The University of Memphis

Leaves of Absence


Issued: August 26, 2008
Responsible Official: Vice President for Business & Finance
Responsible Office: Human Resources

Policy Statement

Policy StatementIt is the policy of the University of Memphis to provide approved, unpaid time off to regular employees for such reasons as (1) illness or disability of an employee who has insufficient accumulated annual and/or sick leave; (2) leave for educational purposes; and/or (3) leave for other justifiable personal reasons. 


 To administer leaves of absence in a manner consistent with policies of the Tennessee Board of Regents.



Unpaid leaves of absence, not to exceed one year, may be granted for justifiable absences under certain circumstances. Factors to be considered include whether (1) there are extraordinary circumstances present that justify keeping a position open or vacant and preserving it for that employee; (2) it is, objectively and from a business standpoint, in the institution's best interest to retain the employee because of demonstrated contributions to the department; or (3) the employee performs a unique service or has unique qualifications that are required for the position. 

An employee who is on an unpaid leave of absence that does not qualify as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), shall be responsible for paying both the employee and employer portion of insurance premiums during the period of unpaid leave status.

Requests for Leave

Requests for a leave of absence should be in writing and routed to the approving authority by way of the supervisor and department head. Approval level for periods of leave will be in accordance with the schedule below. A copy of the document with written approval for all leaves of absence must be sent to the Department of Human Resources.

Approvals Required

Period of Leave Requested

Approving Authority


1 day - 6 weeks


Dean, Director, Department Chair, or Department Head, as applicable


6 weeks  6 months


Faculty:  Provost

Administrative/Professional Staff: Vice President for division in which employed

Clerical/Support Staff: Assistant Vice President for Human Resources


6 months 1 year



Family and Medical Leave ActEmployees who request an unpaid leave of absence due to a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) qualifying event shall have their leaves processed in accordance with the provisions of the University's FMLA policy regarding eligibility, continuation of insurance coverage, and maximum leave period for parents both employed by the State. If an employee is not eligible for FMLA leave or the leave exceeds the maximum covered under FMLA, the uncovered leave period shall be processed in accordance with  this policy. 

Holidays and Sick/Annual Leave Usage and Accrual

Employees on unpaid leaves of absence are not entitled to compensation for official holidays that occur within the unpaid leave period.

Whether an employee is required to utilize available sick/annual leave while on leave of absence depends on the purpose for the leave.

  • Personal leave and leave for educational purposes - Employee is not required to use annual leave, but the time the employee is on unpaid leave will not be considered when calculating additional accrual of sick/annual leave hours.
  • Leaves due to illness, injury or disability, including non-qualifying FMLA leave - Employee is required to use available sick/annual leave, and the time the employee is on paid leave will be considered when calculating additional accrual of sick/annual leave hours. 
  • Workers' Compensation leave - Employee who qualifies for lost time pay is not required to use sick/annual leave, but the time the employee is on unpaid leave will not be considered when calculating additional accrual of sick/annual leave hours.


Related TBR and University Policies

Tennessee Board of Regents Leaves of Absence

University Policy on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)


Revision Dates

 UM1572 Rev.1 -- updated August 26, 2008
UM1572 - Issued: June 22, 2004 supercedes policy number 1:2B:01:04

Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyStudent Affairs