4.3 Leaves for Employee Injury or Illness

This policy was last updated January 21, 2021. See the update history page for more information.

4.3.1 Overview of Leaves for the Employee's Own Injury or Illness

The Institute grants paid leave to its benefits-eligible employees to guard against loss of earnings due to injury or illness. Sick leave is not part of salary or wages to which an employee is entitled regardless of need; it is to be used only when the employee is unable to work due to injury or illness. Sick leave is not payable upon termination, except in some cases upon retirement (see 4.3.4 below). Sick leave for faculty is covered by Policies & Procedures.

Employees are responsible for using sick leave only for the appropriate purposes, and for tracking sick leave used. The supervisor is also responsible for the proper and consistent application of MIT's sick leave policies.

A summary of the Institute's paid sick leaves for non-faculty staff, effective January 1, 2021, is as follows:

Benefits-Eligible Staff

  • Sick Time: An employee's accrued Sick Time may be used for any injury or illness, serious or minor, as well as for the employee's medical and dental appointments. Sick Time is paid at 100% of the employee's usual rate of pay or salary. (Section 4.3.2)
  • Serious Illness Reduced Pay (SIRP): Serious Illness Reduced Pay (SIRP) may be used only for the employee's Serious Health Condition. SIRP is usually paid at 80% of the employee's usual pay or salary. (Section 4.3.3)

Most benefits-eligible staff working in Massachusetts are covered by the following two Massachusetts laws. MIT's Sick Time and SIRP benefits generally run concurrently with the leaves provided under these laws; that is, a day of sick leave may count as Sick Time, as time under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law, and, in some cases, also under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. Those two laws are:

  • Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law: Accruals for Sick Time meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law. MIT treats the first 40 hours of Sick Time accrued and used in any anniversary year as covered by the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law. (Section 4.3.8)
  • Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA): MIT's Sick Time and SIRP policies provide benefits-eligible staff with leaves that, in nearly all cases, meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) for absences due to the employee's own Serious Health Condition. If the benefit under the PFMLA exceeds MIT's Sick Time or SIRP payments, the PFMLA benefit will be paid. MIT's PFMLA Plan (MIT login required) is available online; see also Section 4.7 Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.)

Non-Benefits Eligible Staff Working in Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Pay: Non-benefits eligible staff are not eligible for MIT's Sick Time or SIRP benefits. They may be eligible for up to 40 hours of paid sick time per anniversary year under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law. (Section 4.8)
  • Mass. Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA): Non-benefits eligible staff working in Massachusetts are eligible for payments at the State Formula Rate if they are unable to work due to their own Serious Health Condition. (Section 4.7)

See Section 4.3.4 for information on how some of these leaves may run concurrently.

4.3.2. Sick Time for Benefits-Eligible Staff

Use of Sick Time

Accrued Sick Time may be used by benefits-eligible employees unable to work due to:

  • Employee's illness or medical care: An employee may use their accrued Sick Time for their own injury or illness, serious or minor, as well as for their medical or dental examination and care.
    • For an approved Serious Health Condition, an employee may choose to be paid accrued Sick Time or Serious Illness Reduced Pay (SIRP) (See Section 4.3.3). An employee may begin a leave using their accrued Sick Time and then switch to SIRP at any time during a leave. However, once an employee begins to use SIRP, they cannot switch to Sick Time for the same leave.
  • Family Member's illness or medical care: An employee may use up to 40 hours of their accrued Sick Time in any anniversary year to care for a sick Family Member, and for their Family Member's medical or dental examination and care.
  • Victims of Domestic Violence: An employee may also use up to 40 hours of their accrued Sick Time during a leave of absence for victims of domestic violence, as specified in Policies and Procedures Section 7.5.7.

Absences caused by work-related injuries or accidents are generally covered by Workers' Compensation. For use of Sick Time to supplement Workers' Compensation pay, see Section 4.5, Industrial Accident and Workers' Compensation.

Accrual of Sick Time

All benefits-eligible employees are credited with 20 days of Sick Time on their date of hire; as explained below, Sick Time is tracked in hours so that the credit of 20 days for a full-time employee equals a credit of 160 hours of Sick Time at hire. After completing one year of service, they begin to accrue one day of Sick Time at the end of each subsequent month of service, based on their anniversary date. The initial crediting and monthly accruals of Sick Time are pro-rated for part-time staff.

