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Insurance Programs

Regular-status employees assigned to routinely work 30 or more hours per week are provided employer-paid insurance benefits. Coverage for new hires and rehires is effective on the first of the month following date of hire. If hire date is first of the month, benefits start first of the following month. Optional insurance coverage may be provided for eligible dependents at the employee’s cost. Dependent coverage is subject to timely enrollment, eligibility requirements and payment of premiums.  For insurance questions, please contact HR or visit the HR website.

Group Employer-Paid

  • health insurance
  • life insurance
  • vision insurance
  • long-term disability insurance
  • workers' compensation
  • Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System (see Retirement Benefit section)

Optional Employee Paid

SWOSU offers a variety of voluntary benefit programs to eligible employees. Some examples of these benefits are:

  • group dental insurance
  • section 125 plan (flexible spending-medical/health savings account/dependent daycare reimbursement)
  • short term disability
  • critical illness, hospital indemnity, and accident policies
  • voluntary life (employee, spouse and eligible children)

Additional Benefits

  • waived tuition for qualified employees and their dependents. To view the eligibility requirements and complete the form, refer to the Tuition Waiver Form
  • free employee membership at SWOSU Wellness Center and University swimming pool
  • free admissions to the majority of college level athletic events and theatre/drama productions held on campus
  • free access to the services of the Al Harris Library
  • discounted canoe, fishing equipment rental and camping rental at the Crowder Lake Facility
  • discounted tickets to some amusement/theme park facilities
  • eligible for discounted cafeteria meal plans

Employees may be required to present their SWOSU ID to utilize the above benefits.

Retirement Benefits

This section is intended to provide employees with a brief summary of retirement benefits that are available to eligible employees. Employees requiring specific answers regarding these benefits should contact HR.

  • Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma (OTRS): SWOSU provides OTRS benefits to eligible employees, as defined by OTRS. Normally, regular-status employees assigned to routinely work 20 or more hours per week qualify for membership in OTRS. OTRS contributions are made at the expense of federal and private grants when allowable. Employees are reminded that, at retirement, 60 calendar days must pass between a retiree’s last day of pre-retirement public education employment and post-retirement public education employment. Visit the OTRS website for more information.

The OTRS retirement process is a multi-step and timely process. Therefore, individuals should contact HR and OTRS well in advance (approximately four months) of their desired retirement date.

  • Retirement Insurance Program: Eligible individuals hired prior to July 1, 2009 and have at least 10 continuous years of creditable service with OTRS, immediately preceding retirement, may retain employer-paid health and group life coverage until age 65.
  • Supplemental Retirement Annuity: Employees with a date of employment prior to July 1, 1995, may be eligible for a Supplemental Retirement Annuity (sometimes referred to as the Regents’ Supplement).
  • 403(b) and 457(b) Retirement Plan: SWOSU employees, excluding students, may take advantage of contributing to a voluntary 403(b)/457(b) retirement plan through payroll deduction.


SWOSU provides generous leave packages for the benefit of its employees. Leaves are intended for specific purposes as addressed in the Handbook and misuse of these benefits may be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.

While documentation is not required each time an employee accesses leave as addressed in this policy, such right is reserved by SWOSU in its sole capacity. Supervisors should contact HR regarding extended leave and/or questions regarding the ability of an employee to safely return to work. SWOSU reserves the right to require a return for duty fitness test.

Both the employee and supervisor are responsible for notifying HR of an employee absence from work which would affect payroll status.

Employment status is subject to review for individuals who routinely exhaust all leave and/or work less than their normal work week. Potential results of this review include, but not limited to, adjustment to the individual’s work schedule, change in pay schedule, and/or discipline, up to and including termination.

Employees do not accrue leave or receive holiday pay during leave of absence without pay, administrative leave without pay, layoff, shared leave, workers’ compensation, or removal from payroll for any reason. All leave accruals and holiday pay will stop when the employee is physically absent from work for an entire payroll cycle.

Individuals on intermittent shared leave who work at least half the month will accrue leave and receive holiday pay.

