Sick Leave

Conditions for Using Sick Leave

Sick leave may be used when employees are unable to perform employment duties because of sickness, disability, or injury.

Sick leave may be used for medical and dental appointments.

When circumstances warrant, the department may require a medical statement about whether an employee's presence at work poses a risk to self or others.

A maximum of five working days per illness or per incident within a major illness may be granted when illness or injury of a member of the immediate family (see Definitions) requires the employee's presence. Employees may also use sick leave for medical and dental appointments of immediate family members if their presence is required. (Employees whose presence is helpful but not essential for caring for family members may, with departmental approval, use vacation time.) Employees may be eligible to use family/medical leave for the serious illness of a spouse, child, or parent. (For more information see Family/Medical Leave of Absence Policy, Definitions)

Sick leave may not be used while employees are on vacation leave, with the exception that an employee who is hospitalized while on vacation leave may be granted sick leave after providing supporting documentation to the immediate supervisor.

Request for Sick Leave

Sick leave should be requested in advance when possible (e.g., elective surgery, medical appointments). In the case of illness, injury, emergency, or any other absence not approved in advance, employees are required to inform the supervisor of the circumstances as soon as possible.

Accrual, Office/Service

Sick leave accrual for regular office/service employees begins on the first day of employment and ends on the last day of employment. Sick leave may be used (within established guidelines) as soon as it is accrued. Rate of accrual is shown in the accrual chart which follows.

The formula to calculate sick leave accrual for a full-time employee for less than a full month of employment is:
(Days in pay status in month) divided by (Total workdays in month) times (Hours per month from accrual chart) equals (Hours accrued).

Part-time employees accrue sick leave in proportion to their FTE. The formula to calculate sick leave accrual for a part-time employee is:
(FTE from PAF) times (Hours per month from accrual chart) equals (Hours accrued).

The formula to calculate sick leave accrual for a part-time employee for less than a full month of employment is:
(Days in pay status in month) divided by (Total workdays in month) times (FTE from PAF) times (Hours per month from accrual chart) equals (Hours accrued).

Employees accrue sick leave only when they are in pay status.

Time worked in excess of 40 hours in the workweek does not affect sick leave accrual.

(For sick leave accrual for employees transferring from one UNL position to another or for employees coming to UNL from other University of Nebraska campuses, from other Nebraska state colleges, or from Nebraska state government agencies, see Transfer, Section 101.)

Years of Service Hours per Month Days per Year

1st through 5th year

8.00 hours

12 days

Beginning of 6th year

11.33 hours

17 days

Beginning of 7th year

12.00 hours

18 days

Beginning of 8th year

12.67 hours

19 days

Beginning of 9th year

13.33 hours

20 days

Beginning of 10th year

14.00 hours

21 days

Beginning of 11th year

14.67 hours

22 days

Beginning of 12th year

15.33 hours

23 days

Beginning of 13th year

16.00 hours

24 days

Beginning of 14th year

16.67 hours

25 days

Beginning of 15th year

17.33 hours

26 days

Beginning of 16th year

18.00 hours

27 days

Beginning of 17th year

18.67 hours

28 days

Beginning of 18th year

19.33 hours

29 days

Beginning of 19th year

20.00 hours

30 days

Maximum Accrual

1440 hours

180 days

Accrual, Managerial/Professional

Managerial/professional employees accrue one day of sick leave per month for the first two years of employment. Thereafter, in the event of a temporary disability due to illness or injury, employees will be paid at the regular salary rate for a period not to exceed six months. The salary may be decreased by any amount received from workers' compensation. At the discretion of the chancellor, salary may be decreased by any amount required to pay a substitute to perform the work. Paid sick leave will not be reduced in cases of medical maternity leave, paternal leave, or adoption leave.

Accrual, Change in Rate

Change in the rate of sick leave accrual due to increased seniority will be effective on the anniversary date of hire.

