Policies & Contracts

509 - Vacation

Subject: Vacation

Section: U509

Date: July 1, 2018


Purpose:

To provide eligible staff employees with paid vacation time and to establish guidelines for vacation time accrual and use.

Who is governed by this policy:

This policy applies to all benefits eligible staff employees.

Policy:

Benefits eligible staff employees begin accruing vacation time at their most recent date of benefits eligibility. It is intended that employees take the annual vacation to which they are entitled each year.

Each unit should establish and communicate to employees the guidelines for requesting vacation time.  Employees should request vacation leave in advance, following unit guidelines for requesting vacation time. All vacation leave is subject to supervisory approval. Employees must record vacation time that is taken on the appropriate time off calendar.

Accruing Vacation

1. Employees accrue three (3) standard workweeks of vacation per year for the first eight (8) years of continuous service.

2. Upon completion of eight (8) years of continuous service, an additional standard workweek of vacation will be added to the employee's vacation balance and vacation is accrued, thereafter, at the rate of four (4) standard workweeks per year through the twentieth (20th) year of continuous service.

3. Upon completion of twenty (20) years of continuous service, an additional standard workweek of vacation will be added to the employee's vacation balance and vacation is accrued, thereafter, at the rate of five (5) standard workweeks per year.

4. Employees are credited with accrued vacation time after each completed month of service to the University.

5. Vacation is accrued monthly at the rate of one-twelfth (1/12) the employee's annual accrual. Monthly vacation accruals for full-time and part-time employees are calculated by multiplying the number of the employee's standard workweek hours by the number of annual accrued standard workweeks of vacation and then dividing by twelve (12). For example, an employee with a standard workweek of 37.5 hours per week accrues three (3) standard workweeks of vacation per year: 37.5 hours per week x 3 weeks per year ÷ 12 months per year = 9:23 hours per month.

The most common vacation accruals for employees are as follows:

Years of Service

Standard Workweek

(Hours per Week)

Monthly Accrual

(Hours/Minutes)

1-8 20 5:00
1-8 25 6:15
1-8 30 7:30
1-8 37.5 9:23
1-8 40 10:00
After 8 20 6:40
After 8 25 8:20
After 8 30 10:00
After 8 37.5 12:30
After 8 40 13:20
After 20 20 8:20
After 20 25 10:25
After 20 30 12:30
After 20 37.5 15:37
After 20 40 16:40

6. An employee scheduled to work irregular hours each week will accrue at a rate based on the average weekly hours scheduled per month.

7. An employee cannot accrue more than one and one-half (1.5) times their annual vacation accrual. For example, an employee with a standard workweek of 37.5 hours accrues three (3) standard workweeks of vacation per year cannot maintain an accrual balance of more than 168.5 hours of vacation, the equivalent of four and one-half (4.5) standard workweeks.

The following table indicates the maximum vacation accrual balances for employees:

Years of Service

Standard Workweek

(Hours per Week)

Maximum Accrual

(Hours/Minutes)

1-8 20 90:00
1-8 25 112:30
1-8 30 135:00
1-8 37.5 168:45
1-8 40 180:00
After 8 20 120:00
After 8 25 150:00
After 8 30 180:00
After 8 37.5 225:00
After 8 40 240:00
After 20 20 150:00
After 20 25 187:30
After 20 30 225:00
After 20 37.5 281:15
After 20 40 300:00

8. An employee will not accrue vacation during any month for which they are in an out-of-pay status (i.e., on a leave of absence, including FMLA), on sick leave, on Workers' Compensation or on Short-Term or Long-Term Disability for more than one-half (1/2) the standard working hours for that month. (See Policies U512 Sick Leave, U513 Short-Term Disability, U514 Long-Term Disability, and U522 FMLA.)

9. An employee who is newly hired or terminated but works at least one-half (1/2) the standard working hours during their first or last month of service will accrue vacation time for that month. An employee who is newly hired or terminated but works less than one-half (1/2) the standard working hours during their first or last month of service will not accrue vacation time for that month.

