Leave / Sick / Vacation

Iowa State University provides Faculty and Staff with numerous paid and/or un-paid leave options. 

Guide for FLSA and Timekeeping ResponsibilitiesAdoption / Catastrophic Leave* / Converted Sick Leave* / Emergency / Family Medical Leave Information / Funeral / Holidays / Jury Duty and Court Service / Leave of Absence Without Pay / Medical Appointments / Military Leave / Pallbearer/Funeral Attendant / Pregnancy / Severe Weather and Emergency Closings / Sick Leave / Staffing Guidance for University Breaks / Summer Hours Guidance / Vacation*

*B-Base (9 month) employees are exempt from catastrophic, converted sick leave and vacation leave.
For more information, please visit the policy library.

Guide for FLSA and Timekeeping Responsibilities

This guide provides an overview of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its requirements, including how it relates to timekeeping responsibilities for employees, supervisors, and timekeepers. It outlines timekeeping standards, practices, and tools used at Iowa State University to assure compliance with the legal standards set forth in the FLSA.

Guide for FLSA and Timekeeping Responsibilities

Compensating Nonexempt Employees for Travel

Compensable Time Decision Tree for Nonexempt Employees Travel

Catastropic Illness/Leave

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.

Donations of accrued leave time may be made from accrued vacation and converted sick leave. Donations must be made in increments of one hour or more. Donations are acceptable only up to the 90 working day waiting period (eligibility for long term disability benefits) less the recipient's accrued leave time. The receipt of donations will close when the maximum number of hours is reached. Excess donations received before the closure will be pro-rated and the excess returned. Donations received after closure will be returned. 

Catastrophic Leave Process

Converted Sick Leave

Full-time or part-time employees who accrue vacation and have accumulated a minimum of 240 hours of sick leave credits may elect to convert sick leave to vacation for any month that no sick leave has been used. The conversion ratio is 12 hours sick leave for 4 hours of vacation for full-time employees; the conversion is pro-rated for part-time employees. Full-time employees may accrue a maximum of 12 days (96 hours) of vacation from sick leave conversion. For part-time employees the accrual maximum is pro-rated.

Sick leave conversion to vacation request

Family Medical Leave

FMLA provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for qualifying events or circumstances. Under the FMLA, leave may be taken in continuous full-time periods or may include a reduced or intermittent schedule when medically necessary or for a qualifying exigency due to a call to active duty. When intermittent or reduced schedule leave is needed to care for an immediate family member or for the employee's own illness and is for planned medical treatment, the employee must consult with the supervisor and make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the department's operation. An employee returning from fulfilling his or her covered active duty will be credited with the hours of work that would have been performed during the period of military service

An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if he or she has

  • Been employed by ISU for 12 months, and
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave.


FMLA Process


All faculty and staff, except employees paid on the XH pay base, are entitled to eleven paid holidays each calendar year consisting of nine scheduled university holidays and two personal holidays. Personal holidays are included in the employee's monthly vacation accrual.

Jury Duty and Court Service

The courts may summon university employees for jury duty or court service during regular working hours. If the employee is in regular pay status, compensation provided by the court for jury or court service must be remitted in cash or personal check to the Payroll Office. Otherwise, the employee must be on vacation or leave without pay.

Leave of Absence without Pay

This leave can be granted for a number of reasons, and requires departmental and divisional approval. The employee may continue their health, dental, vision and voluntary term life benefits, but would be responsible for the full cost of both benefits.

Military Leave

All continuous and probationary employees who are members of the National Guard, organized reserves or any component part of the military, naval, or air forces or nurse corps of this state or nation, or who are or may be otherwise inducted into the military services of this state or of the United States, shall, when ordered by proper authority to active state or federal service, be entitled to a leave of absence from employment for the period of such active state or federal service, without loss of status or efficiency rating, and without loss of pay from the university during the first thirty (30) days of such leave of absence in a year.

Severe Weather and Emergency Closings

In the event of inclement weather or other emergency, the president or other designated representatives, in consultation with appropriate university administrators, may declare one of the following emergency situations to be in effect:

  • Classes are canceled
  • University and buildings are closed

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 a staff member is hospitalized while on vacation, he/she may use sick leave for days actually spent in a hospital. No other conversion of vacation to sick leave is authorized. 

Staff members may use sick leave for their own accrued sick leave for their own personal illness and/or injury and/or the following:

  • Adoption Leave
    Staff members may use up to 40 hours of sick leave per occurrence during adoption.
  • Emergency
    Not to exceed five days per calendar year (up to 40 hours for full time employees) plus prior year carryover hours, if available, for the care of and necessary attention to ill or injured members of the employee's immediate family.
  • Funeral Leave
    Staff members may use up to 3 days (24 hours) of earned sick leave per occurrence when death occurs in their immediate family.
  • Pallbearer Leave
    Staff members may use up to 1 day (8 hours) 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
  • Pregnancy Leave
    The time during which an employee is unable to work because of disability or illness caused or contributed to by pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, childbirth, and recovery therefrom will be covered under the provisions of the university's medically-related disability leave program.

Staffing Guidance for University Breaks

To support energy conservation during time of lower activity level on campus, university officials encourage employing units to adopt, if practical, variable or reduced work schedules during the weeks of Thanksgiving, winter break and spring break.

Staffing Guidance for University Breaks
Staffing Guidance for University Breaks Frequently Asked Questions

Summer Hours Guidance

Summer hours offer additional flexibility during time of lower activity on campus. With exception of the administrative offices mentioned below, some university offices may implement flexible hours of 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., with a shortened lunch break, beginning the Monday following spring semester commencement and concluding no later than one full week prior to the start of fall semester classes. Units wishing to participate summer hours should develop their own schedules with approval from the appropriate dean, vice president, senior vice president, or president.

As schedules are developed, units need to maintain summer office hours that:

  • Service orientation participants during the summer
  • Providaily operational services such as public safety, utilities management, on-going research projects, etc.
  • Provide daily operations for previously scheduled public service programs
  • Maintain service to customers/clients


Faculty (A-base), professional and scientific (P-base or "P&S"), and pre/post-doctoral research associates (D-base) personnel with appointments exceeding three months, accrue vacation on a monthly basis at the rate of two days for each full month of employment. This accrual rate includes two personal holidays per year. Vacation credit for full time employees may accrue to twice the annual entitlement. Persons employed less than full time accrue pro-rated vacation credit based on their fractional appointment. Maximum accrual is also pro-rated. B-base faculty members do not accrue vacation.

Merit (E or H base) personnel in permanent positions accrue vacation based on years of continuous employment.

  • 1 - 4 years: 10 days per year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • 5 - 11 years: 15 days per year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • 12 - 19 years: 20 days per year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • 20 - 24 years: 22 days per year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • 25+ years: 25 days per year (plus 2 personal holidays)

Immediate Family Defined

Immediate family is defined as and limited to the employee's spouse, children, grandchildren, foster children, step children, legal wards, parents, grandparents, foster parents, step parents, brothers, foster brothers, step brothers, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters, foster sisters, step sisters, sisters-in-law, daughters-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.




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