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Index > Operations Policies > Sick Time Policy

Sick Time Policy


RISD sick time, which at minimum complies with the Rhode lsland Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act, effective on July 1, 2018, is intended to provide paid time off from work due to illness, non-work-related injury, or for other reasons covered under the Act. This policy sets forth the eligibility requirements and entitlements based on the position type and other pertinent factors.


This policy covers all student and non-student employees on RISD's payroll (full- and part-time regular staff, temporary and on-call employees, full-time and part-time faculty, and CE Instructors).

Policy Statement

Sick time is paid time off for illness for one’s self or family member or for a non-work-related injury, or for reasons related to the impacts of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and for certain closures due to a public health emergency. The amount of the sick time allotment is determined by several factors which include employment type, the number of scheduled weekly hours in Workday associated with the employee’s primary position, and the requirements of the RI Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act.


Scheduled Annual Hours – the number of hours budgeted for a position on an annual basis.

Scheduled Weekly Hours – the number of hours budgeted for a position on an annual basis divided by the number of weeks per year associated with that position. Most positions are 12-month positions. Scheduled weekly hours for partial-year positions are determined based on the number of weeks of coverage.

Regular Schedule – the employee’s predictable weekly schedule. Recognizing there are occasional variances, every employee should have a regular schedule.

Partial year – refers to positions that are less than 12 full months.

Dependent – for the purpose of this policy, dependent is defined as: child (including a court-appointed guardianship relationship).

Family Member – child, parents, spouse/domestic partner, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, care recipient or member of their household.

A "member of the employee's household" – defined as a person who resides at the same physical address as the employee or a person who is claimed as a dependent by the employee for federal income tax purposes.

Primary Position – the position in which the majority of budget hours are committed. Other factors may include the position which is ongoing and not temporary in nature, and the position in which the employee's performance is evaluated.


Use of Leave
Employees may use paid sick time for the following reasons:

  1. An employee's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; an employee's need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; an employee's need for preventive medical care;
  2. Care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; care of a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; care of a family member who needs preventive medical care;
  3. Closure of the employee's place of business by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or an employee's need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency, or care for oneself or a family member when it has been determined by the health authorities having jurisdiction or by a healthcare provider that the employee's or family member's presence in the community may jeopardize the health of others because of their exposure to a communicable disease, whether or not the employee or family member has actually contracted the communicable disease; or
  4. Time off needed when the employee or a member of the employee's family is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

With the exception of apprentices, and interns as defined under FLSA section 3(g), all RISD employees, including full-time, part-time, student, temporary, and on-call employees are eligible for paid sick and safe leave.

Annual Allotment/Accrual
Staff in regular and term positions receive a balance of sick time hours each year at the start of the fiscal year, including the year of hire. Temporary, on call and student employees earn sick time hours based on hours worked. Full- and part-time faculty and CE Instructors may be covered with a substitute on a short-term basis to accommodate an employee's sick time off needs.

Full-time Staff
Full-time regular and term appointed staff receive an annual allotment of sick leave equal to 8 days of sick time based on their scheduled weekly hours.

Part-time and Partial-Year Staff
Part-time regular and term appointed staff receive an allotment of sick time that is prorated based on the full time equivalent (FTE) of their position having an allotment of not less than 40 hours annually. For example, an employee who works 4 hours per day, 5 days per week (50% FTE) will have a sick time allotment of 40 hours per year.

Regular and term appointed staff who hold positions of less than 12 months per year do not receive sick time allotment during periods in which the employee does not work. For example, an employee who works 35 hour per week and who works a partial-year (44 weeks) will have a sick time allotment of 47.38 hours or 8 days based on a 5.92 hours per day (calculated by taking the scheduled annual hours divided by 52 weeks to arrive at the prorated scheduled weekly hours divided by 5 – the value of a day). Non-temporary part-time and partial year staff with scheduled weekly hours of less than 25/week and 1300 annually will have a minimum allotment of 40 hours annually.

Temporary, On-call Staff and Students
Temporary, on-call staff and student workers earn sick time based on hours worked accruing .0286 for every hour paid, the equivalent of 1 hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked.

Faculty and CE Instructors
Full-time and part-time faculty teaching schedules may be covered with a substitute on a short-term basis, to accommodate the faculty member's sick time needs. CE instructors may alter their schedule on a short-term basis or be covered by a substitute on a long-term basis, based on the length of the assignment, in accordance with department policies. Faculty and CE Instructors are afforded all of the protections of the Rhode Island Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act.

Generally, sick time accrual is limited to hours worked in the employee's primary position. In those instances when the employee's only positions are temporary in nature, not regular or term appointed positions, sick time is accrued on all hours worked to a maximum of 40 hours per year.


