Chapter 4: Paid Leave Programs

Jump to:

Swarthmore offers generous paid time off programs for benefit eligible staff members, including holidays, vacation, and sick time benefits. You're considered benefit eligible if you have a .5 FTE position or greater. If you are unsure of your FTE status, please ask your supervisor or Human Resources.

Benefits Eligibility Date

Benefits eligibility is determined by date of hire or transfer into a permanent or limited term position with a .50 FTE or greater. If you are hired on the first day or business day of the month, benefits are effective immediately. Otherwise, benefits begin the first day of the following month.

Holidays

Swarthmore observes 11 holidays during the year. The College is closed on Independence Day, as well as Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following Thanksgiving. In addition, the College traditionally closes most offices for winter holidays during the days between and including Christmas Day and New Year's Day, typically accounting for seven holiday days. This schedule varies somewhat each year, depending on the academic calendar and on how the holidays fall during the week.

The College also provides a holiday in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. However, since the College is open for business on MLK Day, staff may request either that day or an alternative day off. The annual holiday schedule is announced in May of each year and covers September 1st through the following August 31st. The alternate holiday option for MLK Day must be used during the September to August time period and cannot be carried over into the next year. New employees hired after Martin Luther King Day are not eligible for the alternate holiday option during their first year of employment.

For staff scheduled to work weekends, holidays falling on a Saturday are observed the preceding Friday; those falling on a Sunday are observed on the following Monday.

Holiday Eligibility

Full-time non-exempt staff members with a 1.00 FTE are eligible for holiday pay even when a holiday falls on a day you are not scheduled to work as long as the holiday falls within a work week in which you are scheduled to work. That is, if a holiday falls on a Monday and you normally work Tuesday through Saturday, you will be eligible for the holiday pay.

If you are a part-time benefit eligible staff members you will receive holiday pay only if the holiday occurs on your regularly scheduled workday. Those employees that work an irregular weekly schedule (different hours/day each day of the week) you will be paid the average hours per day for the holiday. For example, if you work 7 hrs on Monday and Tuesday, but 3 hours on Friday your holiday pay would be calculated at 5.66 hrs.

To be eligible for holiday pay, you must be in active pay status on both your scheduled workday before and your scheduled work day after a holiday. Employees who are on a leave, either approved paid or unpaid, are not eligible for holiday pay. When on an approved leave, the day will be paid by the leave program.

Absences Preceding or Following a Holiday

If a holiday occurs while you are on paid sick leave or paid vacation, you will be paid holiday time for that day rather than sick or vacation time. If you have an unscheduled absence the scheduled workday before or after a holiday, you may not be eligible for holiday pay. If your unscheduled absence was due to illness, you may be required to provide certification of illness from an appropriate health care provider. If your unscheduled absence was due to personal reasons, your supervisor will use his/her discretion in granting holiday pay.

 

Working on Holidays

Because some departments of the College are considered essential and remain open seven days a week, you may be required to work on a holiday. Benefits eligible non-exempt staff members who work on a College holiday will be paid straight time for the holiday plus time and a half for any hours worked.

Absence on a Holiday You're Scheduled to Work

A staff member who fails to report for scheduled work on an actual or observed College holiday forfeits the holiday and is subject to disciplinary action, unless the absence is due to documented illness and the staff member has complied with departmental call‑in procedures.

Administrators determine work schedules based on the operating requirements of the unit. Depending on the unit's operating needs on a given holiday, the administrator may choose to close a work unit, to operate at reduced staffing levels, or to require full staffing. Individuals may not choose to work on a holiday without the specific authorization of their supervisor.

Religious Holidays

The diversity of the people who make up the College community requires recognition of and respect for individuals, including sensitivity to the celebration of religious holy days. While operating needs of departments must be met, supervisors should make reasonable accommodations in arranging work schedules for individuals who want time off for significant events.

If you wish to be off for a religious holiday, you may ask to use accrued vacation time or a floating holiday. Your supervisor may also permit you to take time off without pay or to rearrange your schedule during the week in which the holiday occurs to make up for missed work time. A list of major religious holy days is available from Human Resources.

Vacation

The College recognizes that annual vacations contribute positively to an employee's health and job effectiveness. Swarthmore provides generous vacation benefits as an opportunity for you to get away from your daily job responsibilities so you can relax for a while and come back refreshed and ready to re-dedicate your best efforts to the work of the College.

Benefits-eligible staff (.5 FTE or greater) are eligible for paid vacation time and you begin to accrue (earn) vacation immediately. You may use vacation benefits once you have completed three months of continuous employment. From then on, vacation time is earned each month for exempt staff or each pay period for non-exempt staff and is considered "available" on the first workday of the next month.

