Employee Benefits

Banking Sabbatical Leave
Legal Holidays                                          
Retiree Health Insurance Credits          
Parental Leave                                        
Jury Duty                                                   
Military Leave                                           
Retirement (WRS)                                       
Income Continuation Insurance              
Employee Reimbursement Account   


  • Vacation is based on years of service and whether or not you are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).     o   Classified project employees who never attained permanent status will earn vacation at the rate of 104 hours/year for Non-Exempt and 120 hours/year for Exempt regardless of years of state service.
  • Vacation is pro-rated if part-time.       
  • Vacation is granted on calendar-year basis.

 cp vacation allocation


Craftsworkers allocated to positions in schedule 04 will be provided annual leave in accordance with provisions of ch. 230, Wis. Stats., and ch. ER 18, Wis. Adm. Code except that the amount of annual leave will be determined as follows: 

  • Employees shall begin earning annual leave on their first day in pay status.
  • After completion of the first six (6) months in a permanent or seasonal position, employees are eligible for and shall be granted noncumulative annual leave based on the rate of one hundred (100) hours (12 1/2 days) for a full year of service each year.
  • For those employees who elect, with a corresponding adjustment to their prevailing rate, employees are eligible for and shall be granted noncumulative annual leave based on the rate of one hundred forty (140) hours (17 1/2 days) or one hundred eighty hours (22 1/2 days) for a full year of service each year.

Banking Sabbatical Leave

  • Eligible employees may defer vacation in a sabbatical account to use at a future date for such purposes as vacation, education, illness, extension of termination, etc.
  • With supervisory approval, sabbatical leave can be taken like regular vacation (continues regular earnings for the employee and is paid on a biweekly basis).
  • Value of unused sabbatical is paid to the employee at termination of employment.
  • Unused sabbatical accumulates from year to year without limit.
  • Eligibility to bank vacation begins when the employee has earned 160 hours per year of vacation or has saved 520 hours of accumulated sick leave, whichever comes first.
  • If an employee’s anniversary date falls in the middle of the year, they are allowed the banking privilege in that calendar year.
  • The annual banking limit is 40 hours.
  • No supervisor approval needed for banking of sabbatical.

Additional Banking and Payout Options

  • When employees reach the 200-hour vacation earning rate they are eligible to:
  • Bank up to 80 hours in sabbatical per year, or
  • Receive up to 40 hours of annual leave as cash payment and bank up to 40 hours in sabbatical.
  • If an employee’s anniversary date falls in the middle of the year, the employee is allowed the banking privilege in that calendar year.
  • The option to bank vacation or request cash payment is offered to eligible employees in late fall.

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Personal Holidays

Employees receive four and one half days (36 hours) of personal holiday leave per year as soon as they begin work and they have until the end of the calendar year to use them.

  • Part-time appointees receive a proportionate share consistent with their percentage of appointment.
  • If an employee leaves the university prior to completing six months of probationary service, the university will recover the value of any personal holiday used.
  • Personal holidays must be taken within the calendar year or they will be lost. 

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Legal Holidays

State and university offices are closed on the following Legal Holidays:

  • January 1
  • Third Monday of January (Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday)
  • Last Monday in May (Memorial Day)
  • July 4
  • First Monday in September (Labor Day)
  • Fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day)
  • December 24
  • December 25
  • December 31

*When January 1, July 4, or December 25 falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be considered a holiday. When January 1, July 4, December 24, December 25, or December 31 falls on a Saturday a legal holiday will be granted. Eligible part-time employees will receive a prorated share.

Full-time employees earn eight hours of leave for each legal holiday. Part-time employees earn a pro-rated amount. To be eligible to be paid for a legal holiday employees must be in employment status on the holiday and do at least one of the following:

  • Work on the holiday; or
  • Be in pay status on the last scheduled work day immediately before the holiday; or
  • Be in pay status on the first scheduled work day immediately following the holiday.

Important Note: The State of Wisconsin does not consider the Friday after Thanksgiving a paid holiday. Employees will need to use personal time or a vacation day for paid time off. The policy requires offices that serve the general public to be open during the hours of 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in accordance with Section 230.35(4)(f), Chapter 196, Laws of 1977.

Click here for a list of UW-River Falls offices that must remain open to the public.

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Sick Leave

Sick leave is time off with pay due to illness or injury.

