Chapter 16

Leaves of Absence and Leave Benefits

 

16.02

SICK LEAVE, VACATION, ALRA, BEREAVEMENT LEAVE, JURY DUTY, AND OTHER LEAVES WITH PAY

 

Leave balances and instructions for completing and submitting leave reports may be found in the My UW portal Work Record tab: My UW.

 

SICK LEAVE

 

Faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees participating in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) earn sick leave which may be used for reasons described in the UW-System Unclassified Personnel Guidelines UPG Chapter 10.

Amount earned:

·         Initial Entitlement: Upon initial hire into unclassified service, faculty, academic staff, and limited employees are granted a non-lapsing sick leave balance of 176 hours (22 days), prorated for part-time. No additional sick leave is earned through the next 18 months of employment. Exception: during this period if a part-time employee’s appointment percentage increases, the initial entitlement will increase proportionately. However, the initial entitlement will not decrease if an employee’s appointment percentage decreases or if an employee goes on unpaid leave of absence during this period.

·         Sick Leave Accrual: After 18 months, additional non-lapsing leave is earned at the rate of eight hours per month, prorated for part-time, for persons holding 12-month appointments and 10.7 hours per month, prorated for part-time, for persons who hold nine-month appointments. If an employee’s appointment percent changes, the subsequent monthly accrual rate shall be adjusted prospectively. Unclassified employees may not accumulate more than 96 hours annually. No additional sick leave accrues for nine-month appointees during summer employment.

 

Reporting Sick Leave: Sick leave for full-time employees shall be reported in half- or full-day units. Employees absent more than one-quarter day to three-fourths day shall charge four hours (one-half day). Employees absent more than three-fourths day shall charge eight hours (one day). Exceptions: employees with part time appointments shall report actual hours absent when using sick leave. Also, any employee on an intermittent FMLA leave (or transitioning back to full time after a period of medical leave under the FMLA) shall also report actual hours used.


During each work day, if you miss:

≤2 hrs

>2-6 hrs

>6 hrs

Report leave of:

0 hrs

4 hrs

8 hrs

For the purposes of reporting sick leave, each full-time unclassified employee will designate a work week consisting of 40 hours as required by §40.05 (4)(bp)3.a., Wis. Stats. Absences due to illness or other reasons that fall under the UPG Chapter 10 definition for use of sick leave require that leave be reported based on the reporting schedule listed above. The work week will be pro-rated for a less than full-time appointment. The work week will include all scheduled classes, office hours and research, as well as other regular University meetings and professional activities. Unless otherwise established in writing by the employee and supervisor, the standard work week is defined as Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

Reduction of Sick Leave Accrual for Unclassified Staff Failing to Report Leave Usage: Effective with sick leave earned in fiscal year 2007-08, any unclassified employee who fails to file a report on leave usage as required by UW System policy in one or more months of any year shall not be permitted to accrue sick leave for that year in an amount exceeding the cap established by §40.05(4) (bp)1., Wis. Stats. (i.e. 8.5 days for an annual unclassified employee or 6.4 days for an academic year unclassified employee). The reduction occurs in August (for the previous fiscal year) and will be reflected on the August earning statement for 12-month and Hourly appointees and the September earning statement for nine-month appointees.

 

Certification of Medical Necessity For Absences of More Than Five Consecutive Days: Faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees must provide written certification from a health care provider of the medical necessity for use of sick leave for absences of more than 5 consecutive full working days, except where the use of sick leave is authorized in advance, pursuant to the Wisconsin or Federal Family and Medical Leave Acts. Employees should be notified by their supervisor of the need to provide medical certification. The Request for Medical Certification for Academic Staff, Faculty, and Limited Appointees form should be used.

Typically, it is expected that the medical certification form be completed and returned to the supervisor within 15 days of the employee’s return to work. However, if extenuating circumstances prevent the supervisor from being able to communicate with or obtain information about the condition of the employee, such written certification shall not be required until such time as communication is possible and appropriate, given the condition of the employee. The request for medical certification is separate from FMLA requests related to "confidential medical information." Only Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs) are authorized to request, receive and maintain medical information related to disability or medical condition under the ADA and/or WFMLA/FMLA.

If the faculty, academic staff, or limited appointee does not provide the requested medical certification within the required timeframe, he/she cannot use sick leave to cover the absence. The employee will have to use other paid leave options, or will be required to take a leave without pay.

In cases of suspected abuse of the sick leave privilege, the employer shall be authorized to require written certification from a health care provider to verify the medical necessity for the employee's absence regardless of the length of absence. If this situation arises, the supervisor should work in conjunction with the DDR.

