VI. 612 - Unpaid Leave of Absence Policy

Effective 4-1-11

It is the policy of Drury University to consider the granting of an unpaid leave of absence for absences of more than 5 working days, not to exceed three months, to an eligible staff member in the event of a personal emergency or other compelling personal circumstances if the staff member is not eligible for any other type of leave and where the granting of such a leave will not result in the disruption of university functions.


All regular full-time and part-time staff members with acceptable job performance are eligible to submit a request.

Length of Unpaid Leave

Unpaid leaves of absence may be requested for up to three months.  An unpaid leave of absence will terminate if the staff member files for unemployment benefits or accepts employment elsewhere on a schedule concurrent with their established work schedule at the university.

Requests for Leave

Requests for unpaid leave of absence are submitted by the staff member to his/her  department director via a Staff Unpaid Leave of Absence Application form (PDF), which may be obtained from the Human Resources office.  Requests must be submitted at least thirty days in advance when possible.

Conditions for Approval

The University reserves the right to determine, on a case by case basis, whether requests for unpaid leave of absence will or will not be granted.  Decisions are based on the staff member’s compelling circumstances, the anticipated department workload and staffing considerations during the proposed period of absence, and the ability of the University to provide for the continuation of the requesting employee’s position requirements.

The department director will review the application and indicate on the application whether he or she recommends approval of the request.  If a recommendation is made to reject the request, the director will provide the reasons for not recommending approval.  The application is then sent to the divisional officer.  Approvals or rejections of requests are made by the divisional officer and the president, in consultation with the Director of Human Resources.

Effect on Earnings and Benefits

If a request is approved, the staff member must exhaust all applicable paid time off before being placed on unpaid leave of absence status.  The staff member will not earn any wages during the period of unpaid leave of absence.

Holiday pay will not be paid to any staff member for holidays that fall during the leave of absence period.

An unpaid leave of absence will not be considered to be a break in service; however, staff members will not accrue vacation or sick leave for any month in which they are on an unpaid leave of absence for the entire month.  If the staff member is on unpaid leave for less than an entire month, vacation and sick leave accrual will only occur for a particular month if the person began their leave after the 20th of that month, or if the person returned from leave on or before the 10th of that month.

The University will continue to pay its employer-paid portion of the employee’s insurance benefits expense during the period of unpaid leave of absence.  The staff member is responsible for payment of any voluntary benefits they may have elected.  Failure to make these payments may result in loss of those voluntary benefits.


Staff members approved for an unpaid leave of absence will be reinstated to their position upon their return, contingent upon the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job and upon there being no intervening change in staffing needs due to reorganization or economic conditions.

Failure of the staff member to report back to work on or before the expiration of an unpaid leave of absence may be considered job abandonment.  In this situation employment will be terminated effective the last day of the approved leave.

Activities conducted by staff members on unpaid leave of absence shall not be considered as services performed in the course and scope of their employment with the University, nor shall the University be liable for injuries received or expenses incurred by the staff member during the course of the leave activities.