Permanent employees begin earning sick leave immediately upon employment, with unlimited accumulation. Sick leave accumulates at the rate of five hours for each 80 hours of employment during a two-week period. The amount of sick leave earned is prorated for persons working less than full time during a pay period.

Sick leave may be used as it is earned. It cannot be anticipated or overdrawn. Sick leave may be used for the following purposes:

  • Employee illness, bodily injury, maternity, or exposure to contagious disease.
  • Caring for members of employee or spouse’s immediate family when they are ill.
  • Caring for other relatives of the employee or spouse if they reside in the employee’s household and the employee’s presence is required.
  • Death of a member of the employee or spouse’s immediate family.
  • Visits to the doctor or dentist which cannot be scheduled at times other than during work hours. These visits should be scheduled and supervisors notified in advance whenever possible.
  • In lieu of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

“Immediate family” includes the spouse, parents, stepparents, grandparents, foster parents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, foster children, brothers (and their spouses), and sisters (and their spouses) of the employee or spouse; aunts and uncles, sons-in-law or daughters-in-law of the employee or spouse; person(s) for whom the employee is legal guardian or legal guardian(s) of the employee or other relatives of the employee or spouse residing in the household of the employee for a limited period of time to permit the employee to make other arrangements.

The employee must notify his/her supervisor of any sick leave taken prior to or at the very beginning of the regularly scheduled workday. If the employee is unable to reach the immediate supervisor, notification should be made to the next higher-level supervisor.

Employees are expected to make other arrangements, within a reasonable period of time, for attendance upon children or other persons in their care.

The university may require a doctor’s statement to justify the granting of sick leave.

Employees may use sick leave to supplement Worker’s Compensation benefits to the extent that employees shall receive the equivalent of their regular base pay.

An employee who retires can utilize total accumulated sick leave, converted to a cash value, for the payment of group health insurance premiums. If an active or retired employee with family health insurance coverage dies, the sick leave credits are available to the surviving spouse/dependents for payment of group health insurance premiums.

Sick Leave Specifics

  • Sick leave is accrued at the rate of .0625 hour for each hour in pay status.
  • If full-time, five hours of sick leave is accumulated for each 80 hours of pay (every two weeks) or 130 hours per year.
  • If in pay status for less than 76 hours per biweekly period, a pro-rated amount is accrued.
  • Unused sick leave accumulates from year to year without limit.
  • Sick leave may be taken only after it has been earned.
  • The Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act may allow use of sick leave for additional purposes.
  • The unused sick leave balance is lost if employees are laid off or terminate employment before retirement. However, it is restored if employees return to a permanent position within five years. (Prior to July 5, 1998, the break period was three years.)
  • If laid off, employees may use sick leave credits to pay for State Group Health Insurance for up to five years.

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Retiree Health Insurance Credits

Sick leave credits are available upon receiving a WRS retirement benefit to employees who terminate with 20 years of continuous state creditable service. A tax-free account is set up to pay State Group Health Insurance premiums equal to the employee’s unused sick leave hours times the highest rate of pay. When the account is exhausted or if there is no accumulated sick leave, the employee pays the full premium. Employees with 15 or more years of university or state service receive supplemental sick leave credits at the time of retirement. Survivors may use the sick leave credits if the family plan coverage is in effect at the time of the employee’s death or the sick leave is escrowed and the survivor had comparable coverage.

Questions regarding sick leave and/or sick leave balances may be directed to the Payroll/Benefits Specialistmail.

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Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (WFMLA)
(Paid or Unpaid)

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (WFMLA) provide you with the right to take job-protected leave with continued medical benefits when you need time off from work to care for yourself or a family member who is seriously ill, to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or to attend to the affairs of a family member who is called to active duty in the military. Every employee (including LTEs) is eligible for one or both forms of this leave if the following conditions are met:


    * Must have worked for the State for more than 52 consecutive weeks.
    * Must have worked for the State for at least 1,000 hours during the 52-week period preceding beginning of the leave.  May include vacation, sick leave and other paid leave taken to count to the minimum 1,000 hours.


    * Must have worked for the State for at least 12 months (need not be consecutive).
    * Must have worked for the State for at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period preceding the beginning of the leave.  Only actual hours worked can be counted.

