Seattle University
Human Resources Policy Manual

9. Leave Benefits

* = Policies and procedures that apply to Faculty.

9.1 *Sick Leave

A. Purpose

The University regards sick leave as a form of insurance available to employees when the need arises. The University's sick leave policy is designed to protect the income of employees during periods of  non-occupational illness or injury, for personal safety reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or for closure of the workplace or a family member’s school or care location by a public official to limit health hazards. Sick leave may be used for the employee's own needs or to provide care to a family member.

B. Sick Leave for Regular Staff and Administrators

Regular staff and administrator employees are awarded one (1) day of paid sick leave each month that they are actively employed by the University. Sick leave does not accrue during periods of an unpaid leave of absence. A maximum of sixty (60) days of sick leave may be accumulated. Unused sick leave may be carried over from one fiscal year to the next. Employees are not eligible to be paid for unused, accrued sick leave upon separation from employment.

C. Sick Leave for Full-time Faculty

Full-time faculty are awarded sixty (60) days of sick leave each academic year.  Unused sick leave cannot be carried forward from academic year to academic year. Faculty members are responsible for communicating absences to their Chair and assist in ensuring that their instructional responsibilities are fulfilled. Additionally, faculty members who cannot attend classroom or other instructional responsibilities normally make alternative arrangements for their students. Faculty are not eligible to be paid for unused, accrued sick leave upon separation from employment.

D. Sick Leave for Other Employees

Temporary, occasional or on-call staff employees and part-time faculty will be awarded one (1) hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked or credited by the University. A maximum of 72 hours of sick leave may be accumulated. Unused sick leave may be carried over from one fiscal year to the next unless the employee incurs a separation from employment. Employees are not eligible to be paid for unused, accrued sick leave upon separation from employment.

E. Employees Ineligible for Sick Leave

Student employees as well as independent contractors, consultants and other non-employees are excluded from eligibility for sick leave.

E. Accounting for Sick Leave Taken

Employees, other than faculty, are required to account for their sick leave usage by completing the appropriate payroll time report and obtaining the supervisor’s signature. Used sick leave is deducted from the employee's sick leave balance. An employee's record of used sick leave and absences becomes part of his employment record.

F. No Deficit Balance Allowed

Employees are paid sick leave up to the maximum accrued hours as of the pay period in which the time is taken. Employees cannot be paid for sick leave in a "deficit balance" against future accruals. Therefore, additional approved time away for which an employee does not have sufficient sick leave accrued constitutes vacation or unpaid time.

G. Absence Substantiation  

The University maintains the right to request third-party substantiation for absences of five (5) or more consecutive work days. For example, a statement from the employee’s healthcare provider may be required. The University also reserves the right to direct the employee to a second medical evaluation with a healthcare provider selected and paid for by the University.

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9.2 Sick Leave Sharing Program for Regular Staff Employees

The Sick Leave Sharing Program is a means to transfer sick leave to regular staff employees through employee donations. The transfer occurs when a regular staff employee is in need of additional leave after exhausting his own accrued sick leave and all but five (5) days vacation because of a serious personal illness or injury. This leave is intended for use during the qualifying thirty (30) day period preceding eligibility for the University's Short-Term Disability.

A. Intent and Calculation of the Sick Leave Sharing Program

The program is intended to continue salary for an employee who sustains a serious or catastrophic illness or injury that requires hospitalization, outpatient treatment, home health care and/or ongoing medical care (from a physician or other licensed healthcare provider) until thirty (30) calendar days have passed and the employee would then qualify for Short-Term Disability insurance coverage. The program does not include common illness or conditions resulting from any occupationally related injury or illness and for which workers' compensation benefits have been awarded. This program does not include donated sick leave for the care of a child or dependent with an extended illness. Sick leave days are transferred directly from donor to recipient, paid at the recipient's current rate of pay. Human Resources coordinates calculations and payroll instructions. The University reserves the right to request a written statement from the attending physician stating the extent of the requesting employee's injury or the nature of the illness.

B. Eligibility to Receive or Donate Shared Sick Leave

All regular staff employees (see Section 2.1) are eligible to participate in the program as a donor or recipient. Human Resources certifies eligibility.

C. Maximum Donated or Received Sick Leave per Employee

Employees can donate a maximum of five (5) days of sick leave in any twelve (12) month period and must keep a balance of no less than ten (10) days for themselves after each transfer. An eligible employee can receive a maximum of twenty-two (22) days in donated sick leave in any twelve (12) month period. Employees who terminate are unable to donate unused sick leave to the program at the time of separation.

