HRDG 4630 - Absence and Leave - Section C - Subsection b

HRDG 4630 - Absence and Leave - Section C - Subsection b

Subchapter 4630 - Absence and Leave 
Section C - Sick Leave
Subsection b - Applying for and Charging Sick Leave


 



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Applying for Sick Leave
Added 09/06 

Employees will request sick leave in advance, if possible, by submitting applications for leave to the appropriate approving official. If advance notice is not practical, employees will apply for sick leave as soon as possible on the first day of absence. They also may be required to request leave each succeeding day, unless the supervisor says a daily call is not required because the condition clearly establishes that the employee will be absent for an indeterminate or specific period.

Documentation supporting an absence for sick leave must be filed within the pay period the employee returns to duty. The following table states forms of documentation required to support an absence for sick leave:

If the absence is: Then the required documentation is:
3 days or less Application for leave, written or electronic.
In excess of 3 consecutive workdays 

Application for leave and a medical certificate or other acceptable documentation supporting the absence. If the employee did not consult a physician on behalf of himself/herself (or a family member as appropriate), a personal certificate stating the nature of the illness and the reason(s) a physician was not seen may be accepted, at the discretion of the supervisor.

Medical documentation must be provided within 15 calendar days after the date of the supervisor's request. If this is not practical, despite the employee's diligent, good faith efforts, the documentation must be provided within 30 calendar days after the date it was requested. If the documentation is not provided within the timeframe, the employee is not entitled to sick leave (FR Vol. 71, No. 157, dated August 17, 2006).

An employee who is requesting sick leave to care for a family member with a serious illness must provide a written statement from the health care provider concerning the family member's need for psychological comfort and/or physical care. The statement must certify that the:

  • Family member requires psychological comfort and/or physical care;
  • Family member would benefit from the employee's care or presence; and
  • Employee is needed to care for the family member for a specified period of time.


Use
Form WH-380F, Certification of Physician or Practitioner, or equivalent document, when requesting sick leave to care for a seriously ill family member.

Due to exposure to communicable disease (for any length of time) Application for leave and a certificate from a health authority or doctor which specifies the period of time the employee's condition (or that of a family member, as appropriate) was considered to be harmful or dangerous.
Note: At his/her discretion, a supervisor who suspects abuse of sick leave may require a medical certificate for absences of 3 days or less. An employee must first be advised of this requirement by the supervisor. Supervisors should contact their servicing employee relations specialist for guidance.
Charging Sick Leave

The minimum charge for sick leave is 15 minutes or multiples thereof. Employees will not be charged sick leave for more than their daily, weekly, or biweekly basic work requirement.

  • For employees on flexible work schedules (e.g., maxiflex, AMS-Flex, etc.) the maximum amount of sick leave that may be charged for a day is the number of hours they were scheduled to work, as indicated on their tour of duty designation.
  • Employees on compressed work schedules (i.e., 5-4/9, 4/10) will be charged for the number of hours scheduled to work on the day leave is taken.
  • Part-time employees are charged for the number of hours scheduled to work on the day leave is taken. (This also includes mixed-tour employees when assigned to a part-time schedule.)
  • For employees on first-40 or first-8-hour indefinite tours of duty, not more than 8 hours of leave may be charged for a day.


When sickness occurs during a period of annual leave, the period of illness may be charged to sick leave.

When Sick Leave Will Not Be Charged

Sick leave will not be charged when:

  • An employee is on scheduled sick leave and all other employees are excused from performance of their duties because a nonworkday has been established by Executive Order or Administrative Order. Administrative Order, as used in this context, should not be confused with the administrative dismissal authority delegated to agencies as found in Section D. Administrative Orders are typically applicable to all Federal agencies; administrative dismissals apply to individual agencies or localities due to specific situations.
  • Employees are excused by an authorized local official for the entire workday due to hazardous weather or other emergency conditions.
  • An official in charge of the program determines that local conditions prevent employees from reporting to work due to local, State, territorial holidays, or national holidays of foreign countries.
  • Conditions such as floods, storms, or other disasters prevent employees from performing their duties or reporting to work. Employees must resume normal duties when it is determined that normal work hours can be resumed. A charge to leave is appropriate following this determination if an employee does not return to work.


Note: See Section D, Excused Absence for detailed information on excused absences.

Amount of Sick Leave That May Be Granted
Updated 09/00
Added 09/06 
This table gives guidance on the amount of accrued sick leave that may be granted for certain circumstances:
Reason for 
requesting 
sick leave:
Amount that may be granted:
Employee's own illness or disability All available accrued sick leave if supported by a medical certificate or other administratively acceptable documentation.
Adoption-related purposes All available accrued sick leave, if the absence meets conditions for granting sick leave, including administratively acceptable documentation, as required.
Family care or bereavement purposes
 

Full-time employee: Up to 104 hours (13 days) each leave year, regardless of the amount of accrued sick leave to his or her credit.

Part-time employee: Up to the number of hours of sick leave he or she normally accrues during a leave year.

Caring for a family member with a Serious Health Condition
 

Form WH-380-F, FMLA Medical Certification for a Family Member's Serious Health Condition, or equivalent document should be used when requesting this leave.

Full-time employee: Up to 480 hours (12 workweeks) each leave year.

Part-time employee: An amount of sick leave equal to 12 times the average number of hours in the employee's scheduled tour of duty each week.

Note: During each leave year, any sick leave used for general family care or bereavement purposes must be subtracted from the amount allowed for serious health conditions.

Example: During the beginning of the leave year, a full-time employee uses 20 hours of sick leave to take his/her child to the dentist and 40 hours for bereavement purposes. Later in the leave year, the employee needs to use additional sick leave to care for his/her terminally ill sister. The employee must subtract the 60 hours of sick leave already used from the 480 hour entitlement. The employee may only use up to 420 hours of sick leave to care for the terminally ill sister. The employee may not invoke FMLA because the terminally ill sister would not meet the definition of “family member” under FMLA.

