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.
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.
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.
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.
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.