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Exempt Staff Leave Reporting

This page summarizes how to report annual and sick leave for full-time FLSA-exempt employees (including faculty or postdoctoral fellows who accrue leave). The official policies can be found in FSH 3710 A-10 and 3460 B-3.

Leave Reporting

An exempt employee (full-time 40 hours per week expectation per FLSA) who works a minimum of four hours in a day will receive regular pay for the full day, with one exception noted below. If an employee works fewer than four hours in a day, the difference between their hours worked and their full schedule should be charged to the appropriate leave category.

  • Exception: employees on approved intermittent Family and Medical Leave (FML) must report all hours missed for FML reasons. This is the only circumstance in which an exempt employee should report fewer than four hours of leave.

Any changes in the normal work schedule (other than for approved FML) require advance approval from the supervisor. Exempt employees should obtain advance approval from their supervisor before using annual leave, even if taking annual leave for less than a full day. Other examples of missed work of less than a full day should be communicated and/or discussed with the supervisor in advance.

If an exempt staff member runs out of sick and annual leave, please consult Human Resources before reducing their pay via leave without pay. Deducting pay for partial-day absences may put the FLSA status at risk.


The following examples are based on an employee who has a typical work day of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The same guideline applies for other work schedules.

  • Employee leaves at 2 p.m. for the day
    Leave Reported: None, as they will have worked four hours or more.
  • Employee leaves at noon for the day
    Leave Reported: None, as they will have worked four hours or more.
  • Employee leaves at 10 a.m. for the day due to illness
    Leave Reported: Six hours of sick leave.
  • Employee leaves at 10 a.m. but with permission, works between 6-8 p.m.
    Leave Reported: None, as they will have worked four hours or more.
  • An employee on intermittent FML works until 3 p.m. and leaves due to the FML qualifying reason.
    Leave Reported: Two hours of sick leave noted as FML. Employee should only tell the supervisor of the need to leave for the already approved FML qualifying reason.
  • An employee misses an entire day.
    Leave Reported: Eight hours of the appropriate type of leave should be reported.

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