Employment Policies

  1. Policies Introduction

    Nature of Employment

    All staff, non-tenured faculty, and non-tenure track faculty are employed "at will." This means those individuals may decide to end their employment with the University at any time for any reason or no reason, and the University has the right to terminate the employment of those individuals at any time for any reason or no reason.

    Employment Policies Application & Amendment

    These policies do not create a contract, and the University reserves the right to modify any provisions in these policies, or to discontinue all or a part of these policies, at any time. These policies and any amendments, deletions, or additions, are effective on the day posted to this website, unless expressly stated otherwise in the posting.

    Unless expressly stated, all policies exclude faculty and student workers.

    Definition of Regular Benefits Eligible Employee Groups

    "Regular" employees are in budgeted, staff positions and may be either full-time or part-time. Full-time means 1.0 "full-time equivalent" (FTE). Part-time means .53 FTE (or greater) for staff and administrators and .50 FTE (or greater) for faculty and those employees on a 40-hour work week. Regular employees are eligible for benefits. The following employee groups are regular employees.

    A. Exempt Staff
    "Exempt" staff are executive, administrative, or professional employees of the University as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act and are exempt from state and federal minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Exempt staff are paid on a salary basis for work performed and are not eligible for paid overtime.

    B. Non-Exempt Staff
    "Non-exempt" staff are employees of the University as defined by the state and federal law and are not exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements. Non-exempt staff are paid an hourly wage for work performed and are eligible for paid overtime.

    Additional information about the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

    C. Faculty Status
    Some exempt employees may hold faculty rank and also serve in exempt, administrative non-faculty positions. Those employees are subject to all terms and conditions applicable to exempt non-faculty employees. In addition, these individuals may have certain rights, through tenure, to continued employment as a faculty member. Those rights affect only the individual's status as a faculty member.

    D. Union
    Union employees are those University employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

    Definition of Employee Groups Not Eligible For Benefits

    The following employee groups are not eligible for benefits:

    A. Temporary Employees
    "Temporary" employees are hired on a temporary basis for a specific period of time (e.g., for projects or interim assignments). Temporary employees work intermittently and less than 1040 hours per year.

    Temporary, full-time: Employees who are hired as interim replacements to temporarily supplement the workforce or to assist in the completion of a specific project and who are temporarily scheduled to work the company’s full-time schedule (37.5 hours per week) for a limited duration. Employment beyond any initially stated period does not in any way imply a change in employment status.

    Temporary, part-time: Employees who are hired as interim replacements to temporarily supplement the workforce or to assist in the completion of a specific project and who are temporarily scheduled to work less than the company’s full-time schedule (37.5 hours per week) for a limited duration. Employment beyond any initially stated period does not in any way imply a change in employment status.

    B. On-Call Employees
    "On-call" employees work an uncertain schedule usually on an irregular or on-call basis. On-call employees are paid an hourly wage.

    C. Student Employees
    Student employees are hired through the Student Financial Services Office or the School of Law Financial Aid Office in accordance with the policies and procedures of those offices. Student employees are paid through the payroll system as a student employee and are compensated on an hourly basis. For more information, please view the Student Financial Services website. 

    D. Consultants & Independent Contractors
    The University also engages the services of consultants and independent contractors (non-employees) on a short-term, temporary, or part-time basis. A consultant or independent contractor is not an employee. The IRS has strict criteria for determining whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee. Information on these criteria can be found from the Guidelines for Determining Independent Contractor Status and the Office of the Controller's website. 

    Unless otherwise approved by a Vice President, contact the HR office before entering into a contract with a consultant. Information on paying contractors can be found on the Office of the Controller’s website. 

    E. Volunteers
    Volunteers are welcome at the University and provide valuable services. A volunteer agreement is required and a record of volunteer hours must be maintained and reported to payroll for liability insurance purposes.

    Seattle University employees may volunteer or otherwise perform services for the University on an unpaid basis if all the conditions listed below are met.

    The employee must inform their supervisor in writing of their intent to volunteer.

    • The volunteer activity is at the employee's own initiative;
    • The volunteer activity is during the employee's own time (not during regular work hours); and
    • The duties performed as a volunteer are not similar or identical to the employee’s regular job duties and responsibilities.

    Active Employees

    "Active" employees are working on regularly assigned or scheduled days.