Vacation is not earned in any month in which you have not been paid. If you earn vacation while on a paid leave, it is available once you return to work in a benefits eligible position.

You may accrue up to 240 hours of vacation. When you reach that point, accruals will stop until you fall below 240 hours. Occasional exceptions to this cap may be approved for unusual situations, such as an extended vacation or the need to cover unplanned absences or special projects in a department. If you will need an exception, talk to your supervisor.

If you are eligible and requesting vacation time off for a reason covered under the Family & Medical Leave Act, you should give at least 30 days notice when foreseeable; if not, you must give as much notice as is possible. (See Chapter 5 for FMLA requirements)

Vacation Accrual Rates

An accrual rate is the amount of vacation hours you will earn each pay. It is determined by your FTE and the benefit designated for your length of service in a benefits eligible position. The amount of vacation available increases with the length of service to the College as shown in the chart below. This chart shows available vacation for an employee working a full-time, 12-month schedule.

Non-Exempt
Year 35 Hr Week Accrual Rates
Days/Yr Hrs/Yr Hrs/Pay
1st-3rd 15 days 105 hrs 4.38 hrs
4th-5th 20 days 140 hrs 5.83 hrs
6th-20th 22 days 154 hrs 6.42 hrs
21st 25 days 175 hrs 7.30 hrs
Year 40 Hr Week Accrual Rates
Days/Yr Hrs/Yr Hrs/pay
1st-3rd 15 days 120 hrs 5.00 hrs
4th-5th 20 days 160 hrs 6.67 hr
6th-20th 22 days 176 hrs 7.34 hrs
21st 25 days 200 hrs 8.34 hrs
Exempt
Year 35 Hour Week Accrual Rates
Days/Yr Hours/Yr Hours/Pay
1st-20th 22 days 154 hrs 12.83 hrs
21st 25 days 175 hrs 14.58 hrs

The accrual rates for full-time, 12 month employees are calculated by dividing the annual vacation benefit in hours by 12 months for those employees paid monthly and for those employees paid bi-weekly, divide first by 12 months and again by two.

The accrual rate is linked to actual hours worked in a pay period. If you work less than your normal schedule (and do not use sick or vacation leave to make-up the difference) your accrual rate will be lower for that pay period. For part-time employees, if you work more than your regular schedule, your accrual rate will be higher for that pay period.

Part-time benefits eligible staff accrue vacation time that is prorated based on FTE status. For example, a non-exempt staff member with three years of service who works a 35 hour work week and has a .5 FTE would earn .5 times the full time the full time benefit of 105 hours per year or 52.5 hours per year. His/her accrual rate would be .5 times the full-time accrual rate of 4.38 hours or 2.19 hours.

You must request and schedule vacation time in advance with your supervisor and take it at a time that is mutually satisfactory. Department policies differ about how far in advance you should request vacation time -- be sure you know the expectations in your department. For general vacation requests, supervisors may deny requests for specific dates if the operating needs of the unit cannot accommodate your absence on those days.

Vacation may be used for any regularly scheduled work time. You may use vacation only when you have an available balance and in no case may your vacation accrual reflect a negative balance. Non-exempt staff may use vacation in any increment of time, including fractions of hours. Exempt staff may take vacation in half or whole day increments. Vacation is available as a leave benefit only and may not be taken as pay.

You are responsible for managing your vacation leave; monitor the vacation balance that appears on your paycheck. You are responsible for noting when your balance is approaching the 240 hour vacation cap (and taking appropriate action) and for scheduling vacation only when you have a leave balance available. In no case may your vacation leave reflect a negative value.

Upon termination of employment, any unused accrued vacation time will be paid in the last paycheck, although exempt employees will not be paid for hours less than one half day. Your last day worked is considered your termination date. Payout of accrued vacation time does not extend your benefits coverage beyond the last worked day.

Vacation Accrual When Re-hired

If you are re-hired within six months following separation into a benefits eligible position, you will be eligible for the accrual rate you had at the time of separation. That is, if you had five years of service at the time of separation, and were re-hired four months after separation you would be eligible for the accrual rate for an employee with five years of service.

>Sick Leave

Sick leave benefits are designed to help benefits eligible staff members continue their income if they become ill or temporarily disabled and are unable to perform their duties. Sick leave may be used:

  • when you are unable to work because of illness or injury
  • to care for a family member who is ill: spouse, domestic partner, parent or child
  • when you or a dependent (spouse, domestic partner, parent or child) have a scheduled medical or dental appointment

Benefit eligible staff (.5 FTE or greater) are eligible for paid sick leave. The annual sick leave benefit for full time employees is nine (9) days. Part-time staff earn sick leave that is prorated based on their FTE. You begin to accrue (earn) sick leave immediately and it is immediately available. From then on, sick leave is earned each month for exempt staff or each pay period for non-exempt staff and is considered "available" on the first workday of the next month.

