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Leaves of Absence

  • Medical Leave

    FMLA/OFLA medical leave can be used for the following purposes:

    • A serious health condition of the employee
    • A serious health condition of a family member
    • Birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child under the age of 18
    • Illness or injury of a child necessitating home care, other than a serious health condition

    The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the Oregon Family Leave Act (FMLA/OFLA) protects your job while you’re on medical leave provided you meet eligibility requirements.

    To be eligible for FMLA, an employee must have been employed at least 12 months and has worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period may be entitled to up to 12 weeks (unpaid) in any 12-month period beginning with the first date the employee must take leave.

    To be eligible for OFLA, an employee must have been employed with the University for at least 180 days and worked an average of 25 hours per week during the 180 days. The 25-hour limit does not apply for leave for birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child under age 18.

    The maximum amount of leave an employee may use at any one time is determined by the 12-month period beginning the first day the employee takes leave. For purposes of family leave, "family members" consist of a child (biological, step, adopted, or foster) under the age of 18 or adult child substantially limited by a physical or mental impairment, spouse, parent, parent-in-law, or person acting "in loco parentis" (such as guardian or another relative caring for a child).

    FMLA/OFLA is unpaid leave, and an employee must use available accrued sick leave and vacation during the unpaid portion of the leave. No vacation, sick time, or other accruals based on time-worked will accrue or be counted during the unpaid portion of the leave. An employee on medical leave may continue group medical benefits at same cost as if actively working during any period of medical leave at the employee's expense up to a maximum of 12 weeks, by making arrangements through the Human Resource Office. 

    At the end of the FMLA/OFLA leave, an employee will be re-instated to his/her former position or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay and other terms/conditions of employment. For more information, please see the FMLA Employee Guide the University's policies, and make an appointment to discuss eligibility, obligations, and to receive the appropriate forms.

  • Bereavement Leave
    • Employees who work at least 24 hours per week on average all year or 60% of a full-time schedule, are eligible to receive bereavement leave.
    • Employees who are employed less than 40 hours per week or 100% of a full-time schedule will earn bereavement leave on a pro-rated basis, and must work at least 50% of their regularly assigned work schedule in a given month.

    Amount of time

    • Employees may take up to three (3) days off with pay in the event of a death of a family member.
    • If more than three days are needed, employees may use vacation time, or request leave without pay through Oregon Family Leave.

    Who qualifies as a family member?

    For the purposes of bereavement leave, an employee's family member is a: current spouse, partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, legal guardian, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, foster child, step-parent, step-child, step-sibling, or any other person living in the employee's household.

    For more information please review the Bereavement Leave Policy.

  • Military Leave

    Employees who enter or serve in the Armed Forces of the United States (including military reserves), who are called to active duty or mandatory training are granted a leave of absence without pay, in accordance with Federal and State laws. Additionally, employees whose spouse or domestic partner is called to active duty are eligible for leave under the Oregon Military Family Leave Act and FMLA.

    If an employee or their spouse/domestic partner is called to military duty, they should provide written notice of the need for leave to to the Human Resources office and their immediate supervisor or Dean, along with a copy of military orders if available.

    During Military Leave related to an employee's own military service, employees have the right to health and dental benefit continuation for up to 31 days, as if they had not taken leave. After 31 days, employees on Military Leave may continue benefits as long as compensation continues to be paid by the University, or through COBRA continuation.

    For a more detailed explanation, please view the Military Leave Policy.

  • Domestic Violence Leave

    Pursuant to the Oregon Victims of Certain Crimes Leave Act (OVCCLA), Willamette University provides leave to assist employees who experience acts of domestic violence, or are otherwise victims and survivors of violent crime.

    OVCCLA requires leave for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and prohibits discrimination against employees using leave under OVCCLA. To meet OVCCLA eligibility requirements, employees have to have worked an average of 25 hours or more per week for at least 180 days immediately prior to taking leave, and must have demonstrably experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or are parents of victims and survivors of such.

    Willamette reserves the right to provide leave for employees who have not met these eligibility requirements of the law, should the circumstances and severity of the situation dictate that provision of such leave is in the best interest of the employee and/or the University. For more information, view the Domestic Violence/Crime Victim's Leave Policy.


    Willamette will make reasonable efforts to provide support and assistance. These efforts may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Shared Leave Program

    Willamette University offers a Shared Leave Program in order to provide an opportunity for employees to support co-workers who are facing a catastrophic and/or debilitating illness or injury, whether their own or that of an immediate family member.

