State Universities Civil Service System
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Merit Board Policy Relating to Employee Benefits


WHEREAS the Civil Service Statute provides that "the Merit Board shall have the power and duty . . .

. . . To prescribe the range of compensation for each class or to fix a single rate of compensation for employees in a particular class; and to establish other conditions of employment which an employer and employee representatives have agreed upon as fair and equitable. . . .

[to] . . . take into account the rate of compensation generally paid for similar work in the locality in which the work is to be performed. . . .

. . . To recommend to the institutions and agencies . . . standards for hours of work, holidays, sick leave, overtime compensation and vacation for the purpose of improving conditions of employment . . . and . . . insuring conformity with the prevailing rate principle.";

WHEREAS uniformity in benefits among institutions is desirable, and institutional representatives have expressed concurrence with this principle;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that it is the judgment of the Merit Board that each of the governing boards, institutions, and agencies specified in Section 36e of the Statute should accord fringe benefits to its employees through adoption of the following benefit policies and develop administrative rules and procedures for uniform application of these policies throughout its organization.

  1. HOURS OF WORK

    1. Work Schedules

      The Merit Board may recommend to the institutions and agencies standards for hours of work.

    2. Overtime Compensation

      Consistent with Local, State, and Federal law requirements, employees designated as non-exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) shall be eligible for overtime pay, and will be compensated at time and one-half for all time in a work week in excess of the number of hours of work comprising an established full-time work schedule.

  2. ELIGIBILITY FOR EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

    Except as otherwise indicated in this policy for prevailing wage rate groups, employee benefits will be made available to employees in status appointments. Included in this group will be those in appointments designed to qualify employees for status in the class, e.g., intern, apprentice, and, where appropriate, provisional. Employees in other types of non-status appointments, such as Temporary or Extra Help, will not be extended employee benefits, except as otherwise designated by Executive Order or State/Federal Law. Eligibility for benefits in relation to work, leave, layoff, or absence status shall be determined by each institution or agency.

  3. HOLIDAYS

    1. Employees other than Prevailing Wage Rate Groups

      Eligible employees not in prevailing wage rate groups will be excused with full pay, except for necessary operations, on New Year's Day, Memorial Day (as determined by the Law of the State of Illinois), Independence Day, Labor Day (first Monday in September), Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and on five other holidays designated by the governing board of the institution or agency. These holidays may differ between institutions and agencies but shall be of commemorative or other significance as non-work days (e.g., legal holidays in the State of Illinois). As designated by the governing institutions, a limited number of additional holidays may be designated as appropriate to observe other holidays of significance (e.g., Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday, Good Friday, Veteran’s Day, etc.).

    2. Prevailing Wage Rate Groups

      Eligible employees in prevailing wage rate groups will be excused from work on the holidays of the institution or agency, irrespective of whether the holiday is observed under the appropriate multi-employer area agreement if applicable.

    3. Holiday Work

      In the event that work is required of an employee on any holiday recognized by the employing institution or agency:

      1. Employees in prevailing wage rate groups will be compensated in accordance with the Prevailing Wage Act and/or prevailing practice on those holidays designated in the appropriate multi-employer area agreement or university policy.

    4. Holiday on Nonwork Day

      For employees who normally work a Monday-through-Friday schedule, holidays which fall on a calendar Saturday or Sunday may be observed either on the preceding Friday or the following Sunday; or on another day in the workweek if operational needs so require. Employees who normally work other than a Monday-through-Friday schedule, and who are not scheduled to work on a calendar holiday, will receive, as determined by the Employer, a minimum of either (1) a scheduled work day off within two weeks of the recognized holiday, or (2) an additional day's pay at the regular rate.

  4. PAID LEAVE

    1. Vacation

      1. Each employee who is nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and each employee who is exempt as an executive or administrative employee but who (1) is required to work a fixed shift and (2) receives overtime compensation if required to perform overtime shall earn Vacation at the rate which is shown opposite the employee's service years in Schedule A.

        SCHEDULE A

        Years of Service
        At Least
        Not More Than
        Rate Earned Per Hour of Pay-Status Service (Exclusive of Overtime)
        Approximate Leave Days Earned in One Year
        0 3 .0462 12
        3 6 .0577 15
        6 9 .0692 18
        9 14 .0808 21
        14 .0962 25

      2. Each employee who is (1) an executive, administrative, or professional employee as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act, (2) not provided with a fixed or rigid daily and weekly schedule, and (3) required to discharge duties, the discharge of which usually requires a certain amount of flexibility in such schedule, shall earn Vacation at the rate which is shown opposite the employee's service years in Schedule B.

