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Time & Absence

Temporary and student hourly staff

Temporary and student hourly staff

All hourly staff is expected to work a weekly schedule as approved by their supervisor in accordance with business needs, and which may or may not be consistent from week to week. Modifications to the work schedule must be reviewed and approved by the supervisor.

All hourly employees are overtime-eligible, and receive 1.5 times their hourly rate for all qualified overtime hours (see Overtime). If an hourly employee holds multiple positions, their cumulative hours across all positions are calculated as time worked, and the last position worked (which tipped the employee into overtime) will be costed the 1.5 rate.

Student hourly

Student hourly employees may only work 19.5 hours per week when classes are in session, cumulative across all positions a student may hold. During finals week, breaks between quarters, and “on leave” quarters, students may work additional hours as business needs permit.

  • “On Leave” quarter for undergraduates: For one quarter immediately following a quarter in which the student was enrolled for at least six (6) academic credits, including summer quarter, unless the student has graduated.
  • “On Leave” quarter for graduate and professional students: When the student has applied for and been granted such status by the Dean of the Graduate School.

By state law, it is mandatory that anyone working a 5+ hour work shift is given the opportunity to take a minimum of a 30-minute (unpaid) break.

Salaried staff

Salaried staff

All salaried staff are expected to work a consistent weekly schedule approved by their supervisor, within FLSA guidelines, and congruent with their position FTE. Modifications to the work schedule must be reviewed and approved by the supervisor.

OT-Exempt Staff do not enter time worked into Workday. It is expected that OT-Exempt staff is working at least the number of hours required by their position FTE, and working a consistent weekly schedule that meets the business needs of the department. Additional hours, regardless of FTE, are not tracked in Workday or paid as additional compensation.

OT-Eligible Staff are required to report all time worked accurately and completely in Workday. They are eligible to receive overtime pay for qualified time worked, entered and approved in Workday (see Overtime).

OT-Eligible Staff who are eligible to accrue time off may elect to collect overtime as compensatory time off and do so by selecting compensatory time when completing their time block entry.

  • Once overtime is paid, employees may not request overpayment proceedings to recover compensatory time off accrual.
  • Compensatory time must be used by June 30th of each year. Any compensatory time off balances will be deducted and paid to the employee in the first pay period of each July.



Overtime hours are paid at 1.5 times the regular calculated hourly rate for qualified hours exceeding 40 in a Monday-Sunday FLSA workweek unless the employee is within a collective bargaining unit with differing provisions. Qualified hours have different parameters for professional and classified staff. Please see Overtime Calculations for additional information.

Supervisors may request that an employee work overtime hours in order to complete additional work or provide business continuity coverage. If not at the behest of the supervisor, an employee needing to work additional hours must not do so unless they have requested and received approval from their supervisor BEFORE working the additional hours. If an employee does not request overtime in advance of working additional hours, supervisors must approve all hours worked in Workday, regardless of the employee obtaining pre-authorization. Pay may not be withheld due to unauthorized overtime, however, employees repeatedly working unauthorized overtime may be subject to corrective action.

OT-Eligible Professional Staff must enter over 40 WORK hours in a week to receive overtime pay, which excludes all non-working time off/holidays. Hours over 40 that are not qualified as overtime or accrued as comp time, will be paid as additional straight-time hours.

Classified Staff must enter over 40 TOTAL hours in a week to receive overtime pay, including all paid non-working time off/holidays; unpaid time off will not contribute toward calculated overtime. All paid hours over 40 are qualified to receive overtime pay or comp time accrual. Classified Staff assigned a scheduled work position are also eligible for daily overtime for work performed in excess of their scheduled daily hours. Please see the full SEIU 925 Contract for additional overtime considerations for Classified Staff.

Time entry

Time entry

Temporary & Student Hourly, as well as Overtime Eligible Salaried Staff, must enter all time worked into Workday accurately and completely at least once per pay period, or more often if directed by the supervisor. Please see Time Entry and Reporting for full Workday instructions.