Depletion of Accrued Sick Leave

Employees who use all accrued sick leave may normally use accrued vacation leave to continue to receive pay during an illness or disability. In some situations, in consultation with Human Resources, the department may choose not to approve use of vacation leave to cover such periods.

An employee who has exhausted all sick and vacation leave in the course of an illness or other disability may, with departmental approval, be advanced up to five days each of sick leave and/or vacation leave. Employees shall reimburse the University for all used, unearned sick and/or vacation leave upon separation.

After all sick and vacation leave has been used, employees may be granted a leave of absence without pay, with written departmental approval. Leaves of absence for illness may not exceed one year.

Family/Medical Leave

With appropriate medical certification, all UNL employees are eligible for family/medical leave up to a total of twelve weeks during a twelve-month period for any of the following events:

  • the serious health condition of a spouse, child, or parent
  • the serious health condition of the employee
  • maternal/paternal concerns associated with the birth of a child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • the death of an immediate family member

Depending on the circumstances, family/medical leave may be paid, unpaid, or a combination of paid and unpaid leave. Counting against the twelve weeks of eligibility is any vacation, sick, or funeral leave of five consecutive days or more taken for any of the above-noted qualifying events for family/medical leave. (For more information about family/medical leave see Family/Medical Leave of Absence Policy, Other Leaves.)

Questions about family/medical leave should be directed to Human Resources.

Balancing of Sick Leave

When balances are posted, figures should represent accrual up to the time of posting.


The amount of sick leave that can be accumulated by Office/Service employees effective April 1, 2007 is 1,440 hours (180 days). The amount of sick leave that can be accumulated by part-time employees will be prorated according to their FTE.


After two years of service, sick leave records for managerial/ professional employees are balanced to a total of six months at the end of each use of sick leave.

Unusual Rate of Sick Leave Use

An employee may be required to submit substantiating evidence of illness or of a medical appointment when use is more than is normally expected or when there are reasons to suspect sick leave abuse. Sick leave may be denied if there are facts demonstrating abuse by an employee. Cases of absence from work due to abuse of sick leave will be considered vacation leave or leave without pay at the discretion of the department.

With the approval of Human Resources, the department may request the employee to submit to a medical examination performed at departmental expense. Refusal of the employee to submit to such medical examination shall be cause for dismissal.

Medical information requested by the department about the employee's medical condition will be confined to a medical opinion of whether the employee is able to perform tasks required in the job. Other information falling within the physician-patient relationship will not be provided to the department without consent of the employee.

Sick Leave and Separation from UNL

For an employee on sick leave who has indicated an intent not to return to work, the date of separation will be the last day of sick leave accrued or the expected recovery date for returning to work as indicated on a physician's statement, whichever occurs first.

Payment Upon Separation

Employees who are separated from UNL (except those office/service employees eligible for benefits through a UNL-sponsored retirement system, for example, TIAA) are not paid for unused sick leave.

Compensation Upon Retirement or Death

Upon retirement office/service employees (or their beneficiaries) eligible for benefits through a UNL-sponsored retirement system will receive a supplemental salary payment equal to one-fourth of their accumulated sick leave up to a maximum of 360 hours. The pay will be based on the employee's hourly rate of pay at the time of retirement, and will be included in the final pay check.

For managerial/professional employees sick leave is not paid out at retirement.

Sick Leave for Rehires

For employees leaving UNL (for other than corrective action reasons) and returning to a leave-eligible position within three years, accrued sick leave shall be reinstated.

For employees returning to UNL after retiring and receiving pay for one-fourth of accrued sick leave, accrued sick leave will not be reinstated.

For purposes of sick leave accrual, employees rehired to a leave-eligible position within three years of the date of separation (including those who return to UNL after retirement) will be credited with prior years of employment. The leave accrual date will be adjusted to reflect the break in service.

An employee separating from a leave eligible position to move to another University of Nebraska leave eligible position within 12 months will not be paid for any leave.  Instead the leave will transfer to the new unit.  Exceptions are employees who are reduced in force or who move to a non-leave eligible position.