Recording of Time
For the purposes of this policy, the value of a day is calculated based on the employee’s scheduled weekly hours in the system divided by 5. For example, if a part-time employees’ standard weekly hours are 20, when divided by 5, the employee’s standard workday is 4 hours. The standard workday hours are defaulted in the ‘Time Off’ worklet (icon on the Workday home page) when requesting/reporting sick time. The employee should change the hours to reflect their actual scheduled hours for that day. See below.

Non-Exempt (Hourly Paid) Employees
Non-exempt employees record sick time in Workday in hours based on the number of hours worked when considering their regular schedule (typically 7 or 8 hours for a full-time employee). Employees should enter the number of hours in accordance with their regular schedule. For example, an employee who works four (4) 10-hour days Monday – Thursday should enter 10 hours when taking a sick day Monday through Thursday and zero hours on Friday since no scheduled hours are expected on Friday.

Exempt (Salary Paid) Employees
For exempt employees, the minimum increment for reducing paid time off (sick) balances is half days. Full-time exempt staff who are absent for 3.5 or more hours in a workday, but less than a whole day, must record 3.5 hours. Exempt employees who take off less than 3.5 hours are expected to make up the time as necessary to ensure that the duties of the position are fully met. Part-time exempt employees who are absent for part of their regular workday must record absences using the same method. For example, a part-time exempt employee works 4 hours on Monday. If that employee is absent for more than 2 hours on Monday, but less than a whole day, the employee must record 2 hours. Part-time exempt employees who take off less than half of their scheduled time for that day are expected to make up the time such that the duties of the position are fully met.


  • Non-exempt employees may take sick leave in whole days or smaller increments in accordance with RISD's time-keeping systems.
  • Exempt employees may take sick leave in whole or half day increments.
  • Newly hired regular and term employees receive the sick time allotment immediately, but generally no sick time may be taken in the first 90 days of employment. This general approach is to support a successful orientation and review (probationary) period.
  • Temporary and On-call employees may use paid sick time after 90 days of employment. PLEASE NOTE: This requirement has been temporarily relaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Students can use accrued sick time as it becomes available.

Regular full-and part-time staff
Any balance of unused sick days less than or equal to a full year’s allotment based on the employee’s scheduled hours and/or status on July 1st will automatically be carried over to the next fiscal year. For example, a full-time regular employee who has a balance of 56 hours/8 days of sick leave will carry over the full balance for a maximum of 112 hours or 16 days of sick leave. Any additional unused sick time above and beyond the carryover cap is forfeited and will not be paid out. Sick time and carry over will be tracked in Workday.

Temporary and On-Call Staff
Temporary and On-call staff and student workers will have their accrued but unused sick time reinstated if they are rehired within 135 days of a separation of employment from RISD.

If the reason for the leave is planned at least 24 hours in advance, the employee must provide notice to their supervisor in advance of the use of the time. In emergencies, notice must be provided as soon as possible and in accordance with departmental policies. RISD will maintain confidentiality for the reason for the leave. Formal requests and approvals of sick time are entered into Workday and the supervisor’s decision (approval or denial) is recorded in Workday.

Employees who are absent for more than 3 consecutive work days will be required to submit a physician’s note or other appropriate documentation (e.g., a quarantine order or a certification that the employee is a victim of domestic violence) directly to Human Resources. Patterns of absence that indicate abuse of the policy can be reason for requiring a medical certification for each absence, requiring a second medical opinion at the College’s expense, and/or taking disciplinary action, including termination of employment.

Employees who request the use of earned sick time within two weeks of their final date of employment with RISD may be required to provide documentation indicating that paid sick leave is necessary and reasonable.

Sick/safe leave cannot be used as an excuse for being late and should be scheduled in a manner to cause the least disruption to the operations in the workplace.

Generally, sick time does not accrue while an employee is on an unpaid leave of absence, except as designated by the specific leave policy, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Employees or their supervisors are encouraged to consult with Human Resources when an extended absence occurs due to illness and/or causes inability to meet the requirements of the job.

Accumulated sick leave has no monetary value at the time of separation and will not be paid out upon termination or resignation.

Temporary and on-call staff and student employees who have a balance of sick leave at time of separation, will have the balance reinstated if they are rehired by RISD within 135 days of their separation.

RISD will not take adverse action against an employee for their use of sick or safe leave as permitted under the law.

Revision history

This policy was last reviewed/modified on: 3/7/2021

Next scheduled review: 3/7/2022


Issuing Office

Human Resources

Responsible Officer

Vice President for Human Resources

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director, Employment