Tracking Sick Time Used by Monthly Paid, Benefits-Eligible Staff

Tracking Sick Time Used by Monthly Paid, Benefits-Eligible Staff

The information below explains MIT's sick leave tracking for monthly paid, benefits-eligible academic (non-faculty), research, and administrative staff.

Where to Find the Sick Leave Tracking Tool

From the Atlas home page, click on Time and Vacation Entry (or use the button below), and then select Sick Time Reporting (Monthly Paid Staff).

Sick Leave Tracking

Video for Managers

Learn what managers need to know about the absence tracking tool in this video.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is MIT tracking the use of sick leave for the monthly paid staff?

A state ballot initiative to require up to 40 hours of sick leave for employees working in Massachusetts was passed in November 2014. The law was effective for most employees as of 7/1/15, with a transition period till 1/1/16 for staff who were already receiving sick leave, like our monthly paid benefits-eligible staff.

The state law requires all employers in Massachusetts to track the state protected sick leave, and to provide records to the Attorney General’s Office if requested. Most employers do track the use of paid time off in central systems. Our impression is that most monthly paid (exempt) staff do not use a lot of paid sick time, so we don't anticipate that the new requirement to track use of sick leave will be overly burdensome either for the employee or for the manager.

  1. How is sick time defined?

Sick time is used for your illness and medical and dental appointment or for the illness and medical/dental appointment of a family member. For purposes 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.

  1. Does this change the amount of sick time I can take?

No. Under MIT’s policy on sick leave for academic staff, research staff, and administrative staff, “a reasonable number of justifiable absences” for the employee’s illness and medical/dental appointments are paid in full.  Extended illnesses may be paid for up to six months, in most circumstances. In addition, staff may take up to 40 hours per year to care for a sick family member or to take a family member to a medical or dental appointment. 

  1. Do I have to give a reason for the sick time?

You need to select whether the sick time is for your illness or medical/dental appointment, or for the illness or medical/dental appointment of a family member. You do not designate the type of illness or medical appointment.

Note: Up to 40 hours of sick time per year can be used for paid leave relating to victims of domestic violence. In such a case, to protect the employee’s privacy, the sick time should be recorded as “employee” sick time if the employee is the victim, and as “family” sick time if a family member is the victim. MIT’s policies permit 15 days of leave per year to be taken relating to victims of domestic violence, 40 hours of which can be paid as sick leave. The policy is at Policies & Procedures Sec. 7.5.7.

  1. How will that tracking be done?

You will do your own tracking of any sick time taken through a web-based tool. From the Atlas home page, click on Time and Vacation Entry (or use the button below), and then select Sick Time Reporting (Monthly Paid Staff).

Sick Leave Tracking

  1. How does this tracking tool work?

You will have an individualized tracker to record your use of sick leave. You click on a calendar to record the amount of sick time. When you hit “Submit,” an email is sent to you, and also to your manager. The manager can see the sick time used, but does not approve the time. The tool is quite straightforward and does have a “help” feature that provides more detail on its use.

  1. Do I record sick time in hours? In minutes?

Sick leave is recorded in quarter hours (.25, .5, .75, and 1.0). You should round up or down depending on when you arrive. For example, if you normally arrive at work at 8:30 but come in at 8:35 because you had a dentist appointment, you don't need to record any time. If you get in at 8:40, you should record a quarter hour (.25).

  1. Why 15-minute increments? That seems really short.

The state law permits time to be recorded in one-hour increments or in the smallest increment used in the payroll system. Because employees can record time in the FMLA system in 15-minute increments, we wanted to be consistent. Also, if we used hours, the rounding would be quite significant, for example, rounding up to an hour if you are out of the office for 35 minutes for a medical appointment.

  1. What is a full day of sick time?

Full-time employees who work a standard, 5 day a week schedule are presumed in the tracking tool to work 8 hours a day. Employees who work an irregular schedule can record the actual hours worked on a given day, if that is their usual schedule. For example, a full-time employee working four 10 hour days and who is out sick for a day would record 10 hours.