Supervisors and/or designated Time & Absence Approvers must approve all time entered before the payroll cut-off window. Hourly employees will not be paid for any hours left unapproved at cutoff, and will not receive sick time off accrual for that pay period. Salaried employees will continue to receive their standard salary, but will not be compensated for any overtime or straight-time hours submitted which are not approved.

Supervisors may indicate how often they would like time submitted within a pay period (weekly, daily, etc.) This requirement should be applied consistently for all direct reports unless a documented performance plan includes more frequent time entry for a particular employee.

Non-worked time

Non-worked time

Time Off refers to the accrued balances of paid time off, and any subsequent unpaid time off, that an employee applies to their time reporting when away from the office. All staff employees must utilize and enter time off in Workday when they do not report for work. See Entering Time Off for Workday for additional instructions.

Paid time off eligibility is dependent on the staff member’s employment program; with the exception of sick time off, generally, salaried employees receive time off accrual and hourly employees do not. Most time off is accrued on a monthly basis, credited to the employee’s available balance on the first day of the following month, and then immediately available for usage.

Vacation time off should be discussed and communicated to the supervisor with at least 10 days notice, and subsequently entered accurately and completely in Workday.

  • Before utilizing vacation time off, any holiday credit time off, discretionary time off, and compensatory time off must be exhausted.
  • Vacation time off accrual is set according to the length of service and employment program. Please see Vacation Time Off Accrual for exact accrual rates and additional information.

Maximum vacation time off accrual

Employees may not exceed 280 hours (effective 6/6/2024) of accrued vacation time off. Workday will provide notifications to employees who are encroaching on this limit, however, supervisors should also proactively review employee accrual balances and work with high-balance employees to schedule time off and mitigate balance exceptions.

Please note recent policy change:
On June 6, 2024, a change in Washington state law increases the vacation accrual maximum from 240 hours to 280 hours for classified employees. This change means classified employees whose time off service date occurs before June 6, 2024, will have their vacation time off balance capped at 240 hours. Classified employees whose time off service date occurs on or after June 6 will have their vacation time off balance capped at 280 hours.

Consistent with the intent of the change in state law for classified employees, the vacation separation pay maximum for professional staff will also increase from 240 hours to 280 hours on June 6, 2024.

For further than here and below regarding current vacation time off accrual, balance maximums, separation payout and transfer of balances for classified and professional staff, please refer to the Vacation Time Off webpage .

Classified Staff

Vacation time off that exceeds 280 hours (effective 6/6/24) will be forfeited, except as prohibited by the contract. In the event that an employee exceeds 280 hours of accrued time voluntarily, the excess must be used before the employee’s anniversary date. If a supervisor denies time off requests due to business needs, causing an employee to involuntarily exceed the limit, the supervisor must notify Executive Shared Services immediately so that additional steps can be taken to request an extension from Human Resources.

Please note recent policy change:
On June 6, 2024, a change in Washington state law increases the vacation accrual maximum from 240 hours to 280 hours for classified employees. This change means classified employees whose time off service date occurs before June 6, 2024, will have their vacation time off balance capped at 240 hours. Classified employees whose time off service date occurs on or after June 6 will have their vacation time off balance capped at 280 hours.

Professional Staff

Hours are not forfeited while a professional staff member remains employed with the university, however, only 280 hours will be paid out to an employee upon termination from the university, regardless of the reason for separation. There is no exception or waiver available to exceed this maximum. Additionally, to allow for prompt recruitment of the departing employee’s position, minimal disruption while maintaining business continuity, and support of the remaining team members on staff in the affected department, the policy of the President and Provost is that professional staff members may take up to two weeks (80 hours; or appropriate hours for FTE) of vacation time off between their final day in-office and their final date of employment. In summary, a professional staff member may take up to two weeks of vacation time off from their last day in the office until their last day on the payroll; followed by a payout of remaining unused vacation time off, up to 280 hours, upon termination.

Please note recent policy change:
Consistent with the intent of the change in state law for classified employees, the vacation separation pay maximum for professional staff will also increase from 240 hours to 280 hours on June 6, 2024.

Sick time off should be requested and entered at least 10 days in advance for planned absences, such as scheduled medical appointments or procedures. For unanticipated sick time off, advance requests are not required. However, employees are still required to notify their supervisor and team as soon as possible when they will be out due to an unanticipated illness.

