Leaves of Absence


Leave of Absence

You may request general leaves of absence without pay. If granted, these leaves may not exceed 120 working days. You may not use accrued paid vacation days to extend the length of the leave beyond 120 days. However, accrued vacation days may be used during the leave to receive pay. Any such arrangements must be approved by the departmental administrator.

All leaves of absence must be documented by the department administrator by submitting an Employee Action via Pitt Worx for the first available payroll cycle corresponding to your absence from active work, regardless of whether the leave is paid or unpaid.

To initiate a request for an unpaid leave, you must first discuss the reasons for requesting a leave with your departmental administrator. The departmental administrator will discuss the circumstances with the Employee Relations Section of the Office of Human Resources. If it is determined that a leave is warranted, you will be notified by your departmental administrator. The University may, when appropriate, designate a leave as a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.

Going on an unpaid leave terminates your eligibility for any Flexible Spending Account (FSA) program as the deductions must be taken from your paycheck pre-tax. All FSAs will be waived in accordance with the start of your leave. You may re-enroll during the next open enrollment period following your return from an unpaid leave.

While on leave, you do not accrue vacation or sick time. Should you fail to return from a leave at the agreed-upon time, you are considered to have voluntarily resigned and lose all employment rights. Insurance benefits are not suspended while you are on a leave of absence. However, the cost of any benefits will be borne by you in the same manner as prior to the leave. Any arrangements for continuance of benefits must be made prior to the leave by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Benefits Department at 833-852-2210.

Note: as of May 1, 2024, those not receiving pay from the University but paying to continue benefits will now be receiving their bills for benefit premiums from UPMC Benefit Management Services (BMS). To setup your payment portal, make payments or general questions, call BMS at 888-499-6885.

Staff Medical Leaves

Short-Term Disability Insurance

As part of its comprehensive benefits program, the University of Pittsburgh provides a Short-Term Disability Insurance Program to eligible classified staff employees.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

The Long Term Disability Benefit Program provides partial income replacement and continuation of certain University benefits in the event eligible staff or faculty become "disabled."

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for Staff

In accordance with the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the University of Pittsburgh provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible staff members for the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;
  • To care for the staff member’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for the staff member’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
  • For a serious health condition that makes the staff member unable to perform the staff member’s job

Faculty Leaves

Sabbatical Leave

Sabbatical leaves are awards available to tenured members of the faculty who submit convincing evidence of conducting scholarly or other appropriate endeavors on released time which will advance their own professional standing and, upon their return to the University, enrich their teaching and research.

Faculty Leave for Professional Enhancement

The University provides a leave of absence without pay of up to one year for the purpose of professional enhancement.

Unpaid Leave of Absence

A faculty member applying for leave without pay shall submit a written request and obtain the endorsements of the appropriate department chair and the dean or campus president, and in the Health Sciences, the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences. Learn more.

Family Medical and Family Leave

Family Medical and Family Leaves (FMFL) establishes leaves of absence for faculty for medical (including pregnancy, and childbirth), parental, and other family care purposes.  Its goals are to assist faculty members in balancing the demands of the workplace with family obligations, and to establish equitable practices across the diverse departments, schools, and campuses of the University.

Vacation Time

Deans, directors, department chairs, faculty, faculty librarians, and research associates on 12-month appointments are entitled to a one-month (i.e., 20 working days) vacation each year. Holidays during a vacation period are not counted as days of vacation. Vacation benefits are not cumulative from one year to the next. Employees cannot choose to receive pay in lieu of vacation benefits. Unused vacation, if any, is not paid at the time of termination.

Faculty members holding less than a 12-month appointment or who work part-time do not earn vacation benefits.

Employees who are on vacation during the normal pay date must make arrangements with their department or school as to the disposition of their paycheck. Checks will not be issued in advance of the normal pay date.

Long Term Disability Insurance

The Long Term Disability Benefit Program provides partial income replacement and continuation of certain University benefits in the event eligible staff or faculty become "disabled."

Leave Guides

Paid Parental Leave

The University supports the importance of providing assistance to its staff members who become new parents through the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. As part of this commitment, the University provides Paid Parental Leave to eligible staff members.

Parental Leave Calculator

This calculator can be used to assist you in estimating your paid/unpaid time while on parental leave. Prior to using the calculator, it is recommended that you estimate your time off balances, which you can access through Pitt Worx.

Please note: The calculator is meant to provide you with an estimate of your paid/unpaid time while on parental leave with the University of Pittsburgh. The results will vary based on the values you enter into the calculator and is based on a full-time staff employee. Results are based on your projected leave start date, projected time off balances, and projected type of delivery. Information in this calculator cannot be used to dispute application of benefits/time-off. Human Resources/MetLife will make the final determination of your eligibility and benefits granted.