 

VACATION

 

Twelve-Month Appointments: Twelve-month faculty, academic staff, and limited employees participating in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) will be granted an anticipated vacation balance of 176 hours (22 days), prorated for part-time, at the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1). If an employee is on unpaid leave of absence, no vacation is earned until the employee returns to pay status.

Vacation is earned monthly; however, an employee may use anticipated vacation before it is actually earned with the approval of the supervisor. If the employee terminates employment prior to the end of a fiscal year, he/she will be required to pay back any time used greater than time earned.

Although not eligible for WRS, a re-employed annuitant is eligible for vacation if the unclassified appointment would otherwise be covered by the WRS.

 

Nine-Month Appointments: Nine-month faculty, academic staff, and limited employees do not earn vacation and are expected to work during the appointment period except for days specifically listed as paid Legal Holiday.

 

Reporting Vacation: Vacation for full-time employees shall be reported in half- or full-day units. Employees absent more than one-quarter day to three-fourths day shall charge four hours (one-half day). Employees absent more than three-fourths day shall charge eight hours (one day). Exceptions: employees with part time appointments shall report actual hours absent when using vacation. Also, any employee on an intermittent FMLA leave (or transitioning back to full time after a period of medical leave under the FMLA) shall also report actual hours used.

 

Vacation Use: Departments should be as flexible as possible in approving vacation for all eligible employees. If a situation arises in which the department must temporarily limit vacation use due to increased workload (for example, the department is being audited), the employees should be informed of any blackout dates as soon as possible, preferably in writing. If the blackout dates occur at the end of the fiscal year, special consideration must be taken in regard to carryover loss. If a department has an established “No Carryover” rule, it may have to be reconsidered given the circumstances.

 

Vacation Carryover: Vacation hours not used in the fiscal year earned may be carried over into the following fiscal year (unless a department has a written policy stating otherwise). If the carryover time has not been used by the end of the second fiscal year, the hours are lost as of June 30th of the second year. (For example, hours accumulated during the 2010-11 fiscal year must be used by June 30, 2012).

 

Vacation and Vacation Carryover Upon Transfer: Information on the movement of employees from unclassified to classified positions and the leave impacts is found in Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook Chapter 732. 

If an unclassified employee transfers to a new unclassified position eligible to earn vacation within UW-Madison, the new department must accept all current fiscal year vacation and vacation carryover hours.

Unclassified staff transferring from one institution to another within the UW System, or from the UW System to a Wisconsin state agency, may negotiate with the new employer or UW institution to accept responsibility for unused earned vacation, vacation carryover, personal holidays, floating holidays or leave accumulated in an ALRA. Where unused earned vacation, personal holidays, floating holidays and leave accumulated in an Annual Leave Reserve Account ALRA) is not transferred, the employee will receive a lump sum payment for the amount.

PLEASE NOTE: An employee may only transfer or be paid for those vacation and vacation carryover hours that could have been used by the employee had he/she stayed in the previous position. If the transfer occurs in June, careful attention must be paid to carryover hours to ensure that the hours transferred or paid do not exceed the amount of leave time the employee was eligible to use during the working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year. At no point may an employee transferring receive a greater benefit than an employee who is not transferring.
Example: An employee accepts a new unclassified position on June 20th. He has 176 hours current fiscal year vacation and 176 hours vacation carryover. There are nine working days from June 20th to June 30th.

·         Current fiscal year vacation--The new department must accept the current fiscal year vacation hours.

·         Vacation carryover - The new department must accept all vacation carryover hours.  Vacation carryover hours are available to be used within the new department for the working days remaining in that fiscal year (72 hours).  All other remaining vacation carryover hours will be forfeited if not used by June 30th (unless the employee is eligible to bank hours in ALRA - see below).

Where the unclassified employee is transferring, within the same UW institution, to an appointment ineligible for earning vacation, vacation accrued and leave accumulated in the ALRA may be paid, in its entirety, to the staff member as a lump sum amount or may be retained in a separate account until either all university employment is terminated or the staff member transfers to an eligible vacation-earning appointment. Leave held in this separate account may be used in lieu of sick leave. Personal and floating holidays may not be transferred and held in a separate account but must be used or paid as a lump sum prior to transfer. Where the staff member is transferring from one UW institution to another, to an appointment ineligible for earning vacation, vacation accrued and leave accumulated in the ALRA may be paid, in its entirety, to the employee as a lump sum amount prior to transfer or may be retained, with the approval of the receiving UW institutional, in a separate account until all university employment is terminated. Leave held in this separate account may be used in lieu of sick leave. Personal and floating holidays must be used or paid as a lump sum prior to transfer.

