HR Operations

Leave of absence without pay

“Leave of absence without pay” describes an unpaid, approved leave of absence.

The University may allow a leave of absence without pay for the following reasons:

  • Illness, disability, or injury
  • Parental leave
  • Educational leave
  • Military leave
  • Leave for government service in public interest
  • Leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • Other personal reasons that may be approved at your department’s discretion

Requesting leave of absence without pay

To request an educational, government service or personal leave of absence without pay, submit a written request to your supervisor. Your request must identify the reason and duration of the requested leave.

Requests for a leave of absence without pay also require approval by the appropriate vice president or dean if your leave is taken for education, government service, or personal reasons. Such requests will only be approved if your supervisor is reasonably certain that your position will still be available when you return from leave.

For medical center employees, unpaid leave of more than 10 working days, including holidays, must be approved by both the department and UW Medicine HR Operations.

After you have received leadership approval, employees whose leave is managed in Workday will request the appropriate type of unpaid leave of absence (LOA) in Workday. For medical center employees, contact your leave specialist.

Use of paid leave first

In most cases, you must deplete your accrued time off before taking unpaid time off during a leave of absence, unless you are on:

However, the specific terms and conditions under which you may take unpaid time off versus paid time off are defined your employment program or collective bargaining agreement.


The University will continue to pay its portion of your health insurance during an unpaid leave of absence under certain circumstances. Contact the Integrated Service Center out continuing your benefits during your unpaid time off.

Vacation accrual

You do not accrue any vacation hours during a calendar month in which you have taken more than 10 equivalent days of your FTE as unpaid time off during a leave of absence. For a 1.0 FTE, that would be 80 hours; for a 0.5 FTE, that would be 40 hours. The 10 equivalent days includes any holidays that you took as unpaid time off.

Additionally, your vacation time off accrual month gets adjusted for every month in which you have taken more than 10 equivalent days of unpaid time off. For example, if your accrual month is February and at some point in time, you have one month in which you use more than 10 equivalent days of unpaid time off, then your new accrual month becomes March.

Periodic salary increment date (classified employees)

In most cases, your periodic salary increment date will be extended by one month for either of the following reasons:

  • If you take more than 10 equivalent days of unpaid time off, including holidays, in a calendar month
  • If your unpaid time off exceeds 10 consecutive working days, including holidays

However, your salary increment date will not be extended if:

  • You are on military duty leave
  • You have a compensable work-related injury or illness
  • You are on a scheduled period of unpaid time off due to your cyclic position
  • Your collective bargaining agreement has different provisions on salary increment date adjustments

Probationary and trial service period

Your probationary or trial service period may be impacted by taking an unpaid leave of absence.

If you are: Then your probationary/trial service period will be:
Classified non-union Extended by one workday for each work shift of leave without pay
Contract classified Impacted as stated in your collective bargaining agreement

Professional staff do not have probationary or trial service periods.


Automatic paycheck deposit continues during unpaid time off for any pay that may be owed to you. If you are not enrolled in automatic deposit, contact your department’s time and absence approver to make arrangements for receiving paychecks.

If you have payroll deductions to pay loans or insurance, you need to make arrangements through the Integrated Service Center to pay those obligations directly during your unpaid time off.


Contact Commuter Services to discuss discontinuing parking deductions from your paycheck while on an extended time off.

Additional resources

APS 43.15 Leave Policy for Classified Non-Union Staff

APS 45.2 Leave Use and Compensation for Classified and Professional Staff During Suspended Operations and During Inclement Weather

APS 45.4 Leave Related to Active Military Duty