  2. Hiring & Employment

    Equal Employment Opportunity

    Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

    The University provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, political ideology, or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfers, leaves of absence, compensation, benefits, and training.

    The University administers all policies, practices, and procedures in ways that are consistent with the University's Catholic and Jesuit character.

    Contact the University's Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity/Equal Opportunity Officer for additional information.

    Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Complaint Procedure
    Any person who believes he may have been harassed or discriminated against in violation of the principles in this policy should first discuss the matter with their direct supervisor. If for any reason an employee does not want to discuss the matter with the direct supervisor, the employee may discuss the matter with the department head, or the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity/Equal Opportunity Officer ("AVP for HR/EOO").

    In all cases, managers, supervisors, directors, or department or division heads who receive any complaint or concern involving harassment or discrimination must bring the matter to the immediate attention of the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity /EOO.

    If the appropriate manager, supervisor, director, department or division head, or the AVP for IE/EOO are not able to resolve a concern or complaint of harassment or discrimination, the AVP for IE/EOO will further investigate the matter and recommend a solution to the relevant Vice President, who will decide how the concern or complaint will be resolved.

    Any person who believes that the relevant Vice President has not resolved a concern or complaint in accordance with this Equal Employment Opportunity policy may make a written appeal to the Vice President for Administration or to the Provost, who may reopen the investigation, continue the investigation, or decide how the complaint will be resolved. The written appeal must be submitted within ten (10) working days of the decision of the relevant Vice President. The decision of the Vice President for Administration or the Provost will be final.

    Individuals who bring complaints of harassment or discrimination or who participate or cooperate in an investigation shall not be subject to any adverse employment action or other retaliation for having utilized the procedure or participated in the process, even if an investigation shows that there has not been a violation.

    Individuals with complaints or concerns about sexual harassment should follow the Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure. Individuals with complaints or concerns about a failure to accommodate a disability should follow the Section 504/ADA Policy and Appeal Procedure.

    The procedures are not designed to restrict or limit the right of any person to file an administrative complaint with a governmental enforcement agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

    Employment At Will

    The University follows a policy of "employment at will." This policy of employment at will means that an employee can terminate their employment relationship with the University at any time and for any reason and that the University can terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, at the sole discretion of the University. The University cannot guarantee permanent employment or employment for a specific term, nor will the University adhere to or enforce any promises of permanent or specific-term employment made to an employee by any person.

    Individuals With Disabilities

    Note that this policy also applies to faculty.

    Seattle University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, of the Rehabilitation Act and applicable state and local laws providing for nondiscrimination in employment against qualified individuals with disabilities. The University also provides reasonable accommodation for such individuals with disabilities.

    An employee or applicant seeking an accommodation in connection with employment should first contact the Office of Human Resources for assistance. It is the responsibility of the employee to provide the university with adequate notice of the disability, to request the particular accommodation, and to provide any necessary medical verification of a disability-related need for the accommodation. On receipt of an accommodation request, Human Resources will meet with the requesting individual and other relevant University personnel to determine the individual's needs and the availability of reasonable accommodations. Complete information about accommodations for individuals with disabilities, including appeal procedures, may be found in the Appendices. 

  3. Employee Development

    Performance Review

    The University, believing feedback is important, provides assessment of employees through a performance review program. Generally, employees receive a review after three (3) months of employment. All employees receive an annual performance review. Performance reviews are signed by the supervisor and the employee and are forwarded to HR. Additional performance reviews may be conducted if a department head or supervisor notes that an employee's work performance level is unacceptable. The written review is forwarded to HR after the follow-up review discussion with the employee.

    Unsatisfactory Work Performance

    Supervisors are responsible for the guidance, training, and development of employees under their direction. Supervisors should ensure that each employee knows and understands work performance expectations. When performance consistently fails to meet stipulated expectations, the supervisor is obligated to take action, and they should consult with HR about the situation.

    Special Reviews

    Special performance reviews are conducted when appropriate. Examples of appropriate times are when an employee has moved from one department to another, when the employee is being considered for promotion, or when an employee needs to know of a material deficiency in performance.


  4. Time Away From Work

    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. 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.

    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
    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.


    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.

    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 Team for details.

    Vacations for regular exempt and non-exempt employees in non-Administrator-level positions 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


    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:

    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 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.

    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.


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 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


    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.

    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.

  5. Work Hours & Pay Practices

  6. Benefits

    Note that these policies also apply to faculty.

