Division of State Human Resources

Sick Leave

References

 

Topics

 

Eligibility

Employees in full-time equivalent (FTE) positions who are scheduled to work at least one-half of the workweek on a 12-month basis or the equivalent of one-half of the workweek during the full school or academic year of nine months or more are eligible to earn sick leave.

If the part-time employee is scheduled to work at least one-half of the workweek of the agency, the employee is eligible to earn sick leave on a pro-rata basis.

 

General Sick Leave Guidelines

  • An employee can use sick leave for personal illness or injury, exposure to a contagious disease, appointment for medical or dental examination or treatment, sickness during pregnancy or other temporary disabilities, treatment for alcoholism, caring for ill members of the immediate family, and caring for an adoptive child.

  • The use of sick leave is subject to verification. The agency may require a certificate of a health care practitioner verifying the need for sick leave and giving the inclusive dates.

  • If an employee on annual leave becomes ill, the portion of leave attributed to the illness may be used as sick leave at the agency's discretion.

  • An agency can request a second opinion in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines. If a second opinion is requested, the agency will be required to cover the expenses. The agency may also select the doctor to use for the second opinion.

 

Rate of Earnings

  • A full-time employee in a FTE position earns sick leave at the rate of 1¼ workdays per month or 15 workdays per year.

  • A part-time employee and an employee who works a non-standard work schedule earns sick leave based on the employee's average workday. The average workday is determined by dividing the total number of hours the employee is regularly scheduled to work during a week by five. Example: An employee works 30 hours per week in an agency that has a 37.5-hour workweek. To determine the sick leave accrual rate, first determine the employee's average workday by dividing the 30-hour workweek by 5. The employee has an average workday of 6 hours. Second, determine the monthly sick leave accrual rate by multiplying the number of sick leave days the employee is eligible to earn per month by the average workday. This employee is eligible to earn 1.25 days of sick leave per month multiplied by the 6-hour average workday. This employee would earn 7.5 hours of sick leave per month.

 

Maximum Sick Leave Carryover

  • An employee in an FTE position may carry forward a maximum of 180 days from one calendar year to the next.

  • Typically, an employee in a part-time FTE position may carry forward 180 average workdays from one calendar year to the next. For example, an employee who works a 30-hour workweek may carry forward 180 of the employee's average 6-hour days from one calendar year to the next.

  • Note: If an employee moves from a 37.5 or 40 hour per week position to a part-time position, the change in work schedule may result in an employee having a maximum accumulation in excess of 180 average workdays in the new part-time status. The employee will not forfeit the excess as of the effective date of the change. The employee will retain this excess leave which is the maximum amount the employee may carryover in future years. If the employee subsequently reduces the amount of such leave carried over, the reduced amount, if in excess of 180 average workdays, will become the employee's maximum carry over into future years or less. If the amount of leave carried over is less than 180 average workdays, then 180 days will become the maximum amount of unused leave the employee may carry forward thereafter.

 

Advancement of Sick Leave

  • An agency may advance up to 15 workdays of additional sick leave to an employee in extenuating circumstances. The agency must have reasonable assurance that the employee is expected to return to work within the specified period of time based upon written verification from the health care practitioner.

  • Upon return to work, the employee will have all earned sick leave applied to reduce the leave deficit at the rate of 1.25 days per month (or if part-time, the monthly earning rate) until the deficit has been reimbursed.

 

Treatment for Alcoholism

  • An employee can use sick leave for treatment for alcoholism, which is recognized in South Carolina as a treatable illness. Sick leave will be granted for the purpose of participating in public and private treatment and rehabilitation programs, which have been approved by the S.C. Department of Mental Health.

 

Family Sick Leave

  • An employee may earn a maximum of 15 days of sick leave each year, 10 days of which may be used as family sick leave.

  • The employee's "immediate family" means the employee's spouse and children and the following relations to the employee or the spouse of the employee: mother, father, brother, sister, grandparent, legal guardian, and the grandchildren.

  • An employee may use the 10 days of family sick leave for family members' doctor appointments.

 

Adoption

  • An employee who adopts a child may use up to six weeks of sick leave to care for the child after placement. To be approved for this leave, the employee must be the person who is primarily responsible for furnishing the care and nurture of the child. However, if both parents are employed by the State of South Carolina, only one parent may qualify for the adoption leave.

 

Transferring Sick Leave Balances

  • An employee who transfers without a break in service from one State agency to another transfers their earned sick leave, which should be adjusted to the scheduled workweek of the receiving agency, if necessary.

  • When an employee of a State agency transfers to a school district of the State or a school district employee transfers to a State agency, the employee is permitted to transfer their unused sick leave balance, if the move occurs without a break in service.

  • An employee from a quasi-state agency who transfers to a State agency may transfer their unused sick leave balance if the leave from the quasi-state agency was earned in accordance with the Sick Leave Act and the move occurs without a break in service.

  • If an employee moves to a position that requires a different number of hours in a work week, the employee's sick leave balance must be converted to the new average workday. To convert the leave balance, divide the total number of accrued sick leave hours by the number of hours in the new part-time average workday.

Example: An employee worked a 7.5-hour workday as a full-time employee (37.5- hour workweek) and had a sick leave balance of 20 days (or 150 hours). If this employee reduces his work hours to 30 hours a week, his new average workday is 6 hours. Divide the 150 hours of sick leave by the 6-hour average workday, and the employee's converted sick leave balance is 25 days (or 150 hours). Note: If this change results in an employee having a maximum accumulation in excess of 180 average workdays in the new part-time status, as of the effective date of the change, the employee will not forfeit the excess. The employee will retain this excess leave which is the maximum amount the employee may carry over in future years. If the employee subsequently reduces the amount of such leave carried over, the reduced amount, if in excess of 180 average workdays, will become the employee's maximum carry over into future years or less. If the amount of leave carried over is less than 180 average workdays, then 180 days will become the maximum amount of unused leave the employee may carry over thereafter.

 

Separation From Employment

  • Upon separation from employment, an employee forfeits all earned sick leave.  Special circumstances may exist for an employee who is retiring, who has been affected by a reduction in force, or who has been granted a six month exception to the break in service.

 

THE LANGUAGE USED IN THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CREATE AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEE AND THE AGENCY. THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT CREATE ANY CONTRACTUAL RIGHTS OR ENTITLEMENTS. THE AGENCY RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REVISE THE CONTENT OF THIS DOCUMENT, IN WHOLE OR IN PART. NO PROMISES OR ASSURANCES, WHETHER WRITTEN OR ORAL, WHICH ARE CONTRARY TO OR INCONSISTENT WITH THE TERMS OF THIS PARAGRAPH CREATE ANY CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT.