HR Operations

Sick leave

All monthly paid classified and professional staff earn sick leave.

Sick leave is commonly used for:

  • Your own illness, injury, or disability
  • A family member’s illness, injury, or disability
  • Your or a family member’s medical and dental appointments


You accrue leave hours once a month on the last day of the month.

Accrual rate

All full-time staff earn eight hours of sick leave per month. This accrual rate is the same for all employees, no matter your employment program, and does not change with length of service.

Maximum leave accrual

There is no limit on the amount of sick leave you may accrue.

Part-time employees

Part-time employees (0.5 FTE or higher) earn sick leave on a prorated basis, based on their percentage of full-time equivalent (FTE).

For example, 20 work hours per week equals 0.5 FTE. Therefore, a 0.5 FTE employee earns 50 percent of the leave that a full-time employee earns, or four hours.

New employees

As a new employee, when you start accruing sick leave hours depends on what day you started in your first month on the job.

If you started between the: You:
1st and15th of the month Accrue your monthly hours for that month
16th and last day of the month Do not accrue monthly hours for that month, but start accruing the following month

For example, if your first day is February 7, you will receive eight hours for the month of February.

But if you start work on February 21, you won’t earn any sick leave hours for February. You will earn your March hours on March 31.

Cyclical positions

If you hold a cyclical- or instructional-year appointment, you earn leave for the overall number of months you work, even if your appointment begins or ends midmonth.

For example, if you work September 16 to June 15, you earn nine months of sick leave. You wouldn’t earn leave in September, but you would receive your monthly leave accrual for June (as long as you are in pay status until the end of your appointment on June 15).

Prior Washington state service credit

If you have previously worked for a Washington state agency, public institution of higher education, or public education service district, you may be eligible to transfer or reinstate your sick leave balance from your previous employer. Visit Prior Washington State Service Credit for more information.

Leave of absence without pay

You do not accrue any leave hours during a calendar month in which you have taken more than 10 equivalent days of your FTE as leave without pay. (For 1.0 FTE, that would be 80 hours; for 0.5 FTE, that would be 40 hours.) The 10 days includes any holidays that you took without pay.

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Using sick leave

You can use sick leave as soon as you accrue it.

To determine your available sick leave balance, log onto Employee Self-Service or speak with your department’s timekeeper.

Requesting sick leave

When possible, schedule your sick leave in advance. To schedule time off, follow your department’s usual leave request procedure.

If you are not able to request sick leave in advance, follow your department’s usual call-out procedure.

FMLA certification

Certain reasons for using sick leave may fall under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If this is the case, you will be asked to follow our FMLA policy and procedures. This will include providing medical certification from a health-care provider. Visit FMLA for additional information.

Other medical certification

Even if your leave is not covered by FMLA, you may still be asked to provide medical certification.

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Attendance Incentive Program

Each January, you have the opportunity to receive payment for excess sick leave hours, provided that you meet the eligibility requirements of the program. For more information, visit Attendance Incentive Program.

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Donating to shared leave programs

You may be able to donate sick leave hours to help another employee in need of leave for medical or military reasons. For more information, visit:

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Job changes

Transferring departments

If you move from a leave-eligible staff position in one department to a leave-eligible staff position in another department, your sick leave balance will transfer with you.

Change in FTE

If your FTE status changes in the middle of a calendar month, the number of leave hours you earn for that month will be prorated, based on the amount of time worked at each FTE during that month.

Change in employment program

All leave-eligible employees have the same sick leave accrual rate. Therefore, if you move from one employment program to another (for example, from classified non-union to professional staff), your accrual rate stays the same, and your sick leave balance transfers with you.

Moving from faculty to professional staff

The amount of sick leave that transfers with you when moving from faculty to professional staff is dependent on your faculty appointment and your length of service as a faculty member.

Faculty appointment Length of service as faculty Amount of annual leave granted to professional staff position

(12-month appointment)

8 or more years 480 hours, less any sick leave taken in the previous 12 months
Less than full-time 8 or more years A prorated amount based on percentage of FTE, less any sick leave taken in the previous 12 months
Full-time or less Less than 8 years A prorated amount as determined by Human Resources
Moving from staff to faculty, student, or hourly

If you move from a staff position to a faculty, student, or hourly position, your sick leave balance does not transfer with you, nor are you paid for those lost sick leave hours. However, if you later return to a leave-eligible position, your sick leave balance may be reinstated.

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Leaving UW employment

You are not paid for your unused sick leave hours when you leave UW employment (unless your separation is due to retirement or death — see below).

If you return to UW employment later, your sick leave balance may be reinstated. For more information, visit Prior Washington State Service Credit.

Leave accrual in your final month

If your UW employment ends on or after the 16th of the month, you will earn your eight hours of sick leave for that month. However, if you separate prior to the 16th of the month, you do not accrue any sick leave for that month.

Transfers to another state agency

Your sick leave balance may transfer with you if you move from University employment to a leave-eligible staff position at another state agency, public institution of higher education, or public education service district without a break in service, depending on the specific terms of your new job.

Separation due to retirement

When you retire from UW employment, 25 percent of the cash value of your unused sick leave balance is placed into a tax-free Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) medical expense account. For more information, visit VEBA.

Members of the Inlandboatmen’s Union are not eligible for a VEBA and therefore receive a taxable cash payment for their unused sick leave at the same 25 percent rate.

Separation due to death

If an employee dies while still employed by the UW, the employee’s estate will receive 25 percent of the cash value of the employee’s unused sick leave balance.

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Supervisor responsibilities

Leave requests

You should respond to an employee’s leave request as soon as possible. Follow this process:

  1. Check the employee’s leave balance to confirm that the employee has enough accrued leave to cover the requested time off.
  1. Notify the employee of your approval and ensure that the leave use is documented in the employee’s work/leave record in your department’s leave tracking system.
  1. Assess whether the leave request could fall under FMLA. If FMLA may be applicable, follow your department’s FMLA procedures, or contact your leave specialist.
Separation from employment

When a member of your staff separates from University employment due to retirement or death, you must submit an Employee Separation Payment Authorization form in order for the Payroll office to process sick leave payment.

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Additional resources

  • APS 43.15 Leave Policy for Classified Non-Union Staff

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