Leave, Sick Time for Personal and Family Reasons: Non-Exempt Employees and Students


Non-exempt employees, graduate assistants and student workers

Policy Statement

Syracuse University provides paid sick and safe leave (collectively, sick time) including compliance with New York State’s Paid Sick Leave, to all non-exempt employees, non-exempt graduate assistants, and non-exempt student workers (collectively, employees and students). In general, sick time is available to be used for personal injury, illness, health or safety reasons, or to care for an eligible family member due to their injury, illness, health or safety reasons.

I. Sick time may be used for the following reasons:

(i)  for a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition of the employee/student or their family member, regardless of whether such illness, injury, or health condition has been diagnosed or requires medical care at the time that they request the sick time;

(ii)  for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition of, or need for medical diagnosis of, or preventive care for, the employee/student or their family member; or

(iii)  for an absence from work due to any of the following reasons when the employee/student or their family member has been the victim of domestic violence pursuant to subdivision thirty-four of section two hundred ninety-two of the New York State executive law, a family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking:

a.   to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program;

b.   to participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee/student or their family members;

c.   to meet with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;

d.   to file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;

e.   to meet with a district attorney’s office;

f.   to enroll children in a new school; or

g.   to take any other actions necessary to ensure the health or safety of the employee/student or their family member, or to protect those who associate or work with them.

The reasons outlined above in subparagraph a. through g. must be related to the domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking. The person who has committed such domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking shall not be eligible for sick time under this section for situations in which they committed such offense and was not a victim.

II. Eligible Family Members

The following individuals are eligible “family members” for whom sick time may be used:

  • employee’s/student’s child (biological, adopted or foster child, a legal ward, or a child of an employee/student standing in loco parentis);
  • spouse;
  • domestic partner;
  • parent (biological, foster, step or adoptive parent, or a legal guardian of an employee/student, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee/student was a minor child);
  • sibling;
  • grandchild;
  • grandparent; and
  • child or parent of an employee’s/student’s spouse or domestic partner.

III. Accrual and Carry Over of Sick Time

Non-exempt employees and students will accrue sick time at a rate of one hour of sick time for every thirty hours worked, up to a maximum accrual of 56 hours each calendar year unless otherwise negotiated for under a collective bargaining agreement. The maximum annual accrual applies to all jobs the employee/student has with the University.

Sick time that remains unused at the end of the calendar year will be maintained as carryover to the next calendar year.

IV. Use of Sick Time

The combination of accrued sick time and carryover is available for use for eligible reasons with a maximum usage of 56 hours of sick time during any calendar year. Non-exempt employees who qualify under the University’s Benefits Eligibility Policy and/or a collective bargaining agreement may, subject to supervisory approval, be able to take additional sick time, at a reduced rate of approximately two-thirds full pay. Subject to the restrictions above, additional sick time at a reduced rate may be taken only if an employee has already taken 56 hours of sick time in the calendar year or does not currently have sufficient paid sick time accrued to cover the absence.

All non-exempt employees and students remain subject to University policies relating to time away from work and absenteeism. The University has discretion to determine, based on individual circumstances and the needs of a particular work area, whether absences are excessive and constitute abuse of University policies. Excessive absenteeism and/or abuse of University policies may result in discipline, up to and including discharge.

Non-exempt employees and students should consult the Disability Plan regarding extended absences. Absences of more than three consecutive days due to personal or family illness may be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or New York State Paid Family Leave Act, if eligible. The University reserves its right to consider these other benefits for employees given each specific leave situation.

V. Notice

Employees and students who need to use sick time should notify their supervisor or department designee in accordance with their department’s notification procedures. If the employee/student seeks to use the sick time for a purpose that is known in advance (e.g. a scheduled doctor’s appointment), they should provide notice to their supervisor or department designee as far in advance as possible. The University reserves the right to ask for documentation and/or an employee’s/student’s written certification to support sick time usage when authorized by law or regulation.

VI. Payment of Sick Time

Sick time used will be paid at the employee’s/student’s regular rate of pay. Additional sick time taken by a non-exempt employee who qualifies under the University’s Benefits Eligibility Policy will be paid at a reduced rate of approximately two-thirds full pay unless expressly stated otherwise in a collective bargaining agreement.

VII. Sick Time Upon Separation From Employment

Unused sick time will never be paid out. Unused sick time at separation from employment will be forfeited.

VIII. Concurrent Use with Other Forms of Leave

To the extent permitted by applicable law and where applicable, the University will require employees and students to use paid sick time under this policy concurrently with other statutory or University-provided leaves of absence.

IX. Compliance with Collective Bargaining Agreements, New York State Paid Sick Leave Law and Other Legal Requirements

To the extent a bargaining unit agreement mandates alternative requirements, then that agreement will control for the respective bargaining unit members. This policy is intended to meet all provisions of New York State Paid Sick Leave Law and will be interpreted to do so. In the event there is a local leave law (such as city or county law) that mandates additional usage of sick time, then such other law controls.

X. Additional Information

Questions concerning sick time should be directed to the employee’s or student’s supervisor, or to the Office of Human Resources at hrservice@syr.edu or 315.443.4042.

Benefits eligible employees who were reclassified as non-exempt, according to the records of the Office of Human Resources, for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) changes made by the University in 2016, will continue to follow the sick time policy for exempt employees.

The University reserves the right to interpret its policies and to amend, modify, or terminate those policies at any time.

Date: December 2020

Policy Administration

Human Resources

Procedures and Related Information

Syracuse University Disability Benefits Policy

New York State Disability Benefits

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Paid Time Off and Leave Policies