4.03 Sick Leave

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 1/1/2000, 12/1/2014
Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, Service Professionals


The purpose of the sick leave benefit is to allow an employee paid time off during periods of personal illness, to obtain medical services or to care for an immediate family member who is ill.


Regular employees working 50% time (20 hours per week) or more for a continuous period of six months or more are eligible to accrue and use sick leave. An employee working on an academic-year basis is eligible for sick leave.

Regular part-time employees working fewer than 20 hours per week and temporary employees are not eligible for paid sick leave.

Earning/Accrual of Sick Leave

An eligible full-time employee earns and accrues sick leave equivalent to one day (eight hours for full-time) for each month of service.

Sick leave accruals are based upon hours worked. Holiday pay, paid compensatory time, approved vacation and sick leave pay also constitute hours eligible for accruing sick leave. The maximum accrual rate is based upon 40 hours per week. Accruals are prorated based upon hours worked and the period of time on contract.

An eligible employee does not earn sick leave when he/she is:

  • within a period of extended military leave;
  • within a period of leave of absence without pay;
  • within a period of layoff; or
  • otherwise on an unpaid status, including unpaid sabbaticals.

An eligible faculty employee on a one-semester paid sabbatical will receive full sick leave accruals for that semester. Faculty on a full-year paid sabbatical will accrue sick leave at the rate of 60 percent of the full-time accrual rate.

Conditions of Usage

Sick leave benefits are designed to provide for continuation of income during times of legitimate illness. Sick leave is not to be considered as an alternative form of vacation time, compensatory time, holiday leave, or time off for personal business.

An eligible employee may be granted sick leave when he/she is unable to perform his/her duties because of illness, injury, pregnancy, childbirth, or because he/she must be absent from work for the purpose of obtaining health-related services not available after regular working hours.

Sick leave may be granted to an eligible employee whose absence is due to illness or communicable disease within the employee's immediate family or household. Immediate family is defined as a parent, parent-in-law, brother, sister, spouse, child, grandparent, grandchild, and any other person who is a permanent member of the employee's established household. A parent is defined as a natural parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or surrogate parent (a person who raised the employee as his/her child). A child is defined as a natural child, adoptive child, foster child, stepchild, or a child whom an employee has assumed the responsibility of raising.

Sick leave shall not be allowed for absence due to any of the following:

  • Disability arising from any sickness or injury purposely self-inflicted or caused by the employee’s willful misconduct.
  • Sickness or disability while on layoff status, leave of absence without pay, or vacation, except when the employee has a major illness or injury and is unable to continue the vacation activity. A physician's written statement may be required to verify such an illness.

Sick leave should be requested and approved in advance, when possible. Sudden illnesses that result in absences must be reported to the employee's supervisor as early as possible. A request for absence must be submitted to the employee's supervisor within three working days after an employee's return from illness using approved university procedures and systems. The supervisor may complete the reporting process for the employee to ensure compliance with reporting procedures.

For absences in excess of three days because of illness, injury, or other disability, or should there be reason to believe that sick leave is being abused, the employee may be required to furnish the university with a written statement from a physician certifying that the employee was unable to work during the period of absence. Further, the physician must also certify that the employee is able to return to work. In the event the supervisor exercises this option, the employee will not be permitted to return to work without this physician's statement. Release by a physician for light duty work may be considered. Refer to Policy 4.07 Light Duty.

The department must notify the Human Resources Department after three days of sick leave due to possible Family Medical Leave of Absence qualification.

Reporting and Recordkeeping

It is the employee’s responsibility to submit accurate information when reporting the hours he/she did not work for which sick leave is requested.

An employee found abusing or not reporting sick leave per respective department rules will be subject to disciplinary action.

It is the department supervisor’s responsibility to ensure timely and accurate recording of sick leave taken by his/her employees. This responsibility includes timely reporting of hours taken and monitoring accruals.

Time charged against sick leave may not exceed the employee's accrued balance.

When total accrued sick leave and vacation hours are exhausted, the employee may be charged time off without pay up to certain limits.

If the employee is not able to return to work before all accrued time is used, it is the supervisor’s responsibility take the employee off payroll. The timeliness of this action is essential to avoid overpayments, which the employee will have to return.


Payment for sick leave approved and taken is made at the employee's straight-time rate of pay for time lost within the regularly scheduled work period.

If an employee is rehired within one year after termination from Northern Arizona University, all unused sick leave accumulated at the time of such termination will be reinstated.

Effective 7/1/98 employees who retire from the university may be eligible to receive partial payment for unused sick leave. The formula varies based upon sick leave accrual balance at termination.

If a holiday falls within a period of approved sick leave, it is charged as a holiday, not as sick leave time.

Workers' Compensation

Compensation lost as a result of accidents that occur during performance of official duties is covered, in part, under the Arizona Workers' Compensation and Occupational Disease Plan. If injured employees wish to use sick leave, they may receive only the difference between what is paid by benefits under the above-mentioned statutes as salary compensation and the full salary to which they would otherwise be entitled.