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Annual Attendance Incentive Program


The Annual Attendance Incentive Program, also referred to as the "Sick Leave Buy-back Program," allows employees whose sick leave balances exceed 480 hours as of January 1st to be compensated at 25% value for any accrued and unused sick leave accumulated during the previous calendar year.

The Attendance Incentive Program is established by state law and is only available for use in January of each year.


Employees must meet the following eligibility requirements in order to participate in the Annual Attendance Incentive program:

If during the year an employee donates any sick leave as shared leave, it is deducted from the employee's sick leave balance and cannot be included in the Annual Attendance Incentive Program.


Payment is made at the rate of 25% of the value of the accrued leave, and all hours compensated are deducted from the sick leave balance. A full-time employee may receive 25% payment for a maximum of 96 hours. The maximum number of hours a part-time employee may accumulate and be compensated for is prorated according to the employee's monthly percentage of time worked.

Planning for Retirement

If you are planning for retirement, consider saving your unused sick leave so you can create a tax-free medical expense account (called VEBA). A VEBA account is created from the 25% sick leave cash-out when you retire from the UW. While the annual sick leave cash-out payment is taxed, funds placed in a VEBA account are used tax-free to pay post retirement medical expenses for you and your eligible dependents. See the VEBA web page for complete information.


Request Payment for Unused Sick Leave

  1. Check to see if your sick leave balance is above 480 hours. If it is, compare your starting and ending sick leave balances for the year. If your ending balance is higher than the starting balance, you can cash out all or part of the difference, as long as the remaining balance is at least 480 hours. If your department uses OWLS to maintain its employees' leave records, visit the "Vacation and Sick Leave" tab in Employee Self Service (ESS). If your department uses another authorized alternative system, check with your department’s timekeeper.
  2. Download the appropriate form:
  3. Follow the form's completion and distribution instructions and keep a copy for yourself. Allow sufficient time for your department to process the form and turn it in to the Payroll Office (Box 359555) no later than 5:00 pm on the last working day in January.
  4. Payment is made by the second paycheck in February. If you have questions, contact your department's Human Resources Operations Office for assistance.

Incomplete forms cannot be processed and will be returned to the employee. Forms received after the deadline may not be processed for payment.


To find out more about the situations in which sick leave can be used, please visit the Sick Leave web page.

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