Sick Time: The Company has an honor-based system. Paid sick leave is not unlimited. Sick time may be used for employees to take care of themselves or any dependents, but not for routine doctors' appointments. Employees must notify their manager as soon as practical when out sick, per departmental procedures, which should be communicated to all employees.
Fraudulent use of paid sick time or excessive unplanned absences can result in disciplinary action. If sick day use becomes excessive, additional unplanned absences may not be paid. Please contact IAPE if your manager informs you that your sick time usage has been deemed to be "excessive."
Family Medical Leave: Employees with more than 1 year of service may be eligible for unpaid FMLA leave based on the employee's medical condition, the need to care for a sick dependent, or because of the birth or adoption of a child. In some cases, sick leave is converted to FMLA leave after an employee's third consecutive day of absence. Managers will typically contact their HR Generalist whenever an employee has been out "sick" for 3 consecutive days.
Short-Term Disability: If an employee is absent from work for more than four consecutive days due to their own illness or injury, the Company's Short-Term Disability program may apply.
Frequently Asked Questions About the "Honor-Based" Sick Leave Policy
Q: Is sick leave now unlimited?
A: No! Sick leave is not unlimited. Sick time is an honor based system, which allows employees to manage and utilize sick time as appropriate. There is no set number of paid sick days per year, but paid days are not unlimited. At some point –- and that point may be different for different employees and in different circumstances –- the Company will stop paying for additional sick days.
Q: What happens if an employee calls in "sick" when he's not really sick?
A: Abuse of the sick leave policy is dishonesty, and will result in disciplinary action up to and including (in severe cases) termination of employment. If you are accused of fraudulent use of sick time, contact IAPE immediately.
Q: How many sick days will be considered "excessive" under the honor system?
A: Even under the honor system, an employee's continued absences may be deemed excessive. When absences are deemed excessive will depend on the circumstances, which will include a review of the employee's past history of attendance. This includes determining whether there is a pattern of absences (e.g., on Fridays or Mondays), whether management has sufficient reason to question the legitimacy of the absences, and other factors. Note also that the period of review for sick day usage is not necessarily a calendar year. Management may look at patterns of sick day usage over the prior 3, 6, 9, and 12 months to see whether overall usage is excessive, and may also review prior years. If you are accused of excessive use of sick time, you should also contact IAPE immediately..
Q: If an employee's child (or dependent) is sick and he stays home to care for the child, does it count as a sick day?
A: Yes. However, managers should remind employees about the availability of Emergency Backup Childcare, which will reimburse up to $120/day and up to $600/year for unexpected childcare situations (such as a child too sick to attend daycare or school) so that an employee can come to work.
If an employee is home for an extended period caring for a sick dependent, a manager will likely contact Human Resources to discuss the situation. It is true that sick leave is not meant to be a long-term care solution so it may be necessary to consider the absences to be unpaid leave under the FMLA, in which case the employee may use vacation days or personal days in order to be paid.
Q: If an employee has a pre-scheduled medical appointment (including dental), can sick time be used?
A: It is permitted for employees to use "sick time" for such appointments if they cannot reasonably be scheduled outside of work time. Managers can encourage employees to schedule appointments outside of work time, and may even contact a doctor's office to inquire about whether such appointments are available if they suspect that an employee is abusing the policy. But, up to one full day of sick time per year for these purposes should not raise a concern. Note that employees should not generally take a full day off from work because of a single doctor's appointment. If an employee is taking excessive amounts of time away from work for doctor appointments, a manager will likely contact HR.
Q: Are part-time employees eligible for paid sick leave?
A: No. Part-time employees do not get paid sick days. Regular part-time employees are permitted to take a certain number of unpaid days off, without being subject to disciplinary action, but they do not get paid for absences.