600 - Time Away From Work

601 - Reporting Absence from Work

Regular and reliable attendance at work is an essential requirement of employment at the University. Employees are expected to notify their supervisor within thirty (30) minutes of their start time if they are to be absent from work (see Policies 702 and 703 for time reporting procedures). An employee who fails to report to work for three (3) consecutive days without notifying their supervisor may be considered to have voluntarily resigned employment with the University. Because frequent absences undermine performance and compromise the University's service standards, employees with frequent absences may be placed on a corrective action plan. Employees are expected to notify their supervisor as soon as possible if they are going to be late.

Planned absences are to be scheduled in advance and in coordination with the supervisor.  Approval of vacation scheduling is based on the needs of the department.

602 - Sick/Safe Time

Note that these policies also apply to faculty.

The University's paid sick/safe time benefit protects the income of employees during incidental or occasional periods of:

  • Non-occupational illness, injury, health condition, need for medical diagnosis or treatment, or preventive medical care for the employee or the employee's family member;
  • Personal safety reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for the employee, family or household member; or
  • Closure by order of a public official of the workplace or a child's school or place of care to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin or hazardous material for the employee, family or household member.

Sick/Safe Time for Regular Staff and Administrators

Regular, benefits-eligible staff and administrator employees are awarded twelve (12) days of paid sick/safe time on the first day of the fiscal year (July 1).  A maximum of 72 hours of unused sick/safe time may be carried forward at the end of a fiscal year to supplement the time awarded at the beginning of the subsequent fiscal year. Sick/safe time is not awarded during periods of an unpaid leave of absence.

Partial Award of Sick/Safe Time in the First Year

The number of awarded sick/safe days during the first fiscal year of eligible employment for regular, benefits-eligible staff and administrators will be prorated as follows:

Month of hire or classification to an eligible employee group:Number of sick/safe days awarded in the first fiscal year of eligibility
July 12
August 11
September 10
October 9
November 8
December 7
January 6
February 5
March 4
April 3
May 2
June 1

Sick/Safe Time for Full-time Faculty

Full-time faculty are awarded twelve (12) days of sick/safe time upon the effective date of appointment or annual reappointment each academic year. In addition, a maximum of 72 hours of unused sick/safe time may carry over from the prior academic year.

Faculty members are responsible for communicating absences to their Chair and assist in ensuring that their instructional responsibilities are fulfilled. Faculty members who cannot attend classroom or other instructional responsibilities normally make alternative arrangements for their students. 

Sick/Safe Time for Other Employees

Temporary, occasional, or on-call staff employees, student employees and part-time faculty will be awarded one (1) hour of sick/safe time for every 30 hours worked or credited by the University. A maximum of 72 hours of sick/safe time may be carried over from one fiscal year to the next unless the employee incurs a separation from employment. 

Accounting for Time Taken

Employees, other than faculty, are required to account for their sick/safe time usage by completing the appropriate payroll time report and obtaining the supervisor’s signature. Used time is deducted from the employee's balance. An employee’s regular pay statement will show the number of remaining sick/safe hours.   An employee's record of used sick/safe time and absences becomes part of the employment record.

No Deficit Balance Allowed

Employees are paid up to the maximum available sick/safe hours as of the pay period in which the time is taken. Employees may not be paid in a "deficit balance" against future awards. Therefore, additional approved time away for which an employee does not have available sick/safe time may be taken as vacation or unpaid.

No Payment for Unused Sick/Safe Time 

Employees are not eligible to be paid for unused, awarded sick/safe time upon separation from employment.

Absence Substantiation 

The University maintains the right to request third-party substantiation for absences of more than three (3) 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. If providing substantiation will create unreasonable burden or expense, the employee should contact Human Resources. 

Seattle University is considered a Tier 3 (large) employer under state and local law, and university employees have a right to claim awarded sick/safe time away.  An employee may not be retaliated against for taking paid sick/safe time.

603 - 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.

604 - 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.


Vacations for regular exempt and non-exempt employees (see Policy 103) in non-Administrator-level positions are based on continuous and completed years of service, according to the following schedule:

Years of EmploymentDays of Vacation
Date of hire through 5 years 10 days
6 years through 10 years 15 days
11th year forward 20 days


Vacation for regular full-time exempt employees (see Policy 103) in Administrator-level positions are based on continuous and completed years of service according to the following schedule:

Years of EmploymentDays 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

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.

605 - 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) years’ 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 they fail to provide the required notice of resignation (refer to Policy 301).

606 - Holidays

Note that these policies also apply to faculty.

The University observes thirteen (13) 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:

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • President's Day
  • Good Friday
  • Monday after Easter (except for the School of Law which will instead be closed on the Friday before Memorial Day)
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteenth
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day After Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

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

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.

