Sick Leave Pool (E-47.1)
Original Implementation: September 17, 1982
Last Revision: October 22, 2012
Pursuant to Texas Government Code Sections 661.001-661.008, the university shall maintain a sick leave pool to benefit certain regular employees who suffer a catastrophic injury or illness. A sick leave pool shall be established and maintained to provide for the alleviation of the hardship caused to an employee and the employee's family if a catastrophic illness or injury forces the employee to exhaust all accrued leave (including compensatory time, if applicable) and lose compensation with the state.
- A catastrophic injury or catastrophic illness is defined as a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee, or the employee's immediate family, that requires the services of a licensed practitioner for a prolonged period of time and that forces the employee to exhaust all accrued leave and lose compensation from the state.
- A severe condition or combination of conditions is one that:
- will result in death or is a severely debilitating condition that will result in the individual not meeting the essential functions of their job if not treated promptly or at regularly scheduled intervals (e.g. chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, etc.);
- has been designated as terminal; or
- fully incapacitates the employee from working for a continuous period of thirty (30) calendar days or more.
- Licensed practitioner means a practitioner, as defined in the Texas Insurance Code, who is practicing within the scope of his/her license.
- Immediate family is defined as those individuals related by kinship, adoption, or marriage, or foster children who are so certified by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission who are living in the same household. If not in the same household, an immediate family member is strictly limited to the employee's spouse, child or parent who needs care and assistance as a direct result of a documented catastrophic medical condition.
Eligibility and Other General Provisions:
- All regular faculty and non-probationary staff members' eligible to accrue and use sick leave in accordance with university sick leave policy E-47 may apply to use sick leave from the sick leave pool.
- Employees may use sick leave pool for their own catastrophic illness or injury or for one in their immediate family, as defined above.
- An employee may submit only one request for sick leave from the sick leave pool per fiscal year for each catastrophic illness or injury.
- An employee must exhaust all accrued leave before being eligible to receive sick leave from the sick leave pool.
- An employee utilizing sick leave from the sick leave pool continues to accrue vacation and sick leave entitlement as if on regular sick leave, provided he or she returns to work following the leave.
- Employees who are not covered by FMLA (policy E-58) and who are offered a bona fide job offer under the University's Return to Work (policy E-62) must accept the offer or sick leave pool benefits will end.
- Employees who file for Worker's Compensation Benefits are not eligible to use sick leave from the sick leave pool. In no case may sick leave pool time be used in conjunction with a worker's compensation claim.
- A routine pregnancy is not considered a catastrophic illness or injury.
- A regular part-time employee is granted pool leave on a pro-rated basis.
- One sick leave pool will be administered for all regular faculty and staff employees of the University.
Requesting Sick Leave from the Pool
- A regular employee may apply for sick leave from the sick leave pool by completing a "Request for Sick Leave from the Sick Leave Pool" form and routing the form to the pool administrator in Human Resources.
- Medical certification is required before the sick leave pool request can be reviewed by the administrator. Weekly documentation of appointments and/or treatment must be submitted to the pool administrator. Failure to return the required certification and documentation may result in loss of pool benefits.
- The pool administrator will approve all or part of the request, or deny the request. All practitioner's statements and medical updates are subject to be referred to and reviewed by a university medical review board.
- The amount of the pool leave granted for each catastrophic illness or injury will be determined by the pool administrator. The amount granted cannot exceed one-third of the balance of hours in the pool. However, in no case may an employee use more than 90 work days from the pool. Initiation and/or renewal of approval for use of such leave shall be subject to review of a current medical report for each approval period, and subject to availability of appropriate balance in the fund.
- Medical updates are required every 30 days, unless otherwise indicated. Failure to return required medical documentation may result in delay or loss of pool benefits.
- Any unused balance of leave granted to an employee from the sick leave pool returns to the pool if the employee returns to work prior to using all days granted. The estate of a deceased employee is not entitled to payment for unused leave requested from the sick leave pool.
- Employees on sick leave pool who return to work on a part-time basis are not eligible to continue on pool leave to make up the difference between their part-time employment and regular full-time employment.
- An employee's sick leave pool award will immediately stop once the catastrophic medical condition for which it was granted ceases.
Contributing Sick Leave to the Pool
- An employee with accrued sick leave may contribute to the sick leave pool in increments of eight hours, with the exception of a retiring employee who may contribute accrued sick leave in increments of less than eight hours.
- Sick leave contributed to the pool reduces the accrued sick leave balance of the employee making the contribution.
- Contributions to the pool are strictly voluntary.
- An employee contributing sick leave to the sick leave pool may not stipulate who is to receive the contribution.
- An employee who contributes sick leave to the sick leave pool cannot reclaim the contribution unless entitled to use leave from the sick leave pool. An employee who contributes sick leave to the sick leave pool and then exhausts his or her sick leave balance in the same fiscal year may receive the number of hours he or she contributed to the pool in that fiscal year without suffering a catastrophic illness or injury.
- An employee desiring to contribute sick leave to the sick leave pool should complete an "Application to Contribute Sick Leave" form, provide a copy to his or her department head, and route the form to the pool administrator in Human Resources.
- Terminating employees who are not transferring to another state agency and who have a sick leave accrual are encouraged to donate the balance of their sick leave.
Administration of the Pool
- The pool administrator in the Human Resources Department is responsible for the administration of the sick leave pool. Decisions of the pool administrator may be appealed to the appropriate vice president.
- Requests for sick leave from the sick leave pool will be forwarded to the pool administrator. Requests will be considered by the pool administrator on a first-come, first-serve basis. Employees may submit a request for sick leave pool hours when they are running out of accrued leave. The request will be considered when they have exhausted all accrued time.
- The pool administrator will have five working days from the date a request is received in which to approve all or part of the request or deny the request.
- The amount of sick leave granted for each catastrophic illness or injury will be determined by the pool administrator. The amount cannot exceed one-third of the balance of hours in the pool, or 90 working days, whichever is less. The pool administrator shall approve the use of not more than thirty (30) days of such leave by one individual at one time. Initiation and/or renewal of approval for use of such leave will be subject to review of a current medical report for each thirty (30) day approval, and is subject to availability of appropriate balance in the fund.
- The pool administrator shall design and implement a system of records management and reporting of sick leave pool activity. The total leave time available in the sick leave pool shall be reported annually to the director of human resources and be available upon request to faculty and staff.
Cross Reference: Tex. Gov’t Code §§ 661.001-.008
Responsible for Implementation: Vice President for Finance and Administration
Contact for Revision: Director of Human Resources
Forms: Application to Contribute Sick Leave, Family Medical Leave Request (both available in Human Resources)
Board Committee Assignment: Academic and Student Affairs