Employees may choose to take FMLA as unpaid or they may substitute their annual leave, personal holidays, and/or sick leave. Leave taken for FMLA-eligible reasons must run concurrently with other leave available (i.e., collective bargaining agreements, administrative codes, etc.) to university employees. Thus, the leave available under the various provisions is exhausted simultaneously.

Under Federal law, employees are required to inform the supervisor 30 days in advance of the need to take family medical leave, or give as much notice as feasible if the leave is unanticipated. The employee must complete the Employee Request for Family and/or Medical Leave and the appropriate certification form (if applicable). Forms can be found at . The use of this leave and the forms must be submitted and approved by the Human Resources Office.

It is recommended that employees contact Human Resources as soon as possible when the use of this leave may occur.

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Parental Leave (Paid or Unpaid)

Parental leave may be taken for the birth or adoption of a child, or for custody of a foster child.

Upon request of the employee, parental leaves of absence shall be granted for a period of time requested by the employee, not to exceed six months. This leave shall be concurrent with any leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to which the employee is entitled. Upon request of the employee, the appointing authority may extend or renew an unpaid parental leave of absence for up to six additional months.

Up to 12 weeks of annual leave, personal holiday, or sabbatical leave may be substituted for parts of the unpaid leave as provided in the Family and Medical Leave Act. In addition, sick leave may be substituted for part of the parental leave when the time is taken for the mother’s own recovery, or to care for the mother or child with a serious medical condition. 

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Funeral Leave

Employees may use up to three days of accumulated sick leave for death in the immediate family, which includes: employee or spouse’s immediate family; spouse or spouse equivalent; step child; son- or daughter-in-law; a person for whom the employee is a guardian; foster parent; and various other family members. Employees may also use up to four days of additional sick leave for travel time to and from the funeral.

Employees may use one day of accrued sick leave for attendance of a funeral for a niece, nephew, or cousin of the employee or employee’s spouse. Travel time to attend such funerals shall not exceed four working days.

If you are a represented employee, please see your collective bargaining agreement for specific information.

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Jury Duty

Employees who are summoned to court for grand jury or petit jury service will be granted leave with pay. Pay while summoned for such service will be at the employee’s base pay rate, which will exclude any overtime or supplemental pay.

Jury service will include the period of time which the summoned employee must spend during a jury selection process. However, when such an employee is not actually impaneled for actual service and considered only “on call,” that employee is required to report back to work unless authorized by the appointing authority to be absent from his/her work assignment. When the employee is impaneled or dismissed with four or fewer remaining hours on the employee’s shift, upon contacting the supervisor, the employee will not be required to return to work and will be continued in jury duty pay status for the remainder of the employee’s work shift.

If you are a represented employee, please see your collective bargaining agreement for specific information.

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Voting Time

Employees who are eligible to vote, but are unable to do so during non-working hours, may be granted leave to do so. This time is not to exceed three consecutive hours and must be requested by submitting a written application to the supervisor at least two working days prior to the election date. If the leave is granted, the supervisor may designate the time of day that the employee will be allowed for voting purposes.

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Military Leave

State statute and labor agreements generally provide 30 work days of leave without loss of pay each calendar year for military service. In addition, 2003 Wisconsin Act 162 (§230.32 Wis. Stats.), effective March 31, 2004, provides for new military leave benefits. The law applies to active duty retroactively to January 1, 2003. In general, if called to active duty while employed by the state, employees qualify for supplementary pay for up to two years in addition to the 30 work days of supplementary pay previously provided.

Please contact the Office of Human Resources for specific questions.

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Unpaid Leave Benefits

Unpaid leaves of absence may be granted without pay with the approval of the supervisor and the Director of Human Resources. A form, available from the Human Resources office, must be completed to request such a leave. When reviewing the request, the Director of Human Resources will evaluate the recommendation of the supervisor and the impact of a leave on the department’s operations. Common reasons for requesting a leave without pay include pursuit of further education, lengthy illness, child care, and other exceptional personal reasons. Generally, leave will be approved for six months or one year. Leaves can be extended on a year-to-year basis for up to three years.

During an unpaid leave of absence, whether the leave falls under Family and Medical Leave or other leave provisions, employees generally have two options regarding their benefit plans:
1. Continue coverage for the duration of the unpaid leave of absence by arranging for personal payments, or
2. Let the coverage lapse. Employees then have the option to reapply for their benefit plans within 30 days of returning to work.

