HR Operations

Unpaid time off

The University may allow unpaid time off if you don’t have enough accrued time off to cover your time away from work. Unpaid time off must be approved by your supervisor and is requested:

  • if you need a vacation or sick day and do not have a sufficient paid time off balance
  • when on a leave of absence

The use of unpaid time off may impact other employment provisions as outlined below.

Use of paid time off first

In most cases, you must deplete your accrued time off before taking unpaid time off, unless you are on:

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

Benefits

Your benefits may be impacted by extended use of unpaid time off. If you are on an approved medical, parental, or military leave of absence, you must remain in pay status for at least eight hours per month in order for the University to continue paying its portion of your health insurance. For continuation of benefits, it is encouraged that employees apply paid time off on the first work day of the month. Contact the Integrated Service Center (ISC) about continuing your benefits during extensive periods of unpaid time off.

Employees on a personal leave of absence are not allowed to intersperse accrued time off for medical coverage, and will need to make arrangements with the UW Benefits Office to arrange for benefits coverage.

Vacation accrual and months of service

You do not accrue any vacation hours during a calendar month in which you have taken more than 80 hours of unpaid time off, prorated for part-time employment. For a 0.5 FTE, that would be 40 hours. The 80 hours includes any holidays that you took as unpaid time off.

Additionally, you do not earn a month of service toward a higher vacation accrual rate for any month in which you have taken more than 80 hours (i.e., prorated for FTE) of unpaid time off.

Progression start date (classified employees)

In most cases, your progression start date will be extended by one month when you take more than 10 equivalent days (i.e., prorated for FTE) of unpaid time off in a calendar month.

Unless your collective bargaining agreement states otherwise, your progression start date will not be extended if unpaid time off is used for:

  • military duty
  • a compensable work-related injury or illness
  • a cyclic year position and the unpaid time off is used during the scheduled absence period
  • faith or conscience time (not to exceed two days)
Probationary and trial service period

Your probationary or trial service period may be impacted by taking unpaid time off.

If you are: Then your probationary/trial service period will be:
Classified non-union Extended by one workday for each work shift of unpaid time off
Contract covered Impacted as stated in your collective bargaining agreement
Paychecks

If you will have an extensive period of unpaid time off, contact the Integrated Service Center to understand your insurance coverage options and to arrange for alternate payment of payroll deductions.

Parking

Contact Transportation 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

Temporary unpaid time off policy due to the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19)

Effective from March 1, 2020 through July 23, 2020, contract covered, classified non-union, and professional staff were allowed to use unpaid time off prior to exhausting paid time off with no impact to:

  • Months of service toward a higher vacation accrual rate.
  • Accruals of vacation and sick time when unpaid time off exceeds 80 hours (prorated) in a month.
  • Progression start date towards step increases when unpaid time off exceeds 80 hours (prorated) in a month (see below for classified non-union staff).
  • Seniority.
  • Continuous service dates.
  • Probationary or trial service period (see below for classified non-union staff).

Step increase, accruals, and months of service were reconciled at the end of each month. Under WAC 357-31-355, probationary or trial service periods were adjusted for each workday of unpaid time off taken by classified non-union employees who used unpaid time off outside of a furlough. Under WAC 357-46-067 progression start dates were adjusted for classified non-union employees who used unpaid time off during a furlough. Employees were required to remain in pay status for at least 8 hours per month in order for the University to continue paying the employer portion of their health insurance.