Unused Sick Time may be carried over and accumulated to a maximum of 132 days (that is, approximately 6 months; 1,056 hours); support staff hired on or before December 31, 2020 may accrue up to 192 days (1,536). Sick Time accruals cease once an employee's Sick Time bank reaches the stated maximum; when Sick Time is used, monthly credits resume up to the maximum.

Salaried staff who were employed on December 31, 2020 were credited on January 1, 2021 with a Sick Time balance based on their years of service as a salaried staff member, with a minimum credit of 20 days. See HR's Leave Changes in 2021 site for more information on crediting.

Amount of Pay and Length of Sick Time Absences

Sick Time is paid at the usual salary for salaried employees, and at the usual straight-time rates plus any applicable shift differential for hourly paid staff. For a work-related injury, see Section 4.5, Industrial Accident and Worker's Compensation, for information on coordination of payments.

Sick Time may be taken intermittently when medically necessary, in increments of at least 15 minutes. The employee must attempt to work out an intermittent leave schedule that meets their needs without unduly disrupting MIT's operations, subject to the approval of their Healthcare Provider.

All PFMLA leaves are capped at 26 weeks in a Benefit Year. Employees who have reached the 26 weeks limit cannot use any remaining accrued Sick Time for the same injury or illness.

Employees whose illnesses extend beyond 26 weeks may be eligible for benefits under MIT's Long-Term Disability Plan. These employees should contact the Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office.

See Section 4.3.4 for more information on notification and approval of Sick Time.

4.3.3 Serious Illness Reduced Pay (SIRP)

MIT's Serious Illness Reduced Pay policy (SIRP) provides a source of income for all benefits-eligible employees in addition to accrued Sick Time, paid at a reduced rate (80% of an employee's normal pay), for an employee's Serious Health Condition.

SIRP is designed to meet the requirements of the MA Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) for benefits-eligible staff. See Section 4.3.7 for information on MIT's PFMLA Plan (MIT login required), and on additional terms and provisions for leave under the PFMLA.

4.3.3.1 Eligibility and Use of Serious Illness Reduced Pay

Benefits-eligible MIT employees are eligible for SIRP upon hire.

SIRP may be used when an employee is unable to work due to an employee's Serious Health Condition.

4.3.3.2 Amount of Pay and Choice of Payments; Length of Leave

During the period of absence, SIRP is paid at the greater of:

  1. 80% of the employee's normal pay; or
  2. the amount payable to the employee under the State Formula Rate.

Payment of 80% of the employee's normal pay will normally be the greater amount, except in some unusual cases, such as where an employee has had a recent reduction in hours or percent effort.

For a work-related injury, see Section 4.5, Industrial Accident and Worker's Compensation, for information on coordination of payments.

A benefits-eligible employee who cannot work due to a Serious Health Condition may choose to be paid from their accrued Sick Time for the entire leave, to be paid SIRP for the entire leave, or to use part of their accrued Sick Time and then be paid SIRP for the remainder of the leave. An employee may begin a leave using their accrued Sick Time and then switch to SIRP at any time during a leave. However, once an employee begins to use SIRP, they cannot switch to Sick Time for the same leave.

SIRP may be taken intermittently when medically necessary, in increments of at least 15 minutes. The employee must attempt to work out an intermittent leave schedule that meets their needs without unduly disrupting MIT's operations, subject to the approval of their Healthcare Provider.

The maximum time for a leave due to a Serious Health condition, whether paid by Sick or SIRP (or both), is 26 weeks in a Benefit Year . All leaves covered by the PFMLA count towards this 26-week total (for example, a Family Leave under Sec. 4.4 counts towards the 26 week total).

4.3.3.3 Amount of Pay during Transition Period for Salaried Staff with a Serious Health Condition

Employees who were in a salaried, benefits-eligible position on December 31, 2020 are eligible for Transitional Salaried Serious Illness Pay if they are unable to work due to their own Serious Health Condition. Transitional Salaried Serious Illness Pay is paid at 100% of the employee's salary as of the date the leave begins.

