Leave for reasons of faith or conscience
Under state law, all employees have the option to take up to two unpaid holidays per calendar year for reasons of faith or conscience or for an organized activity conducted by a religious denomination, church, or religious organization.
Requesting time off
Submit your request to your supervisor as far in advance as possible. Follow your department’s usual time off request procedure.
While you do not need to give specific details for your unpaid leave request, you do need to state that your time off is for one of the following:
- A reason of faith or conscience
- An activity organized by a religious denomination, church, or religious organization
Your supervisor may ask for verification for an unpaid time off request.
Additional time off
Only two days of unpaid time off for religious or faith-based reasons are provided by Washington state law. However, the law does not limit your ability to request additional time off, paid or unpaid, for religious or faith-based reasons.
If you desire more than two days in a calendar year, follow your department’s usual procedure for requesting time off. Your employment program or collective bargaining agreement covers the use of paid or unpaid time off beyond the two days, not state law.
Supervisors must allow an employee to take their two unpaid holidays, unless either of the following applies:
- The requested time off creates an undue hardship for the University. “Undue hardship” is defined by WAC 82-56-020.
- The employee’s presence is necessary to maintain public safety.
Prior to denying a time off request made for reasons of faith or conscience, supervisors must consult with their HR consultant to be sure the denial follows the law and University policy.
For campus staff: In Workday, request Unpaid Time Off and select the reason code “Conscience”.
For medical centers staff: Record in Kronos as authorized leave without pay.
In the notes section for each of the two unpaid days, enter language such as:
Unpaid faith/conscience holiday used on [date], [1 of 2 or 2 of 2] days for calendar year 20XX.
RCW 1.16.050 (WA state law)