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Sick Leave

Nobody looks forward to being sick, but isn’t it nice to know that when you are, you can rest and recover without worrying about lost pay?

This page tells you what sick leave is to be used for, how much sick leave you have, and additional leave possibilities for special situations.

What You Most Need to Know

  • Sick leave is intended to cover a variety of health issues.
  • Sick leave must be approved by your supervisor.
  • Basic sick leave accrued but not used in one leave year will accumulate and carry over for use in later years.
  • You can’t carry over unused hours for general family care and bereavement or expanded family care into the next leave year.
  • The amount of sick leave you accrue each leave year depends on your employment status, for example, full-time or part-time.
  • It’s possible to get an advance of sick leave to cover you for a medical emergency, for purposes related to the adoption of a child, for family care or bereavement purposes, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • You can get additional leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

When You Can Use It

There are a total of 8 circumstances in which time off may be charged to sick leave, with the approval of your supervisor:

  • You are physically or mentally ill or injured, or for pregnancy or childbirth.
  • You require medical, dental, or optical exams or treatment.
  • You have been exposed to a contagious disease. Sick leave limits are set aside; you’ll be granted sick leave for whatever period is required by local health authorities or the attending physician.
  • A member of your family dies. A "family member" includes the employee’s:
    1. Spouse, parents, and spouse’s parents
    2. Children, including stepchildren and adopted children, and their spouses
    3. Brothers and sisters, and their spouses
    4. Anyone related by blood or affinity whose close relationship with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship
  • You are caring for a family member who is ill, having treatments, or is seriously ill.
  • You are adopting a child.
  • You are participating in drug or alcohol counseling.
  • You are taking training in use of an aid (e.g. seeing eye dog) or having adjustments to a prosthetic device.

What You Earn

Full-time employees:

  • 13 days (104 hours) per year
  • 13 additional days may be advanced during any year for general family care or the case of death of a family member
  • 30 additional days may be advanced during any year if an employee or family member is seriously ill or disabled, or if the employee is adopting a child

Note that advanced leave days do not carry over to future years; only basic sick leave accumulates and carries over.

12 weeks (480 hours) of your sick leave may be used in a year, after the basic 13 days have been used, to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Donated annual leave from other employees may also be available to cover long-term personal illness, after all other sick and annual leave has been used up. Find rules for using donated leave.

An employee who exhausts all of these leave options may be entitled to an additional 12 weeks of unpaid absence, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, to care for a family member.

Part-time employees:

Sick leave accrues based on hours worked. As a part-time employee, you earn sick leave at the rate of one hour for each 20 hours in a pay status.

Any hours in a pay status during a pay period in excess of the Department's basic work requirement (80 hours) or in excess of 40 hours in a workweek shall be excluded in the computation of earned leave.

For additional information, see the part-time leave accrual formula and chart.

Part-time employees are also eligible for advanced sick leave.

Requesting Sick Leave

For normal sick leave, you should get your supervisor’s approval in advance using GovTA or if unavailable, form SF-71.

The same forms are used to request leave for general family care, bereavement, or expanded family care as are used for personal illness. There is a place on the forms to show the purpose of the leave.

Supervisors have to be sure that sick leave is justified, and may request documentation from the employee to support their request for sick leave – for themselves, or to care for family members.

If an employee seems to be using sick leave improperly, a supervisor may apply more strict procedures in connection with sick leave approval.

Odds and ends

There are special rules that apply to sick leave for employees who have unusual work schedules.

There are special rules that apply to sick leave for employees who change between full-time, part-time, and intermittent positions.

You don’t have to use all your annual leave in order to be granted advanced sick leave by your supervisor.

Advanced leave has to be paid back, either by leave accrued later, or in reduced pay for employees who leave their jobs. Rules on liquidating advances are found here.

You may be able to change annual leave to sick leave if you were sick while on leave. It isn’t possible to do the reverse (change your mind if you requested sick leave to be charged to annual leave). If you become sick while you’re on annual leave, you can change your leave to sick leave, if your supervisor approves it. However, you must request it from your supervisor no later than two workdays after your return to duty and include evidence of the illness as required by your supervisor.

You can also request that absences due to sickness be charged to annual leave; however, once you’ve done this you cannot afterwards have sick leave retroactively substituted for annual leave.

Rules about sick leave apply to US citizen employees stationed outside the US. Different rules may be applied to non-citizen employees abroad, but sick leave for aliens may not exceed the amount allowed to citizen employees.

Sick leave may be granted while you’re traveling on Department business. However, per diem and other travel expenses will be discontinued for any day in which you have four (4) or more hours of sick leave.

If you used sick leave to cover an absence, and later find that your absence was covered under Workers Compensation, you can buy back the sick leave you used so it’s available later.

Accrued sick leave that remains unused when you retire (or die) can be used toward computing your annuity, if you are covered by the CS Retirement System.