Qualifying salaried employees may choose to:

  1. Use their accrued Sick Time (100% pay) until 20 days remain in their Sick Time bank; they then will be paid on Transitional Salaried Serious Illness Pay (also at 100% pay) with no further reduction in their Sick Leave bank.
    • Employees with 20 days or fewer in their Sick Time bank at the start of their leave will be paid using Transitional Salaried Serious Illness Pay as of the first day of their leave.
  2. Preserve more of their accrued Sick Time and choose to be paid SIRP (at 80%) for all or part of the leave
    • As with all leaves under SIRP, the employee may choose to begin the leave using Sick Time and then switch to SIRP at a later date during the leave. Alternatively, the employee may choose to be paid SIRP from the beginning of the leave, but if they do so, they cannot switch from SIRP to Sick Time for the same leave.

This transition rule is in effect for payments made between January 1, 2021and December 31, 2025. All other policy provisions regarding Serious Illness Leave apply to these Transitional Serious Illness Payments, such as notification and duration of paid leave.

4.3.4 Notification, Approval, and Recording of Sick Leaves

These procedures concern the notification, approval, documentation, and recording of Sick Time and SIRP (including the transitional serious illness pay for salaried staff), as well as leaves under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law (Sec 4.8) and the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (Sec 4.7), unless otherwise specifically noted.

4.3.4.1 Notification of Absence

Employees are responsible for promptly alerting their supervisor of all absences due to injury or illness.

For foreseeable or scheduled use of Sick Time, the employee must provide at least seven days' advance notice for leaves relating to minor illnesses or medical appointments, and at least 30 days' notice for planned leaves for Serious Health Conditions, or leaves lasting more than three days. Employees must use the customary means of notification for absences in the employee's department, lab, or center. For unforeseen absences, the employee must notify the department as soon as practicable. For multi-day absences, the employee must inform their supervisor or manager of the expected duration of the leave, or if unknown, on a daily basis. For such multi-day absences, notice may be given by the employee's spouse, adult family member, or other responsible party.

An employee's failure to make a timely notification of their absence to their supervisor and/or MIT's leaves vendor may result in denial of the leave, reduction of payments, or disciplinary action. Sick leave may not be invoked as an excuse to be late for work without advance notice of a legitimate use of the time.

4.3.4.2 Recording the Use of Sick Time and SIRP

The employee must record any time off for injury or illness (whether paid as Sick Time, SIRP, Massachusetts Earned Sick Time, PFMLA, or otherwise). Failure to record these absences accurately and on a timely basis may result in denial of the leave, reduction of payments, or disciplinary action. If the employee has not recorded sick leave, the employee's supervisor or a departmental administrator may record the use of Sick Time or SIRP.

4.3.4.3 Medical Documentation

For sick leaves for a Serious Health Condition or an absence longer than three consecutive workdays (or 24 consecutive work hours), the employee generally must provide medical documentation no later than seven days after the leave begins.

For confidentiality reasons, employees should ensure that any medical certification containing details about a Serious Health Condition is sent to our leave administration vendor Workpartners.

The medical documentation from a treating Healthcare Provider must certify that the employee is unable to work because of the employee's injury or illness. If the employee's medical condition changes so that it affects the length of their leave or their ability to work, the employee must provide updated medical documentation as soon as practicable. Depending on the duration and reason for the leave, MIT may also require certification from a Healthcare Provider that an employee who has been on a leave for their own illness is able to return to work.

An employee who fails to provide adequate medical documentation may be placed on an unpaid leave. Documentation received late may result in denial of Sick Time or SIRP payments, or retroactive payment of leave benefits at a reduced rate. It may also result in disciplinary action.

Slightly different rules apply for documentation of time covered by the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law as described in Section 4.3.8.