  • Utilization of other time off balances (holiday credit, discretionary, compensatory) is not required before requesting sick time off.
  • Sick time off may be used for an employee’s own medical or preventative care reason; for the medical needs or preventative care of eligible family members; public official ordered closure of the UW or child’s school/place of care for health-related reasons; or domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking covered absences.
  • For all salaried staff, regardless of service length or employment program, sick time off accrual is 8 hours per month for full-time employees or prorated to FTE. Please see Salaried Sick Time Off for additional information.
  • For all temporary and student hourly positions, sick time off accrual is 1 hour for every 40 hours worked and paid. Please see Hourly Sick Time Off for additional information.
  • There is no maximum accrual of sick time off; payout and transferability of sick time off is dependent upon the following circumstances:
    • Employees have the opportunity to participate in the annual Attendance Incentive Program once they reach an accrued balance above 480 hours.
    • Employees who retire from the UW with sick time off balances will receive 25% of the cash value deposited into a Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA) medical expense account.
    • Employees who separate from the University do not receive a payout of sick time off hours but may have their balance reinstated upon return to UW or another qualified state agency. Please see Leaving UW Employment for additional details.
    • Employees who transfer from one position to another within Washington State service may be eligible to transfer some or their entire balance to their new position. Please see Job Changes for additional details.
  • Verification of medical need (e.g. a doctor’s note) may only be requested from employees for absences that extend beyond three consecutive scheduled workdays. Supervisors should request verification fairly and with consistency if employees meet the criteria, and consult with Executive Shared Services if they intend to request a sick time off verification. Employees that meet the verification criteria should also be provided their rights under FMLA protection (see FMLA). Employees are authorized to request a review from their Human Resources Consultant if providing verification would create an undue financial burden. Please see Supervisor Responsibilities for additional details of the verification policy.

Personal holiday

A personal holiday valued at 8 hours for full-time, or prorated to FTE, is awarded to all salaried, time-off-eligible employees at the beginning of each calendar year. New employees are awarded this time off after 4 months of employment. It must be used as a single, full balance request during the calendar year in which is awarded. Please see Personal Holiday for additional information.

Note: Supervisors cannot require employees to use a personal holiday instead of other time off types. However, it is best practice to remind employees that their personal holiday is available to them as they submit vacation time off requests. While usage of the personal holiday is at the discretion of the employee, supervisors are not required to approve last-minute personal holiday time off requests at the end of the year if doing so will impact business continuity.

Holiday credit is applied to Workday time off balances for eligible employees to utilize on official, UW-recognized holidays, prorated to FTE. Employees are expected to request their Holiday absences using “Holiday Taken Time Off” as the time off pay type. This request will auto-approve in Workday and apply the holiday credit to the holiday.

  • Employees working alternate schedules will not be required to utilize holiday credit if the holiday falls on their normally scheduled day off. The holiday credit will remain in their balances for use on the employee’s next requested day off.
  • Conversely, if the employee’s regular schedule calls for more hours than provided as holiday credit, the employee must use an additional time off type (vacation, unless additional holiday credit, compensatory or discretionary time off is available) to cover the difference.
  • Employees are expected to work a consistent schedule, and should not “flex” their hours during the week of a holiday to benefit from additional holiday credit accrual or avoid utilizing additional balances. Supervisors requiring employees to work holidays due to extraordinary circumstances should reach out to Executive Shared Services for assistance.
  • As a best practice, holidays may be requested in Workday for the entire calendar year. This will prevent Workday errors as employees request vacation time off throughout the year. Please see Holidays for additional information.

Unpaid time off may be approved by a supervisor to utilize only after all other eligible time off balances have been exhausted. The guidelines for unpaid time off below may vary for employees on FMLA or other protected Leaves of Absence. Always consult Executive Shared Services when managing an employee request for unpaid time off. Please see Unpaid Time Off for additional information.