        SCHEDULE B

        Years of Service
        At Least
        Not More Than
        Rate Earned Per Hour of Pay-Status Service (Exclusive of Overtime)
        Approximate Leave Days Earned in One Year
        0 3 .0962 25
        3 6 .1000 26
        6 9 .1038 27
        9 .1077 28

    2. Paid Leave Provisions

      1. During the initial probationary period, an employees’ use of earned vacation (either days taken or paid days) is permitted, subject to supervisory approval and operational needs. If separation occurs during the probationary period, no penalty is imposed.
      2. Based on mandated changes or compliance with Federal, State, and regulations, such as that contained within the terms of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and as applied to the definition of employees in section IV(A)(1) and (2), Paid Leave, an employer may allow an employee hired prior to the effective date of the mandated change the opportunity to continue earning vacation on the same accrual schedule prior to the mandated change.
      3. An employee may accumulate at the employee's then current accrual rate an amount of leave equal to that earned in two service years but upon reaching this accumulation will cease to earn leave except as the accumulation is reduced. Employees converting from principal administrative positions to a status civil service position may be allowed to transfer balances greater than the two year accumulation maximum.
      4. Each institution shall issue appropriate rules and administrative procedures to assure that within the total amount of Vacation accumulated, and employer operations permitting, periods of vacation shall be planned and scheduled by the institution after taking into account employee preferences.
      5. Where there has been a break in service, the service year shall be computed as though all previous State service which qualified for earning of Vacation benefits is continuous with present service, i.e., service during each separate period of employment, whether institution or other State service, shall be added together to arrive at total service. This provision is effective October 1, 1972. It applies to the future earning rate of eligible employees on the institution's rolls on this effective date as well as to those who enter or reenter institution service after that date.

    3. Sick Leave

      1. An eligible employee shall earn credit for Sick Leave with full pay at the rate of one work day for each month (.0462 per hour for each hour of pay-status service). The amount of leave accumulated at the time when illness or injury begins shall be available in full, and additional leave shall continue to accrue while an employee is using that already accumulated.
      2. There shall be no limit in the amount of Sick Leave which may be accumulated.
      3. An eligible employee may use accumulated Sick Leave for the illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee, employee's children, spouse, civil union partner, same-sex domestic partner, siblings, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, or members of the employee’s household. “Children” include biological, adopted, foster, stepchildren, legal wards, children for which an employee is standing In loco parentis, and children who are members of the employee’s household. “Parent” is defined as a biological parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, or an individual who stood In loco parentis to the employee. Sick Leave may also be used for pregnancy or following the birth or adoption of a child to care for that child, not to exceed 12 weeks. The use of allowable sick leave utilized for those listed above, except an employee, may be limited to an amount of what is accrued over a six month period if so listed in the employer's policy. Additionally, each institution shall reserve the right to require acceptable evidence of disability, illness, or injury.
      4. A former employee who separates in good standing and returns to employment within two years, shall have former accrued Sick Leave restored.

    4. Funeral and/or Bereavement Leave

      1. Approval, with pay, will be granted to an eligible employee for a leave of up to three work days for the death of a member of the employee's immediate family, household, in-laws, and/or grandparents of immediate family; and of one day to attend the funeral of a relative outside the employee's immediate family or household.
      2. Immediate family is defined as: father, mother, sister, brother, spouse, and children. In-laws are defined as: mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law. Additional family members considered “immediate family” may be further determined by each institution.
      3. Relationships existing due to marriage will terminate upon the death or divorce of the relative through whom the marriage relationship exists. Current marital status will be defined in accordance with Illinois State law. Similarly, relationships existing due to a same-sex domestic partnership will end upon termination of the domestic partnership.
      4. An eligible employee shall be entitled to use a maximum of two weeks (ten work days) of unpaid bereavement leave to attend the funeral or alternative to a funeral of a child, make arrangements necessitated by the death of the child, or grieve the death of the child. “Children” include biological, adopted, foster, stepchildren, legal wards, children for which an employee is standing In loco parentis, and children who are members of the employee’s household.
      5. Under the Illinois Child Bereavement Leave Act, employees otherwise eligible for Family and Medical Leave are eligible for an additional seven (7) unpaid days to attend the funeral, or an alternative to a funeral; to make arrangements necessitated by the death of the child; or to grieve the death of the child. Employees may use accrued leave benefits to remain in pay status while taking leave under this Act. The Act does not create a right for an employee to take unpaid leave that exceeds the unpaid leave time available under FMLA; therefore, employees who have exhausted their 12-week FMLA entitlement may not take the additional seven days under this Act. Leave provided under this Act must be used within 60 days after the employee receives notice of the death of his/her child. If an employee suffers the death of more than one child in any 12-month period, the employee is entitled to take up to six weeks of unpaid bereavement leave in the 12-month period.
      6. A designated supervisor may grant additional leave to an employee who cannot, because of special circumstances, return to work at the completion of the allowable funeral leave days. Such leave will be taken without pay, or accrued vacation time may be used.

