Vacation Policy

Revised November 2023


The university encourages time off from work for change of pace and relaxation. For this purpose only, the university provides eligible employees with vacation leave benefits. Accumulated vacation time is not a form of wages or other cash compensation. This benefit will not be paid as extra hours if you work a normal workweek.


All staff members in regular “with benefits” appointments of half-time (.5 FTE) or more begin accumulating vacation time on their first day of work and may take accrued vacation following satisfactory completion of their introductory period. Temporary employees are typically not eligible for benefits, and therefore do not generally accumulate vacation time.

Vacation Accrual
Employees in Nonexempt Positions-

Full-time staff accumulate vacation at the following rates:

Completed Full Years of EmploymentStandard Vacation Days per 12-Month PeriodStandard Monthly Accrual Rate*Maximum Vacation Accrual**
New hire to 3rd anniversary106.68 hours90 hours
3rd anniversary to 5th anniversary1711.34 hours150 hours
5th anniversary and beyond2214.68 hours200 hours

Part-time staff members who are eligible for benefits (regularly scheduled to work .5 FTE or more) accrue vacation on a prorated basis using the above schedule.

*The actual vacation accrual will vary from month to month for part-time staff working irregular schedules (i.e. fewer or zero hours in the summer months; variable hours from one month to the next). See “Accrual Calculation” section.

**The maximum vacation accrual will be prorated for staff who are less than full-time (1.0 FTE) based on the staff member’s annual FTE.

Employees in Exempt Positions

Full-time exempt employees accrue vacation at the rate of 14.68 hours per month, equivalent to 22 days per year. The maximum vacation accrual is 200 hours. Part-time exempt employees who are eligible for benefits (regularly scheduled to work .5 FTE or more) accrue vacation on a prorated basis. The more liberal vacation plan for exempt staff is granted in recognition that they work beyond regularly scheduled hours and are ineligible for overtime pay.

Accrual Calculation

Vacation time is accrued on most paid hours such as regular work hours, paid sick time, and paid vacation and holiday time. The standard annual and monthly vacation amounts noted above are guidelines; the actual accrual amounts will be determined by each person’s eligibility status and his/her actual eligible paid hours as calculated each pay period by the university’s payroll system.

Vacation time is not accrued on unpaid hours, including personal time without pay and sick time without pay. Vacation time is also not accrued on any hours worked over forty (40) within a workweek. New employees starting after the first of the month will receive a prorated accrual the first month.

Vacation Usage
Updated January 2018

Vacations are a time for renewal and rest, and employees are strongly encouraged to take their earned vacation time each year. Employees may accumulate up to the maximum vacation accrual amount appropriate for their position and length of service. However, once that maximum vacation accrual is reached, the employee will forfeit additional vacation leave accrual until such time as the employee’s vacation balance is under the maximum accrual cap.

Vacation time will not be advanced, but must be accrued prior to the pay period in which it is used. Vacation leave accrues on the last day of the pay period and is available for use the first day of the next pay period subject to the eligibility requirements listed in this policy.

Only that vacation time which has been earned and accrued by the end of the preceding pay period, will be considered eligible vacation pay in any given pay period. Other time off will be considered personal leave without pay, requiring the standard supervisory approvals.

The supervisor must approve all vacation usage in advance. Employees are encouraged to give as much advance notice as possible when planning vacation time, preferably two weeks notice or more. Employees are also encouraged to take vacation during periods that are less busy in their offices. The vacation date requests preferred by the employee will be considered whenever practical. However, the university reserves the right to deny vacation that may hinder the normal or continuous operation of the department. Supervisors will be reasonable in allowing the use of vacation and may not unreasonably deny vacation requests where the result would be forfeiture of accrued vacation.

If scheduling conflicts arise due to multiple requests for the same vacation time off, requests will typically be granted based on length of service with the university (i.e., the longest service employee being granted first preference for the vacation time), within the constraints of efficient departmental operation.

Staff members are responsible for reporting all vacation taken in an accurate and timely manner using the staff time sheet. Supervisors and budget heads are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all vacation and time reporting.

The Payroll Office maintains records of vacation accrued and used. Vacation accrual balances are reported to eligible employees on their payroll deposit advices.

Holidays recognized by the university that occur during a scheduled vacation are considered holiday pay and are not counted as vacation time.

Illness or injury occurring during a scheduled vacation will not be charged to sick leave unless the employee or an immediate family member (see Sick Leave policy in the Personnel Manual) is hospitalized. The supervisor may request documentation of hospitalization.

The transfer of vacation time for use by another employee is not permitted.

Vacation – Transfer

An employee transferring from one department to another takes along unused, accrued vacation. If the transfer involves a change of employment status (i.e. nonexempt to exempt) the new accrual rate will become effective the day the new position begins.

Vacation – Termination

Employees are not entitled to receive additional pay in lieu of accumulated vacation leave upon separation of employment. Depending on the specific facts of an individual situation and subject to such documentation as the University may require, PLU generally follows these guidelines:

  • An amount equal to the amount of accumulated but unused vacation leave, up to a maximum of 80 hours of accumulated vacation, will be paid upon an employee’s separation of employment.
  • An employee with fewer than 80 hours of accumulated but unused vacation will receive a payment equal to the amount of accrued vacation.
  • The final pay period’s vacation accrual (if any) will be calculated on a prorated basis (see Vacation Accrual above).
  • All accumulated vacation in excess of 80 hours will be forfeited and lost upon separation of employment. This applies even in the case of an employee who is rehired within 12 months of leaving employment with PLU.
  • Terminating employees who have not completed their introductory period will receive no payment for unused vacation time.