Chart of Sick Leave Flexibilities Available to Care for a Family Member and/or a Covered Service Member
Added 05/12
Chart of Sick Leave Flexibilities Available to Care for a Family Member and/or a Covered Service Member

Entitlement

Purpose and Amount of Sick Leave that May be Used

Individuals for Whom Sick Leave May be Taken

Sick Leave for General Family Care and Bereavement

Up to 13 days (104 hours) to provide:

  • Care for a family member who is incapacitated by a medical condition
  • Attend to a family member receiving medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment, or
  • Make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member.
Broad definition of ‘ Family Member' applies.”
Sick Leave for a Serious Health Condition of a Family Member 12 weeks (480 hours) to provide care to a family member. Broad definition of ‘ Family Member' applies.”
Advanced Sick Leave Up to 30 days (240 hours) of paid sick leave to care for a family member with a serious disability or ailment. Broad definition of ‘ Family Member' applies.”
FMLA 12 weeks (480 hours) of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to care for a spouse, son, daughter or parent with a serious health condition. Narrow definition of ‘ Family Member' applies.”
FMLA to Care for a Covered Service Member 26 weeks (1,040 hours) of unpaid leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service ember with a serious injury or illness. Broad definition of ‘ Family Member' applies.”
Interaction Scenarios between Sick Leave and FMLA Leave
Added 05/12
The situations below describe how the various sick leave entitlements interact.

Interaction of 13 Days of Sick Leave for General Family Care and 12 Weeks of Sick Leave for a Serious Health Condition. An employee can use 13 days of sick leave each leave year for general family care or bereavement. In addition, most employees may use up to 12 administrative workweeks of sick leave each leave year to care for a family member with a serious health condition. If an employee previously used any portion of the 13 days of sick leave for general family care or bereavement purposes in a leave year, then that amount must be subtracted from the 12-week entitlement. If an employee has already used 12 weeks of sick leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, he or she cannot use an additional 13 days in the same leave year for general family care or bereavement.

Interaction of Sick Leave with Basic FMLA Leave. Sick leave and FMLA are two separate entitlements. An employee has an entitlement to use his or her accrued sick leave in addition to invoking FMLA. For example, if an employee takes 12 weeks of sick leave to care for a parent with a serious health condition and then invokes FMLA, the employee has exhausted his or her entitlement to sick leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition and cannot substitute any sick leave (but may substitute annual leave) for the 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA. The employee providing care for a family member is eligible to use a total of 12 weeks of sick leave and then 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA, and may substitute any annual leave for the unpaid FMLA leave.

Interaction of Sick Leave with FMLA to Care for a Covered Service Member. An employee may substitute any of the employee's accrued annual or sick leave for any part of the 26-week period of unpaid FMLA leave to care for a covered service member. There are no limitations on the substitution of sick leave as there are for basic FMLA leave. For example, an employee can use 12 weeks of sick leave to care for her son who has been injured in combat and then invoke FMLA leave to care for a covered service member and substitute another 26 weeks of sick leave for unpaid FMLA leave. The employee may also substitute annual leave, or request donated annual leave, advanced sick leave or advanced annual leave. In summary, an eligible employee who has the accumulated leave and meets the entitlement requirements for sick leave and FMLA leave to care for the covered service member can potentially take leave for up to 38 weeks (12 weeks of sick leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition and 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member).

Interaction of Basic FMLA Leave and FMLA Leave to Care for a Covered Service Member. Any leave used under an employee's 12-week basic FMLA entitlement prior to the first use of leave to care for a covered service member does not count towards the “single 12 month period.” For example, on February 25, 2008, an employee invokes her entitlement to basic FMLA leave for the birth of her child. On April 17, 2008, in her 8th week of FMLA leave, she receives word that her husband was seriously injured in the line of duty while on active duty. On April 18, 2008, the employee invokes her entitlement to 26 weeks of FMLA leave to care for a covered service member to care for her husband. She is entitled to use up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave during a single 12-month period for this purpose, from April, 18, 2008, to April 17, 2009. The time period during which she used basic FMLA leave, from February 25, 2008, to April 17, 2008, does not count toward her 26-week FMLA entitlement to care for a covered service member. Please note that the employee is not required to invoke her 26-week FMLA leave entitlement immediately. She may delay invoking the 26-week FMLA entitlement until such time as she is needed to provide care for her husband. Once the employee invokes her 26-week FMLA entitlement and begins to care for her husband, the single 12-month period begins. In this example, the employee may choose to first exhaust her full 12-week basic FMLA entitlement for the birth of a child, and then invoke the 26-week FMLA entitlement to care for a covered service member after her husband is released from the hospital and returns home.

Importance of the Employee's Relationship with the “Person for Whom Leave May Be Taken.” Since an employee may take leave to care for different individuals depending on the applicable entitlement, it is important to pay close attention to the person for whom the employee is taking leave to care for. If the person for whom the employee wishes to care does not meet the criteria, the employee will not have the option of using this type of leave. For example, an employee's fiance' (service member) is seriously injured by a roadside bomb. In this instance, the fiance' would probably meet the definition of family member for sick leave purposes based on the “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship” clause. Therefore the employee would be eligible to use up to 12 weeks of sick leave to care for her fiance' who has a serious health condition. However, this employee does not meet the FMLA definition of an individual who can use the 26-week entitlement to care for a covered service member, because coverage is limited to an employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the covered service member. In contrast, if the employee were married to the covered service member, she would be entitled to both sick leave and FMLA leave to care for a covered service member.
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