Leave Policies and Paid Time Off for Staff and Faculty

Topics: Faculty Compensation and Benefits, Faculty Affairs, Academic Affairs, Compensation and Benefits, Human Resources, Administration and Finance

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Research Questions

  • What leave practices do institutions prefer for faculty and staff, and what are the unique advantages and disadvantages of each?
  • Do administrators intentionally implement different leave policies at various levels of employee rank?
  • Does paid time off expire annually or does it accumulate from year to year?
  • Do administrators distinguish between short-term disability and sick leave?
  • How do human resources administrators approach transitions to new leave policies?


This report profiles leave policies for exempt staff, nonexempt staff, and faculty at various institutions and offers reflections from human resources administrators on the degree of employee and administrative satisfaction with different leave models.  The report specifically highlights how institutions manage general paid time off (PTO) policies (i.e., one bank of all vacation, sick, and personal leave time) and why institutions have transitioned to PTO-based leave policies.  It also offers recommendations for executing a leave policy transition and strategies to ensure employee satisfaction.

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