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Contract Classified Leave
Leave of Absence without Pay


Contract classified employees may be granted unpaid leave or “leave of absence without pay” (LWOP) for an employee absence. LWOP may be allowed for time that an employee is absent for any of the following reasons:

The terms and conditions under which a contract classified employee takes LWOP are governed by the collective bargaining agreement for each bargaining unit. Links to the relevant section of each collective bargaining agreement, as well as some general information that is applicable across contracts, are listed below.

Use of LWOP

Accrued paid leave must be used before going on LWOP unless the leave is a disability or parental leave of absence, or is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If the approved leave of absence without pay is for personal reasons (e.g., extended vacation), all appropriate paid leave balances must be used prior to going on LWOP.

A supervisor is not required to approve the LWOP request unless the collective bargaining agreement specifies otherwise.

LWOP should not exceed 12 months in duration except that military leave or disability leave may extend longer.

Generally, contract classified employees returning from an authorized leave of absence are employed in the same position or in another position in the same class, geographical area and organizational unit. Such return to employment, however, must not be in conflict with rules relating to layoff or other terms of the collective bargaining agreement

If the employee's position is eliminated while the employee is on approved leave and if there is no other comparable vacancy in the unit at the time the employee is available to return to active status, the employee will be separated under the provisions for Layoff - Reduction In Force.

Contract classified staff employees not covered by mandatory overtime requirements are not charged LWOP for an approved partial day absence when part of the day has been worked.

Effect of LWOP on Holidays, Leave Accrual and Benefits

Holiday LWOP
Unless a collective bargaining agreement specifies otherwise, employees must be working or in pay status for at least four hours on the work day preceding a holiday in order to qualify for holiday pay.

LWOP in excess of ten (10) working days, including holidays
Unless a collective bargaining agreement specifies otherwise, annual leave and sick leave hours are not accrued during any calendar month in which the LWOP exceeds ten (10) working days, including holidays.

Unless a collective bargaining agreement specifies otherwise the annual leave accrual month is extended by one month when the LWOP exceeds ten (10) working days, including holidays, in a calendar month. The periodic salary increment date will be extended by one month when the LWOP exceeds ten (10) working days in a calendar month, including holidays, or exceeds ten (10) consecutive working days, including holidays.

LWOP during the probationary or trial service period
The impact of LWOP during a contract classified employee's probation or trial service periods and how they are affected by leave without pay is in determined by the provision of the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

During an approved medical or disability LWOP that is covered by the FMLA, the UW's portion of the employee's basic insurance benefits will be continued. Employees are still responsible for maintaining the employee portion of their medical insurance premiums, if any, while covered by the FMLA. Also, any optional insurance benefits the employee may have are not covered by the FMLA.

During an approved medical or disability LWOP that is not covered by the FMLA, an employee must be in pay status for at least eight (8) hours per month to continue employer-paid insurance benefits. If the employee is on LWOP for the entire month, eligibility for insurance benefits will be lost unless the employee arranges to self-pay.

Employees on LWOP for personal reasons must arrange to self-pay their insurance premiums if they will be on LWOP for an entire calendar month.


Requesting Leave Without Pay

To request LWOP, or to request to extend a current period of LWOP, you will need to take the following steps:

  1. Submit a written LWOP request to your supervisor for review. Your request must identify the reason and duration of the requested leave.
  2. If endorsed by your supervisor, your request will then be processed in accordance with your departmental leave processing practices.


Employees whose LWOP may extend beyond one month should be sure to review information about benefits retention during a leave of absence without pay. Email the Benefits office at to discuss continuation of insurance coverage which may otherwise lapse.

Paycheck automatic deposit continues during unpaid leave for any pay that may be owed. Employees not enrolled in automatic deposit should contact their departmental payroll coordinator before going on LWOP to make arrangements for receiving paychecks.

Employees on LWOP who have payroll deductions taken from their check to pay loans or insurance will have to make arrangements through the Payroll Office to pay those obligations directly.

Employees on LWOP for more than one (1) full calendar month must either return their parking permit/U-Pass sticker to Parking Services or make arrangements with Parking & Commuter Services to pay for the permit for the period of time on unpaid leave. If the permit is not returned, or if advance arrangements are not made, the monthly parking fee(s) incurred during the absence will be charged when the employee returns to pay status. Please contact the local Parking & Commuter Services office for additional information.

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