This page is a list of all frequently asked questions for the Time Reporting and Leave Accrual Guidelines section. The questions are grouped into different categories. Please click on the appropriate topic to view questions and answers for that section.

General

Why are there different vacation accrual rates?

Generally, vacation accrual rates are based on the employee’s length of service with the University. There are also some differences depending on the employee’s personnel program. Refer to the PPSM Absence from Work Policy  (PDF) and labor contracts for specific accrual rates.

What does it mean to record time to the nearest quarter hour?

Time is reported to the nearest quarter hour only for employees in non-exempt positions. When a non-exempt employee takes time off for sick leave and vacation leave (if it is less than a full day), it is recorded to the nearest 15-minute increment.
For example, if an employee returns from a medical appointment at 17 minutes past the hour, you would record 15 minutes. If the employee returns at 24 minutes past the hour, you would record 30 minutes.

What is the difference between exempt and non-exempt positions for time-keeping purposes?

Employees in non-exempt positions accrue vacation leave and sick leave depending on percentage of appointment and time worked, and/or duration of appointment. They can earn overtime and may be paid for it or take compensatory time. Time off and time worked are recorded to the nearest quarter hour. Note: Part-time non-exempt fixed-percentage employees must always meet their percentage of time for hours worked for each week, as well as the entire month (excluding any holidays).
Employees in exempt positions also accrue vacation and sick leave; however, they do not earn overtime or compensatory time. Time off and time worked are recorded in whole-day increments for purposes of pay. A "whole day" may be less than eight hours if an employee’s appointment is less than 100% time.

Time Off (Vacation, Sick, FMLA)

What about a 100% (non-exempt or exempt) employee who works an alternate schedule of 4 (10) hours days (M – Th) and Friday is the day off?

  • How many vacation or sick leave hours does the employee take per day?
    For both the non-exempt and exempt employees, the sick or vacation hours taken reflect the hours scheduled for the day. In this case it would be 10 hours vacation, or 10 hours sick leave.
  • If a holiday falls on Monday, what then?
    The non-exempt employee gets the holiday (8 hours), but would need to add 2 hours of vacation (or could work or use comp time to make up the 2 hours). The exempt employee gets the holiday, but would not have to make up the two hours.
  • If a holiday falls on Friday, what then?
    Both the non-exempt and exempt employees may take another day off.

If an exempt employee has a 90% appointment, how many vacation or sick leave hours does the employee earn for the month?

Looking at the last two columns in the appropriate vacation leave tables, find the row that includes 90% time on pay status. The adjacent row will tell you how many hours of vacation that employee earns.
For example, looking at the PSS vacation leave table, a PSS employee who has less than 10 years of qualifying service on 90% pay status would earn 9 hours of vacation leave per month.
Likewise, looking at the last two columns of the sick leave table, the row that includes 90% time on pay status corresponds to 7 hours earned for sick leave each month.

If an exempt employee has a 90% appointment, how many vacation or sick leave hours does the employee take per day?

It would depend on the exempt employee’s schedule for the particular day of sick or vacation leave. If on one of the sick or vacation days, the exempt employee was scheduled to work 8 hours – it would be 8 hours of sick or vacation leave reported. If on one of the sick or vacation days, the exempt employee was scheduled to work 4 hours – it would be 4 hours of sick or vacation leave.

Can exempt employees save up hourly absences, and then record whole days off?

No. These employees are not hourly workers; therefore, it is contrary to University policy to track time in this way for pay purposes. It would also constitute a falsification of time sheets to deliberately record whole-day absences that had not occurred.

How do we record FMLA leave?

For employees in non-exempt positions, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is recorded in the same way as any leave without pay, sick leave, or vacation leave: to the nearest quarter hour. Compensatory time is not counted toward FMLA leave.

For employees in exempt positions, FMLA leave will normally be recorded in whole day increments. The exception is that if the employee takes FMLA leave as a reduced schedule or as intermittent leave, you should record the time hour-for-hour. Please see the appropriate FMLA section of the Absence from Work Policy  (PDF) for a full explanation.

Holiday Pay

How do part-time exempt employees accrue holiday pay?

