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Classified Non-Union Leave
Sick Leave


All full time, monthly-paid classified non-union staff accrue eight (8) hours of sick leave for each qualifying month of service. Sick leave is credited at the end of the month in which it is earned and is available for use the following month. The sick leave accrual rate does not change with length of service, and there is no limit on the amount of sick leave that an employee may accrue.

Each employee's record of sick leave accrual and use is maintained using the Online Work Leave System (OWLS) or an authorized alternative system. Individual departments have their own sick leave reporting system that you should follow when requesting sick leave and reporting absences due to illness.

Sick leave for classified non-union staff is covered by Administrative Policy Statement 43.15, "Leave Policy for Classified Non-Union Staff Covered by State Department of Personnel Rules".

Sick leave may be used for such reasons as:

Sick Leave Accrual

Sick Leave Accrual for Part-time Employees

Part-time employees accrue sick leave hours on a prorated basis, based on their monthly full time equivalent appointment (FTE) (e.g. 100% FTE (full time) = 8 hrs/mo., 75% FTE = 6 hrs/mo., 50% FTE = 4 hrs/mo.).

Sick Leave Accrual for Newly Hired and Separating Employees

Newly hired employees starting work on or before the 15th of the month will accrue full leave hours for the first calendar month of employment. Newly hired employees starting work on or after the 16th of the month do not accrue leave hours for that month; they begin accruing sick leave during the second calendar month of employment. Separating employees who leave employment before the 16th of the month do not accrue sick leave for the month. Separating employees who leave employment on or after the 16th of the month accrue sick leave for the month.

Sick Leave Accrual - Effect of Leave of Absence Without Pay (LWOP)

Employees do not accrue sick leave during any month in which they are on leave without pay for more than ten (10) working days, including holidays.

Sick Leave Accrual for Cyclic Year Appointments

Cyclic or instructional year appointments are less than 12 months and may 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 cyclic year leave without pay for more than ten (10) working days in both months. It is intended that employees in cyclic/instructional year appointments accrue leave for the overall number of months worked. For example, a September 16 through June 15 schedule should receive nine (9) months of leave accrual. In this example, the employee would receive leave credit for June and not for September, provided that the employee meets all other eligibility requirements.

Changing Appointments or Appointment Status

Sick Leave Accrual for Mid-month Changes in FTE

Employees whose FTE changes during a calendar month will receive leave hours based upon the overall average percent of time worked in the month.

Moving Between Departments or Agencies

There is no change in sick leave accrual for employees who move to another classified non-union position during the month. The sick leave balance transfers with the employee when moving to another leave-eligible appointment at the University.

The sick leave balance may also transfer when the employee moves without a break in service to a leave-eligible position at another state agency, institution of higher education, or educational service district depending upon the specific terms of the new appointment.

Converting to a Non Leave-eligible Appointment

Employees who move from a leave-eligible appointment to non leave-eligible appointment (e.g. faculty, student, or temporary appointment) will not accrue sick leave, will not be able to retain and use their sick leave balance and will not be paid for their sick leave balance. An employee who moves to a non leave-eligible position and later returns to a leave-eligible position may be able to have their sick leave balance reinstated. See "Separating From Employment", below.

Attendance Incentive Program

In January of each year, an employee whose previous year-end sick leave balance exceeds 480 hours may apply to receive cash compensation for unused sick leave hours earned during the previous calendar year so long as the year-end sick leave balance does not drop below 480 hours.

Payment for cashed-out sick leave is based upon the employee's salary as of January 1, and is at the rate of 25% of the full dollar value of the sick leave, less standard payroll deductions. This option is only available in January of each year. See the Attendance Incentive Program web page for more information.

Separating From Employment

Employees who separate from the University for any reason other than retirement or death (e.g. resignation, layoff, etc.) are not paid for unused sick leave hours. Employees who separate and later return to a classified non-union position within five (5) years of separation may be eligible to reinstate the previous balance of sick leave.

Classified non-union employees who retire have 25% of the cash value of their unused sick leave placed into a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) account. Employees who die while in service have 25% of the cash value of their unused sick leave balance paid to their estate. Employing departments must process the Employee Separation Payment Authorization form in order for the UW Payroll Office to provide sick leave payment upon an employee's retirement or death.


Requesting Use of Sick Leave

To use accrued sick leave hours:

  1. Know your sick leave balance. 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. Follow your department's leave request procedures to obtain approval from your supervisor in advance of the effective date(s) for use of sick leave. If you are unable to obtain advance approval for sick leave use, be sure to obtain written approval as soon as you return to work.


To learn more about how to request the crediting of Previous Washington State Employment, visit the Prior Service Credit page.

To find out more about the Annual Attendance Incentive Program, sometimes referred to as the Sick Leave Buy-back program, visit the Annual Attendance Incentive Program page.

Learn more about the use of sick leave for parental leave or for eldercare.

Learn more about the Shared Leave Program, which permits state employees who accrue leave to aid other state employees who suffer from, or who have a relative or household member who suffers from, an extraordinary or severe illness or injury.

Classified Non-Union
Leave Topics

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