4-35: Leave – Policy

Policy Overview

This policy establishes and describes leave from work for Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) employees. It defines types of leave away from work, criteria and eligibility.

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to all employees regardless of status or full- or part-time schedule.

Policy Statement

SFCC provides various types of leave of absence for employees to attend to personal and professional obligations. Regular status employees are eligible for leave benefits as described. Employees, including adjunct faculty members and temporary/occasional employees, may not be eligible for benefits as described unless otherwise stated. Leave must be approved by employee’s supervisor in accordance with current process and procedure.


  1. Paid Leave Time that an employee is not working but is paid by the College. Payment may be full payment of salary or partial payment. Examples include Administrative Leave, Jury Duty, Public Board or Commission Leave, Voting Leave and Military Leave.
  2. Unpaid Leave or Leave without Pay Time the employee is not working and is not paid. Examples include leave for personal reasons, professional development or for medical leave after all sick leave, annual leave and compensatory leave is exhausted.

Policy Process

A. Leave with Pay
Regular and term employees are eligible to apply for Leave with Pay. Temporary, occasional, and on-call employees are not eligible.

1. Administrative Leave or Campus Closures. When the College is declared closed by the President (i. e., cases of inclement weather, national emergency, etc.) those employees required to work during the specific time period that has been declared as closed shall be granted compensatory time off at the straight-time rate unless the employee qualifies for overtime pay (Policy 4-23 Holidays and Campus Closures).

2. Jury duty. When an employee has been summoned for appearance for jury duty qualification, or for duty as a witness in a legal proceeding (other than as plaintiff or defendant), they shall be granted time off with pay. Employees are required to present, to their supervisor, documentary evidence of the summons and shall submit the monies received from the court for service to the College Payroll Office in order to receive Leave with Pay. Employees summoned are required to return to their work location while temporarily excused from attendance at court unless it is not practical because of the short period remaining between the time employees are excused from court and the end of their scheduled working time.

3. Public Board or Commission Leave. Employees who have been appointed or elected as members of a legally constituted city, county, state, or federal board or commission are entitled to leave with pay when requested to be absent from their employment in order to attend meetings or transact business for those boards or commissions, provided that such services do not hamper the performance of their duties at the College. No more than two days a month are allowed for such leave without prior approval from the President. Such leave is not cumulative.

4. Voting Leave. Employees whose work day begins less than two hours subsequent to the time of opening of the polls or ends less than three hours prior to the time of closing of the polls are allowed up to two hours with pay to vote. The employee must consult with their supervisor as to when the employee can take the two hours off.

5. Military Leave. Employees who are members of the National Guard, Air National Guard or any organized unit of the Armed Forces of the United States shall be entitled to be paid military leave for a period not to exceed 15 work days in each Federal fiscal year, in addition to other authorized paid leave. Military leave may be granted for periods in excess of 15 workdays in each Federal fiscal year; however, such leave shall be without pay. In addition, SFCC complies with the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and grants unpaid leave and job and benefits protections in accordance therewith.

6. Earned Educational Leave (EEL). The College may grant full-time Regular status employees EEL to attend classes at SFCC or another accredited institution in accordance with the following conditions:.

a. EEL may be granted on the basis of time served, as follows:

i. 0 – 1 year: Not eligible for EEL.
ii. 1 – 7 years: 3 hours per week EEL.
iii. 8+ years: 4 hours per week EEL.

b. EEL that is granted for accredited educational institutions other than SFCC, must be for classes in a degree declared program;
c. EEL cannot be taken during the same week that Employee Health Promotion 90-minutes release time are taken.
d. EEL must be requested using the SFCC form provided for this purpose by the Office of Human Resources;
e. EEL is subject to the approval of the employee’s supervisor and/or dean and is maintained in the Office of Human Resources.
f. Employee must provide evidence of successful completion of the external degree declared course to the Office of Human Resources. If the course is not successfully completed, the total number of hours extended under the EEL will be deducted from the employee’s annual leave.

B. Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

1. The supervisor may grant leave without pay for no more than three consecutive days; otherwise, the President’s approval is required.

2. Benefits such as annual leave, sick leave, and paid holidays are not recognized or accrued while on LWOP. Employees on LWOP are eligible to continue their medical/dental coverage by paying their portion of the premium.

3. An employee may use LWOP only after all sick leave, compensatory leave and annual leave is exhausted. Employees must use annual leave and compensatory leave once sick leave is exhausted.

4. Medical LWOP employees meeting the worked time and service requirements are eligible to apply for LWOP for the employee’s own medical or health reasons or that of an employee’s family member in compliance with Policy 4-15 Family and Medical Leave Act. Employees who are eligible for Family Medical Leave must apply for Family Medical Leave, not LWOP, for medical or health reasons.

