How Do I Prepare For a Leave of Absence?

Northwestern grants five different types of leaves of absence:

  • Medical leave for absence to care for a personal serious health condition.
  • Family care leave for absence for birth, adoption, or serious health condition affecting a family member.
  • Personal leave for absence for personal development or re-employment after an involuntary separation from the University.
  • Military training for absence for military reserve training.
  • Military active duty for absence for active military service.

For more information on eligibility, approval and benefits, review the Leave of Absence page in the Benefits section.

Regardless of type, the process of preparing for a leave of absence is:

  1. Complete the application form.

    Download and complete the Leave of Absence Request Form PDF Document. Both your department and Human Resources must sign this form. If the leave is approved, you will receive an approval letter.

  2. Complete supplemental forms for family care leaves of absence.

    Download and complete the Certification of Health Care Provider PDF Document. The health care provider must also sign this form.

  3. Maintain insurance benefits (if necessary).
    • If you will be paid during leave, your benefit deductions will continue as before.
    • If any portion of your leave will be unpaid, you will receive a letter from the Benefits Division regarding your insurance benefits; it will explain the premium payments due and any paperwork to be completed. Pay for the premiums and complete forms by the stated deadline or all benefits will be terminated.
  4. Your department will maintain your timesheets during your absence.
  5. After returning to work, reinstate benefits and provide appropriate documentation.
    • If your benefits were terminated during the leave of absence, you must contact the Benefits Division to reinstate them.
    • If you were out on a medical leave, your physician must provide The Hartford with a return-to-work signoff.


Contact us at or 847-491-7513.