Unpaid Leaves of Absence (Instructional)

Applies to: Regular Instructional Faculty, Clinical Instructional Faculty, Research Scientists, Research Professors, Archivists, Curators, and Librarians
  1. Policy

    The President or his or her designated representative may grant unpaid leaves of absence on recommendation by the dean or director to members of the instructional staff for periods of up to one year, and to primary archivists, curators, librarians, and researchers.

    Only the Board of Regents may grant unpaid leaves exceeding one year in duration and extensions of unpaid leaves beyond one year for instructional staff when an appropriate request is made on recommendation by the department head, the dean or director, and the president.

    Unpaid leaves of absence for instructional staff will be reported monthly to the Board of Regents.

  2. Regulations and Definitions

    1. Types of Unpaid Leaves

      Leaves of absence will be granted for these reasons: child care, disability, educational, government or public service, medical, military service, personal, outside teaching, research, and scholarly activity.

    2. Eligibility and Duration
      Type Eligibility Duration of Initial Leave
      Child Care Available to both female and male staff members following the birth of the staff member’s child or following the adoption of a child who is under the age of six. Granted after disability from pregnancy and any eligible paid parental leave ends. (See SPG 201.11-1, Sick Leave Plan and SPG 201.30-6, Paid Maternity (Childbirth) and Parental Leaves.) Up to one year from the date of the child’s birth or the date of adoption.
      Disability (Long Term) A person who is eligible for a University Disability Plan (see https://hr.umich.edu/long-term-disability, and who has exhausted all sick leave and vacation benefits.
      (See SPG 201.11-1, Sick Leave Plan.)
      Duration of disability, or until age 65, as covered by University Disability Plans (see https://hr.umich.edu/long-term-disability).
      Educational Granted at the University’s discretion to a person with at least one year of continuous service who undertakes a full-time, accredited educational program that is directly related to the person’s current position or to positions within the University to which the person may reasonably aspire; and whose program is to be completed within four continuous years. Up to one year, renewable.
      Government or Public Service* The person is elected** to a full-time public political office (except that of Michigan state legislator)***, or appointed to an office of significant responsibility such as head of or assistant to the head of an office, department, or branch or the federal, state, or local government, or to a position of significant responsibility in a non-profit organization dedicated to public service. One term of office, if any, or for one year. Renewable upon request for additional terms of office, or years of service, on recommendation by the dean or appropriate administrative officer.
      Medical The person is unable to work because of personal illness or injury, or disability related to pregnancy; and has exhausted all sick leave. (See SPG 201.11-1, Sick Leave Plan.) Up to one year
      Military Service The person has a: Selective Service induction, A-1 enlistment, or a call-up as a member of the National Guard or Reserve. (See SPG 201.30 and 201.30-1) Period of active duty or four years plus additional time imposed by law, if any, plus 90 days after release from duty.
      Personal A person has an appropriate reason, and the recommendation of department head and dean or director. Up to one year
      Outside Teaching Assignment The person is invited to teach as a visiting faculty member in another teaching institution. Up to one year
      Research The person is invited to participate in a unique research project. Up to one year
      Scholarly Activity The person is the recipient of a prestigious award. (See SPG 201.30-4, Scholarly Activity.) Up to one year
    3. Compensation during Leave

      Leaves of absence are without compensation by the University except as provided by the University Disability Plans (see http://www.benefits.umich.edu/events/disabled.html) and the Scholarly Activity Leave Plan (SPG 201.30-4).

    4. Sick Leave

      An unpaid medical leave or a disability leave will not be granted until the requesting person has fully exhausted the benefits of the Sick Leave Plan. (See SPG 201.11-1.) No additional paid sick leave will accrue under the Sick Leave Plan during an unpaid leave.

    5. Vacation

      Vacation benefits, where appropriate, will be paid off at the beginning of an unpaid military leave, and may be paid off prior to other unpaid leaves. No vacation will accrue while the person is on unpaid leave. (See SPG 201.64-1.)

    6. Effects of Unpaid Leaves on Benefits

      For information about benefit coverage during a leave, refer to the Benefits website at http://www.benefits.umich.edu/events/leaves.html.

    7. Length of Service

      University service will continue to accumulate during unpaid leaves of absence and extensions. If, however, the person does not return to work, the last day worked will be considered the date of termination for the purposes of determining eligibility to retire or for Disability Plan benefits.

    8. Outside Employment

      In some cases unpaid leaves may be granted that involve accepting employment outside the University. In addition to unpaid leaves for government service and military service, temporary assignments in teaching or research related to a person’s University responsibilities may be approved if they give promise of enhancing the person’s usefulness as a teacher or scholar. (See Regents’ By-law, Sec. 5.12, “Outside Employment.”) A faculty member who has accepted a tenure track or tenured position at another institution is not eligible for an unpaid leave of absence. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs on the Ann Arbor campus or by the respective provost and vice chancellor on the Dearborn or Flint campus.

    9. Failing to Return from an Unpaid Leave

      Failure to report for assignment at the conclusion of an unpaid leave without requesting and receiving an extension of the leave will be considered a resignation.

    10. Excused Absence Without Pay

      Excused absences without pay must be recorded using the appropriate time reporting code on the employee’s time report. Periods of absence without pay that are longer than three calendar weeks must be covered by a n unpaid leave of absence. (Exception for U-year or 8 month appointees: the period between the Winter Term and the Fall Term; i.e. Spring/Summer Terms.)

    11. Medical Examination

      A staff member returning from an unpaid medical leave may be required to provide a physician’s statement releasing the staff member to return to work, and noting restrictions, if any.

      The University may require, without cost to the staff member, that a physician or physicians of its choosing examine the staff member and provide evidence of ability to return to work that is acceptable to the University before being returned to active employment.

    12. Return Before the Expiration of an Unpaid Leave

      A staff member’s return to work before the expiration of an unpaid leave or extension is at the discretion of the department head and the dean or director.

*  For procedures related to notifying the Vice President and Secretary of the University of candidacy for, or election or appointment to public office, see Regents’ Bylaw 5.13, “Governmental Activities.”

**  In addition, a candidate for elective public office may request a leave for the period of his or her campaign for office.

***  Michigan state legislators are prohibited by the State’s Constitution from simultaneously being on an unpaid leave of absence from a public employer.

Procedures:  https://hr.umich.edu/working-u-m/my-employment/uhr-procedures/20130-leaves-absence

SPG Number
Last Updated
Next Review Date
Applies To
Regular Instructional Faculty, Clinical Instructional Faculty, Research Scientists, Research Professors, Archivists, Curators, and Librarians
University Human Resources and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Affirmative Action
Primary Contact
University Human Resources and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs