At the University of Iowa, we believe a strong work-life balance is essential to the overall health and well-being of our faculty and staff. That is why we offer a substantial package of time-off benefits.


All regular fiscal employees are eligible to accrue vacation and sick leave while working in a permanent and continuous position at the University of Iowa.

Not eligible for vacation and sick leave:

  • Faculty appointed on an academic-year basis or who hold visiting or emeritus appointments.
  • Faculty and staff whose appointments are designated as temporary, on-call, PRN staff, GME house staff employees, provisional, project appointments of four months or less, or emergency appointments.
  • Students who are hired through the Office of Student Financial Aid and in positions reserved specifically for student employees.

Vacation Leave

Vacation is granted at the discretion of the department heads; however, every reasonable effort should be made to schedule sufficient vacation to prevent any loss of accrued leave. Vacation leave may be accrued to an amount not to exceed twice the employee's annual entitlement. No employee may be granted vacation over the amount accrued.

Vacation leave accruals and maximums

Accrual rates will vary depending on your job category (faculty, P&S, merit, SEIU) and your years of service with the university. 

  • Vacation leave accrues monthly.
  • Part-time staff members accrue vacation leave at their fractional equivalent of full-time employment.
  • Vacation leave accrual for a partial month is computed based on the number of working days in the month.
  • Vacation leave does not accrue when an individual is not in pay status.
  • An employee's accrual may not exceed twice the current annual accrual rate at the end of any month.
  • When an employee transfers from full-time to part-time employment, any excess of current accumulation over that allowable on the part-time basis will be "banked" until the staff member's current balance is returned to zero, the staff member increases their percent time, returns to full-time employment, or they have terminated from the University.

Accrual rates by job category and years of service

Select the accordion below to review accrual rates per job category. Please note that the rates reflect a full-time employee at 100% effort. 

Vacation accruals by job category

All Merit System Staff Members

1 - 496 hrs.
(12 days)
8.00 hrs.
(1 day)
192 hrs.
(24 days)
5 - 11136 hrs.11.333 hrs.272 hrs.
12 - 19176 hrs.14.667 hrs.352 hrs.
20 - 24192 hrs.16.0 hrs.384 hrs.
25 and after >216 hrs.18.0 hrs.432 hrs.


Faculty and Professional and Scientific (P&S)
(12-month employees - Non SEIU)

12-month employee192 hrs.
(24 days)
16.00 hrs.
(2 days)
384 hrs.
(48 days)


Contract covered SEIU Professional and Scientific 
(hired on or after July 1, 1999)

Up to 3120 hrs.
(15 days)
10.000 hrs.
(1.25 days)
240 hrs.
(30 days)
More than 3 up to 6160 hrs.
(20 days)
13.333 hrs.
(1.666 days)
320 hrs.
(40 days)
More than 6192 hrs.16.000 hrs.384 hrs.


Using your vacation leave

Although vacation leave accrues during the first month of employment, no usage is permitted until after one month of service.

  • Usage is not permitted more than currently accumulated total vacation credits.
  • Leave is used at one hour for each hour of paid absence.
  • Holidays falling within the paid vacation period are paid as holidays and are not charged to the staff member's vacation accumulation. This does not apply to the payment of accumulated vacation upon termination.
  • An employee may not use vacation accruals to extend the last day of service when terminating from the university.

Requests & Reports

A request for approval of specific vacation dates is prepared through an online Absence Request form or a specified departmental form. Application procedures such as how far in advance requests must be made, length of vacation which may be requested, etc., are as designated by appropriate departmental policies and procedures.

Vacation usage is reported to the University vacation and sick leave accounting system using the various forms provided by University Payroll. A cumulative report of use and accruals is available online through Employee Self-Service. The report is available under your Time & Pay link, and then select Vacation & Sick Leave. 

Sick Leave

An absence due to a physical or mental personal illness, bodily injury, medically related disability, including disability resulting from pregnancy and childbirth, medical, dental, and optical appointments, including preventative care, family caregiving, funeral, etc. More definitions can be found within the Human Resources policy manual.