 

ALRA: Twelve-month faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees who have completed 10 or more fiscal years of continuous service in eligible appointments may, at their option, reserve up to 40 hours of vacation each year, prorated for part time, in an Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA). The ALRA benefit is made available during the 11th fiscal year of employment. However, the hours may be placed in reserve at the end of that fiscal year (designate hours for ALRA on the August Leave report).

Unclassified employees who have completed more than 25 years of continuous service may reserve a total of 80 hours each year. The higher ALRA benefit is made available during the 26th fiscal year of employment. However, the hours may be placed in reserve at the end of that fiscal year (designate hours for ALRA on the August Leave report).

Hours accumulated in ALRA may be used at any time. ALRA for full-time employees shall be reported in half- or full-day units. Employees absent more than one-quarter day to three-fourths day shall charge four hours (one-half day). Employees absent more than three-fourths day shall charge eight hours (one day). Exceptions: employees with part time appointments shall report actual hours absent when using ALRA. Also, any employee on an intermittent FMLA leave (or transitioning back to full time after a period of medical leave under the FMLA) shall also report actual hours used.

In accordance with UW-System Unclassified Personnel Guidelines UPG Chapter 9, a cash payment is no longer allowed for employees with 25 years of service. Cash payment for ALRA is only allowed at termination from the university or transfer to an appointment ineligible to earn vacation.

For the full UW-System ALRA policy, please refer to UPG Chapter 9.

 

ALRA Upon Transfer: If an unclassified employee transfers to a new unclassified position eligible to earn vacation, the new department must accept all ALRA.

If an employee moves to a position ineligible for vacation, the previous department may pay out ALRA in a lump sum, or the leave may be retained in a separate account until the employee terminates from the university. Leave held in this separate account may be used in lieu of sick leave.  Under no circumstances will hours be held in a separate account AFTER the employee terminates from the university. The leave in this account may be used in lieu of sick leave.

 

LEGAL, FLOATING, AND PERSONAL HOLIDAYS

 

Legal and Floating Holidays: The university is closed on the following legal holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve.

When January 1, July 4, or December 25 fall on a Sunday, then the holiday is observed on the following Monday.

 

Nine-Month Appointments: Nine-month faculty, academic staff, and limited employees do not earn Legal Holidays but are not expected to work on days specifically listed as paid Legal Holiday.

 

Twelve-Month Appointments: faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees participating in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) will be granted an anticipated Legal Holiday balance of 72 hours (9 days), prorated for part-time, at the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1). This balance will automatically be reduced as the Legal Holidays occur. If an employee is on unpaid leave of absence, no Legal Holidays are earned until the employee returns to pay status.

When January 1, July 4, December 24, December 25, or December 31 fall on a Saturday, or when December 24 or December 31 fall on a Sunday, for 12-month employees the Legal Holiday becomes a Floating holiday that can be used like vacation (9-month employees are not eligible). Floating holidays are earned during the pay period in which the Legal Holiday occurs; however, an employee may use anticipated Floating Holiday before actually earned with the approval of the supervisor. If the employee terminates employment prior to the end of a fiscal year, he/she will be required to pay back any time used greater than time earned. Floating Holiday must be used within the fiscal year in which it is granted, and any unused leave will be lost on June 30th of every year (no carryover).

 

Personal Holiday: 12-month faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees are granted 36 hours of Personal Holiday, prorated for part-time, at the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1). If an employee is on unpaid leave of absence, no personal holidays are granted until the employee returns to pay status. The Personal holiday allotment must be used within the fiscal year it is granted, and any unused leave will be lost on June 30th of every year (no carryover).

Floating and personal holidays for full-time employees shall be reported in half- or full-day units. Employees absent more than one-quarter day to three-fourths day shall charge four hours (one-half day). Employees absent more than three-fourths day shall charge eight hours (one day). Exceptions: employees with part time appointments shall report actual hours absent when using floating and personal holidays. Also, any employee on an intermittent FMLA leave (or transitioning back to full time after a period of medical leave under the FMLA) shall also report actual hours used.

 

Floating and Personal Holiday Upon transfer: If an unclassified employee transfers to a new unclassified position eligible to earn vacation, the new department must accept all current year floating and personal holiday hours.

PLEASE NOTE: An employee may only transfer those floating and personal holiday hours that could have been used by the employee had he/she stayed in the previous position. If the transfer occurs in June, careful attention must be paid to ensure that the floating and personal holidays transferred do not exceed the amount of leave time the employee was eligible to use. At no point may an employee transferring receive a greater benefit than an employee who is not transferring.

See UPG Chapter 9 for instructions on how to handle personal holiday allotment if an employee is transferring into an unclassified position from a classified position. If an employee moves to a position ineligible for vacation, floating and personal holiday hours must be used or paid as a lump sum prior to transfer.