Accruals Based on Weekly Scheduled Hours
Years of Service 20 Hours 25 Hours 30 Hours 35 Hours 40 Hours
Month Following Hire Date Through Month 59 5 6.25 7.50 8.75 10
Months 60-239 6 7.50 9 10.50 12
Months 240 + 6.68 8.35 10.02 11.69 13.36
Maximum Annual Leave on August 31 of Each Year 240 300 360 420 480
Monthly Sick Leave 5 6.25 7.50 8.75 10
Maximum Comp Time 40 50 60 70 80
Holiday Leave 4 5 6 7 8


Annual Leave: Annual Leave shall accrue for 12-month, regular-status employees who are employed to routinely work 20 or more hours per week. Employees routinely working at least 20, but less than 40, hours will accrue Annual Leave on a prorated basis. Accumulation rates are based on eligibility, anniversary date, and years of service (see table above).

Eligible employees will begin accruing leave on the first full month following employment. An employee does not earn Annual Leave during a leave of absence without pay, administrative leave without pay, layoff, shared leave, workers’ compensation, or removal from payroll for any reason.

For 40 hours per week employees, the maximum accumulation is 480 hours. For eligible employees working less than 40 hours per week, a prorated maximum accrual and accumulation is used (see table above). Unused, accrued leave, in excess of the allowed maximum accrual, as of the end of August payroll, is transferred into the individual’s Sick Leave balance.

Deductions from Annual Leave are done at one-quarter hour (15 minute) increments. Annual Leave is to be used during period(s) mutually agreed upon by the employee and their supervisor.

SWOSU routinely closes for an extended period during the interim between the Fall and Spring semesters. During this period, Annual Leave will be charged to accrued leave as determined by SWOSU. If sufficient Annual Leave or compensatory time has not been accrued by an employee prior to this interim period, such time off will not be compensated for and days off shall be treated as non-paid days. After exhausting accrued Annual Leave and comp time, employees hired on or after July 1st of their first year of employment may use unused, accrued Sick leave during this time period.

Upon leaving the employment of SWOSU, eligible employees shall receive compensation for unused, accrued Annual Leave. Annual Leave pay will be calculated based on the employee's straight-time pay rate (in effect when Annual Leave benefits are used). An individual leaving the employment of SWOSU cannot be compensated in excess of their maximum allowable accumulation.

Note: Individuals employed through grants or contracts may not be covered under this policy.  Such individuals should contact their principal investigator or HR for information concerning Annual Leave.

Sick Leave: Sick leave is a period of time during which an employee is unable to work due to illness, injury, medical, surgical, dental, or optical examinations/treatments, or because the employee has been exposed to a contagious disease which could jeopardize the health of co-workers. Sick leave is to replace time missed during straight-time hours only. SWOSU reserves the right to review an individual’s employment status based on misuse of Sick Leave, as well as, excessive usage. Additionally, SWOSU reserves the right to require documentation in its sole capacity.

Eligible employees will begin accruing leave on the first full month following employment.  Regular-status employees who are routinely employed to work 20 or more hours per week are eligible for Sick Leave.  Employees routinely working at least 20, but less than 40, hours will accrue Sick Leave on a prorated basis. The accrual rate is prorated for qualifying employees working less than full-time.

Deductions from Sick Leave are done at one-quarter hour (15 minute) increments for non-exempt employees.  Exempt employees are required to use accrued Sick Leave in the event they are absent from work for one full day or more for a qualified reason. However, an exempt employee, routinely required to miss partial workdays, will be required to utilize accrued Sick Leave when appropriate.

Absence due to the illness of immediate family members (spouse, parent, parent in-law, child, stepchild, legal ward, or sibling) may be charged to Sick leave.

SWOSU does not credit an employee for accrued Sick Leave earned at other employers.

Sick leave benefits will be coordinated with all other forms of benefits for which SWOSU pays the cost, so that no more than 100% of the employee's current weekly rate of compensation is paid for absence from work.

Any accrued, unused Sick Leave shall not be compensated upon the termination of employment. 

Maternity or Parental Leave: Maternity and paternal leaves are subject to the same conditions as other leave benefits. (See FMLA)

Funeral Leave: Time required for funeral (arrangements/travel) may be charged to available Sick Leave up to a total of five working days annually. The annual period begins on the first day of the fall semester. Employees are to indicate on their leave forms when funeral leave is used. Note: Employees requiring additional time beyond five days will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the President or their designee. Funeral Leave does not accumulate. 

