Paid Sick Time

In the event of a discrepancy between this policy and a collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern.

As part of USC’s commitment to wellness, the university encourages all employees to use provided paid sick time for the employee’s own health care needs including illness, injury, or doctor or dentist appointments. Sick time may also be used to meet those same needs for eligible family members, including:

  • Children (biological, adopted, foster, step, and those of whom employee stands in loco parentis)
  • Spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Parents (biological, adopted, foster, step, legal guardian or a person who stood in loco parentis of employee or employee’s spouse/domestic partner)
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship

Sick time may also be used to seek aid, treatment, or related assistance for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Sick time accruals

Benefits-eligible staff 

For benefits-eligible employees working less than 100%, accruals are prorated based on the percentage of time worked. When a new employee begins work other than on the first day of a pay period, accruals are prorated for the first pay period. Below are the accruals for 100% effort.

Hours in workweekSick time hours accrued per pay periodMaximum hours accrued
Biweekly pay cycle
36 (3/12 alternative schedule)3.3386.4
Monthly pay cycle

Exempt faculty

Exempt faculty accrue sick time at the rate of 5.78 hours for every month of 100% work to a maximum of 72 hours. For exempt faculty working less than 100%, accruals are prorated based on the percentage of time worked. Sick time is only accrued during contract period.

Non-exempt faculty, resource employees, per diem employees, student workers

These categories accrue sick time at the rate of .034 hours for every one hour of work to a maximum of 72 hours.

Teaching and research assistants

Teaching and research assistants accrue sick time at the rate of 5.78 hours for every month of 100% work to a maximum of 72 hours.

Postdoctoral scholars

Policy for postdoctoral scholars can be found in Appendix B of the Postdoctoral Scholars policy.

Provisions that apply to all employees

Employees may not use sick time before it is accrued or “accrue” a negative sick time balance, but they may use sick time as soon as it is available in their system of record (e.g., Workday, etc.).

Sick time is not accrued during unpaid leaves of absence, regardless of reason (including Family Care and Medical Leave, Medical Leave of Absence [including employees paid by Disability or Workers’ Compensation insurance], Pregnancy-Related Medical Leave, Military Leave, and Personal Leave).

Employees who transfer or are promoted within the university carry their accrual balance with them up to the maximum balance allowable for their new employee category. At no time will any employee be paid for unused sick time, including upon termination from the university. However, if a terminated employee is rehired within 12 months, his/her sick time accrual balance will be restored up to the maximum balance allowable for that employee category.

In the event that a manager or employee believes that there may be a discrepancy with the sick time accrual rate or balance, the Workday record will be used to resolve the dispute. Employees who have a dispute over their sick time accrual rate or balance must submit documentation to support their claim to their school/division human resources office. If there is no resolution to the dispute through the school/division human resources office, the employee may submit the claim with supporting documentation to Human Resources Administration via the HR Service Center.

Sick time posting

The university’s official system of record for calculating and posting sick accruals is Workday. Sick time accruals are posted to the staff employee’s record in Workday, in hours, on the last day of the biweekly pay period (for staff on a biweekly pay cycle) or the last day of the month (for staff on a monthly pay cycle) for accruals earned during that pay period.

Requests for sick time off

Sick time can be requested only for hours the employee is scheduled to work. As soon as an employee knows s/he will be unable to report to work due to his/her health condition or that of an eligible family member, the employee must contact his/her manager in writing or verbally following standard departmental procedures. The employee and the manager are responsible for recording the absence in their respective timekeeping system. For sick time taken for doctor or dentist appointments, the employee should notify his/her manager at least one week before the scheduled appointment. Failure to notify the manager may be cause for disciplinary action.

Employees may be required to provide reasonable documentation of an absence from work for which sick time is or will be used (e.g., doctor’s note).

Retaliation or discrimination against an employee who requests or uses sick time is prohibited.

Responsible Office

Human Resources Administration
(213) 821-8100

Issued by

Michael Quick, Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs
Todd R. Dickey, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California