University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Employee Absences for Religious Holidays

Policy Statement

Faculty, academic professional and administrative (P&A), civil service, graduate assistant, and student employees are permitted excused absences for observance of religious holidays. Employees must submit requests to be away from work to participate in such observances within a reasonable time prior to the proposed absence. Responsible administrators/supervisors will make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s time away from work for this purpose to the extent practical in the consideration of business needs. Employees must take planned absences as either paid vacation leave, if applicable; as time off without pay; or with equivalent time worked at a time and manner agreed upon by the employee and the responsible administrator/supervisor.

Faculty and staff employees whose rights are governed by collective bargaining agreements are excluded from coverage under this policy.

Reason for Policy

The University provides excused absence from work to participate in religious observances in support of employee well-being.




Frequently Asked Questions


Subject Contact Phone Email
General Information or Procedural Assistance Primary: Responsible administrator/supervisor Secondary: Local campus, college, or administrative unit HR administrator Other (as needed): Office of Human Resources specialist or consultant 612-624-UOHR (8647); 800-756-2363 [email protected]
Document Processing Office of Human Resources Call Center 612-625-8647 [email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Vice President, Office of Human Resources
  • Director of Employee and Labor Relations
  • See Contacts Table above


There are no Definitions associated with this policy.


  • Requests approval to be away from work to participate in observance of a religious holiday within a reasonable time prior to the proposed absence; request is to include proposal for how the time away would be taken (e.g., vacation leave, equivalent time worked).
Responsible Administrator/Supervisor
  • Decides on approval of employee’s request to be absent from work to participate in the observance of a religious holiday(s).
  • Ensures documentation of absence, as appropriate.
Vice President, Human Resources
  • Reminds University employees annually of the policy in an e-mail communication.


March 2018 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision. Incorporates a standard active voice to the policy language.
November 2008 - Policy revised to cover only employee and not student absences for religious holidays. Student absences for this purpose are covered under educational policies. In addition, the eligibility criterion requiring an appointment of 12-months for faculty, P&A, and civil service employees was eliminated. Graduate assistants and student employees were noted as covered under this policy.
December 2007 - Policy converted to the new University-wide format for administrative policies and incorporated current practice language.
September 2007
December 1994 - Policy covered both student and employee absences for religious holidays.
October 1995