Utilizing Accrued Vacation

1. An employee may take no more vacation at any one time than is earned in one year, even if the number of vacation hours accrued exceeds this amount.

2. For an exempt employee absences of less than one full day are neither to be charged to accumulated vacation time nor deducted from pay. Vacation usage for an exempt employee is based on the employee's average scheduled hours per day.

  • Example #1: An exempt employee who works a five-day, 37.5-hour standard workweek will have 7:30 hours deducted from his/her vacation accrual balance for each day of vacation taken. To calculate: 37.5 hours per week ÷ 5 days per week = 7:30 hours per vacation day.
  • Example #2: An exempt employee who works a four-day, 20-hour standard workweek will have 5.0 hours deducted from his/her vacation accrual balance for each day of vacation taken. To calculate: 20 hours per week ÷ 4 days per week = 5.0 hours per vacation day.

3. A non-exempt employee will have accruals deducted on an hour-for-hour basis in increments of at least 30 minutes.

4. If an authorized University holiday falls within an employee's vacation period, and the employee is eligible for paid holiday allowance for that particular day, it shall be counted as a holiday rather than a vacation day.

5. It is intended that each employee take the annual vacation to which they are entitled each year. An employee may be reimbursed in lieu of vacation time if the unit requests the employee to forego all or any part of their vacation and the employee has requested vacation time according to unit rules and procedures. The employee's vacation accrual balances must be reduced by the amount of vacation accruals paid out. The payment request must be submitted during the pay period the vacation was cancelled.

6. At the employee's request, and upon the exhaustion of all sick leave, absence due to non-work-related illness or injury may be taken as vacation time. (See Policy U512 Sick Leave.)

7. Units may grant paid or unpaid time off as part of a newly hired employee's job offer. This time off can only be for a one-time arrangement within the first year of employment (for example, if the employee has predetermined travel plans prior to accepting the position), it cannot be made into an on-going arrangement, and it may be recorded as an excused absence in lieu of vacation time. Otherwise, when an employee is absent due to personal reasons and vacation accruals are exhausted, the employee is in out-of-pay status unless they elect to use accrued personal holiday time and have received supervisory approval to do so. (See 508 Personal Leave of Absence.)

8. Paid vacation must not be used as compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay. (See Policy U222 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping, and Tracking Absences.)

9. Pay for vacation time shall be at the eligible employee's regular base rate of pay when vacation time is used. Bonuses and other variable compensation are not included in calculating vacation pay. Vacation hours are not considered hours worked in calculating overtime.

10. When an employee transfers between University departments their vacation accrual dollars must be transferred using Comptroller Form 60, Journal Voucher. The form should be forwarded to the Payroll Department for processing. (For transfers from the University of Chicago Medical Center see Policy U209 Staff Employee Hires to the University of Chicago from the University of Chicago Hospitals.

11. When an employee has a reduction of work hours the vacation accrual rate and corresponding balance will be reduced to align with the new scheduled weekly hours. Any vacation time that exceeds the new balance, plus two full months' worth of accruals (based on the new accrual rate), will be paid out to the employee upon reduction of hours.

12. Upon termination of employment an employee is to be paid for any accrued, unused vacation.

Related Information:

Policy U209 Staff Employee Hires to the University of Chicago from the University of Chicago Hospitals

Policy U222 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping and Tracking Absences

Policy U508 Personal Leave of Absence

Policy U511 Personal Holidays

Policy U512 Sick Leave

Policy U513 Short-Term Disability

Policy U514 Long-Term Disability

Policy U522 Family and Medical Leave of Absence

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

Roles and Responsibilities:

Governed Party Roles and Responsibilities 
Employee The Employee is responsible for following the Supervisor's time off request procedures.
Supervisor The Supervisor is responsible for setting time off request procedures, ensuring they are followed, verifying the use of time off is appropriate, and approving time off use in the time off calendar.

Key Contacts:

Name Email Extension
Center of Expertise – Employee & Labor Relations elrelations@uchicago.edu 4-7345