Sick Leave FAQs
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Sam Wilkins, Director
South Carolina Office
of Human Resources
8301 Parklane Road
Suite A220
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 896-5300

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S
FRAUD HOTLINE

(State Agency fraud only)

1-855-SCFRAUD
or
1-855-723-7283

References

SC Code of Laws §§ 8-11-40 through 8-11-46 , § 8-11-110

State HR Regulations Section 19-710 Adobe Acrobat


Eligibility

Q: Who is eligible to earn sick leave?

A: Employees in full-time equivalent (FTE) positions who are scheduled to work at least one-half of the workweek on a 12-month basis or the equivalent of one-half of the workweek during the full school or academic year of nine months or more are eligible to earn sick leave.

Q: Is a part-time employee eligible to earn sick leave?

A: If the part-time employee is scheduled to work at least one-half of the workweek of the agency, the employee is eligible to earn sick leave on a pro-rata basis.


General Sick Leave Guidelines

Q: For what reasons can an employee use sick leave?

A: An employee can use sick leave for personal illness or injury, exposure to a contagious disease, appointment for medical or dental examination or treatment, sickness during pregnancy or other temporary disabilities, treatment for alcoholism, caring for ill members of immediate family, and caring for an adoptive child.

Q: Can an agency request verification of the need for sick leave before approving the employee’s request?

A: The use of sick leave is subject to verification. The agency may require the certificate of a health care practitioner verifying the need for sick leave and giving the inclusive dates.

Q: Can an employee request sick leave while on annual leave?

A: If an employee on annual leave becomes ill, the portion of leave attributed to the illness may be used as sick leave at the agency's discretion.

Q: Can an agency request a second medical opinion to verify an employee’s health condition?

A: An agency can request a second opinion in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines. If a second opinion is requested, the agency will be required to cover the expenses. The agency may also select the doctor to use for the second opinion.


Rate of Earnings

Q: How much sick leave does a full-time employee in a FTE position earn each month?

A: A full-time employee in a FTE position earns sick leave at the rate of 1¼ workdays per month or 15 workdays per year.

Q: How do you calculate the sick leave earnings for an employee who works a schedule other than a five-day workweek of 37.5 or 40 hours per week?

A: A part-time employee and and employee who works a non-standard work schedule earns sick leave based on the employee’s average workday. The average workday is determined by dividing the total number of hours the employee is regularly scheduled to work during a week by five. Example: An employee works 30 hours per week in an agency that has a 37.5-hour workweek. To determine the sick leave accrual rate, first determine the employee’s average workday by dividing the 30-hour workweek by 5. The employee has an average workday of 6 hours. Second, determine the monthly sick leave accrual rate by multiplying the number of sick leave days the employee is eligible to earn per month by the average workday. This employee is eligible to earn 1.25 days of sick leave per month multiplied by the 6-hour average workday. This employee would earn 7.5 hours of sick leave per month.

Q: When an employee in an FTE position reduces his work hours from full-time to part-time, what happens to his sick leave balance?

A: The employee’s sick leave balance must be converted to the new average workday. To convert the leave balance, divide the total number of accrued sick leave hours by the number of hours in the new part-time average workday. Example: An employee worked a 7.5-hour workday as a full-time employee (37.5- hour workweek) and had a sick leave balance of 20 days (or 150 hours). If this employee reduces his work hours to 30 hours a week, his new average workday is 6 hours. Divide the 150 hours of sick leave by the 6-hour average workday, and the employee’s converted sick leave balance is 25 days (or 150 hours). Note: If this change results in an employee having a maximum accumulation in excess of 180 average workdays in the new part-time status, as of the effective date of the change, the employee will not forfeit the excess. The employee will retain this excess leave which is the maximum amount the employee may carry over in future years. If the employee subsequently reduces the amount of such leave carried over, the reduced amount, if in excess of 180 average workdays, will become the employee’s maximum carry over into future years or less. If the amount of leave carried over is less than 180 average workdays, then 180 days will become the maximum amount of unused leave the employee may carry over thereafter.


