Family and Medical Leaves

The University of Washington has developed policies which assist faculty women and men who become parents or are needed to care for a family member. It is the goal of the University of Washington that each faculty member understands these policies and feels free to exercise them fully with no adverse effect on her or his academic career.

Please see the UW Leave Comparison Chart in the tools and forms section for a printable matrix of medical and family leaves available to faculty and academic staff.


The University has adopted a broader, more inclusive definition of family member than the definition provided by either the FMLA or FCA. The University’s definition is:

  • Family member means the employee’s spouse or same or opposite sex domestic partner; child; parent; grandparent; grandchild; sister; or brother. Family member also includes individuals in the following relationships with the employee’s spouse or domestic partner: child, parent, or grandparent. It also includes those persons in a “step” or “half” relationship.
  • son or daughter means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a step child, a legal ward, or any other child under 18 years of age for whom the employee acts as parent.
  • Child also includes children above age 18 who are incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
  • serious health condition means an illness, injury, or impairment, or a physical or mental condition that requires inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

Additional Resources

Medical and Family Leave Without Salary

Leave Without Salary is available to faculty women and men to care for infants, newly adopted children, and seriously ill children or other family members, including domestic partners. When Faculty Sick Leave or Family Care Leave is exhausted or is not applicable, the faculty member may apply for a leave of absence without salary. This leave of absence may be full-time with no pay or part-time with pro-rated pay. The leave is initially available for up to 6 months and is renewable after review and approval by the appointing unit. Full or part-time parental leave and/or leave without salary will not be extended beyond a two-year period.

Parental Leave and/or Leave Without Salary are granted Without Salary. The request should be made as soon as reasonably possible and, when the reason for the leave is foreseeable, not less than 30 days prior to the date such leave is scheduled to begin. The faculty member is entitled to return to her/his position at the conclusion of an approved Parental Leave and/or Leave Without Salary.

For Parental Leave, the unit may require that the leave be taken in one continuous period of time away from work. Parental Leave must be taken within 12 months of the child’s birth or adoption, or placement into foster care with the employee. For other Leaves Without Salary, the unit will determine if intermittent working or working on a reduced schedule will be allowed.

For the faculty member who takes a partial leave, employer paid health benefits coverage may be continued as long as the employee is working a minimum of at least 5% FTE.

The faculty member who takes 100% unpaid leave may continue to receive health care benefits through the University’s health care plan on a self-pay basis. Arrangements for continuation of health care benefits are made directly with the Benefits Office.

Additional Resources

Sick Leave Process

Eligible faculty, academic staff and senior fellows may use up to 90 calendar days of paid sick leave each academic year. Paid sick leave will not be approved in excess of what is authorized by the employee’s healthcare provider. Paid sick leave is usually taken at the same time as Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.

Eligibility and benefits are explained on the sick leave page for faculty and academic staff.

 Paid Sick Leave Request Process:

  1. The employee notifies the unit that they plan to take a leave of absence.
  2. The employee and their healthcare provider complete the leave certification form and submit it to Academic Human Resources (AHR).
  3. AHR notifies the unit and the employee of eligibility for paid sick leave.
  4. The unit enters the appropriate paid sick leave dates in payroll.​