Personal Leave: In general, approved personal leave is limited to a maximum of three working days. Personal leave is used only if all accrued Annual Leave and compensatory time is exhausted and is counted against the employee's accrued Sick Leave balance, if available. Personal leave does not accumulate. The annual period begins on the first day of the fall semester.

Administrative Leave: Administrative leave with or without pay may be granted at the discretion of the President of SWOSU or their designee. 

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Employees and Supervisors are expected to notify HR within 5 business days of a potential qualifying event. Eligible employees may take up to 12 work weeks (or prorated amount for those working less than 40 hours per week) of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee by adoption or foster care, and to bond with the newborn or newly-placed child,
  • To care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care,
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of their job, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care. This could include chronic conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes or migraines) or conditions requiring multiple treatments under the care or supervision of a health care provider or any medical condition resulting in an overnight hospital stay or
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, child or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

Holidays: Regular-status employees are eligible for SWOSU’s paid holidays if they are at work on the regularly scheduled days consecutive with the holiday or on approved leave with pay. The Holiday Schedule is posted on the SWOSU website and is subject to change at the discretion of the President. Employees working a minimum of 20, but less than 40, hours per week shall receive prorated holiday compensation. Individuals employed through a grant may or may not be covered under this policy. 

In the event an employee is required to work on an approved holiday, the individual will be granted an equal amount of time off with pay on a date mutually agreed to by the employee and budget unit head.

Jury Duty: SWOSU encourages employees to fulfill their civic responsibilities by serving jury duty when required. Routine pay will be given to employees who are subpoenaed for jury duty or as a witness before a court of law, legislative committee, or judicial body. Employees are to send the jury duty summons to HR. The employee is to report for work as soon as the court schedule permits. The employee must keep their supervisor aware of any changes or extensions of jury duty. SWOSU reserves the right to request documentation verifying time spent during jury duty.

Jury duty will not be paid in the event it occurs during what otherwise would have been unpaid leave. Either SWOSU or the employee may request an excuse from jury duty if the employee's absence would create serious operational difficulties.

Leave without Pay: Leave of absence without pay may be approved or required when it is an acceptable action, in the opinion of the President or their designee. SWOSU is not obligated to re-employ individuals at the conclusion of such leave. Employees are to use applicable accrued leave prior to requesting leave without pay. 

Military Leave: Employees who are members of a component of the United States Armed Forces shall, when ordered by the proper authority to service, be entitled to a leave of absence for the period of such service without loss of status or seniority. During the first 30 regularly scheduled workdays of such leave in the federal fiscal year, the employee shall receive full regular pay.

Shared Leave: SWOSU employees may donate Sick Leave to a shared leave pool. This leave is to assist employees who are suffering from or have a qualifying relative suffering from an extraordinary or severe illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that has caused or is likely to cause the employee to take leave without pay or terminate employment.  Donations made under this policy are gifts. This policy does not create an entitlement or expectation of Shared Leave to eligible employees. More information on this policy can be found on the Request for Shared Leave Form.

Voting Leave: SWOSU encourages employees to fulfill their civic responsibilities by participating in elections by voting. A reasonable amount of time off with pay will be given for the purpose of voting in national, state, and local elections.

Employee Assistance Program                      

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides limited counseling and referral assistance to employees and their spouse, children, and legal wards in seeking assistance concerning mental problems. 

The Human Resources office will assist with initiating a consultation for employees. SWOSU will pay up to three sessions per calendar year. 

EAP services include, but are not limited to

  • individual counseling (abuse, alcohol, family, etc.)
  • anger management
  • academic counseling
  • group counseling
  • court-ordered counseling
  • relationship counseling
  • PTSD counseling

It is not within the scope of SWOSU's EAP to diagnose or prescribe medication.  The identity and discussions of individuals using this service are confidential.

Wellness Center Membership

Employees of SWOSU may use the Wellness Center during the hours of operation, free of cost. Employees must have a valid employee ID. Family rates for spouse and dependents, between the ages of 16 – 18 years of age, are available through payroll deductions. To initiate a Wellness Center deduction, complete the Wellness Form online.