Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

Leave without pay normally falls into one of the following categories:

  1. Voluntary: An employee requests time off without pay.
    Initial requests for leave without pay (non-FMLA) may be made for a maximum of six calendar months (staff) or one semester (Clerc Center teachers). Extensions may be requested; however, except in unusual circumstances, requests for leave without pay should not exceed 12 calendar months (staff) or one academic year (Clerc Center teachers). Decisions regarding the approval of requests for leave without pay and its duration take into consideration the reason for which the leave is being requested, applicable laws and regulations (e.g., the Family and Medical Leave Acts -- see above), the employee's work history, and impact on program operations and objectives. Leave without pay is not approved beyond the term of the appointment or in instances when an employee accepts employment elsewhere.

    Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the granting of leave without pay does not preclude the University from realigning or reassigning its resources as necessary, and it is not a guarantee that conditions of employment will remain unchanged.

    In most cases, requests for voluntary leave without pay should be approved only after appropriate paid leaves have been exhausted.
  2. Scheduled: An employee's appointment schedule includes a period of leave without pay.
    Certain staff appointments may include a period of time off, e.g., appointments which follow the academic calendar. This period is taken as leave without pay.
  3. Involuntary: An employee exhausts all appropriate paid leave and FMLA leave and is unable to return to work.
    An employee who exhausts all approved paid leave or FMLA leave and cannot return to work may request to be placed on leave without pay status. The employee must provide acceptable documentation evidencing that he/she is not able to work and the planned return date. Leave is usually approved for a maximum of six calendar months (staff) or one semester (Clerc Center teachers) from the start date of the original leave. Extensions may be granted; however, except in unusual circumstances or where extension of leave is required by law, leave without pay should not extend leave to exceed 12 calendar months (staff) or one academic year (Clerc Center teachers) from the start date of the original leave. Leave without pay is not approved beyond the term of the appointment. Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the granting of leave without pay does not preclude the University from realigning or reassigning its resources as necessary, and it is not a guarantee that conditions of employment will remain unchanged. Supervisors may require regular documentation for involuntary leave without pay.
  4. Disciplinary: An employee's request for leave is not approved, or other instances occur that require the absence of the employee by administrative disciplinary directive.
    A supervisor may place an employee on disciplinary leave without pay if leave taking is not approved and the employee is absent or when the employee's absence is directed as a disciplinary action for other reasons. Actions of disciplinary leave without pay must be approved by the unit administrator and by the Executive Director of Human Resources or Director of Equal Opportunity Programs and must fully comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (including salary basis rules for exempt employees) and any other applicable law.
  5. Other: Any other instance which necessitates the use of leave without pay.
    Any other instance which necessitates the use of leave without pay normally follows the guidelines defined in this policy.

    An employee who fails to return to work immediately following the expiration of approved leave without pay and who has not obtained an approved extension or provided required documentation for consideration of an extension will be considered to have voluntarily terminated his/her employment.

    Absence from duty without any type of leave approval constitutes an "unauthorized absence" and may be grounds for termination.