L&S Leave of Absence and Leave Benefits
This document provides information on the policies and procedures for leaves of absence.
Policies concerning leaves of absence vary according to the employee's appointment (Faculty, Academic Staff, or University Staff). The section below is not an exhaustive discussion of policy in this area, but instead attempts to address questions frequently raised about leaves of absence and temporary assignments. For questions related to full or partial leaves of absence, please contact:
Academic Staff, Limited, and University Staff: HR Manager
Faculty: Ben Weisse
Graduate Assistants: Laura Fisk
Unpaid Full-time Leave of Absence Process When Employee has Benefits
A leave of absence is a temporary separation of a faculty member from the University during which the faculty member is not paid from funds administered by the University except for such fringe benefit programs as may be permitted by State regulations (FP&P 7.20). Leaves of absence may be full-time or partial time.
For probationary faculty, a distinction is made between leaves during which the tenure clock is extended and leaves during which the tenure clock continues; this distinction is discussed in Section 2, below.
Additional policies apply when leaves are requested by faculty members who have accepted outside offers; please refer to Section 3, below.
Faculty members who continue to be payrolled through the University are not considered to be on leave of absence even though they are not being paid on 101 funds. Departments are expected to report such funding shifts to their Associate Dean as soon as they are aware of the change. Such reporting is crucial if the College is to maintain accurate financial projections which affect decisions such as short-term staffing.
Questions about faculty leave should be directed to your Associate Dean or to Ben Weisse.
Departments and programs concerned about continuity in graduate student advising and supervision are reminded that UW-Madison faculty members who resign may continue as members of the Graduate Faculty for one year after their departure. FP&P 3.05 (D) states that, “Members of the graduate faculty are automatically permitted to retain graduate faculty status for one year after their retirement or resignation. Annual extensions of graduate faculty status for a retired or resigned faculty may be granted by the dean or the dean's designee on the affirmative recommendation of a departmental executive committee and with the approval of the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee.” During this period, resigned faculty can continue to oversee the work of students nearing completion of their degree programs. In other cases, it may make more sense to work with the department to ensure that students who need to do so can make the transition to supervision by members of the faculty. In all cases, it is the expectation of the institution that the faculty and department will develop an appropriate plan to meet student needs.
- Tenured Faculty. Leaves for tenured faculty members are granted by the Dean based upon the affirmative recommendation of the departmental executive committee. Requests for leaves of absence for tenured faculty should be sent to the Dean of L&S and include a cover memo and a copy of the faculty member's request for the leave. Please submit one request for each faculty member for whom leave is requested.
- Probationary Faculty. As noted above, leaves for probationary faculty are divided into those during which the tenure clock is stopped and those during which it continues. A true "leave of absence" for a probationary faculty member is one during which the tenure clock is interrupted; such leaves must be approved by the Provost in consultation with the University Committee as well as by the Dean. "Temporary assignments" are similar to leaves of absence but do not extend the tenure clock. Normally, if the activity to be undertaken during the leave will serve to promote the probationary faculty member's achievements for tenure, the leave will be considered a "temporary assignment." When a department requests that a probationary faculty member be granted a true "leave of absence," the reasons for doing so should be clearly explained in the request letter. Extension of the tenure clock as a result of a leave of absence is not automatic. The faculty member requesting the leave must request in writing the extension of the tenure clock. When appropriate, the Dean will then forward the request along with an endorsement to the Provost and University Committee for approval.
- Departing Faculty, Outside Offers and Leaves of Absence. Except in unusual circumstances, leaves of absence will not be granted to members of the faculty who have accepted outside offers.
Members of the tenured faculty who leave UW-Madison are allowed to return to the university without a tenure review within two years of their departure FP&P 4.20 (C). When faculty members who have resigned wish to return, there must be a position available, the department must endorse the request, and the dean must approve it.
Contact your Associate Dean and/or Ben Weisse if you have questions these situations.
This statement of policy was endorsed by L&S Academic Planning Council on November 3, 2010.
University Staff Leave
Policies on medical leaves, maternity/paternity leaves, inclement weather, elections, jury duty and building closures can be found in Chapter 16 of the Policies and Procedures for University Staff. Direct all request for leaves and questions to your HR Manager.
Academic Staff Leave
Leaves of absence (full or partial) may be granted to Academic Staff whose appointments are deemed by the appointing department and the Dean or his designee to be continuing appointments, and when it is clear the leave will be in the department's and the College's interest, as well as the individual's. A copy of the Request for Leave Without Pay or Temporary Assignment should be signed by the employee and the department chair and sent to the Dean's office for approval. If approved, the request is sent on to the Office of Academic Personnel for review.
Questions about leaves for Academic Staff on 101 and non-101 funding should be directed to your HR Manager.
Length of Leaves (Faculty and Academic Staff)
The normal maximum length of a leave of absence or temporary assignment is one year. Failure to return to the UW-Madison at the conclusion of the approved leave period may constitute a "constructive resignation." Faculty members must sign an explicit agreement concerning leaves beyond one year. Faculty and Academic Staff requests to extend an already approved leave beyond one year, or initial requests for leaves longer than one year, must be approved by the Provost in consultation with the University Committee as well as by the Dean.
Additional information about faculty and academic staff leaves of absence may be found in Chapter 16 of the UW-Madison Office of Human Resources Unclassified Personnel Policies and Procedures.
Fringe Benefits During Leaves of Absence
Staff members contemplating leaves should be advised by the department to check carefully into their fringe benefit provisions. Some types of fringes may continue while the staff member is away, but the individual must take care to explore the possibilities in a timely way. For information on your leave benefits please go to: http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/benefits/leave/. Questions may be directed to your departmental benefits coordinator or OHR Benefits Services at (608) 262-5650.
Parking assignments should also be considered before staff members go on leave. A minimum leave is defined as three months by Transportation Services. Staff members may keep their parking assignments active during the leave period to accommodate frequent, short term return trips to campus. Typically, staff members wish to have their assignment(s) placed on leave status. Requests should be made in writing prior to leaving campus, preferably by June for the following academic year, and sent to the Parking Coordinator in South Hall. Transportation Services requires a staff member going on leave for the Spring semester to return their parking hangtag prior to departure. A new hangtag will be issued when the staff member returns.
Other Types of Leaves
Leave such as medical leave, parental leave, etc. may be covered by a combination of sick leave, vacation (for annual basis employees), leave of absence, leave without pay, etc., depending on the particular situation. Contact your departmental benefits coordinator or your HR Manager for information on fringe benefits.
Leaves of all types must be approved in advance by the Dean's Office and, as indicated above, must also sometimes be approved at the campus level. Since the consideration of how to cover such leaves is sometimes complex, it is best to consult in advance whenever possible.
Last Updated 4.20.2023