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.

607 - December Closure: Additional Paid Time Off

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

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, they receive pay for the December closure.

608 - Bereavement Leave

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

All eligible employees will be allowed up to seven (7) 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 seven (7) 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, they may use vacation leave or time without pay.

609 - 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 their supervisor as soon as the situation is known. Requests for emergency leave must be submitted to the Human Resources department and may require substantiation of the nature of the emergency or the need to quarantine. 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 or the need to quarantine due to COVID-19. HR will determine whether to grant the request and number of days granted. This leave may be used once per fiscal year.

A separate leave policy applies to faculty and can be found in the Faculty Handbook.

610 - 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.

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 extent 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.

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.

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.

611 - Personal Leave of Absence

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

Full-time regular and part-time regular employees who have completed twelve (12) months of continuous service may request unpaid personal leaves of absence for a period of up to thirty (30) days. An employee must request personal leave in writing at least thirty (30) days before the time the employee wishes the leave to begin. If the personal leave request is necessitated by an emergency, the employee must notify the supervisor and HR as soon as is practicable and follow up with a written explanation of the nature of the leave and the expected length of absence. Personal leave may be granted for a variety of reasons (e.g., medical, family, personal needs) at the University's discretion, provided that the employee is in good standing and the leave does not disrupt the department's or the University's business and operational needs.

612 - Educational Leave of Absence

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

Unpaid educational leaves of absence for a period of up to twelve (12) months may be requested by full-time regular employees in good standing who have completed twelve (12) months of continuous service. An employee must request educational leave in writing at least three (3) months before the time the employee wishes the leave to begin. The educational institution must be an accredited college or be University-approved as a qualified educational institution. The academic program being pursued must be beneficial to the University as well as to the employee. Determination to allow education leave rests with the department head and the area Vice President based on the operational needs of the University and the department.

613 - Reinstatement Following Personal or Educational Leave

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

Reinstatement cannot be guaranteed to employees returning from personal or educational leave. The University endeavors, however, to place employees returning from personal or educational leave in their former position or in a position comparable in status and pay, subject to budgetary restrictions, the University's need to fill vacancies, and the ability of the University to find qualified temporary replacements.

614 - Military Leave

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

The University complies with state and federal requirements regarding leaves of absence and reemployment rights for individuals serving in the National Guard or Armed Forces of the United States. The following is a general statement of the rights and obligations of the University and its employees. Employees and their supervisors should contact HR for specific information.

Service Credit: An employee's employment with the University while on military leave is considered continuous for purposes of determining seniority, eligibility for University benefits, and service awards. Sick leave and vacation do not accrue during military service.

Reservist and National Guard Annual Training: A full-time employee with at least twelve (12) months continuous service is protected against the loss of income as a result of his participation in annual encampment or training duty in the U.S. Military Reserves or the National Guard. The University pays the difference between what he earns from the government for the military service, including any housing, clothing, and food allowance, and what he would have earned at normal straight time pay on the job. Any travel allowance is excluded from the deducted amount. This difference is paid for up to ten (10) University workdays in a calendar year.

615 - Jury Duty

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

The University recognizes that employees have a civic responsibility to serve as jurors when called by the courts. The University grants time off with pay to a regular employee (see Policy 103) who is called for jury duty. The employee must return to the University any juror fees that exceed the cost of meals, lodging and travel.

In exceptional cases, if an employee's absence from work would impose a hardship on the department, HR will request that the employee reschedule the dates the employee is expected to serve on jury duty.

An employee who is summoned as a member of a jury will be granted a leave for all hours required for the duty. If the jury call does not require absence for the entire workday, the employee must return to work on release by the court. The employee will be paid full salary while serving the jury duty, but paid time spent on jury duty does not count as "hours worked" at the University for purposes of overtime.

The University does not reimburse an employee for meals, lodging, and travel expenses incurred while serving as a juror. The employee must provide HR with a copy of the jury summons, which is filed in the employee's personnel file.

616 - Subpoena

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

An employee subpoenaed as a witness in a legal proceeding should notify their supervisor. The University will grant a paid leave of absence for up to one (1) full work day. If the proceeding does not require absence for the entire workday, the employee must return to work on completion of the legal proceeding. The date and time that witnesses are expected to appear for legal proceedings are often times subject to change. Whenever possible, the University expects the employee to cooperate with the supervisor in arranging to respond to the subpoena at a date and time that is least disruptive to the work schedule and to the University's operations.

The University will not grant paid leave for a court appearance or legal proceeding when the employee is a party to the litigation. In that case, an employee may use vacation time.

