Sick and Personal Leave Policy

Mount Holyoke College has structured its sick and personal leave policy to meet the diverse needs of its employees. The intent of this policy is to provide a measure of protection against the worry and financial problems that may accompany illness or injury and to provide employees with some flexibility to tend to personal business or emergencies, which by their nature, conflict with their normal work schedules. Please refer to the information below for guidance regarding the accrual and appropriate use of sick and personal leave.

Mount Holyoke College has provided sick and personal leave to regular, continuing employees scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week for the academic or fiscal year for many years. As of July 1, 2015, employees who do not meet the College’s benefits eligibility criteria may accrue sick leave in accordance with the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law. Please refer to the section on Leave Entitlements for more information regarding this law.

Accrual of Sick Leave

Employees scheduled to work a minimum of 20 hours per week for the academic year or fiscal year accrue sick leave at the rate of 1.25 working days for each full month of continuous service up to a maximum of 15 working days a fiscal year. A regular working day is calculated by dividing the total hours in your normal work week by the five days of a normal work week. 

Sick leave is calculated by taking the total sick hours eligible for the employee to accrue based on his/her annual work schedule and dividing it over the number of pays the employee receives for the academic or fiscal year. The hours are added to the employee’s sick bank each pay period.

Employees can view their accrued sick leave through the College’s web-based online system, my.mtholyoke for Employees. my.mtholyoke can be accessed through the College’s main website using your login credentials.

Accrual of sick leave does not occur during periods of the year when an employee is not normally scheduled to work, such as during the summer months for employees hired to work over an academic year period, or during unpaid leaves of absence.

Maximum Amount of Sick Leave Accrual & Carryover

Sick Leave is accrued on a fiscal year basis, July 1-June 30. At the end of the fiscal year, the unused portion of sick leave is carried forward into the next fiscal year. The maximum amount of sick leave that can be carried forward cannot exceed 130 working days.

Using Sick Leave

Employees are eligible to use only the accrued amount of sick leave in their bank. Sick leave cannot be used in advance of accrual.

Sick leave can only be used on days that you are regularly scheduled to work. Sick leave cannot be used during periods of unpaid leave (e.g. summer months for academic year employees).

Supervisors should be notified as soon as possible in the event that an employee cannot report to work. Departments may have established their own procedures for notification. Please check with your own department for the protocols within your area. If an appointment is foreseeable, please provide as much advance notice as possible.

If you are absent on paid sick leave and a College holiday should fall within the period of such authorized sick leave, the pay for the sick day which coincides with the holiday will be charged to holiday pay instead of to paid sick leave, if you meet all other eligibility requirements for holiday pay.

If you are on vacation and become ill, you may, with the permission of your department head, charge such sick days during your vacation to any paid sick leave you have accrued. However, the extension or rearrangement of your earned vacation must also be approved by your department head.

Employees paid biweekly (typically referred to as hourly) record the use of sick time hours on their timecards for the pay period in which it is used through the web time entry system which is located on the College’s web-based online system, my.mtholyoke for Employees. 

Employees paid monthly (typically referred to as salaried) record the use of sick time hours on the first of the month for the previous month’s usage through the College’s Paid Leave Recording system which is located on the College’s web-based online system, my.mtholyoke for Employees.

Employees can record sick time in 15-minute increments.

Regardless of the availability and use of sick leave, if you are expected to be unable to work for more than five consecutive working days due to your own serious health condition or that of your immediate family member, please refer to the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy in the Leave Entitlements section.

Appropriate Use of Sick Leave

Employees eligible for sick leave may:

  • Use accrued sick leave for their own illness, injury or health condition or medical appointment.
  • Use up to 6 accrued sick days or 40 hours, whichever is greater, (see Personal Leave below) for the illness of a spouse, child, parent, or parent-in-law.
  • Use up to 6 accrued sick days or 40 hours, whichever is greater, (see Personal Leave below) for the medical appointments of a spouse, child, parent or parent-in-law.
  • Use accrued sick leave to care for a child, spouse or parent if on a qualified Family & Medical Leave for family care purposes.
  • Use accrued sick leave to address the psychological, physical or legal effects of domestic violence.
  • Charge absence for illness exceeding the amount of earned sick leave accumulated to vacation leave.
  • Receive no pay for absence due to illness exceeding combined earned sick and vacation leave banks, if approved by the department head.

Breaks in Service

If an employee leaves the College and is rehired within 12 months from her/his date of termination, any hours previously in the employee’s sick leave bank will be transferred to the employee’s new sick leave bank up to the maximum amount of the carryover hours based on the new work schedule.

Documentation of Illness

The College may require a statement from a physician in the following instances:

  • The absence exceeds 24 consecutively scheduled work hours or exceeds 3 consecutive days on which the employee was scheduled to work.
  • The absence occurs within 2 weeks prior to an employee’s final scheduled day of work before termination of employment, except in the case of temporary employees.
  • The absence occurs after 4 unforeseeable and undocumented absences within a 3 month period.

In order to protect both you and the College, a physician's certification may be required before you can return to work.

The College will try to hold open, for a reasonable period, the position of a person on extended sick leave. However, re-employment after an extended sick leave may require changes in assignment, duties, or schedule. Please also refer to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

If, after six months' time, you are still unable to return to work because of illness or injury, employees eligible for the College’s benefit plans may apply for Long Term Disability benefits. Please refer to the Long Term Disability section of this handbook for provisions of the plan

Personal Leave

Employees may use up to six (6) of their accrued sick days or 40 hours, whichever is greater, per year to care for sick family members, attend to personal emergencies, or to conduct other personal business that conflicts with the employee’s regular work day. By their nature, some uses of personal leave do not permit advance notice. However, when possible, employees should discuss the need for personal leave in advance with supervisors and coordinate to meet their own needs and the needs of the department to the extent possible.

Examples of personal leave in which it would be appropriate to use without advance notice:

  • The unexpected illness of a spouse, child, parent or parent-in-law.
  • A tree falls on your house causing damage.
  • Your furnace breaks down.
  • Your car breaks down on the way into work.

Examples of personal leave in which it would be appropriate to use with advance notice to your supervisor:

  • Scheduled medical appointments of a spouse, child, parent or parent-in-law to which you need to accompany them.
  • Parent/teacher conference.
  • Closing on a mortgage.
  • Addressing issues with an insurance policy or claim.

Neither list of examples is meant to be exhaustive. The examples are intended to illustrate appropriate uses. It is not appropriate to use personal leave as additional vacation time.

Since personal leave is converted sick leave, hours are not accrued in the same manner as the College’s other leave plans. Personal leave is tracked as its own plan separate from the sick leave plan with zero hours to start for the fiscal year. As personal leave is used, the bank will show a negative balance. At the end of the fiscal year, personal leave is subtracted from the sick leave bank, and then personal leave plan is set to zero to begin tracking for the new fiscal year. It is important to note when calculating the amount of sick leave available, you need to subtract any personal leave used from your sick leave bank to get the actual total.

Similar to how sick leave is recorded, biweekly employees will record their personal leave used through web time entry in my.mtholyoke, and monthly employees will enter their personal leave used through the College’s paid leave tracking system in my.mtholyoke.