New Sick Leave Policy Includes Students

By Cassandra Sottile 
Elm Staff Writer

Student employees who regularly work 24 hours per pay period are now eligible to accrue sick leave.

The state of Maryland recently passed the Healthy Families Act, which went into effect on Feb. 11. Under this law, and in conjunction with Washington College’s policy, some part-time staff and student workers can accrue sick leave beginning with their first paychecks in March.

“The amount of sick time is calculated based on actual hours worked during each pay period when an employee has worked at least 24 hours in both of the prior two pay periods, which will establish that the employee regularly works at least 24 hours per pay period,” said Carolyn Burton, director of Human Resources.

The number of hours worked in a bi-weekly pay period includes all jobs of the student workers added up, not just one job.

The accrual rate is 0.033 hours of sick time for every hour worked when regularly working 24 hours in a bi-weekly pay period, according to the memo sent to the College by Burton.

“Students are maxed at working no more than 20 hours in one week; however, there are still students that will meet the regular hour requirement,” she said.

Under the Maryland Healthy Families Act, sick time can be used for the care of mental or physical illness, injury, or condition; maternity or paternity leave; and the care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury or condition, among other reasons. As defined by the Maryland Healthy Families Act, a family member can include a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

The sick time to be used under the Healthy Families Act also includes absence from work when necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee (or their family). The sick leave is used for obtaining medical or mental health attention, obtaining services from a victim services organization or legal services, or temporary relocation, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

Sick time can be seen and logged in WebAdvisor, the same way student workers put in their timecards.

“There is a sick leave column within the WebAdvisor time sheet that will be used to record the number of sick hours used in that specific pay period. The sick leave balance will also be listed on the time sheet so that students will know how much leave they have available,” Tracey Yiannakis, payroll manager, said. “The sick leave is paid time off and will be paid at the same hourly rate as the student earns for their job.”

According to the official College policy, “The amount paid for each day of sick leave is the amount the employee would earn for a normal workday. The same concept applies for employees paid hourly, such that the amount paid for each hour of sick leave is the amount the employee would earn for a normal hour.”

Employees are responsible for reporting to their supervisors as early as possible if they are unable to report for work because of personal illness, injury, or illness in the immediate family. If the employees do not call their supervisor to report the use of sick leave, they will be considered absent without approved leave, which may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, according to the College policy.

Sick leave may be used in minimum increments of one hour. If employees do not use their sick leave, they will not be paid for their unused leave.

Full-time employees who have been employed for a minimum of one year may be advanced sick leave with the approval from the Vice President for Finance and Administration Rahel Rosner.

“We already have a traditional sick leave policy for our full-time staff. All across the Maryland independent colleges the new policy is being put in place. We are just modifying our plan to conform the new policy changes,” Burton said.

If student workers have any questions about the new process, they can consult the full College policy on the website or reach out to Darlene Ashley, assistant director for student employment, or to  Yiannakis and Leanne Petrides of the payroll department.

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