  • When taking time off for illness, sick time off balances must be exhausted, as well as all holiday credit (including personal holiday), compensatory, discretionary, and vacation time off balances before entering unpaid time off.
  • When taking time off for vacation, employees should explicitly notify their supervisors that their requested vacation will include unpaid time off. Holiday credit (including personal holiday), compensatory, discretionary, and all vacation time off must be utilized before entering unpaid time off. For approved vacations, sick time off does NOT need to be exhausted as the time off type is not applicable to the reason for absence.
  • Unpaid time off must be entered and approved in Workday within the current pay period window to be accounted for correctly on the applicable paycheck. Late submissions of unpaid time off will result in an overpayment and subsequent proceedings managed by Executive Shared Services.
  • Employees utilizing more than 10 unpaid times off days in a calendar month will forfeit accrual of all time off types for that month, except sick time off. Sick time off will instead be calculated at the hourly rate of 1 hour for 40 hours worked and paid, until the employee returns to claiming less than 10 unpaid time off days in a calendar month.
  • Employees in unpaid time off status the last workday before a holiday will not receive pay for that holiday. Professional and Contract Classified employees must work or utilize at least 4 hours (8 hours/full shift for classified non-union) of paid time off the workday preceding the holiday in order to be considered in pay status and qualify for holiday pay.

Discretionary time off

Supervisors can request discretionary time off to be awarded to professional staff employees for “a noteworthy achievement or effort that contributes to the unit’s mission, goals, or objectives.” Supervisors must complete the Staff Action Form to be routed to the department or division head for approval. EOSS encourages supervisors to communicate the request with the department or division head before submitting the form. Supervisors must outline the reasoning which discretionary leave is to be awarded for and the number of days of discretionary time off that are recommended (maximum of six days per calendar year).

Discretionary time off use

  1. Discretionary time off may be taken in partial or full days of time off work.
  2. Discretionary time off must be used before vacation time off.
  3. Discretionary time off must be used by March 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which it was awarded. Discretionary time off from the prior calendar year that is not used by the March 31 deadline will be lost and deducted from the employee’s time off record. The March 31 deadline for discretionary time off use cannot be extended under any circumstances.
  4. Unused discretionary time off has no cash value and cannot be paid.
  5. Discretionary time off may only be used while the employee works in the unit that awarded it. Unused discretionary time off is lost when an employee moves to a different organizational unit, or when an employee leaves University employment.
  6. Discretionary time off may not be donated as shared leave.

Bereavement, civil duty, faith or conscience, and shared time off

These time-off types occur less frequently and may require additional review, consideration, and consultation from Executive Shared Services to award. Please see Additional Time Off Types for additional information. Please consult with Executive Shared Services whenever you have employees requesting utilization of these time-off types.

Partial day absence (Overtime-Exempt Professional Staff only)

As a Professional Staff member, Overtime-Exempt, there is a clear understanding and demonstration of managing work time to fulfill the obligations of one’s job duties and working a standard 40-hour work week (or appropriate hours for FTE). However, it has been acknowledged that there are times when there are personal appointments and matters that may require employees to be away from the office during scheduled work hours. As such, for OT-Exempt Professional Staff only, the President and Provost units will allow up to two (2) hours of partial day absence on an infrequent basis when a personal appointment or matter occurs within scheduled work hours and is unavoidable. If a personal appointment or need extends beyond two (2) hours, please account, or have your eligible staff member account, for this time away from the office with an appropriate paid time off type. Employees should continue to work with their supervisor to provide advance notification of all planned time away from the office, whether utilizing the partial day or accrued time off.

Leaves of absence

Leaves of absence

Leave of Absence refers to a temporary vacancy of an employee’s position for a period of time due to medical, personal, military, or family reasons. The requirements for review and approval of Leave of Absence are dependent upon the type of leave, however, all require the submission of a Leave of Absence request in Workday to initiate the process.

A Leave of Absence is not a paid absence, however, employees may concurrently utilize their paid time off balances to receive pay during their LOA. Employees with time off balances may be required to exhaust their balances before transitioning to unpaid time off. Some LOA types allow interspersing of time off types across the duration of the leave to balance paycheck amounts and maintain eligibility for benefits and time off accrual. Please see Leave Without Pay for additional information about LOA.

