Human Resource Services

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The university has developed the website for the latest updates on COVID-19.

Additional COVID-19 related information can be found on the Faculty and Staff FAQ web page. The COVID-19 Leaves support page provides resources to report a COVID-19 Related Leave. UNI services are available for faculty and staff dealing with stress, mental health, and grief.

The 2022 Benefits Open Enrollment period is Monday, November 1 through Tuesday, November 30, 2021. For more information and to enroll in a 2022 FSA please visit the Open Enrollment website.

Any enrollment changes you make will take effect January 1, 2022.

My Benefits | Merit AFSCME Leave of Absence Benefits

Leave of Absence Benefits

Information and Support for Merit AFSCME

A leave of absence is approved time off work. Leaves of absence can be granted for the following reasons:

  1. Catastrophic Leave Donations
  2. Court and Jury Service Leave
  3. Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  4. Military Leave
  5. Sick Time Benefits
  6. UNI Holidays
  7. Vacation Benefits
  8. Unpaid Long Term Leave for Merit AFSCME

1. Catastrophic Leave Donations

All staff who accrue vacation leave and are covered the University's Long Term Disability (LTD) insurance are eligible to receive and donate accrued vacation leave. A staff member must exhaust all of their own paid leave and not be receiving LTD benefits in order to receive donations for a personal catastrophic injury/illness.

Catastrophic illness or injury is defined as a medical condition for which a physician has certified is likely to result in a loss of 30 or more work days in a six month period.

Leave shall be donated in full hour increments. Total leave donations received and used by an employee for a personal catastrophic illness/injury shall not exceed 90 working days, which is the amount necessary to cover the LTD waiting period.

NOTE: Employees can only apply for catastrophic leave donations one time per 12 month period for the same injury/illness.

For questions on catastrophic leave please contact

2. Court and Jury Service Leave

When a Merit employee is required to appear as a witness or serve as a member of a jury in connection with public or private litigation, they will be entitled to regular compensation provided pay received for such service (other than travel or personal expense reimbursement) is surrendered to the university cashier. Such leave is to be noted on the monthly timecard.


The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed by Congress and went into effect on August 5, 1993. The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to eligible employees for certain family, medical, and military-related reasons. During the 12 weeks of leave, the university is required to continue to pay the university share of the health, dental, life and long term disability insurance premiums, and the employee is still responsible to pay for their portion of the health and dental premiums.

Learn More

4. Military Leave

An employee who is a member of the National Guard or Reserve component of the United States Armed Forces will be granted leave with pay for a period or periods not to exceed 30 days per calendar year, provided the employee is called for field training, active duty, or in connection with an emergency condition (flood, riot, etc.). A copy of the employee's military orders must be filed with the Human Resource Services prior to the leave period. The university is committed to complying with all rules and regulations relating to military leave, including the USERRA and Iowa Code 29A.28.

5. Sick Time Benefits

Full-time employees accrue sick leave at 12 hours per month. Employees who are employed for 20 or more hours but less than 40 hours per week for at least an academic year accrue sick leave on a pro rata basis. Employees hired on a temporary appointment do not accrue sick leave.

Sick leave accrues during a period of absence for which a staff member is paid sick leave. Sick leave does not accrue during vacation payout nor during any period of absence without pay. Accrual of sick leave is unlimited.

If a holiday falls during a period of sick leave usage, it is paid as a holiday and is not charged to the sick leave accumulation. If an employee is hospitalized while on vacation, the employee may use sick leave for days actually spent in a hospital. No other conversion of vacation to sick leave is authorized.

