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UW Release Time Policy

Release Time: Executive Order No. 52.

Revised November 20, 1975, August 1, 1991.


Purpose of Programs and Participant Eligibility

As a major employer, the University offers a range of staff Professional & Organizational Development programs to assist employees in learning new job skills, improving job performance, and increasing promotional opportunities. Staff Professional & Organizational Development classes are available to all regular full-time or part-time employees.

Training programs are offered by the following units: Professional & Organizational Development Office, Hospitals Training and Employee Development Office, John Locke Computer Center, Academic Computing Services, Environmental Health and Safety, and Information Systems. Other University departments may periodically offer other specialized classes. Questions regarding the applicability of the release time policy may be referred to the appropriate training and/or personnel office.

The University also offers full-time [and 50% or more monthly part-time] professional and classified staff employees the opportunity to participate in a tuition exemption program whereby regular University classes may be taken for credit. Release time for participation in the tuition exemption program is at the discretion of the department head. (See University Handbook Volume IV; Chapter 14, p. 51 Tuition Exemption.)


Application Procedures

Applications for staff Professional & Organizational Development programs are available from the sponsoring training office and the area personnel offices. When an employee desires to register for a staff training course which is held during the employee's regularly scheduled working hours, the application must be reviewed and signed by the supervisor to indicate that release time has been approved. In reviewing employee training requests, supervisors should consider factors including employee development interests and needs as well as unit staffing requirements. The employee must then submit the completed application to the appropriate training office.

In the event staffing needs require denial to an employee's request to attend classes, or unanticipated departmental staffing needs preclude employees from attending classes as previously approved, the employee should be permitted to attend the course the next quarter it is offered.


Definition and Use of Release Time

Release time is defined as that time during which an employee is released from normal work duties and compensated at the regular rate of pay to attend staff Professional & Organizational Development programs designed to assist in developing and/or improving job skills. Employees accepted for one of these programs will be provided release time necessary to participate in the training program up to a maximum of 24 hours per quarter plus the travel time to and from class. Regular part-time employees are eligible to participate in staff Professional & Organizational Development classes with release time prorated according to their work schedules (e.g., an employee working a 50% schedule is eligible for a maximum of 12 hours of release time per quarter). Employees who are not scheduled to work during the time a course is offered may participate in the course; however, no compensatory time off or additional compensation will be allowed. Management-directed training is not included in this limitation on release time.

Addendum to Tuition Exemption Policy: May 1998

As of May 1998, employees who are employed half-time or more and are paid monthly versus hourly are eligible to participate in the Tuition Exemption Program (See Administrative Policy Statement, 22.1).