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Leaves of Absence


The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for your own serious illness which causes you to be unable to perform the functions of your position.

You are eligible for FMLA leave if you have been employed either part-time or full-time with the University for at least 12 months, which do not need to be consecutive or continuous, and have worked at least 1250 hours in the 12 months prior to your absence. Your supervisor or Human Resources Representative will send you an FMLA Medical Certification Form – you complete part of that form and your treating physician will complete the remainder of the form.  

Absences may be of an ongoing nature or, when medically necessary, may be taken as an intermittent leave or on a reduced leave schedule. Whenever possible, you should make a reasonable effort to schedule any medical treatment visits so as not to unduly disrupt operations. 

Because University policies typically exceed the FMLA 12-week provision, you should refer to the applicable University policy or union agreement to answer any questions about your absence (length, pay, etc.). FMLA time and absences provided by University policies run concurrently.

FMLA requires that all covered absences are recorded as FMLA. Because the overarching philosophy of the FMLA regulations is that you cannot be disadvantaged due to an absence for an FMLA-qualifying event, these absences must be recorded correctly so that errors are avoided when making decisions about promotions, merit pay, tenure, etc.

Applicable Paid Time Off   


When you are absent due to your own illness or injury, you first use your accumulated sick time. After you have used your accumulated sick time, you have the option to use, part or all of your accumulated vacation, personal holiday, service days, or compensatory time off, as applicable. Paid time off runs concurrently with any FMLA time you may be eligible for. If you run out of paid time off, you may qualify for the vacation donation program

Technical Service

Policies affecting employees represented by a union are found in the appropriate Agreements.


With the exception of the Applied Research Lab and the University Libraries, if you are in a full-time academic appointment the amount of paid time off is determined by your college.

Leave of Absence for Faculty and Staff

If you have used all of your applicable paid time off, you may request a leave of absence without pay. The amount of leave you qualify for depends on your length of University service.    

Continuation of Health Care Coverage

During a leave of absence for your own illness or injury, all health care insurance in which you are enrolled will continue at the normal employee contribution rates. If you elect not to continue membership in your benefits while on leave without pay, contact the HR Services at 814-865-1473 to discuss if you will be required to meet any qualification requirements imposed by the plan (e.g., waiting period).

Contributions to Retirement Plans

As long as you stay in full-pay status, your retirement contributions will continue. If you go on a leave of absence without salary, you will not be eligible to contribute or receive service credit in any retirement plan unless:

  • You are a member of, and make private arrangements to contribute to, TIAA,


Sickness and Accident Supplement (SAS)

Sickness and Accident Supplement (SAS) is designed to provide continuation of salary, at a reduced level, following the use of or in conjunction with accumulated sick leave and vacation. 

To qualify for SAS you must:

  • Have at least five years of regular, full-time continuous service 
  • Have been off work more than 60 calendar days due to sickness or injury 
  • Have not used more than 48 hours (6 days) of sick leave in the 12 month period immediately preceding the absence without doctor’s certification (FMLA absences will not be counted towards the 48 hours)

SAS provides 1/3 of normally scheduled hours of pay for each work day missed. In addition, you may choose to charge the equivalent of 1/3 of accumulated sick leave and receive 2/3 pay. If you have used all of your accumulated sick leave, you may choose to charge 1/3 of your accumulated vacation/donated vacation time.

You will not be eligible to continue under SAS for an absence that continues beyond 180 continuous calendar days from the beginning of the absence or injury.

For more detailed information, see Policy HR 34: Sickness and Accident Supplement

Long-Term Disability

If you are enrolled in long-term disability and your illness or injury may result in absence from work for an extended period of time, you should contact HR Sevices at 814-865-1473 as soon as possible to discuss what may need to be done to initiate payments and avoid any waiting period. 

Workers’ Compensation

If you are injured at work or develop a work-related illness, Workers’ Compensation insurance provides for your medical expenses and, if you are unable to work, lost wage compensation. 

You have the option to request a leave of absence without pay or to charge the absence to your accumulate sick leave (or, if you use all sick time, accumulated vacation, personal holiday, service days, or holiday compensatory time off).  If you elect to use such paid time off, you will be charged 1/3 of a day for each workday absence and will continue with full salary. If you use all of your paid time off, you will be granted a leave of absence without pay. Any workers’ compensation insurance checks you receive while receiving full salary need to be endorsed and returned to the University. You will retain any workers’ compensation insurance checks while on a leave without pay.   
For more information, see the Workers’ Compensation Information

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The EAP is available to provide free and confidential counseling on a wide-variety of topics to help you adjust to life changes.