This page offers an overview of the types of leave available to faculty members. Leave request forms can be found in the Forms section of the Faculty Affairs website. This information is intended to help clarify the various types of leave that are available to faculty.

Inquiries and advice about faculty leave policies and procedures should initially be directed to the faculty member’s dean’s office. Since schools and colleges may have varying internal processes for recording and reporting faculty leaves, the dean’s office should coordinate communication and provide initial support for individuals.

CU’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI), Family and Medical Leave (FML), and parental leave is administered by the CU System Leave Team. Information related to FAMLI, FMLA, and parental leave can be found on their website, and related questions should be directed to

Additional guidance regarding leaves can be accessed through the Campus HR website. CU Boulder’s policy on parental leave can be found on the Campus Policies website.

Information about how leaves may impact tenure clock stops as well as comprehensive review and tenure review dates can be found on Faculty Affairs’ website, and related questions should be directed to

Leaves Funded by Other Institutions for Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty (i.e., Fellowships, Visiting Positions, etc.)

A leave to pursue scholarly work through a fellowship or at another institution may be granted to members of the regular tenured and tenure-track faculty by the provost through the Office of Faculty Affairs on recommendation of the department chair and the dean. In most cases, the leave will be for one year; it would be unusual for the provost to grant such a leave beyond two years. Such leaves may be granted to:

  • Permit acceptance of a prestigious grant or fellowship, or
  • Permit acceptance of a temporary appointment at another institution when such appointment would, in the interest of the University, permit engagement in scholarly activities that are not otherwise practicably available, and that will significantly enhance the professional effectiveness of the individual.

Faculty must request in writing approval from their department chair and dean. Scholarly activity leaves for faculty will be reported to and approved by Office of Faculty Affairs on behalf of the provost. Such leaves should be requested using the Leave Request Forms for Faculty in the Forms section of the Faculty Affairs website.

Additional information on leaves funded by other institutions, including associated benefit information.


Faculty must be tenured and have at least six years of service since their last sabbatical. The approval process for sabbatical applications is clearly defined by the University of Colorado System and involves approvals by the department chair, dean, institute director, the vice provost for faculty affairs, and the provost, with ultimate approval by the Board of Regents. At the conclusion of the sabbatical, faculty are required to return to their appointment and submit a report.  

Sabbaticals for tenured faculty with 12-month appointments are six months in length.

Faculty holding officer appointments are not eligible for sabbaticals, though years of service as an officer count toward future sabbatical eligibility. Officers returning to the faculty may apply for sabbatical leave to take place during the first semester following the conclusion of their term as an officer.

Leaves Without Pay

Unpaid leaves may be requested by regular faculty for various reasons and are considered on an individual basis. Reasons for requesting an unpaid leave may include entrepreneurship or working with industry, an appointment at another institution, personal reasons, or medical situations that have exhausted all other available options. Approval is granted by the department chair, the dean, the vice provost for faculty affairs, and the provost. Unpaid leaves are normally approved for up to one year. Consecutive years of unpaid leave are considered unusual and require special consideration.

Faculty on unpaid, non-medical leave are indicated as having a 0% appointment in order to stop University benefits during the period of the unpaid leave of absence. FTE should remain at 1.0. Faculty on unpaid medical leave will remain at a 100% appointment and have the option of continuing or waiving their medical benefits. If the faculty member chooses to continue medical benefits, the University will pay its portion toward the faculty member’s benefits and the faculty member will be responsible for paying their portion of benefits coverage.

Natural Disaster or Local Emergency Leave Options

The University offers leave options in the event of natural disaster or local emergency. For example, in response to the Marshall Fire in 2021, employees who were impacted could request up to 160 hours of leave to be used for immediate needs, such as securing shelter, food, clothing, or dependent care, and addressing disaster recovery issues that include accessing applicable resources (e.g., FEMA, insurance companies, and emergency mitigation services). All granted leave will be prorated based on appointment percent of time.

Impacted regular faculty (all tenured and tenure-track faculty, teaching-track faculty, clinical-track, and faculty-in-residence at 50% time or more), should follow their college/school procedures for applying for leave. Most typically, faculty members should contact their chairs/directors, deans/divisional deans, and school/college faculty HR liaisons to begin the application process using the Leave of Absence form, selecting “Emergency Leave.”

For more information, visit the Campus HR website.