Policy VII-7.45-GC

UMGC Policy on Sick and Safe Time Off

(Approved by USM BOR on April 21, 2017; UMGC President on July 1, 2017; Updated on March 23, 2020)

  1. Purpose and Applicability

    This policy governs the accrual and use of Sick Time Off, and applies to all UMGC Nonexempt, Exempt and Overseas Staff employees on Regular Status. Nonexempt Staff employees who are included in the representation of the collective bargaining unit are subject to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and applicable UMGC HR Policies; where there is a conflict between the two, the MOU will prevail.

  2. General

    1. Sick and safe time off is paid time off granted to employees in an effort to provide some protection against the loss of earnings due to absences for health and allied reasons; and when certain absences are necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, pursuant to the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act and provisions of this policy.

    2. A full-time employee shall earn sick and safe time off at the rate of fifteen (15) eight-hour workdays (i.e. 120 hours) per year, accrued on a biweekly basis. Employees who are appointed at least 50% time shall earn sick and safe time off on a pro rata basis. Sick and safe time off is accumulated and carried forward from year to year without limit. Sick and safe time off is not paid out to the employee upon separation of employment.

    3. An employee may use, on a continuous basis, earned time off (sick and safe, vacation and personal time off), advanced sick time off, extended sick time off (Stateside only), time off granted through the leave reserve fund, or unpaid family & medical leave, as needed for personal illness or for parental time off, subject to the requirements and criteria of the VII-7.49-GC – UMGC Policy on Parental Time Off and Other Family Supports for Staff Employees (Parental Time Off Policy).

    4. An employee may request that his/her mental or physical illness, injury, condition, or disability occurring during a period of vacation or personal time off be charged to sick and safe time off. Verification of such illness, injury, condition, or disability may be required by the Vice President of Human Resources (VPHR) or designee as provided in section III of this policy.

    5. Sick Time Off shall be granted by the CHRO or designee when an employee is absent because of:

      1. Mental or physical illness, injury, condition, or disability of the employee.

      2. A pre-scheduled and approved, or emergency medical appointment, examination, or treatment for the employee with an accredited, licensed or certified medical provider listed in section III.C. of this policy that cannot be scheduled during non-work hours.

      3. Mental or physical illness or injury of the employee's close relative and medical appointments, examinations or treatments for the close relative with an accredited, licensed or certified medical provider listed in section III.C. of this policy that cannot be scheduled during non-work hours. For doctor appointments that cannot be scheduled during non-work hours, the employee shall make every effort to schedule the appointment either at the beginning or the end of the scheduled workday in order to reduce time away from work.

        1. Close relative as used in this policy shall mean a spouse, child, adopted child, foster child, step-child, child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis (or someone for whom the employee took the place of a parent) regardless of the child's age, grandchild, adopted grandchild, foster grandchild, or step grandchild, mother, father, legal guardian or person who stands in loco parentis of the employee (or someone who took the place of the employee's parent), mother-in-law, father-in-law, adoptive parent of the employee or spouse, foster parent of the employee or spouse, stepparent of the employee or spouse, sibling, adopted sibling, foster sibling, step sibling, grandparent of the employee or spouse, adopted grandparent, foster grandparent, step grandparent, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, or legal dependent of the employee irrespective of residence. Use of sick and safe time off shall also be granted to care for any other relative who permanently resides in the employee's household for whom the employee has an obligation to provide care. Because same-sex marriage is not legal in all countries outside of the United States in which UMGC operates, a “domestic partner” is also considered a close relative for Overseas employees for the purpose of this policy. A domestic partnership is an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are not married (to each other or to anyone else).

        2. The VPHR or designee may require an employee to provide certification by a medical provider listed in section III.C of this policy to demonstrate this obligation or to authenticate the need for the employee to care for the ill close relative.

      4. Death of a close relative.

        1. For the death of a close relative, the VPHR or designee shall grant the following:

          1. Stateside — the use of up to five (5) days of accrued sick and safe time off. If the death of a close relative requires an employee to travel requiring staying away from home overnight, upon request the VPHR or designee shall grant the use of up to a maximum of seven (7) days of accrued sick and safe time off for this purpose.

          2. Overseas — the use of up to five (5) days of accrued sick and safe time off. If the death of a close relative requires an employee to travel requiring staying away from home overnight, upon request the VPHR or designee shall grant the use of up to a maximum of ten (10) days of accrued sick and safe time off for this purpose due to the employees' geographic disbursement.

        2. The VPHR or designee shall grant the use of up to a maximum of one (1) day of sick and safe time off for reasons related to the death of the employee's or his/her spouse's aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew.

