4.3 Sick Leave/Personal Leave

4.3 Sick Leave/Personal Leave

The Institute grants paid sick leave to employees to guard against loss of earnings due to illness. Sick leave is not part of salary or wages to which an employee is entitled regardless of need; it is not payable upon termination, except in some cases upon retirement (see 4.3.15 below).

Up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year is protected under Massachusetts law, as described in Section 4.3.22 below. The Institute will treat the first 40 hours of paid sick leave used by the employee each year (running from the employee's anniversary date) as covered by the state law.

Supervisors have the principal responsibility for the proper and consistent application of the sick leave policy. Abuse of sick leave in any form can have serious impact on the morale and effectiveness of all members of a group or office.

4.3.1 Notification of Absence

An employee must notify his or her supervisor before each absence due to illness in order to be paid for sick leave, except in the case of an emergency.

For foreseeable or scheduled use of sick time, the employee must provide notice up to seven days in advance, using the customary means of notification for absences in the employee's department, lab, or center. Sick time may not be invoked as an excuse to be late for work without advance notice of a legitimate use of the time.

In the case of unforeseeable absences or where the employee learns of the need to use sick time less than seven days before its use, notice must be given by the employee as soon as possible. For multi-day absences, the employee must inform his or her supervisor or manager of the expected duration of the leave, or if unknown, on a daily basis. For such multi-day absences, notice may be given by the employee's spouse, adult family member, or other responsible party.

It is the employee's responsibility to record accurately any sick time he or she uses.

4.3.2 Paid Leave for Medical Examination and Care

It may be necessary from time to time for an employee to seek medical care during working hours. The circumstances of each incident determine whether the time away from the job should be paid as time worked or should be charged to sick leave balances. Please see Section 4.7, Paid Leave for Medical Examination and Care, for the complete statement of this policy.

4.3.3 Medical Certification

The supervisor is responsible for the equitable administration of the Institute's sick leave policy, and may require medical certification from an employee's (or family member's) physician indicating that the employee is unable to work because of the employee’s or family member's illness, before the sick leave is paid. Additional rules concerning documentation of sick time covered by the Massachusetts sick time law are described below in Section 4.3.22.5.

4.3.4 Illness During Vacation

Ordinarily, illness during vacation is not counted as sick leave. However, if any employee has a serious accident or extensive illness which destroys the intended benefit of the vacation, the supervisor should discuss the matter with the Human Resources Officer for the department to consider whether sick leave should be granted, and part or all of the vacation rescheduled.

4.3.5 Sick Leave for Disability Associated with Pregnancy or Childbirth

Disabilities associated with childbirth will be treated as any other disability with regard to payment for sick leave in accordance with applicable sick leave policies. See Section 4.5.1, Leave Related to an Employee’s Own Serious Health Condition (including Pregnancy and Childbirth). See also Section 4.6, Parental Leave.

SICK LEAVE FOR SUPPORT STAFF

Sick leave balances for eligible employees are credited on the employee's anniversary date (date of hire) of each year and are to be used only in cases of accident or illness as described in Section 4.3.7, Use of Sick Leave, and for medical or dental examination and care as described in Section 4.7, Paid Leave for Medical Examination and Care. Other needs for paid leave must be met through the use of personal leave (Sections 4.3.17 - 4.3.20), or vacation leave (Section 4.2). For use of sick leave in cases of work-related accidents, see Section 4.8, Industrial Accident and Workers' Compensation. Sick leave balances may be verified in the department.

4.3.6 Amount of Sick Leave

Full-time and part-time employees will be credited with 12 days of sick leave on the employee's anniversary date of each year, provided that they:

  1. work at least 50% of a regular work schedule, and
  2. have completed at least six months of service at the Institute.

New employees are credited with one day of sick leave after completing each of the first six months of employment. At the end of the first six months of service, employees are credited with one additional day of sick leave for each month remaining until the employee's next anniversary date.

