Types of Unpaid Medical Leave

University Human Resources encourages organizations and their departments to utilize best practices of the University of Iowa when considering the approval of unpaid leave.

Unpaid medical leave may be authorized due to:

  • FMLA eligible absence
  • A work injury
  • As an accommodation under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • As an unpaid leave outlined in the collective bargaining agreements or Operations Manual.

Once approved for these reasons, unpaid time for these reasons cannot be used in consideration of excessive absenteeism or as unauthorized.

Funeral leave, severe weather, or other identified circumstances may be approved as unpaid if in accordance with Operations Manual policy and/or collective bargaining agreements.

For more information, go to University Philosophy, Rules, and Requirements Regarding Leave.

ADA consideration

A request for unpaid leave may be considered a request for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If leave is requested via the employee or health care provider documentation and FMLA is not applicable refer to the Disability section of this website prior to making a decision about the leave and/or taking employment action. If an employee is authorized an unpaid leave as an accommodation, the accommodation has been provided, and follow up information is required. For example, the employee must be notified in writing of information needed at the end of a leave to return to work and more than one non FMLA unpaid leave may be unreasonable, etc. FSDS is to be informed of approved leave as an accommodation, as follow up is typically provided to successful return to work.

Reduction in Schedule

A non-work injury reduced schedule that requires use of unpaid time may be approved temporarily under FMLA, or if the department is otherwise able to make a reasonable accommodation under ADA (short or long term).

For a Merit employee, partial day unpaid time can be entered on the time record for payroll purposes during the reduced schedule. Full day absences are to be documented using the HRIS Transaction for unpaid leave for health reasons.

For P&S staff and faculty, partial unpaid days are not authorized unless covered by FMLA; however, University HR can temporarily change the status to allow partial days of pay as an accommodation. Contact FSDS for more information. Full day absences are to be documented using the HRIS Transaction for unpaid leave for health reasons, go to Application of Leave.

An Interactive Disability Accommodation Document (IDAD) (pdf) must be completed when the employer approves the use of unpaid non-FMLA time for an employee

A reduced schedule that requires a transaction to reduce the appointment for health reasons is considered request for accommodation under the ADA. Contact FSDS for guidance through requirement of appropriate medical documentation and the interactive process.

University practice is to apply paid leave and/or FMLA prior to processing a transaction to reduce the appointment.

Unpaid medical leave may overlap with many other topics. Use the Additional Resources section for links to Benefits information that overlaps unpaid leave: leave, Long Term Disability, and Worker’s Compensation.