Procedure 41: Vacation


  • As of April, 2011, a change to RPM 2.08 (Vacation Leave) went into effect at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Employees who transfer to or from LBNL and another UC location may transfer their vacation balances to their new location, provided there is no break in service between appointments. The change in policy will be reflected within the University of California's Absence from Work Policy (PDF) when it undergoes the next full review cycle in 2012.
  • Effective June 1, 2010 - This policy has been superceded by the Absence from Work Policy (PDF).
  • The following procedure supplements the Absence from Work Policy, III. B. Vacation Leave (formerly Policy 41).


Policies and provisions governing the accrual and use of vacation leave can be found in the Personnel Policies for Staff Members or the relevant collective bargaining agreement covering the employee's position. Department supervisors who are managing vacation leave processes will want to review the relevant policy or contract information together with these guidelines.

Any vacation accruals that exceed the maximum level will only be granted under exceptional circumstances due to operational considerations and requires advance written approval of a Vice Chancellor or Dean.

  • Accrual: The accrual rate for vacation leave for all employees is determined using the Vacation Leave Accrual Table. Employees accrue vacation leave in full hours based upon their personnel program, percentage of appointment, and service. Vacation leave is accrued as of the first of the month following the month in which it is earned. By example, an employee who starts to work on September 1 in a full-time position will earn ten hours of vacation leave during the month of September. On October 1, the earned vacation leave is accrued and is eligible to use.
  • Usage: Exempt employees utilize vacation leave in increments of a full day. Partial day absences are not counted against leave accruals. Non-exempt employees record vacation leave usage to the nearest fifteen minutes. Employees may not use vacation leave before it is accrued with the exception of campus closure periods.
  • Usage during Campus Closure: Personnel policies and collective bargaining agreement make provision for the advance use of vacation leave in the event of a campus closure.

Managing Vacation Leave:

  • Requests to Use Vacation Leave: Work rules regarding the process for requesting and approving vacation leave usage are established at the department level.
  • Authorization for Use of Vacation Leave: Vacation leave usage is reported in timekeeping records based upon the employee's request and the supervisor's approval. Supervisors may not designate time as vacation leave without the employee's consent.
  • Illness during Vacation Leave: Some personnel programs allow an employee who becomes ill while on vacation leave to convert the time to sick leave upon completion of certain requirements. Supervisors should consult the appropriate personnel program to find out if this option is available.
  • Denial of Vacation Leave Usage: The University has the sole discretion to approve or disapprove vacation requests. However, vacation requests shall not be unreasonably denied and an approved vacation request shall not be unreasonably canceled. In addition, departments may establish work rules that preclude use of vacation leave during peak activity periods, except for extenuating circumstances. Such work rules should be communicated to employees upon appointment to the department.

Vacation Leave Maximum:

The University encourages employees to use their accrued vacation leave each year. Once an employee reaches the maximum accrual, no additional vacation leave may be accrued until the employee's vacation leave balance falls below the maximum.

  • Maximum Accrual Level: An employee may accrue up to two times the employee's annual vacation leave accrual. Employees are expected to be able to use accrued vacation leave prior to reaching maximum accrual levels.

    By example, an employee whose maximum vacation accrual level is 384 hour has 384 hours of accrued vacation leave on September 1. If the employee uses no vacation leave during the month of September, the ending balance will be 384 hours. Consequently, the employee will not be able to accrue any additional vacation leave hours on October 1.

  • Notice to Employees about Vacation Leave Maximum Accrual: Supervisors will want to consult the specific personnel program covering the employee's position for notice requirements. Generally, an employee should be given written notification sixty days prior to accruing the maximum amount of vacation leave. The employee must then request the scheduling of vacation as soon as possible, but at least 30 days prior to reaching the maximum accrual.
  • Authorization to accrue leave beyond the maximum level: In extenuating circumstance, some personnel programs allow employees to accrue vacation leave beyond the maximum level. Approval to accrue any vacation beyond the maximum level will only be granted under exceptional circumstances due to operational consideration and requires the advance written approval of an employee's Vice Chancellor or Dean. Individual personnel programs should be consulted to determine whether additional accrual is allowed and the circumstances in which it can occur.

    Upon request, an employee shall be authorized to use vacation before the employee's accrual balance reaches the maximum, with the following exceptions:

    1. If the specific dates on which the employee requests use of vacation credit cannot be granted, the employee may be scheduled for alternate dates off; or
    2. If the employee's request to use such accrued vacation is denied due to operational considerations, that employee shall have an additional four months within which the employee must take the vacation to bring his or her vacation accruals below the maximum. Accrual of Normal vacation during the additional four‐month period requires the advance written approval of an employee's Vice Chancellor or Dean
  • Exceptions to maximum vacation accrual: On June 29, 2020, President Napolitano approved a temporary increase to that four-month extension for eligible staff, effective retroactively from June 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. This applies to policy-covered employees. The extension will be applied automatically through UCPath. If you are eligible, you will continue accruing vacation leave through Dec. 31, 2020, even if you are over your maximum accrual. On Jan. 1, 2021, policy-covered staff who are over their maximum accrued vacation leave will no longer accrue additional leave until they bring their vacation balance below the maximum.  

    If you have questions about your accrued vacation leave, please contact Berkeley Regional Services (BRS) HR Business Partners by creating an HR ServiceNow case (For ERSO departments, email ERSO HR at: and for Cal Performances or I-House, send an email to the applicable HR group.).


Catastrophic Leave Sharing:

Staff employees may donate accrued vacation leave to eligible staff employees in the event of serious illness. Criteria for donation and receipt of such leave can be found in the Catastrophic Leave Sharing Program.


Following are links to staff personnel program vacation leave provisions and available tools:

Following are other resources for supervisors and managers: