L&S Sabbatical/Research Leave Guidelines

Paying for travel/living expenses while on Sabbatical or Research Leave With or Without pay

In the past, we have had situations in which faculty planned to use gift/grant funds to help support their living expenses while they were traveling abroad and doing research connected with their leave or sabbatical. The campus has very strict guidelines on the use of University funds for living expenses.  As a general rule, the University does not allow for reimbursement of living expenses such as lodging and meals while on sabbatical. However, some research awards may allow for reimbursing some or all of these expenses if they are awarded for that purpose.

Per sabbatical guidelines via link below, under Conditions, item number 3:


Click on the Application Procedures, Guidelines and Conditions, a Word document will open.   The conditions are on page 5. 

"the faculty member may seek additional support specifically for travel or unusual living expenses incidental to the sabbatical program without restriction by the full compensation maximum"

This excerpt from the sabbatical guidelines refers to when faculty are planning on a sabbatical leave and anticipate incurring travel/living expenses such as airfare, lodging/rent, meals, etc.  If so, they need to apply for grants/awards which would specifically allow such expenses while on sabbatical since under normal circumstances such expenses are not reimbursable by the University when a faculty member is on sabbatical. It is only in very rare situations and under unusual circumstances that the University would consider allowing such expenses be paid from existing University funds.

Also, per sabbatical guidelines:

"In the sabbatical application, the faculty must specify all grants or other awards applied for that are intended for use during the period of the sabbatical."

If a faculty member has an existing grant/award that would allow travel/living expenses, we'll seek RSP's approval to make sure we are in compliance with the granting agency (again, prior to incurring these expenses).

In general, existing University Professorships/Discretionary funds cannot be used for leave/sabbatical living expenses since the majority of these professorships are from gift funds and the award letter normally states that the funds are available for unrestricted use of the faculty member as long as the expense is within University policies and procedures.

Sabbatical Guide Link

 Here are the questions that need to be addressed:

1. Sabbatical/leave location
2. How long will you be there?
3. What is the research you are working on?
4. What expenses are you planning to submit for reimbursement?
5. Why is it necessary for you to be off-campus to do the research?
6. Allocable: Is all your time restricted to doing research on the grants you intend to charge?
7. You also need to notify the RSP Accountant in charge of the grant(s) you will be using when
you are off-campus on your sabbatical or leave.

Please contact Assistant Dean, Mehdi Rezai mehdi.rezai@wisc.edu if you have any questions and/or clarifications.

Keywords:Sabbatical, leave with pay, leave without pay, research leave   Doc ID:38850
Owner:Debra M.Group:College of Letters & Science
Created:2014-03-27 10:37 CDTUpdated:2016-10-04 11:15 CDT
Sites:College of Letters & Science
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