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University Workforce Operations

Phone
Fax
319-353-2234
Campus Address
120 USB
Mailing Address

120 University Services Building
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence forms are part of the HR Transaction System and are used for a variety of reasons as described below.

Purpose

An employee (faculty or staff) taking a leave for at least one full working day, paid or unpaid, from the University and the absence is not covered by vacation or sick leave.

Leave Periods

Leave periods are granted in continuous increments of time for up to one year and a return to paid status requires a return to assigned work duties.

Leave Authorization

Requests for leaves of absence, with or without compensation, should, when feasible, be authorized by the supervisor or designated department administrator and Human Resources (HR) Unit Representative in advance of the intended leave.

Authorized absence is for the convenience of the employee leaving or because of inability to perform job duties. Ordinarily, an employee is expected to apply sick or vacation benefits to such leave. 

Eligibility

All regular and temporary faculty and staff are eligible to be placed on a leave of absence.

Exception: Biweekly (paygroup W) and Short Term (paygroup 3) positions are not eligible to be placed on a leave of absence.

 

Leave of Absence Types

Unpaid

Unpaid leaves may be granted to staff members if it is in the best interest of the University. They are only granted when it is possible to operate effectively in the absence of the staff member requesting leave.

For additional policy information related to unpaid leaves specific to each classification type (Merit, P&S, Faculty), see the Operations Manual policy - OPM 21.2. SEIU employee information is located in the Employee Manual for Staff Nurses & Allied Health Professionals.

Paid

The University may grant leaves with full or partial compensation to faculty and staff to undertake approved programs of study, research, or other professional activity which will contribute to the improvement of the institution.

Questions regarding this type of leave should be directed to the appropriate department administrator or Human Resources Representative. Operations Manual policy - OPM 21.3

Payback Requirements

Paid leaves that are approved in order to undertake approved programs of study, research, or other professional activity are granted with the requirement that the recipient return to the University thereafter or compensate the University for the benefit received (per Iowa Code 262.9(14)). Therefore, individuals who accept a paid leave of absence are subject to the State of Iowa payback requirement.

Other Editable Fields – Paid LOA

For a Paid Leave of Absence form, there are additional fields that may also be updated, if needed. Changes to the current information for any of the below fields will only be in effect during the leave period. The information prior to the leave period date will revert once the employee returns from the paid leave.

Percent Time   Total Compensation   MFK
  • If the percent of time is changed during the leave period, it will revert back to the effort percent prior to the leave effective date
  • The total of an employee’s current appointments cannot exceed 100% - always check the employee's current active appointments within HR Reports prior to changing percent time
 
  • If the salary is changed during the leave period, it will revert to the salary prior to the leave effective date
 
  • If the MFK is changed during the leave period, it will revert to the MFK used prior to the leave effective date

Leave Dates

Effective Date

The effective date is used to indicate the start of the leave period and the employee’s first date of absence. For unpaid leaves, this is also the first date in unpaid status.

Return from Leave Date

The return from leave date indicates when the employee is expected to return to work. For unpaid leaves, this will also be the date the employee is returned to paid status.

If an employee is on a paid or unpaid leave and will not return to work, please contact your HR Unit Representative to determine the appropriate return from work date to be used in conjunction with the termination date. 

Reasons for Leave - Unpaid

Unpaid leave to pursue additional education *Employee signature required

Unpaid leave of absence for an approved FMLA event

Unpaid leave while a faculty member may hold a visiting appointment at another institution *Employee signature required

Unpaid leave of absence due to an employee's health/medical leave that is in excess of paid leave benefits

• To be used after all paid military leave options have been exhausted.
• All military leave shall be provided under Section 29A.28 of the Code of Iowa and the applicable federal statutes.
• Valid for the following employee types: Faculty Permanent, Faculty Temporary, P&S Permanent, P&S Temporary, Research Intern, SEIU, P&S School Year, Merit Permanent, Merit School Year, Graduate Assistants, House Staff
• Employees must provide a copy of their military orders prior to their last day at work or as soon as written orders are published by their unit. These must be retained as a permanent record for no less than seven years or until the employee returns from military service.

Unpaid leave of absence due to personal reasons *Employee signature required

Unpaid leave due to a temporary reduction in force

Unpaid leave due to research or scholarship activities

•Unpaid leave when an employee is removed from the workplace in response to a completed employment investigation, disciplinary action.

•Used to move a school year appointment into an unpaid status during the time of year they are not providing service. School year appointments are typically in paid status 9 or 10 months of the year and are unpaid for the remaining. The leave dates will also impact when the double benefit deduction occurs. Contact University Benefits for more information regarding the benefit deductions
 
•P&S Staff - The unpaid LOA must be a minimum of two continuous months. The LOA dates will determine the effective date of the appointment for the following year.
 
•Merit Staff – The unpaid LOA will reflect the actual dates of the leave. Should the department elect to continue the individual on an irregular basis during the time the employee is out of pay status, they would be required to appoint the individual on a Merit Temporary Appointment. They should not indicate this time by adjusting the dates on the Leave of Absence. Additional information on Merit School Term appointments is provided through Compensation & Classification
 
•See also Appointment Guidelines for additional information

•Unpaid leave used when a union representative is released to conduct official union business.

•Unpaid leave used when a SEIU union representative is released to conduct official union business.

