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L&S Student Assistant Leave

This L&S KB provides important information about Leave for Student Assistants (also called “Graduate Assistants”) and provides a sample spreadsheet for tracking leave. 

L&S Student Assistant Leave

This L&S KB provides important information about Leave for Student Assistants (also called “Graduate Assistants”) and provides a sample spreadsheet for tracking leave.  

New student assistant policies and procedures were established in GAPP-Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures ( Please contact the Student Assistant HR Business Partner with questions (see L&S Human Resources/Payroll Office Department Contacts add LINK). 

**also see Admin Topic of the Month featured Student Assistant leave! Please review the recorded session from 2/24/20222. **

Leave Summary

Paid Sick Leave:

Per GAPP (, at the beginning of each appointment period, eligible student assistant employees are credited with an allocation of sick leave time, regardless of the appointment percentage.
A.    FTE: Paid Sick Leave is not prorated for FTE

B.    Eligibility: Teaching Assistant (TA), Research Assistant (RA), and Project Assistant (PA) including Project Assistant – Grader/Reader (PA) are eligible: 
o    these titles are credited with paid sick leave in the amounts noted below

C.    Amount earned: 
Amount credited is based on length of the student assistant’s appointment period. 
The number of hours credited to the student assistant’s sick leave allocation is based on the length of the appointment period as follows:
1.    Fall or Spring Semester appointment period lasting an entire semester = 48 hours earned
2.    Academic year appointment period lasting an entire academic year = 96 hours earned
3.    Summer Term and all other appointment periods =   8 hours of paid leave earned for any part of a 30-day period worked. 
During summer and for all other appointment periods, the student assistant does not have to work a full 30 days consecutively in order to be eligible for leave.  

#1 Summer: working over a period of 27 days = 8 hours of leave earned
#2 Summer: working the entire summer = 24 hours of leave earned the total maximum of sick leave which could be earned over summer is 24 hours, in all appointments
#3 Academic Year: working sporadically over a 90-day period = 24 hours of leave earned

4.    Concurrent Appointments:  The amounts noted above are the maximum the employee can earn, in ALL of their eligible concurrent appointments at UW-Madison during the appointment period (not in EACH of their concurrent appointments).
Example 1: John will have 2 appointments in Spring: a 33.4% TA appointment in Physics and a 15% PA appointment in English. John will NOT earn 48 hours in each of the appointments.  Instead, John will earn a total of 48 hours of paid sick leave for Spring, for all of their appointments.    
Departments need to coordinate this when the employee has multiple appointments. In this example, Physics and English would need to coordinate how much sick leave is provided in each appointment.  

Example 2: Sigrid will have just one student assistant appointment in Spring- a Project Assistant Grader/Reader appointment over a 2-month period. Since they will work during a 2-month period, they will earn 16 hours of paid sick leave.      

Other considerations for Paid Sick Leave: 
•    Usage: PA = 15-minute increments, RA/TA = 1-hour increments
•    Carryover is allowed from appointment to appointment within the same department and the same title, from one academic year to the next, or within the same academic year as long as the break between appointments is less than 2 weeks  
o    Combination of carryover sick leave and new sick leave cannot exceed 96 hours
•    Unused sick leave is not paid out

Paid Vacation Leave:
1.    Per GAPP (insert LINK here to:, Project Assistants (PA) and Research Assistants (RA) appointed on an annual pay (A-Basis) appointment earn paid vacation pro-rated based on a full-time rate of 180 hours per fiscal year.
2.    A-basis Project Assistants (PA’s) and Research Assistants (RA's) are eligible
(PA Grader/Readers are not eligible, as those appointments are H-Basis pay basis)
3.    Eligible student assistants earn paid vacation at 180 hours per fiscal year, if 100% FTE 
o    Vacation earned is prorated for FTE
o    Vacation earned is prorated for length of appointment
o    Example: 50% A-basis PA 9/1/2023- 8/31/2024 will receive 90 hours of vacation
4.    Concurrent Appointments 
The amount noted above is the amount the employee will earn in EACH of their eligible concurrent appointments at UW-Madison per fiscal year.  

Example 1: Arvin will have two concurrent appointments:
1)    A-Basis PA at 33.4% in Physics 9/1/2023-8/31/2024 earns 60.12 hours paid vacation in this appointment (180 x .334 = 60.12)
2)    A-Basis RA at 10% in Chemistry 9/1/2023-8/31/2024 earns 18 hours paid vacation in this appointment (180 x .10 = 18) 

Arvin will earn a total of 78.12 hours of paid vacation in these two appointments.

Example 2: Theo will have a Project Assistant appointment at 33.4% from 3/10/2024 to 5/10/2024. Theo will earn 10.02 hours of paid vacation in this appointment (180 x 2/12 x .334 = 10.02).      

Other considerations for Paid Vacation Leave: 
•    Usage: PA = 15-minute increments, RA = 1-hour increments
•    No vacation carryover is allowed
•    Unused leave is not paid out
Using & Counting Leave
•    Count a day's absence based on assigned FTE of the appointment, not on actual schedule for that given day
•    Example: for an employee with a 50% FTE appointment who is absent on a given day, count 4 hours of leave used for that day 
o    50% x 40 hours per week = 20 hours per week
o    20 hours per week / 5 days = 4 hours per day

Tracking Leave:
•    Departments can use any tracking method 
o    Sample Student Assistant Leave Report (with Paid Leave Summary)
o    Currently leave must be tracked manually by departments, since there is no way to enter or track leave in timekeeping systems or HRS as with other appointment types.
o    A non-exempt student assistant who tracks hours on a timesheet (for example a non-exempt Project Assistant) submits their regular hours on their timesheet during the week approved for leave.

TA Sick Leave Coverage:
•    Per Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedure (GAPP) if a TA is on paid sick leave, the TA is not required to find their replacement, make up the work or “swap” with another TA.  The department must arrange for a replacement. 
•    To cover for TA’s temporarily when the TA is using their paid sick leave, options the department can consider include having another TA increase their percentage/FTE to replace the TA, hiring a replacement TA for a short period of time, or finding qualified Undergraduate Assistants to act as TA’s (“Undergraduate Assistant – TA”, or hiring academic staff replacements. Consult with the HR Associate Director for Students.
•    If the department needs to provide coverage for a TA on paid sick leave by changing existing TA appointments or hiring an Undergraduate Assistant or Teaching Specialist, the department approval is needed from the Teaching and Learning Team.  See L&S KB, “Teaching Assistants” and “Undergraduate Assistants or Teaching Specialists”).
•    If an individual is taking on additional work to help cover for others, the department’s HR staff must verify the individual providing that other work will not exceed appointment maximum limitations. For example, foreign national students who already have a 50% appointment (including student help) are not able to do any additional work and/or receive any additional payments during weeks in which classes are in session.

Leave Without Pay:
•    In any situation involved a leave without pay or taking a leave from an academic program, please contact the HR Associate Director for Students for assistance.  Leave Without Pay, personal leaves or a leave from the academic program could affect health insurance coverage as well as eligibility for tuition remission.

See Also
•    L&S Student Assistant Appointment Letters
•    L&S Standard Rates for Short-term Instructional Staff (STS) and Student Assistants
•    L&S Student Assistants - Undergraduate Assistant

KeywordsStudent Assistant, SA, Leave, Sick Leave, Vacation, Paid Leave, Sick Leave Coverage, Leave without pay, TA, PA, RA ls   Doc ID24845
OwnerNicholas F.GroupL&S KB
Created2012-06-26 10:00:10Updated2024-03-13 07:43:46
SitesL&S KB
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