An exempt employee is given holiday pay according to his/her percentage of time. A 50% exempt employee would receive 4 hours for the holiday and get the full day off. (Refer to the Holiday Pay Table percentage column). If the holiday was one in which the exempt employee was scheduled to work 8 hours, the exempt employee does not have to add additional vacation hours, or make up the time that week. However, the exempt employee is still expected to complete the work required for that week; less emphasis is placed on working a specified number of hours.

What if the employee is a non-exempt part-time 70% variable appointment? How are holidays determined?

A non-exempt part-time 70% variable appointment means the employee will generally work at least 50% each month and no more than 70%. (Note: the employee could work more than 70% time if the supervisor required it). Since the employee’s appointment is variable, accrual of holiday time will vary, depending upon the hours worked, which may vary each month.
Example: if the employee worked 102 hours in January 2010, January has 168 hours and 2 holidays (See Number of Working Hours in the Month Table).
Using the Holiday Pay Table, subtract 16 hours of holiday (168 – 16) and the correct column to use is "152-Hr Month."
At 102 hours, the employee will have accrued 5 hours of holiday pay.

A non-exempt part-time (fixed 70%) employee works 28 hours a week, with the following schedule: M (8 hours), Tu (8 hours), W (8 hours), Th (4 hours) and Friday is the day off. How are holidays determined?

Part-time non-exempt fixed-percentage employees must always meet their percentage of time for hours worked for each week, as well as the entire month (excluding the holiday).
Example:In January 2010, there were 168 working hours, including holidays. (See Number of Working Hours in the Month Table).
Using the Holiday Pay Table, subtract 16 hours of holiday (168 – 16) and the correct column to use is "152-Hr Month."
To meet a 70% appointment, the employee needs to work 70% of 152 hours, which is 102 hours.
At 102 hours, the employee would accrue 5 hours of holiday pay.
Depending upon hours in a particular month, the employee may have to add comp or vacation time to be sure he/she meets the fixed 70% appointment.

  • If a holiday falls on Friday, the employee’s day off, does the employee get the holiday?
    Yes. Because the employee is on a fixed percentage of 70%, the employee would get paid for the holiday. Note: the employee still needs to be sure he/she is on pay status 28 hours for the week.
  • If the employee works on the holiday, what happens?
    The employee would get paid for the hours worked. In addition, with supervisory approval, the employee may take another day off - perhaps in the same week. Note: the employee still needs to be sure he/she is on pay status 28 hours for the week.

What happens when a non-exempt employee is required to work on a holiday?

With the exception of certain holidays listed in each contract, an employee required to work on a holiday shall be paid at the employee's regular rate of pay for the hours actually worked. In addition, at the option of the University, an eligible employee shall receive either compensatory time off or holiday pay at the regular straight time rate, including any shift differential. To determine exactly how specific holidays are to be paid, please review Personnel Policies for Staff Members or the correct contract.

Overtime

Does a non-exempt employee get paid premium overtime for working on Saturday in the following example? A non-exempt employee who normally works 40 hours a week (M – F) takes off 5 sick leave hours in a week, then works on Saturday for 8 hours.

The employee must work more than 40 hours of actual work in a work week to receive premium overtime. This employee should receive 5 hours of overtime straight (OTS) and 3 hours of premium overtime (OTP) for the Saturday work.

Can part-time non-exempt employees work overtime and bank it?

Yes, but overtime is based on time on pay status in excess of 40 hours in a work week. If a part-time employee works more than his/her usual hours in a week, but less than 40 hours, it would not constitute overtime. It would simply be additional regular time to be paid. A part-time non-exempt employee can, however, earn more vacation, holiday and sick leave if he/she works over the hours of his/her tandard work week.

Vacation Accrual Maximums

How do I notify employees who are approaching maximum accrual?

Depending on the contract or policy covering the specific employee, the department is responsible for notifying employees a specific number of calendar or working days before they are due to reach maximum accrual. Employees should be receiving a monthly report showing their leave balances following the calculations on their time sheets.

If you have other questions regarding maximum vacation accrual, please contact your Employee Relations Consultant or the Academic Personnel Office.

Will departments be charged when they make a vacation leave adjustment that pushes an employee’s balance over the maximum?

Yes. PPS (the Payroll Personnel System) will automatically charge the department any time there is a vacation leave adjustment that increases the leave balance.

