Factors to Consider in Reviewing Voluntary Unpaid Leave Requests

  1. Is there a current or projected deficit or need for layoffs at the campus or within a work unit and will granting the leave address the specific deficit or need for layoffs? For example, if the deficit or layoff is only in the General Fund, granting leave to an employee paid from a revenue fund or a grant will not achieve any savings to address the shortfall (unless you can reassign a General Fund employee to the revenue/grant funded position).

  2. Can you calculate actual savings? Compare the cost of granting the leave (additional vacation/sick leave accruals and insurance benefit costs) to the costs that would be incurred if the leave is not granted (savings from involuntary reductions in hours; or the potential severance, vacation pay-off, health insurance continuation and unemployment insurance costs of layoffs that would otherwise be necessary).

  3. Can staffing needs be met? Extra consideration should be given to any situation where granting the leave would result in overtime or hiring a replacement employee.

  4. Is another type of leave appropriate? Granting this type of leave to cover periods when the employee would otherwise be off the payroll defeats the purpose of granting the leave. For example, employees should not be granted this leave if they would otherwise take another form of unpaid leave (e.g., parenthood leave, personal leave, etc.), or would not be scheduled to work (e.g., academic breaks).

  5. Would it be more appropriate to change the employment condition of the position? Voluntary unpaid leave should not be used as a substitute for permanent or indefinite reductions in staffing levels. If you have to reduce staffing levels permanently or you are not sure when you may be able to return to current staffing levels, granting a voluntary unpaid leave may only delay the inevitable and result in additional costs.

  6. Is the employee’s request for a specified period of time? There should ALWAYS be a specified end date for any voluntary unpaid leave. This will guard against inequitable terms and conditions for similarly situated employees and will maximize savings.

July 1, 2009

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