Sick leave accruals and maximums

All regular appointment full-time employees who are in pay status, will accrue sick leave at the rate of 12 hours every month. Part-time staff members will accrue sick leave at their fractional equivalent of full-time employment.

All eligible full-time faculty holding academic year appointments accrue sick leave at 15 days per academic year. If employed during the summer, the faculty member will accrue an additional 12 hours of sick leave for each month of employment during June and July.

  • A partial month's accrual is computed based on the number of working days in the month.
  • Sick leave will NOT continue to accrue:
    • When there is less than one day of service,
    • or during terminal vacation, sick leave is not allowed to be used.
  • Sick leave credits will not accrue during any absence without pay.

The maximum amount of sick leave an eligible employee can accrue is unlimited. 

Using your sick leave

  • Sick leave credits are used at the rate of one hour for each hour of absence.
  • An employee may not use more than the currently accumulated sick leave credits.
  • Although sick leave accrues during the first month of employment, no usage is permitted until after one month of service. 

Holidays and vacations

Holidays that fall during a period of absence due to medically related disability are paid as holidays and not charged to the employee's sick leave accumulation.

If an employee becomes ill while on vacation, the employee may use sick leave for those days the employee is under the care of a physician (Requires satisfactory documentation of such care.)

Family Caregiving Leave

Family caregiving leave is in addition to vacation leave that can also be used for care of and necessary attention to ill or injured members of the employee's immediate family (Reference Family Caregiving Leave, Policy Manual.)The university may request appropriate verification of the status of the ill or injured person.

Maximum usage per year 

The maximum includes the current calendar year allowance of up to five days of sick leave (40 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time.) This also includes any unused allowance from the previous year, up to 80 hours in total (pro-rated for part-time.)

If an employee does not have accrued sick leave

Family caregiving leave is unavailable if the employee does not have accrued sick leave. However, the department or unit is encouraged to permit the faculty or staff member to use vacation or leave without pay to respond to family-related responsibilities.

Funeral leave

The employee may use accumulated sick leave not to exceed three days for each occurrence (24 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for a death in the employee's immediate family.

A maximum of one day is charged to sick leave (24 hours of sick leave based on full-time employment, pro-rated for part-time) for each service as a pallbearer at the funeral of a person, not a member of the employee's immediate family. (Reference Funeral Leave, Policy Manual)

Transfer sick leave to vacation

Where possible, employees are encouraged to accrue and maintain at least 720 hours of sick leave. Eligible employees may elect to convert sick leave to vacation for any month in which no absence has been charged to sick leave. The exchange formula is to receive 4 hours of vacation leave instead of the 12 hours of monthly sick leave accrual. 


Eligibility is limited to regular employees with at least 240 hours of sick leave. Faculty and staff who do not accrue vacation are ineligible for this program. Part-time employees shall be prorated to the accrual rate for full-time employees.

Making the election

The employee must make the transfer election on the Monthly Time Report in Employee Self-Service. Once an election to transfer sick leave to vacation has been selected and processed through a monthly payroll cycle, the election for that month is irrevocable.

Employees who elect to convert unused sick leave to vacation will not accumulate more than twice the possible annual amount of converted vacation, or twelve days (96 hours), but will be allowed to accumulate that amount in addition to twice their annual vacation entitlement. 

For Merit and P&S non-exempt employees reporting on a biweekly time record, the sick to vacation transfer election will be effective on the last day of the biweekly pay period when the request is made on the employee time record.

  • For example, if a sick transfer election for the 07/21/24 - 08/03/24 biweekly period is selected, the sick transfer to vacation option would apply to the month of August. 

Begin transferring sick leave

The employee's vacation maximum will increase by the monthly transfer amount until the final maximum is achieved. If the use of sick leave reduces an employee's sick leave account below 240 hours, the employee's account must be built up to 240 hours before eligibility conversion is restored. 

Any use of sick leave, including use for doctor's appointments, funeral leave, etc., makes an employee ineligible to make the conversion for the month in which the use occurs.


Please note:

Upon termination, a sick leave transfer to vacation election, set to convert every month possible, will be automatically canceled. If rehired, the employee will need to make a new election to begin the transfer of sick leave to vacation again, based on eligibility. 

Retroactive adjustments are not allowed.