August 19, 2005  


Changes to Paid Time Off Policy

By Lee Lyon

I am writing to inform you of some changes the University has made in its policies regarding paid time off. Some of these changes are the result of system issues on campus and some are due to a changing interpretation of state labor law by the State Labor Commissioner.

These policy changes are applicable to benefits-eligible regular employees (that is, those who accrue vacation and sick leave). These changes do NOT affect faculty or bargaining unit employees.

Effective Date of Changes
The changes will take effect September 1, 2005 at SLAC.

1. Proportional accrual of sick and vacation time:
Currently, benefits-eligible employees must work, or be in other paid status, at least half their normal work schedule in a month to accrue vacation and sick leave. Starting September 1, 2005, eligible employees will accrue vacation and sick pay in direct proportion to the amount of straight time pay received. For example, a full-time employee who is in pay status 25 percent of his/her regular schedule will receive 25 percent of his/her usual accrual. This change will benefit those employees who are in pay status less than half their normal work schedule because they will still accrue some sick and vacation time.

2. No accruals while on leave:
Currently, employees who are supplementing disability leave through salary continuation accrue sick and vacation time at the full rate. Employees will not accrue vacation or sick time while they are on any disability leave or unpaid leave of absence that begins on or after September 1, 2005.

3. Date of vacation accrual changes and crediting:
Starting September 1, 2005, changes in accrual rates for vacation are effective at the beginning of the month in which the employee reaches the anniversary date making her/him eligible for the increased accrual rate, and will be credited by the last day of that month.

4. Paid leave for exempt employees:
Since my last communication to you on this subject about a year and a half ago in which I stated that vacation for exempt employees should be reported only in full day increments, California labor law has once again been re-interpreted by the State Labor Commissioner. Based on this new interpretation, the University and SLAC are returning to the previous guideline regarding how vacation should be reported:

Vacation for full-time exempt employees should normally be reported in four hour increments. PTO and sick leave can continue to be recorded in smaller increments, according to the time actually used. Supervisors must approve vacation and PTO use in advance in order to ensure appropriate staffing levels. In applying these guidelines, supervisors are encouraged to take into account the specific facts of any given employee’s situation and to use appropriate discretion in approving time off for exempt employees. However, exceptions to the vacation guidelines should be made only after consultation with Employee Relations.

If you have questions, please contact Carmella Huser, Employee Relations and Training Manager (Ext. 2358, or Barry Webb, Employee Relations Representative (Ext. 2355,





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Last update Friday August 19, 2005 by Chip Dalby