Vacations, Time Away & Leaves

The University is dedicated to helping you find balance between your work and personal life. Vacations and other types of leaves of absences provide time away to care for yourself or others. For details about each of these leaves, including eligibility, check your employee group governance document and the administrative policies for leaves.

Vacation and Time Away

You can request time away in MyU or use your unit’s time and absence process to make your request for:

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Vacation Leave

Vacation leave is paid time off from work for you to use for your personal activities and to create a healthy balance between your work and personal life.

Availability and Requesting Vacation Leave

The amount of vacation leave available to you and the guidelines for using vacation leave vary by employee group. Refer to your employee group governance document or the Vacation Leave Administration Policy for Faculty and P&A Staff to find details.

You can request vacation leave or view the balance of your vacation time and rate of accrual in MyU by clicking My Time.

Be sure to talk with your supervisor about the best time to use your vacation leave.

Sick Time

Sick leave is time away from work to care for your own wellbeing or for the wellbeing of your dependent children or immediate family members.

Availability and Requesting Sick Time

You can request sick leave or view the balance of your sick time and rate of accrual in MyU by clicking My Time.

Also refer to your employee group governance document or the Paid Medical Leave and Disability Benefits for Faculty and P&A Employees Administrative Policy for details about your eligibility and guidelines for using sick leave.

Vacation Donation Program

The Vacation Donation Program supports eligible Civil Service and non-faculty Labor-Represented employees who are experiencing serious medical hardship or are caring for immediate family members with serious medical conditions and have exhausted all their paid leave options.

If you are interested in either donating or receiving paid vacation hours, review the Vacation Donation Program Administrative Policy and Administrative Procedure for Requesting or Donating paid Leave before participating.

Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST)

Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) is paid leave employers must provide to employees working in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry identified specific situations when the time can be used including when an employee is sick, to care for a sick family member, or to seek assistance if an employee or their family member has experienced domestic abuse, or if there is a work or school closure due to weather or a public emergency that prevents an employee from being able to work. ESST can be used to care for a child or family member whose school are care facility is closed due to weather or a public emergency. ESST is offered in addition to the University’s traditional sick time program. Current sick time programs are not impacted by ESST.

Who is eligible for Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time at the University?

Full-time, part-time, and temporary employees, as well as student workers, who work at least 80 hours per year in Minnesota are eligible to accrue ESST. Eligible employees accrue ESST with their first hour worked in the state at the rate of two minutes for every one hour they work which equals one hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked. Employees working in Minnesota can earn a maximum of 48 hours annually. Unused ESST rolls over to the next year. The maximum balance available at any one time is 80 hours, and if that limit is reached, accruals will stop. Accruals will resume if the balance is reduced below 80 hours and the employee has not yet accrued 48 hours in that calendar year.

Availability and Requesting ESST 

You can request ESST or view your balance in MyU by clicking My Time. Some reasons for using paid time off (for example, personal illness) can be covered by ESST, or by Sick Leave or Medical Leave benefits you may also receive. In such cases, you can choose which paid time off benefit to use.

Hourly employees can use ESST in 15-minute increments. Faculty and Professional and Administrative employees (P&A) can use ESST in half-day increments. The time increments of 15 minutes for hourly employees and four hours for faculty and P&A employees mirror the smallest amount hourly and salary employees can request using other currently available time off options.

Please note: While hourly and salaried employees accrue at the same rate, faculty and P&A employees will access the time after accruing four hours as that is the minimum time off they can enter in MyU.

Also, refer to your employee group governance document or the Paid Medical Leave and Disability Benefits for Faculty and P&A Employees Administrative Policy for details about your eligibility and guidelines for using time.

Visit the Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time page on the OHR website for more information and answers to commonly asked questions.

School Conference and Activity Leave

The University of Minnesota supports a healthy balance between your work and family life. School conference and activity leave provides you with 16 hours of unpaid leave each year to attend your child’s school conferences or classroom activities.

You may be able to substitute this unpaid time with vacation or compensatory time, but be sure to read your employee group governance document or the Administrative Policy for Unpaid Personal Leaves for Faculty and P&A Employees for information about terms of this type of leave.

Court Appearance, or Civic Duty Leaves

Court Appearance, Jurry Duty, Voting, and Civic Commitments

Court appearance and civic duty leave allows employees to be absent from work for:

  1. Testifying before a court or legislative committee on matters concerning federal or state government, the University, or when called to testify as an expert
  2. Serving on a jury
  3. Voting in any state-held general election, primary special election, and special primary
  4. Serving as a precinct election judge
  5. Short times away due to military commitments

Refer to the Military, Court Appearance, or Civic Duty Leaves Administrative Policy and your employee group governance document to find details about each leave and procedures for requesting military leave.


The University offers bereavement time away to support employees experiencing a significant personal loss due to the death of an immediate family member. Bereavement leave allows you to:

  1. Attend funeral services, ceremonies, and interment
  2. Make necessary arrangements, including travel if necessary
  3. Serve as a pallbearer

Be sure to review your employee group governance document or the Bereavement Leave for Faculty and P&A Staff Administrative Policy for more information about bereavement leave.

Religious Holidays

The University provides employees with time away from work to observe religious holidays. Refer to the Employee Absences for Religious Holidays Administrative Policy and your employee group governance document for details.

Employee Development and Educational Activities

The University supports a culture of excellence and is committed to providing its employees with opportunities to participate in professional development, education, and training activities. The University provides employees with time away from work to attend these activities.

Refer to the Employee Development, Education, and Training Board of Regents Policy (pdf) and your employee group governance document for details.

Leave of Absence

Certain types of extended leaves of absence are more complex to administer. To help guide employees through the process, the University now uses a case management approach to support employees, their families, and supervisors during an extended leave. 

Who Can Use the Service

The leave of absence process includes faculty and staff. It also includes graduate assistants, residents, and fellows in PEAK Phase 1. Graduate assistants, residents, and fellows in other PEAK Phases will continue to have their leave processed by their department.

How to Request a Leave

  • Go to the My Time tab in MyU and click Request a Leave of Absence. How-to information is available on the HRMS Instruction website if you have questions.
  • If you have questions on how to submit your leave, call OHR’s Leave Administration team at 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363 and choose option  No. 2, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. 

Once you submit your request, a leave specialist will contact you within one to two business days.