Paid time off and layoffs or resignation

Question

In the current system a layoff or resignation does not provide a payout for accumulated sick time. This is a disadvantage for people who rarely use sick time versus people who regularly use their sick leave. I think UAF should give consideration to making one general “leave” bank.  There could even be consideration into reducing the amount of leave given if it is all lumped together.

Response

Sick leave, or paid time off, has been considered many times in the past, but never approved. The cost of transition is a factor, as is the increased payout of large balances at termination. Currently, sick leave is budgeted at the prior year’s usage; it’s not a “booked” liability.  Annual leave is a liability, but it’s capped at 240 hours accrual. PTO accrual caps are typically higher than 240 hours and paid off at termination, thereby increasing liability to the university.

PTO does come up regularly, and in fact was brought up just earlier this month so I expect we’ll be hearing more about it. Employees with large sick leave balances usually don’t like PTO because they “lose” hours in any conversion that’s used. Also, employees with chronic illnesses (theirs or a family member) who uses sick leave regularly tend to not like PTO because they use hours that would otherwise be for vacation, and feel they use all their leave for sick leave. The theoretical value to the institution of PTO is that employees value their leave more and don’t use it frivolously, thereby reducing absenteeism. It also would reduce or eliminate the leave share program, since employees may not readily donate leave that has value to them if it’s not used.

Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits