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The next time you end a record in OWLS, you will notice the results of programming changes that improve leave balance transfers out of OWLS:

New End Record Reasons

Two new end record reasons provide a smoother experience when departments end records for employees transferring to departments that do not use OWLS, like those at the Medical Centers:

  • Moving to a new department that does not use OWLS (e.g., T&BA) – for use when an employee gets a new job in a department that doesn't use OWLS. When you use this reason, final leave balances in OWLS will not be used later in new record setup, and the end record summary states that certain leave balances should transfer (annual, sick, personal holiday) while others should be paid (holiday credit, compensatory time) or forfeited (discretionary leave).
  • Entire department moving from OWLS to another UW system (e.g., T&BA) – for use when an entire Payroll Unit Code (PUC) moves from OWLS into a new leave system. When you use this reason, the final leave balances in OWLS will not be used later in new record setup, and the end record summary states that all leave balances should transfer.

Shared Leave Restriction

Programming of a new error message prohibits the ability to end an OWLS record with a shared leave balance. If you try to end a record with a shared leave balance, you will receive an error message directing you to contact the OWLS Support Team for assistance in removing the balance. This restriction is necessitated by the need to calculate the return of leave to previous donors and helps ensure shared leave does not remain unused in a record longer than 30 days. Should it be appropriate for shared leave to remain on the books, the OWLS Support Team will provide you with instructions for removing and then reinstating the balance.

This restriction is in place for all end record reasons except the new "Entire department moving from OWLS to another UW system (e.g., T&BA)" reason.


As a result of frequently received questions from clients, we are providing an A to Z summary of issues from our most commonly asked questions. Actually, that would be A to R. You may even want to print this issue and tack it up on your wall so you have a quick reference!

Appointment Changes

If an employee's job title or job code changes, end the employee's previous OWLS record and set up a new one for the new job title or job code.

Bereavement Leave

A day of bereavement leave does not equal a specific hour equivalency. Any use of bereavement leave on a calendar day is considered as a day of bereavement leave.

Child/Elder Care Emergency Leave

Not to be confused with leave to care for an ill child/elder, this leave is for situations when an employee cannot report to or stay at work because of an unexpected closure of a school or elder care facility, unexpected absence of a care provider, or the need to pick up a child at school earlier than normal. Leave use is limited to 3 days of annual leave, 3 days of sick leave, and 3 days of LWOP per calendar year.

Fixed Duration Appointment

Fixed duration appointments are monthly paid, leave accruing appointments allowed in WFSE and SEIU 925 labor contracts. They must be made for more than 6 months and less than 12 months. You must enter a minimum six-month appointment duration in the OWLS record, using the "Probationary Period" field to ensure that OWLS properly calculates leave. However, employees in fixed duration appointments do not serve a probationary period and do not become permanent.

Personal Holiday

The personal holiday must be taken as a full day off work, unless an employee wishes to donate 4 or more hours of the personal holiday as shared leave to an eligible employee, in which case the employee may donate four hours or more of personal holiday as shared leave.

Prior State Service

Credit for prior state service for employees returning to state employment following a break in service is not to be entered in an OWLS record until the timekeeper receives completed crediting from the Human Resources Office.

Probationary Period

You need to enter a probationary period for any new classified hire. If you are unsure how long the probationary period is, contact Human Resources.

Project Appointment

While limited in duration, you must create OWLS records for these are monthly-paid, leave bearing professional staff appointments.

Record Begin Date (RBD)

Once entered and saved in an OWLS record, you cannot change the Record Begin Date. Send a request to to delete the record if it was incorrectly entered.

Human Resources Administration, Box 354554, Seattle, WA 98105
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