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Sick Leave

New York City Earned Sick Time Act
Support Staff
Officers of Administration and Research

New York City Earned Sick Time Act

On April 1, 2014, a new law titled, “New York City Earned Sick Time Act” went into effect. 

As a New York City employer, Columbia University has implemented the “New York City Earned Sick Time Act Policy.” The new policy does not reduce the amount of medical leave that faculty and staff have under other applicable University medical leave policies; however, use of paid sick time under this policy automatically runs concurrently with use of paid sick time under any other applicable University policy.

  • View the HR Network presentation on the NYC Earned Sick Time Act (PDF)
Highlights of the New York City Earned Sick Time Act Policy:

Under this new law, all eligible University faculty and staff who work in New York City may accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time per fiscal year, which can be used for illness or preventive care of one’s self or one’s family members. Use of time under the NYC Earned Sick Time Act will commence on July 30, 2014 (120 days after the effective date of the law).

Notification:

Eligibility:

  • All University faculty and staff who work in New York City, and who work more than 80 hours in a year (July 1 - June 30) are covered by the new policy.
  • This policy does not apply to individuals excluded by the Act, such as employees who work fewer than 80 hours per fiscal year, individuals covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and individuals who work for Federal Work Study programs.
  • For employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the law will take effect when the current agreement ends and is renegotiated. For more information, see NYC Department of Consumer Affairs – Paid Sick Leave FAQs.
Accrual:
  • There will be no change in the amount of paid medical leave for those faculty and staff who currently are eligible for paid medical leave. Please refer to the Fiscal Year Accrual Schedule for NYC Paid Sick Time for details on sick time eligibility by employment category.
  • Part time academic and administrative officers will now be eligible for 40 hours per year of paid sick time.
  • Casuals and variable-hours officers will accrue one hour of paid sick time for each thirty hours of actual work time.
    • Note: A report will be made available by July 1, 2014 to provide the cumulative hours worked by student casuals across all departments. This will enable departments to more accurately monitor the number of days a student casual has accrued
    • The total hours worked for employees within your administrative departments is available through PAC, using the Employee Earnings History report in Manager Self Service. Click here to link to the MSS Training Guide for information on how to run the earnings history report.

Use of Sick Time:

  • Eligible faculty and staff will now be able to use up to forty hours per year of their paid medical leave for preventive care (such as dental appointments) for themselves or to care for certain ill family members, as defined in the policy.
  • Current eligible faculty and staff will begin to accrue paid sick time under this policy as of April 1, 2014 and may begin to use paid sick time under this policy on July 30, 2014 (120 days after the effective date of the law). 
  • For eligible faculty and staff who are hired after April 1, 2014, sick time under this policy will accrue starting on the date of hire and can be used beginning 120 days after the date of hire.
  • Upon mutual agreement between the employee and the department, sick time can be made up in the seven (7) days immediately preceding or following the absence, in lieu of using and being paid sick time. (Upon mutual agreement, faculty may make up the time at any point in the semester.)

Record Keeping:

  • All tracking forms, records of hours worked, and timesheets will be updated and distributed via the HR website in mid-June, for use beginning on July 1. The updated forms will be available in the HR Manager Toolkit under "Time and Attendance".
  • Academic officers will track use of sick time under this policy in accordance with their existing department practices.

Support Staff

Sick leave is for bona fide illness, meaning that the employee is confined to their home or hospital because of illness.

Routine or non-emergency doctor or dental appointments should be made outside of working hours if at all possible. If not, support staff can either make up the lost work time within the same work week or charge the lost time to vacation or personal days to the extent that such time is available.  Doctor's appointments as a follow-up to a disability leave are covered under the sick leave provisions. An employee requesting time off for a series of appointments should be asked to provide a note from his/her doctor outlining the appointment schedule over the applicable period of time. Any questions regarding the appointments should be discussed with the Return to Work Program Manager (SEE the Contacts box). 