Sick leave is not earned in any month in which you have not been paid. If you earn sick leave while on a paid leave, it is available once you return to work in a benefits eligible position.

You may accumulate up to 20 days of regular sick leave or 140 hours if you work in a department with a 35 hour per week schedule, and 160 hours if you work in a department with a 40 hour per week schedule. Any sick leave accrued beyond 20 days goes into a special account called an LTD (Long-Term Disability) Top-Up Account, which is available to supplement your LTD insurance benefits (if you are eligible) should you become disabled for an extended period. Once sick leave has been put into the LTD Top-Up Account, it cannot be withdrawn for short-term illness.

To qualify for paid sick leave benefits when you are unable to report to work, you must follow your department guidelines for notification of your supervisor. You should give as much notice as you can for absences where you wish to schedule uses of sick leave. For scheduled absences such as doctors' appointments, you should schedule the sick leave off in advance according to your department's practices. Use only the time needed for these appointments.

Sick leave is used to replace regularly scheduled work. You may use sick leave only when you have a balance available and in no case may your sick leave accrual reflect a negative balance. You may not "save" available sick leave by taking time off without pay when you are ill. If you are absent and have exceeded your available balance of sick leave, vacation or holiday leave, if available, may be used to cover the absence. Non-exempt staff may use sick leave for any missed work time, including fractions of hours. Exempt staff may use accrued sick time in half- or full-day increments when they need to be absent for more than a few hours.

After an absence of three or more days, you may be required to provide a statement from your health care provider (or your family member's health care provider) documenting the general nature of the medical condition and the anticipated length of absence in order to determine whether your absence is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (refer to page 5-1). Your physician may be asked to complete the federal FMLA certification form if clarification is needed. In some instances your supervisor may require earlier documentation.

When sick leave is used for planned (non-emergency) medical events of between two and ten days you are required to give two weeks notice. Inappropriate use of sick leave may be cause for disciplinary action.

Your health care provider may require you to reduce your regular work schedule temporarily due to medical reasons, for example, during late-stage pregnancy. If so, you may supplement any missed work time with accrued sick leave.

Medical and dental appointments (whether your own or an immediate family member's) should be scheduled outside of your regular work hours if at all possible, to minimize disruption to the workplace. If this is not possible, however, you must check with your supervisor before scheduling an appointment to make sure a requested absence during the workday can be accommodated. With mutual agreement between you and your supervisor, you may request to modify your work schedule to make up for such missed time during the same work week rather than using accrued sick time.

Sick Leave Accrual Rates

Your sick leave accrual rate is the amount of sick leave hours you will earn each pay. The chart below shows accrual rates for an employee with a full-time, 12-month schedule. Part-time staff earn sick leave that is prorated based on their FTE.

Non-Exempt
35 Hour Week Accrual Rate 40 Hour Week Accrual Rate
Days/Yr Hrs/Yr Hrs/Pay Days/Yr Hrs/Yr Hrs/Pay
9 days 63 hrs 2.63 hrs 9 days 72 hrs 3.00 hrs
Exempt
35 Hour Week Accrual Rate
Days/Yr Hours/Yr Hours/Pay
9 days 63 hours 5.25 hrs

The accrual rates for full-time, 12 month employees are calculated by dividing the annual sick leave benefit in hours by 12 months for those employees paid monthly. For those employees paid bi-weekly, divide first by 12 months and again by two.

The accrual rate is linked to actual hours worked in a pay period. If you work less than your normal schedule (and do not use sick or vacation leave to make up the difference) your accrual rate will be lower for that pay period. For part-time employees, if you work more than your regular schedule, your accrual rate will be higher for that pay period.

Part-time benefits-eligible staff accrue sick leave per year based on FTE status. For example, a .5 FTE employee, working in a department with a 35 hour schedule, would accrue .5 times the full-time benefit of 63 hours or 31.5 hours/year. His/her accrual rate would be .5 times the full-time accrual rate of 2.63 hours or 1.31 hours.

You are responsible for managing your sick leave; monitor the sick leave balance which appears on your paycheck. Remember that you may use sick time only when you have a balance available.

Payout of Sick Leave

Because sick leave is intended to be used like short-term income coverage, unused time is not paid as a terminal benefit when an individual leaves Swarthmore or their position changes to non benefit eligible (less than .5 FTE).

