Skip navigation - Jump to page content

Professional Staff Leave
Annual Leave

UNDERSTAND

Annual leave, sometimes referred to as vacation leave, is leave accrued by all monthly-paid professional staff as specified in the Professional Staff Program, and may be used for such reasons as:

All monthly-paid professional staff earn annual leave hours for each full month of service. Professional staff employees become eligible to use accrued annual leave following the first calendar month in which annual leave hours have been accrued.

Annual Leave Accrual

The annual leave accrual rate is determined by the professional staff position's overtime eligibility factor, its Grade level and the employee’s length of service.

Leave accrues at the end of the month in which it is earned and is available for use by eligible employees the following month. Since leave hours do not accrue until the end of the month, they cannot be used until the following month.

Annual Leave Accrual Rates for Full-time Professional Staff
Overtime Eligible Professional Staff
All Grades
Overtime Exempt Professional Staff
Grades 10 and Below
Length of Service Leave Accrual Rate Length of Service Leave Accrual Rate
Years Months Hours per Month Days/Hours Per Year Years Months Hours per Month Days/Hours Per Year
1st 0-12 10.00 15/120 1st 0-12 10.00 15/120
2nd 13-24 10.67 16/128 2nd 13-24 10.67 16/128
3rd 25-36 11.33 17/136 3rd 25-36 11.33 17/136
4th 37-48 12.00 18/144 4th 37-48 12.00 18/144
5th 49-60 12.67 19/152 5th 49-60 12.67 19/152
6th 61-72 13.33 20/160 6th 61-72 13.33 20/160
7th 73-84 14.00 21/168 7th 73-84 14.00 21/168
8th 85-96 14.67 22/176 8th 85-96 14.67 22/176
9th 97 & above 15.33 23/184 9th 97 & above 16.00 24/192
Overtime Exempt Professional Staff Grades 11-14 16 hours/month 24 days/year

All professional staff positions at salary grades 11-14 accrue annual leave at 16.00 hours per month (24 days per year) regardless of years of service.

Annual Leave Accrual for Part-time Professional Staff

Part-time professional staff employees accrue annual leave on a prorated basis based on their monthly FTE and length of service. (See "Joint Appointments" for information on joint faculty/professional staff appointments.)

Annual Leave Accrual Month

The annual leave accrual month is the annually recurring calendar month during which an employee’s annual leave accrual rate changes in accordance with the accrual schedule for the employee’s appointment type.

The initial annual leave accrual month is the month in which an employee first accrues annual leave, and is established as follows:

The annual leave accrual month may change if an employee has leave without pay for more than ten (10) days in a month, or separates from employment. The annual leave accrual month may also change if an employee is credited with prior state service.

Annual Leave Accrual for Newly Hired Professional Staff

Newly hired professional staff employees who start work on or before the 15th of the month will accrue full leave hours during the first calendar month of employment. Newly hired professional staff employees who start work on or after the 16th of the month do not accrue any leave hours for that month; they begin accruing leave hours at the end of the second calendar month of employment.

Leave Accrual for Employees Who Change Status

Annual Leave Accrual when there are Mid-Month Changes in FTE or Appointment Type
Professional staff employees whose FTE changes during a calendar month will receive leave hours based upon the overall average percent of time worked in the month.

Professional staff employees who move during the month into a new appointment type with a different annual leave accrual rate will accrue leave hours for the month at an average rate. The average rate is based upon the percent of the month spent in each of the two appointment types.

Leave Accrual - Effect of Leave of Absence without Pay (LWOP)
Professional staff employees do not accrue any leave hours during a calendar month in which they are on leave without pay status for more than ten (10) working days, including holidays.

Transferring Between Departments or Agencies
A professional staff employee’s annual leave balance will transfer with the employee when moving from a staff position in one department to another department within the University. The annual leave balance will also transfer when the employee moves without a break in service to a staff position at another state agency or institution of higher education.

