Sick/Bereavement Leave: AFSCME and SEIU Employees

For more specific information, please refer to the AFSCME Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 14: Sick Leave and Bereavement Leave or the SEIU Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 12: Sick Leave and Bereavement Leave.
Why would I use Sick or Bereavement Leave?

Sick leave can be requested for absences related to:

  • An employee's illness or injury, including birth of a child. For more information, see Parental Leave.
  • An employee's medical appointments
  • Care for a family member
  • Bereavement for the death of a family member. Family member is defined as: spouse, child, step-child, foster child, child of domestic partner, parent, or sibling.
How is Sick Leave earned/accrued?
Rate Hours per pay Days per year Hours per year
4.24% 3.18 11 82.5
How do I request and use Sick Leave?

Sick Leave is used for a sporadic day off due to an employee's illness/injury. Employees must have at least 30 calendar days of service before paid sick leave can be used. Employees with <1 year of service may only request to use sick leave that has been earned to date. Employees with >1 year of service may request to use sick leave that is expected to be earned in the current leave calendar year.

  1. Notify your supervisor via departmental procedures (i.e., phone call, e-mail, or text)
  2. Submit your time off work via Employee Self Service (ESS) using the reason code, Sick Leave. (Employees not using ESS should indicate appropriately on a timesheet)
  3. For three (3) or more consecutive days off, a doctor's excuse must be provided to your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.
How do I request and use Bereavement Leave?

Bereavement Leave is used for time away from work due to the death of a family member.

  • Employee may use up to five days of sick leave for the death of a spouse, domestic partner, parent, step-parent, child, or step-child or the child of the employee's domestic partner.
  • Employees may use up to three days of sick leave for the death of a brother, sister, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild, step-grandchild, son- or daughter-in-law, brother- or sister-in-law, parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, aunt, uncle, foster child, step-sister, step-brother, or any relative residing in the employee's household or the parent, brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild of the employee's domestic partner.

For absences that exceed the limits above, an employee may request to use Annual or Unpaid leave subject to management's approval.

  1. Notify your supervisor via departmental procedures (i.e., phone call, e-mail, or text)
  2. Submit your time off work via Employee Self Service (ESS) using the reason code, Sick Bereavement. (Employees not using ESS should indicate appropriately on a timesheet).
How do I request and use Sick Leave FMLA?

Sick Leave FMLA is used for an extended period of time away from work for five or more consecutive days due to an employee's illness/injury. Employees must have at least 30 calendar days of service before paid sick leave can be used. Employees with <1 year of service may only request to use sick leave that has been earned to date. Employees with >1 year of service may request to use sick leave that is expected to be earned in the current leave calendar year.

  1. Review the FMLA Notice to Employees and Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the FMLA.

  2. Complete the Request for FMLA Leave form.

  3. Have your healthcare provider complete the Certification Form for Employee's Serious Health Condition. (Note: Healthcare providers may charge a fee to complete forms necessary for FMLA certification.)

  4. Return both completed forms to the Office of Human Resources c/o Benefits Manager for review. A designation notice will be sent to you with approval determination and further instructions on leave continuation.

  5. Submit a Release to Return to Work Form from your healthcare provider to your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources upon release to return to work by your physician.

  6. Entry in ESS is not required by the employee.

 

A serious health condition is defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves any one of the following:

  • An overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility to receive inpatient care, including incapacity or treatment in connection with such a stay;

  • A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days, including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the condition, that also involves one of the following: Treatment two or more times by a healthcare provider; or treatment by a healthcare provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the healthcare provider;

  • Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care;

  • A chronic condition that requires periodic visits for treatment by a healthcare provider; continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of an underlying condition); and may cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.);

  • Incapacity of permanent or long-term nature due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The patient must be under the continuing supervision of the healthcare provider even if not receiving active treatment (e.g., Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease); or

  • Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments by the healthcare provider for at least one of the following: Restorative surgery after an accident or other injury; or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in absence of medical intervention (e.g., chemotherapy for cancer, physical therapy for severe arthritis, or dialysis for kidney disease).

How do I request and use Sick Family Leave?

Sick Family Leave is used for a sporadic day off due to a family member's illness/injury. Family member is defined as: spouse, child, step-child, foster child, child of domestic partner, parent, or sibling. Employees earn five (5) Sick Family days after 30 calendar days of service.

