The University of Memphis

Sick Leave and Bereavement Leave


Issued: August 26, 2008
Responsible Official: Vice President for Business & Finance
Responsible Office: Human Resources

Policy Statement

Policy StatementIt is the policy of the University to protect regular employees against loss of earnings due to illness, injury, or incapacity to work; and to provide time off in the event of serious illness or death of specified family members. 



The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for administering the sick and bereavement leave program.





Regular full-time and part-time employees are eligible to accrue sick leave from the date of employment.

Temporary employees are not eligible to accrue sick leave.  Temporary clerical/support and administrative/professional employees subsequently appointed as regular employees with no break in service, are eligible to accrue and shall receive sick leave retroactively as of the date of temporary employment.


Accrual Rates

Regular full-time employees employed on a twelve-month or nine-month basis accrue sick leave at the rate of 7.5 hours per month of actual service.  A regular full-time employee may not earn more than 90 hours of sick leave per year.

Full-time, nine-month academic personnel may accrue sick leave for periods of employment during the summer based on the number of credit hours taught during the summer sessions.

Regular nine-month academic personnel accrue 67.5 hours of sick leave for full-time employment for the full academic year, and no more than 22.5 hours of sick leave for full-time employment during summer sessions.

Accrued hours of sick leave are cumulative for all hours not used.  There is no maximum accumulation.

Eligible employees accrue sick leave after working the major portion of the month, i.e., more than 50%.

Employees otherwise eligible to earn sick leave do not accrue sick leave while on leave without pay.


Part-time Employee Accruals

Regular part-time employees, whether employed on a twelve-month or nine-month basis, accrue sick leave according to the following table.



Twelve-month Employees
Hours Worked per week   

Nine-month Employees   
Semester hours worked  

   Accrual rate

  9-18 hours per week    3 - 5 semester hours    .25 of full- time
 19-26 hours per week    6 - 9 semester hours    .50 of full-time
  27 but less than full-time  10-14 semester hours    .75 of full-time


Use of Sick Leave

Sick leave is applicable to absences due to illness or injury of an employee, including illness or incapacity to work due to pregnancy, medical examinations, and dental appointments.  In addition, sick leave may be used for maternity leave, paternity leave, and serious illness in the immediate family.

If eligible, for qualifying events, an employee also receives protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993.  In those cases, sick leave and FMLA will run concurrently.

When an employee must be absent due to serious illness in the immediate family, sick leave may be granted.  For purposes of this section, immediate family shall include: spouse; children, stepchildren, foster children; parents, step-parents, foster parents and parents-in-law; siblings, and other members of the family who reside within the home of the employee.

Sick leave may not be advanced.

Sick Leave may be used by nine-month academic personnel who becomes ill during a summer session only if the following two conditions are met: 1) the employee has actually commenced employment for the specified term; and 2) a replacement employee must be employed to complete the term.

If an employee is injured in the line of duty as a result of an assault, and is unable to perform regular duties as a result, upon prior approval by the Chancellor, the employee may be retained on the regular payroll for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) days without being required to use any accrued leave. The length of time on the payroll (up to fourteen days) will be based on the attending physician's certification.

When an employee retires under the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, a defined benefit plan, accumulated sick leave counts as creditable service.  Every twenty days of accumulated sick leave is equal to one (1) month of creditable service in this system.


Medical Certification

A medical certification and a release to return to work may be required for any sick leave period.  Sick leave may not be denied when an employee notifies the supervisor or department head of her/his absence and furnishes an acceptable statement from a licensed health care provider authorized by the State to diagnose and treat physical or mental health conditions. With appropriate authorization, a department head or other University official, may require additional medical information or documentation from other physicians or accredited practitioners at University expense.    


Exhaustion of Sick Leave

When the illness, injury or disability of an employee continues beyond the period of accumulated sick leave, the employee shall use any accumulated annual leave for continued absence. However, in a workers' compensation case, an employee may choose to be placed on unpaid leave of absence while receiving lost time pay and retain sick and/or annual leave.

If sick leave is reported after the sick leave balance is exhausted, and the employee has available annual leave, reported leave will automatically be charged as annual leave. When an employee has exhausted all accumulated sick and annual leave, he or she may request to be placed on leave of absence for justifiable and documented reasons.

In addition, the Sick Leave Banks provide emergency sick leave to members of the programs who have suffered an illness, injury, disability or quarantine who have exhausted their personal sick and annual leave. Refer to University policies Faculty Sick Leave Bank and Staff Sick Leave Bank for additional information.


Bereavement Leave

Leave will accrue to an employee who is absent during his/her regularly scheduled work week due to:

(a)  Death of an immediate family member - Employee shall receive up to three (3) paid days of bereavement leave that are not charged to sick or annual leave.  Immediate family shall include spouse; child, step-child, foster child; parent, step-parent, foster parent, parent-in-law; grandparent, grand-child; sibling.  In addition to three days of bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member, sick leave not to exceed two days may also be granted by the department/unit head to accommodate extenuating circumstances, such as travel. (b) Death of other relatives - Sick leave may be granted for a maximum of three regularly scheduled work days due to the death of a daughter/son-in-law; brother/sister-in-law; foster brother/sister; and other members of the family who reside within the home. 


Reporting Usage of LeaveLeave shall be reported on the appropriate leave record (bi-weekly or monthly) exactly as taken.  

Separation of Employees with Accrued Sick Leave

When an employee terminates employment, accumulated sick leave shall not be used as terminal leave, and the employee is not entitled to any lump sum payment for accumulated sick leave. However, if an employee is transferring to another state agency, his or her accumulated sick leave shall be transferred according to Leave Transfer between TBR Institutions and State Agencies. 


Death of Employee with Accumulated Sick LeaveEffective June 3, 1981, the estate or designated beneficiary of an employee who dies in active service, shall be paid for the employee's unused and accrued sick leave in the same manner as the estate of a deceased employee is paid for annual leave.  


How do I find out more information?Please visit the Benefits website at or email us at  


University Policies

Maternity Leave

Paternity Leave

Adoptive Parent Leave

Sick Leave Transfer Between Employees

Faculty and Staff Sick Leave Banks


Tennessee Board of Regents

Sick Leave Policy

Bereavement Leave Policy


Revision Dates

 UM1544 Rev.1 -- updated August 26, 2008
UM1544 - Issued: February 9, 2004 - supercedes procedure number 2D:05:01C

Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyStudent Affairs