Annual Leave Accrual upon Converting from Faculty to Professional Staff
Faculty with 12 month appointments and at least eight years of University service who convert to professional staff receive 176 hours of annual leave, less any time taken as annual leave during the preceding 12 months. Faculty with 12 month appointments and less than eight years of service receive a prorated annual leave balance as determined by the Human Resources Operations Office. Faculty with less than 12 month appointments do not receive annual leave upon converting to professional staff.

Leave accrual considerations for Cyclic Year Positions
Cyclic or instructional year appointments sometimes begin and end mid-month (e.g., September 16 through June 15). In some instances, employees would not accrue annual leave and sick leave in either the first or last month worked in the cyclic year due to being on leave without pay for more than 10 working days in both months. It is intended that employees in cyclic/instructional year appointments receive annual leave and sick leave accrual for the overall number of months worked. For example, a September 16 through June 15 schedule should receive 9 months of annual leave and sick leave accrual. In this example, the employee would receive credit in June but not September, provided that the employee is in pay status through the end of the regular appointment in June (i.e., through June 15).

Maximum Annual Leave Accrual

The University encourages responsible scheduling and use of annual leave through the cooperative efforts of staff and their supervisors. Annual leave planning should balance the employee's need for time away from work with the University's interest in ensuring that work obligations are met.

As specified by the Professional staff program, The University expects employees and supervisors to plan annual leave use so that the leave balance does not exceed 240 hours on the employee's anniversary date. If extraordinary work requirements prevent meeting this limit, supervisors and employees are expected to schedule the employee's use of annual leave at the earliest opportunity in order to bring the balance within the 240-hour limit. Continuing employees may not receive payment instead of taking accrued annual leave. After completing six months of continuous service and upon termination of employment, the University pays for annual leave balances up to a maximum of 240 hours.

The unit's Human Resources Consultant is available to assist managers in developing staffing plans or annual schedules to meet this goal.

Continuing employees may not receive payment instead of taking accrued annual leave.

Annual Leave Accrual and Payment for Separating Professional Staff

Converting from Staff Positions to Faculty, Student, or Hourly Positions
Professional staff employees who move from a staff position to a faculty, student, or hourly position will be paid for their unused annual leave balance to a maximum of 240 hours if they have been employed at least six (6) months.

Separating Employees
Professional staff employees who separate from the University will be paid for their unused annual leave balance provided that they have completed a minimum of six (6) month of employment. Professional staff employees will be paid for annual leave balances up to a maximum of 240 hours. Payment is based upon the regular salary at the time of separation. Employees who have completed less than six (6) months of work are not eligible for annual leave compensation.

Leave Accrual during an Employee's Last Month of Work
Professional staff employees who separate from UW employment on or after the 16th of the month will accrue full leave hours for the month of separation. Professional staff employees who separate from UW employment prior to the 16th of the month do not accrue any leave hours for the month of separation.

Leave Record

Each professional staff employee's record of annual leave accrual and use is maintained using the Online Work Leave System (OWLS) or an authorized alternative system.

ACT

Requesting Use of Annual Leave

If you would like to use accrued annual leave hours, you will need to consider the following items in order to request and use annual leave:

  1. Determine your annual leave balance. If your department uses OWLS to maintain its employees’ leave records, visit the “Vacation and Sick Leave” tab in Employee Self-Service. If your department uses another authorized alternative system, check with your department’s timekeeper.
  2. Follow your department’s normal leave request procedures to obtain written approval from your supervisor in advance of the effective date(s) for use of annual leave.

EXPLORE

Upon separation from the University, eligible employees may be paid out for their unused annual leave balance. The Employee Separation Payment Authorization form, which will be generated when ending an employee’s OWLS record, must be completed and submitted to the Payroll Office in order for annual leave to be paid out.

Prior state service credit can affect annual leave accrual rates and may allow for reinstatement of sick leave. To learn how to request Prior Service Credit, visit the Crediting of Previous Washington State Employment page.

Professional Staff
Leave Topics