As an employee of Washington University, your work-life balance is important. To that end, over the past few years, the University has enhanced time-off benefits to ensure market competitive coverage for the variety of reasons people need time away from work. These benefits are available to support your overall well-being, helping you and your family thrive.

Leave Policy FAQ’s

To build on our earlier steps which expanded sick time for family situations and also provided caregiver/parental leave, we are pleased to announce the following enhancements to our paid time-off programs:

Comprehensive time off package expanding for benefit-eligible staff, effective July 1:

Effective July 1, 2019, the University is adding a short-term medical disability benefit (STMD).

Short-term medical disability is an insurance benefit that provides income protection when a benefit-eligible staff member is unable to work due to a non-occupational illness, injury or healthcare need (e.g. surgery). Unlike sick time, STMD is not accrual based and provides up to 25 weeks of benefits each year for qualifying conditions. For shorter service employees, this means that more paid time is available sooner. For longer service employees, this benefit provides a safety net in the event that sick time accruals are exhausted.

Enhancing customer service:

Additionally, we are pleased to announce an expanded partnership with Unum, the insurance provider who administers our Long Term Disability benefit. Beginning July 1, 2019, Unum will manage requests for FMLA, Caregiver/Parental leave, Short Term Medical Disability and Long Term Disability. As of July 1, employees will contact Unum directly for leave benefit needs. More information regarding how to contact Unum will be provided in June. This partnership with Unum provides employees with an expert resource to help them navigate and understand their leave benefits.

Please see below for a brief overview of these and other changes that we are making to the University’s time off programs. More details and resources will be made available in the upcoming weeks.

Overview of Expanded Time off Benefits:

Short Term Medical Disability (STMD)

STMD is an insurance benefit that provides income protection when you are unable to work due to a non-occupational sickness, injury or healthcare need (e.g. surgery) that lasts for more than 7 calendar days.

  • Provided by the University at no cost to you
  • 60% of base pay for up to 25 weeks are available in a rolling 12 month period for your own illness or injury
  • 100% of base pay for up to 6-8 weeks for maternity – post delivery (includes a 7 calendar day elimination period which must be covered by the employees sick/vacation time)
  • Employees will contact UNUM on or after July 1, to request STMD
  • The benefits are paid directly to you by Unum on a weekly basis
  • In addition, you will use your available sick and vacation to “top off” the STMD benefit up to 100 percent of base pay, paid on regular university pay cycle.
  • The STMD benefit runs concurrent with FMLA where applicable
Sick Time

STMD is replacing sick time for longer duration conditions and as a result, the maximum sick time accrual balance will change from 120 days to 50 days to work in conjunction with STMD. Sick time over 50 days will be frozen and remains available to the employee. No additional time will accrue until the balance falls below 50 days. Employees with sick time balances over 50 days must first use sick days for pay during STMD until the balance is at or below 50 days. After that, Unum will provide its stated benefit and make payments to you. Sick time will continue to accrue at the rate of one day per month, up to 12 days per year for full time employees, and will continue to cover short-term illness for eligible employees, including providing care for their families.

Long Term Disability (LTD)

We have enhanced the benefit for new and re-hired employees, reducing the initial eligibility waiting period from 12 months to 6 months of service.

The LTD buy up will be eliminated for staff as it is no longer needed due to the addition of short-term medical disability. Employee payroll premium deductions for the buy up option will end on June 21, 2019 for non-exempt employees and June 30, 2019 for exempt employees. Coverage will cease under this plan on June 30, 2019.

Personal Days

Currently, staff receive 1-2 personal days in conjunction with meeting certain eligibility standards regarding the use of sick time in a one-year period. With a more robust time off package, the accrual of personal days is being eliminated. Employees can continue to earn personal days through June 30, 2019 and have until July 1, 2020 to use those days.


With these time off changes the University is also adding two holidays to the official University holiday schedule – Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (or two floating holidays when necessary due to department operations).


As of July 1, existing eligible employees will continue to accrue at the rate of 22 days of vacation per year. The maximum vacation balance will increase from 22 to 33 days for existing employees. New staff hired on or after July 1, 2019 will have a new vacation structure based on years of service. Staff with 1 to 3 years of service can accrue at the rate of 20 days of vacation time per year. Beginning in their fourth year, staff will accrue at the rate of 22 days of vacation time per year. New staff (hired on or after July 1, 2019) can have up to 30 days in their maximum vacation balance, and this increases to 33 days beginning in their fourth year of service.

Washington University values the well-being of you and your family.

It is important that all employees at the University have access to benefits and programming that support a healthy, balanced life.

This is a preview of the expanded benefits. More information, including the full policies, will be available on the Human Resources website in late June/early July. 

Please review the expanded benefits and changes to understand how you can use time off to proactively manage the health of you and your family and take time away from work to ensure a strong work-life balance. Training for managers and departmental payroll users will be offered starting June to ensure departments can support staff who qualify for leave benefits.


View the Leave Policy FAQ

If you have further questions, you can contact the WashU leaves team at