Unused sick leave may be carried over and accumulated to a maximum of 192 days. Sick leave is paid at normal straight-time rates, plus any applicable shift differential, and must be reported on attendance records as required by the Institute' s payroll policies for non-exempt personnel.

4.3.7 Use of Sick Leave

Sick leave is to be used in cases of accident or illness of the employee, and medical or dental examination and care. (See Section 4.7, Paid Leave for Medical Examination and Care). In addition, an employee may use up to 40 hours of accumulated sick leave every year to care for a sick family member, such as a child, spouse, parent, parent of spouse, or other member of the household, and for their medical or dental examination and care An employee may also use up to 40 hours of paid sick time during a leave of absence for victims of domestic violence, as specified in Policies and Procedures Section 7.5.7.

4.3.8 Holiday Within Sick Leave

If a recognized Institute holiday falls on a regularly scheduled work day during a paid sick leave period, the day is paid as a holiday, and is not counted against sick leave allowances.

4.3.9 Vacation Accrual During Paid Sick Leave

Employees absent from work on paid sick leave continue to earn vacation at their normal rate.

4.3.10 Payment of Sick Leave to Part-time Employees

Part-time employees who work at least 50% of a normal work week on a fixed schedule (an established number of hours per week on a predetermined schedule), and who have sick leave hours accumulated, will be paid for absence due to illness during the normally scheduled work hours. Hours worked outside the regularly scheduled hours will be paid without regard to such sick leave payments.

Part-time employees who work at least 50% of a normal work week on a variable schedule (an established number of hours per week with no predetermined schedule), and who have sick leave hours accumulated, will be paid for absence due to illness in an amount not to exceed the difference between the number of hours scheduled and the number of hours actually worked during the week. No sick leave payments will be made during any week in which the actual number of hours worked equals or exceeds the number of hours scheduled.

4.3.11 Adjustment of Sick Leave Balance to Reflect a Change in Normal Work Week

The accumulated sick leave balance of an employee whose schedule changes from one normal work week to another is adjusted proportionately for the balance of the months remaining to the employee's next anniversary date to reflect the new work schedule. The adjusted balance should not exceed 192 days of sick leave.

If an employee changes to a less than half-time schedule, he or she will retain any sick leave balance already accumulated after the normal adjustment has been applied, but will no longer accrue sick leave after the effective date of the change in hours, except as provided in Section 4.3.22 below.

Sick leave balances will not be reduced for employees who change their normal work week from a greater to a lesser number of hours after reaching age 65.

4.3.12 Sick Leave Credit to Support Staff for Exempt Service

Support Staff employees who have changed from exempt status without interruption in Institute service will be credited with four days of sick leave for each year of service at the Institute, up to a maximum of 192 days. In such cases a "day" equals one-fifth of the normal work hours scheduled per week. The credit is made as of the date of the transfer. Credit given for years of exempt service may not be applied to the payment of accumulated sick leave at the time of retirement (see Section 4.3.15 below).

4.3.13 Adjustment of Sick Leave Following Leaves of Absence

Absences for leave without pay for a Support Staff employee which exceed a total of 22 working days during a given year (anniversary date to anniversary date) will result in a reduction of the sick leave balance at the rate of one day for every 22 working days of absence during the prior year, whether or not the days of absence were consecutive.

4.3.14 Reinstatement of Sick Leave Balance to Rehires

Previously accumulated sick leave balances are not reinstated in the case of the reemployment of a former employee, except as provided in Section 4.3.22.2 below, and except for laid-off employees who are rehired within two years of their lay-off date.

4.3.15 Payment of Sick Leave Balance at Retirement

Retiring employees who have a minimum of 300 hours of unused sick leave to their credit on their normal or early retirement date, whichever the case may be, will be paid upon termination at their regular straight-time rate for one-half of the total hours credited. Sick leave credit will be computed as follows for the purpose of this provision:

  1. the total hours standing to the employee's credit at his or her anniversary date of the year preceding retirement, plus
  2. one day of sick leave credit for each month of service during the year in which the employee retires, minus
  3. sick leave used between the employee's previous anniversary date and date of retirement.

