Unpaid Leave of Absence

Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities; Associate Dean for the Natural, Mathematical, and Social Sciences
Amended Date

Key Contacts 

If you have questions, please contact your department Human Resources Representative.  


 Faculty and Staff 

Policy Purpose and Description  


A faculty or staff member requesting unpaid leave should complete the attached form and forward the request to the appropriate DEO.  Once the form has been approved by the DEO and the respective Associate Dean, the form should be forwarded to the Department Human Resources Representative to process. 

Faculty-specific Information:

A faculty member may apply for an unpaid leave for professional or personal reasons (see the University's Operations Manual, III–21.2).

Approval Process

The DEO sends the request for unpaid leave to Area Associate Dean, with a recommendation to approve or deny the leave. In making the recommendation, the DEO considers the importance of the leave for the faculty member and the impact on the departmental curriculum, including any arrangements for course coverage that may be necessary.

Special approval by the Area Associate Dean and the Provost is required to extend a leave beyond one academic year. Only in rare and truly exceptional cases will a second year be approved.

Fringe Benefits during Leave of Absence without Pay

If the faculty member takes unpaid leave without fringe benefits, neither the faculty member nor the University can contribute to the TIAA/CREF program, due to federal regulations. The faculty member may choose to pay to continue other benefits (including health care contributions and/or contributions to SRA accounts). They must make appropriate arrangements in advance through the University Benefits Office (335-2680).

Payback for Fringe Benefits

Under Iowa law, a faculty member who receives fringe benefits while on unpaid leave must return to the appointment at this University for a period of time specified by the Office of the Provost (at least two semesters for each semester of unpaid leave taken with benefits).

Impact of Unpaid Leave on the Tenure Clock

If a probationary faculty member receives permission for an unpaid leave without fringe benefits for an entire academic year, the tenure clock may, in exceptional cases, stop during the period of the leave. The tenure clock can stop only if the activities to be undertaken during the year of unpaid leave have no direct bearing on the dossier for the eventual promotion and tenure review.


Frequently Asked Questions  

Can leave without pay be used to work elsewhere?


Can an unpaid leave be longer than 1 year?

Special approval by the Area Associate Dean and the Provost is required to extend a faculty leave beyond one academic year. 

Related Information 


Revision History 

Last updated 10/10/22