4.3.5 Additional Information on Crediting, Debiting, and Paying Sick Time and SIRP

Accrual and Tracking of Sick Time

  • Sick Time is accrued and tracked in hours. Full-time salaried employees who work a standard, 5 day a week schedule are presumed to work 8 hours a day for purposes of accruing and tracking Sick Time. Sick Time accruals are pro-rated for part-time benefits-eligible staff. As noted above, the maximum accrual of sick time is 1,056 hours (132 days for a full time staff member, which is approximately 6 months).
  • Vacation and Sick Time both continue to accrue at the employee's normal rate during Sick Time, SIRP, and any leave paid at the State Formula Rate under the PFMLA.

Variable Schedules

The amount of Sick Time used is based on the number of hours or days an employee regularly works. When the employee works a part-time schedule or variable hours, the amount of leave that the employee uses is determined on a pro rata or proportional basis. If an employee's schedule varies from week to week, a weekly average of the hours scheduled over the 12 months prior to the beginning of the leave period will be used. See the PFMLA Plan (MIT login required) for more detail.

No sick leave payments will be made during any week in which the actual number of hours worked equals or exceeds the number of hours scheduled.

Holidays, Special Holidays, and Emergency Closings While on Sick Leave

  • Holidays and Special Holidays that fall within or abut a period of Sick Time are paid as Holidays or Special Holidays, and are not charged against the employee's Sick Time balance.
  • Holidays and Special Holidays that fall within or abut a period of SIRP (and do not abut Sick Time) are paid as SIRP and not as Holidays or Special Holidays. (Sec. 4.1.5, Holiday during Paid Leave; Section 4.1.9, Holiday during Vacation, Sick Leave, SIRP and Other Leaves, Section 5.8.2, Special Holiday Closing.)
  • If an employee takes Sick Leave immediately preceding the holiday and SIRP immediately after the holiday, the day is paid as a holiday
  • Employees on any kind of paid sick leave (whether paid by Sick Time, SIRP, or at the State Formula Rate) are not entitled to Emergency Closing or Early Release Pay during their leave. (Sec. 5.8.6, Emergency Closing and Early Release.)

Illness during Vacation

  • Ordinarily, illness during vacation is not counted as Sick Time or SIRP but rather is recorded as vacation.
  • However, if an employee has a serious accident or extensive illness which eliminates the intended benefit of the vacation, the supervisor should discuss the matter with their Human Resources Officer to consider whether Sick Time or SIRP should be used, and all or part of the vacation time restored.

Overtime Calculations

Hours paid as Sick Time and SIRP are counted toward the calculation of premium hours for the work week (that is, the hours count towards overtime) but are not paid as premium hours. Hours paid for any leave at the State Formula Rate do not count towards the calculation of premium hours nor are they paid as premium hours.

Sick Leave Balance – Change to Non-Benefits Eligible Position; Re-Employment

  • If a benefits-eligible employee changes to a non-benefits eligible position or status, they retain any Sick Time balance already accumulated but cannot use Sick Time while in a non-benefits eligible status, nor do they accumulate any additional Sick Time, except as provided in Section 4.3.8.3 below. If the employee later moves back into a benefits-eligible position, their prior Sick Time balance is restored and available for use, and Sick Time accruals resume.
  • If a former employee is re-employed, previously accumulated Sick Time balances are not reinstated except (1) as provided in Section 4.3.8.2, Massachusetts Earned Sick Time, and (2) for laid-off employees who are rehired within two years of their lay-off date. Section 2.10.3, Reinstatement of Laid Off Employees.

Payment of Accrued Sick Time at Retirement for Certain Support Staff

Retiring employees who were employed in a support staff role on December 31, 2020 and who retire from the Institute without having worked as a salaried staff member after December 31, 2020 may be entitled to a payment of a portion of their unused Sick Time upon retirement. If such a support staff member has a minimum of 300 hours of unused Sick Time on their retirement date, they will be paid upon termination at their regular straight-time rate for one-half of the total of those Sick Time hours.

Benefits and Tax Deductions

Regular payroll deductions that are dependent on income are reduced if pay is reduced when employees are paid SIRP or under the State Formula Rate. Benefits deductions that are a fixed amount are not changed by payment as SIRP or at the State Formula Rate. Regular deductions are made for income taxes from all sick leave payments.

