ISSUE 26 • MARCH 2013

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Update: Separation Leave Budget

On July 1, 2011, the University changed its process for funding the payment of separation leave for benefits eligible classified staff, professional staff, and librarians by charging this leave to a central University budget instead of individual department budgets. The term "separation leave" refers to qualifying payments made to employees for accumulated annual leave at the time of separation from employment for any reason, and for accumulated sick leave at the time of retirement or death (valued at 25% of the employee's current hourly rate).

To streamline the process for departments, OWLS will now prefill the central budget number for any separation on the Employee Separation Payment Authorization (ESPA) form.

Submit completed ESPA forms to your Payroll Office, which will review requests and process them accordingly. Decentralized UW Medicine Health System departments should follow UW Medicine Payroll Services processes.


  • This process applies only to payment types 1 or 2, and 5 on the ESPA form.
  • This process applies only to leave payments at the time of separation from the UW. It does not apply to:
    • Sick leave cashed out through the annual attendance incentive program
    • Compensatory time payment
    • Payment in lieu of notice for layoff (payment types 3 and 4 on the ESPA form)
  • Departments should continue to enter their own budget number(s) for all payment types not charged to the central budget.

Additional information about the ESPA form and the reserve budget number is available on the OWLS User Guide ESPA information page.

What Do I Do With a Jury Duty Notice?

Employees may be required to serve on a jury, act as trial witnesses, or to exercise other subpoenaed civil duties. Monthly paid employees continue to receive their regular rate of pay when fulfilling such obligations, and the time off is called "civil leave." It is a distinct type of paid leave and is not deducted from any other leave balances.

When an employee receives a summons to jury duty or a subpoena to appear in a legal action to which the employee is not a party, take the following steps:

  1. Ask the employee to provide a copy of the summons or subpoena to their supervisor to document eligibility for civil leave.
  2. Once the civil obligation is completed, ensure that the employee submits a leave request for the amount of time the employee was off work.
  3. The supervisor reviews the request and approves it as-is or if the supervisor feels it is a significant hardship for the employee to be absent, the supervisor can ask the employee to request a deferral or rescheduling of the jury duty or other civil service.
  4. Post the civil leave taken in OWLS with the code "C" for civil leave. Should the jury duty be cancelled, no civil leave is taken.
  5. Employees may retain any payment received while on approved civil leave.

Instructions for posting the leave in OWLS can be found in the Timekeeper Guide.

Additional information about civil leave can be found on the HR policy page for civil leave.

Use the Personal Holiday First

Did you know that the personal holiday was first added to our holiday schedule in 1976? The popular back story is that it was added so that employees could take their birthdays off. Regardless of the reason, classified staff, professional staff and librarians now enjoy a personal holiday.

For continuing employees, the personal holiday becomes available on January 1 and must be used by December 31. For new employees, the rules for personal holidays vary according to their employment program.

The personal holiday is available to each eligible employee every calendar year, and it must be used during that same calendar year. Employees are not paid for an unused personal holiday on separation from employment.

When making calendar entries in October, OWLS displays a warning message if the personal holiday has not yet been used. Even with that message, though, many employees still forget to ask to use the personal holiday. As such, we recommend that employees consider using the personal holiday instead of annual leave the first day the employee takes time off each year.

More complete information about the personal holiday can be found online.


Myth: Before you can end an OWLS record, you must first submit the final calendar month and receive the PERM.

BUSTED! You can end an OWLS record at any time on or after the actual record end date. You do not need to wait for the end of the final month, and do not need to submit the final month's entry before ending a record. The end record process takes care of everything in one step!

For example, if you need to end an employee's on March 12, you can end it on or any time after March 12; you do not have to wait until April 1. When you end an OWLS record, OWLS calculates the correct annual and sick leave accrual for the month and sends a PERM to the employee and the supervisor(s).

Review instructions for ending a record in the OWLS Timekeeper Guide.

Human Resources Administration, Box 354554, Seattle, WA 98105
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