      5. Domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee's close relative.

        1. The VPHR or designee shall grant an employee up to eight (8), eight-hour workdays (i.e. 64 hours) per year of sick and safe time off:

          1. To obtain medical or mental health attention for the employee or employee's close relative that is related to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;

          2. To obtain services for the employee or employee's close relative member from a victim services organization related to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;

          3. To attend legal services or proceedings related to or resulting from the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or employee's close relative; or

          4. During the time that the employee has temporarily relocated due to the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

      6. Pregnancy-related disabilities, adoption, birth of a child, and immediate recovery from these events.

        1. An employee may request the use of accrued sick and safe time off for any period of time related to temporary disability during pregnancy, for the birth of a child, for the immediate physical recovery from pregnancy and/or birth of a child, or for placement of a child with the employee for adoption within six (6) months following the birth or adoption.

        2. An employee planning to request the use of her Sick Time Off for the purposes listed in this subsection shall be governed by the provisions of this policy.

        3. The employee shall keep the VPHR or designee informed of any changes to their condition which affect the length of time that the employee will need to be away from work.

      7. Accrued sick and safe time off may be used to care for a child following the birth of the child or placement of an adopted child with the employee.

    6. An employee who returns to regular UMGC service within three (3) years of separation shall have the unused sick and safe time off earned during the prior UMGC service restored, provided the employee returns to a position eligible to earn sick and safe time off in accordance with VII-1.31-GC – UMGC Policy on Reemployment and Reinstatement.

  3. Verification of Absences Charged to Sick and Safe Time Off

    1. In order to assure medical attention for an employee who may need verification of fitness for duty, to authenticate the need for the employee to care for an ill close relative, or to prevent the abuse of sick and safe time off usage in cases where a pattern or excessive use of sick and safe time off has been observed, the VPHR or designee may require an employee to submit verification of the use of accrued sick and safe time off, advanced or extended sick time off.

    2. Verification may include but may not be limited to:

      1. A written statement from the medical provider (as listed in section III.C of this policy) indicating that the employee is required to be absent from work due to mental or physical illness, injury, condition, or disability;

      2. The duration of absence from work;

      3. Prognosis of employee's ability to return to work;

      4. Title and original signature of an accredited, licensed or certified medical provider;

      5. Documentation of the birth or adoption of a child; and

      6. Any other information necessary to verify that the employee's use of sick and safe time off is in accordance with this policy and other applicable policies.

    3. Medical verification as outlined in this policy may be obtained by any of the following accredited, licensed or certified medical providers:

      1. Physician;

      2. Physical Therapist;

      3. Clinical Psychologist;

      4. Dentist;

      5. Oral Surgeon;

      6. Chiropractor;

      7. Podiatrist;

      8. Certified Nurse Practitioner;

      9. Certified Nurse-Midwife;

      10. Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical; or

      11. Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor;

      12. Optometrist;

      13. Physician Assistant;

      14. Christian Sciences Practitioner; or

      15. Any other health care provider from whom UMGC's Benefits unit will accept certification of the existence of a serious health condition to substantiate a claim for benefits in accordance with VII-7.50-GC – UMGC Policy on Family and Medical Leave for Staff and Faculty Employees.

  4. Directed Use of Sick Time Off for Medical Examinations

    1. The VPHR or designee, in accordance with the UMGC's policy on family and medical leave, may direct an employee to use accrued sick and safe time off if he/she determines that an employee is unable to perform the responsibilities of his/her position due to mental or physical illness, injury, condition, or disability.

    2. While in active work status, on any type of employee-related sick and safe time off, or time off pending an investigation, an employee may be required to undergo a medical examination(s) and evaluation(s), and may be required to provide verification of fitness for duty, as directed by the VPHR or designee to ascertain whether the employee is able to regularly and routinely perform the responsibilities of his/her position.

      1. If the examination is conducted by a physician selected by UMGC, UMGC shall bear the costs of such medical examination. The employee may, however, see his/her own physician at the employee's own cost.

      2. If the examination(s) reveal that an employee is unable to regularly and routinely perform the responsibilities of his/her position, action may be taken by the VPHR or designee in accordance with UMGC HR Policies, including voluntary separation, termination, reasonable accommodation, modified duty or disability retirement, if applicable.

      3. In cases where there is a conflict between the evaluation, prognosis, diagnosis or recommendation of the employee's personal health care provider and the physician selected by UMGC, the VPHR or designee may choose which health care provider's report to follow; or may require subsequent medical examinations and evaluations in deciding what steps should be taken regarding the employee's sick and safe time off status or continued employment. If subsequent medical examinations and evaluations are required, the expense of such shall be borne by UMGC. The decision of the VPHR or designee is final.

  5. Advanced Sick Time Off

    Advanced sick time off is applicable to employees on regular, contingent II, or contingent III status. Advanced sick time off is not an entitlement. The granting of requests for advanced sick time off shall be at the discretion of the VPHR or designee based on operational needs, the employee's record of work performance, and the employee's record of sick time off or sick and safe time off abuse. An employee who sustains a temporary, recoverable illness, injury or serious disability, or is eligible for family and medical leave off under VII-7.50-GC – UMGC Policy on Family and Medical Leave for Staff and Faculty Employees may request advance use of sick time off as follows:

    1. The employee shall:

      1. have completed six (6) months of continuous UMGC service;

      2. have exhausted all other types of accrued time off; and

      3. have a satisfactory record of sick time off usage and work performance.