Maternity Leaves

Leaves for employees giving birth ("maternity leave") falls under MIT’s sick leave policies. Maternity leaves cover time that an employee cannot work due to pregnancy, prenatal care, child birth, and recovery from childbirth. For a birth mother, MIT generally assumes a period of inability to work for eight weeks for childbirth and recovery; that period may be longer if supported by medical documentation.

Benefits-eligible employees may use their accrued Sick Time for maternity leave, or may use SIRP. Salaried staff employed as of December 31, 2020 may use the Transitional Salaried Serious Illness Pay as provided in Section 4.3.3.3. Maternity leave for non-benefits eligible staff members working in Massachusetts is paid either by using any of their accrued sick time under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law, or at the State Formula Rate.

Benefits-eligible new parents are generally eligible for MIT’s Paid Parental Leave (paid at 100% of their regular pay) and Bonding Leave (paid at the State Formula Rate). Non-benefits eligible new parents working in Massachusetts are also eligible for Bonding Leave, paid at the State Formula Rate. See Section 4.4.1 Parental Leave and Bonding Leave for New Parents.

Coordination with Other Leaves

Employees may not supplement SIRP or any PFMLA State Formula Rate payments with accrued vacation, personal time, Sick Time, or any other paid time off. Vacation may not be used in lieu of Sick Time.

Leaves under MIT's Sick Time policy, SIRP, the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act all run concurrently with one another, and with any other applicable state and federal leave laws, to the extent of any overlap. For any leave covered by the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, see Section 4.3.7 for additional provisions, including provisions on reductions, appeals, and non-retaliation protections.

Benefits-eligible employees working outside Massachusetts who are entitled to any sick leave payments under the laws of that other state will be paid the greater of the MIT sick leave benefit (whatever is applicable - Sick Time, SIRP, or State Formula Rate) or the benefit under their state's laws.

4.3.6 Definitions

Family Member: For the purposes of all paid sick leaves other than MA Earned Sick Time leave, and for Family Leaves covered by the PFMLA, a Family Member is the spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or parent of a spouse or domestic partner of the employee; a person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor child; or a grandchild, grandparent, or sibling of the employee. 

Healthcare Provider: For purposes of all paid sick leaves other than MA Earned Sick Time leave, and for all Family Leaves covered by the PFMLA, a Healthcare Provider is an individual licensed by the State in which the individual practices to practice medicine, surgery, dentistry, chiropractic, podiatry, midwifery, or osteopathy. This includes a physician, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, clinical social worker, or physician assistant; chiropractors are covered for specified treatments of the spine only. 

Serious Health Condition: An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves (a) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical facility; or (b) continuing treatment by a Healthcare Provider. The term Serious Health Condition includes any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care, and for childbirth and recovery from childbirth ("maternity leave"). See HR's Overview of Employee Leaves.

State Formula Rate: Payments made under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act and calculated via a formula set by the law; these payments are subject to a weekly maximum. See HR's Overview of Employee Leaves.

Benefit Year: The Benefit Year during which sick leaves can be taken varies for different leaves.

  • For Sick Time and SIRP, the 26-week period is counted from the first day of Sick Time or SIRP leave.
  • For the FMLA, the Benefit Year is the same as for Sick and SIRP.
  • For the PFMLA, the Benefit Year begins on the Sunday before the first day of leave.
  • For Massachusetts Earned Sick Time leave, the Benefit Year runs annually from the employee anniversary date.

4.3.7 Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

The Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) provides certain job-protected medical and family leaves to eligible employees, paid at the State Formula Rate. MIT has adopted a detailed plan setting out its legal obligations under the PFMLA, as well as employees' rights and responsibilities when seeking PFMLA leave. The full PFMLA Plan (MIT login required) is available online.

Benefits-Eligible Staff

MIT's Sick Time and Serious Illness Reduced Pay (SIRP) policies for benefits-eligible staff are intended to meet or exceed the requirements of the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. In the event that the PFMLA Plan (MIT login required) provides greater benefits than MIT's Sick Time or SIRP policies, MIT will provide the PFMLA benefit.

Non-Benefits Eligible Staff

MIT provides paid leave under the PFMLA to non-benefits eligible staff working in Massachusetts, even if these staff are not covered by the PFMLA because they do not meet the financial eligibility requirements. Non-benefits eligible staff who work outside of Massachusetts are generally not covered by the PFMLA.

