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Dear Scotty, Help Me Understand Overload Sick Leave Calculation!

Dear Scotty,

As a counselor committed to student success, I sometimes work overload hours. One term, I taught a counseling course and had some counseling hours as overload, but, mostly, it is just counseling hours. I was concerned because my sick leave balance never changed. As I said on my show, “Sometimes you just have to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you.” I wish I was getting sick leave on this, so how do I make that happen?

And I thought about this column and how you always get letters from us, and that must be a lonely job. Remember, “You’re only lonely if you’re not there for you.”

Thank you,

Dr. Phil McGraw


Dear Dr. Phil,

I’ll never feel lonely with such supportive comments, but let’s focus on your sick leave issue.

Understanding Contractual Sick Leave

What I think is happening is that you’re looking at your pay stub online and seeing your sick leave balance. The amount listed on your pay stub is known as contractual sick leave (C-SL). The only time that value will increase is at the beginning of the academic/fiscal year. For most, that will be July or August. Those hours are added to your balance for the entire year and won’t increase from month to month. The hours would only decrease if you use sick leave or Personal Necessity leave.

Understanding Non-Contractual Sick Leave

Now let’s hit your next question – what about overload hours? Depending on whether the hours are classroom or non-classroom, there is a different process, yet both result in non-contractual “overload” sick leave (O-SL).

Process for O-SL Classroom Hours

Let’s start with classroom hours. Any faculty member teaching a class will receive an electronic load card through SURF. Once the schedule is approved, then payroll will credit the faculty member with 2 hours of O-SL for each LHE. If you teach a 3 LHE course, you’ll earn 6 hours of O-SL at the beginning of the term.

Process for OS-L Non-Classroom Hours

As for non-classroom overload for librarians and counselors, this is typically done with time sheets instead of load cards. Contact hours are worked and written down on a timesheet; prep hours are added later. There are a few ways to compute O-SL from this and payroll does the following: total hours worked (not including prep) ÷ 27.5 = LHE, then 2 hours of O-SL for each LHE. The timeline is different than classroom O-SL as payroll won’t know how many hours of work you’ll do over the entire semester; consequently, these O-SL hours will be added in the month following the end of a term.


For Clarity, Some Examples:



An instructor teaches 4 LHE overload in fall 2016.

O-SL: 4 LHE × 2 = 8 hours of O-SL will be credited to the spreadsheet early in fall 2016.

Pay: The 4 LHE × 35 hours = 140 total hours are distributed over 4 months; 35 hours (capped at step 10) are paid in September, October, November, and December.



A counselor teaches one 3-LHE course and completes 50 additional counseling (contact) hours in fall 2016.

O-SL: 3 LHE × 2 = 6 hours of O-SL will be credited to the spreadsheet early in fall 2016.

Pay: The 3 LHE × 35 hours = 105 total hours are distributed over 4 months; 26.25 hours (capped at step 10) are paid in September, October, November, and December.

O-SL: 50 hours ÷ 27.5 = 1.82 LHE, so 1.82 × 2 = 3.64 hours of O-SL will be credited to the spreadsheet in January 2017.

Pay: The 50 counseling hours are multiplied by the 1.4 factor (from 0.6 discipline factor) to be a total of 70 hours (contact + prep). These hours are paid out the month following the timesheet being submitted and may vary from one month to the next depending on when the work is done.


How to find out O-SL balance even if it’s not on the pay stub

You currently receive a monthly update for all C-SL and O-SL. If necessary, you can request your O-SL information (as an Excel spreadsheet) to be emailed to you by contacting from your MCC email account. This is the same process as requesting your banked LHE balance. This email should be sent either before a term starts, or at the end of the term. Remember, there won’t be any increases to O-SL during the term because it only happens at the beginning (classroom) or end (non-classroom).

Below this message you can view a description of processes payroll uses to handle C-SL, O-SL, and banking of LHE (or get the "Sick Leave Accrual and Banking LHE Process for Full Time Faculty" PDF here). Since any sick leave remaining at retirement can count towards additional service credit with Cal-STRS, FA recommends you check these statements at least once each year!

An important note about the current payroll transition:

Payroll is currently going through a major transition as the county implements a new system and MiraCosta is forced to change. As employees, our patience is requested as their workload has drastically increased. To allow our friends in Payroll to put in the additional work needed to learn a new system (with all the bugs and issues), faculty have been asked to send inquiries through email to instead of phone calls. This will allow them time to research and provide a better response and also creates a record of the question and the answer. Most responses involving O-SL or Banking will be at the end of the semester to be sure that all O-SL has been properly credited.

Faculty Assembly is here to help so if you have questions, please contact us!



Sick Leave Accrual and Banking LHE Process for Full Time Faculty

This represents the process that stems from the FA/District contract; see section F.2.1 for additional concerns. Information on banking is in contract section D.3.0.

  1. Summary of Timelines

  • a. Contractual sick leave is added at the beginning of the fiscal year (once per year).

