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:
- Regular faculty (tenured or tenure-track appointments
- Term faculty (contract, temporary, or visiting) appointments.
- P&A (93xx, 96xx, 97xx)
Excluded from coverage under this policy are appointments that are (1) adjunct or clinical appointments from outside the University, (2) persons of interest (formerly 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
- Eligible employees may request an unpaid discretionary leave of absence for a specific time period (up to 12 months at full or reduced percentage of time.) Under special circumstances the leave may extend beyond 12 months with required approvals.
- 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.
- Discretionary leaves must fall within the term of appointment and must be taken concurrently with other applicable leaves as appropriate.
- An employee's resumption to pay status requires a return to duties.
The responsible administrator/supervisor may approve requests for discretionary leaves of two weeks or less. For requests exceeding two weeks of discretionary leave, both the responsible administrator/supervisor and department head are required to approve the requests. Additional time beyond one year also requires approval from the dean, vice president, or chancellor. The employee 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, 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 must 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.
Reason for Policy
This policy implements Board of Regents Policy: Employee Work-Life and Personal Leaves (PDF). 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.