Terminated Staff

Employees who meet the eligibility requirements of the PFMLA may apply for medical or family leaves under the PFMLA during the 26 weeks after termination of employment or until re-employed, whichever comes first.

Amount of Pay and Length of Leave for Non-Benefits Eligible Staff

A non-benefits eligible staff member working in Massachusetts is eligible for up to 20 weeks of paid leave, in a Benefit Year, for their own Serious Health Condition. They will be paid at the State Formula Rate. See Section 4.4 for Family Leaves under the PFMLA for non-benefits eligible staff working in Massachusetts.

Notification, Recording, and Documentation of Serious Health Condition

All employees – whether benefits eligible or not – must:

  • Notify their supervisor as provided in Sec. 4.3.4.1
  • Record time used as provided in Sec. 4.3.4.2
  • Provide medical documentation as provided in Sec. 4.3.4.3

Requesting Leave: Employees must provide at least 30 calendar days' notice of the anticipated start date of the PFMLA leave, the anticipated length of the leave, the type of leave, and the employee's expected return date. If, for reasons beyond the employee's control, the employee cannot provide 30 days' notice, then the employee must provide notice as soon as is practicable. Employees must follow these requirements regardless of whether their PFMLA leave is funded under MIT's Sick Time policy, SIRP, or at the State Formula Rate.

Additional Provisions for Leaves Covered by the PFMLA

Eligibility for the PFMLA: MIT employees are covered by the PFMLA if they perform services that are localized in Massachusetts and if they meet the financial eligibility criteria set forth in MIT's PFMLA Plan (generally, the same as the financial eligibility for unemployment in Massachusetts). As stated above, PFMLA benefits and protections apply to eligible employees for twenty-six (26) weeks after separation from MIT or until re-employed, whichever comes first. The PFMLA may also apply to certain employees working abroad if such employees would be eligible for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts. See the PFMLA Plan (MIT login required) for more details.

When MIT considers a leave of absence request under its PFMLA Plan (MIT login required), all presumptions shall be made in favor of the availability of leave and the payment of leave benefits.

Total Leave Limits: The maximum amount of sick leave in any Benefit Year that will be covered by the PFMLA is 20 weeks. Employees may take up to 26 weeks, in the aggregate, of total paid leave (that is, sick leave and family leave combined) per Benefit Year.

Variable Schedules: The same methodology applies as in Section 4.3.4 section on Variable Schedules.

Payments; permissible reductions: Non-benefits eligible employees who are covered under the PFMLA for a sick leave will be paid a weekly benefit amount at the State Formula Rate. Benefits-eligible employees will be paid the State Formula Rate for Sick Time or SIRP in the uncommon circumstance that the State Formula Rate exceeds the Sick Time or SIRP benefit.

However, the weekly benefit amount will be reduced by the amount of wages or wage replacement benefits that an employee on PFMLA leave receives from (a) any government program or law, including unemployment or workers' compensation benefits, other than for permanent partial disability incurred prior to the PFMLA leave claim; or (b) under any other state or federal temporary or permanent disability benefits law; or (c) a permanent disability policy or program offered by MIT. MIT will not seek to offset any amount against benefits owed to an employee except as specifically authorized by the PFMLA.

Interaction with other types of leave or approved time off: If an employee takes leave that is associated with a qualifying reason under the PFMLA and is also eligible for leave or approved time off under any other MIT policy, collective bargaining agreement, or contract (including but not limited to MIT's policies and plans regarding the federal FMLA, parental leave, long-term disability, vacation time, Sick Time, SIRP, personal time, or any other type of approved absence from work), such absence will run concurrently with leave under the PFMLA, regardless of whether the employee applies for benefits under the PFMLA.

Overtime Calculations: Hours paid for any leave at the State Formula Rate do not count towards the calculation of premium hours nor are they paid as premium hours.