    Benefits Introduction

    This series of policies provides a brief overview of general benefits the University provides for certain of its employees without mandate from any governmental agency. Specific provisions of each plan are governed by an official benefit plan document or insurance policy. If there is a conflict between the plan document/insurance policy and these policies, information in the official document/policy supersedes information in these policies. Plan summaries are available in the Benefits section of the University’s Human Resources website

    Eligibility for Benefits

    Employees are eligible for benefits as described in the Definition of Regular Benefits Eligible Employee Groups Policy and below. The groups of individuals listed in Definition of Employee Groups Not Eligible for Benefits Policy are not eligible.

    FlexPlan - Section 125 Plan

    The University's FlexPlan allows employees to pay health premiums on a pre-tax basis. The FlexPlan qualifies as a Section 125 plan under federal regulations. As such, the FlexPlan is subject to restrictions on eligibility for pre-tax benefits as well as changes to benefit elections that may be made during the year. For example, eligible employees may enroll in a benefits plan on the first day of the first full month of eligible employment or during the University's annual open enrollment period. Enrollment in the Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Disability Plans occur automatically on the first day of the first full month after 12 continuous months of benefits eligible employment.

    The University offers the following benefits on a pre-tax basis:

    • Medical, dental and vision health care benefits, and
    • Health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts

    The following benefits are subject to withholding of taxes on premiums:

    • Long-Term Disability Insurance;
    • Supplemental Life,  Dependent Life Insurance; and
    • Supplemental Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

    Flexible Spending Arrangement Plan

    Under the University’s Flexible Spending Arrangement Plan, employees estimate the amount of eligible health care and/or dependent care expenses they will incur through December of a calendar year, and authorize payroll deductions to meet the estimates. Each employee’s payroll deductions are deposited into their flexible spending account. Employees then submit documentation of health care/dependent care expenses, and the third party administrator reimburses the employee from their flexible spending account. The maximum deferral amounts are subject to IRS regulations and, therefore, may periodically be adjusted.

    The employee may change their payroll deduction amount only if a qualifying event occurs during the plan year. Some examples of qualifying events are: birth, adoption, death, marriage, divorce, or termination of spouse's employment.

    Note: Under IRS regulations, an employee must forfeit any amount that remains unclaimed in the dependent care flexible spending account at the end of the plan year.  Unclaimed amounts above $500 are subject to forfeiture from health care flexible spending accounts at the end of the year.

    Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance

    Coverage Commencement
    For regular, benefits eligible employees (see Definition of Regular Benefits Eligible Employee Groups Policy) coverage eligibility begins the first (1st) day of the first (1st) full month of employment.

    Insurance Coverage Applications
    To obtain coverage under health care insurance plans, an eligible employee must complete the online enrollment application within thirty (30) days of the start date of regular employment. Employees who fail to submit enrollment applications within thirty (30) days of eligibility will be enrolled in default levels of coverage.  Applications are also accepted annually during the University's benefits open enrollment period, and in the event of a qualifying status change (e.g., marriage, birth of a child).

    No person acquires any right to services and benefits under any health care insurance plans until the online application is accepted.

    Dependent Coverage
    An enrolling employee may also enroll any of the following persons during the first (1st) 30 days of benefits eligible employment:

    • A legal spouse or Legally Domiciled Adult (LDA), and
    • Children under the age of 26 (natural children, stepchildren, foster children, adopted children, children for whom you are the court appointed guardian, children of LDA when your LDA is also covered). Children over 26 years of age may be covered if disabled prior to reaching the limiting age.

    Employees can make dependent coverage changes:

    • annually during open enrollment, or
    • when a qualifying status change occurs.

    Employees must complete a status change request within 31 days. Addition of a dependent child at birth, adoption or placement for adoption must be made within 60 days. Changes due to coverage under Medicaid or a state child health plan ("CHIP") must also be made within 60 days.

    Option to Waive Coverage

    Employees covered under another medical or dental plan may waive their medical, vision, and/or dental benefits if they provide proof of coverage on an annual basis.

    The following benefits are provided to eligible employees by the University and may not be waived:

    • Basic Life Insurance;
    • Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance; and
    • Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Disability Insurance.

    Short-Term Disability (STD)

    Coverage Commencement
    STD coverage commences for regular, benefits-eligible employees on the first (1st) day of the month coincident with, or next following, completion of one year of benefits eligible employment.