  • b. Non-contractual/Overload is added each term

  • i. Classroom added at the beginning of the term.

  • ii. Non-classroom added at the end of the term.

  • c. Banking is done at the beginning of the term only.

  1. Contractual Sick Leave

  • a. Contractual sick leave (C-SL) is paid at the rate of 1 day of sick leave per month of contract. This is added at the beginning of the fiscal year and faculty would see this on their pay stubs in July or August, depending on their contract length.

  • b. Those on reduced work load contracts accrue sick leave at the percent of full time. Example: Those working 50% load would be half of the amounts listed below; a faculty member with classroom hours would accrue 40 sick leave hours for the year.

  • c. Contract lengths for different faculty:

  • i. 176 day contract = 10 months = 10 days C-SL = 80 hours sick leave.

  • ii. 195 or 199 day contract = 11 months = 11 days C-SL = 88 hours sick leave.

  • iii. 203 or 212 day contract = 12 months = 12 days C-SL = 96 hours sick leave.

  • d. Current C-SL is shown on faculty pay stubs.

  • e. If sick hours are used, those are deducted at the end of a month and would show up on the following month pay stub. Example: using sick leave in September wouldn’t show up on the pay stub until the end of October.

  1. Non-Contractual Sick Leave – “Overload Sick Leave (O-SL)”

  • a. Outside of C-SL, sick leave is accrued in three ways only for additional assignments: teaching an overload class, working overload Library/Counseling hours, or reassigned time (RT) over 100%.

  • b. Any additional tasks do not accrue sick hours/days.

  • i. Observing associate faculty

  • ii. Substituting or proctoring for classes

  • iii. Additional assigned administrative duties

  • c. O-SL and C-SL is sent out each month to all faculty with any updates. To confirm any changes are correct, all O-SL will be kept in Payroll on a spreadsheet file specific to the faculty member. Any information needed can be obtained by a faculty member by emailing and requesting their individual file.

  • d. Classroom Overload – Process:

  • i. Classroom work is recorded on a load card and is approved by the faculty member before the term begins.

  • ii. Payroll receives the overload information as well as whether this LHE will be paid out during the term or banked for future use (banking is similar to comp-time).

  • iii. 1 LHE = 35 hours (prep included) during fall and spring semesters and 33 hours during summer.

  • iv. Payroll will credit faculty with 2 hours of O-SL per LHE in the load agreement; this will be credited at the beginning of the term.

  • v. Sick hours used from O-SL will be recorded each month as they occur.

  • e. RT in excess of 100% – Process

  • i. This will be treated as similar to classroom overload for the purpose of sick leave, and faculty will use the electronic load card process.

  • ii. 2 O-SL for each 1 LHE is the ratio.

  • f. Non-Classroom Overload for Librarians or Counselors – Process:

  • i. Non-classroom work is recorded on a time-card as it is done and submitted at the end of a month.

  • ii. Only contact hours are recorded; prep hours are included through the 1.4 time factor… someone who does 10 hours of counseling will have 4 hours prep for 14 total paid hours. To simplify the calculation, only the recorded counseling hours are used for the computation.

  • iii. 1 LHE = 38.5 hours (prep included) = 27.5 hours (before prep is included).

  • iv. Faculty are credited with 2 hours O-SL for each 27.5 hours on their submitted time reports.

  • v. Payroll will divide total hours by 27.5, then multiply by 2 to obtain the O-SL amount.

  • vi. This O-SL is added to the total after the hours have been performed. Payroll will sum up all the hours over the course of a term and credit this to the O-SL in the month following the end of a semester. In fall term, O-SL will be credited in January while in spring term, it will be credited in June. Summer O-SL will be credited in September.

  • vii. Sick hours used from O-SL will be recorded each month as they occur.

  1. Banking LHE

  • a. Faculty member indicates banking of LHE on the electronic load card.

  • b. Payroll is notified and sends out physical copy of banking agreement (triplicate) form.

  • c. Faculty member fills this out and signs, then sends it to the dean for signature.

  • d. Completed and signed forms are sent to Payroll.

  • i. Payroll staff document the banked LHE hours and appropriate pay rate in the spreadsheet kept in Payroll, and writes the banked LHE balance on the faculty member’s copy. Information is dated to make sure it follows the 10-year payout window; any banked LHE that is not used within 10 years must be paid out.

  • ii. One copy goes to faculty file (physical, not electronic). The physical copy for the faculty member is scanned and emailed, with the hard-copy sent through inter-office mail.

  • e. Clarification of the banked LHE, or LHE that is unbanked, can be done with an email to Faculty members will be recommended to keep their copies and document their hours as well.

  • f. Any banked LHE questions can be sent to with the understanding that a response may be delayed until the end of a pay period or the end of a term.


Other Articles in the February 7, 2017 Newsletter :

Know Your Faculty Rights (revisited topic)

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