Paid time spent in responding to a subpoena does not count as "hours worked" at the University for purposes of overtime.

617 - Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

Please note that information within this policy does not reflect changes made to family medical leave benefits that were announced and effective on July 1, 2018 as well as substantive changes in state law that are effective on January 1, 2020.  Section 10 of this policy document will be updated upon completion of a larger project to improve the Human Resources Policy Manual’s structure and ease of use.

For a current description of paid family/medical leave benefits, please view the Leave of Absence page.

Family and medical leave may be used by eligible faculty and staff in the following instances:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;
  • To care for the employee’s child following birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for a spouse, registered domestic partner, legally domiciled adult, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • To care for a covered military service member who has sustained serious injury or illness;
  • To care for a child age 18 and older if the child has a disability (described as an impairment that substantially limits a major life function) and who is incapable of self-care because of that disability;
  • For the employee's own serious health condition that renders the employee unable to perform his job;
  • To address certain qualifying urgent needs as a parent, spouse or partner to immediate family members who are on active military duty or called to active duty status.

The University’s family and medical leave benefit is subject to the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Washington State Paid Family Medical Leave (WA PFML), as well as other state or local leave laws requirements.

Additional information on an employee’s rights and responsibilities under FMLA is available on the FMLA Fact Sheet #28.

Eligibility for FMLA

An employee must have been employed by the University for twelve (12) months (cumulative prior service) and worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave. Eligible employees are generally entitled to up to twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid family and medical leave during any rolling twelve (12) month period. However, an eligible employee may also take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, when the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member. Each time an employee takes leave qualifying under FMLA, the available leave entitlement is the balance remaining for the twelve (12) month period.

Family leave taken for the care of a newly arrived child must be taken all at once and within 12 months after the arrival of the child. Leave may be taken on an intermittent basis for the care of a seriously ill spouse, child, parent, or the employee. For an ill spouse, child, or parent, the University reserves the right to require certification from a health care provider concerning the serious health condition (including certification that the employee is needed to care for the family member and an estimate of the duration of such care). For an employee's own illness, the University reserves the right to require certification that the employee is unable to perform the essential elements of their job. The University may also request a second opinion, at the University's expense. Certification may also be required of an employee wishing to take leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis because of medical necessity.

Family and medical leave is unpaid leave. An employee must exhaust all accumulated sick leave at the onset of the leave period for their own serious health condition. An employee may use vacation time to continue paid status following exhaustion of sick leave. An employee may use sick or vacation time to continue paid status to provide care for a spouse, child, parent or military service member. Accumulation of additional leave is suspended for an employee during any full month of unpaid leave. An employee ceases to accrue sick leave and vacation while on family and medical leave once the employee exhausts sick leave and vacation (to the extent the employee chooses to use vacation to help fund the leave).

Requests for FMLA

When requesting FMLA leave, the employee is required to fill out a form available from Human Resources and provide thirty (30) days' notice when circumstances are foreseeable. If notice is foreseeable and is not given, the University reserves the right to deny the leave until the thirty (30) days' notice is given. Human Resources will respond in writing to all requests for family and medical leave.

Re-Employment Following FMLA

In most cases, an employee will be required to submit a fitness for duty certification prior to being restored to employment. In some cases, an employee will be required to furnish periodic reports of his status and intent to return to work. An employee returns from family and medical leave to their former position or, at the discretion of the University, to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. An employee on family and medical leave continues to be subject to changed business conditions, layoff, or reorganization the University deems to be a business necessity. The University may deny job restoration to a senior administrator [among the highest paid ten percent (10%) of all the University's employees] if the denial is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the operation of the University.

The University requires the employee to provide two (2) days' written notice if they intend to return early from family and medical leave.

If an employee does not intend to return to work following family and medical leave, they must submit a written resignation at the earliest possible date. Failure to do so may result in loss of accrued vacation pay on separation. Failure to return to work and to submit a written resignation within five (5) business days after the scheduled return date will result in immediate termination of the employee.

Health Care Benefits While on FMLA

As long as an employee continues to be in a paid status (i.e., by virtue of being on paid leave), the University will continue to contribute toward insurance benefits and the group retirement plan for up to twelve (12) workweeks for any eligible employee on medical and family leave. The employee is responsible for their share of any insurance premium not covered by the University. Arrangements for payment of premiums while on unpaid leave are made through HR prior to commencement of the leave. The University reserves the right to recover any and all insurance premiums paid on behalf of the employee during the period of the leave if an employee is terminated following a medical and family leave. Premiums will not be recovered if the employee does not return because of the continuation or recurrence of illness or something else beyond the employee's control.