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Vacation Leave for SHRA Employees

Eligibility

A permanent SHRA employee (including probationary, trainee, or time-limited appointments) regularly scheduled to work 20 hours or more each work week is eligible for vacation leave under the guidelines of this policy.

Uses

The primary purpose of paid vacation is to allow employees to renew their physical and mental capabilities and to remain a fully productive employee. Employees are encouraged to request leave during each year in order to achieve this purpose. All requests for vacation leave use must be approved by management. Management must consider operational needs when approving or disapproving vacation leave but is encouraged to be as flexible as possible in accommodating employee needs.

Vacation leave may be used for:

  • vacation,
  • absences due to adverse weather conditions,
  • in lieu of sick leave,
  • donations to an employee who is an approved voluntary shared leave recipient,
  • other periods of absence for personal reasons, and
  • time lost for late reporting; however, management may instead choose to make deductions of paid time (ie, require leave without pay for the absence) when excessive tardiness or absenteeism occurs.

In the absence of adequate sick leave to cover a period of absence due to illness, injury or death in the immediate family, management may require an employee to use available vacation leave or other available paid time off. An employee may also choose to use available vacation leave for a sick-leave eligible absence, at the employee’s discretion.

See “Determining Time Worked” in the Related Subjects section below for more information.

Leave Earnings

Accrual Rate: An eligible SHRA employee who is in pay status for one-half or more of the regularly scheduled work days and paid holidays in a month earns vacation leave for that month.

Exceptions:

The time in pay status created by employee receiving terminal leave pay or service or early retirement cannot result in additional earned vacation leave.

Employees who are on leave without pay due to workers’ compensation will continue to earn vacation leave.

The amount of leave earned is based on the length of Total State Service (TSSD). The HR Records and Information Department, Office of Human Resources, verifies prior State Service for leave earnings from information provided on the employee’s employment application documents and the “Creditable Service for the State of North Carolina” form.

Full-time employees (40 hours per week) earn vacation leave according to the chart below. Part-time employees (regularly scheduled to work 20 hours or more each work week) earn leave on a pro-rated basis according to the number of scheduled work hours each week.

Years of
State Service

Earned Leave
Per Year

0-5

112 Hours

5-10

136 Hours

10-15

160 Hours

15-20

184 Hours

20+

208 Hours

Leave Charges

The purpose of paid leave is to maintain an employee’s income, not to enhance it. Planned leave charges must be reduced by the amount of any additional work performed outside the employee’s normal schedule during the same work week. See “Determining Time Worked” in the Related Subjects section below for more information.

Management is responsible for ensuring that employees are afforded opportunities to take accumulated leave, subject to operational needs. Employees are responsible for monitoring their balances to avoid needing large amounts of time off at year-end or other busy periods. Vacation leave shall be scheduled in advance and approved by the employee’s supervisor.

Management may establish guidelines to ensure that employee preferences and needs, as well as organizational requirements, are considered when leave time is requested. In the event of an emergency or other unplanned absence, the employee must notify the supervisor as close to the beginning of the work schedule as possible, as established by departmental guidelines.

Leave shall be charged, paid out, and/or transferred according to the actual amount of time taken, as provided in ConnectCarolina.

NOTE: If an SHRA non-exempt employee is scheduled for a period of leave (voluntary shared leave, Family & Medical Leave, leave without pay, etc.), and will not be able to use (or chooses not to use, if eligible) earned compensatory time off or other accrued paid time off due to expire during the absence, then all such paid time off must be paid out as its expiration date occurs. Note that the employee cannot use other available leave if s/he has any available PTO. See “Determining Time Worked” in the Related Subjects section below for details on prioritized application of leave and PTO.

Advancement of Leave: At the discretion of the supervisor, management may advance vacation leave to an employee based on individual circumstances and organizational requirements. The maximum advancement is the amount the employee would earn through the remainder of the current calendar year. An employee must be in pay status for leave to be advanced.

