Leaves and Time Off

If you're an NIU employee, you're eligible to earn sick and vacation time at a certain rate, and the university may provide you with additional sick time each year. You also have paid time off when the university closes for holidays or administrative closures (some employees are required to work).

Time Off

Types of Protected Leaves

In addition, you have access to several types of leaves. These are reasons you might need time off that are protected by the law or NIU policy. Some are paid, while others are unpaid. 

Immediate Family/Household Member

You can request up to three days of paid bereavement leave due to the death of a member of your immediate family or household:

  • Spouse (including civil union)
  • Domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Corresponding in-laws
  • Immediate family of domestic partner
Relative Outside the Immediate Family or Household

You can request one day of paid bereavement leave due to the death of a relative outside your immediate family or household:

  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • Niece
  • Nephew
  • Cousin
  • Corresponding in-laws
Additional Information

Your department, in consultation with Human Resource Services, may approve leaves beyond these amounts. However, the additional leave will be charged to your accrued vacation, sick and/or personal-data-name-address-form leave.

Note your bereavement usage in the comments section of your Salaried Non-Exempt/Hourly Time Sheet and Benefit Usage Report or Salaried Employee Benefit Usage Form. Include dates and your relationship to the person who died.

As specified in the Organ Donor Leave Act (5 ILCS 327), you may be granted paid leave time for donating blood or blood platelets. You must be a permanent full- or part-time employee who has been employed for at least six months.

You should arrange a time for the donation that works for both you and your department. You must request approval for the leave from your immediate supervisor, as far in advance as possible.

You may receive up to one or more hours of paid leave once every 56 days to donate blood. You may receive up to two or more hours of paid leave to donate platelets in accordance with recognized standards, not to exceed 24 times in a 12-month period.

You're not required to use accrued sick or vacation time before requesting this leave.

You can request educational or personal leave by completing the Request for Leave of Absence Form (PDF). If you're a faculty member, please review the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy.

Contact Human Resource Services at 815-753-6000 to discuss the impact the leave might have on your insurance benefits.

As specified in the Illinois Election Code (10 ILCS 5), you can request unpaid leave for serving as an Illinois election judge. You must request the leave at least 20 days before the election. You may use accrued vacation or personal time for the unpaid leave, if your supervisor approves.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave
Questions and Answers

HRS staff are ready to help while working remotely. We ask that you email humanresources@niu.edu for support. We will also be monitoring 815-753-6000 for voicemails if you would like to call and leave a message.

FFCRA Leave Request Form

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows you to take several weeks of unpaid leave for personal or family reasons. You must meet eligibility requirements, and you have certain responsibilities regarding the leave. Learn more about FMLA.

You may be eligible for military leave. Learn more in the policy on Military Leaves of Absence - Response to Military Operations Concerning. If you're a faculty member, please review the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy. In regards to time off, please review the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

You must submit a copy of your official military orders to Human Resource Services before your leave begins.

As specified in the Organ Donor Leave Act (5 ILCS 327), you may be granted paid leave time for donating an organ or bone marrow. You must be a permanent full- or part-time employee who has been employed for at least six months. You must submit medical documentation of the proposed donation to your department as far in advance as possible.

You may receive up to 30 calendar days of paid leave in a 12-month period for the donation of an organ or bone marrow. You can't use holidays to extend your leave.

You're not required to use accrued sick or vacation time before requesting this leave.

You may be eligible to receive five weeks (25 working days) of continuous paid leave for the birth of a child, or the placement of a child in your care through adoption or foster care. Your child's primary and/or coequal caregiver are eligible for this leave. Learn more about parental leave.

You may be eligible for State Universities Retirement System (SURS) disability benefits if you become physically or mentally incapacitated and are unable to perform your job duties for more than 60 days.

To learn more about disability benefits, read the SURS disability FAQ. You can also call SURS at 1-800-275-7877. If you're a faculty member, you may wish to review the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy.

To apply for disability benefits, contact Human Resource Services at 815-753-6000.

You can receive release time for a counseling appointment with the State Universities Retirement System (SURS). You'll receive release time for the appointment (generally one hour) and travel (if necessary), without losing wages or using benefits. You can attend an appointment on or off campus, or conduct a session over the phone. SURS usually visits campus once a year.

In order to be eligible for an appointment, you must be eligible to retire within four years. You can attend one appointment every 12 months.

If you or a member of your family or household is a victim of domestic or sexual violence, you can take time off through the State Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA). VESSA provides you with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period to take the following actions for yourself or your family or household member:

  • Seek medical attention for, or recover from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence.
  • Obtain services from a victim services organization.
  • Participate in safety planning, temporary or permanent relocation, or take other actions to increase safety or ensure economic security.
  • Seek legal assistance or remedies, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal proceeding related to or derived from domestic or sexual violence.

If you're a faculty member, you may wish to review the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy.

Per the new Huskies Give Back program, you can receive up to one day of paid time off to volunteer with approved organizations.

As specified in 10 ILCS 5/17-15, NIU must allow you release time to vote on Election Day. The following criteria must be met:

  • You are eligible to vote.
  • You request the leave before Election Day.
  • Your work schedule begins less than two hours after the polls open and ends less than two hours before the polls close.
  • The election is general or special, or an election where propositions are submitted to a popular vote in the state.

The polls are open in Illinois from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., so most employees will have time to vote before or after work. However, if you meet the above criteria, you may receive up to two hours of release time during polling hours. Your department may consider operational needs when scheduling the release time.

If you need to take time off due to a work-related accident or injury, you can apply for workers' compensation benefits. If your claim is approved, you may be compensated for lost wages and medical expenses.

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