Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reminders About Scheduling and Using Vacation

We're seeing a number of questions regarding vacation time, including concern about going over the cap (the maximum vacation time you can accrue) because of difficulty scheduling vacations around furloughs. Fear not: You cannot lose vacation time this way, unless you fail to put in all the necessary vacation requests.

Here are some paraphrased reminders of how vacation time works under our contract, with the actual contract language given below:

  • Vacation requests for up to 5 days with less than 30 days notice will be approved, subject to operational need. (14.9)
  • Operational need is not a magic phrase like abracadabra, much as some managers would like it to be. The need must be genuine. Talk to a steward if you need to.
  • Vacation requests go to your appropriate administrator. (14.9)
  • Generally, vacation requests are submitted in writing at least 30 days in advance. Your manager can waive this requirement. (14.9)
  • Your manager must respond to vacation requests in writing as soon as possible. (14.9)
  • Once vacation requests are approved in writing, they cannot be rescinded except by mutual agreement or in case of emergency. (14.9)
  • Maximum accrual of vacation time, or caps (14.7)
    • If you have up to 10 years service, you can accrue up to 272 hours of vacation time.
    • If you have more than 10 years of service, you can accrue up to 384 hours of vacation time.
    • If you will be over this amount at the end of the calendar year, you need to use it up before then, with some exceptions (see 14.7 and 14.10).
  • If you have use it or lose it vacation time (time you must use by the end of the year to avoid going over the maximum):
    • It is your responsibility to put in the necessary vacation request(s).
    • If you'll go over the maximum because your manager denied your vacation request(s) for vacation in the last quarter of the year, the process in section 14.10 kicks in.
      Short version:
      • You put in another request to use your excess time.
      • If your manager denies your request, you try to reach an agreement on alternative dates
      • If you can't reach an agreement, you get to pick 3 alternative periods before June 30 of the next year, and your manager has to approve one of them.
    • You can lose the vacation time you earned, if you don't put in all the necessary vacation requests.
    • If you follow the process in the contract, you cannot lose vacation time.
  • You must use your Personal Holiday by the end of the year, or you lose the time. (14.24)
  • Always track your leave time yourself, and compare each month to the information with your paycheck. The handy-dandy CSUEU Leave Tracking Form (a PDF file) is helpful for this.
  • You can cash out unused vacation time when you leave the CSU. (14.11)

The Contract Language

We recommend you read all of Article 14 (Vacations and Holidays), but here are some key provisions:

Vacation Accrual

14.2   Service requirements below are in terms of full-time service. Service requirements shall be pro rata for employees who work less than full-time.

Vacation Credit Per Monthly Pay Period
Service RequirementsDaysHours
(Hourly Equivalent of Days)
(Annual Accrual Equivalent)
1 Month to 3 Years 5/6 6-2/3 10
37 Months to 6 Years 1-1/4 10 15
73 Months to 10 Years 1-5/12 11-1/3 17
121 Months to 15 Years 1-7/12 12-2/3 19
181 Months to 20 Years 1-3/4 14 21
241 Months to 25 Years 1-11/12 15-1/3 23
301 Months and Over 2 16 24

14.7   Vacation credits are cumulative to a maximum of two hundred and seventy-two (272) working hours for ten (10) or less years of qualifying service or three hundred and eighty-four (384) working hours for more than ten (10) years of such service. Accumulation in excess of this amount as of January 1 of each year shall be forfeited by the employee. An employee shall be permitted to carry over more than allowable credits when the employee was prevented from taking enough vacation to reduce the credits because the employee (1) was required to work as a result of fire, flood, or other extreme emergency; (2) was assigned work of priority or critical nature over an extended period of time; (3) was absent on full salary for compensable injury; or (4) was prevented from using vacation previously scheduled to be taken in December because of being on paid sick leave.

Vacation Requests

14.9   Requests for scheduling vacation shall be submitted in writing to the appropriate administrator at least thirty (30) days in advance. When authorized to do so by the appropriate administrator, an employee may take vacation without submitting such a request. If an employee submits a vacation request for five (5) days or less with less than thirty (30) days notice, such request will be approved subject to operational needs. The appropriate administrator shall respond in writing to an employee's vacation request as soon as possible. The appropriate administrator shall respond in writing to vacation requests of five (5) or more days as soon as possible, but no later than within thirty (30) days of the employee's request. Once approved in writing, vacations shall not be rescinded without the mutual consent of the employee and the appropriate administrator, except in cases of emergency as determined by the appropriate administrator.

Based upon the operational needs of the campus, vacation schedules shall be determined by the appropriate administrator. Vacations shall be scheduled and taken only as authorized by the appropriate administrator. If a conflict in vacation requests arises, the appropriate administrator shall give consideration to the employee(s) with the most seniority, provided that operational needs are met.

14.10   Whenever an employee's accrued vacation amount will exceed or has exceeded the maximum accrual by the end of the calendar year as a result of the denial of one or more requests by the employee to schedule and use vacation in the last quarter of the calendar year, the following procedure shall apply:

  1. The employee shall submit a vacation request for the use of the excess vacation and the appropriate administrator shall respond to the request within ten (10) working days.
  2. In the event that the request has not been granted within the ten (10) day period, the employee and the appropriate administrator shall attempt to reach mutual agreement on alternative dates on which to use the excess vacation.
  3. If the employee and the appropriate administrator are unable to reach agreement, the employee may suggest three (3) alternative, non-overlapping periods of vacation time to be completed no later than June 30 of the new calendar year to utilize the excess vacation. The appropriate administrator shall agree to one of the three (3) scheduling options submitted by the employee.
  4. If the employee fails to submit the three (3) scheduling options for use of the excess vacation, the appropriate administrator will direct the use of vacation on days to be determined by the appropriate administrator.
Lump Sum Payment

14.11   Upon separation from service, an employee is entitled to a lump sum payment as of the time of separation for any unused or accumulated vacation. Such sum shall be computed by projecting the accumulated time on a calendar basis so that the lump sum will equal the amount which the employee would have been paid had he/she taken the time off, but not separated from service.

Personal Holiday

14.24   An employee is entitled to one (1) Personal Holiday which must be taken on one (1) day during the calendar year. If the employee fails to take the Personal Holiday before the end of the year, the holiday shall be forfeited. The scheduling of the holiday shall be by mutual agreement of the employee and the appropriate administrator.


1 comment:

Brian Young said...

Correction on "Use it or lose it." This not permitted under federal law and the CSU is not supposed to be doing this practice. They are permitted to have a policy of "Use it or don't accrue it" which prevents earning once the cap is reached. But if vacation time is credited, it cannot be removed.