Educational Leave Policy

An unpaid leave of up to six months may be granted to pursue educational advancement in an area or field that is work-related.

Such leaves may or may not be granted based on the needs of the university and department. Educational leaves are granted only when the employee intends to return to the university following the leave.


This policy applies to regular full-time and part-time employees who are scheduled to work half-time or more during the academic year and have had at least four years of continuous benefits-eligible employment.

Procedure for Requesting Educational Leave

Requests for educational leaves must be made in writing to the immediate supervisor and department head of the employee, as well as the vice president for human resources or designee, at least two months prior to the commencement of the leave. The length of the leave must be stated in the request. The approval of the leave will depend on the facts and circumstances presented by the employee and the university's and department’s needs.

Response to Employee Request for an Educational Leave

The Office of Human Resources will respond either orally or in writing to the employee’s request for educational leave within five business days, absent extenuating circumstances, after receiving the employee’s written request.

Use of Vacation, Personal and Sick Time During an Educational Leave

  • Employees must use all their accrued vacation and personal time prior to the start of an unpaid educational leave. Sick time benefits may not be used during an educational leave of absence.
  • Employees may continue their medical and/or dental coverage during an educational leave, provided the employee pays the full premium (both employee and the university portion).
  • Employees must make arrangements directly with the employee benefits unit of the Office of Human Resources to continue the premium payments.
  • Group basic life insurance and long-term disability insurance will continue at no cost to the employee during an approved educational leave. Supplemental life insurance can be maintained if the employee makes arrangements directly with the employee benefits unit of the Office of Human Resources to continue the premium payments.
  • In accordance with IRS regulations, retirement plan contributions cannot be continued during an unpaid leave.
  • Vacation, personal and sick leave will not accrue during an unpaid educational leave.
  • Deductions for employees who participate in either the university’s dependent care or health care reimbursement accounts will stop immediately at the beginning of the unpaid portion of the leave. An employee may continue to submit claims for covered expenditures during the leave, and continues to be responsible for expending the account in accordance with plan provisions or risk losing an unused balance.
  • Tuition reimbursement benefits cannot be used or paid while on leave. However, upon return to a benefits-eligible position, eligibility is reinstated immediately. Eligible employees must be actively employed by the university while taking an approved course at the time of reimbursement to receive this benefit.

Employee Status After Education Leave

  • At the conclusion of an approved educational leave, the employee will be reinstated to his/her same job or a job with equivalent status, pay, benefits and other employment terms. Failure to return from a leave of absence on the anticipated date of return will constitute a resignation from employment.
  • Employees must contact their supervisor at least two weeks prior to the end of the leave to indicate plans to return to work or to resign from the university. Failure to do so will be treated as a voluntary termination of employment.
  • It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the Office of Human Resources is notified when the employee returns to work.