Used for approved claims for job-related injuries and illness that entitle an injured employee to medical coverage related to the injuries at no cost, and a portion of their salary for work absences

Reasons for Leave - Paid (Note: employee signatures required for all reason types)

Special leave awarded to a faculty member following a period of administrative appointment

•Career Development Awards (CDA) - awarded by the Office of the Provost for Faculty

Awarded by the Provost Office

Awarded by the Provost Office

•All military leave shall be provided under Section 29A.28 of the Code of Iowa and the applicable federal statutes.
•Valid for the following employee types: Faculty Permanent, P&S Permanent, P&S Temporary, Research Intern, SEIU, P&S School Year, Merit Permanent, Merit School Year, Graduate Assistants
•Employees must provide a copy of their military orders prior to their last day at work or as soon as written orders are published by their unit. These must be retained as a permanent record for no less than seven years or until the employee returns from military service.

Paid leave where the faculty member's entire salary is not paid during the period of leave

•Paid leave of absence to conduct research activities
•Examples: Leave w/out pay for one semester with pay spread over entire year, paid leave for CDA in Fall and unpaid leave in Spring

Paid leave of absence to conduct research and scholarship activities

Special leave for Faculty, not a CDA awarded by the Office of the Provost

Employee Signature

If the leave type is... and the reason code for the leave is... then...
Paid any reason an electronic signature is required

Unpaid

  • Education
  • Faculty Visiting Institutions
  • Personal
an electronic workflow signature or an attached correspondence is required
any reason not listed above no electronic signature or attachment is required
  • If an electronic signature is required and cannot be obtained, correspondence with the employee regarding the leave must be attached to the transaction form or a comment should be clearly noted in the Remarks section of the Leave of Absence form that the employee signature is on file within the department.

Time Reporting

When determining how to record an employee’s leave on the monthly employee time record, it must first be identified if the absence will be covered by the employee’s own leave accruals.

If the leave/absence is.... then the time record should....
covered by UI benefit leave accruals (i.e. vacation, sick) record the paid leave used on the employee time record. An Unpaid Leave of Absence form should not be submitted
NOT covered by UI benefit leave accruals (i.e. vacation, sick) NOT include entries listed for any dates during the leave period listed on the Unpaid Leave of Absence form

Vacation and Sick Leave Accruals

For individuals on a leave of absence without pay, vacation and sick leave accruals do not accrue when an individual is in an unpaid status for an entire working day. Vacation and sick accruals will also be prorated based upon the number of days the individual is in paid status divided by the total number of working days in any given month.

Impact

Preventing Overpayments

All university units are responsible for implementing effective systems and practices for communicating activities that affect employee pay.

For an unpaid leave of absence, there are several best practices to prevent overpayments:

  • Submit the Leave of Absence transaction as soon as the need for leave is known.
  • Submit the Leave of Absence transaction into the Workflow system prior to payroll cutoff.
  • Review the email notice sent to supervisors/HR Reps prior to payroll cutoff each month to identify individuals on unpaid leaves whose dates may need to be extended through the end of the month.
  • If an employee is on an unpaid leave of absence and the department is not certain that the employee will return prior to the end of the month, extend the leave of absence return date to the third day of the following month.
  • Academic Year Leaves
    • Leave of absence forms for academic year faculty/staff should be processed by July payroll cutoff, for the August 1st paycheck, if the leave results in a reduction of salary

Benefits

Benefits are discontinued if the employee misses a full calendar month and does not receive a paycheck. Here is the sequence of events that occur when an unpaid leave exceeds one month:

1. Benefits notified of unpaid leave (>1 month)
  • Once an unpaid leave is posted to the HR system and the leave is for at least one full calendar month, UI Benefits is automatically notified
  • Employee is then notified by UI Benefits with the option to continue their benefits and provides the cost of coverage to the employee
2. Employee Next Steps
  • Employee must respond to UI Benefits stating the coverage they wish to continue and will then be billed accordingly
  • If no benefits are elected, all coverage will stop at the end of the month following the final paycheck
3. Returning to Work
  • Employees are eligible for coverage beginning the first of the following month after they have returned to pay status
  • Employees should contact UI Benefits at 319-335-2676 as soon as they return to work to begin the process
  • Upon contacting Benefits, employees receive an email notifying them to go to Employee Self Service to enroll in benefits
Exception: Employees on approved FMLA continue to receive the University’s normal contribution toward the cost of health and dental insurance. For additional information, please contact UI Benefits. 

 

Post Workflow Processing

Due to the impact a leave of absence can create, here are the processing steps and timing that should be considered once the leave of absence form has been initiated.

Posting to the HR system: Form action or types (PG = paygroup) Timing:

 

Data Entered / Not auto loaded

  • All Academic PGs -
    • A – Fall semester
    • AF – Fall fellowship
    • B – Spring semester
    • BF – Spring fellowship
    • 7 – Acad. Year, 10 pay
    • 7F – Acad. year fellowship
    • 8 – Acad. Year, 12 pay
  • Retroactive forms
  • Termination information exists on same employee record as leave of absence

Once initiated into Workflow, allow 2-3 business days for processing

  • Extension of leave dates on an existing form
  • All revisions to a form while routing for approval
Once complete through Workflow, allow 2-3 business days
Auto loaded
  • PG 1 – Fiscal
  • PG 1F – Fiscal fellowship
Once initiated into Workflow

 

Support

If a form needs to be returned for any reason (i.e. editing, voiding), please contact University Workforce Operations at hr-transaction@uiowa.edu or 319-335-2381 or for any questions about the HR Transaction System.