Leaves of Absence

Quick Access Menu


Paid Time Off

Unpaid Time Off

When to Use a Leave of Absence Form?

How to Process a Leave of Absence

Arranging Coverage

Leave of Absence Application Form


The University provides opportunities for all regular full-time and regular part-time employees (from .5 FTE to 1.00 FTE) to take leaves of absence where necessary and approved. Leaves of absences are either paid or unpaid.

Supervisor's Note: Detailed information regarding all leaves of absence is available in the Employee Benefits Handbook. For purposes of this training, the following general information will focus on the Supervisor's role in assuring their employees are using their leave in accordance with University policies and in some cases State and Federal laws.

Paid Time Off

Accrued Vacation Days

All regular full-time and regular part-time staff accrue vacation days beginning the first of the month following or coinciding with the employee's date of hire. Please see official vacation leave policy for rates of accrual and other details. Vacation accrual may be used, with supervisory approval, at any time. Supervisors must evaluate the vacation request based on the needs of the department. Supervisors should make every effort to accommodate a vacation request, but in doing so must balance the operational needs of the department. Supervisors may, at their discretion, turn down a request for vacation if the time-off request conflicts with peak or crucial operations for which the employee's presence is imperative. Supervisor's should encourage employees to submit vacation requests far in advance so the supervisor and the employee together can adequately prepare for coverage during the time off.

Supervisor's Note: Supervisors should encourage employees to take their accrued vacation on a regular basis. Generally, employees who take a break and are rested can be more productive over the long run.

Accrued Sick Days

All regular full-time and regular part-time employees begin to accrue sick days the first day of the month following or coinciding with the date the employee begins work with the University. Employees may utilize accrued sick days for: Illness, injury, or medical appointments of the employee; Illness, injury or medical appointments of the employee's dependent child(ren); Care of a spouse or parent where the spouse or parent experiences a serious health condition (see the FMLA section, page 2); and Family bereavement (up to 5days). Employees accrue 15 sick days per year and are allowed a maximum accumulation of 65 days or a prorated maximum based on FTE. Supervisors are responsible for monitoring the proper use of sick leave. See Leaves of Absence, page 7 for acceptable reasons for an employee to take sick leave. If an employee's absences are deemed excessive or if a supervisor believes any use of sick leave is being misused, the supervisor may request that the employee produce a physician's note stating the need for the amount of sick leave being taken.

Supervisor's Note: Any sick leave use of 5 or more consecutive days must be reported (by either the employee or the supervisor) to the Office of Human Resources for FMLA tracking. Short term disability and maternity leave Employees are eligible for short term disability and maternity leave following one year of continuous employment with SPU.

Short term disability

Defined as the employee's physician certified inability to perform some or all of the functions of their job for eight days or more. The duration of paid short term disability leave is based on physician certification and the employee's years of service with SPU. Paid maternity leave is six weeks. For more details see the actual short term disability and maternity leave policy statements.

Supervisor's Note: Where possible, employees should discuss the need to take such a leave with their supervisors first prior to discussing the need with the Office of Human Resources. Supervisors should make every effort to accommodate such requests. The Office of Human Resources coordinates all paperwork for Short Term Disability and Maternity Leave, and should be informed of the need for such a leave as soon as possible after the employee has communicated with their supervisor.

Other Paid Leaves

  • Christmas Closure
  • Holidays
  • Jury Duty
  • Witness Duty

Supervisor's Note: For more details regarding these other paid leaves, please refer to the actual policy statements in the Employee Benefits Handbook.

Unpaid Time Off

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA is a federally mandated leave available to all employees for qualified reasons (see the FMLA section of this handbook) after completion of at least 12 months of employment with SPU for at least 1,250 hours during that time period. FMLA leave is unpaid and may be designated to run concurrently with other, paid leaves such as sick, vacation, short term disability, or maternity leave. FMLA leave is designed to protect the employee's position and health insurance benefits during absences for qualified reasons. For more information see the FMLA section of this handbook.