Retiring employees are responsible for making sure that their balance of unused sick time meets the minimum threshold of 300 hours on the date of their retirement, taking into account the pro-rating described above. Employees can verify their projected balances at retirement by contacting the Payroll Office.

SICK LEAVE POLICY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE AND SPONSORED RESEARCH STAFFS

4.3.16 Sick Leave Policy for Administrative and Sponsored Research Staffs

There is no formal method of sick leave accrual or accounting for members of the Administrative and Sponsored Research staffs. A reasonable number of justifiable absences for the illness and medical and dental appointments of the employee are paid in full.

In addition, up to 40 hours per year may be taken for the illness and medical and dental appointments of a family member. For this purpose, a family member includes a child, parent, parent of spouse, or other member of the household. An employee may also use up to 40 hours of paid sick time during a leave of absence for victims of domestic violence, as specified in Policies and Procedures Section 7.5.7. For determining the limit of 40 hours, full-time exempt staff members working a regular, 5-day a week schedule are considered to work 8 hour days, so they can use 5 days per year to care for a sick family member.

Extreme cases of extended illness or accident will be treated on an individual basis, with due regard to length of service at the Institute and other relevant factors, and may be paid for the duration of the absence up to but not normally exceeding a period of six months. Cases extending beyond six months will be reviewed for purposes of determining eligibility for Long-Term Disability Plan benefits.

Medical evidence may be required when, in the opinion of the supervisor, the need is indicated by the pattern of sick leave usage or the period of absence. Additional rules concerning documentation of the up to 40 hours of sick time covered by the Massachusetts earned sick leave law are described below in Section 4.3.22.5.

Departments, labs and centers are responsible for reporting a continuous absence greater than five days to the Disabilities and Medical Leaves Office in Human Resources.

PERSONAL LEAVE POLICY

4.3.17 Personal Leave for Support Staff

MIT's policy on personal leave is intended to provide Support Staff with flexibility in their work situations by allowing paid time away from work to accommodate personal needs which otherwise would have to be charged to vacation balances.

4.3.18 Amount of Personal Leave

Under this policy, regular Support Staff who are scheduled to work at least 50 percent time and who have completed six months of service at the Institute, may use up to three days of their sick leave accrual each year for absences associated with personal situations such as home repairs, or legal or financial business, which necessitate short-term absences. Employees may also use all or part of their personal time for the illness of a family member, in addition to the three days from their accrued sick leave that they may use for family illness, as noted in 4.3.7 above, Use of Sick Leave. Employees in their first year of service will be permitted to take personal leave following the completion of six months of employment up to a maximum of 25 percent of the total number of hours of sick leave credited to the employee for that year of service.

Employees who have exhausted their sick leave balance have no personal days to their credit. However, as of the employee's anniversary date of each year, employees may use up to three days of their newly credited sick leave accrual balance of twelve days as personal leave.

In the case of a Support Staff member whose normal work week changes in a way that affects his or her sick leave balance, credit for personal leave is prorated according to the resulting adjustment in the sick leave balance, so that no more than 25 percent of the year's sick leave credit is taken as personal leave. In the event that use of personal leave has exceeded the adjusted maximum, no retroactive changes will be made.

Personal leave time not used prior to an employee's anniversary date in a given year will not be accrued as personal leave, but will be carried forward as sick leave in accordance with the current policy up to a maximum total of 192 days. As in the case of sick leave, there will be no provision for payment for personal leave balances upon termination from the Institute except in the case of retirement as provided for under current sick leave policies. (See Section 4.3.15, Payment of Sick Leave Balance at Retirement.)

4.3.19 Notice of Absence

In keeping with other leave policies, Support Staff will be required to obtain the approval of their supervisors to be absent on personal leave on a given day or part of a day. It will normally be expected that employees will obtain this approval at least three working days in advance of the planned absence. No explanation of the reasons for the absence will be required except when emergency situations cause employees to seek approval for absences on shorter notice.