  1. How do I record my sick time if I am home all day caring for a sick child but I actually do some work?

Let’s assume you work a regular, 5 day a week full time schedule, so that each day of work is presumed to be 8 hours. (See question #9.) If you are at home taking care of a sick child but actually have some productive working time, you should subtract those productive hours from the 8 hours presumed for a regular full day of work. For example, if you do 3 hours of work of a quality similar to what you do in your work site, then you should record 5 hours of family sick time, assuming you are authorized to work from home. Note that some DLC’s do not permit work from home for some or all staff; in those cases, the full 8 hours of family sick time would be recorded. In addition, if you are on FMLA for the full day, you are not supposed to be working, and so should record the full 8 hours as family sick.

  1. Can I "make up" sick time taken if I work extra time on the day that I take some sick leave?

You can "make up" the sick time taken if you work an extra amount of time approximately equal to the amount of time used for sick time on that same day. For example, let's assume that you usually arrive at work at 8:00 am and leave at 6:00 pm. On February 3, you arrive at work at 9:00 because of a dentist appointment that morning. You then work till 7:00 pm that day. That extra hour worked at the end of the day on Feb 3 does offset the hour of sick time taken at the beginning of that day. So no sick time needs to be reported for that day. Note that the comparison is against your normal time at work (10 hours), not against the 8 hours a day that the tool uses as a record keeping convention.

This concept of making up time is allowed only for work done on the day itself. Since the tracking system is built on a system of daily reporting, we do not allow for "making up" of sick time with work done on other days of the week or month.

  1. What if I make a mistake in recording time or an appointment is changed at the last minute?

You can withdraw and, if necessary, re-enter corrected time -- for example, if the time of an upcoming doctor’s appointment changes -– if the date has not yet passed. Once a date of the scheduled sick leave has passed, only your designated manager or “super-user” can remove recorded sick time.

  1. Who is my manager? Who – and what – is a “super-user”?

Your manager should be set up in the tool as the person you would normally tell if you are out sick. For employees in the EVPT area, your manager as designated in the PDR system will be your manager in the tool. For any DLCs that currently use the IS&T calendar-based vacation tracker, the manager from the vacation tracking system will be the manager in the sick leave tool.  As noted in question #13, managers can be changed later, for example, if the DLC wants the HR contact to be the manager for the sick leave tool.

The super users are the DLC HR Directors, HR staff, AOs and the Assistant Deans, as well as some central HR and IS&T staff.

  1. What can the manager and super-user do?

Managers and super-users have certain administrative authorizations, such as changing dates of sick leave recorded in the past (see question 11), reviewing sick leave records, and running reports. Additionally, super-users can change manager designations. Learn more about manager use of the tracking tool in this video.

  1. What if I am too sick to record the sick time?

The manager or super-user can input time on your behalf if you cannot do so from home, are too sick to do so, or if you forget.

  1. Will I be able to see what sick leave I previously used?

Yes, you will have a calendar view of the sick leave you have entered into the tool after January 1, 2016.  You will also be able to see a list of sick reports you have submitted, and to drill down on any individual sick leave report.

  1. Who else can see my sick leave reports?

As mentioned, the manager and super-users can see employees’ reports. MIT is not required to submit any reports about sick leave to the state of Massachusetts. However, we must be able to provide such records to the state Attorney General’s Office upon request. We are required to maintain those records at MIT for three years.

  1. Do I have to use this tool to record a maternity leave?

Yes, you need to record a maternity leave on this tool. Obviously, you should continue to talk with your supervisor/manager as well as with the Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office.

  1. Does this tool coordinate with FMLA?

If you enter 5 consecutive days of sick leave, you will see a message stating that this sick leave might be covered by the FMLA; you will be encouraged to contact your local HR person or the Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office. If you are on an approved FMLA leave, you will have the option of designating any particular sick leave as FMLA leave. This should be helpful for intermittent leaves. The Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office will continue to communicate with you, and also with your supervisor/manager for any FMLA leave.

