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Who determines the holiday/closing schedule for the University?

The University holiday and closing schedule is based on input from the executive officers, Human Resources, Facilities, and the Academic Calendar Committee. Human Resources typically drafts various options and recommendations for consideration.

How many holidays are provided to University employees each year?

Per the State Human Resources Act, eligible employees receive 12 paid holidays per year.

Do UNC-Chapel Hill employees get the same number of holidays as employees at other agencies and universities in the State of North Carolina?

Yes. Each campus of the University System, however, designates the specific days it observes as holidays, which can vary based on their academic calendar and other institution-specific factors.

Why did the University decide to implement a winter closing practice?

Our research shows that the majority of employees use vacation time when students are on winter break. Furthermore, research reveals that closing for one week during this period will allow for a savings of approximately $250,000 in operational and energy costs, a measure that supports the University’s efforts to become a more sustainable employer as we strive to be a good steward of public and private resources.

Is UNC-Chapel Hill the only UNC System campus that closes for winter break?

No. Several other campuses in the UNC System have observed this practice for many years.

Could the University simply close for the winter break and designate those extra days off as additional holidays for employees?

No. The University does not have authority to add more holidays to the number of allowable holidays that the State of North Carolina Legislature establishes.

What if employees do not have leave to cover these days?

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 ear through the remainder of the current calendar year. An employee must be in pay status for leave to be advanced.

Employees must plan ahead in order to have the necessary leave days to cover the absence. State policy requires leave to be balanced at the end of the calendar year so employees who do not have leave to cover the absence will have their pay reduced for the hours that are needed.

What happens to recently hired employees who have not earned enough leave time to cover a winter break closing?

Eligible leave-earning employees who are in pay status for one-half or more of the regularly scheduled work days and paid holidays in December will accrue leave for the month of December and may use their vacation leave to cover the University Closed Days. Employees who do not have sufficient leave to cover one or both University Closed Days will not be paid for the day(s).

How should negative leave balances be handled?

A negative leave balance cannot be carried over from one calendar year to the next. If an employee is overdrawn on leave, it will be necessary to make deductions from the employee’s last paycheck of the calendar year or as soon after as allowable.

What types of leave can employees use to cover the University Closed Day(s)?

 Employees can use vacation leave, bonus leave, or accrued compensatory time to cover University Closed Day absences.

Can an employee use Community Service Leave (CSL) to cover a University-closed day?

Yes. Employees who may not have vacation or bonus leave available for a University-closed day, or those who wish to conserve those balances, are encouraged to consider utilizing available CSL as a way to manage the winter break closure and also support our community. View CSL policy details.

Will some departments be open on days that are designated as holidays and closings? 

Some departments have essential work that must be done (related to research, healthcare, safety, etc.) and designated employees report to work regardless of state, federal, or University holidays. SHRA employees who work on designated holidays must be paid holiday premium pay, in addition to hour for hour compensatory time up to 8 hours daily. State guidelines do not permit the University to pay premium holiday pay for the Closed Day during winter break.

 If employees want to work on days that the University is closed, can they do this instead of using their leave?

 No. The intent is for the University to be closed so employees do not have the choice to work or not. Supervisors, however, can require employees to work to perform essential functions.

Can employees be required to work on holidays? Do they get extra pay?

Yes, supervisors can require employees to work on holidays. If they do so, SHRA employees are paid holiday premium pay (an additional 1/2 of their regular rate) as well as given hour for hour comp time up to 8 hours.

Do employees get additional pay for working on University Closed Day(s)?

No, however, these employees will retain the leave they would have had to use if they had not worked during the closing. Example: An SHRA employee works 8 hours on a day that is designated as a holiday and 8 hours on a day that is designated as a closing. The employee would be paid holiday premium pay for the hours worked on the holiday and receive 8 hours of compensatory time. The employee would be paid regular pay for the hours worked on the closing day and does not use any leave for that day (no additional entry needed for payroll).

Who can provide additional information?

If you have any questions about the holiday schedule, please contact the Benefits & Leave Administration unit in the Office of Human Resources at 919-962-3071 or

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