Time Away from Work Policies

Paid Time Off (Vacation)


Staff members accrue Paid Time Off (PTO) based on their years of service in regular University positions and the date when they began continuous employment with the University. Time served in temporary or occasional positions is not counted in calculating the PTO accrual rate.

Paid Time Off is accrued monthly and is available for use the month following the month of accrual. Consult Penn's chart of accrual rates based on years of service. Accrued PTO does not expire. However, a staff member's accrued balance may not exceed 24 days. If the balance is 24 days, no additional days will accrue until the balance drops below 24 days. 

Effective July 1, 2023, the university enhanced its PTO policy to provide newly hired staff with five days of PTO upon hire. The new policy also offers improved accrual rates for current staff who have completed up to three years of service. 

If a staff member who has completed their Introductory Period is voluntarily or involuntarily terminated, the staff member will receive payment for their accrued and unused PTO based on the date of separation. If terminated on or after the 16th of the month, a full month's accrual will be credited. A staff member whose employment is terminated during their Introductory Period will not receive payment for any accrued and unused PTO.


ASC tracks Paid Time Off in Workday@Penn, which enables exempt (monthly paid) employees to request and track paid time off. Paid Time Off should be requested well in advance, via Workday, to allow the supervisor time to consider the request. Non-exempt (weekly paid) staff should submit requests for PTO to their supervisor via email. Non-exempt staff can view their available PTO on their online paystub in Workday.

The staff member's supervisor maintains the discretion to grant PTO requested without advance notice. The supervisor may or may not approve the request based on the business and operational needs of the unit. If an emergency occurs and advance notice is not provided, the supervisor may or may not grant a PTO request.

If unforeseen circumstances require a staff member to leave the office early, the supervisor should be notified as early in the day as possible.

When approved, planned time off should be communicated via email to colleagues who need to be aware that a co-worker will be absent from the office for a period of time. Staff should also create “Out of the Office” messages for email and voicemail so that others trying to reach them will know they’re away and for how long. If possible, contact information for a back-up staff member who may be able to provide assistance in their absence should be included in the outgoing messages.

Please consult Penn's Paid Time Off policies for more information.

Sick Leave


Penn’s Sick Leave policy is designed to provide position and salary continuation in the event of illness, and to promote sick leave conservation for extended protection. Sick leave is accrued based on a staff member's regularly scheduled hours of work. A full-time staff member accrues one day of sick leave for each completed month of service, up to 12 days in each fiscal year (July l-June 30). The maximum sick leave accumulation is 24 work days, or the balance accrued as of 6/30/2016 (not to exceed 90 days).​


A staff member (or their designee) should notify their supervisor and affected colleagues as soon as they know that they will be unable to work, but no later than the starting time of the work day. Staff must notify their supervisor and affected colleagues on each day of absence unless other arrangements have been made. Some supervisors may require an earlier notification time, and staff should consult with their supervisor to establish a preferred call-out time and method (phone, email, text).

Sick leave may be used for illness of the staff member, for illness of a member of the household (up to five days per fiscal year), and for doctor/dentist appointments when it is not possible to schedule them during non-working hours. Sick time used for health care provider appointments, which are not medically urgent, must be scheduled in advance and approved by the supervisor.

When a staff member has been on sick leave for more than three consecutive work days, they are required to submit documentation from a health care provider certifying the medical necessity for the absence and expected date of return to work. Additionally, when a staff member has been out on sick leave for more than three consecutive work days, the supervisor is expected to notify the staff member that the University is provisionally designating the use of that sick leave as Family Medical Leave in addition to sick leave.

For any absence due to illness, a supervisor may request a written statement from the staff member’s health care provider certifying the medical necessity for the absence. 

Please consult Penn's Sick Leave policies for more information.

Family and Medical Leave (FML)

Family and Medical Leave (FML) provides eligible employees with twelve weeks of unpaid leave for qualifying events/medical reasons. Family Medical Leave protects the employment of qualifying staff members, but it is unpaid leave. The University requires that employees concurrently use available sick leave, 50% of Paid Time Off and Short-Term Disability (STD) benefits, if available.

To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must have been employed by the University for at least 12 months and have worked for at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the leave. 

Employees seeking FMLA leave should provide their supervisor and the school's Human Resources Manager with at least 30 days prior written notice of the proposed leave. Where advance notice is not possible, such as in the event of a medical emergency, notice should be given as soon as practicable.

Learn more about Penn's Family Medical Leave benefit.

New Child Policy

Employee absences due to pregnancy and related conditions, childbirth, or recovery from childbirth are covered by the University short-term disability policy, as well as Family Medical Leave. See the Family and Medical Leave policy for more information.

Medical leave resulting from pregnancy entitles employees under this policy to be paid short-term disability leave for up to eight weeks, or the length of time determined to be medically necessary as certified by the employee's physician. Please consult Penn's New Child Policy.

While receiving benefits under this policy, staff are prohibited from working either at the workplace or at any other location, including the employee's home, whether for the University or otherwise. A physician's statement certifying the staff member's fitness to work may be required before returning to the workplace.

Paternity, Adoption & Foster Care

Employees may use up to five sick days in a calendar year for approved leaves for paternity, adoption, foster care and care of a family member with a serious health condition. Employees must substitute unused PTO for any additional leave period, unless they notify their business administrator that they want to retain 50% of their PTO balance.

University Observed Holidays

The University observes the following holidays: 

New Year's Day
Martin Luther King Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Thanksgiving Day
Friday following Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day

Employees should consult U@Penn or the Almanac annually for official holiday closing dates. Staff who are absent from work either the work day before a holiday, the work day after a holiday, or both days, will receive holiday pay if that absence is charged to pre-approved paid time off or to sick days supported by a written note from a health care provider.

Special Winter Vacation

In addition to the observed holidays listed above, the University currently provides a Special Winter Vacation between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The University may shorten or extend the special vacation period depending where the holidays fall in a particular year. Employees should consult U@Penn or the Almanac annually for official special winter vacation closing dates.

Staff members who are absent from work either the workday before or after the special winter vacation, or both days, will receive pay for the special winter vacation provided that absence is charged to pre-approved paid time off, or to sick days substantiated by a written note from the employee's health care provider.

If an employee is required to work to continue departmental operations for part or all of the special winter vacation period, the vacation can be rescheduled for some other time (in consultation with the employee’s supervisor).

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