The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law protecting employees who need leave from work for personal medical reasons – including prenatal medical care and childbirth/adoption, to care for a family member for medical reasons, and for qualifying activities related to military active duty.

  • To qualify for FMLA, an employee must have worked for a Washington State agency for at least 12 months and worked 1250 hours in the last 12 months. All Leave of Absence requests submitted through Workday noted as FMLA will be reviewed by HR Leave for these qualifiers.
  • FMLA may be a single, continuous period of leave or intermittent. Healthcare Provider documentation determines the duration and frequency of the leave that is approved, though FMLA protections are exhausted at 12 weeks (480 hours, or prorated to FTE) of usage within a rolling 12-month period (balances will reset on a 12-month basis, not based on a calendar year).
  • Medical documentation and associated information should always be sent directly to Campus HR Operations by the requesting employee or the Health Care Provider. Supervisors, departments, and Executive Shared Services maintain no documentation related to an employee’s medical condition, nor should be made aware of the specifics of an employee’s medical condition.
  • Health Care Provider Certifications are considered null after 6 months, regardless of the dates provided on the request form. Employees with chronic conditions or ongoing needs for intermittent leave must submit new documentation at least every 6 months, being sure to submit that documentation in advance of the LOA expiration to ensure continuity of coverage.
  • As a supervisor, if an employee discloses that they or a family member have a medical condition; if you identify that an employee has frequent unscheduled absences; or if an employee is out of the office longer than 3 days on sick time off, you are obligated to notify Executive Shared Services so that Executive Shared Services can send the FMLA Employee Rights Notification to the employee.
  • Below is a standard workflow for requesting an FMLA Leave of Absence. FMLA is unique for each individual employee and can be complex; any employees with questions about this process or FMLA eligibility, in general, should escalate to Executive Shared Services for consultation as soon as is reasonable. Employees needing assistance regarding specifics of their medical information should always direct their questions to Campus HR Operations for a confidential consultation.

FMLA Workday Life Cycle

Parental Leave is an entitlement provided by the UW to all professional and classified staff employees (mothers/fathers; birth and non-birth parents). An employee does not need to reach a specified duration of employment to qualify for this entitlement. Please see Parental Leave for additional information. The So you’re going to be a parent PDF includes parental leave planning frequently asked questions followed by six mini case studies that illustrate a variety of leave and time off scenarios.

  • Professional and contract classified staff are allotted 4 months of parental leave, and classified non-union staff are allotted 6 months. This time is awarded as a continuous, unpaid period of time, and does not break down into days or hours. Employees may intersperse their paid time off to remain benefits-eligible, using not more than 30 days of sick time off. Employees may also work intermittently or with a modified work schedule with the approval of their department.
  • While most employees take this leave at the birth of their child, the Parental Leave period can be initiated any time during the 12 months following the birth/placement of the child.

Post-Partum disability

In addition to Parental Leave, birth mothers are entitled to a 6-8 week postpartum recovery/temporary disability period. The duration of this disability period is ultimately determined by healthcare provider certification. This entitlement is offered regardless of the duration of employment or FMLA eligibility.

  • During the disability period, depending upon the applicable bargaining agreement/employment program, employees may use a combination of any of their available paid time off types, or utilize unpaid time off. Sick time off usage is unlimited during the recovery period.

FMLA coverage

If an employee’s Leave of Absence to become a parent is FMLA eligible, FMLA will run concurrently with the post-partum recovery period (if applicable), and the subsequent Parental Leave period, until FMLA is exhausted:

FMLA Parental Leave Diagram


During the recovery and Parental Leave periods covered by FMLA, employees will continue to receive UW employer-paid benefits regardless of their paid/unpaid time off usage, remaining responsible for the employee-paid portion.

Once FMLA is exhausted, or if an employee is ineligible for FMLA, the employee must remain in pay status for at least 8 hours in a calendar month, by working 8 hours or utilizing a paid time off type, in order to receive UW employer-paid benefits. Employees will remain responsible for the employee-paid portion. Employees with no paid time off may elect to self-pay the full employer and employee benefits to maintain eligibility. Please see Self Pay for additional information.