    5. Jury Duty

      An eligible employee shall be granted a leave of absence without loss of pay when called for Jury Duty service.

    6. Military Leave

      1. Leave of absence with pay shall be granted in accordance with the Military Leave of Absence Act (5 ILCS 325/1) to an eligible employee for military training who is a member of any reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, including the Illinois National Guard. The length of the leave with pay for training will not exceed standards established by federal or state regulations for training activities required to maintain standing in the above military units. During leaves for military training, the employee shall be eligible for compensation and benefit programs in accordance with applicable state and federal regulations.
      2. Leave of absence with pay shall be granted in accordance with the Military Leave of Absence Act (5 ILCS 325/1) and Section 36g of the State Universities Civil Service Act (110 ILCS 70/36g) to an eligible employee who is a member of any reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, including the Illinois National Guard or Illinois State Militia who is mobilized to active duty. During leaves for active duty, the employee shall be eligible for compensation and benefit programs in accordance with applicable state and federal regulations.

    7. Returning from Military Leave

      1. In accordance with provisions of the Servicemen's Employment Tenure Act, the Military Selective Service Act and the Employment and Reemployment Rights of Members of the Uniformed Services Act, an employee returning from leave for military service will be restored to the position of employment which the employee left, with the same increases in status, seniority, and wages that were earned during the term of military service by employees in like positions, or to a position of like seniority, status, and pay, unless the University's circumstances have so changed as to make it impossible or unreasonable to do so, or if the employee's position was temporary. Reemployment of Civil Service employees in provisional appointments will also be subject to Section 250.70(b) of the State Universities Civil Service Statute and Rules concerning conditions for provisional appointments.
      2. Employees returning from leave must have received a certificate or other evidence of honorable discharge or satisfactory completion of military service, and must make application for reemployment within 90 days after being relieved from military service, or from hospitalization continuing after discharge for a period of not more than one year.
      3. Employees must be still be qualified to perform the duties of the position of employment from which leave was taken. If, as a result of military service, the employee is not physically or mentally qualified to perform the duties of the former position, the employee will be restored to a position for which he or she is qualified and able to perform the duties and which will provide the similar seniority, status, and pay, or the nearest approximation thereof, consistent with the circumstances of the case. Restoral to such a position is not required if it would cause undue hardship to the University.

    8. Excused Absence With Pay

      Rules providing for excused absence with pay shall be issued by the governing board of each institution or agency or by an official to whom delegation has been made as the institution or agency determines to be in its best interest. Reasonable limitations on such excused absences shall be included.

  5. TRANSFER OF BENEFIT CREDITS

    A current status employee within the System who is selected for employment by another institution within the System and enters on such employment without break in service will be (1) credited by the hiring institution with that amount of accumulated Sick Leave which the employee had credit on the last day of service with their previous System employer and (2) granted eligibility by the hiring institution to earn future Vacation and Personal Leave benefits based upon the employee's total continuous service to a previous System employer as computed by that employer.

  6. EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS

    1. Tuition and fee waiver shall be granted by each institution to an eligible employee of that institution or of any other institution or agency named in Section 36e of the Civil Service Act who enrolls in courses up to the following maxima in any semester or quarter. Exceptions to the semester hour limitations will be managed on a case by case basis by the Designated Employer Representative (DER) of the enrolling institution or through otherwise established policy at each institution.

      Full-time employee.................... 6 hours or 2 courses
      3/4-time employee.................... 4 hours
      1/2-time employee.................... 3 hours

    2. These maxima are employee benefit limitations and do not apply to enrollment in approved work-related training programs; the purpose of which is to improve University services. Based on program of study, budget limitations and/or funding source, certain fees may or may not be waived; to include registration fees and admission fees. In the case of an institution's own employees, no charge will be made for service type fees such as those imposed to secure revenue for bond retirement, etc. These latter (i.e., service type) fees will not be waived for an employee of another institution. Employees may enroll for class work during regular working hours for only one course and only as approved by their supervisors and then if the course is only offered during working hours. When such permission is granted the employee will make up time (1) working outside of the employee's regularly scheduled hours as approved by the employee's supervisor or (2) deducting the time spent in class from the employee's accumulated Vacation and Personal Leave.
    3. A student as defined in Rule 250.70(f)(3) is not eligible for a status appointment and may not be granted tuition or fee waivers as an employee benefit.

Amended and approved at the Special Meeting of the Merit Board on December 5, 2017.