Policy Manual

Leave of Absence Without Pay

A leave of absence without pay may be granted to regular full-time and regular part-time staff members for periods up to one (1) year for personal reasons, such as attending to family matters, child-rearing or performing community service without loss of University service credit and position.

Before approving or denying a leave request, the department head considers the department's operating needs and the staff member's needs, job performance and length of service.

When a request for leave is endorsed, the school/center will usually return the staff member to active status in a similar or equivalent position, grade profile and salary within the school/center at the end of the leave. The University reserves the right to terminate a leave of absence or deny reinstatement at the end of a leave of absence. A staff member has no greater right to conditions of employment than if the staff member had been continuously in the workplace. For example, the position of a staff member on an approved leave of absence may be subject to position discontinuation in accordance with the University's Position Discontinuation and Staff Transition Policy (628).

An early termination of a leave of absence or denial of reinstatement must be reviewed by Human Resources prior to any action by the department.


The staff member requests a leave of absence in Workday (Time Off and Leave), including the first day of leave and the estimated last day of leave (not to exceed one year), and the leave type (personal - leave without pay).

Once the staff member submits the request into Workday, Workday automatically routes the request to the manager for approval and then to Human Resources for approval.

Contact Human Resources (215-898-7372) for questions about leave requests.


During personal leaves without pay, there is no accrual of sick leave or paid time off (PTO). Time while on leave is counted as service credit in determining eligibility for benefits that are dependent upon length of service (for example, PTO accrual rate).

The staff member's current benefits coverage will automatically continue for Medical, Dental, Vision, Supplemental Life, and Long-Term Care benefits during the leave unless the individual contacts Human Resources (866-799-2329) within 30 days from the start of the unpaid leave of absence. The staff member is responsible for and will be billed directly (from the University’s third party administrator) on a monthly after-tax basis for the full cost of any benefits continued during the unpaid leave. Failure to pay will result in loss of benefits coverage. Basic Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurances will automatically continue during the leave at no cost to the staff member.

Pre-Tax Expense Accounts for Health Care and Dependent Care will be automatically discontinued as of the date that the leave begins. The staff member may continue to contribute on an after-tax basis to the Health Care Pre-Tax Expense Account at his/her current annual coverage level through the University’s third party administrator. To continue contributing, the staff member must contact Human Resources (866-799-2329) within 30 days from the start of the leave.

While on leave of absence without pay, participants of the University’s Matching Plan and/or Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) Plan may not continue to make contributions to the Plans and will not receive contributions to the Basic and Matching Plans. The participant's deferral election will be changed to 0%. Contributions to the Matching and SRA Plans will not restart automatically. Upon returning from an unpaid leave, participants must restart their contributions to the Matching and SRA Plans by the calling the TIAA Retirement Call Center at 877-736-6738. Contributions will not be processed retroactively. Participants must confirm that their contributions restarted correctly by checking their pay statement. For questions about how a leave of absence will affect your vesting under the Basic and Matching Plans, please contact Human Resources (866-799-2329).

It is the staff member's responsibility to contact his/her Business Administrator when she/he will be returning to work. Once the home department has entered into Workday the change in status to active, all benefits that were in effect during the unpaid leave will be reinstated effective the first of the month following the date the staff member returns from leave*. If the staff member wishes to make changes to her/his reinstated benefits, she/he must contact Human Resources (866-799-2329) within 30 days of her/his return from leave date.

*If the staff member waived long-term care insurance during her/his leave, she/he will have to reapply and supply evidence of insurability for this benefit before it goes back into effect. Acceptance is not guaranteed, and the staff member may pay a higher premium based upon her/his age at the time of the reapplication. Note that the staff member needs to coordinate directly with the insurance carrier any changes to his/her long-term care insurance.

If the staff member returns to work in a different benefits plan year, she/he will be given the opportunity to enroll in benefits for that plan year.

If the University contribution is to be paid by the department, the department must supply Human Resources with a budget number to charge; otherwise, the staff member must pay the full amount.

Questions concerning benefit continuation while on leave of absence should be referred to Human Resources (866 799-23290.


University staff covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate article in their contract.

Policy Number: 616
Effective Date: 05/12/2010
Last Reviewed:  06/14/2022
Revised Date:  05/13/2024

Supersedes Policy Number(s): 616 (06/01/1998), 616 (11/23/1998), 616 (07/01/2000), 616 (02/01/2002)
Applicability: Regular full-time and regular part-time staff
Cross-reference: Temporary Staff - Policy 114Time Away From Work - Policy 602, Paid Time Off - Policy 607Family and Medical Leave Act - Policy 631

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