Executive Shared Services will provide time off counseling to employees in advance of their planned time off to develop an interspersing plan to maximize benefits. Supervisors should refer employees to their Executive Shared Services lead once the LOA is approved in Workday if Executive Shared Services is not already working with the employee on their leave planning.

Disability leave

Disability leave

A Leave of Absence may be provided to an employee as a disability accommodation based upon the recommendation of a Health Care Provider that an employee is not able to perform the requirements of their job due to medical reasons.

The duration of Disability Leave as an accommodation will be the total amount of the employee’s accrued time off, or nine months of any combination of paid and unpaid time off; whichever is greater.

Often, FMLA covers some or all of an employee’s Disability Leave. FMLA will run concurrent to the Disability Leave, and cover up to 12 weeks (480 hours FTE equivalent) of the Leave of Absence.

While on FMLA, employees will continue to receive UW employer-paid benefits regardless of paid or unpaid time off utilized. During the FMLA period, employees will remain responsible for paying the employee-paid portion of their benefits and will need to coordinate payment with the Payroll office if their reduced paycheck will not cover the deductions.

Once FMLA is exhausted, the employee will need to intersperse paid time off hours to achieve at least 8 pay-status hours in a calendar month to receive UW employer-paid benefits. Employees with no paid time off may elect to self-pay the full employer and employee benefits to maintain eligibility. Please see Self Pay for additional information.

Disability leave and accommodations can be complex and are unique to every employee. Supervisors made aware of an employee’s need for disability accommodation, up to and including a full Leave of Absence should reach out to Executive Shared Services as soon as reasonable to initiate preliminary communication to the employee and referral to the Disability Services Office and Campus HR Operations.

Other typyes of leave

Other types of leave

Suspended operations are when the UW is formally closed and all classes/activities are canceled). Suspended operations notifications are communicated via the UW Alert system and posted on the UW homepage. All employees of the Executive Office organization should sign up for UW Alerts to ensure timely notification of suspended operations and other important alerts.

Manager/Supervisor responsibilities

Once an official Suspended Operations notification has gone out, Managers should send a follow-up communication to all direct reports to confirm expectations during the period of the closure. Supervisors should confirm that all hourly employees, including student workers, should not be reporting to work or logging hours.

  • For all salaried employees, supervisors should confirm whether the employee will be a) telecommuting, b) utilizing paid time off, or c) a combination of both.
  • For salaried overtime eligible employees, there is the additional option for the employee to make up the hours in lieu of taking paid time off. Employees must make up the work time within 90 days of the date that the suspended operations ended. As this process is fully managed in Workday, please refer to the Suspended Operations User Guide for full details.
  • Professional staff overtime exempt employees, at the supervisor’s discretion, do not have to utilize paid time off for approved partial day absences.

Employee responsibilities

Employees are responsible for communicating directly with their supervisor to confirm approval to telework, use paid time off, or makeup hours (for salaried overtime-eligible employees only). Once approval is obtained, their Workday time entry/time off entries should be updated accordingly. If an overtime-exempt employee teleworked throughout the closure or—with the supervisor’s approval—took a partial day absence, there is no action needed in Workday.

Please note: the Suspended Operations notification makes reference to “essential staff” needing to report to work during suspended operations. Based on current position data, there are NO employees within the Executive Office organization that are designated as “essential staff”. Therefore, no Manager should require any employee to report to work during suspended operations.

In inclement weather situations, the UW remains open, but severe weather may be causing transportation problems or hazardous conditions for employees. For these situations, the following protocol should be followed:
Inclement Weather Policies

Employees are responsible for communicating directly with their supervisor as soon as possible if inclement weather is preventing them from reporting to work on time or at all.

Managers should work directly with their employees to discuss possible options for teleworking, utilizing paid time off, or—for Professional staff overtime exempt employees only—approving partial day absences. During inclement weather, make-up hours are not an option for overtime-eligible staff.

Leaves of Absence requests for educational pursuit, government service, or personal reasons must be submitted by an employee in writing to request approval from their supervisor and the Executive Head (e.g. President, Provost, Vice Provost) who preside over the employee’s department. Supervisors receiving a request for these reasons should consult with the Executive Shared Services before approving and escalating to senior leadership.