University of Michigan
News for faculty, staff and retirees

August 19, 2019

Sick time and PTO policies expanded to allow new uses

April 1, 2019

Sick time and PTO policies expanded to allow new uses

Recent legislation has expanded the university’s sick time and paid time off policies to cover new uses.

The state of Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act of 2018 requires employers to offer paid sick time to eligible employees. While U-M already meets or exceeds most of the requirements, the legislation includes specific circumstances that were not previously identified under university policies.

As of March 29, faculty and staff may request sick time or PTO for purposes relating to domestic violence or sexual assault situations, closure of an individual’s primary worksite or child’s school due to a public health emergency, and to care for a sick grandchild.

The law also extends a new paid sick time benefit to certain temporary and part-time staff.

Eligible staff who do not already receive paid time off will gain access to up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year based on hours worked in the previous year. Eligibility will be reassessed every Jan. 1, or with each new qualifying appointment during the year.

Approximately 570 staff members were recently notified by email that they qualify for the new paid sick time benefit in 2019 based on hours worked in 2018. Like other types of time off, paid sick time will be displayed on an individual’s timesheet and paystub. Eligible staff can report paid sick time using the new time reporting code SPL-Sick Paid Leave.


on 4/01/19 at 8:51 am

Thank you for adding the additional reasons to our sick/PTU guidelines. I am a health system employee with PTO. When HR changed hospital budget employees to the PTO system it was communicated the campus would be switched from their current vac/sick to the PTO system as well.
It has been 10+ years now and wondering if this will ever happen. In my situation I am the only one out of 15 administrators/non-patient care in my division to be on PTO. Recently I compared the PTO system to the sick/vac system for 12 months, both had 10 years of service and both were non-direct touch patient care. Below are the findings:
* Med School staff vacation hours (192) + season days (32) + sick time (120) = 344 hours
* Hospital PTO hours = 256 hours
Recognizable differences in hours available to use.
Type / Hours Med School MM - Health System
Vacation 192 256
Sick 120
Season 32
Total 344 256

Would be interesting to know to the mean and median for sick days used by Medical School staff. In my experiences with Med School staff sick time is used in full or very close to using all days before vacation time.
To have equity between Med School and MM administrative staff without daily patient care would look more like this:
Type / Hours Med School MM - Health System
Vacation 192 256
Sick (if only use 4 days vs. 15) 32
Season (given days) 32
Total 256 256

I understand that sick time does accrue however, seems like most of the time it is used. When will the institution address the differences and make changes for equity among administrative staff in Michigan medicine?

Elizabeth Barber-Bergin
on 4/01/19 at 10:14 am

Laurie Belanger has done an excellent job of summarizing the notable difference between the two time off benefits structures, for Academic vs. Health System. Following is a clear case in point example.

Recently, I was off work following a hip replacement. I had to burn 5 days of PTO before extended sick time kicked in (plus another PTO day, because my surgery was re-scheduled). If I were under the academic time off plan, the 5 days to "Bridge", would have been covered under sick time.

Based on Laurie Belanger's analysis, which I agree with, as a health system employee, when we quantify the amount if "sick" time under the PTO system, I used the whole 32 hours, plus 8 more hours, for one event. Any more inevitable, random days off will not be coming out of my vacation bucket.

With the additional acceptable uses for academic employees to use their sick time, this difference between us vs. them, is even more pronounced. We're all on the same team. Seems like a no-brainer to go to a common compensation system for non-union, non-patient care staff.

Casey Cox
on 4/01/19 at 12:15 pm


I'm seeking some clarity on your comment. If I am reading it correctly, you are a non-exempt employee in an administrative position. It appears that you are proposing that MM non-exempt, non-patient care administrative positions be given an equal PTO structure as the non-exempt admin positions at the university. You wrote that you are seeking " have equity between Med School and MM administrative staff.." Are you seeking to have a comparative PTO program for ALL non-unionized, non-exempt MM employees, or just those in an a non-exempt administration position?

I ask this question because, and I may be wrong, it appears that you are seeking an equal PTO policy for positions like your own, but not for other MM positions that fall under the same PTO policy as you do. I understand what it is that you are frustrated about, but all non-exempt employees have that same frustration with the current policy, not just those in an administration position.
We all want the generous PTO policy that university employees get.

I apologize if I am reading your comment wrong, perhaps you are just using positions like yours for comparison sake only, but this statement: "equity between Med School and MM administrative staff' seems to imply you are seeking equality, but only for some.
For all intents and purposes, there are two categories of employees at MM, exempt and non- exempt; we are all either one or the other. There should be two PTO policies, not a third for non-exempt admin staff.

Again, I apologize if I am reading your comment wrong. I am seeking clarity because your comment does an excellent job of pointing out the PTO policy disparities between MM and university employees, if any of the powers that be give PTO policy equality strong consideration, I would like to see that equality cover all non-exempt employees equally.

Christina Karst
on 4/01/19 at 2:59 pm

As a university employee we do not use our sick time unless we are sick. I have never utilized it in full and don't know anyone who does, as that is frowned upon. I receive 2 weeks PTO. At most people use 1 week of sick time for a total of 3 weeks. Without sick children or anything serious there is no need to use up the time. MM's 5 weeks of PTO sounds better than the 2 weeks university employee's receive. The grass is always greener.

Lori Sherman
on 4/23/19 at 8:15 am

When I worked at the medical school, I received a formal memo for calling off sick. I had to file for FMLA in order to use my sick time. I have always only used sick time for illness or preventative care.

I think your request is a little backwards. Rather than taking time away from campus employees, wouldn't it be more equitable to align the MM plan to the Campus plan? And yes, I'd love to have a lump sum of PTO rather than defined sick/vacation days.

The MM retirement plan was recently adjusted to be the same as for campus employees, so hopefully, this change is being looked at as well.

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