Employees may use paid or unpaid leave of absence under Federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) or Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave (WFMLA).

Please consult with the Payroll and Benefits Specialistmail regarding your specific benefit coverage while you are on a leave of absence. 

Leave to Serve in an Unclassified Position

Employees may be granted unpaid leave in order to take an unclassified position. For specific eligibility information, please consult with the Office of Human Resources.

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Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)

The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (DETF). WRS eligibility enables you to enroll for State Group Health Insurance, State Group Life Insurance and Income Continuation Insurance and makes you eligible for other university-sponsored benefits. Once eligible, you will continue to be a WRS participant in your subsequent employment with the university, unless you have a 12-month break in service or you receive a benefit from the WRS. Employees in eligible positions are required to participate in the WRS per state law. Your coverage will automatically begin on your first day of eligible employment. No application is required. For more information, see the website

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Health Insurance

The State Group Health insurance program offers several comprehensive health care plans to university employees covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). Employees are entitled to enroll in either single or family coverage.

1. Coverage as Soon as Possible: No university contribution toward the premium, you pay full cost.

2. Coverage When University Contributes Toward the Premium: employees hired for permanent classified positions are eligible for coverage after two months employment. Premiums are deducted one (1) in advance of coverage.

3.It's Your Choice: In October there is a Open Enrollment period. During this time employees may:
  a. Apply for coverage;
  b. Change from one health plan to another;
  c. Change from single to family coverage without being subject to a pre-existing condition clause.

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Income Continuation Insurance (ICI)

Employees are initially eligible for coverage after completion of six months of WRS participation at any employer. Regardless of when you want your coverage effective, you are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible to avoid missing the enrollment deadline. Employees pay full cost until, after annual review, sick leave balance is sufficient to warrant employer contribution. The ICI program is a state self-insured disability insurance program. If you become physically or mentally disabled, ICI coverage will replace 75 percent of your gross salary. This program covers both short- and long-term disabilities.

Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
(Group Life Insurance)

This is term group life insurance with coverage option of up to five times your annual salary, payable only at death. There is no cash loan value. Employees are initially eligible for coverage after completion of six months of WRS participation at any employer. Applications must be received within four months of begin date. Spouse and Dependant coverage is available. Coverage on the life of the employee includes an Accidental Death and Dismemberment and Loss of use benefit. 

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Other Insurance Plans Available

There are several other insurance programs available to university employees. Each program offers some unique features and benefits. Other insurance plans available to university employees are additional life insurance, catastrophic insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance and dental plans. Contact the Payroll and Benefits Specialistmail for more information. 

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 Employee Reimbursement Accounts (ERA)

These are expenses that can be paid by ERAs which include qualified dependent care expenses as defined by the IRS and allowable medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance. You save federal, Wisconsin, and social security taxes on these expenses. All permanent and project employees are eligible. New employees must enroll within 30 days of employment. Coverage is effective the first payroll date your contribution is deducted.

Tax-Sheltered Annuities (403(b) Plan)

This is a voluntary supplemental retirement savings program. It allows employees to invest pre-tax salary and defer income taxes on savings. Investment companies are approved by a UW System Committee. There is an annual administration fee of $15. For further information, see the Tax-Shelter Annuity Program website at

Wisconsin Deferred Compensation (457 Plan)

This is a voluntary supplemental retirement savings program, allowing employees to invest pre-tax salary and defer income taxes on savings. All employees are eligible and can enroll at any time. Fees are charged based on account balances. For more information, see the WDC website at www.wdc457.orglink.

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Social Security and Medicare

All employees of the university, other than most student employees, are covered by Social Security and Medicare. Social Security and Medicare taxes, sometimes called FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes, are automatically deducted from employee wages.

Unemployment Compensation

In the event of a layoff or termination, employees of the university may be eligible for unemployment compensation. Please contact the Department of Workforce Development for determination of your eligibility for benefits.

Personal Changes

It is the sole responsibility of the employee to inform the Office of Human Resources of any personal changes that may affect records and/or benefits eligibility. This would include change in name, marital status, birth or adoption of a child, death, address or telephone number, any specialized training, or additional education. Employees may change their address on their My UW Sytem Pagelink, additionally, the Change of Address form can be found at: to make address changes to your benefits.

Persons enrolled in the health and life insurance programs have a period of thirty days in which to enroll a new dependent. 

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