  1. Notify your supervisor via departmental procedures (i.e., phone call, e-mail, or text)
  2. Submit your time off work via Employee Self Service (ESS) using the reason code, Sick Family. (Employees not using ESS should indicate appropriately on a timesheet)
  3. For three (3) or more consecutive days off, a doctor's excuse must be provided to your supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.
How do I request and use Sick Family Leave FMLA?

Sick Family Leave FMLA is used for an extended period of time away from work due to a family member's illness/injury. Family member is defined as: spouse, child, step-child, foster child, child of domestic partner, parent, or sibling. Employees earn five (5) Sick Family days after 30 calendar days of service. Once Sick Family Leave is exhausted, Annual Leave can be used. Once Annual Leave is exhausted, the remaining time off work will be unpaid leave. For more information on unpaid leave, please call the Office of Human Resources.

  1. Review the FMLA Notice to Employees and Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the FMLA.

  2. Complete one of the forms below, based on your reason for the leave:

    1. Request for FMLA Leave form

    2. Request for Military Caregiver Leave form

    3. Request for Military Exigency Leave form

  3. Have your family member's healthcare provider complete one of the below forms, based on your request for leave: (Note: Healthcare providers may charge a fee to complete forms necessary for FMLA certification.)
    1. Certification Form for Family Member's Serious Health Condition

    2. Certification Form for Serious Illness/Injury of Service Member (Military Caregiver Leave)

    3. Certification Form for Serious Illness/Injury of Veteran (Military Caregiver Leave)

    4. Certification Form for Military Exigency Leave

  4. Return all completed forms to the Office of Human Resources c/o Benefits Manager for review. A designation notice will be sent to you with approval determination and further instructions on leave continuation.

  5. Submit time off from work via Employee Self Service (ESS) using the reason codes: Sick Family; Sick Family (FMLA); Annual Leave; Annual Leave (FMLA); Approved Absence or Unpaid FMLA. For more information on unpaid leave, please refer to the AFSCME Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 17: Leaves of Absence without Pay, the SEIU Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 17, Leave of Absence Without Pay or call the Office of Human Resources.

 

A serious health condition is defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves any one of the following:

  • An overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility to receive inpatient care, including incapacity or treatment in connection with such a stay;

  • A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days, including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the condition, that also involves one of the following: Treatment two or more times by a healthcare provider; or treatment by a healthcare provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of the healthcare provider;

  • Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care;

  • A chronic condition that requires periodic visits for treatment by a healthcare provider; continues over an extended period of time (including recurring episodes of an underlying condition); and may cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.);

  • Incapacity of permanent or long-term nature due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The patient must be under the continuing supervision of the healthcare provider even if not receiving active treatment (e.g., Alzheimer's, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease); or

  • Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments by the healthcare provider for at least one of the following: Restorative surgery after an accident or other injury; or for a condition that would likely result in a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days in absence of medical intervention (e.g., chemotherapy for cancer, physical therapy for severe arthritis, or dialysis for kidney disease).

Can I extend my leave beyond the 12 weeks of approved FMLA?

Yesif approved by your supervisor and HRAnnual Leave can be used. Once all Annual Leave is exhausted, the remaining time off work will be unpaid leave. The remainder of approved 12 weeks of FMLA will apply.

Please refer to the FMLA Notice to AFSCME and SEIU Employees section titled "Absences After 12 Weeks of FMLA Absence."

  • Employees are entitled up to nine (9) months of extended leave without pay (LWOP) absence when the absence is full-time and contiguous to the expiration of the FMLA absence.
  • Employees must request the extended LWOP in writing, and for sick or family care reasons, proof of the need for continuing absence must be provided on the Serious Health Condition Certification form. Note: Only one occasion within a rolling year will be approved.
  • If eligibility is established, requests for intermittent or reduced-time FMLA absences after the first 12 weeks of absence in a rolling year, shall be approved only when the employee has a catastrophic illness or injury that poses a direct threat to life or to the vital function of major bodily systems or organs as determined and approved by the State System's Central Administration, of which all decisions will be final and may not be grieved. In addition, all accrued and anticipated paid leave that was not used at the commencement of the absence must be used prior to the use of the extended leave without pay.

Please refer to the FMLA Notice to AFSCME and SEIU Employees section titled "Benefits Continuation Information."

