Paid Family Leave
Paid Family Leave (PFL) is a new benefit for State of SD and Board of Regents employees.This benefit provides eligible state employees with paid leave following the birth or placement of a child for adoption. PFL is intended to help provide parents with the means to spend critical bonding time with the child. This bonding time has been proven to have long lasting, positive impacts on both the child and the parents. PFL does not deplete an employee’s accrued sick or vacation leave.
- Who is eligible for PFL?
- All regular employees, who have been employed for at least six continuous months, are eligible for PFL so long as a child is born or placed for adoption on or after June 22, 2020.
- How much paid time off am I given under PFL?
- Regular, full time employees are eligible for up to 24 hours/week for up to eight weeks (192 hours). Regular part-time employees will receive prorated hours.
- Is the placement of a child in foster care included in PFL?
- No. However, placement of a foster child is a qualifying event for FMLA.
- My spouse also works for the SD Board of Regents, are we both eligible to take PFL?
- Yes, both employees are eligible to take paid family leave. The employees may take PFL at the same time, but are not required to do so.
- Am I required to take PFL immediately follow the birth of adoption of a child?
- No, you may take PFL within one year following the birth or adoption.
- Is PFL an annual benefit or is it provided for each birth or adoption?
- An employee is eligible to take paid family leave per event.
- Am I required to use the PFL in eight consecutive weeks?
- No. The weeks do not have to be consecutive as long as the leave is taken within a year of the birth or adoption.
- Can I use paid family leave intermittently?
- Yes.As mentioned in #7, the weeks do not need to be consecutive but must be taken in full week increments according to the employee’s standard work week. Any hours of PFL not used during a week the employee takes PFL will be lost.
- Does PFL count against my FMLA hours?
- I have exhausted my FLMA. Am I still able to take PFL?
- Yes, if you have exhausted your FMLA and give birth or adopt a child within that 12-month period, you may still take PFL. However, you will not have the job protections that FMLA provides.
- May I supplement the remaining 16 hours of a work week with sick and/or vacation leave?
- Yes, an employee may supplement the remaining hours with sick and/or vacation leave to reach 100% of regular pay. The employee may also supplement with hours worked or leave without pay.
- What leave options are now available for active duty military leave?
- With the elimination of personal leave, employees are now eligible to use up to 40 hours of accumulated sick leave annually for a call to state active duty of military reserve or National Guard members.
Vacation Leave Updates
- What changes have been made to our vacation leave?
- New employees are now allowed to use accrued vacation leave immediately, subject to supervisor approval. New employees no longer need to wait six months to use accrued vacation leave. However, employees are still not eligible for payout of accrued vacation if they leave employment before completing six months of service.
Sick Leave Updates
SD Codified Law and SD Administrative Rule revisions eliminate personal leave to provide greater flexibility for an employee to care for his or her family. The new regulations allow use of accrued sick leave to be used to care for an immediate family member, and eliminates the forty (40) hour per year cap.
The intent of expanding the use of sick leave was to provide employees with greater access to their sick leave balance.
Employees may now use sick leave for their own illness, health care, or medical needs as well as those of their immediate family, including the temporary care of family. This includes using up to five days of sick leave as bereavement leave for the loss of an immediate family member.
- Do school or daycare closures qualify for the use of sick leave?
- When no other suitable option for childcare is available, employees may use sick leave for school and/or daycare closures. To the extent possible, employees should attempt to find alternative care for anticipated school or daycare closures.
- Who is considered an immediate family member?
- Per ARSD 55:09:01:01, an immediate family member is the employee's spouse, children, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandchildren, stepbrothers, stepsisters, stepchildren, and stepparents, and, for the purposes of § 55:09:04:12, foster children.
- May I only use sick leave for my own personal illness, medical appointments, and health care needs?
- No, employees may use sick leave due to an immediate family member’s personal illness and health care needs. Please see #2 above for the definition of immediate family member.
- What does “temporary care” of an immediate family member mean?
- In addition to caring for a child due to school/daycare closures, temporary care means assisting an immediate family member suffering from an illness or dealing with health-related or medical issues.
Generally, if an absence qualified for personal leave previously, it is now an appropriate use of sick leave.
It is important to note that this is not meant to be used as a substitute to vacation leave. A vacation requires the use of vacation leave.
- Is bereavement leave available for the loss of each immediate family member or is it five total days annually for the losses of family members?
- An employee may use up to five sick days as bereavement leave for each loss of an immediate family member.
- Do the five days of bereavement need to be used consecutively?
- Generally, the days should be used consecutively.In certain circumstances, and with the prior approval of your supervisor, you may use the days non-consecutively.
- May sick leave be denied when requested to care for an immediate family member
- Yes. When sick leave is used for a reason other than your own personal illness, a supervisor may deny or restrict the number of days allowable based on an employee’s workload or other work-related factors.
As allowed in ARSD 55:09:04:02, employees may be required to provide doctor’s notes to support their request for sick leave. Additionally, employees qualifying for FMLA will need to provide the appropriate, required documentation.
- Can an employee be disciplined for excessive use of sick leave even if absences are an appropriate use of sick leave?
- Yes, employees still need to meet the expectations of their position. Employees who are not meeting these expectations, and whose absences impact their department negatively, are subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
- What will happen to my personal leave balance?
- With the expansion of sick leave, the need for personal leave has been eliminated. Your personal leave balance will no longer appear in your SNAP leave balances or on your paystub. Your personal leave was already included in your accrued sick leave, so no employees are adversely impacted by this change.