    2. Advanced sick time off shall not be granted in instances where the mental or physical illness, injury, or disability occurred on the job, and the employee has been granted accident time off or temporary total disability benefits by the Workers' Compensation Commission.

    3. Written requests for advanced sick time off shall be submitted to the VPHR or designee and shall be supported by written verification by an accredited, licensed, or certified medical provider or appropriate documentation of the birth or adoption of a child as outlined in sections III.B and III.C of this policy.

    4. Sick time off may be advanced as follows:

      1. In the first year of service and based on the rate of fifteen (15) working days per year, advanced sick time off shall be prorated based upon the employee's length of service and full-time equivalency (FTE) at the time it is requested.

      2. Thereafter, advanced sick time off for stateside employees is advanced at the rate of fifteen (l5) working days per year of service to a maximum of sixty (60) working days in any one (1) calendar year. Due to DoD contract and Individual Logistical Support (ILS) constraints, advanced sick time off for overseas employees may be advanced a maximum of fifteen (15) working days in any one (1) calendar year.

    5. The use of advanced sick time off constitutes a debt for which payment shall be enforceable upon the employee's return to work or upon the employee's separation from employment, whichever is earlier. Upon return to work, the minimum rate of payback for advanced sick time off shall be at one-half the rate that sick and safe time off and vacation time off are earned. An employee may elect to pay back advanced sick time off by applying any earned time off or by reimbursing UMGC with cash.

    6. Vacation, sick and safe, and holiday time off earned, and personal time off credited while on advanced sick time off shall be applied as earned/credited.

    7. Additional requests for advanced sick time off shall not be granted until all previously granted advanced sick time off has been repaid. The only exception to this provision is in cases where the maximum amount of advanced sick time off had not been requested originally and additional advanced sick time off, consecutive to that already granted, is needed to cover the employee's continued absence arising from the original mental or physical illness, injury or disability.

    8. The VPHR or designee may refer an employee who is on advanced sick time off as follows:

      1. The employee may be referred to an UMGC-named physician for periodic examinations to determine the nature and extent of the illness, the employee's progress toward recovery, the length of time necessary for recovery, and an estimated date of return to work..

      2. If there is a conflict between the employee's physician and the UMGC-named physician, the provisions of Section IV.B.3 shall apply.

  6. Extended Sick Time Off

    1. Extended sick time off is not an entitlement. The granting of requests for Extended sick time off shall be at the discretion of the UMGC President or designee based on operational needs, the employee's record of work performance, and the employee's record of sick time off or sick and safe time off abuse.

    2. Due to DoD contract and Individual Logistical Support (ILS) constraints, extended sick time off shall not be applied in the UMGC overseas divisions.

    3. An employee who sustains a temporary, recoverable mental or physical illness, injury or serious disability may request extended sick time off, subject to the following conditions:

      The employee shall:

      1. have been in USM and/or State service for at least five (5) years;

      2. have exhausted all available types of accrued time off and advanced sick time off; and

      3. have a satisfactory record of sick or sick and safe time off usage and work performance.

    4. The maximum cumulative total of extended sick time off available to an employee while in UMGC, USM or State service is twelve (l2) work months (52 work weeks).

    5. Vacation, sick and safe, and holiday time off earned, and personal time off credited while on extended sick time off shall be applied as earned/credited.

    6. Written requests for extended sick time off shall be submitted to the VPHR or designee and shall be supported by written verification by an accredited, licensed or certified medical provider as outlined in sections III.B and III.C of this policy.

    7. The VPHR or designee may refer an employee who is on extended sick time off as follows:

      1. The employee may be referred to an UMGC-named physician for periodic examinations to determine the nature and extent of the illness, the employee's progress toward recovery, the length of time necessary for recovery, and an estimated date of return to work.

      2. If there is a conflict between the employee's physician and the UMGC-named physician, the provisions of section IV.B.3 shall apply.

  7. Other

    For other related policies, please see UMGC Global Human Resources Policies, including Parental Time Off Policy, Policy on Leave of Absence Without Pay, Policy on Leave Reserve Fund, Policy on Family and Medical Leave, and Policy on Accident Time Off.

Implementation Procedures

The UMGC President has designated the Vice President of Human Resources (VPHR) to administer this policy; to develop procedures as necessary to implement this policy; to communicate this policy to the UMGC community; and to post the policy and applicable procedures on the UMGC website.

Replacement for:

  • USM BOR VII — 7.45 — Policy on Sick Leave for Exempt and Nonexempt Staff Employees

  • UMGC OS 17.00 — Policy on Sick Leave