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4.03 Sick Time

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 1/1/2000, 12/1/2014, 10/01/2018
Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, Service Professionals, Postdoctoral Scholars


The purpose of the sick time 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 are eligible to accrue and use sick time

Earning/Accrual of Sick Time

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

Sick time accruals are based upon hours worked. Holiday pay, paid compensatory time, approved vacation and sick pay also constitute hours eligible for accruing sick time. 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 time when they are:

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

Conditions of Usage

Sick time benefits are designed to provide for continuation of income during times of legitimate illness. Sick time 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 time when they are unable to perform his/her duties because of illness, injury, pregnancy, childbirth, or because they must be absent from work for the purpose of obtaining health-related services not available after regular working hours.

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

Sick time 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 time 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 time 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 they did not work for which sick time is requested.

An employee found abusing or not reporting sick time 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 time taken by their employees. This responsibility includes timely reporting of hours taken and monitoring accruals.

Paid sick time taken may not exceed the employee's accrued balance.  When total accrued sick time 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 to ensure accurate reporting of time off without pay. The timeliness of this action is essential to avoid overpayments, which the employee will have to return.


Payment for sick time 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 time 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 time. The formula varies based upon sick time accrual balance at termination.

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