Leaves of Absence | University of Portland

Leaves of Absence

General Information

Absences Protected Under Federal and/or Oregon Law

Other Types of Absences

Certification Needed for Leaves of Absences – Faculty & Staff 

Receipt of Benefits During Leave – Staff

General Information**

What is a leave of absence?

A leave of absence is any continuous period of absence for more than five consecutive workdays, not including any such period of absence due to approved vacation. Leaves of absence include:

  • Being absent for more than five consecutive workdays due to a medical or health condition.
  • Being absent for more than five consecutive days to care for a family member who is sick.
  • Being absent for more than five consecutive days for maternity or paternity leave.
  • Being absent for more than five consecutive days for bereavement related leave.
  • Being absent for more than five consecutive days for military service related leave.

Also, certain types of repeated intermittent absences – even if absences are not for more than five consecutive days – also may be considered to be a leave of absence. Common intermittent leaves of absence include:

  • Being absent intermittently for a period of time due to a medical or health condition.
  • Being absent intermittently to care for a family member who is sick.
  • Being absent intermittently as part of maternity or paternity leave.

What is the process for requesting a leave of absence?

When any type of leave of absence is anticipated, faculty and staff employees should first contact Human Resources by emailing leaves@up.edu. Human Resources will provide information about the leave request process, including leave request paperwork and certification required from a healthcare practitioner. It is preferred that employees send an email to leaves@up.edu but if email is not available, please call 503.943.8987 and leave a message with your name, phone number, and that you are calling about a leave of absence.

How much notice should be provided for a leave of absence?

Employees should notify Human Resources and the supervisor as soon as possible and practical if a leave of absence is anticipated. Even if an employee does not know for sure that a leave will be taken, the employee should notify Human Resources and the supervisor.

What information do I need to provide to a supervisor?

Employees do not have to provide medical or health related information to the supervisor. All documents from a healthcare provider should be provided directly to Human Resources. Supervisors who receive documents with information from a healthcare provider should forward the documents to Human Resources and not keep such documents in the supervisors’ files.

Employees should provide supervisors with the following information: that a leave of absence is anticipated, the anticipated leave start date and return-to-work date, and that Human Resources has been contacted.

Does an employee have to provide documentation for a leave of absence?

Only Human Resources can request that an employee submit certification to support a leave request. If Human Resources requests than an employee submit certification to support a leave request, the employee may ask Human Resources to reimburse the employee for the co-pay costs incurred by the employee in obtaining the certification. This request should be made by emailing hr@up.edu, along with a copy of a bill or invoice showing employee’s co-pay costs; if the information or documentation is not determined to be sufficient by Human Resources, Human Resources may ask the employee for additional information and/or documentation.  

What is the process for returning to work from a leave of absence?

When a leave of absence is authorized, the approval letter or email will have information about the process for returning to work. Usually, when a leave involves the medical or health condition of an employee, the employee will be required to send return-to-work certification from the employee and/or employee's healthcare practitioner to Human Resources before the return to work will be authorized by Human Resources.

Also, Human Resources may require information about any work-related limitations, restrictions, or accommodations from the employee and/or employee's health care practitioner.  This information will be used so that Human Resources and the employee can engage in an interactive discussion about how the employee may safely return to work and perform the essential functions of the employee's position.  As necessary, the employee's supervisor(s) or manager(s) may participate in interactive discussions.  

What happens if an employee fails to return to work after a leave of absence?

If an employee fails to return to work at the expiration of an approved leave, the University may assume that the employee has resigned.  However, in these situations, before terminating employment, Human Resources will try its best to communicate with the employee in order to determine whether any legal protections or processes are applicable, including protections and processes under FMLA, OFLA, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  With regards to these situations, the employee has a duty to communicate with and respond to Human Resources.     

Does an employee continue to receive University pay during a leave of absence?

During most types of leave, employees may or be required to use accrued sick and/or vacation time, or a combination of both, to keep receiving University pay. Once accrued sick and/or vacation time is exhausted, an employee who continues to be on leave will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence. Please note, FMLA and OFLA protected leaves are the most common types of leaves; during leaves protected by FMLA and OFLA, employees are required to use sick and then vacation time. For information about whether sick and/or vacation time may be used during other types of leaves, please contact Human Resources at hr@up.edu.

Also, for bereavement leave, the University provides up to three days of paid leave for a regular full-time employee to attend the funeral of a family member. (Family member is defined in the UP Staff Sick Time Policy.) As well, sick and vacation time is applicable to bereavement leave for a certain amount of time as provided by Oregon law.

How else might an employee receive pay during a leave of absence? 

Starting September 2023, employees may choose to apply for pay during an approved University leave of absence through the state-funded program Paid Leave Oregon. 

Paid Leave Oregon is a program administered solely by the State of Oregon and makes payments through employee and employer payroll contributions. Click here for more information about the State of Oregon Paid Leave Oregon, including program information and Frequently Asked Questions 

Starting September 3, 2022, you may apply for benefits if you have a qualifying life event as defined by the state program and meet their eligibility requirements.     

Please note, a University approved leave and pay from Paid Leave Oregon are two different processes. If you are taking a University leave, you will still need to apply for a leave through the University process outlined under “What is the process for request a leave of absence?” If you are interested in applying for pay during leaving from Paid Leave Oregon, you will have to follow the State of Oregon’s process on or after September 3, 2023.   

May an employee engage in employment outside UP during a leave of absence?

An employee on a leave of absence may not work for another employer or be self-employed without prior authorization from the University.

Absences Protected Under Federal and/or Oregon Law

The University complies with all applicable laws regarding protected leaves and other types of protected absences. When an employee requests a leave of absence, the University will provide information about all applicable laws that apply to the employee.

Below is a list of leaves and absences that are protected under Federal and/or Oregon law with links to more information:

Other Types of Absences

Personal Leave of Absence         

A personal leave of absence may be approved for certain reasons such as public interest work that is aligned with the University's mission.  Requests should be submitted in writing to the immediate supervisor and Human Resources as far in advance as possible and must state the reason for and duration of the request.  Personal leave of absences are at the discretion of the University. Any leave extending over 30 days is subject to periodic review to determine continuation. Employees are required by the University to exhaust all accrued vacation hours during periods of such leave before taking unpaid leave. 

Employee benefits are not earned during a personal leave of absence.  Please speak with Human Resources about whether group health benefits may be maintained during leave.  Each employee will be responsible for paying in advance for any medical insurance premiums due during the absence.

Upon the conclusion of the leave, return to any position is not guaranteed unless required by state or federal law.

Jury Duty and Court Appearances

Regular full-time and part-time employees are eligible for jury duty absences with regular daily pay. Non-regular employees may attend jury duty but without pay as provided by Oregon Law. 

If summoned for jury duty, a copy of the subpoena must be provided to the supervisor as soon as possible. Employees reporting for jury duty and excused before 2 p.m. must report to work at their regular position.

If an employee is required to testify on behalf of the University, the employee will receive regular pay, less any witness fees he or she receives.  If the employee must appear in court for personal matters not covered by the University's leave of absence policy, this time may be charged to vacation time. Certain types of court appearances also may be charged to sick time as provided by Oregon law. Please contact leaves@up.edu for more information.


**Please note that the information noted here may not be applicable to all employees of the University. For example, faculty should review the information and policies in the Faculty Handbook and employment-related letters and agreements, as information in such sources would supersede the information here. As well, for certain staff, information and policies in their employment-related letters and departmental policies and directions may supersede the information here.