TABLE OF CONTENTS
The following is a discussion of sick leave and extended sick leave for Income Protection Plan (IPP) participants.
All annual salaried M/C employees who are scheduled to work at least half-time and are in positions subject to Article II of the Attendance Rules for Employees in New York State Departments and Institutions are eligible to participate in the IPP.
To receive LTD benefits, employees who participate in the IPP must
have rendered at least six months of active service (exclusive of
days of leave without pay) and must be members of a public retirement
system of this State (including political subdivisions) or an optional
Prior Creditable Service
The term "prior creditable service" means State service prior to January 1, 1986 (regardless of negotiating unit, including service with the Legislative and Judicial branches and service transferable under a reciprocal agreement) which was on a qualifying schedule (a schedule which would have entitled an employee to earn leave accruals; i.e., annual salaried, regularly scheduled to work either five days per week or 50% per biweekly pay period) and which was not interrupted by a break in service of more than one year or, if interrupted by a break in service of more than one year, was followed by reinstatement by the Civil Service Commission or Department or by appointment from or while on a preferred list. (NOTE: This is the same definition of prior creditable service used for purposes of calculating the rate at which vacation is accrued.)
In some cases, "prior creditable service" will be the determining factor in ascertaining whether a particular employee's participation in the IPP is optional or mandatory. An eligible employee with creditable State service prior to January 1, 1986 may choose either to participate in the IPP or to continue to accrue sick leave under Section 28 of the Attendance Rules. If he/she elects to participate, the new Section 28-2.1 will control; under it the employee receives four days of sick leave on the effective date of appointment, which becomes the first sick leave grant date. Eligible employees appointed on or after January 1, 1986, with no creditable State service prior thereto, must participate in the IPP. They are first eligible to receive sick leave six months from their date of appointment.
Some examples follow:
Employees who are granted a leave without pay for one continuous year or less continue to be covered by the IPP. However, if an employee becomes disabled while on such leave without pay, eligibility for benefits will begin only on the day following the date on which the employee's leave without pay was scheduled to expire.
For example, an employee is granted a leave without pay from April 15, 1986 until April 14, 1987. The employee becomes disabled on November 1, 1986 but does not begin to receive IPP benefits until April 15, 1987, the day following expiration of the leave without pay.
Benefit eligibility is controlled by the date the employee returns to the payroll. The employee in the above example must serve a 14 calendar day waiting period beginning April 15, 1987 (or exhaust accrued sick leave, whichever occurs later) before receiving STD benefits.
Employees lose coverage under the IPP if:
Employees who are disabled and who are receiving IPP benefits at the time of loss of eligibility continue to receive IPP benefits for the duration of that incidence of disability.
For example, an employee's temporary M/C appointment terminates on June 15, 1986 and the employee reverts to her permanent ASU position. The employee has been on STD since March 1. The employee continues to receive STD benefits, followed by LTD benefits until she returns to work...
...in December 1986. At that point, she begins to earn and accrue sick leave as an ASU employee.
If this employee becomes disabled due to the same disability within 90 days of her return to work, her absence is a continuation of her previous disability and she once again receives LTD benefits. Each time this employee files a claim and receives benefits for the same disability, the 90-day period begins as of the date she returns to work. If, on the other hand, she becomes disabled due to the same condition more than 90 days following her return to work, she would be eligible for the sick leave, sick leave at half-pay and sick leave without pay benefits available to her as an ASU employee. In calculating the number of pay periods of sick leave at half-pay to which such employee is entitled, time spent on STD counts as State service; time spent on LTD does not count for this purpose.
Should a formerly eligible person once again become eligible to participate in IPP, one of the following provisions will apply:
Some examples follow:
Plan participants retain their current sick leave accruals and earn new sick leave of eight days per year, cumulative to a maximum of 200 days. Employees may not be credited with sick leave in excess of 200 days. Therefore, an employee with 200 days of sick leave on his/her grant date cannot be credited with sick leave since this would cause the employee to exceed the maximum. An employee with a sick leave balance of 199 days on the sick leave grant date will receive one sick leave day to bring him/her up to the 200-day maximum.
Present provisions governing the use of sick leave credits continue to apply.
Sick leave for IPP participants is granted at the rate of four days (30 hours or 32 hours) each six months. The semiannual dates on which sick leave is credited are referred to as sick leave grant dates. Each IPP participant will have two sick leave grant dates six months apart.
For employees in State service prior to January 1, 1986 who elect to participate in the IPP beginning January 1, 1986, the first sick leave grant date will be January 1, 1986 and such employees will be credited with four days of sick leave on that day. The second sick leave grant date for such employees will be July 1. Any employee who enters the M/C Unit on or after January 1, 1986, who has creditable service prior to January 1, 1986 and who elects to participate in the IPP, receives four days of sick leave on the effective date of appointment to the M/C position. That date is the first sick leave grant date.
