Skip navigation - Jump to page content
UWHR to launch new website at end of July! Learn more about the upcoming launch.

Sick Leave Buy-back
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 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.


Take the following steps when processing an employee’s Attendance Incentive payment request form:

  1. Verify that the employee’s sick leave balance is above 480 hours. If your department uses the Online Work/Leave System (OWLS) to maintain its employees’ leave records and you are authorized to review the record, log in to OWLS, and review the employee’s balance. If your department uses another authorized alternative system, check with your department’s timekeeper.
  2. Verify that the employee meets the eligibility requirements listed above.
  3. If the employee hasn’t already done so, ask the to employee download the "University of Washington Request for Payment of Unused Year End Sick Leave" form and follow the form's completion and distribution instructions. Medical Centers employees - should download the Medical Centers-specific Request for Payment of Unused Year End Sick Leave (MS Word) - (pdf).
    The form has multiple sections, some of which must be completed by you, and the timekeeper and/or payroll coordinator. You will need to enter the specific budget number(s) to be charged. The form cannot be processed without this information.
  4. Distribute copies of the completed form to the employee and the department file.
  5. Both the department and the employee should ensure that the completed form is submitted to the Payroll office (Box 359555). Forms are due by 5:00 pm on the last working day in January. Payment is made by the second pay check in February.

**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” page for the employee’s employment program.

Sick Leave Topics

Completed forms are due in the Payroll office by 5:00 p.m. on the last working day in January.