4.3.20 Reporting Personal Leave

Personal leave may be taken in less than full-day periods and should be reported to the nearest quarter of an hour. As in the case of regular sick leave, payment will be chargeable to departments in the same account distribution as provided for in normal salary charges.

4.3.21 Personal Leave for Administrative and Sponsored Research Staffs

Members of the Administrative and Sponsored Research Staff are not compensated for time worked in excess of their regular schedules because their duties are judged to satisfy the criteria established under the Federal Wage-Hour Law for exemption from the overtime pay requirements of the Law. They are expected to take professional interest in the work under their supervision or in the projects in which they are engaged and, when necessary, to fulfill the requirements of their positions without regard to the number of hours worked. Accordingly, these employees should be extended privileges with respect to occasional absences from work, and allowed to take time off without loss of pay or vacation credit for personal reasons or for needed rest and relaxation after working long hours of overtime.

4.3.22 Sick Time Under Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law

In accordance with Massachusetts law, effective July 1, 2015, many employees who are not eligible for sick leave under MIT’s policies (because they do not work enough hours or because their job isn’t eligible for benefits) are nonetheless entitled to earned sick time in accordance with the provisions of the Massachusetts sick leave law, as described in this section 4.3.22. Graduate students working at MIT are not eligible for this paid sick leave, nor are undergraduate students working during the academic year.

This policy also applies to sick leave for benefits-eligible staff, but only for that portion of their sick leave that is covered by Massachusetts state law. Full-time employees (exempt and non-exempt) are entitled to 40 hours of state-protected sick leave each year, with the year running from the employee’s anniversary date.

4.3.22.1 Accrual of Paid Sick Time for Non-benefits Eligible Employees

Employees who are not eligible for MIT benefits accrue paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Salaried exempt staff are assumed to work 40 hours per week if employed at 100% effort; work hours are pro-rated for a lower percent effort of the appointment.

Accruals begin on an employee’s first day of paid work and accrued sick leave may be used 90 days after the employee begins work. For accrual purposes, hours worked include overtime hours but do not include paid non-work hours such as sick time, any vacation, and holidays.

Employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in any 12 month period. The 12 month period begins on the anniversary of their current employment date. For salaried employees, accruals may be allocated monthly or at the beginning of an appointment, and will be pro-rated for appointments of less than one year.

Employees who are not paid on a salaried or hourly basis, such as employees paid on a per diem basis, are allotted a lump sum of sick leave on a monthly basis based on a reasonable approximation of the hours worked in the previous month. That lump sum is based on the rate of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Alternatively, the allotment may be made in advance for the expected duration of the work appointment.

Employees cease to accrue sick time once they have a balance of 40 hours. Accruals resume when sick time is taken and the balance falls below 40 hours. Employees may carry up to 40 hours of unused accrued sick time into their next anniversary year. Accrued but unused sick time is not paid out upon termination of employment, except as provided for benefits-eligible Support staff who retire under Section 4.3.15, Payment of Sick Leave at Retirement, or as may be required in applicable collective bargaining agreements.

4.3.22.2 Restoration of Sick Leave Balance upon Re-employment

Non-benefits eligible employees who terminate their employment and are re-hired by MIT within one year of their last day of work are given credit for time worked for purposes of the 90 day vesting period. (Note that there is no waiting period for use of sick time for benefits-eligible employees.)

In addition, any employee (whether or not eligible for MIT benefits) who terminates employment at MIT and is rehired will have any unused sick leave balance from the state-mandated earned sick time (that is, up to 40 hours) restored in the following manner:

  • Break in service of up to four months: an employee’s balance of accrued unused sick leave is restored.
  • Break in service between four to 12 months, an employee’s balance of accrued unused sick leave is restored only if that balance equals or exceeds 10 hours.

If the break in service is over 12 months, there is no restoration of any prior sick leave balance.

4.3.22.3 Use of Paid Sick Time

Accrued sick leave may be used only for the following purposes:

For purpose of sick leave use, family member includes the employee’s child, spouse or domestic partner, parent, parent of spouse or domestic partner, or other member of the employee’s household.