What happens when someone is at maximum accrual and doesn't accrue vacation leave for the month since no vacation leave was taken in the previous month? Where's the linkage between accrual and usage?

Each leave accrual code has an associated maximum. The payroll system will not automatically accrue leave for an employee once the maximum has been reached. Since vacation leave is accrued at the end of the month, and usage is reported in arrears on the 23rd of the month, departments must process an adjustment transaction to report accrual that was stopped by PPS. To avoid having to process such adjustments, departments should notify employees who are approaching maximum leave accrual and make sure leave is used in a timely manner. Departments should manage employees’ leave accrual so that they stay at least two months under the accrual maximum at all times.

How should departments address workload issues?

Departments are responsible for managing their workforce with regard to leave balances and workload issues, and must take all pertinent factors into consideration when making business decisions. Sometimes managers and supervisors believe that due to workload they cannot allow employees to take time off, even when the maximum vacation accrual has been reached. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to allow the employee to take time off. The University gives vacation time as a benefit, and employees should be encouraged to use this time to their own advantage. Managers who believe they can never let employees take vacation time need to review departmental priorities and work flow.

Managers are encouraged to be proactive in communicating with employees who are approaching maximum accrual the need to use their vacation time. The policies and contracts state that employees stop accruing leave once they reach the maximum. For further help on workload issues, contact your Employee Relations Consultant.

What if we find ourselves on an accrual reduction “merry-go-round?” That is, some employees like to stay near the maximum and we are always dealing with moving in and out of the four-month extension period (where that extension is allowed by policy or contract).
This type of extension should happen rarely, or only once per employee. The extension should only come into play when the operation cannot allow an employee to take time off. The extension is not automatic. Managers and supervisors have a responsibility to work with employees to schedule time off. The key is to give the employee a range of time during which vacation leave can be taken.

What if we have provided employees with a monthly record of their accruals but have allowed the accruals to accumulate over the stated maximum? Will employees lose what they have accrued?

While no one should ever be allowed to accrue beyond the maximum stated in policy or negotiated in the contracts, if it has been allowed and recorded, it may not be taken away, because it is not legal to do so. The policies and contracts state that employees stop accruing leave once they reach the maximum.

The PPSM, the APM, and the union contracts are available in print and on the web and are available to all employees. Employees and the department know a vacation benefit exists and both share responsibility for knowing the associated rules.

What is the maximum accrual?

The maximum or accrual cap is the amount designated for the employee’s category, pay status, and years of qualifying service by Personnel Policies for Staff Members, the Academic Personnel Manual, or the union contract. In most cases the maximum allowable accrual is two times the employee’s accrual for one year.

The maximum accruals (caps) have been set by policy for employees covered under PPSM or the APM and negotiated into union contracts for represented employees. It is a violation of the policy or contract to permit employees to accrue beyond the designated maximums.

What if an employee reached the maximum on May 1 and must still be below the maximum by June 30?

In almost all cases, departments are to inform employees 60 days in advance of when their accruals will reach the maximum. This gives the employee the opportunity to use enough vacation to remain below the maximum after new monthly accruals are added. The "extension period" of four months, according to individual contracts and Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM), is to be utilized on a one-time-only basis only in the case of a department being unable to let the employee take the vacation that is necessary to bring the accrual below the maximum. The extension period is not to be repeatedly used, nor is it to be used when an employee does not wish to schedule and take vacation as required to bring the balance below the maximum.

Example: Employee covered by PPSM:
A PPS employee will reach maximum on May 1. In the 60 working days prior to May 1, his/her department should work with him/her to reduce his/her vacation balance so that the maximum is not reached.

If there is absolutely no way his/her department can allow him/her to take vacation leave during the 60 working days prior to May 1, then an employee covered by the PPSM potentially has four additional months in which to reduce the balance. The only reason an employee may be allowed an extension period is if the department cannot allow him/her time off due to operational demands. If an “extension period” is considered necessary due to operational reasons, the employee will continue to accrue time.

At the end of the four-month extension, however, time accrual stops. The employee will not accrue additional vacation leave until he/she brings his/her balance below the stated maximum. This means the employee must not only take enough time to get below the maximum, but also use any time accrued during the "extension period." It is important to consult each union contract and PPSM for specifics.