Maximum Vacation Leave Accrual Limit & New Systemwide Procedures

Consistent with plans related to implementation of a new payroll and human resource system, the way vacation hours are recorded have been standardized across all UC locations. As you know, UC is transitioning to a single systemwide payroll and human resources system under UCPath that will electronically track how much vacation leave employees have accrued.

The amount of vacation leave an employee accrues depends on his or her appointment type, percent of time worked, years of qualifying service, and hours on pay status. The most an employee can bank is two times his or her annual accrual. Once an employee reaches maximum accrual, the system will not allow additional vacation to accrue and the employee will not earn additional vacation until his or her vacation balance falls below the maximum cap. Although employees who are above their maximum cap as of July 1, 2013, will not lose the vacation hours they have already accrued, they are strongly encouraged to use any vacation above the maximum before that date.

Although existing policy (Absence from Work 2.210) will not change, the UC Office of the President has approved new systemwide procedures for managing vacation leave accrual for policy-covered staff, as outlined in Sections III.B.5 and V of the Policy. UCLA will also develop local procedures to facilitate implementation.

The systemwide procedures address situations where an employee is unable to schedule vacation leave within 60 working days of reaching his or her maximum vacation accrual limit, due to “operational considerations.” The University provides employees up to an additional four months to take vacation leave in order to bring their accrual below the maximum. Employees continue to accrue vacation during this grace period.

The new procedures specify what constitutes “operational considerations” and further state that the provision of additional time is granted only under exceptional circumstances. In reviewing potential vacation leave for employees, managers will need to evaluate the nature of the relevant operational considerations—and how the exception meets the unit’s or department’s objectives—when allowing an employee additional time to reduce vacation overage.

The University provides vacation leave as a benefit to employees for rest and renewal throughout the year. The use of vacation leave is a healthy component of supporting critical work/life balance. To facilitate reaching that objective, it is important that supervisors work with their employees to review and schedule vacation leave so that employees are able to use this benefit.

Supervisors will need to document the operational considerations that limit an employee’s ability to take vacation leave, and then submit that document as part of a request for the additional time (up to four months) to their department head for review and forwarding to the cognizant organization head (Dean, Vice Chancellor or Health System Associate Director) for approval. Qualifying exceptional circumstances should be rare.

The following situations are examples of exceptional operational considerations that may warrant consideration:

  • Position vacancies that require additional coverage;
  • Multiple employee leaves during the same period of time;
  • Extended staff absences due to illness or injury;
  • Temporary or unexpected staffing reductions;
  • Critical time-sensitive operational projects or events that prevent employees in a unit from taking vacation leave.

Additional details are in the procedures (Section V), and the complete policy is available online in Related Information. For clarification on whether a particular situation constitutes an appropriate “exceptional circumstance” or for questions about the vacation leave policy, please contact CHR Policy & Personnel Services at (310) 794-3147 or Health System Human Resources at (310) 794-0500.

Campus Human Resources, Policy Services
Phone: (310) 794-3147 | Fax: (310) 794-0865

UCLA Healthcare Human Resources
Phone: (310) 794-0500 | Fax: (310) 794-0620