Employee may use sick leave for:

  • Sick Leave
    Employees may use accrued sick leave for their own personal illness and/or injury.
  • Family Caregiving Leave
    Employees may use accrued sick leave for the care and necessary attention of ill or injured members of their immediate family, or for the birth of their child. Employees may use up to 40 hours of Family Caregiving Leave per year. Employees may carry over up to forty (40) hours of unused Family Caregiving Leave to the next anniversary year, for a maximum utilization of eighty (80) hours in the next anniversary year.
    More Info: Family Caregiving Leave FAQs
  • Funeral Leave
    Staff members may use up to 3 days of earned sick leave per occurrence when death occurs in their immediate family.
  • Pallbearer Leave
    Staff members may use up to 1 day of earned sick leave per occurrence when serving as a pallbearer or funeral attendant for someone who is not a member of their immediate family.
  • Personal Medical or Dental Appointments
    Staff members may use earned sick leave for personal medical or dental appointments which cannot be scheduled at times other than during working hours.
  • Adoption Leave
    Staff members may use up to 40 hours of sick leave per occurrence during adoption.

Immediate Family Defined

Immediate family is defined as, and limited to, the employee's spouse, children, grandchildren, foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, parents, grandparents, foster parents, stepparents, brothers, foster brothers, stepbrothers, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters, foster sisters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, first cousins, corresponding relatives of the employee's spouse, and other persons who are members of the employee's household.

6. UNI Holidays

Employees with non-temporary appointments and at least a half-time schedule are eligible for holiday pay. Holidays for employees with part-time schedules are pro-rated from the full-time equivalent as it relates to the employee's weekly schedule. Employees with less than a 12 month appointment are eligible for holidays falling during periods when work is normally scheduled. Staff members with a temporary, on-call, or seasonal appointment are not entitled to holiday pay. Holidays are to be recorded on the staff member's weekly or monthly timecard.

UNI employees receive eleven (11) holidays per year. Two of these are "personal holidays" and are included in the vacation accrual (exception: Faculty do not accrue vacation).

7. Vacation Benefits

Staff members begin earning vacation on their latest hire date in an eligible position. Vacation accrues for all hours in pay status. Vacation usage is not permitted in excess of the staff member's current vacation balance.

Staff members who are regularly employed for 20 or more hours but less than 40 hours per week on a continuing basis will accrue vacation and personal holidays on a pro rata basis. Questions should be referred to Payroll, 3-6425.

Coverage Starts
Life Event Coverage Starts
New Hire The latest hire date.
Qualifying Employment Event Effective the first of the month after the event.
Coverage Ends
Life Event Coverage Ends
No Longer Eligible Effective the last day of the month the appointment is no longer eligible.
Separation of Employment Effective the last day of the separation month.

Vacation Details

Staff members receive eleven (11) holidays per year. Two of these are "personal holidays" and are included in the vacation accrual.

Holidays falling within the period of a paid vacation are paid as holidays and are not charged to the staff member's vacation. This does not apply to the vacation payout.

Vacation Accrual Schedule
Year of Continuous Service Monthly Vacation Accrual-Hours Monthly Personal Holiday Accrual-Hours Monthly Total-Hours Annual Accrual-Hours Annual Accrual-Days
1st-4th 6.67 1.33 8.00 96 Hours 12 Days
5th-11th 10.00 1.33 11.33 136 Hours 17 Days
12th-19th 13.33 1.33 14.66 176 Hours 22 Days
20th-24th 14.67 1.33 16.00 192 Hours 24 Days
25th+ 16.67 1.33 18.00 216 Hours 27 Days

Maximum accrual is twice the annual accrual. If sick leave is being converted to vacation the maximum accrual is increased by 12 days. When the maximum accrual limit is reached no further time will accrue until some vacation is used.

8. Unpaid Long Term Leave for Merit AFSCME

In the best interests of the institution and its employees and with approval of the resident director, a department head may grant an employee's requests for a leave of absence without pay for up to one year. With the same approval, such a leave may be extended for no more than one additional year. On conclusion of a leave of absence without pay, employees, if qualified, will be returned to the position from which they were granted leave or to another position in the same class. If such a position no longer exists, the layoff provisions of these rules will take effect.

Please contact Human Resource Services to arrange for continuing or discontinuing insurance or annuity program coverage after leave is approved.

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