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Professional Staff Program
Professional Leave

The purpose of professional leave with pay is to allow an employee to work on a project or acquire knowledge and/or experience that will enhance the individual's future contributions to the University (e.g., gaining new technical expertise, conducting research, or reporting on an issue of significance to the employing organization or the University).


A professional staff employee is eligible to apply for a professional leave not earlier than their seventh year service to the University, or not earlier than in the seventh year after return from a previous professional leave.


  1. Download an "Application for Professional Leave with Pay" form and complete it according to the form's instructions.
  2. File the application at least six months before the date the requested leave is to begin.

Review Process

  1. The immediate supervisor reviews the application and decides whether to endorse it.
  2. The supervisor transmits the application to the appropriate dean or vice president for concurrence, and then to the HR Operations Office that serves the unit for final approval.

The nature of the applicant's plans, their relevance to the unit's and University's mission, and the applicant's ability to carry them out should be considered in the granting of professional leave.

Length of Leave

Professional leave with pay may be granted for any period of time up to a maximum of nine months.


The University will provide salary support for the period of the leave as follows:

If the applicant secures grant support that is designated for salary, the funds can be applied to bring the professional staff employee's pay up to full salary during the leave. Any grant funds in excess of those necessary to achieve full salary payment, are used to reduce the University's contribution from other fund sources.

Except in unusual circumstances, the combined compensation for an individual on professional leave may not exceed the individual's regular salary. If the leave will be spent in a particularly high cost-of-living area, or where the work to be performed requires extraordinary expense, the HR Operations Office serving the unit may approve a combined salary that exceeds the employee's regular salary.

Other Employment

An employee on professional leave with pay may not accept paid employment during the period of the leave except where the purpose of the leave is for professional practice or experience that cannot be obtained otherwise.

Supplemental employment should not carry with it responsibilities that interfere with the purpose for which the leave is granted. Salary from other employment while on professional leave will be applied in the same manner as grant support.

Agreement to Return

In order to be granted professional leave the employee must agree in writing to return to his/her University position for a period equivalent to the length of the leave. Pursuant to RCW 28B.10.650, if the employee does not comply with this agreement, the employee is obligated to repay all remuneration received from the UW during the period of the leave.

Report of Leave

Within one month of returning to work at the University, the employee must submit to the appropriate dean or vice president a summary of the activities in which the employee was engaged while on leave. The summary must provide details explaining the leave's value to the University and to the employee's professional development.