Leave Entitlement

Full-time regular and part-time regular staff employees receive up to four weeks (20 days) of Paid Parental Leave. Eligible part-time staff members will receive a pro-rated amount of leave. Part-time eligible staff members working 50 percent effort or greater are eligible for a proration of the 20 days based on their percent of effort at the start of the leave. For example, if a staff member is 60 percent effort, they will be eligible for 12 days of Paid Parental Leave. If a staff member works a non-standard schedule, such as 9.375 hours/day, parental leave days should be converted to hours. Twenty days is equal to 150 hours of parental leave.

If both parents work at the University, they will each be eligible for this paid benefit separately. Paid Parental Leave runs concurrently, not consecutively, with benefits provided pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the University’s Short-term Disability (STD) program.


Eligibility for any of the benefits under this policy is determined as of the date of the birth, adoption, or placement of the child. Full-time regular and part-time regular staff members are eligible for the Paid Parental Leave benefit described in this policy if: (1) they have worked in a benefits-eligible position for the past six months; and (2) are at least 50 percent effort. Time worked as a student employee, temporary staff member, or in other non-benefit eligible positions, does not count toward this six-month employment requirement. Other classifications such as Faculty, Research Associates, and Postdoctoral Associates, may be eligible for paid leaves under other policies, but are not eligible for the paid leave as described here. Staff members who are represented by a labor union are eligible for Parental Leave and other benefits in accordance with the terms and conditions stated in their collective bargaining agreement.

To be eligible for this benefit, the staff member must plan on returning to work upon ending the leave. The staff member must also be the parent of the child. For purposes of this policy, a parent is defined as the following: (1) a biological, adoptive or foster parent, (2) a stepparent, or (3) a legal guardian.

Use of Leave

For Birthing Parents, the Paid Parental Leave must be used at the start of the medical portion of the leave, once the baby is born. If the leave is for adoption, foster care, or non-birthing parents, it may be used during the 12 months immediately following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of the child. This leave is paid at 100 percent of the staff member’s base salary. Paid Parental Leave cannot be used on an intermittent basis. Staff members must use the entire leave entitlement in consecutive work weeks.

Holiday and recess days that occur during a parental leave will not extend the Paid Parental Leave. For example, if the parental leave runs from March 1 through March 28 (20 working days), and the Spring Holiday falls on March 10, the staff member will enter Parental Leave on their timecard, not a holiday. The Paid Parental Leave will not be extended due to the holiday.

Staff members will not earn sick, vacation or personal time while on a Paid Parental Leave.

If the scheduled Paid Parental Leave crosses over two fiscal years, and the staff member had a personal time balance remaining as of June 30, that time will be lost July 1. The new personal time balance would be available upon the staff member’s return to work.

At the conclusion of Paid Parental Leave, the staff member may be eligible for additional time off under FMLA/STD or other policies. If the eligible staff member remains out beyond the four weeks of Paid Parental Leave under FMLA/STD policies, they must exhaust their sick time following the Paid Parental Leave. They also have the option of using vacation and/or personal time, though this is not required. If eligible, STD payments will start once the sick time is exhausted. Paid Parental Leave, FMLA, and STD all run concurrently.

Like FMLA and STD, Paid Parental Leave provides job protection. Paid Parental Leave may be terminated by the University if the staff member informs the University during the leave that they do not intend to return to work at the conclusion of the leave. Parental leave will not be paid out upon termination of employment.

Multiple births, such as having twins, does not increase the length of the Paid Parental Leave.

Other Leaves


Regular Full-Time Employees—Regular full-time staff members are eligible for a paid leave of five working days in the event of a miscarriage or stillborn birth, or the death of a spouse, registered domestic partner (see Policy 07-06-08), child, stepchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, parent, stepparent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, or parent of registered domestic partner. Bereavement leave associated with funeral services must be taken within seven calendar days of the death. Any remaining part of bereavement leave necessary to settle family issues associated with the death may be taken at a later time. You are eligible for one day of paid leave to attend the funeral of an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, or sister or brother of a registered domestic partner.

Regular Part-Time Employees—Regular part-time staff members will receive pay for bereavement leave prorated to the staff member’s percent of effort worked. These days must be taken within seven calendar days of the death as defined above.

Military Leave

The University grants military leave and re-employment rights to eligible staff, pursuant to applicable federal and state law. For more information, contact the Employee Relations Section of the Office of Human Resources.

Approved Absence

There may be rare occasions when it is necessary for a regular classified staff member to be absent from work due to emergency or other unforeseen circumstances. In these cases, it may not be appropriate to deduct hours from the staff member’s vacation, personal or sick time accrual balances. These absences should be designated as Approved Absences on the staff time record and must have the approval of the staff member’s immediate supervisor. Approved Absences with supervisory approval may be used for absences that are weather related, work facility emergencies or workweek adjustments (such as approved early closures) and must be pre-approved by the department and Responsibility Center leader. Approved Absences do not count as hours worked for purposes of calculating compensatory and overtime (non-exempt staff only). Questions regarding the use of Approved Absences should be directed to your direct supervisor or the Office of Human Resources, Compensation Department at 412-648-5049.