  1. Can I access the reporting tool remotely or on my phone?

The tool can be accessed remotely. It is Touchstone enabled and requires two-factor authentication with Duo.

  1. My department uses the IS&T calendar-based tool for tracking vacation. Is that the same tool?

The sick leave tool is based on the same Mendix platform. For now, the sick leave tracker will be separate from the vacation tracker but we hope that in the future, there will be an integrated tool to record both vacation and paid sick leave.

  1. What part of the sick time is covered by state law?

Massachusetts law protects the first 40 hours of sick time used during a 12-month period. MIT will count the 12-month period as running from the anniversary of your date of hire, as we do with vacation and with sick leave for support staff. The first 40 hours used after your anniversary date each year are protected by state law.

  1. Why does MIT require me to record all sick time used, rather than just the first 40 hours?

Under state law, MIT has a legal responsibility to accurately track the first 40 hours of sick time used. We concluded that to ensure compliance, we need to get employees in the habit of recording all sick time used. Also, the paid sick time for family illness is limited to 40 hours per year, and needs to be accounted for separately. If employees had to record some sick time but not record other sick time, the likelihood is high that employees will forget to report some of their sick time, undermining MIT’s efforts to comply with the law.

  1. My last anniversary date was May 2, 2015 before the sick leave law was effective. How does that work?

The tool will track your use of sick time from January 1, 2016 till your anniversary date (technically, the day before your anniversary date). After that first transitional 4 month period, the tool will track your sick leave from May 2 - May 1 each year.

  1. I am an administrator and I now have to use many different systems — for hourly paid and monthly paid, and for non-benefits eligible staff and benefits eligible staff. This is confusing.

It may be helpful to think of the staff in two groups — hourly paid (such as support staff) and monthly paid (such as administrative staff and SRS):

Hourly paid — Sick leave is tracked through SAP, as is all other time for that group

  • Non-benefits eligible staff accrue just the state-mandated time (1 hour of sick/30 hours worked).
  • Benefits eligible staff accrue 12 sick days a year.

Monthly paid — Sick leave is tracked through the calendar-based tool.

  • Non-benefits eligible staff accrue at the state-mandated time, which we front-load into the tool based on their percent effort and length of appointment. They also use the tool to report their use of sick time.
  • Benefits-eligible staff will soon be using the new tracking tool to record use of sick time.

See this chart showing the details of sick leave for these four groups: Hourly paid, non-benefits eligible and benefits eligible, and Monthly Paid, non-benefits eligible and benefits eligible.

If you are a manager or super-user, you will note that the new tool for monthly paid staff has one tab for the benefits eligible staff and one tab for the non-benefits eligible staff. The calendar views for these groups look a bit different, but it’s the same basic set up.

  1. How will this affect new hires?

HR will set up a tool for all benefits-eligible monthly paid staff working as of 1/1/16. Eventually, the tool will coordinate with SAP so that a new calendar tool is created for each newly hired staff member, and an employee’s calendar is removed if the employee terminates employment or transfers from a benefits-eligible position to a benefits-ineligible position.

Until that functionality is in place, HR will run a report every month and will create a new calendar for new hires and transfers. HR will also remove calendars for terminated employees. If you would like to have a calendar created sooner, please contact Marianna Pierce (mcpierce@mit.edu) or Sue Liang (schow@mit.edu) in HR. In addition, please contact us if an employee transfers from or into your DLC.

  1. Where can I find the MIT policies on sick leave?

MIT's policies on sick leave for academic staff, research staff, and administrative staff are found in Policies & Procedures at Section 7.5.4. More specific sick leave provisions for the administrative and sponsored research staff are found in the Personnel Policy Manual Section 4.3, and particularly in Section 4.3.16. The policy on the state sick leave law is found in the Personnel Policy Manual at Section 4.3.22.

Need Help?

If you have questions about sick leave tracking, please contact your local HR staff member or your central Human Resources Officer.