PPM Section 13 - Leaves and Absences from Work: Professional Development Leave (Unpaid)
This unpaid professional development leave is designed to encourage professional growth and
thereby increase an employee's contribution to the overall performance of the University in
meeting institutional objectives. The proposed professional growth activity for which the leave
is requested must be of a nature that requires release from assigned position responsibilities.
- Exempt administrative personnel shall be eligible for professional development leaves.
- Completion of two (2) full-time years of service, or the equivalent, in an exempt position
- An unpaid professional development leave is not an automatic benefit, and must have
the approval of the appropriate vice president.
- An unpaid professional development leave application must include a written proposal
describing in detail the activity proposed.
Length of leave
Unpaid professional development leave shall be granted for a maximum initial period of one
year, with possible extension for a maximum of one additional year. Extension requests shall
follow the same procedures as initial applications for leave.
Benefits and seniority during leave
An approved unpaid professional development leave of absence will not result in any loss of
seniority, or benefits that are related to seniority, provided that the employee returns to
work within the leave of absence provisions. Certain benefits can be retained while on leave
of absence. Human Resources should be contacted for details. In general:
- Health insurance may be continued under the provisions of COBRA. See also health
insurance and COBRA.
- Life insurance may be continued at the employee's expense, at group rates. See also life insurance.
- Long-term disability insurance may not be continued while off the payroll. See also long-term disability insurance.
Upon return, an exempt employee who was on approved unpaid professional development leave
will be placed in the salary schedule at the same level that would have been attained had
he/she been on duty at the University continuously.
Return to work requirements
- A person granted an unpaid professional development leave is normally expected to return
to University service for a reasonable period of time, as determined by the appropriate
vice president, following such a leave.
- Within thirty (30) days after returning from the professional development leave, the
staff member will submit a concise written report of his/her leave activities to his/her
supervisor and the appropriate vice president.
- The employee must first discuss the proposed professional development leave with his/her
- The employee, the immediate supervisor, and others directly affected shall jointly determine
whether granting the leave would seriously impair the department's effectiveness.
- The employee must complete the appropriate sections
of a leave of absence application (P-320) and attach any necessary
supporting documents, including
a written proposal describing in detail the activity proposed during the leave. The leave of absence application (P-320) is available on the Forms page.
The employee may withdraw his/her application for professional development leave at any point
in these procedures.
- The completed application and proposal are forwarded to the employee's department manager/head.
The department manager/head will act within thirty (30) days of receiving a leave
of absence application to either approve, deny, or forward without recommendation applications
for professional development leave. If approved or denied, the department manager/head will
indicate such and sign the application.
- The application and proposal are then forwarded to the appropriate vice president.
- The leave application shall be submitted to the appropriate vice president at least
six (6) months in advance of the beginning date of the proposed leave, to provide time
to plan for adequate coverage during the staff member's absence. If such coverage cannot
be satisfactorily arranged, the leave request will not be granted.
- If approved by the department manager/head, the application and proposal forwarded to
the vice president must include a specific written explanation of how the work load of
the employee will be met during the period of the leave.
- If denied by the department manager/head, the application and proposal forwarded to
the vice president must include a written reason for denial (a copy shall also be provided
to the applicant). The applicant may seek review and reconsideration of the denial through
the appropriate vice president by filing a written request for review of the denied application.
This request for review must contain the specific basis for the appeal with reference
to the denial rationale of the department manager/head.
- In a case where a department manager/head has no recommendation or cannot reach a decision,
the application and proposal forwarded to the vice president must include a written statement
explaining the basis for the indecision (a copy shall also be provided to the applicant).
The applicant may seek further review of the professional leave request by filing a written
request for review with the appropriate vice president.
- Final action on the request for professional development leave shall be taken by the vice
president under whose jurisdiction the employee falls.
- If the leave is approved by the vice president, Human Resources verifies that the employee meets eligibility requirements for the requested leave and places him/her on a professional development leave of absence without pay.
- The consent to release leave of absence information is an optional
form and is available on the Forms page. This form, when completed and
returned to Human Resources, allows the Human Resources staff to release leave of absence information
on the employee's behalf to specific, relevant parties (e.g., the employee's personal spokesperson,
bargaining unit, etc.).