Section 21.5 - Sick Leave at Half-Pay
The purpose of this Section is to provide continuation of compensation for employees who are absent because of personal illness and have exhausted all their available leave credits.
A permanent or permanent contingent employee is eligible for sick leave at half-pay at the discretion of the appointing authority if the following conditions are met:
Probationary employees, who have no permanent status in any State position other than the position in which they are serving a probationary period, are not entitled to sick leave at half-pay until they have successfully completed such probationary period. Such employees are not "permanent employees" within the meaning and intent of Section 21.5 of the Attendance Rules. Although they hold their positions by permanent or permanent contingent appointment, they are not permanent employees unless and until they acquire such status upon completion of the required probationary period.
Accordingly, a probationary employee serving a 12-month, 24-month, or 36-month probationary period is not eligible for nor entitled to sick leave at half-pay upon completion of one year of service, but upon successful completion of the probationary period which may take as long as three years. It also means that a probationary employee who has accumulated five or six years of service because of a previous period or periods of service, and who presently has no permanent status in any State position, is likewise not eligible for nor entitled to sick leave at half-pay until completion of the probationary period.
Employees on a preferred list who had completed probation at the time of layoff are considered to have permanent status for sick leave at half-pay purposes. Therefore, an employee who holds a position on a temporary or provisional basis whose...
...name is currently on a preferred list does meet the definition of permanent for this Section of the Rules provided the employee had completed probation prior to placement on the preferred list.
Amount of Sick Leave at Half-Pay
Employees accumulate sick leave at half-pay entitlement based on years of service. As with sick leave credits, sick leave at half-pay accrued by an employee may be used only once. (See Section 21.8 on restoration of sick leave at half-pay following a Workers' Compensation Board award for an exception.)
See related contract provisions C-6
An employee with a cumulative total of 20 pay periods of entitlement for sick leave at half-pay who used six pay periods during the course of employment now has a maximum entitlement to 14 pay periods of sick leave at half-pay.
Sick leave at half-pay entitlement accumulates at the rate of one pay period for each complete six months of State service. A pay period is the minimum unit for crediting an employee with sick leave at half-pay. In other words, an employee cannot be credited with one week of sick leave at half-pay for three months of service. An employee with 12 months of service and an employee with 17 months of service both have two pay periods of sick leave at half-pay.
Time spent on sick leave at half-pay counts as service toward eligibility for additional sick leave at half-pay. For example, the employee with 23 months of service who, while using his/her three pay periods of sick leave at half-pay entitlement completes the 24th month of service, becomes eligible for a fourth payroll period of sick leave at half-pay.
To determine the amount of service an employee has, it is necessary to add up all creditable State service in years, months and days. Creditable State service is service on the payroll in full pay or sick leave at half-pay status while employed to work a schedule that entitles the employee to earn sick leave. (See Section 21.3, Sick Leave, for...
...eligibility criteria for accruing sick leave.) This service includes temporary, provisional, permanent and permanent contingent service with the Legislative, Executive or Judicial branch of government and service with an agency with which there was a reciprocal agreement at the time the employee moved to a position covered by these Rules. (See Part 24, "Crediting Other Public Employment as State Service," in this Manual.) Time spent on military leave without pay also counts as State service for this purpose.
All creditable service is counted regardless of the length of any break (s) in service. An employee with three years of service, a four-year break and then five years of service, has eight years of service for determining sick leave at half-pay entitlement.
Once all periods of service are identified, all periods of leave without pay must be deducted (except military leave). Specifically, the following must be subtracted in years, months and days from total qualifying service:
NOTE - Pursuant to the negotiated agreements, time spent on workers' compensation leave without pay for the nine cumulative months of the Supplemental Pay Benefit, the 12 cumulative months under the Statutory Benefit Program or the nine cumulative months of the Medical Evaluation Program is not deducted when calculating the employee's periods of service for sick leave at half-pay eligibility.
After these calculations are completed, the employee's total service in years, months and days can be divided into six-month blocks to determine total sick leave at half-pay entitlement. (When an employee's maximum entitlement is calculated, this record should be dated and retained. If it becomes necessary to determine the employee's service for calculating sick leave at half-pay entitlement in...
...the future, it will require adding new information only.)
Sick leave at half-pay previously granted is then subtracted from total entitlement, in pay periods and days, to determine current maximum entitlement. An employee with six pay periods of entitlement who previously used two pay periods and three workdays of sick leave at half-pay now has a maximum entitlement of three pay periods and seven workdays. (Records of use of sick leave at half-pay should also be dated and retained for future reference.)
Limitations on the Granting of Sick Leave at Half-Pay
Sick leave at half-pay may be granted in full-day units only. It is a benefit intended to provide some income protection for long-term illnesses and is not available in less than full-day units under any circumstances.
Sick leave at half-pay is available for personal illness only. An employee may not be granted sick leave at half-pay for absences solely due to death in the employee's family or illness of other family members.
Sick leave at half-pay is available only to employees currently eligible to accrue sick leave credits.
Termination of Sick Leave at Half-Pay
An employee is not entitled to be continued on the payroll beyond the point employment would otherwise terminate by operation of law, rule or regulation simply because he/she has remaining sick leave at half-pay eligibility. For example, an employee who has been absent for one continuous year may be terminated under Section 73 of the Civil Service Law even though the employee has remaining eligibility for sick leave at half-pay. However, it is consistent with the intent of the Attendance Rules to continue an otherwise eligible employee on sick leave at half-pay until his/her...
...employment ends. It is not consistent with the intent of the Attendance Rules to terminate the sick leave at half-pay and then continue the employee on leave of absence without pay until the employment ends unless available sick leave at half-pay has been exhausted.
Agency Policy and Procedures on Sick leave at Half-Pay
Sick leave at half-pay should not be granted or denied automatically or routinely. Each agency should establish policies and procedures to ensure equitable treatment of all agency employees in granting such leave.
Factors which should be considered in developing agency policy and procedures include:
An employee on sick leave at half-pay is not entitled to any credit for holidays which fall during a period of such leave. He/She may not be granted leave with full pay or compensatory time off for any such holiday.
An employee on sick leave at half-pay does not earn vacation and sick leave accruals normally credited each pay period.
An employee's vacation anniversary date is not adjusted for periods of sick leave at half-pay.
An employee on sick leave at half-pay on his/her anniversary date is eligible to be credited with both vacation bonus days and personal leave.
See related contract provisions in 21.2, C-2
If an employee requests to be restored to full pay to use these credits, the agency is not obligated to do so and can require the employee to remain on sick leave at half-pay until his/her entitlement is exhausted. At that time, prior to placing an employee on leave without pay, if the employee requests use of those credits the employer is obligated to restore the employee to full-pay status to exhaust the credits prior to being placed on leave without pay. Agencies with policies that require employees to exhaust all appropriate credits before beginning leave without pay could require the employee to use these credits after exhausting sick leave at half-pay and prior to leave without pay.