4.57 Sick Leave


To outline the eligibility and usage criteria for paid sick leave for university employees.

Policy Statement

 The University provides paid sick leave for eligible employees, which includes Academic Administrators, Faculty, Institutional Officials, Merit system staff and Professional & Scientific (P&S) staff. For Faculty, refer to the Faculty Handbook.


 Eligible non-temporary staff members earn sick leave accruals at the rate of 12 hours for each full month of service for full-time appointments or at the pro-rata equivalent for part-time staff scheduled to work at least 20 and up to 40 hours per week. Accrual of annual sick leave is unlimited. 

Sick leave accrues during any period of service in pay status, but does not accrue during periods of absence without pay. Per Iowa Administrative Code 11-63.3, sick leave shall not be granted in excess of the amount accrued. In addition, sick leave shall not be used until after the calendar month it is accrued. 


Sick leave may be used for the following reasons:

  • Personal illness and/or injury.
  • Family Caregiving Leave
  • Staff members may use accrued sick leave for the care and necessary attention of ill or injured members of their immediate family, or for the birth of their child. Staff members may use up to 40 hours of Family Caregiving Leave per year. Staff members may carry over up to 40 hours of unused Family Caregiving Leave to the next anniversary year, for a maximum utilization of 80 hours in the next anniversary year. Usage and carryover limits are pro-rated for part-time positions. Any additional time needed to care for ill or injured family members may be requested as vacation or compensatory time. Eligible absences should be qualified under FMLA when possible.
  • Funeral Leave
  • Full-time staff members may use up to 24 hours (or a pro-rata part-time equivalent) of earned sick leave per occurrence when death occurs in their immediate family.
  • Pallbearer Leave
  • Full-time staff members may use up to 8 hours (or pro-rated part-time equivalent) of earned sick leave per occurrence when serving as a pallbearer or funeral attendant for someone who is not a member of their immediate family.
  • Personal Medical or Dental Appointments
  • Staff members may use earned sick leave for personal medical or dental appointments which cannot be scheduled at times other than during working hours.
  • Adoption Leave
  • Full-time staff members may use up to 40 hours (or pro-rated part-time equivalent) of sick leave per occurrence during adoption.

Holidays falling during a period of qualified sick leave usage are paid as holidays and are not charged to the staff member's sick leave accumulation.

If a staff member is hospitalized while on vacation, the staff member may use sick leave for time actually spent in a hospital. No other change of approved vacation to sick leave is authorized.

All absences chargeable to sick leave must be authorized by appropriate supervisors/administrators. A medical certificate or other appropriate verification for sick leave absences and/or a return to work release may be required as deemed necessary by the University. Staff members are permitted to use compensatory time and/or vacation in lieu of sick leave when they so request.

Immediate Family Definition

Immediate family is defined, and limited to, the staff member’s spouse, children, grandchildren, foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, parents, grandparents, foster parents, stepparents, brothers, foster brothers, stepbrothers, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters, foster sisters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins, corresponding relatives of the faculty or staff member's spouse, and other persons who are members of the staff member's household.

Sick Leave to Vacation Conversion

Full-time staff eligible to accrue vacation and with a minimum of 240 hours of accrued sick leave may elect to convert the 12 hours of sick leave earned in the current month to four (4) hours of vacation. The conversion of sick leave to vacation for part-time employees shall be prorated. Any sick leave usage in a month makes an employee ineligible to make the conversion for the month in which the use occurs. If use of sick leave reduces an eligible employee's sick leave account below 240 hours, the account will have to be built up to 240 hours before vacation conversion under this program is restored. Electing this conversion will increase the maximum vacation balance. Note that Long Term Disability, if approved, does not begin until the latter of 90 working days or the date accumulated sick leave is exhausted.

Unused Sick Leave Payout - A faculty or staff member who is 55 years of age or older and has at least ten years of service may receive up to a $2,000 cash payment for unused sick leave. The payment is calculated by multiplying the number of hours of unused sick leave by the hourly rate of pay at the time of retirement.

Additional Resources:

FMLA Leave policy: policies.uni.edu/449
Sick leave benefits: https://hrs.uni.edu/mybenefits/time-off
Faculty Handbook:  https://provost.uni.edu/resources 

This policy revision is effective July 1, 2017.

Human Resource Services, approved April 19, 2017
President’s Cabinet, approved May 8, 2017
President and Executive Management Team, approved June 14, 2017