Non-Retaliation: MIT will not retaliate or threaten to retaliate by discharging, firing, suspending, expelling, disciplining through the application of attendance policies or otherwise, threatening, or in any other manner discriminating against an employee due to the employee's use of leave or other benefits under the PFMLA or the employee's exercising any other right under the PFMLA. Employees similarly shall not be subject to retaliation or threats of retaliation for filing a complaint or instituting or causing to be instituted a proceeding under or related to the PFMLA, or for testifying in an inquiry or proceeding or giving information connected to any inquiry or proceeding relating to the PFMLA.

Nothing in this section shall limit MIT's ability to reasonably communicate with an employee who is approved for leave benefits under this Plan. Similarly, this section shall not limit the obligation of employees who are approved for leave benefits to comply with the reasonable attendance and call-in procedures established for their position.

Appeal: Employees shall have up to 10 calendar days to file an internal appeal of a denial of PFMLA leave. The 10-day period may be extended where the employee establishes that circumstances beyond their control prevented the filing of a request for an appeal within 10 calendar days. For more information, and for information on appealing to the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave, see MIT's PFMLA Plan (MIT login required).

Please see MIT's PFMLA Plan (MIT login required) for additional terms that apply to PFMLA leave.

4.3.8 Sick Time Under Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law

In accordance with Massachusetts law, many employees who are not eligible for sick leave under MIT's policies (because they do not work enough hours or because their job isn't eligible for benefits) are nonetheless entitled to earned sick time in accordance with the provisions of the Massachusetts earned sick leave law, as described in this section 4.3.7. Graduate students working at MIT are not eligible for this paid sick leave, nor are undergraduate students working during the academic year.

This policy also applies to sick leave for benefits-eligible staff, but only for that portion of their sick leave that is covered by Massachusetts state law. Full-time employees (exempt and non-exempt) are entitled to 40 hours of state-protected sick leave each year. The Institute treats the first 40 hours of paid Sick Leave used by the employee each year (running from the employee's anniversary date) for their own or a family member's illness as covered by Massachusetts law.

Any Sick Time paid by MIT runs concurrently with any Sick Time required under this state law or under any other state or federal law.

4.3.8.1 Accrual of Paid Sick Time for Non-benefits Eligible Employees

Employees who are not eligible for MIT benefits accrue paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Salaried exempt staff who are not benefits-eligible are assumed to work 40 hours per week if employed at 100% effort; work hours are pro-rated for a lower percent effort of the appointment.

Accruals begin on an employee's first day of paid work and accrued sick leave may be used 90 days after the employee begins work. For accrual purposes, hours worked include overtime hours but do not include paid non-work hours such as sick time, any vacation, and holidays.

Employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave in any 12-month period. The 12-month period begins on the anniversary of their current employment date. For salaried employees, accruals may be allocated monthly or at the beginning of an appointment, and will be pro-rated for appointments of less than one year.

Employees who are not paid on a salaried or hourly basis, such as employees paid on a per diem basis, are allotted a lump sum of sick leave on a monthly basis based on a reasonable approximation of the hours worked in the previous month. That lump sum is based on the rate of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Alternatively, the allotment may be made in advance for the expected duration of the work appointment.

Employees cease to accrue sick time once they have a balance of 40 hours. Accruals resume when sick time is taken and the balance falls below 40 hours. Employees may carry up to 40 hours of unused accrued sick time into their next anniversary year. Accrued but unused sick time is not paid out upon termination of employment, except as provided for benefits-eligible support staff who retire Section 4.3.5, section on Payment of Accrued Sick Time at Retirement for Certain Support Staff, or as may be required in applicable collective bargaining agreements.

4.3.8.2 Restoration of Sick Leave Balance upon Re-Employment

Non-benefits eligible employees who terminate their employment and are re-hired by MIT within one year of their last day of work are given credit for time worked for purposes of the 90-day vesting period. (Note that there is no waiting period for use of sick time for benefits-eligible employees.)

In addition, any employee (whether eligible for MIT benefits or not) who terminates employment at MIT and is rehired will have any unused sick leave balance from the state-mandated earned sick time (that is, up to 40 hours) restored in the following manner:

  • Break in service of up to four months: an employee's balance of accrued unused sick leave is restored.
  • Break in service between four to 12 months, an employee's balance of accrued unused sick leave is restored only if that balance equals or exceeds 10 hours.