Employees with no prior creditable State service who are appointed to M/C positions must participate in the IPP; these employees receive four days of sick leave six months from the date of appointment. That date becomes their first sick leave grant date.
Sick leave grant dates are adjusted only if the employee is not in pay status on such dates. In that case, the sick leave grant date changes to the date of return to pay status. For example, an employee's sick leave grant dates are January 1 and July 1. The employee receives four days of sick leave on January 1 and goes on leave without pay from...
...March 15 through December 14. The employee returns to the payroll on December 15. This employee receives four days of sick leave on December 15 which then becomes one of the two revised sick leave grant dates. (The second grant date becomes June 15).
Part-Time Schedules. Part-time employees are credited with four prorated days of sick leave on each of their sick leave grant dates based upon their percentage of full-time employment on such date rounded up to the nearest quarter-hour. For example, a half-time employee receives four half-time days (the equivalent of two full-time days, 15 or 16 hours) on each grant date.
Alternative Work Schedules. Employees are granted sick leave on the basis of their percentage of full time worked, not on the basis of scheduled workdays. Full-time employees receive 30 or 32 hours of sick leave (four 7 1/2-hour days or four 8-hour days) regardless of whether they work three, four or five days per week. Likewise, a half-time employee receives 15 or 16 hours of sick leave (four 3 3/4-hour or four 4-hour days) regardless of how many days per week (or how many hours per day) he/she is scheduled to work.
NOTE: An employee's VRWS agreement is automatically cancelled on the day the employee begins receiving STD/LTD benefits.
Generally, for purposes of earning leave credits, employees on STD are treated as if they were on sick leave at half-pay, and employees on LTD are treated as if they were on leave without pay. The following chart applies as long as the disabled employee remains in State service.
Holidays. Employees absent on full pay charged to leave credits are eligible to observe holidays. As with employees on sick leave at half-pay and sick leave without pay, employees receiving STD and LTD are not eligible to observe any holidays occurring while receiving those benefits.
IPP participants must exhaust all sick leave credits before becoming eligible to receive either STD or LTD benefits. However, they can choose whether they wish to use other credits (vacation, personal leave, holiday leave, overtime compensatory time, VR credits) as sick leave. If an employee, who does not have enough sick leave to cover the waiting period for STD (14 calendar days), chooses not to use other leave credits, he/she is entitled to sick leave without pay for the remainder of the waiting period before STD begins.
The decision to use other credits must be made by the employee before STD/LTD begins. Once the employee goes on STD/LTD, he/she cannot be returned to the payroll to liquidate other accruals. Since an employee can choose which and how many credits he/she wants to use, agencies should ensure that employees make a timely determination appropriate to their circumstances. For example, an employee approaching his/her personal leave anniversary date might want to use these credits. Also, since lump sum payments are not offset against STD/LTD benefits, employees can save some vacation or VR time without negative financial consequences.
There is one exception to the sequence described in the above paragraph. Employees disabled because of pregnancy and childbirth may, after exhausting sick leave and after receiving STD during the period of medical disability, elect to use credits other than sick leave while on child care leave. This election must be made known to the employer by the employee by the end of the disability period and must begin immediately following cessation of the disability.
Short-Term Disability. The waiting period for STD benefits is the later of 14 calendar days from onset of disability or exhaustion of sick leave accruals. Employees enrolled in the IPP cannot be advanced sick leave under Section 28-1.4 of the Attendance Rules, but they may choose to use other credits or go on leave without pay for part or all of the waiting period.
An employee is deemed to have exhausted sick leave accruals when his/her sick leave balance is less than the number of hours in that employee's next workday.
Workers' Compensation Leave. STD benefits are offset by all workers'
compensation benefits. The employee granted workers' compensation
leave with full pay will receive that full pay benefit for the first
six months of disability and so will receive no STD payments. Should
an employee exhaust his/her six month leave with full pay entitlement
before entering a period of continuous disability that would qualify
him/her for STD payments, the employee would receive STD payments
reduced by the amount of payments awarded by the Workers' Compensation
Incidence of Disability. An incidence of disability is an absence due to illness or disability which is either continuous or is interrupted by return to work of less than three continuous months. An employee is required to serve only one waiting period for an incidence of disability. For example, an employee who is absent for eight months on STD/LTD returns to work for two months and is then once more absent for the same disability. This employee begins to receive LTD benefits again without having to serve another waiting period.
An employee continuously absent whose sick leave grant dates fall during a period of STD is not returned to the payroll to liquidate those credits but is continued on STD/LTD until the disability ends. Similarly, an employee absent intermittently whose sick leave grant dates occur when he/she is at work is not required to liquidate these credits if absent again for the same disability within three months of return to work.
This Rule applies to persons appointed on or after 1/1/86 with no prior creditable service who are ineligible for the IPP.