as unable to work in order to be eligible to draw from the Bank is five consecutive days (40 hours). Members shall not be permitted to withdraw fewer than five days from the Bank for any given incapacity, unless such days closely follow the same or a related illness that has depleted five days of accrued sick leave.
- Sick Leave payments will be coordinated with any payment the employee may receive from a third-party vendor, such as Short or Long Term Disability. An employee may not receive more hours in sick leave and vendor payments than the total of their standard weekly base wages. For example, if an employee receives 66 and 2/3% of their weekly wages in Short-Term Disability, they may only qualify for 33 and 1/3% of Sick Leave Bank wages for that week.
- Pregnancy and Childbirth shall be an eligible basis for withdrawing leave from the Bank, but only for such period of time that the employee is certified by a physician as physically unable to work. Sick leave may not be withdrawn from the Bank for the purpose of child care. The requirement that all of the employee's accumulated sick and vacation leave must be depleted shall apply.
- If the member is not capable of making written application, the Director of Human Resources may make the application on behalf of the employee.
Reasons for Denial of Sick Leave Bank Benefits
- Participants receiving Workers' Compensation payments are not eligible to receive sick leave days from the Bank for the purpose of increasing or augmenting any compensation being paid to them under Workers' Compensation rules.
- A contractual employee is limited to drawing time from the Bank for duty days according to his/her contract. Individuals cannot utilize the Sick Leave Bank during those times not covered by their base contract.
- A part-time, sick leave eligible employee is limited to drawing from the Bank for duty days according to his/her normal work schedule.
- An employee cannot use the Sick Leave Bank to “protect their job” while absent. Job security is provided under the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Sick Leave Bank should not be construed as a guarantee of continued employment. The Sick Leave Bank is designed solely to provide supplemental income should the employee require assistance, and any reference to job protected leave will be noted within Policy 2.3- Family and Medical Leave Policy. Furthermore, an employee will not receive Sick Leave Bank payments past the maximum leave allowed under the FMLA Policy.
- The Bank does not cover cosmetic or reconstructive surgery which is not the result of an injury, illness, disease, or congenital defect. Such injury, illness, disease, or congenital defect must have occurred or manifested itself while the employee was a member of the Bank.
- Medical condition, incapacity, or disability due to surgery which is not medically necessary shall not be covered under the Sick Leave Bank.
- Employees with an unavailable number of required sick leave hours in employee’s personal sick leave balance will not be eligible to enroll.
- Employees with previous misuse or abuse of the program will not be eligible to enroll.
- Benefits will be denied once the request exceeds the maximum allowable 150 hours per year per member.
- Benefits may be denied for other reasons as determined by the Sick Leave Bank Committee.
Administration of the Sick Leave Bank
- Administration: Operation of the Sick Leave Bank will be monitored by the Staff Advisory Committee acting in an advisory capacity to the Director of Human Resources. All applications will be considered in the order in which they are received based on date and time stamping. The Director of Human Resources will provide the committee’s recommendation to the President’s Office. Upon approval of an employee’s application, the Director of Human Resources or his/her designee shall notify the employee and his/her supervisor.
- Verification of Eligibility: A staff member from Human Resources will verify eligibility of the employee.
- Sick Leave Bank Committee Composition: The Chair of the Sick Leave Bank Committee will be the Director of Human Resources. Composition of the Sick Leave Bank committee shall be representatives from the following areas:
- HR Generalist/Benefits Specialist
- Exempt/managerial staff representative
- Faculty Senate representative
- Staff Advisory Committee representative
- Non-exempt/Hourly representative
- Duties and responsibilities of the Sick Leave Bank committee include, but are not limited to:
- Reviewing, interpreting, and making recommendations for updating the rules for the Sick Leave Bank.
- Reviewing individual cases involving requests or questions concerning utilization of the Bank.
- Investigating any suspected or alleged abuse of sick leave by participants in the Bank. Recommending action in the event of a finding that a violation of the Sick Leave Bank rules or the intent of this program has occurred. Disciplinary actions may include, but are not limited to, the requirement to repay sick leave or forfeit pay as deemed appropriate by the President.
- Monitoring trends in participation and use of the Sick Leave Bank to assure its continued viability and capacity to meet the participants' needs for extended sick leave.
- Application of Benefit: The Associate Vice President of Human Resources shall direct the HR staff to deduct the contributed amount from each member of the Sick Leave Bank and credit that amount to the Bank, as well as deduct from the Bank to credit the approved amount of sick leave to the applicant/recipient.