Information regarding sick leave can be found on the Office of Faculty Affairs website.

In Summary:

  • Full-time tenure-track faculty accrue sick leave at the rate of 11 days for each academic year, or 5.5 days for each semester.
  • Accrual is pro-rated for appointments that are less than full-time. For example. a 50% appointment will earn 2.75 days of accruals per term, or 5.5 days for the academic year.
  • No sick leave is accrued while on periods of leave without pay.
  • Sick leave is neither accrued nor available to be used during summer months for 9-month faculty.
  • Sick leave is used when faculty are sick and unable to perform their usual duties; sick leave may not be used for purpose of "buying out" teaching or to take the place of teaching duties for any reason other than sickness.
  • There is no specific policy covering periods of short illness; generally speaking, faculty cover for one another out of colleagueship.
    • Whenever possible, faculty members should plan ahead with the department chair for classroom coverage. 
    • There certainly are times when a faculty member suddenly falls ill and occasionally notes are posted on classroom doors that a course has been cancelled for the day due to illness. Generally, however, the course is covered by other faculty members until the chair is able to come to an agreement with the associate dean regarding the alternate coverage and salary has been negotiated using the teaching plan.
  • Normally when a faculty member is ill, a 100% sick leave is taken. It may be for one week, one semester or longer. Partial sick leave equally distributed across teaching, research, and service may be granted at the Dean’s discretion. Family Medical Leave Act forms and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) form also are required to be completed.
  • Tenure-track faculty who need to take an extended sick leave, and who have not yet been tenured, may request that their tenure clock be revised, extending by one year the time until comprehensive and promotion/tenure reviews. 
    • This request should be made at the time sick leave is requested.
  • Once accrued sick leave has been exhausted*, faculty enrolled in the Short-Term Disability (STD) program through CU insurance may go on STD. 
    • Paraphrasing information in the "Faculty and Exempt Professional Benefits Plans," STD begins on the 30th day of disability or after sick leave is exhausted, whichever is later. 
    • Benefits are paid until recovery, or until the end of the 26th week, whichever occurs first. 
  • Faculty members are automatically enrolled into the University’s Long-Term Disability (LTD) plan after 1 year of benefit eligibility.
    • LTD benefits (60% of salary, not to exceed $5,500 per month (less income from other sources) are payable either on the first of the month following 180 days of continuous disability, or after all sick leave is exhausted, whichever is later.
  • If a faculty member expects to need either STD or LTD, they should contact Employee Services at 303-860-4200 as soon as possible.
  • Nine-month tenure, tenure-track faculty, are not paid for any portion of unused sick leave remaining at retirement or at the time of resignation.
  • The Family Medical Leave Act runs concurrent to parental leave, which is an unpaid form of job protection. Therefore, employees requesting parental leave, must also complete Family Medical Leave forms.
    • In addition to other eligible reasons which are not included here, Family Medical Leave may be taken by eligible employees for the following medical reasons:
      • The birth and care of a newborn child;
      • The placement and care of a child from adoption or foster care;
      • Care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; and
      • The employee’s own serious health condition.
    • Officers and professional exempt staff, 9-month and 12-month faculty, and research faculty may receive up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of unpaid Family Medical Leave during a 12-month period, so long as they have been employed by the University for at least 12 months (employment for an academic year fulfills the 12-month requirement) and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the most recent 12-month period.
    • Eligibility is calculated based upon a rolling 12-month period that begins with the end date of the most recent FMLA approval and moves backwards over 12 months.

If Sick Leave is Exhausted

Colleagues new to CU may confront a serious illness of a family member, a dependent or an illness themselves that make it impossible to fulfill all aspects of their contract. Faculty are encouraged to sign up for short-term disability during open enrollment to guard against this possibility. In some cases, when short-term disability insurance was not purchased and they do not qualify for family leave, the faculty member will deplete their sick leave and be without pay before the end of the semester. In cases where there is no short-term disability and their sick leave is exhausted, the College will help compensate the faculty member for the remaining work that is performed. For example, if the faculty cannot meet classes but can continue research and service, the College will adjust the contract to pay for research and service at 60% of the faculty’s base pay. The faculty member can only take advantage of this program for one semester during their career at CU.

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Procedures for Requesting Sick Leave

Faculty members applying for Sick Leave should do the following:

  • Contact the FMLA coordinators at to initiate the application process for Family Medical Leave Act coverage. The FMLA coordinators will guide the faculty member on all documentation required for FMLA coverage (if applicable).
    • Additional information on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be found on the Human Relations website.
    • The FMLA Coordinators will respond to your inquiry and will CC the A&S Office of Faculty Affairs.
    • A&S Faculty Affairs Coordinators will calculate your sick leave accrual. Tenure | Tenure Track: If request is for a period of time over and above one semester at full pay, the calculation of accrued sick leave balance is needed.
  • The Office of Faculty Affairs requires the submission of a Leave of Absence (LOA) request in addition to the FML documentation that Central HR has requested. Our office will fill out this request on your behalf. We will send you a copy of your sick accrual and request the following information:
    • Chair’s name and email address (if rostered to more than one department, information for both chairs is required);
    • Director’s name and email address (if rostered in an institute or museum); and
    • Dates of leave request (either an entire semester or specific dates during a semester).
  • Faculty with split appointments MUST submit a leave of absence request from all units.
  • College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Affairs Coordinator reviews the submitted information and submits the Parental Leave of Absence Request for completion via OFA’s Website.
  • The form is routed to the faculty member, chair(s)/Director(s), Dean(s), and the Office of Faculty Affairs for signatures.
  • A copy of the final, approved request is submitted by the power form to the following:
    • Unit(s);
    • College of Arts and Sciences' Human Resources Service Center (HRSC) Coordinators; and
    • Robert Clark if unpaid or exhausted sick leave.

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