5. Professional Development LWOP. Regular status employees with three or more years of service are eligible to apply for Leave without Pay for professional development reasons.

a. Leave without pay for a professional development reason is not granted to employees who want to accept a temporary teaching or administrative position at another institution or agency.
b. A 12-month maximum period may be granted for travel, study, obtaining an advanced degree or other endeavors that contribute to improve professional competence.
6. Personal LWOP employees may be granted any other personal request for leave without pay at the discretion of the President.

C. Reinstatement from LWOP

LWOP is granted with the expectation of reinstatement to the employee’s previous position or an equivalent position within the College when reasonable. During the leave of absence, however, the College may attempt to fill the employee’s position with a temporary employee, but reserves the right to eliminate the position, leave the position unfilled, or fill it with a regular employee as approved by the President. If the employee’s previous position is no longer available for any reason or the employee is unable to perform the essential functions of the employee’s previous position, the College will try to place the employee in a similar available position or if there is no similar available position and the employee refuses any other position offered to the employee for which the employee is qualified, the College has no further reinstatement obligation. The employee’s employment will terminate. Reinstatement following FMLA leave is addressed in Policy 4-15 Family and Medical Leave Act, Employee Restoration to Position.

D. Sick Leave

1. Paid sick leave is a benefit provided by the College for purposes consistent with this definition and is not to be used as earned annual leave. The College recognizes that employees or their family members may, from time to time, be sick or injured, and that time off with pay should be provided to employees during those periods.

2. Eligibility: Only regular and term status employees who work 20 hours or more a week are eligible for sick leave. Temporary, occasional, on-call, and adjunct faculty employees do not accrue sick leave.

3. Use of Sick Leave: The following are the conditions under which sick leave may be used:

a. Personal sickness, medical appointments, injury (including disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, and other related medical conditions) or sickness, injury, or death in an employee’s family. A member of the immediate family includes the following: spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, brother, and/or sister.
b. Quarantine of employee’s household.
c. When an employee, who has been on full-time sick leave, returns to work on a part-time basis while recovering from the sickness or injury in compliance with Policy 4-15 FMLA .
d. To allow an employee to receive compensation in excess of Workers’ Compensation Pay, not to exceed 100 percent of employee’s regular compensation, when that employee has been approved for Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Compensation pays two-thirds of the employee’s gross pay up to a maximum established by law after employee has been out of work for one week following injury (Policy 4-47 Workers Compensation).

4. Accrued Sick Leave

a. Sick leave is earned during actual time worked, during paid sick leave, annual leave, holidays, and paid leaves of absence and begins accruing from the first day of employment.
b. Sick leave is not earned during unpaid leaves of absence.
c. New employees may request an advance of up to six days of sick leave during the employee’s probationary period, if needed. However, if the six days of sick leave are used and the employee leaves before the probationary period is completed, the employee must repay the unearned portion of the advanced sick leave.
d. Temporary employees, who become regular or term employees and who work 20 hours or more begin earning sick leave on the day they become regular or term employees.

5. Sick Leave Accrual Rates: Regular and term employees and eligible faculty accrue sick leave according to the following:

a. Full-time employees accrue sick leave monthly for a total of 96 hours per year.
b. Part-time employees earn hours in direct proportion to the hours worked.

6. Payment for Sick Leave:

a. Payment to an employee on approved sick leave is made at the employee’s current straight-time rate of pay for the time lost from the employee’s regularly scheduled work period. Conversion of sick leave to cash is not permitted and accrued sick leave is not payable upon termination.
b. If a holiday or administrative leave falls during the time an employee is on sick leave, the holiday or administrative leave is charged as a holiday and not as sick leave.

7. Time Charges: Time charged to sick leave may not exceed the employee’s accruals, except for advanced sick leave. Sick leave is approved in no less than half-hour increments.

a. An employee who has exhausted all of their sick leave is required to charge absences due to sickness to accrued annual leave and/or compensatory leave before taking Leave without Pay. Absences due to sickness are automatically charged to earned annual leave and/or compensatory leave after accrued sick leave has been exhausted.
b. The College reserves the right to require at any time a Physician’s Statement verifying that the employee is physically able or unable to return to work, and any restrictions.
c. Any illness that occurs during an employee’s annual leave may be charged to sick leave. In this instance, a Physician’s Statement verifying the period of illness may be required.

8. Reinstatement of Earned Sick Leave:

a. Unused earned sick leave, as of the date of termination, is reinstated for employees who are rehired as regular or term status within one year.
b. Unused earned sick leave, as of the start date of an approved leave of absence, is reinstated if an employee is reinstated within one year from the commencement of the leave of absence excluding a balance due to donated leave.
c. For sick-leave purposes, employees rehired or reinstated after expiration of one year are considered new hires and have no accumulated earned sick leave available; however, if needed, the employee may request advance sick leave up to six days.

9. Bereavement

SFCC employees may use their accrued leave (sick or annual) to provide a time for mourning after the loss of an immediate family member.

10. Family Medical Leave

To be eligible for leave under Family Medical Leave Act, an employee must have been employed by the College for at least 12 months and must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12-month period (Policy 4-15 Family Medical Leave).