Supervisor's Note: The University, through the Office of Human Resources, is responsible for designating FMLA leave regardless of whether the employee requests such leave. Should an employee fail to notify the Office of Human Resources of possible FMLA considerations when requesting a leave of absence, and the supervisor is aware that FMLA considerations exist, the supervisor should notify the Benefits Manager or Director of Human Resources.

Employee Medical Leave

The University employee medical leave of absence policy allows the employee to be gone from work for up to six months for the employee's physician certified serious health condition. The date the leave begins will coincide with the date the Office of Human Resources designates the leave as qualified under the FMLA. Unlike FMLA, the Employee Medical Leave of Absence Policy must be needed and taken on a consecutive basis. To be eligible for medical leave, the employee must have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours during that time period. During an employee's medical leave of absence the employee's position and insurance benefits are protected.

Supervisor's Note: Medical leave is unpaid leave but may run concurrent with other paid leaves such as: accrued sick leave; accrued vacation leave; short term disability leave; or maternity leave. A medical leave is granted upon confirmation by a medical doctor that the employee is unable to work.

Personal Leave

A University approved personal leave of absence is an unpaid leave in excess of five working days but less than one calendar year. An employee may apply for a personal leave of absence following one year of employment, providing the employee intends to return to the University at the conclusion of the leave. The University will allow the employee to continue insurance benefits at the employee's cost, when the personal leave is in excess of two weeks.

Supervisor's Note: Personal leaves of absence must be requested by the employee as soon as the need is known, but not less than 30 days prior to the beginning of one to four week leaves and not less than 60 days prior to leaves in excess of four weeks. Personal leaves are approved at the discretion of the supervisor and the area vice president.

When to Use The Leave of Absence Form

Employees needing or requesting the following types of leaves (or any combination of those listed below) must complete a leave of absence form.

Short Term Disability Leave (8 or more days) Maternity Leave (8 or more days)
Family Medical Leave (FMLA) (more than 3 consecutive days) Employee Medical Leave (more than 5 days)
Personal Leave (more than 5 days) Military Leave

Supervisor’s Note: Prior to consulting the Office of Human Resources, the employee should discuss the leave with their supervisor.

Leaves Of Absence Processing

Since supervisors are responsible for the smooth operation of their unit or department, a supervisor’s participation is key to the processing of all leaves of absence. Employees should work first and closely with their supervisors when requesting and planning for a leave of absence.

All leave of absence request forms are facilitated through the Office of Human Resources by the Associate Director of Human Resources. Leave of absence requests require the approval of the Director of Human Resources (to ensure the request for leave in within University policy), the employee’s Department Head and the employee’s area vice president. Employees or supervisors may request a leave of absence form from the Office of Human Resources or, in the instance where an employee is unable to complete the form, the Office of Human Resources can complete the process for the employee. If an employee is unable to complete the leave of absence form, the department head should notify the Office of Human Resources. Once the leave form has been completed, the Office of Human Resources will route a copy to the employee, the department head and to Payroll.

Supervisor’s Note: Where possible, the employee should be provide at least 30 days notice of their intention to take a leave of absence.

Arranging Coverage During Leaves

Supervisors, in coordination with their department head, must arrange for coverage when an employee takes an extended leave. Options for coverage include any combination of the following:

  • Reducing expectations of departmental output for the specific time period;
  • Redistributing work load of employee requesting leave to other employees (may require overtime of other employees); and or
  • Hiring a temporary employee.
  • If coverage for a leave involves additional funding (hiring a temporary employee or paying overtime to other employees) departments must look for funding within departmental budgets as a first step. Funding may be available in various budget lines or in the salary line of the employee on leave if a portion of that leave is unpaid. The completed LOA form will reveal any portion of unpaid leave (department heads will receive a copy of the completed form). If no budget is available and the department has an urgent need for coverage, the department head may appeal to their area vice president for contingency funds to cover the need.