If the break in service is over 12 months, there is no restoration of any prior sick leave balance.

4.3.8.3 Use of Earned Sick Time

Accrued sick time under the statute may be used only for the following purposes:

  • The employee's own illness or medical and dental appointments
  • The illness of a member of the employee's family or a medical or dental appointment for such a family member
  • During a leave related to domestic violence, as specified in Policies and Procedures Section 7.5.7, Leaves of Absence for Victims of Domestic Violence.

For purpose of Massachusetts earned sick leave use, family member includes the employee's child, spouse or domestic partner, parent, parent of spouse or domestic partner, or other member of the employee's household. Note that this definition differs slightly from that for other MIT sick and serious illness leaves.

The smallest amount of sick leave that can be used may be restricted to one hour for each instance of sick leave. For any leave longer than one hour, sick leave may be taken in 15 minute increments. Employees and managers may agree that an employee can make up any used sick hours at a time that is mutually agreeable.

Sick time is paid at the employee's regular pay rate, and on the same schedule as regular wages are paid.

State earned sick leave used runs concurrently with any time off that the employee is entitled to under other MIT sick leave policies, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, the Small Necessities Leave Act, the Massachusetts Domestic Violence Leave Act, and any other federal or state leave law that provides for concurrent use of leave.

4.3.8.4 Notice of Absence and Recording of Sick Time for MA Earned Sick Time

The requirements for notification to the supervisor (Section 4.3.4.1) and for recording sick leave used are the same as apply to benefits-eligible staff and are stated at Section 4.3.4.1 (notification) and Section 4.3.4.2 (recording of time used).

An employee may request to see the records of his or her earned sick time accrual under the statute and use over a period of three years, and the Institute will provide such copies within 10 business days or, at the employee's request, will allow the employee to inspect the records.

4.3.8.5 Documentation of Absence

Employees may be required to provide a written verification that they have used the Sick Time for the purposes specified in Section 4.3.8.3.

In addition, MIT may require written documentation from a health care provider for Sick Time that:

  • Exceeds 24 consecutively scheduled work hours or exceeds three consecutive days on which the employee was scheduled to work
  • Occurs within two weeks of the employee's final scheduled day of work before termination of employment (except not for temporary workers)
  • Occurs after four unforeseeable and undocumented absences within a three-month period

For instances of domestic violence leave, MIT may require documentation as specified in Policies & Procedures Section 7.5.8.3, Documentation.

For this Section 4.3.8 only, a health care provider includes doctors, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists, nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, and physician assistants. The Institute will not require that the nature of the illness or details about domestic violence be explained for the sick leave covered under this section.

Documentation provided must be submitted within seven days after using earned sick time, except in unusual circumstances. If an employee fails to comply with the documentation requirements without reasonable justification, MIT may recoup the sum paid for earned sick time from future pay, as an overpayment. The employee will be informed before any such recoupment is made. In addition, future use of an equivalent number of sick time hours may be denied until documentation is provided.

4.3.8.6 No Retaliation or Interference

Employees who use accrued sick time covered under this Section 4.3.7 will not be subject to negative evaluation, discipline, or adverse job actions because they used this sick time, as long as they meet the requirements for giving notice, recording the sick leave used, and providing documentation (when required). Similarly, employees will not be retaliated against for exercising or attempting to exercise rights under this Section 4.3.8.

If an employee is exhibiting a clear pattern of taking sick leave on days just before or after a weekend, vacation, or holiday, the employee may be subject to discipline, unless he or she provides verification that the time was used for a legitimate purpose. If an employee is committing fraud or abuse by engaging in an activity that is not consistent with the legitimate purposes of earned sick time, the employee may also be subject to discipline.

4.3.8.7 Other Restrictions on Use of Earned Sick Time

The Institute may impose other restrictions on the use or accrual of sick leave that are permitted under Massachusetts state law.

4.3.8.8 Employees Not Working in Massachusetts

This policy does not apply to employees whose primary place of work is outside of Massachusetts. If an employee's primary place of work is in a state that has a paid sick leave policy, MIT will comply with the provisions of that state's law.