Overdrawn Leave: A negative vacation leave balance cannot be carried over from one calendar year to the next; it must be deducted from the employee’s last paycheck of the calendar year or as soon after as allowable. A negative vacation leave balance at the time of separation is deducted from the employee’s final paycheck. Negative balances will not be forwarded with an employee who separates from the University for employment with another State agency. See “Leave/PTO Payouts & Transfers” in the Related Subjects section below for more information.

Recordkeeping

The operating department maintains and retains individual leave records for current employees. For terminated or transferred employees, the operating department shall retain the leave records for five years after the date of separation or transfer from department. Upon separation from the University, an employee’s final balance and payout information for vacation leave is retained in the his/her personnel file by the HR Records & Information Department, Office of Human Resources.

The department maintains an accurate, current leave record with earnings, uses, and balances noted. An employee’s leave record must be reconciled at the end of each calendar year and whenever an employee:

  • transfers to another UNC-Chapel Hill department;
  • transfers to another State agency;
  • terminates employment with the State;
  • is separated by reduction in force (layoff);
  • schedules family and medical leave;
  • participates in voluntary shared leave;
  • goes on long-term military leave;
  • enters leave without pay status;
  • is covered by Workers’ Compensation;
  • is covered by the Disability Income Plan (DIP);
  • retires; or
  • dies.

Each department is responsible recording employee leave balances through the Time Information Management (TIM) System.

For Departments Using the Time Information Management (TIM) System:

Implementation of the Time Information System (TIM) to track work hours, special pay, and leave for University employees began its phased implementation in August 2007. See “TIM Website” in the Related Subjects section below for information on recording and tracking Vacation Leave.

Leave should be input in a timely basis and accounted for on a daily basis.

Employee groups not yet moved into the TIM system follow the record-keeping structure defined below.

For Departments Using Employee Time Records:

For permanent SHRA non-exempt employees who complete an Employee Time Record: All vacation leave hours are recorded under the coded leave column with a code “V”. Additional information regarding the absences may be provided in the “Explanations” section of the Time Record.

For permanent SHRA exempt employees, accrual and use of vacation leave shall be recorded and tracked by the school/division’s HR Office or the department’s TIM Administrator.

Balances, Payouts, and Transfers

Vacation leave is cumulative until December 31 of each year. The maximum accumulation (or “carry-over amount”) for full-time employees is 240 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees). All vacation leave above the maximum is automatically converted to sick leave effective January 1 if employment status is maintained through December 31. (However, for employees separating on December 31 due to retirement, the excess vacation leave will not be converted to sick leave.)

If an employee separates from State service, payment for accumulated vacation leave shall not exceed 240 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees). See “Workers’ Compensation Policy” for exceptions to the maximum accumulation and payment rules.

When an employee terminates State employment (other than by service or early retirement, or Reduction in Force – RIF), the last day actually worked is the effective date of the separation.

When an employee terminates because of service retirement or early retirement, the employee has the option of exhausting vacation leave or receiving a lump sum payment. If the employee elects to exhaust vacation leave, the last day of leave is the effective date of the separation.

When an employee separates due to layoff, any vacation leave in excess of 240 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees) shall be restored to the employee if s/he returns to permanent State employment within one year of his/her layoff separation date.

Vacation leave must be transferred when an employee transfers to another University department or to another State agency. If the employee’s new agency is willing to accept some or all of the leave, it may be transferred to a:

  • public school system,
  • community college, or
  • local Department of Human Resources agency.

See “Leave/PTO Payouts & Transfers” in the Related Subjects below for more information.

Questions

If you have questions regarding the appropriate application of this policy, contact your school/division’s HR Office or contact the Benefits Consultant in the Office of Human Resources who is assigned to work with your department.

If you have questions about your Total State Service Date, contact the HR Records & Information Department.

If you have questions about your current vacation leave balance, contact your school/division’s HR Office or your department’s TIM Administrator.

Related subjects

Vacation Earnings Tables (SHRA)

Determining Time Worked

Leave PTO Payouts & Transfers

Time Information Management (TIM) Project Web Site

Related forms

Creditable Service Form