D. Procedures for Leave Donation

Human Resources maintains a list of employees requesting to be included as potential donors of sick leave days. Employees who wish to donate sick leave days may submit a Sick Leave Sharing Program pledge card to HR.  Human Resources will contact donors prior to the transfer of pledged days to confirm continued willingness to participate in the sick leave sharing program and as notification of the number of days to be transferred. Once confirmed, the donor’s accrued sick leave hours and pledge amount will be reduced by the number of hours required to satisfy the need.

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9.3 Vacation

The University grants vacation leave to eligible non-faculty employees for rest and recreation and as recognition for service.

Employees are expected to give advance notice when requesting vacation time (preferably two (2) weeks' notice) to allow the supervisor to evaluate staffing needs. The University reserves the right to deny approval of a requested vacation on the basis of service needs. When two employees request similar vacation dates, supervisors are encouraged to balance the interests of each employee and the University. Supervisors should also give consideration to employee seniority and to other approved vacations granted to employees during the same year.

A. Vacation Schedule

Special rules apply to the Law School staff who were employed at the time of the January 14, 1994 transfer. Please consult the HR Benefits Office for details.

  1. Staff: Vacations for regular exempt and non-exempt employees (see Section 2.1) in pay bands A - C4 are based on continuous and completed years of service, according to the following schedule:
    Years of Employment Days of Vacation
    Date of hire through 5 years: 10 days
    6 years through 10 years: 15 days
    11th year forward: 20 days
  2. Administrators: Vacation for regular full-time exempt employees (see Section 2.1) in pay bands D & E are based on continuous and completed years of service according to the following schedule:
    Years of Employment Days of Vacation
    Date of hire through 4 years: 15 days
    5 years through 10 years: 20 days
    11th Year: 21 days
    12th Year: 22 days
    13th Year: 23 days
    14th Year: 24 days
    15th Year and thereafter: 25 days
  3. Eligible Part-Time Employees: Part-time employees assigned a schedule of at least twenty (20) hours per week receive pro-rated paid vacation leave. Those who are regularly scheduled for less than twenty (20) hours per week are not eligible for paid vacation leave.

B. Vacation Accrual

Vacation time begins to accrue with the first month of service if the employee has joined the University during the first fifteen (15) days of the month. Employees who begin on or after the sixteenth (16th) of the month begin to accrue vacation time on the first day of the next month. An employee on an unpaid leave does not accrue vacation time. Employees may carry over a vacation balance into the new fiscal year the amount of days equal to one (1) year's worth of vacation accrual plus five (5) additional days. Employees on a less than twelve (12) month work schedule will accrue vacation for each month that they are actively working.

Questions about computing vacation time can be directed to HR.

  1. Forfeiture of Excess Vacation Accrued: Any accrued vacation time in excess of the maximum allowed accrual is forfeited on June 30th of each year. Employees are encouraged to monitor their vacation balances and plan for time off to avoid loss of accrued vacation.
  2. Availability of Vacation Hours: An employee is eligible to request vacation time once it is accumulated without a waiting period. Vacation leave is not a cashable benefit during active (see Section 2.3) employment with the University.
  3. No Deficit Vacation Account: Employees may be paid vacation time up to the maximum accrued hours as of the beginning of the pay period in which the vacation time is taken. Employees will not be paid for vacation time in a "deficit balance" against future accruals. Therefore, additional approved time off for which an employee does not have sufficient vacation accrued is unpaid time.
  4. Vacation Payout Provisions on Separation: Accrued vacation leave is paid at the time of the employee's separation. An employee is ineligible for a payout of accrued vacation at separation if she fails to provide the required notice of resignation (refer to Section 12.2).

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9.4 *Holidays

The University observes twelve (12) paid holidays each year and the University is closed on those days. Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, the University determines which holidays to observe based on the academic calendar. To meet academic schedule needs, some University holidays are observed on days other than the customarily recognized day.

The University standard holidays are:

  1. New Year's Day
  2. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  3. President's Day
  4. Good Friday
  5. Monday after Easter (except for the School of Law which will instead be closed on the Friday before Memorial Day)
  6. Memorial Day
  7. Independence Day
  8. Labor Day
  9. Veterans Day
  10. Thanksgiving Day
  11. Day After Thanksgiving
  12. Christmas Day

Note: When Christmas Eve occurs on a workday, the University will close at 12:00pm (noon).

A. Eligibility For Holiday Pay

All employees in active status (see Section 2.3) are eligible for holiday pay. If an employee is on a scheduled vacation preceding or following the holiday, he receives pay for the holiday. An employee on an unpaid leave of absence during which a holiday occurs is not eligible for holiday pay during the unpaid leave.

