On April 21, 2020, President Cross approved a revision to SYS 1200-02: Interim, COVID-19 Leave to address leave related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This interim policy action expires on December 31, 2020.

This policy was a part of the former UPS Policy set that was integrated into the System Administrative Policy set. It applies to all University of Wisconsin institutions except for UW-Madison. For UW-Madison’s policies, please see the Human Resource Design Policies website.

Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2015
Last Revision Date:

1. Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to address the granting of non-medical leaves of absence. Military leave of absence policies are not included in this policy (see SYS 1218, Military Leave).

2. Policy Background

Regent Resolution 5364 (adopted 11/10/1989), amended by Resolution 8457 (adopted 10/05/2001); repealed and recreated by Resolution 9704 (adopted 12/11/2009); amended by Resolution 9938 (adopted 06/10/2011), which approved a change to Regent Policy Document 20-6, Policy on Non-Medical Leaves of Absence for Unclassified Staff.  Consistent with Regent Policy Document 20-21, University Personnel Systems, and effective July 1, 2015, the policy on non-medical leaves of absence for unclassified staff previously contained in RPD 20-6 is now set forth in this policy.

Provisions related to leaves of absence for classified UW System employees (university staff as of July 1, 2015) were previously set forth in Wis. Stats. § 230.35(2) and Wis. Admin. Code § ER 18.14.

Effective July 1, 2015, the existing UW System Non-Medical Leaves of Absence policy was revised to include university staff as well as faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees.

3. Policy Definitions

Please see SYS 1225, General Terms and Definitions, for a list of general terms and definitions.

4. Policy Statement

University of Wisconsin System employees possess talents, expertise, and interests that are often valued and sought after by organizations and governmental units outside the UW System, or by other institutions within the System. Granting leaves of absence in appropriate circumstances allows employees to share these special skills with other entities, and can offer significant benefits both to the employee’s home institution and the outside organization by fostering collaborations and developing productive relationships among businesses, educational institutions, research organizations, and other branches of government.

A. Eligibility for a Non-Medical Leave of Absence

Faculty, academic staff, limited appointees and university staff (except those on a temporary or project appointment) are eligible to request a non-medical leave of absence.

B. Granting Non-Medical Leave of Absence

  1. The chancellor (or designee) of each institution, after considering specific institutional needs, may grant an eligible employee a full- or part-time leave of absence without pay for non-medical reasons for a period up to five years.
  2. A leave of absence granted under this policy must specify the period and the percentage time of the leave.
  3. A leave of absence granted under this policy may be granted for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:
    1. Allowing the employee to engage in entrepreneurial activities such as forming companies or businesses related to or arising in connection with employee’s institutional research or area of academic specialization;
    2. Allowing the employee to perform services for another UW System institution or UW System Administration;
    3. Allowing the employee to engage in public service as an elected or appointed official of local, state, or federal government;
    4. Allowing the employee to serve as a fellow of a research entity affiliated or engaged in research with a UW System institution;
    5. Allowing the employee to take a maternity, paternity or adoption leave beyond what is covered by the Wisconsin and/or Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
    6. Allowing the employee to engage in activities similar or related to those enumerated in this section.
  4. The chancellor (or designee) of each institution may grant an eligible employee an extension of a leave of absence beyond five years for the reasons enumerated in Section 4.B.(3) of this policy.

C. Oversight, Roles and Responsibilities

UW Chancellors will be responsible for implementing this policy. UW System Human Resources will monitor compliance with this policy.

5. Related Documents

SYS 1213, Wisconsin and Federal Family and Medical Leave Acts
SYS 1218, Military Leave

6. Policy History

Regent Resolution 5364 (adopted 11/10/1989), amended by Resolution 8457 (adopted 10/05/2001); repealed and recreated by  Resolution 9704 (adopted 12/11/2009); amended by Resolution 9938 (adopted 06/10/2011)
Board of Regents Policy 20-6: Policy on Non-Medical Leaves of Absence for Unclassified Staff
Wis. Stat. § 230.35(2), State office hours; standard workweek; leaves of absence; holidays
Wis. Admin Code § ER 18.14, Leave of absence without pay
Wisconsin Human Resources Handbook Chapter 740

Reviewed by the Board of Regents, April 10, 2015