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Procedures for Faculty and Administrators

The following instructions are based on the University System of Maryland's Policy on Leave Without Pay for Faculty and the University of Maryland, College Park's Guidelines and Procedures for Faculty Leave of Absence Without Pay.

A Leave Without Pay (LWOP) should not significantly disrupt the program of the faculty member's academic unit(s), and should benefit the University. Benefits may include: Support for the University's mission of teaching, research, and service; Development of University-derived innovation, or entrepreneurial activities; Public service, or improvement of the public welfare; or Enhancement of a faculty member's professional competence or stature. A faculty member may also request a LWOP for personal reasons.

Opportunities that may merit a LWOP include:

  • Public service. A LWOP may be granted to allow a faculty member to serve in a position in federal, state, and local government agencies or to perform some other form of public service that requires a temporary interruption of normal University activities.
  • Private/for-profit Sector Engagement. A LWOP may be granted to allow faculty to serve in positions within the private/for-profit sector to foster collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
  • Non-profit and Non-governmental Institution Sector Engagement. A LWOP may be granted to allow faculty to serve in positions within the non-profit or nongovernmental institution sectors such as foundations or national academies that are intended to foster collaboration and/or to serve the public good.
  • Personal Reasons. A LWOP may be granted for specific, unusual personal circumstances. Such LWOP may be needed in cases of significant personal situations, such as poor health or unusual family obligations.

Duration of a LWOP

A LWOP is typically for one year or less. Extensions of LWOPs beyond one year are discouraged and will only be approved upon demonstration of exceptional circumstances by the faculty member.

LWOPs for periods greater than one year that are deemed to benefit the University (as identified in Section IV.C.1.a-c of the policy) require a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the faculty member, the faculty member’s Unit Head(s), and other relevant parties, as appropriate. The MOU requires approval of the Senior Vice President and Provost. Click to download the LWOP MOU template. [Note: this MOU template, reviewed by the Office of General Counsel, is provided as an example and for convenience.]

Terms of a LWOP

A LWOP can be:

  • Partial. The LWOP enables a faculty member to reduce the amount of their service and still receive compensation, pro-rated by their percent FTE. However, if a faculty member falls below 50% FTE, they will no longer be eligible for benefits. For specific concerns regarding the impact on benefits, the faculty member should consult with the University's Benefits office.
  • Full. The LWOP eliminates a faculty member's service to the University as well as the compensation received for that service.

The LWOP does not count toward the period used in determining eligibility for sabbatical leave.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for a LWOP, a faculty member must be employed on a full-time term or continuing contract; and normally, have been employed at the University as a faculty member for at least one year prior to the beginning of the proposed leave. Exceptions must be approved by the Senior Vice President and Provost.

Before Applying

If applicable, a faculty member requesting a LWOP must:

  • Obtain any necessary approvals from University oversight bodies prior to applying for a LWOP.
  • Work with appropriate University entities to develop and obtain approval of any memorandums of understanding related to the intended leave if applicable and necessary.
  • Contact the Benefits Office regarding the impact of the LWOP on benefits eligibility.
  • Submit a request in writing to the Unit Head at least six months in advance of the leave. Requests submitted less than six months may be considered when there are unusual circumstances. Requests must contain:
    • A description of the purpose of the leave;
    • A description of how the leave conforms to the requirements of the guidelines articulated in this policy and procedures;
    • A plan to minimize disruption of the academic program;
    • Attestation by the faculty member that the faculty member has obtained any necessary and applicable University reviews and approvals; and,
    • Attestation by the faculty member that they will comply with any necessary University requirements determined necessary for their LWOP request.

How to Apply

Faculty members initiate the request by logging into the LWOP system and completing the online submission form. Faculty should submit any supporting documentation (e.g., signed MOU, invitation/appointment letter).

By submitting the LWOP request, faculty members indicate that they agree to comply with the University's LWOP policy requirements and conditions. After the request has been submitted, notification of the request is emailed to the faculty member's next level administrator (typically the department chair) for further consideration, followed by review and approval of the Dean. LWOP requests for faculty members with joint appointments will be reviewed by all relevant unit heads. The President has designated the Senior Vice President and Provost as the final approving authority for all LWOP requests. The decision by the Senior Vice President and Provost is final and not subject to appeal or grievance.