Extended Leave of Absence
“Extended leave” encompasses forms of leave with or without pay that last longer than 15 consecutive workdays. Extended leave may be provided for medical (self and family), parental, military, and personal reasons.
Please note: When an employee uses vacation leave and compensatory leave to cover an absence of more than 15 consecutive workdays for personal reasons, in keeping with the university’s vacation and compensatory leave policies, the employee will not be considered to be on an “extended leave,” so long as the employee has sufficient vacation and compensatory leave to remain in full pay status.
The University of Florida’s extended leave of absence policy incorporates at a minimum that which is required by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or FMLA (see UF Extended Leave of Absence Policy Chart).
Upon return from an extended leave, including FMLA leave, an employee will be returned to the same position or a position in the same classification unless he or she and the university have agreed in writing otherwise.
Employees may use their individually accrued paid leave, be in leave without pay status, maintain reduced work schedules, or be absent from work intermittently (Click here for the Intermittent Leave Application form) while on many forms of extended leaves of absence. As appropriate, all of the above will count against the 12 weeks of an employee’s FMLA entitlement. Overtime compensatory leave, when used, may not count toward the 12 weeks of an employee’s FMLA entitlement.
All leave types may impact benefits eligibility, including creditable service under the Florida Retirement System. Check with UF Benefits regarding your unique situation prior to taking a leave of absence.
Two forms are required to apply for an extended leave of absence for medical reasons and should be forwarded to UF Benefits:
- Extended Leave of Absence Form
- Applicable Medical Certification form found under Resources and Forms on the FMLA section of this web site
Please see the FMLA section of this web site for guidance on determining if an absence is FMLA-qualifying.
Faculty, TEAMS, USPS and OPS employees
With department approval, eligible employees may be granted up to six months of leave. All of the following types of leave, except personal, are considered FMLA-qualifying if certain employee eligibility criteria has been met.
Faculty, TEAMS, USPS and OPS employees, including Post-Doctoral Associates, are eligible for up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave once they have worked at least 12 months (need not be consecutive) and also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave. Breaks in employment do not affect this total. It is a cumulative total of the number of months the employee has been employed by the University.
(An exception: medical leave granted for family members who do not meet the FMLA’s definition of family does not count against an employee’s FMLA entitlement.)
- Medical leave, self (serious personal health condition)
The FMLA guarantees up to 12 workweeks in such instances; however, the University of Florida’s policy goes beyond this federal mandate and allows, pending supervisory approval, up to six months of such leave to eligible employees, which may be extended up to one year for extenuating circumstances.
- Medical leave, family (serious family health condition)
While the FMLA requires up to 12 workweeks of leave be granted when an employee needs to care for his or her parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition, the University of Florida’s policy allows, pending supervisory approval, up to six months of such leave which may be extended up to one year for extenuating circumstances and also may provide leave, again with supervisory approval, in instances in which family members who do not meet the FMLA’s strict definition of family have a serious health condition. In these instances, the university’s definition for “immediate family” would be the spouse, great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the employee and his/her spouse. “Step” relations are covered by this definition.
- Parental (the birth of a biological child or placement of the child pending adoption)
The university’s policy goes beyond the federal FMLA mandate of 12 workweeks and provides up to six months of such leave to eligible employees which shall be granted upon request. The official parental leave period may begin two weeks before the expected date of the child’s arrival and must occur within the 12-month period beginning with that date.
- Foster Care
Up to 12 workweeks of leave for foster care purposes are available under the FMLA. Official documentation of the foster care relationship is required.
- Personal reasons
Up to 12 months of leave without pay for personal reasons may be available pending supervisory approval. (For faculty, this type of leave must be approved by the Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs prior to being formally approved by any other university official.) An employee taking a personal leave of absence is required to maintain his/her current benefits elections and is responsible for making employee premiums. University Benefits should be consulted regarding employee premiums, as needed, and particularly when the leave of absence is unpaid. Time spent on personal leaves of absence does not count toward the requirement for 10 years of creditable service for purposes of any available sick leave cash-out. Depending on the length of the unpaid absence, creditable service under the Florida Retirement System may be suspended as well. OPS employees, including Postdoctoral Associates, are not eligible for a personal leave of absence. However, under special circumstances, Postdoctoral Associates may be placed on a personal leave of absence of short duration for administrative purposes when advised by UF’s Immigration Attorney.
- Military leave shall be granted to these employees, as long as they are not on temporary appointments.