ISSUE 27 • JUNE 2013

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New Organ Donor Shared Leave Program

With the strong endorsement of the University Human Resources Committee, on July 1 the UW will launch a unique program to allow UW employees who volunteer as live organ donors to receive gifts of shared leave from other UW employees. The current state shared leave program does not cover time away from work by employees who serve as organ donors.

The Organ Donor Shared Leave program will allow a UW employee who is donating an organ to receive and use gifts of shared leave without first having to exhaust personal paid leave (e.g., annual leave, sick leave, personal holiday, etc.). This program can help these employees minimize or eliminate the amount of their own paid leave they would otherwise have to use to cover the time off work due to the organ donation process.

The program applies only to employees who accrue leave. UW employees who want to give leave to a UW employee who is donating an organ may contribute a maximum of 10 days of leave per organ donor and must retain the same minimum leave balances following donation as under the state shared leave program. However, because the UW's organ donor shared leave program is in addition to, not part of, the state shared leave program, gifts of leave to an organ donor will not count toward the 522-day maximum of shared leave that one employee may receive.

Entries in OWLS

Due to the unique nature of and complexities around programming this new leave type, it will not be added to OWLS at this time. Please follow the instructions below for tracking this new type of shared leave.

For Leave Donors

Entries of the donation of leave remain exactly the same. After receiving HR's approval for a leave donation, deduct the annual leave, sick leave, or personal holiday value through the "Balance Change" tab.

For Leave Recipients

Because the entry of the state's program of shared leave requires that other paid leave first be exhausted, the existing shared leave code "SH" cannot be used for organ donor purposes. Instead, use the following workaround:

  1. Enter a Note indicating the period of time the live organ donor is receiving shared leave for organ donation purposes, e.g., "Employee on organ donor shared leave from August 5 through August 29."
  2. Use the UWHR organ donor shared leave balance tracking spreadsheet (to be available on the UWHR web page after July 1) to track the receipt and use of organ donor shared leave during this period of time.
  3. In the OWLS calendar, leave the days blank.
  4. If the employee exhausts his or her organ donor shared leave or chooses to take other paid leave, those entries should continue to be made in the OWLS calendar.

We will be updating our web pages closer to the launch of the program. If you have questions about this new program, please contact

Unpaid Leave or Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

Unpaid leave can be taken for a variety of reasons, but it is primarily used when an employee has exhausted all other available and appropriate paid leave hours, and still needs to take time off work. In all cases, LWOP needs to be tracked and requires a corresponding payroll adjustment either to the employee's distribution or in Exception Time Reporting (ETR) to ensure that there is no payment for what should be unpaid time off.

OWLS has a number of LWOP codes that can be used for the appropriate circumstances. All these codes and instructions for posting can be found in the OWLS Timekeeper Guide. Some of the most commonly used codes are described below.

Leave without Pay Codes

OWLS has the primary LWOP code ("L"), with two additional codes for the special properties of unpaid leave covered by the FMLA ("LF") and unpaid leave for childcare or elder care emergencies ("LE"). The special properties check boxes will display whenever LWOP has been chosen from the drop-down list.

Military Leave without Pay Code

The MWO code exists for unpaid military leave, and is generally used after an employee is called to active duty and paid military leave is exhausted. Do not use LWOP code "L" for unpaid military leave because employees on unpaid military leave have certain rights that must not be overlooked. Using the MWO code ensures a proper accounting for military leave without pay.

Cyclic Yearly Leave Code

The cyclic yearly leave code - ("CYL"), is used to designate scheduled unpaid time off work for employees who work less than 12 months each year. Cyclic yearly leave is often adjusted in OPUS through the distribution or in ETR as an exception.

Because OWLS and OPUS do not share data, it is particularly important that the department's OWLS timekeeper and payroll coordinator communicate to ensure that required payroll adjustments are made when an employee is on any form of leave without pay. The OWLS and OPUS entries must match one another. Audits have shown that it is not uncommon for OWLS and OPUS records for the same period of leave without pay to not match. This can result in over or underpayments that require later adjustment.


Salary overpayments are never an occasion for celebration. In fact, timekeepers everywhere tear their hair and gnash their teeth when they learn they must process an overpayment repayment. Overpayments often occur when the payroll coordinator does not receive notice that an employee has taken some unpaid time off. Consequently, the employee's regular salary is paid when there should have been a reduction.

Fortunately, there is an option in OWLS that supports a simple method by which employees can repay an overpayment. Eligible employees may choose to have unused annual leave or compensatory time deducted from their balances to offset all or a part of an outstanding overpayment. If employees do not have enough leave to cover the repayment, enter the appropriate leave without pay code on the days not worked, and make the necessary payroll adjustments. Instructions are available in the OWLS timekeeper guide.

The repayment will always be effective on the first day of the calendar month that is active in OWLS.

Human Resources Administration, Box 354554, Seattle, WA 98105
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