The smallest amount of sick leave that can be used may be restricted to one hour for each instance of sick leave. For any leave longer than one hour, sick leave may be taken in 15 minute increments. Employees and managers may agree that an employee can make up any used sick hours at a time that is mutually agreeable.

Sick time is paid at the employee’s regular pay rate, and on the same schedule as regular wages are paid.

State earned sick leave used runs concurrently with any time off that the employee is entitled to under other MIT sick leave policies, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, the Small Necessities Leave Act, the Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Act, and any other federal or state leave law that provides for concurrent use of leave.

4.3.22.4 Notice of Absence and Recording of Sick Time

Employees must notify their manager or supervisor before each use of earned sick time, except in an emergency. For foreseeable or scheduled use of sick time, the employee must provide notice up to seven days in advance, using the customary means of notification for absences in the employee’s department, lab, or center. Earned sick time may not be invoked as an excuse to be late for work without advance notice of a legitimate use of the time.

In the case of unforeseeable absences or where the employee learns of the need to use sick time less than seven days before its use, notice must be given by the employee as soon as possible. For multi-day absences, the employee must inform his or her supervisor or manager of the expected duration of the leave, or if unknown, on a daily basis. For such multi-day absences, notice may be given by the employee’s spouse, adult family member, or other responsible party.

It is the employee’s responsibility to record accurately any sick time he or she uses. If the employee is unable to record sick time, the use of sick time may be recorded by the employee’s supervisor or manager, or a departmental administrator. An employee may request to see the records of his or her earned sick leave accrual and use over a period of three years, and the Institute will provide such copies within 10 business days or, at the employee’s request, will allow the employee to inspect the records.

4.3.22.5 Documentation of Absence

Employees may be required to provide a written verification that they have used the sick time for the purposes specified in Section 4.3.22.3.

In addition, MIT may require written documentation from a health care provider for sick time that:

  • Exceeds 24 consecutively scheduled work hours or exceeds 3 consecutive days on which the employee was scheduled to work
  • Occurs within 2 weeks of the employee’s final scheduled day of work before termination of employment (except not for temporary workers)
  • Occurs after 4 unforeseeable and undocumented absences within a 3-month period

For instances of domestic violence leave, MIT may require documentation as specified in Policies & Procedures Section 7.5.7.3, Documentation.

For this Section 4.3.22, a health care provider includes doctors, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, and physician assistants. The Institute will not require that the nature of the illness or details about domestic violence be explained for the sick leave covered under this section.

Documentation provided must be submitted within seven days after using earned sick time, except in unusual circumstances. If an employee fails to comply with the documentation requirements without reasonable justification, MIT may recoup the sum paid for earned sick time from future pay, as an overpayment. The employee will be informed before any such recoupment is made. In addition, future use of an equivalent number of sick time hours may be denied until documentation is provided.

4.3.22.6 No Retaliation or Interference

Employees who use accrued sick time covered under this Section 4.3.22 will not be subject to negative evaluation, discipline, or the adverse job actions because they used this sick time, as long as they meet the requirements for giving notice, recording the sick leave used, and providing documentation (when required). Similarly, employees will not be retaliated against for exercising or attempting to exercise rights under this Section 4.3.22.

If an employee is exhibiting a clear pattern of taking sick leave on days just before or after a weekend, vacation, or holiday, the employee may be subject to discipline, unless he or she provides verification that the time was used for a legitimate purpose. If an employee is committing fraud or abuse by engaging in an activity that is not consistent with the legitimate purposes of earned sick time, the employee may also be subject to discipline.

4.3.22.7 Other Restrictions on Use of Earned Sick Time

The Institute may impose other restrictions on the use or accrual of sick leave that are permitted under Massachusetts state law.

4.3.22.8 Employees Not Working in Massachusetts

This policy does not apply to employees whose primary place of work is outside of Massachusetts. If an employee’s primary place of work is in a state that has a paid sick leave policy, MIT will comply with the provisions of that state’s law.

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