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Sick Leave Pool

The sick leave pool (SLP) is a reserve of sick leave hours donated by university employees to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave for catastrophic medical conditions.

Eligibility

If you are appointed to work at least 20 hours per week for at least 4.5 months and you've exhausted all of your own paid leave hours, including compensatory time, you're eligible to apply for SLP hours if you, or a family member*, are suffering from a catastrophic condition. Students who are in positions where student status is a requirement for employment are not eligible.

Family and Medical Leave (FML) and SLP are distinct types of leave.  FML is for serious conditions, while SLP is for catastrophic conditions. An award of FML is not a guarantee of a SLP award. Leave Management encourages all benefits eligible employees to evaluate their short & long term disability insurance options upon hire or during annual enrollment. These options are affordable benefit elections that provide partial income replacement should you experience a serious medical condition that prevents you from performing the essential functions of your job, yet does not meet the criteria for catastrophic as defined within the SLP.

*For coverage under SLP for a spouse, or family member, proof of relationship may be required.

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Applying for SLP hours

You or your HR representative can request SLP time by submitting a completed application to Leave Management. You should submit the application at least two weeks before the hours are needed or as soon as possible after the need arises. SLP forms are available online or from HRS at 512-471-HRSC (4772). You may mail the completed forms to Leave Management or, for quicker response, e-mail them to hrs-lm@austin.utexas.edu or fax them to confidential fax number 512-471-7008. Applications are reviewed regularly.

Applying does not mean you will automatically be approved. Your application will be reviewed by professionals experienced in leave management and may include a medical professional review, to determine if it meets the eligibility criteria. If the certification from your healthcare provider is incomplete or lacks sufficient medical information to make a determination, Leave Management will request additional information from you or the health care provider completing the application before an award can be made. All SLP decisions are final.

If you exhaust all of your paid leave before a decision is made about your application, you'll be placed on leave without pay until a decision is made.

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Using SLP hours

SLP hours are used for your own or an immediate family member's catastrophic condition. A catastrophic condition is a condition, or a combination of them, which is life-threatening. Examples of conditions generally not eligible for SLP unless life threatening complications arise from them include but are not limited to the following: pregnancy/birth events, out-patient procedures, stable chronic medical or mental health conditions, elective surgeries, surgeries performed to improve quality of life, mobility or minimize chronic pain, e.g. knee replacements, discectomy (removal of herniated disc in the spine), bunionectomy (podiatric surgery), benign cyst removal, etc. While not eligible for SLP, these conditions, if for yourself, may be eligible for short or long term disability insurance if you elected these options upon hire or during annual enrollment.

Immediate family members include:

The amount of time you are approved to receive cannot exceed 720 hours per catastrophic condition. The amount of the award will depend on the medical certification from your physician submitted in the application. If you work less than 40 hours a week, the maximum award is proportionate to percent of time you work each week.

If awarded SLP hours, this is similar to using paid sick leave so you will continue to accrue new annual & sick leave monthly. However, since you are not actively working to earn those new accruals, they will remain frozen and you are unable to use them until you return to work.

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Supervisor Information

Supervisor’s should be aware that an award of SLP is in SLP hours only, not funding. Employees awarded hours of SLP will still be on your budget and their paychecks will still come from your funding. If you are a grant-funded organization and have restrictions on how funds are used, you must work with your Dean or Director’s office to secure funding to cover the absence. There are no central funds to pay for this type of leave.

Supervisors should coordinate the completion of weekly timesheets on behalf of the employee during the employee’s leave period using the SLP option on the electronic timesheet. If an employee is working a reduced or intermittent schedule, the employee should complete their own timesheets.

Supervisors should not expect the employee to work while on SLP, unless the award is for a reduced or intermittent schedule, and then only when they are scheduled to work as authorized by the healthcare provider certification.

Please note: An employee may be awarded more than one SLP award if they are suffering from more than one separate and distinct catastrophic condition as certified by the healthcare provider.

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Donating SLP hours

You may, as either a current or separating employee, contribute hours to the sick leave pool. Fill out and print the Sick Leave Pool Transfer form to donate hours.

As a current employee who has contributed to the SLP, you may submit a written request to Leave Management to receive a refund without suffering a catastrophic illness or injury if you have exhausted your own sick leave balance and you have an immediate need to use sick leave.