Handbook of Operating Procedures 5-4220
Sick Leave Pool
The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Vice President for University Operations
July 1, 2001
- Policy Statement
It is the policy of The University of Texas at Austin to provide paid sick leave to eligible employees who have exhausted all other accrued paid leave and lose compensation because either they or their immediate family member(s) have suffered a catastrophic illness or injury
This policy applies to any employee who is appointed to work at least twenty (20) hours per week for a period of at least four and one-half (4 1/2) months. For purposes of this policy, faculty must be appointed for at least fifty percent (50%) time for at least four and one-half (4 1/2) continuous months. Students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment are not covered by this policy.
- Immediate family member is defined as those individuals who live in the same household as the employee and are related by kinship, adoption, or marriage; or are foster children certified by the Texas Department of Child Protective and Regulatory Services; and an employee's minor child regardless of whether the child lives in the same household. If not in the same household, an immediate family member is strictly limited to the employee's spouse, child or parent.
- Licensed practitioner includes a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed health care professional..
- A catastrophic illness or injury is a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee or member of the employee's immediate family that requires treatment by a licensed practitioner for a prolonged period and that forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned and therefore results in loss of compensation from the state.
- A severe condition or combination of conditions is one that will result in death if not treated promptly; requires hospitalization for more than 72 consecutive hours; or causes a person to be legally declared a danger to him or herself or others. For purposes of this policy, pregnancy and elective surgery are not considered severe conditions, except when life-threatening complications arise from them.
- Application and Award Process
- Application Requirements. An employee is eligible to apply to the Sick Leave Pool when all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- The employee or employee's immediate family member has a severe condition or combination of conditions, as defined in this policy, that requires the prolonged care of a licensed practitioner;
- The employee has exhausted all sick leave because of the condition;
- The employee has exhausted all accrued paid leave, including compensatory time;
- The employee has been absent from work because of the severe condition or combination of conditions for a period of ten (10) working days during the four (4) months prior to the date that Sick Leave Pool use becomes necessary;
- The employee has not exhausted the maximum amount of Sick Leave Pool time allowed per catastrophic illness or injury; and
- The employee's condition is not an on-the-job injury covered by Workers' Compensation Insurance.
- Submission of Application.
- The employee or the employee's personal representative can request an award of time from the Sick Leave Pool by submitting a completed application to Human Resource Services. The application should be submitted two (2) weeks before the hours are needed, or as soon as possible after the need arises. The application shall include a written statement from a licensed practitioner that provides sufficient information to allow an appropriate evaluation of the severity of the condition for which time is requested. Application forms are available from the Human Resource Services or on the Human Resources web site.
- Employees who have exhausted all accrued paid leave will be placed on leave without pay status pending a decision on their applications for Sick Leave Pool time. Employees should be mindful of the need to use paid sick leave responsibly so that should unforeseen illness or injury occur, the sick leave accrued at least partially covers the period of absence.
- Application Review and Award of Sick Leave Pool Time
- The Associate Vice President for Human Resources shall be the Sick Leave Pool Administrator
- The Administrator, in conjunction with the Assistant Director for Benefits, shall:
- Review applications for Sick Leave Pool time within ten (10) working days of receipt of a fully completed application, unless unusual circumstances require more time, and verify that:
- All eligibility requirements for award of time from the Sick Leave Pool have been met;
- The applicant employee has not abused sick leave as defined by the Sick Leave Policy; and
- The absences identified by the employee to meet the ten (10) working day requirement ( Sec. D.1.d) are related to the illness or injury stated on the employee's application;
- Determine, with the assistance of medical professionals where necessary, whether the condition for which Sick Leave Pool time is requested is catastrophic as defined by this policy;
- Determine the number of hours to be withdrawn from the Sick Leave Pool and credited to the employee; and
- Promptly notify the employee and employee's department of any determinations related to the application for Sick Leave Pool time.
- The amount of time approved for award by the Sick Leave Pool Administrator cannot exceed a maximum of seven hundred and twenty hours (720) per catastrophic illness or injury.
- The decision of the pool administrator regarding withdrawals from the sick leave pool shall be final.
- Award Limits. The amount of time approved for award cannot exceed the maximum of 720 hours per catastrophic illness or injury. The maximum award for employees appointed to work less than forty (40) hours a week shall be proportional to the percent time of their appointments.
- Use and Modification of Sick Leave Pool Time Award
- Sick Leave Pool time must be used only for the reason requested. Employees shall immediately notify the Sick Leave Pool Administrator if there is any change in the nature or severity of the condition that modifies their need for Sick Leave Pool time.
