Ask Benny: It's all relative when it comes to sick leave

Dear Benny,
I have an elderly aunt who has contracted a chronic disease. While the illness is not severe enough to require round-the-clock nursing care, she must see a physician on a regular basis for tests on her condition. Is it possible for me to use my accumulated sick time to take her to her appointments and provide other care that she needs?
— Loving Niece

Dear One Who Cares,
Only if your aunt lives with you, according to Human Resources.

Sick leave is intended mainly for your own medical needs, but you may take up to three days of sick leave per fiscal year to tend to the illness of a member of your immediate household.

You also could not use Family and Medical Leave for this purpose, as it is only for the care of yourself, your spouse, your domestic partner, your child or your parent.

You may take Paid Time Off to tend to her needs if your supervisor approves. You may also wish to discuss flexible work options with your supervisor if you anticipate needing to spend lots of time caring for your aunt.

Dear Benny,
I was interested to see your items on the Civil War memorial in College Hall (“Ask Benny,” Current, Oct. 2 and 16). Did you know that there is more to that memorial than the plaque you wrote about? There was also a tablet with a Greek poem on it, an elegy for the dead at the Battle of Thermopylae. I understand that this tablet still exists, and that it’s in the office of a Penn professor. It would be nice to have it reunited with the memorial.
— Old Grad

Dear Son of Penn,
Yes, that tablet still exists, and History Professor Thomas Sugrue, who currently has it, has taken good care of it. He also told me, “I inquired once about the possibility of bringing it back together with the memorial, and I was told to either deposit it in the University Archives or to hang on to it. So I decided to hang onto it until it finds a better home.” Think you could take care of this, Charlie Newman?

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Originally published on November 13, 2003