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Graduate Assistant Leave of Absence Process

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  • There are times when a graduate assistant may need time off during their tenure at UF. 

    Time Away 

    Graduate assistants are entitled to a leave of absence under the following circumstances: 

    • The graduate assistant is disabled or otherwise unable to perform assigned duties because of their injury, illness (physical or mental), jury duty, required U.S. military service, or when unable to perform because the employee’s presence is required elsewhere because of injury, illness, or death in the immediate family. Immediate family is defined as mother, father, spouse, sister, brother, child, domestic partner, or a person in a legal dependent relationship with the employee.
    • The University is closed for a state holiday or a declared emergency unless the special conditions of the appointment require the graduate assistant to perform duties at these times.
    • Taking examinations for professional licensing related to the degree or qualifying examinations required by the University.
    • Traveling to conferences or other events for professional development that are not assigned by the department.

    There are three types of leave available to graduate assistants

    Personal Time with Pay 

    Graduate assistants are eligible for personal time with pay for up to five (5) days per semester appointment. Each graduate assistant is credited with five (5) days at the beginning of each semester and must use personal time in one (1) day increments. For example, an employee scheduled to work six (6) hours on Monday and three (3) hours on Tuesday, who is unable to perform assigned duties on these days for any of the reasons described above, would be charged with two (2) days of personal time regardless of FTE appointment or number of work hours scheduled.  

    Personal time is not cumulative from semester to semester. Personal time with pay is managed at the department level; graduate assistants are encouraged to contact their supervisor or HR Liaison for more information. 

    Paid Family Leave of Absence 

    Graduate assistants are entitled to eight (8) weeks of paid family leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:  

    • The birth of a child and in order to care for that child within one year of birth;
    • The placement of a child with the graduate assistant for adoption or foster care within one year of birth;
    • The birth of a child through surrogacy and in order to care for that child within one year of birth;
    • The serious health condition of an immediate family member; or
    • A serious health condition of the graduate assistant which makes the graduate assistant  unable to perform their duties.  

    Eligibility for Paid Family Leave 

    A graduate assistant must be in, at least, the second semester of employment as a graduate assistant to be eligible for Paid Family Leave of Absence. Graduate Assistants on a leave of absence as of January 1, 2023 who meet the eligibility requirements for Paid Family Leave will receive Paid Family Leave for future qualifying absences, but not retroactively for past absences. If the graduate assistant has multiple graduate assistant  appointments, Paid Family Leave applies to all appointments.  

    The graduate Assistant must provide the University with written notice no less than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the requested leave, if practicable. In the case of an emergency, verbal notice within twenty-four (24) hours of taking leave must be provided. 

    In the case of a serious health condition, the University may request medical verification from a health care provider. The University may also require the graduate Assistant to see a health care provider of the University’s choice and at the University’s expense.  

    In the event that both parents are graduate assistants, both are entitled to the eight (8) weeks of Paid Family Leave following the birth, foster care placement, or adoption of a child. If both parents work in the same department, their leave may not overlap.  

    Paid Family Leave is taken as a complete leave of absence. 

    Also, the graduate assistant may request an unpaid extension of the leave of absence, which the University may provide at its sole discretion.  

    Benefits during Paid Family Leave of Absence 

    During the graduate assistant’s paid family leave of absence, their GatorGradCare coverage will continue. The graduate assistant is responsible for the employee’s share of the monthly premium, which can be collected in advance if possible or upon return from their leave. If applicable, the University’s tuition waiver is also to be maintained.  

    Paid Family Leave of Absence and Student Status 

    Paid Family Leave provided to graduate assistants is exclusively related to leave from the graduate assistant’s appointment and assignment. Any academic/student leave requests must be made and approved through the appropriate University process. If the graduate assistant is taking a leave of absence due to a medical condition, please visit  the Dean of Students Medical Petition Portal and complete any necessary paperwork.  

    Before beginning the paid family leave of absence, it is the graduate assistant’s  responsibility to contact their academic advisor to determine how the leave of absence may impact the graduate assistant’s academic progress. 

    Request a Paid Family Leave of Absence 

    Research Leave of Absence 

    A graduate assistant may request an unpaid leave of absence for a semester or a year to pursue research related to their academic program, subject to university approval. The graduate assistant  shall be considered an employee during such leave.  

    Research leaves of absence are managed at the department level; graduate assistants are encouraged to contact their supervisor or HR Liaison for more information. 

    Also, a research leave of absence must be approved using the Graduate Assistant Research Leave of Absence Template Letter and submitted to the Graduate School for review. 

    For More Information 

    For more information about GA leaves of absence, please refer to Article 8 of the GAU contract.


    UFHR Leave Administration 

    Phone: (352) 392-2477 

    Email: benefits@ufl.edu