Human Resources

About OWLS and Login

The UW Online Work/Leave System (OWLS) is a computerized, post-entry review tracking system that is used throughout the University as the official record of leave-bearing employees’ hours worked and leave time earned and used. Some units, including most medical center departments, however, use authorized alternative systems.

OWLS is an electronic work/leave record, which is:

  • the official record of work and leave hours of all UW monthly-paid employees who accrue leave.
  • the employing department’s permanent record showing each employee’s paid leave credits.
  • the official documentation for payment of eligible unused leave and compensatory time hours upon separation from state employment.

Departments may use OWLS for the following types of employees, provided the employees have appointments greater than 50% FTE:

  • Contract classified staff
  • Classified non-union staff
  • Professional staff
  • Librarians
  • Educators
  • Hall Health physicians
  • Print Plant graphic union staff

OWLS is not used for non-leaving bearing employment types like faculty, graduate students, and hourly employees.

The different roles in OWLS

Many people play a role in maintaining accurate and timely records of hours worked, leave earned, and overtime pay accrued.


Employees follow the department’s process for submitting leave requests and reporting hours worked. Employees can view OWLS data through Employee Self-Service (ESS) and are expected to review the entries on a monthly basis for accuracy.


Supervisors review employees’ records, approve leave requests, and ensure the accuracy of timesheets.


Timekeepers enter information from approved timesheets and leave requests into OWLS, make changes based on the employee’s and supervisor’s monthly review, and conduct an annual review of all OWLS records to ensure that they are complete and accurate. Timekeepers are designated by the department head and authorized for OWLS use through the ASTRA authorization system.


Administrators oversee all employee OWLS records for their department’s Payroll Unit Code(s).

What OWLS can do

  • Record all work hours and leave information for all leave-bearing appointments.
    Calculate service credit and monthly leave accruals based on the employee’s employment program, job classification, and hours worked.
  • Provide messages (warning and fatal) to alert timekeepers to error conditions that may violate business rules.
  • Provide e-mail notification (Post Entry Review Message or PERM) to employees and supervisors when monthly record entries are ready for review.
  • Provide a printable work/leave summary for employees who do not have e-mail access.
  • Allow supervisors to review employee records in a read-only view.
  • Enable timekeepers to export records to Excel or HTML and generate a report.
  • Make employee leave records and balances available for the employee to view in ESS.

What OWLS does not yet do

  • Allow non-timekeeper employees to maintain their own Work/Leave Records.
  • Eliminate the need for weekly timesheets or leave request forms.
  • Integrate with, or link to, the University’s payroll system, HEPPS (i.e., OWLS is a stand-alone system; it doesn’t calculate overtime nor does it “feed” data electronically to any other system).
  • Enable automation of shared leave or prior service credit; this information must be determined by HR and entered into the OWLS record.
  • Combine two separate employee appointments into one summary (e.g. an employee with two 50% FTE appointments will still have two records in OWLS).

Official record of work and leave

OWLS records are to be available for audit by authorized persons. The University reserves the right to correct errors that may require payment by either the employee or the University to balance the account.

Additional resources

The Employee Leave Information page provides links to leave information for librarians, classified, classified non-union, and professional staff.

OWLS Training System Login
If you have obtained access to OWLS and would like to try out the functions in a safe environment that will not affect any employee’s real work/leave record, you should practice in the OWLS Training System.

Get Answers to your Questions – AskOWLS Frequently Asked Questions This link takes you to a page where you will have three options:

  • View answers to questions others have asked
  • Ask a question – To ask a question, choose the “Find Answers” option, and select “OWLS” in the ‘category’ box.
  • Find out the status of an inquiry you have made.