Maximum Sick Leave Carryover

Q: What is the maximum number of sick leave days a full-time employee in an FTE position may carry over from one calendar year to the next?

A: An employee in an FTE position may carry over a maximum of 180 days from one calendar year to the next.

Q: What is the maximum number of sick leave days an employee in a part-time FTE position may carry over from one calendar year to the next?

A: Typically, an employee in a part-time FTE position may carry over 180 average workdays from one calendar year to the next. For example, an employee who works a 30-hour workweek may carry over 180 of the employee’s average 6-hour days from one calendar year to the next.


Advancement of Sick Leave

Q: Can an agency advance additional days of sick leave to an employee?

A An agency may advance up to 15 workdays of additional sick leave to an employee in extenuating circumstances. The agency must have reasonable assurance that the employee is expected to return to work within the specified period of time based upon written verification from the health care practitioner.

Q: How does the employee reimburse the sick leave that was advanced?

A: Upon return to work, the employee will have all earned sick leave applied to reduce the leave deficit at the rate of 1.25 days per month (or if part-time, the monthly earning rate) until the deficit has been reimbursed.


Treatment for Alcoholism

Q: Can an employee use sick leave for treatment of alcoholism?

A: An employee can use sick leave for treatment for alcoholism, which is recognized in South Carolina as a treatable illness. Sick leave will be granted for the purpose of participating in public and private treatment and rehabilitation programs, which have been approved by the S.C. Department of Mental Health.


Family Sick Leave

Q: How many days of sick leave can an employee use per year to care for ill members of his immediate family?

A: An employee may not use more than ten days of sick leave to care for ill members of his immediate family.

Q: How is “immediate family” defined for purposes of family sick leave?

A: The employee’s “immediate family” means the employee’s spouse and children and the following relations to the employee or the spouse of the employee: mother, father, brother, sister, grandparent, legal guardian, and the grandchildren.

Q: Can an employee use family sick leave for a family member’s doctor appointment?

A: An employee may use the ten days of family sick leave for family members’ doctor appointments.

Q: Does an employee earn 15 days of sick leave each year in addition to 10 days of family sick leave each year?

A: An employee may earn a maximum of 15 days of sick leave each year, 10 days of which may be used as family sick leave.


Adoption

Q: Can an employee who adopts a child use sick leave associated with the
adoption?


A: An employee who adopts a child may use up to six weeks of sick leave to care for the child after placement. To be approved for this leave, the employee must be the person who is primarily responsible for furnishing the care and nurture of the child. However, if both parents are employed by the State of South Carolina, only one parent may qualify for the adoption leave.


Transferring Sick Leave Balances

Q: When an employee transfers from one State agency to another without a
break in service, what happens to his sick leave balance?


A: An employee who transfers without a break in service from one State
agency to another transfers his earned sick leave, which should be adjusted to
the scheduled workweek of the receiving agency.

Q: When an employee of a State agency transfers to a school district of the State or a school district employee is transfers to a State agency, can the employee transfer his sick leave balance?

A: When an employee of a State agency transfers to a school district of the State or a school district employee transfers to a State agency, the employee is permitted to transfer his unused sick leave balance, if the move occurs without a break in service.

Q: Can an employee who works for a quasi-state agency transfer sick leave
when he is hired by a State agency?


A: An employee from a quasi-state agency who transfers to a State agency may transfer his unused sick leave balance if the leave from the quasi-state agency was earned the same way as provided in the Sick Leave Act and the move occurs without a break in service.


Separation From Employment

Q: What happens to an employee’s unused sick leave balance upon separation
from employment?


A: Upon separation from employment, an employee forfeits all earned sick
leave; but, special circumstances may exist for an employee who is retiring,
who has been affected by a reduction in force, or who has been granted a six
month exception to the Break in Service.