 

OTHER TYPES OF LEAVE

 

Bone Marrow and Human Organ Donation: Unclassified employees may take up to five workdays with pay when participating in a bone marrow donation or 30 workdays with pay when participating in a human organ donation. Written verification must be provided to the supervisor.  Further details, including forms, are available on the UW-System website: http://www.wisconsin.edu/hr/benefits/leave/donor.htm.

 

Jury Duty or Witness Duty: Faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees summoned as a witness for a work-related matter or impaneled as a jurist do not have to report leave time for the time they are in court. The employee remains in pay status for the duration of his/her service. When the employee is not actually impaneled for service (only on call), he/she should report to work.

 

Voting: In the unlikely event that an employee cannot vote during non-work hours, he/she may request (in writing) to vote during work hours. The request must be received by the supervisor prior to the day of the election.

 

Funeral/Bereavement Leave: Sick leave may be used upon the death of an immediate family member. For this purpose, immediate family member includes employee's spouse and/or domestic partner, parents and children of an employee, an employee's and employee's spouse's immediate family members, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters and their spouses, children over the age of 18 and their spouses and any other relative who resides in the same household as the employee (as defined in UPG Chapter 10).

The general policy for use of sick leave for a funeral is up to three days. Reasonable requests for a longer time off should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Up to an additional four days of sick leave may be approved (especially when long distance or foreign travel may be required). Vacation, ALRA, and floating and personal holidays should be used to cover any further amount of time off.

 

Military Leave: Please refer to the UW System policy for military leave: http://www.uwsa.edu/hr/benefits/leave/military.htm

 

PAID LEAVE PAYOUT AT TERMINATION

·         In most circumstances, employees who resign/retire may elect to use accrued vacation, vacation carryover, ALRA, and floating and personal holidays to extend the end date of their appointment, or receive a lump sum payout of accrued leave at termination, at his/her discretion. *Exception: see below.

·         Employees who are laid off/non-renewed for any reason may be required, with sufficient notice in writing, to use accrued leave prior to termination. Any remaining leave that could have been used prior to the end date will be forfeited. Any remaining leave that could not have been used prior to the end date must be paid in a lump sum at termination.

Decisions on payments should be handled on a case by case basis. The decision to restrict payment of should not be arbitrary or capricious. For situations involving a group layoff/non-renewal, employees with similar notice periods should be treated equally with regard to payments.

*EXCEPTION: If an employee receives notice of layoff/non-renewal, and was told in writing to use accrued leave prior to termination or forfeit the hours, then special payout rules apply if the employee elects to resign/retire on or prior to the scheduled layoff/non-renewal date. In this circumstance, at termination the employee will only receive a lump sum payout of remaining accrued leave that could have been used between the resignation/retirement date and the original layoff/non-renewal date.

Example: On July 31 a full time employee receives written notice that he will be laid off for loss of funding on November 30 (four months notice). In the letter the employee is told he must use all accrued paid leave prior to the end of the appointment or unused hours will be forfeited. He has 176 hours current fiscal year vacation (~73 hours will be earned by Nov 30), 40 hours vacation carryover, 250 hours of ALRA, and 20 hours floating and personal holidays. Four months is sufficient time to use the total balance of paid leave (~383 hours).

In late October the employee notifies his department that he will retire on November 15. At that point he has 50 hours current fiscal year vacation, 0 vacation carryover, 100 hours of ALRA, and 0 floating and personal holidays.

·         At termination, he will receive a lump sum payment of up to 88 hours of accrued leave (the amount that could have been used during the 11 working days between his retirement date and the original layoff date). Any remaining accrued leave will be forfeited per the original layoff letter.

Under no circumstances will hours be held in a separate account AFTER the employee terminates from the university.

For a summary table of Paid Leave Payment at Termination, refer to UPPP 16.07.

 

REFERENCES

For more information about sick leave benefits (and Family Medical Leave Act) for unclassified employees, see UW-System Unclassified Personnel Guidelines UPG Chapter 10.

For more information about vacation benefits for unclassified employees, see UW-System Unclassified Personnel Guidelines UPG Chapter 9.

Rationale for Defining a 40-hour Work Schedule for Purposes of Leave Reporting

Frequently Asked Questions Regent Resolutions/Sick Leave/Vacation Policy Changes

OSER Bulletin on Leave When Moving from Unclassified to Classified position (Effective 1/25/14):  http://oser.state.wi.us/bulletins/bulletin_get.asp?bid=587

Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook Chapter 732:  http://oser.state.wi.us/docview.asp?docid=4368


University of Wisconsin-Madison
Unclassified Personnel Policies and Procedures—Ch. 16.02
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Last updated February 24, 2014