Time Away

Seattle University provides eligible faculty and staff members with a variety of paid time off benefits to support a healthy work/life balance and to provide protection from financial hardship in the event of unanticipated absence. Eligibility for the following benefits varies by the type of position held and work schedule. You can determine your benefits eligibility here.

Click below for more information on your time away options. Additional information can also be found in the Employment Policies.

Types of Time Away

Seattle University offers time away for different needs. Click below for more information on your time away options.

Additional information can also be found in the Employment Policies.


The University observes 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.

2023-24 Holiday Schedule


Staff employees begin accruing vacation time in the first month of benefits-eligible employment if hired within 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 on a less than twelve (12) month work schedule will accrue vacation for each month that they are actively working.

Employees may carry over into the new fiscal year the number of vacation days equal to one (1) year of accrual plus five (5) additional days.

Staff: Vacation for regular exempt and non-exempt staff employees in non-Administrator-level positions are based on continuous and completed years of service, according to the following schedule:

Completed Years of Employment Days of Vacation Days of Allowed Carryover
Date of hire through 5 years 10 days 15 days
6 years through 10 years 15 days 20 days
11th year forward 20 days 25 days

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

Completed Years of Employment Days of Vacation Days of Allowed Carryover
Date of hire through 4 years 15 days 20 days
5 years through 10 years 20 days 25 days
11th Year 21 days 26 days
12th Year 22 days 27 days
13th Year 23 days 28 days
14th Year 24 days 29 days
15th Year and thereafter 25 days 30 days

Eligible Part-Time Employees: Part-time staff employees assigned a schedule of at least twenty (20) hours per week receive pro-rated paid vacation time. Those who are regularly scheduled for less than twenty (20) hours per week are not eligible for paid vacation leave.

Forfeiture of Excess Vacation Accrued: Any accrued vacation time in excess of the maximum allowed carryover is forfeited at the beginning of a fiscal year on July 1. 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 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.

Sick Time

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
Jul 12
Aug 11
Sep 10
Oct 9
Nov 8
Dec 7
Jan 6
Feb 5
Mar 4
Apr 3
May 2
Jun 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.

Sick Reserve Bank

The University adopted a new paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave program on July 1, 2018. As part of this program change, regular staff and administrator employees' accrued sick leave hours as of June 30, 2018 were transferred to a sick leave reserve bank.

The sick leave reserve bank is intended for use after the annual award has been exhausted. Deductions from the reserve bank will also occur when someone is on an approved family/medical leave of absence.

Leave of Absence

When you need to be away from work for an extended period for three or more missed shifts) to care for yourself or a family member for a serious health condition, you may be eligible for Seattle University’s leave of absence program. Seattle University is proud to offer leave of absence benefits that support the well-being of you and your family. This website will provide details around leave time and other benefits that you may be eligible for.

There are three key things to consider when you take a leave of absence (LOA):

  1. Income replacement — will you qualify for pay when you are on a leave?
  2. Job protection — will you have a job when you return from a leave of absence?
  3. Continuation of healthcare and other benefits — how long will your healthcare insurance continue while on leave?

There are federal, state, and local laws and Seattle University’s policies that apply to leaves of absence. The length of an approved leave and the types of protection provided depend on the reason for your leave, medical certification, your length of employment at Seattle U, and the number of worked hours.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

To be eligible for leave benefits under federal law, you will need to work:

  • One (1) year with SU
  • 1250 hours with SU

If eligible, you may receive up to 12 weeks of protected, unpaid leave for medical, family or bonding leave. 

Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave (WA PFML)

To be eligible for leave benefits under Washington State law, you will need to work:

  • 340 hours with SU for pay benefits
  • 965 hours with SU for job protection

If eligible, you may receive up to 12 weeks of 100% paid leave for medical, family or bonding leave. Birth mothers may receive a combination of medical and bonding leave for a total of 16-18 weeks of leave.

The University administers an approved voluntary plan (50A.04 RCW) and all employees will receive at least the minimum benefit required by law. You do not need to apply with WA Employment Security Department to receive pay benefits while on leave.

Community Service Leave

To encourage and support staff to embrace the mission, vision and values through service, Seattle University offers Community Service Leave to participate, with pay, in community service activities that occur during regularly scheduled work hours. 

Staff Eligibility

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.

Definition and Intent

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. The Center of Community Engagement offers a variety of community service and volunteer options.

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.

Information for current employees

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