Shared Benefits (Sick Leave) for Academic Staff

A sick leave pool has been established to provide eligible academic staff members who have exhausted all accumulated sick leave with the opportunity to receive additional sick leave days when experiencing a serious illness or injury, or when a disability claim is pending before the State Universities Retirement System (SURS).

Effective January 1, 1994, a shared benefits (sick leave) policy was established to provide a benefits enhancement for University employees. This policy allows employees to share accumulated sick leave days with co-workers suffering from serious illnesses or injuries.

A central sick leave pool has been established for eligible faculty and academic professional staff utilizing donations of accumulated sick leave days. Donations of sick leave days will be accepted at any time.

Eligibility to Donate to the Sick Leave Pool

Any academic staff member earning cumulative sick leave who has an accumulated sick leave balance of at least 11 days is eligible to donate to the sick leave pool. Cumulative sick leave is earned by faculty and academic professional employees who are appointed for at least 50 percent time to a position for which service is expected to be rendered for at least nine continuous months, with the exception of postdoctoral research associates, medical residents, graduate assistants, and annuitants in SURS or the Federal Retirement System. If an academic staff member does not have a balance of 11 days of cumulative sick leave, he/she may participate in the pool if 1) he/she has a combination of at least 11 days of vacation and sick leave accrued; or 2) if an employee has no sick leave accrued but has at least 11 days of vacation accrued.

An eligible academic staff member may voluntarily transfer accrued cumulative sick leave days from his/her accrued balance to the sick leave pool. Donations to the pool must be in one day increments (no partial days). The transfer of days both to and from the pool will be in whole days regardless of the employee’s appointment percentage. No transfer of funds will occur, but the contributing academic staff member’s cumulative sick leave or vacation balance will be reduced by the number of days contributed.

The donating academic staff member must have a minimum of 11 accrued days of sick leave remaining for his/her personal use. Once sick leave or vacation has been donated to the pool, it cannot be restored to the donating employee. Academic staff may not designate a particular employee to receive their donated leave. Any academic staff member who wishes to participate must complete the Shared Benefits Donation of Leave Form in NESSiE indicating the number of days to be donated. Academic staff will be given the opportunity to donate accrued cumulative sick leave or vacation to the pool at any time.

Eligibility to Apply for Sick Leave from the Pool

To be eligible to use sick leave from the pool, an academic staff member must have donated at least one full day of accrued sick leave to the pool and must exhaust all cumulative sick leave balances before leave from the pool may be used. Employees that have participated in the pool by using a combination of vacation and sick leave or vacation only must exhaust all accumulated sick leave and vacation.

Eligible use would be for catastrophic illness or injury of the employee. Catastrophic injury or illness is defined as a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the mental or physical health of the employee which forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned and to lose compensation. The catastrophic illness or injury must require the services of a physician.

Written application to withdraw sick leave time from the pool may be made within five days of exhausting all cumulative sick leave. The Office of Academic Human Resources will administer the pool which will include deciding the amount, if any, of pool leave granted for each catastrophic illness or injury. Academic Human Resources will render a decision to the academic employee within five working days after receipt of the application. The amount approved cannot exceed one-third of the balance in the pool or 45 working days, whichever is less. An academic staff member may apply for leave from the pool once per academic appointment year. Employees may access the form on-line Shared Benefits Withdrawal of Leave Application Form in NESSiE.

Academic staff members who use leave from the pool are not required to pay it back. Any balance of days not required for the illness will remain the property of the sick leave pool. The estate of a deceased employee is not entitled to payment for unused pool leave. Nor will any employee who separates from employment be entitled to payment. Any unused balance of sick leave in such instances returns to the pool. Pool leave may be used within the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave policy.


In the event that an academic staff member applying for sick leave from the pool is denied benefits by the Office of Academic Human Resources, the applicant may appeal the decision to a three person committee. For faculty and academic professional employees, the committee will be composed of the Director of Academic Human Resources or his/her designees, the faculty Advisory Committee chair or his/her designee, and the Council of Academic Professionals chair or his/her designee. A decision will be rendered within five working days of the date of the appeal.

Questions regarding the Shared Benefits (Sick Leave) policy or implementation for academic staff should be addressed to Illinois Human Resources. They can be reached via phone at (217) 333-2137, or email at