  • Annual and sick leave continue to accrue based on regular hours paid.
  • Holidays will be earned provided the employee is in a paid status the half day before and half day after the holiday.
  • Group life insurance coverage will continue to be university paid during an FMLA absence and the first 182 days of extended LWOP absence
  • Health benefits through the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund (PEBTF) will continue as long as the employee continues to pay the applicable employee contributions and buy-ups, except during extended LWOP*. Employees enrolled in the PEBTF will receive notice regarding the payment amount and due date. Any delinquency in payment to the PEBTF will result in termination of the employee's health benefits. Employees must contact their University Human Resource office to add any new dependents to medical/hospital and supplemental benefits contracts within 60 days of birth or assuming custody of a child
  • In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, health benefits eligibility will continue for extended LWOP absences of 182 consecutive calendar days or less.
What if I extend my leave beyond the 12 weeks of FMLA?

Yesif approved by your supervisor and HRAnnual Leave can be used. Once all Annual Leave is exhausted, the remaining time off work will be unpaid leave. The remainder of approved 12 weeks of FMLA will apply.

Please refer to the FMLA Notice to AFSCME and SEIU Employees section titled "Absences After 12 Weeks of FMLA Absence."

The following are the only absence reasons that will be considered for approval beyond 12 weeks.
Full-Time Absences:

  • Employees are entitled up to nine (9) months of extended leave without pay (LWOP) absence (except for military exigency and military caregiver absences) when the absence is full-time and contiguous to the expiration of the FMLA absence or any additional paid leave elected to be used in excess of the 12 weeks FMLA absence.
  • Employees must request the extended LWOP in writing, and for sick or family care reasons, proof of the need for continuing absence must be provided on the Serious Health Condition Certification form. Note: Only one occasion within a rolling year will be approved.
  • Intermittent or Reduced Time Military Caregiver Absences
    Requests for military caregiver absence shall be approved on a full-time, intermittent, or reduced-time basis when needed to attend to the medical needs of a servicemember with a serious injury or illness during the single 12-month period.

Please refer to the FMLA Notice to AFSCME and SEIU Employees section titled "Benefits Continuation Information."

  • Annual and sick leave continue to accrue based on regular hours paid.
  • Holidays will be earned provided the employee is in a paid status the half day before and half day after the holiday.
  • Group life insurance coverage will continue to be university paid during an FMLA absence and the first 182 days of extended LWOP absence
  • Health benefits through the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund (PEBTF) will continue as long as the employee continues to pay the applicable employee contributions and buy-ups, except during extended LWOP*. Employees enrolled in the PEBTF will receive notice regarding the payment amount and due date. Any delinquency in payment to the PEBTF will result in termination of the employee's health benefits. Employees must contact their University Human Resource office to add any new dependents to medical/hospital and supplemental benefits contracts within 60 days of birth or assuming custody of a child
  • In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, health benefits eligibility will continue for extended LWOP absences of 182 consecutive calendar days or less.

What happens if I don't use all of my Sick Leave in the same calendar year?
Unused sick leave may be carried over from one leave calendar year to the next up to a maximum of 300 days.
What if I exhaust all of my paid leave due to a catastrophic illness or injury?

Should you exhaust all of your paid leave in the event of a catastrophic illness/or injury, you may be eligible for additional paid leave under the Leave Donation Program. For more specific information, please refer to the AFSCME Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 45: Leave Donation Program.

What happens to my unused Sick Leave if I end employment or retire?
  • Resignation: Employees who resign from employment or are otherwise separated are not eligible to receive a payout for unused sick leave.
  • Retirement: A percentage of unused sick leave is only payable upon an employee's retirement from the university and only if certain age and service criteria are met.
    • Retirement at age 60 or above with at least five years of credited service in the State and/or Public School Retirement Systems*, or
    • Disability retirement, which requires at least five years of credited service in the State and/or Public School Retirement Systems*, or
    • Other retirement with at least 25 years of credited service in the State and/or Public School Retirement Systems*, and
    • Must retire and begin drawing a lifetime annuity from one of the State System's retirement plans. Employees who elect to "retire" but choose to defer their monthly retirement annuity upon separation are not eligible to receive payment of unused sick leave even if all other criteria are met.
    *Superannuation age under the State System's Alternative Retirement Plan shall be 60 years of age with at least five years of Commonwealth/State System service or any age with at least 25 years of Commonwealth/State System service.

Payment schedule:

Days available at Retirement Percentage Buyout Max Days Paid
0-100 30%

30

101-200 40% 80
201-300 50% 150
Over 300 (earned in last year of employment 100% of days over 300 11

Leave balances are reported on ESS as the number of hours an employee has accrued.

To convert hours to days, divide the number of leave hours accrued by 7.5 hours.