E. Compensatory Time

1. Compensatory time is time off granted for work performed in excess of 40 hours in a standard work week by an employee who is non-exempt.

2. Authorization: Compensatory time earned must be authorized by the appropriate supervisor. Compensatory time earned must be approved by the supervisor in advance and may be provided for special projects, extensive meetings, or emergency work situations requiring work beyond a 40-hour workweek.

3. Support staff (i.e., non-exempt employees) may be granted compensatory time under the following conditions:

a. Time off in lieu of overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times the number of overtime hours worked up to a maximum of 40  compensatory time-off hours annually.
b. Time charged to annual leave, sick leave, and holidays is not considered straight-time worked for purposes of computing compensatory time.
c. Compensatory time may not be accrued in increments of less than one hour.
d. Compensatory time may be accrued up to a maximum of 40 hours. Supervisors are not authorized to allow employees to work overtime if the employee has accrued 40 hours of compensatory time. Only 40 hours may be carried over into the next fiscal year as authorized by the Vice President of Finance/Chief Financial Officer.
e. Compensatory time off must be used within 30 days from the date accrued. If this is not possible, the employee will be paid for the compensatory time.

F. Annual Leave

1. Annual leave (time off with pay) provides employees an opportunity to relax for an extended period and return to the job with renewed interest and vitality. The College, therefore, encourages its employees to take annual leave (vacation) each year with at least one annual leave period of one calendar week in duration.

2. Eligibility: Only regular and term employees who work 20 hours or more per week are eligible for annual leave. Temporary, occasional, and on-call employees, faculty on nine-month work contracts, and any other such employees as specifically stated in their employment contract do not earn annual leave.

3. Earned Annual Leave:

a. Annual leave begins to accrue on the first day of employment and is earned during actual time worked and during paid sick leave, annual leave, holidays, and paid leaves of absence.
b. Annual leave is not earned during unpaid leaves of absence.
c. Temporary employees who become regular or term and who work 20 or more hours a week, begin earning annual leave on the day they become regular or term employees.
d. An employee who has given notice of their intention to terminate is not entitled to vacation leave that would extend the termination date beyond the last day actually worked, nor shall an employee’s term date be extended as a result of paid holidays or paid administrative leave. The effective date of termination is the last day worked, and the employee shall be paid for unused annual leave.

4. Accrual for Regular and Term Staff (exempt and non-exempt employees): Regular and term staff accrue annual leave according to the following:

a. Full-time employees earn 13.33 hours per month for a total of 160 hours per year. Other eligible employees earn annual leave hours in direct proportion to the hours worked.
b. Full-time regular and term employees may carry over 240 hours of annual leave accrued each year and part-time employees may carry over a maximum hours in direct proportion to the hours worked (example 20 hour part-time employee may carry over a maximum of 120 hours each year). Hours in excess of 240 hours will be forfeited by the employee if not used by August 31 of each year. The President, at their discretion, may grant up to 30 days extension beyond August 31 to use annual leave upon employee’s written request to the Office of Human Resources. Please see Governing Board Resolution Extending Deadline to Use Annual Leave.
c. When an annual leave period includes a paid holiday or administrative leave period, the time is not charged as annual leave.

5. Scheduling Annual Leave:

a. Employees are eligible to apply to take annual leave as it is accumulated. Leave taken that exceeds accruals is leave without pay and must be approved by the employee’s supervisor.
b. Except for emergency situations, employees are required to request leave at least 48 hours in advance of the leave time by submitting an appropriate Leave Request form to their supervisor.
c. The College normally attempts to accept the employee’s request for annual leave; however, approvals are subject to priority needs of the College being met first.
d. Annual leave may be granted when an employee has exhausted sick-leave benefits.
e. Annual leave is allowable in no less than half-hour increments.
f. Annual leave is subject to the approval of the employee’s immediate supervisor, and deviation from request-for-leave procedures may result in the denial of the leave request. Exceptions to annual-leave request procedures must be approved by the Office of Human Resources.

6. Donation of Annual Leave: Regular or term employees are eligible to participate in donation of annual leave under the following conditions.

a. Employees may donate annual leave to another employee for a medical emergency with approval from the Office of Human Resources and in compliance with Policy 4-15 Family Medical Leave.
b. The recipient of donated annual leave may not use the leave until first exhausting all accrued annual and sick leave and compensatory time.
c. Any extra donated annual leave shall revert to the employees who donated the leave on a prorated basis when the medical emergency ends.

7. Payment for Accrued Annual Leave: Upon termination, employees eligible for annual leave are paid for unused annual leave based on the employee’s straight-time pay rate.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Executive Director for Human Resources and the Office of Human Resources, shall be responsible in enforcing Human Resources procedures and policies. The Office of Human Resources shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.



Please see Governing Board Resolution Extending Deadline to Use Annual Leave.

SFCC Governing Board approved: 11/30/00
Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 8/22/03
Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 9/24/09
Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 5/11/10
Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 7/29/10
Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 12/16/14

Associated Procedures