Leave of Absence Without Pay

Handbook of Operating Procedures 5-4610

Leave of Absence Without Pay

The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
November 1, 2001



  1. Policy Statement

It is the policy of The University of Texas at Austin, when in the best interest of the University and for good cause, and subject to fiscal constraints, to grant eligible employees a period of unpaid leave during which employment is protected.


  1. Scope

This policy applies to all Classified, and Administrative and Professional employees appointed to work at least twenty (20) hours per week for a period of at least four and one-half (4 1/2) months. It does not apply to Faculty, whose leaves of absence are addressed in a separate section of the Handbook of Operating Procedures, or to students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment.


  1. Qualified Purposes

A leave of absence without pay may be granted for personal reasons, professional development, and public service or other activities that reflect credit on the University and enhance an individual's ability to make subsequent contributions to the University.


Personal reasons include compelling needs related to personal matters, extended illness, and to the provision of care for members of an employee's immediate family as defined in HOP 5-4210, Sick Leave.


Professional development includes undergraduate or graduate study, fellowships, employment with another governmental entity under an interagency or intergovernmental agreement, or other educational purposes that increase the effectiveness or professional productivity of the employee.


Public service includes but is not limited to political activity subject to the Regents' Rules, Rule 30103, and service to charitable organizations.


  1. Duration

A leave of absence may be granted for a period of up to twelve (12) months. If the period of the leave is less than twelve (12) months, an employee may submit a request to extend the leave for a combined period not to exceed twelve (12) months.


The Regents' Rules restrict leaves of absence that extend beyond the end of a fiscal year. Therefore, the granting of that portion of a leave that extends beyond the current fiscal year (August 31) is contingent upon the employee's reappointment.


  1. Exhaustion of Paid Leave

Except for disciplinary suspensions, active military duty and leave covered by workers' compensation benefits, all accumulated paid leave must be exhausted before going on leave of absence without pay status. Sick leave must first be used only if the employee is taking leave for a reason for which the employee is eligible to take sick leave.


  1. Application and Approval Process
  1. Application Submission. The employee submits a written request on the Leave of Absence form to his or her supervisor that includes the following:
  • The reason for the requested leave with documentation as appropriate;
  • Length of time requested, and
  • A statement of the employee's clear intention to return to work.

If the leave is for professional development or public service, the request shall specify how the leave will increase the effectiveness or professional productivity of the employee.


  1. Application Review. When evaluating leave requests, the supervisor shall determine if the request is in the best interest of the University. The supervisor shall consider the following criteria:
  • The ability of the department to function efficiently and effectively during the employee's absence.
  • The affect of the employee's absence on coworkers.
  • The provisions required to accomplish the employee's work.
  • Whether the employee's documented work performance justifies employment protection.
  • The employee's clear intent to return to work.
  1. Determination. The supervisor shall review the leave request and submit a written recommendation to the department or unit head. The recommendation shall state whether the application should be granted or denied and the reasons for the decision.

The department or unit head shall make the final decision to grant or deny the leave request and shall communicate the decision in writing to the employee with a copy to the supervisor and Human Resources.


  1. Approval of Consecutive Leaves of Absence Beyond Twelve Months

Requests for consecutive years of leave of absence shall be for the reasons provided in this policy. Such requests shall be approved only in cases where unusual and extenuating circumstances exist.


  1. Second Year Approval. In addition to the department or unit head approval, the appropriate vice president must approve a second year request.
  1. Third Year Approval. In addition to the department or unit head, and the appropriate vice president, the President and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of The University of Texas System must approve a third year request.

The final decision to grant or deny the leave request shall be communicated in writing to the employee with a copy to the appropriate administrators and Human Resource Services.


  1. Affect of Leave on Insurance Benefits

For a leave of absence that is not covered by Family and Medical Leave, the following applies:


  1. Employee Insurance Premiums. The employee is responsible for paying the full premium amount directly to the University.
  1. Nonpayment of Premiums by Employee. If the employee fails to pay the insurance premium by the due date, the University shall cancel the employee's insurance coverage at the end of the last month for which a complete payment is made.
  1. Restoration of Coverage Upon Return to Work. If the University discontinues health coverage as a result of the employee's non-payment of premiums, the employee's group health benefits must be restored to at least the same level and terms as were provided when leave commenced. The returning employee will not be required to meet any qualification requirements, such as a waiting period or preexisting condition requirements, when the employee has failed to continue his or her health coverage for non-payment of premiums.

For a leave of absence that is covered by Family and Medical Leave, see the Family and Medical Leave Policy for insurance benefit information.


  1. Return to Work

The employee returning from leave of absence will be reinstated to the same or equivalent position and pay within the department or unit.


  1. Eligibility for Subsequent, Non-Consecutive Leave

An employee must return to duty for one year (12 continuous months) after a leave of absence to be eligible to apply for another leave of absence, unless they have been granted an extension under this policy.


  1. Employee Notification Responsibilities

An employee on leave shall immediately notify the supervisor of any change in circumstances that affects the employee's leave status.


  1. Department Responsibilities

The department shall place an employee granted a leave of absence on leave without pay status for the term of the leave or until the end of the fiscal year, whichever is shorter.


  1. Delegation of Authority

The president delegates authority to the department or unit head to review and approve leaves of absence for the initial twelve-month period. The president delegates authority to the appropriate vice president to review and approve leaves of absence for a second consecutive twelve-month leave.


For Assistance: Questions regarding leave of absence should be directed to Human Resource Services, Benefit Service Section, or to the website: http://www.utexas.edu/hr/.


Request for Leave of Absence form website: http://www.utexas.edu/hr/forms/leave_of_absence_lm020.pdf.


Source: Texas Government Code, Sections 661.909, 659.016(e), 659.085;
Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations Rule 30201, and Rule 30103


Previously HOP 7.22