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Home : Human Resources : Leaves

Unpaid Personal Leaves for Faculty and Academic Professional and Administrative Employees

Effective Date: June 1983
Last Update: September 2008
Responsible University Officer:
  • Vice President for Human Resources
Policy Owner:
  • Director, Employee Relations and Compensation
Policy Contact:

Printed on: . Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.


There are three categories of unpaid personal leave for eligible faculty and academic professional and administrative (P&A) employees: (1) discretionary leave, (2) leave for victims of certain crimes as defined by law, and (3) leave to attend school conferences or classroom activities related to the employee’s child.


This policy governs unpaid personal leave for the following employees:

  • Faculty (94xx)
    1. Regular faculty (tenured or tenure-track) appointments with appointment type C, N, P, or R.
    2. Term faculty (contract, temporary, or visiting) appointments with appointment type I, J, K, R, T, V, or W.
  • P&A (93xx, 96xx, 97xx)
    1. Academic professional appointments with appointment type K, J, Z, G, H, or R.
    2. Academic administrative appointments with appointment type K, J, L, M, or R.

Excluded from coverage under this policy are appointments that are (1) adjunct or clinical appointments from outside the University (appointment type: A or U), (2) “Without Salary” appointments, (3) hourly appointments, (4) civil service and union-represented staff, (5) graduate assistants, (6) professionals-in-training, and (7) represented UMD faculty whose non-compensated leave provisions are covered under a collective bargaining agreement.

Discretionary Unpaid Personal Leave

The University provides discretionary unpaid personal leave for eligible faculty and P&A employees at full or reduced percentage of time. Employees may request unpaid time away from work for personal reasons for a specific time period up to twelve months, with an extension possible under special circumstances. Discretionary personal leave may be granted when it is supportive of the employee’s personal needs and does not unduly compromise the needs of the University. If the employee decides not to return to the University following a discretionary leave, the employee is expected to provide as much notice as possible.

Leave Provisions and Terms
  1. Unpaid discretionary leaves of absence may be requested and granted for a specific time period. For eligible employees with instructional duties, the leave end date should coincide with the beginning of a semester. The department head and the individual may agree to shorten or lengthen the duration of the leave or make such a leave part-time.
  2. Eligible employees may request a discretionary leave of absence up to 12 months at full or reduced percentage of time. Under special circumstances the leave may extend beyond 12 months with required approvals.
  3. Discretionary leaves must fall within the term of appointment and must be taken concurrently with other applicable leaves as appropriate.
  4. An employee's resumption to pay status requires a return to duties.
Approvals Required

A discretionary leave for two weeks or less requires the approval of the responsible administrator/supervisor. More than two weeks of discretionary leave requires the approval of both the responsible administrator/supervisor and department head. Additional time beyond one year also requires approval from the dean, vice president, or chancellor. The individual requesting discretionary leave of more than two weeks time should submit a written request to the responsible administrator/supervisor and department head within a reasonable time frame prior to the expected beginning date of the leave.

Standards for Approvals

When considering approval of a discretionary leave request, a reasonable and flexible attitude is expected in weighing the needs of the employee with the needs of the department and campus, college, or administrative unit, with consideration given to provisions that could be made to cover the employee’s work during the leave. Careful consideration and strong justification is expected in response to leaves for longer periods of time or for frequently recurring leaves.

Leave for Victims of Certain Crimes

The University provides unpaid personal leave for faculty and P&A employees who are victims of certain crimes as defined by law. Consistent with state law, employees are to be granted reasonable time off from work in any of the following circumstances: (1) to a victim or witness who is subpoenaed or requested by the prosecutor to attend court for the purpose of giving testimony in criminal proceedings related to the victim's case, (2) to a victim of a heinous crime, as well as that victim’s spouse, registered same-sex domestic partner, or immediate family member, to attend criminal proceedings related to the victim's case, or (3) to obtain domestic restraining orders and /or harassment restraining orders.

Employees notify the responsible administrator/supervisor of their absence according to college, campus, or administrative unit procedures.

Leave to Attend School Conferences and Activities

As provided by Minnesota statute, unpaid personal leave of up to a total of 16 hours during any 12-month period is available to faculty and P&A employees to attend school conferences or classroom activities related to the employee’s child in situations when the time cannot be scheduled during non-work hours. Employees must make reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt work.

Return to Work

Early Return to Work

Faculty and P&A employees who wish to return to work before the expiration of the approved leave may do so at the discretion of the approver(s) of the leave. Such requests should be documented in writing along with the decision.

Failure to Return to Work

Failure to report to work at the expiration of the approved leave without being granted an extension of the leave will be considered resignation and will result in forfeiture of rights to further employment. Employees must be informed in writing of such action and given the opportunity to respond.


This policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Employee Work-Life and Personal Leaves. The University offers unpaid personal leave to support eligible faculty and P&A employees who need time away from work to attend to matters that impact their individual lives, that are unrelated to their career at the University, and that significantly interfere with their ability to meet their University work responsibilities.




There are no appendices associated with this policy.


  1. Are union-represented faculty covered under the provisions of this policy?

    Union-represented faculty are directed to their respective collective bargaining agreement for current provisions covering uncompensated leaves.

  2. What is the most leave time an eligible faculty member or P&A employee can have off at one time?

    The maximum amount of approved leave at any one time under this policy is 12 months. This would include both paid and unpaid leave time. In special situations, leave beyond an initial 12 months may be requested and granted.

  3. Can an occasional approved day or so of unpaid leave be taken, such as in the case of the faculty member or P&A employee having exhausted all vacation days or not eligible for vacation days?

    Yes, an occasional day or so unpaid discretionary leave may be approved by the responsible administrator/supervisor when such time is not requested on a regular basis when a percentage reduction in the appointment is more appropriate.


General Information or Procedural Assistance
Primary: Responsible administrator/supervisor
Secondary: Local campus, college, or administrative unit HR administrator
Employee Benefits Information
Employee Benefits Service Center
612-624-9090 or 1-800-756-2363:
Press 1 - Appointments
Press 2 - Benefit Questions
Press 3 - Flexible Spending Accounts
Document Processing
HRMS Key Contact
Office of Human Resources Call Center


Appointment Type
The kind or type of academic appointment. Benefits, rights, and responsibilities vary depending on the type of appointment held by an employee. For a complete listing and definitions of appointment types, see Appointment Type Definitions (pdf).
Heinous Crime
First, second, or third degree murder; first, second, or third degree criminal sexual conduct, if the offense was committed with force or violence or if the complainant was a minor at the time of the offense; first degree assault; and attempted first or second degree murder.
Immediate Family Member (specific to leave for victims of certain crimes)
Parents, child (biological, adoptive, or stepchild), or sibling of employee and employee’s spouse or registered same-sex domestic partner.
Registered Same-Sex Domestic Partner
Two persons of the same sex who are (1) engaged in a committed relationship and intend to remain together indefinitely; (2) unable to marry each other under MN law; (3) at least 18 years of age and have the capacity to enter into a contract; (4) are jointly responsible to each other for the necessities of life; (5) are not related by blood closer than permitted under MN marriage laws; and (6) registered as same-sex domestic partners with the University.
One who incurs loss or harm as a result of a crime. The term 'victim' does not include the person charged with or alleged to have committed the crime.


  • Establishes unit specific guidelines and procedures for requesting and approving or providing notification for unpaid personal leaves, as needed.
  • Informs responsible administrator/supervisor and covered employees of the policy provisions and procedures.
Faculty Member or P&A Employee
  • Requests discretionary unpaid personal leave, if eligible.
  • Provides notification of absence as covered by the unpaid leave for victims of certain crimes.
  • Requests use of available paid leave, if desired, to cover a portion of unpaid leave time requested.
  • Requests early return to work, if desired.
Responsible Administrator/Supervisor and Unit head
  • Reviews and approves or not requests for discretionary leave.
  • Determines how the responsibilities of the person on leave will be covered.
  • Reviews and approves in conjunction with the dean, vice president, or chancellor requests to extend discretionary leave beyond 12 months.
  • Provides for the availability of the position when employee returns.
Dean, Vice President, or Chancellor
  • Reviews and approves or not in conjunction with the responsible administrator/supervisor and department head requests to extend a discretionary leave beyond 12 months.



August 2008 - The following revisions were made:
  • The title of the policy changed to Unpaid Personal Leave for Faculty and Academic Professional and Administrative Employees from Family and Personal Leaves Without Pay.
  • Personal and family leaves were combined under the single term of personal leave.
  • Modifications were made to approvals required for different lengths of requested leave.
  • Personal leave language specific to non-regular faculty and academic professional and administrative staff providing for a personal leave following seven years in the same position at the University was eliminated and thought to be well covered under the general provisions and procedures of this revised policy.
  • Provisions were added providing for reasonable unpaid time away from work as provided by law for victims of certain crimes attending court proceedings.
March 2008 - Administrative Policy: Family and Personal Leaves Without Pay converted to the new University-wide format for administrative policies.
May 2007 - Language contained in the Administrative Policy: Family and Personal Leaves Without Pay incorporates policy information previously contained in Board of Regents Policy: Family and Personal Leaves Without Pay. This administrative policy supports Board of Regents Policy: Employee Work-Life and Personal Leaves that supersedes several Board of Regents Policies concerning personal leaves.
May 1985; August 1988; November 1990
June 1983
June 1983

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Last modified on February 17, 2014