Note 1: Employees covered under the 1199 collective bargaining agreement (clerical and cafeteria units) who have sick leave in their bank may use it for their own medical appointments at the start or the end of the work day. They must pre-schedule these appointments with their supervisor and work the balance of the day.

Note 2: Employees covered under the 2110 collective bargaining agreement may use accrued sick leave for their own medical or dental appointments, or for appointments for family members, as defined in Section C of the contract in accordance with the following procedure:  (1) employees must schedule the appointment with their supervisor at least one week in advance (except in case of emergency treatment);  (2) sick leave must be taken in one hour increments;  (3) the supervisor may require documentation of the appointment;  (4) approval for use of sick leave will not be unreasonably denied (under this section, use of sick leave may be denied if operational needs require the employee's presence or if the position must be covered on an overtime basis by another employee);  (5) employees who have been given a written warning or who have been suspended for excessive absenteeism or tardiness within the previous year may be denied the use of sick leave for medical or dental appointments;  and, (6) time taken for family members will be debited against the four days set forth in Section C.

Doctor's Notes

  • In general, a doctor's note can be requested for any absence for reported illness or injury in appropriate circumstances.  For example, is there reason to question the absence?  Was the employee's health such that they were unable to report for work?  Doctor's notes provided to the supervisor need only verify that the employee was unable to work for health reasons (without detailing the nature of the illness or injury), but must include the date(s) covered.  The note should be on the doctor's original stationery containing an original signature.  Xerox copies are not acceptable.
  • A doctor's note can routinely be requested for absences before and/or after a paid holiday or an absence of three or more consecutive work days.  Failure to provide the required documentation may result in an absence without pay, as well as possible disciplinary action.  Note: For employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement, check the applicable sections of the appropriate contract.
  • Doctor's notes for all absences for reported illness can be requested if a staff member is put on written warning for excessive or abusive absenteeism.  Failure to provide the requested documentation may result in an absence without pay as well as, possibly, further disciplinary action.  Note: Supervisors should check attendance records regularly and bring problems that require follow-up to their departmental Human Resources representative or to Employee & Labor Relations.

Extended Sick Leave

  • A staff member out for more than seven consecutive calendar days (five work days) due to reported illness or injury that is not job-related must file a New York State Disability Claim Form (DB-450), whether or not they receive sick leave pay.  Note: Job-related illness or injury is covered under New York State Workers' Compensation.
  • The employee or their supervisor should send or fax this form to the Return to Work Program Manager (SEE below). If the employee sends the DB-450 directly to the Return to Work Program Manager, they must still provide the supervisor with a note from an attending physician attesting to an inability to work for health reasons that covers the entire period of absence.
  • Note: Employees covered under the collective bargaining agreement with 1199 SEIU must complete an 1199 disability claim form (not the DB-450) and submit the form to their department's HR representative or departmental administrator.
  • When a staff member claims an underlying medical condition as the cause of an absenteeism problem, or if they request medical accommodation, a supervisor or HR representative should contact the Return to Work Program Manager (SEE the Contacts box) for review and follow-up.  This will assure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and FMLA.

You can submit forms to or contact the Return to Work Program Manager at:

Return to Work Program Manager
615 West 131st Street, MC 8703
Studebaker 4th Floor
New York, NY 10027
Telephone: (212) 851-0662
Fax:
(212) 851-7024
E-mail: hb356@columbia.edu

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Officers of Administration and Research

  • An Officer of Administration or Research out for more than seven consecutive calendar days (five work days) due to reported illness or injury that is not job-related must file a New York State Disability Claim Form (DB-450), whether or not they are on salary continuation. Note: Job-related illness or injury is covered under New York State Workers' Compensation.
  • Medical conditions that require follow-up should be referred to the Return to Work Program Manager (SEE box).
  • Sick leave must be taken in half or whole days, except for intermittent leave under FMLA (see the section entitled "Family Medical Leave Act of 1993" ). Once salary continuation has been exhausted, salary deductions, if any, can only be made in whole days.
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