    It is designed to provide some income protection when all other forms of paid leave have been exhausted. The program allows employees to provide assistance in the form of donated vacation or sick leave. While the program establishes a mechanism for leave transfers, participation in the program is entirely voluntary.


    An illness or injury shall be catastrophic and debilitating if it is:

    • seriously incapacitating (unable to work);
    • extended (the anticipated duration of the illness/injury is at least 30 days);
    • confirmed in writing by the attending physician.

    The program is intended to cover serious medical hardship or catastrophic illness or injury, such as cancer, major surgery, serious accident, and heart attack. Normal pregnancies, elective surgeries, common illness and absences covered by Long Term Disability or Worker's Compensation benefits are excluded.

    This program is not intended to cover cases of abusive leave usage. Illnesses/injuries which are the result of complications of elective surgeries or pregnancies, however, may be considered catastrophic and debilitating if they meet the definition above.

    Recipient Eligibility

    1. Recipient or immediate family member must be suffering from a catastrophic health condition or injury which necessitates the employee's prolonged absence from work and for which the employee has no availability of paid leave.
    2. Completed at least two years of service with the University.
    3. Be in a position that accrues vacation and sick leave.
    4. Have exhausted all accrued paid leave including vacation and sick leave.
    5. Are not receiving Worker’s Compensation payments or Long Term Disability benefits.
    6. Donations will not be approved in excess of the recipient’s Long Term Disability waiting period, or 90 days if the illness or injury is not covered by Long Term Disability insurance benefits. In addition, benefits are only payable for periods where the employee is on FMLA or OFLA protected leave. Donations are not available to employees during periods of Personal Leave.
    7. Benefits may be paid in supplement to short-term disability benefits, but in no case shall the amount paid to the employee exceed his/her full salary. If an employee is covered by supplemental short-term disability (STD), he/she must provide information from the carrier showing what the benefit is and proof that he/she has applied and been approved for STD payments.
    8. Must produce acceptable medical verification from a physician or other licensed health care provider indicating the nature, severity and anticipated duration of the disability.
    9. Must be an employee in good standing with no record of excessive absenteeism or leave abuse.
    10. All benefits of a leave recipient continue to accrue while using donated leave time.
    11. All donated leave credited to and used by the recipient is taxable income, and is subject to all applicable taxes.
    12. Any donated leave may only be used by the recipient for the purposes specified within this policy and is not payable in cash.

    Donor Eligibility

    1. Must be in a position that accrues vacation and/or sick leave.
    2. Have a sick leave balance of at least 160 hours after donating accrued sick leave, and a vacation leave balance of at least 80 hours after donating accrued vacation.
    3. Donations can only be made in one hour increments.
    4. One hour of donated leave must be regarded as one hour of shared leave for the recipient, without regard to the rate of pay of the donor or the recipient.
    5. Leave may not be donated prior to accrual.
    6. All donated leave must be given voluntarily. No employee may be coerced, threatened, intimidated, or financially induced into donating leave.
    7. The identity of all donors will be kept confidential unless permission is received from the donor to release his/her name to the recipient.
    8. All donations must be authorized in writing by the employee, using the shared leave donation form.
    9. Maximum donation from any single donor to a recipient will be a total of 40 hours of vacation and/or sick leave.


    • The employee wishing to receive shared leave donations must make the request in writing to the Human Resources Office.
    • If the employee is not capable of completing an application, a personal representative or designee of the employee may complete the application on his/her behalf.
    • Application forms are available in the Human Resources Office.
    • All requests for shared leave donations must be accompanied by a physician's statement which states the beginning date of the condition, a description of the illness or injury, a prognosis for recovery and an anticipated date the employee will be able to return to work.
    • If the time is being requested to care for an immediate family member, the request must also include the relationship, where the family member resides, and the physician's statement concerning to what extent the family member is totally dependent on the employee as a care provider.
    • Review and approval are made by Human Resources in consultation with the immediate supervisor, department head and Vice President/Dean.
    • Upon approval of the request, Human Resources will initiate a campus-wide request for leave donations.
    • The employee, or a member of the employee's family, must consent to the publication of the employee's need.
    • Employees wishing to donate leave will complete a leave donation form, which is available in the Human Resources Office.
    • Leave donation forms will be date stamped in the order they are received in the Human Resource office.
    • Leave will be deducted from the donor and credited to the recipient's sick leave balance on an "as needed basis" in the order in which the leave donation forms are received.
    • If the leave donations exceed the the need or eligibility of the recipient, all unused leave donations will be returned to the donors.
Willamette University

Human Resources

University Services Building
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6210 voice
503-370-6570 fax