    Short-Term Disability Benefit
    The maximum benefit under the STD plan is sixty percent (60%) of pay to a maximum of $9,000 per month and for a maximum duration of 180 days from the date of disability.  Claims for the STD benefit are filed with a claim administrator who will determine eligibility and duration of STD pay.  The employee's STD pay may be reduced by the amount of other income replacement benefits (such as Social Security or workers' compensation) the employee receives for the same disability.

    Once approved, STD benefits commence on the 31st calendar day of disability.  STD pay is distributed through the university’s regular payroll process.   The employee may elect to use accrued sick leave and/or vacation to supplement the STD benefit. STD pay will cease upon the earlier of 1) the return to work, or 2) 180 days from the date of disability.

    Continuation of Benefits During Disability
    General benefit coverage and leave accrual will continue as long as the employee is receiving Short-Term Disability payments.

    Long-Term Disability (LTD)

    Coverage Commencement
    Coverage commences for regular, benefits-eligible employees on the first (1st) day of the month coincident with, or next following, completion of one year of benefits eligible employment.

    Long-Term Disability Benefit
    The maximum benefit under the LTD plan is sixty percent (60%) of pay to a maximum of $9,000 per month. A claim for LTD benefits is submitted by the employee to the insurance carrier which will determine eligibility and duration of LTD benefits. Eligibility for LTD benefits commences after 180 consecutive calendar days of disability. The employee's LTD benefit may be reduced by the amount of other income replacement benefits (such as Social Security or workers' compensation) the employee receives for the same disability.

    Continuation of Benefits During Disability
    An individual receiving LTD benefits may elect to continue the University's health care insurance benefits by participating in the federal COBRA program.

    Group Term Life Insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

    All active, benefits eligible employees (see Definition of Regular Benefits Eligible Employee Groups Policy and Active Employees Policy) are enrolled in the basic life and basic AD&D insurance plans on the first (1st) day of the first (1st) full month of employment. Employees may apply to purchase supplemental life and supplemental AD&D insurance coverage for themselves and eligible dependents, subject to the policy limits and the approval requirements of the insurance carrier.

    Retirement Plan

    University Contributions
    Employees become eligible for the University's contributions to the Employees Retirement Plan after completion of one (1) year of service.  A year of service is defined as 1,000 or more hours of service within twelve consecutive months of employment. See Recognition of Prior Employment at an Accredited Institution for Some Benefits Policy for special eligibility dates for those with qualifying prior employment.

    Individuals who are enrolled as students are excluded from participating in the University’s contributions as are leased employees and employees participating in the retirement plan of a religious order.

    The university may make contributions to employee retirement accounts as a percentage of employee’s eligible pay. Participating employees are immediately 100% vested (i.e., retirement account is owned by the employee) upon plan entry. However, contributions made by the University will be forfeited in any calendar year in which the participating employee fails to complete 1,000 hours of service unless the employee has separated from service due to death, disability or upon attaining social security normal retirement age.

    Voluntary Employee Contributions
    Eligible employees may make pre-tax contributions to a Fidelity Investments account by paycheck deduction. Such contributions are subject to the limitations of Sections 402(g) and 415 of the Internal Revenue code. Employees are always 100% vested in their own contributions.

    Plan Contributions During A Leave of Absence
    Retirement contributions continue to be made based on eligible compensation paid during a leave of absence. No contributions are made during an unpaid portion of any leave of absence.

    Benefits on Re-Employment at the University

    Regular, benefits-eligible employees who are reemployed within one (1) year of separation of service from Seattle University are given recognition for prior service for the following employee benefits:

    • The rate of vacation accrual for regular staff employees will be reinstated to the same rate in place prior to separation of employment, and
    • Sick leave days for regular staff employees accrued but unused prior to separation will be reinstated.

    Eligibility for tuition remission benefits will be reinstated upon reemployment if the eligibility period had been satisfied during prior service. Unused sick leave hours will be reinstated under the “Sick Leave for Other Employees” arrangement described in Sick/Safe Time Policy if a participant’s reemployment occurs within seven (7) months of the prior separation of employment.

    An employee who had previously met the Employees Retirement Plan’s eligibility requirement will be eligible to participate in the plan for the purposes of the University’s contributions as of the first (1st) day of the month coinciding with, or next following, their reemployment date provided they are an eligible employee at that time. Refer to the official plan document for more information.

