Student workers now receive paid sick leave

Student employee Jake Warmflash '21 works a shift in Fields Dining Hall. Photo by Natalie Zoz

As of Sept. 1, Lewis & Clark student workers have the ability to accumulate paid sick

leave hours. On-campus workers were notified of this change via an email sent by Human Resource Information Systems Analyst Alex Ray Oct. 10.

“We have enabled sick leave for you to use on your timecard,” Ray said via email. “Beginning 9/1/2019, you will accrue 1 hour for every 30 hours worked in a pay period. You must have worked for Lewis & Clark for 90 days before you can begin to use this balance.”

Student workers will not only be able to use sick leave for physical illness, but for mental illness, the death of a family member, public health emergencies and several other circumstances.

Additionally, some on-campus employers will allow students to transfer their sick leave to other workers.

“(You can) donate accrued sick time to another employee if the other employee uses the donated sick time for an authorized purpose and the employer has a policy that allows an employee to donate sick time to a coworker,” Ray said.

Paméla Nassar Altabcharani ’21, a student employed by the Aubrey R. Watzek Library, knows many other stu- dents who depend on on-campus jobs as a sole source of income. She spoke about how paid sick leave might im- prove the student-worker experience.

“I feel like it is helpful in the sense that … a lot of students (who have on-campus jobs) have it as one of their only sources of income,” Altabcharani said. “We can’t afford to not go to work, which is maybe not the case for a lot of people here. I think (paid sick leave) is going to help me be able to not have to worry about missing work.”

Many on-campus jobs already allow student workers to control their hours freely, and time off for sickness has not been an issue. Hannah Posey-Scholl ’20 spoke about her experience working for Information Technology (IT).

“Because I work in … IT operations, we don’t usually have to do very much when we can’t be there,” Posey-Scholl said. “We just message our boss and say ‘hey I can’t come in today,’ … whether that’s because of school, or whether it’s because of sickness.”

Due to the fact that students were notified of the available paid sick leave in the middle of a semester, many students have not yet taken advantage of their sick hours. Because of her recent employment at Fields Dining Hall, Keagan Gilmartin ’22 will not be able to accrue the 30 hours needed for a while, rendering the paid sick leave irrelevant to her current situation.

“I just started working here and I’ve only had three shifts so far, so I’m not anywhere near (working 30 hours),” Gilmartin said.

Though paid sick leave is relatively new and requires students to have worked at least 30 hours before being affected by this change, it will give student workers more flexibility with their on-campus jobs.

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