- Awarded Sick Leave Pool hours that are no longer needed or justified will be canceled and returned to the Sick Leave Pool by the Sick Leave Pool Administrator.
- Only the Sick Leave Pool time actually used will count against the maximum of 720 hours per catastrophic illness or injury maximum.
- Applications for Extensions or New Sick Leave Pool Awards
Employees who exhaust an award of time from the Sick Leave Pool may submit a request for an extension of a current award if they have not reached the 720-hour per condition maximum. Each application for an extension must include a written statement from a licensed practitioner providing sufficient information regarding the condition to enable the Sick Leave Pool Administrator to evaluate the employee's eligibility.
Applications for new awards must meet all application requirements.
- Sick Leave Pool Award Timekeeping and Recording Responsibilities
- Employees. Employees shall record use of Sick Leave Pool time in the same manner as they record the use of accrued sick leave.
- Sick Leave Pool Administrator. The Sick Leave Pool Administrator in Human Resource Services will credit the hours awarded to an employee's Sick Leave Pool accrual balance.
- Departments. The department shall monitor the use of Sick Leave Pool hours as they are used and upon their exhaustion shall place the employee on leave without pay status, if necessary.
- Coordination with Other Leave and Benefits
- Annual Leave and Sick Leave Accruals. Accrued annual leave and sick leave are not available to the employee until the first day the employee returns to work. An employee using intermittent Sick Leave Pool who returns to work must use the paid leave accruals before using any remaining Sick Leave Pool hours.
- FMLA. An employee applying for Sick Leave Pool shall be placed on Family and Medical Leave when available.
- Premium Sharing. The employee will continue to receive premium sharing while on Sick Leave Pool.
- Return to Work Certification
When the employee is absent from work because of a catastrophic illness or injury, the employee's supervisor shall require that, prior to the employee's return to work, the employee submit to the supervisor a licensed practitioner's written statement that the employee was required to be absent from duty because of the condition and the date that the employee is able to return to work. The statement must also specify what limitations, if any, exist to the employee's ability to perform his or her job duties or pose a threat to the safety of the employee or others. If limitations exist, the supervisor shall contact Human Resource Services.
- Employee Contributions to the Sick Leave Pool
An employee is not required to contribute to the Sick Leave Pool in order to apply for an award.
Employees may make voluntary contributions of accrued sick leave to the Sick Leave Pool by submitting a Sick Leave Pool Transfer Form to Human Resource Services. The form is available from Human Resource Services or on the Human Resources web site. Contributions may not be designated for a specific person or for a particular illness.
- Contribution Methods. Contributions may be made by two (2) methods:
- Annual Automated Contribution. An annual automated contribution of eight (8), sixteen (16) or twenty-four (24) hours. The contribution will be deducted from the donor's sick leave balance at the beginning of each fiscal year, provided that the contribution will not cause the donor's balance to drop below fifty (50) hours.
- Lump Sum Contribution. Employees may contribute unlimited hours in this manner, provided that the contribution will not cause the donor's balance to drop below fifty (50) hours.
Employees terminating or retiring may donate their entire accrued sick leave balance. However, employees should carefully consider their decision. Once sick leave hours are donated to the Sick Leave Pool, they cannot be restored to the employee upon return to work.
- Refund of Contribution. Any current employee who has contributed to the Sick Leave Pool may submit a written request to the Sick Leave Pool Administrator to receive a refund without suffering a catastrophic illness or injury if:
- The employee has exhausted his or her sick leave balance and
- The employee has an immediate need to use sick leave.
- Nonpayment to Estate
A deceased employee's estate is not entitled to payment for any unused Sick Leave Pool hours credited to the employee.
- Delegation of Authority
Authority is hereby delegated to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, or designee, to administer the Sick Leave Pool.
For Assistance: Questions regarding Sick Leave Pool should be directed to Human Resource Services, Benefit Services Section, or to the website: http://www.utexas.edu/hr/.
Sick Leave Pool Application web site: http://www.utexas.edu/hr/forms/request_for_sick_leave_pool.pdf.
Certification of Health Care Provider form web site: http://www.utexas.edu/hr/forms/certification_of_healthcare_provider_for_slp.pdf.
Sick Leave Pool Transfer Form website: http://www.utexas.edu/hr/forms/sick_leave_pool_transfer.pdf.
Source: Texas Government Code 661.001-661.008;
Previously HOP 9.55