    Recognition of Prior Employment at an Accredited Institution for Some Benefits

    The University recognizes qualifying former employment, as defined below, to determine eligibility for certain benefits upon employment.

    Two (2) Years Prior Service - Retirement Benefits
    If a regular, benefits eligible employee has established prior employment based on the following criteria, the University will begin contributions to a retirement account as of the first (1st) day of the first (1st) full month of employment. Employees must:

    • Be at least 21 years of age; and
    • Have completed two continuous years of full time employment at an accredited institution of higher education immediately prior to the date of hire at the University.

    Five (5) or More Years Prior Employment - Vacation/Tuition Benefit Programs
    For regular, benefits eligible employees who have completed five (5) or more years of continuous full-time employment at a single accredited institution of higher education immediately prior to employment:

    • For staff employees, initial vacation benefits upon employment will accrue based on completed years with the prior employer. The timing of subsequent adjustments to the vacation benefit will be based on accumulated service years with the university; and
    • Eligibility requirements for tuition benefit programs are satisfied upon employment.


    • Prior university must be accredited in accordance with Seattle University policy.
    • "Immediately prior" is defined as higher education being the last place of employment. If during the course of employment at the prior university the employee has a non-working break in service of no longer than six months, and all other criteria are met, prior service requirements will be satisfied.
    • Prior service requests must be received by HR no later than 30 days from hire date.

    Worker's Compensation

    In compliance with state law, the University carries worker's compensation insurance for all employees for injuries and illnesses incurred on the job. There is a deduction from the employee's paycheck for this insurance. All job related injuries or illnesses must be reported immediately to the supervisor. HR explains these responsibilities to the supervisor and to Campus Public Safety and provides assistance in completing the necessary paperwork.

    The employee must report all injuries to Campus Public Safety the same day the injury occurs. Employees have the right to seek medical care for injuries or illnesses resulting from the course of their work with the University. Supervisors must not refuse to send employee(s) for medical care even if the injury appears not to be serious. Worker's compensation insurance pays the medical expenses legitimately arising out of a job-related injury or illness.

    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA)

    Employees who stand to lose health insurance due to a qualifying status change (e.g., termination of employment, retirement) may elect to continue health insurance coverage at group rates, at their own expense, under the federal COBRA law. Self-paid continued coverage is also available to covered spouses and/or dependents of employees. When a qualifying event occurs, covered employees and their dependents are notified of their options. Additional information may be obtained here.

    Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)

    The University's welfare and pension plans are covered under ERISA. According to the Act, an employee is entitled to review and receive information about the University's welfare and pension plans. Visit the Benefits website for plan summaries and benefit notices. Refer here for more information on ERISA.

    Unemployment Insurance

    The University has established a reserve account and reimburses the Washington State Employment Security Department for unemployment benefits paid to former employees in accordance with the laws of the State of Washington. There is no deduction from employees' paychecks for this insurance. For more information, visit here.

    Tuition Program Benefits

    The University provides tuition remission benefits for eligible employees and their dependents (see Definition of Regular Benefits Eligible Employee Groups Policy) and is a participating institution in the Faculty and Staff Children Exchange (FACHEX) and Tuition Exchange programs. Tuition benefit programs are designed to provide financial assistance toward the cost of post-secondary tuition.

    Requirements, benefits, limitations and other plan information are posted to the University’s Human Resources website.

    The University retains the right to modify or change the tuition programs at any time with thirty (30) days' notice to employees. Any change that occurs during a quarter will be effective as of the start of the next quarter.

    Benefits While on Personal or Educational Leave

    An employee on unpaid personal or educational leave will not accrue vacation or sick leave during the unpaid leave. An employee on an unpaid personal or educational leave of absence greater than one (1) full benefit month may continue to participate in the University's health care benefits program (except Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Disability) by self-paying the full premium rates. While on an unpaid personal or educational leave of absence, contributions to retirement plans will cease.

    Privileges & Amenities

    The University provides additional special privileges and amenities for employees. Contact HR for additional information and specifics regarding these additional privileges and amenities:

    • On-campus parking
    • Eisiminger Fitness Center use
    • Lemieux Library privileges

    Public Transportation Subsidy

    The University offers regular, benefits eligible employees a subsidy on the pre-tax purchase of transportation passes. An employee who purchases a parking permit cannot receive a subsidized transportation pass.