Coordination of Sick Leave Programs

There are three types of sick leave, depending on your benefit eligibility status: regular sick leave, salary continuation program (SCP), and long-term disability (LTD). The sick leave and SCP program are available for benefit eligible employees of .5 FTE status or greater. The LTD program is available for benefit eligible employees of .75 FTE status or greater. Sick leave is generally used for absences of two weeks or less, salary continuation for absences between two weeks and 26 weeks and long-term disability for absences longer than 26 weeks. The maximum amount of leave an employee may be absent from his/her job is 26 weeks. If after 26 weeks an employee is unable to resume his/her duties, his/her employment with the College will be ended.

Salary Continuation Program

For medical absences of more than two weeks, Swarthmore offers an additional program to supplement its sick leave program. Benefit eligible employees (.5 FTE status or greater) use their regular accrued sick leave for the first ten days (or two weeks) of an extended absence; thereafter they may use Swarthmore's Salary Continuation Program (SCP) benefits, as described below. SCP benefits are not available for care of a family member.

To be eligible for SCP, your healthcare provider must certify you are unable to perform the regular duties of your job or alternate duties for which you are qualified. If your need for SCP is due to an elective (scheduled) surgery or other medical non-emergency procedure, you must schedule the time off at least thirty (30) days in advance when forseeable with your supervisor.

SCP Coverage Amounts
Length of service* You may be eligible to receive:
Less than 12 months Accrued sick leave only
12 months, but less than
48 months
Weeks 1-2: Accrued sick leave
Weeks 3-13: 75% of base pay
Weeks 14-26: 60% of base pay
48 months or more Weeks 1-2: Accrued sick leave pay
Weeks 3-13: 100% of base
Weeks 14-26: 60% of base pay

* when your qualifying medical condition begins

Please note that SCP coverage amounts can be increased from 60% and 75% to complete 100% coverage by using accrued sick and vacation leave.

Applying for SCP coverage

If you expect an absence will last more than one week, please make sure your supervisor knows, so that he or she can notify Human Resources. Human Resources will send you information and forms that you and your healthcare provider will need to complete as soon as possible to avoid loss of pay if you are eligible for SCP benefits. For more details, contact the Human Resources Office.

If your claim is approved, you will receive SCP benefits as a continuation of your salary, for up to 26 weeks of total absence, provided you remain medically unable to work. Swarthmore's Long-Term Disability (LTD) Program benefits and conditions prevail after 26 weeks. Swarthmore requires intermittent updates certifying your continuing inability to work from your health care provider and may request an independent medical evaluation to verify diagnosis and treatment. If your claim is denied and you wish to appeal, contact Human Resources immediately.

Limitations and Extensions of Your SCP Benefits

  • Two or more periods of absence due to the same or related medical condition will be considered one, unless they are separated by a return to work of at least 90 days.
  • Benefits under SCP are not payable if you are entitled to receive Workers' Compensation benefits
  • No benefits will be paid under this plan for a medical condition resulting from the commission of a crime
  • No benefits will be paid under this plan for any medical condition arising as a result of an act of war or contracted during active military service
  • Holiday pay is not available while on an approved SCP leave
  • Following 12 weeks of leave protected by FMLA or 26 weeks, in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008 (NDAA), within any 12 month (rolling) period, the employee's position cannot be guaranteed. Each case is handled individually. Depending on the disruption to the department, ease of finding competent coverage and other factors, an employee's position may be held open or may be filled.

Long Term Disability

If you are unable to work for a period of 26 consecutive weeks or more due to a serious medical condition, you may be able to apply for benefits under the College's Long Term Disability (LTD) plan. The LTD plan provides eligible employees (.75 FTE status or greater) with a benefit equal to 60% of their base monthly earnings. More information on LTD is provided in Your Guide to Benefits at Swarthmore, which is available from the Human Resources Office.

When an employee leaves the College because of a disability and is approved for LTD benefits, their active status with the College is at an end. Termination of employment is effective with the date of LTD application approval. All benefits are ended with the exception of health insurance, life insurance and pension. Health insurance is continued for a transitional period. Life insurance is continued during a waiver application process. If the application is accepted, life insurance continues as part of the LTD plan benefit. Employer contributions are made to your pension plan as part of the LTD plan benefit once you have been receiving disability benefits for six months.

While on LTD, your LTD Top-Up Account may be used to supplement your LTD benefit, enabling you to receive full pay. Sick time earned in excess of 20 days is placed in your LTD Top-Up Account, which enables you to "top up" LTD from 60% of pay to 100% of pay.

