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Texas Payroll/Personnel Resource

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General Provisions
Leave without Pay; Leave of Absence


A state agency or institution of higher education may grant employees leave without pay, including a leave of absence without pay, subject to these provisions:

  • The duration of the leave may not exceed 12 months.
  • Subject to fiscal constraints, approval of the leave constitutes a guarantee of employment at the conclusion of the specified leave period.
  • All accumulated leave entitlements must be used before going on leave without pay status except in these cases:
    • disciplinary suspension
    • active military duty
    • leave covered by workers’ compensation benefits
    • unpaid leave for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) events*

Notes: An employee must exhaust sick leave only if the employee is taking leave for a reason for which the employee is eligible to take sick leave.

* FMLA permits an eligible employee to choose to substitute accrued paid leave for FMLA leave. If an employee chooses not to substitute accrued paid leave, the employer may require it. If the agency has such a policy then the employee is required to exhaust all applicable leave.

Exceptions to these provisions may be granted by the administrative head of an agency or institution if the leave is being taken for a reason such as:

  • Work for another state governmental entity under an interagency agreement.
  • Educational purposes.

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Effect on State Service Credit

A full calendar month of leave without pay does not constitute a break in employment. However, with the exception of an employee returning to state employment from military leave, any full calendar month of leave without pay is not included when calculating:

  • An employee’s effective state service for purposes of longevity pay or the accrual rate of vacation leave.
  • The number of months of employment for merit salary provisions or eligibility to use vacation leave.

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Effect on Leave Accruals

An employee does not accrue vacation or sick leave for a full calendar month during which the employee is on leave without pay.

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Effect on Insurance Benefits

If an employee will be on leave without pay for a full calendar month, it must be reported to the Employees Retirement System (ERS).

If the employee is eligible for leave of absence or leave without pay under the FMLA, then the employee will continue to receive the state contribution equal to member-only coverage. The employee is responsible for paying the remaining portion of the premiums directly to the ERS to maintain coverage.

If the employee is not eligible for leave of absence or leave without pay under the FMLA, the employee is responsible for paying the entire premium, including the amount that would have been contributed by the state, directly to the ERS to maintain coverage.

For more information, contact your agency benefits coordinator.

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Effective state service
Derived by subtracting total days of lifetime service credit from most recent employment date. The date is used to determine when longevity pay is to be increased.
Institution of higher education
Has the meaning assigned by Texas Education Code, Section 61.003.
State agency
State department, entity or other agency in the executive or judicial branch of state government that employs a state employee.


Texas Government Code Annotated, Sections 661.909; Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 825.207