B. Holidays for Employees Under Collective Bargaining Agreements

The terms and conditions for holiday schedules and holiday pay specific for employees of collective bargaining groups are defined by the terms of the respective union contract.

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9.5 *December Closure - Additional Paid Time Off

The University closes all academic and administrative services during the week between December 25th and January 1st of each year. (Limited operations personnel are assigned during this time.) Employees are released from work during this week. The University administration specifies the dates of the December Closure when setting the academic calendar for each fiscal year. Employees must be actively employed before and following the December Closure to be eligible for this pay. Employees who separate before or during the December Closure are not eligible to receive this pay. If an employee is on a scheduled vacation preceding or following the December Closure week, he receives pay for the December closure.

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9.6 *Bereavement Leave

All eligible employees will be allowed up to five (5) days leave, with pay, for time lost due to the death of a family member. The leave time includes making arrangements for and/or attending final observances as well as time required to conduct personal business related to the death of the family member. Days off may be intermittent or consecutive.

Full-time employees are granted up to five (5) working days of bereavement leave. Part-time employees (those scheduled to work at least 0.53 FTE) are granted leave equal to the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work during one work week.

If an employee needs additional days, he may use vacation leave or time without pay.

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9.7 Personal Emergency Leave

The University, at its discretion, may permit paid time off ranging from one (1) to ten (10) working days to enable a regular, benefits-eligible staff employee to respond to a personal emergency situation for which no other leave hours (vacation or sick leave) are available. As with any other absence, the employee is expected to notify his/her supervisor as soon as the situation is known. Requests for emergency leave must be submitted to the Human Resources department and will require substantiation of the nature of the emergency. An example of an emergency that may be approved is an unexpected and severe medical episode for a parent requiring the employee’s primary care. HR will determine whether to grant the request and number of days granted.
A separate leave policy applies to faculty and can be found in the Faculty Handbook.

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9.8 Community Service Leave

The Community Service Leave Policy is an effort to encourage and support staff to more fully embrace Seattle University's mission, vision and values through sustained partnerships in the community. The purpose of the leave is to allow employees to voluntarily participate, with pay, in community service activities that occur during regularly scheduled work hours. This policy is designed to provide employees an opportunity to deepen their connection to SU's mission, vision and values, to embody our Jesuit Catholic values through service and to engage with the community. Regular, post-service reflection opportunities are available for interested employees.

A. Definition and Intent of Community Service Leave

Community Service activities are defined as those carried out in alignment with Seattle University’s mission of educating the whole person, professional formation, and empowering leaders for a just and humane world; its vision of becoming the premier independent university of the Northwest in academic quality, Jesuit Catholic inspiration and service to society; and its values of Care, Academic Excellence, Diversity, Faith, Justice and Leadership. Community Service activities may include volunteering at schools, faith-based, or non-profit organizations.

Note: Seattle University is a Section 501(c) (3) tax exempt organization. It is prohibited from participating or intervening, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office, and has limits on the entext to which it can engage in lobbying activities. Therefore, employees may not use Community Service Leave to engage in political campaign-related activities or lobbying activities. Questions regarding prohibited political campaign intervention or lobbying should be directed to the Office of University Counsel.

B. Eligibility and Benefit Criteria

Benefits eligible staff with an FTE of .75 or higher will receive three (3) working days every July 1 to engage in service to the community throughout the year. Those benefits eligible employees under .75 FTE receive 1.5 working days. These days do not accrue, do not count as hours worked for purposes of overtime, do not carry over into subsequent fiscal years, and are not paid out upon separation from the university. Employees who change FTE mid-year will not experience a change in Community Service Leave hours until the following July 1. Community Service Leave hours will not run into the negative; any accidental overage will be recorded as unpaid leave.

Participation in certain University sponsored immersion programs will follow Community Service Leave request procedures, but time away from work does not count against an individual's Community Service Leave balance.

C. Requesting and Using Leave

Requests for Community Service Leave are made in writing using the Community Service Leave Request Form and approved by the employee’s supervisor. Requests for approval of leave should ordinarily be submitted at least thirty (30) days in advance of the proposed service, and must be scheduled so as not to create an undue hardship on the conduct of university business. Community Service Leave may be taken in full or partial day increments and may be used for one-time or regularly occurring community service opportunities. Supervisors should not consider hiring additional temporary staff to "fill in" for employees on a university-approved Community Service Leave.

Community Service Leave hours are coded as "Community Service Leave" on timesheets for non-exempt employees, or on leave reports for exempt employees.


  1. Community Service Leave Request Form
  2. Non-exempt employee timesheet
  3. Exempt employee leave report

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Last modified on Thursday, June 05, 2014