Medical Absences When No Sick Leave is Available

If you are medically disabled and have no accrued sick leave, you may use vacation and holiday time for a serious health condition that is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), assuming you meet the FMLA eligibility requirements. (See Chapter 5 for FMLA requirements).

If your medical condition is not FMLA-eligible, you may request permission to use accrued vacation or holiday time for illness if you have no sick leave. However, approval of such a request is discretionary on the part of the department. (See Chapter 5 for Personal Leaves).

Additional Paid Leave Programs

Parental Leave

Parental leave grants new parents one month of paid time off for the care of a newborn or adopted child. Benefits-eligible employees (.5 FTE status or greater) become eligible for parental leave on the first day of the month upon or following the completion of one year of service. You must complete this service requirement prior to the child's delivery date or the date the child is placed with you.

Parental leave must be used within six months following the date of birth or placement. Employees may use parental leave as either one continuous month's absence or may opt to take the leave intermittently in four one-week increments. Parental leave benefits are in addition to any benefits you may be entitled to under the College's Salary Continuation Program and run concurrently with time off under FMLA.

Your leave schedule should be approved at least 30 days in advance by your supervisor. If the date of birth or placement does not allow 30-days notice, you must provide as much notice as practicable. You will need to complete a Parental Leave Request form, available from Human Resources and provide a copy of the birth certificate or adoption papers, naming you as the mother or father.

If you do not return to work in a benefits eligible position at the College for at least six months following your parental leave, you must reimburse the College for the salary paid as parental leave benefit. You may be granted parental leave benefits only once in any 12-month period.

Administrative Leave

Administrative leave is a general leave status used for a variety of reasons and may be paid or unpaid leave.

Staff members may be placed on administrative leave, for example, because of possible exposure to a contagious disease in the workplace, because their work area must be closed for repairs, because they are performing jury duty, because of some internal review or investigation, or because of the investigation of an external event such as a criminal arrest.

HR requests that managers consult with an HR staff member to determine if administrative leave is appropriate for the circumstances.

Bereavement Leave

Swarthmore provides bereavement leave for staff members who have lost family members. For your immediate family defined as: spouse or domestic partner, child, parent, sister, brother, grandparent, grandchild, you may take up to five consecutive working days. One day of paid leave is provided for other close relatives defined as: step-parent, step-sibling, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece, and nephew.

You may be asked to provide certification of the death, such as a death certificate or a published death notice, before funeral leave pay will be authorized.

Election Day Leave

Employees who wish to participate in non-partisan efforts on any election day either at the polling site or providing transit to/from polling locations are eligible for up to three hours of administrative leave. This leave is for working in the election and is not to be used for time off to vote.

To be eligible for the leave, you must contact your supervisor in advance for approval. You must identify where and when you will be volunteering and must coordinate your absence with departmental needs. In some cases, overwhelming demand or departmental circumstances may make it impossible for a supervisor to approve Election Day leave for all interested employees. In such cases, a supervisor must use his or her discretion in approving the leaves.

For non-exempt employees, supervisors should list time taken as "ADM" on time cards. Employees that complete time sheets should code their leave time as "ADM".

Jury Duty/Testifying

Swarthmore recognizes your civic responsibility to serve on a jury or testify as a witness in a case related to your employment at Swarthmore. In such instances, the College ensures you are compensated while you are away from work.

You will receive your regular Swarthmore paycheck while on approved jury duty. Checks received from the court for jury service should be endorsed to Swarthmore and turned in to the Payroll Office. If you are paid for jury duty on a scheduled day off, you are not required to turn that money in to Swarthmore.

Several counties have begun Juror Donation Programs. These programs offer jurors the opportunity to donate their jury duty service and travel compensation to a charitable organization. If you are offered this option by the clerk of the court, please inform the clerk that you work for a non-profit organization and that the donation is not an option for you or your employer.

If you are called as a juror or witness, you should let your supervisor know immediately. In some cases it may be possible to request the court to reschedule jury service if it creates a severe operating burden on your department. Subpoenaed testimony in a civil or criminal case in which you are not a litigant, will be paid at your normal rate of pay up to a maximum of three days per 12 month period. This leave will not be counted towards the calculation of overtime. If you are testifying in a court case unrelated to Swarthmore, in which you are a litigant, you may be given time off from work but you will not be compensated for the missed time unless you use accrued vacation or holiday time.

If your jury obligation is less than three hours in a day, you should report for the rest of your work shift. If you work the night shift and are scheduled to report for jury duty the next morning, you will be excused from, and paid for, that shift. If you spend more than three hours in jury duty, you will be excused from your next shift if the shift occurs within 24 hours.