Vacation time off
Last updated: December 1, 2023
This page applies to all professional, classified, and contract covered staff.
All contract covered, classified, and professional staff, including nonpermanent employees, earn vacation time off which accrues once a month on the last day of the month and is available for use on the first of the following month.
Your vacation time off accrual rate is based on all of the following:
- Employment program or collective bargaining agreement
- Years of service
- FTE or sum of paid hours in a month
- Prior Washington state service (if applicable)
|Classified non-union (CNU) | SEIU 925 |
Teamsters 117 | WFSE |
SEIU 1199 | WSNA
|25th and above||289 and above||16.67||25||200|
|16th and above||181 and above||14.67||22||176|
|Professional staff grades 10 and below |
SEIU 925 – IHME | SAG-AFTRA
|11th||121 & above||17.34||26||208|
Professional staff grades 11-14
All professional staff positions at salary grades 11-14 accrue vacation time off at the maximum rate of 17.34 hours per month (26 days per year) regardless of years of service.
Regularly scheduled part-time employees with an FTE earn vacation time off on a prorated basis based on their full-time equivalent (FTE).
For example, a part-time employee with a 0.5 FTE whose expectation of work is 20 weekly scheduled hours in a 40-hour full-time workweek earns 50 percent of the vacation time off that a full-time employee earns with the same employment program and years of service.
For part-time employees who don’t hold an FTE, the amount of vacation time off earned is based on actual hours paid in a month.
For example, a nonpermanent-hourly or intermittent employee in their first year of service who worked 64 hours in a month in which there are 168 pay period hours accrues 3.05 hours of vacation time off for the month.
If you hold a cyclic-year or instructional-year position, you earn time off for the overall number of months you work, even if your appointment begins or ends mid-month.
For example, if you work September 16 to June 15, you earn nine months of vacation time off. You will not earn time off in September, but you will receive your monthly accrual for June, as long as you are in pay status through the end of your appointment on June 15.
Prior Washington state service credit
If you have previously worked for a Washington state agency or Washington public institution of higher education, you may be eligible to transfer your balances from your previous employer or receive an adjustment to your vacation accrual rate.
Visit UWHR’s Prior Washington State Service Credit webpage for more information.
Impact of unpaid time off
Employees with an FTE do not accrue vacation time off during a calendar month in which they have taken more than 10 equivalent days as unpaid time off. For 1.0 FTE, that would be 80 hours; for 0.5 FTE, that would be 40 hours. The 10 days includes any holidays taken without pay.
Employees earn a month of service for each month in which they are active in Workday. Unpaid time off does not impact whether a month of service towards a higher vacation accrual rate is earned.
Maximum vacation time off accrual
(Classified employees only)
Washington state law limits classified employees to a maximum accrual of 240 hours of vacation time off. If balances exceed 240 hours, any excess not used by a classified employee’s next anniversary (time off service) date will be forfeited on that date, except as described below:
Voluntarily exceeding the 240-hour limit
If you voluntarily exceed the 240-hour limit, you have until your next anniversary (time off service) date to use the excess hours. Any hours over 240 remaining on your anniversary date will be forfeit and your balance will be reduced to the 240-hour state law maximum.
If your balance is currently below 240 hours, you are encouraged to use your vacation time off to ensure the balance does not exceed 240 hours.
Involuntarily exceeding the 240-hour limit
If you request to use vacation time off prior to exceeding 240 hours and your manager denies your vacation request due to departmental business needs, your manager may file an extension request with HR Operations. The request must be made at the time of the denial and include an explanation for denial and a plan for using the excess hours. Human Resources will review the request and make a determination.
Monitoring vacation balances
It is your responsibility to monitor your vacation balance. You and your manager should plan your vacation use so that your balance does not exceed the 240-hour maximum. If you have excess vacation accrual, work with your manager to schedule vacation time off at the earliest opportunity to bring the balance within the 240-hour limit.
Using vacation time off
You will accrue vacation hours once a month on the last day of the month and can use them on the first of the following month. Professional staff must use holiday credit and discretionary time off (in that order) prior to using vacation.
Determining your vacation time off balance
Requesting vacation time off
Vacation time off should be requested and approved in advance.
- For campus staff: Follow your department’s usual request procedure and enter the vacation time off request in Workday.
- For medical centers staff: Follow your department’s usual request procedure and enter the vacation time off request in Kronos.
As you make plans for time off, consider your department’s and your position’s needs and obligations. Vacation planning should balance your desire for time away from work with the University’s operational needs.
Your manager will attempt to accommodate your vacation request, but there may be times when you will be asked to reschedule your time off. In such cases, your manager will work with you to find an alternate time for using your vacation time that works for both you and the department.
Donating to shared leave programs
You may donate vacation time off hours to another employee in need of leave under the following programs:
- Shared Leave Program
- Organ Donor Shared Leave Program
- Uniformed Services Shared Leave Pool Program
- Veterans’ In-State Service Shared Leave Pool Program
- Foster Parent Shared Leave Pool Program
Moving from a staff position to another position
If you move from a classified, contract covered staff, or professional staff position to another position, your time off balance is handled according to the chart below:
|If you move to a position that is:||Your vacation time off:|
|A classified non-union
contract covered staff, or professional staff
|Transfers with you to your new position|
|If you have completed six months of continuous employment, is paid out based on your current employment program:
Moving from faculty to professional staff
When moving from a faculty to a professional staff position, vacation balances will be calculated for you based on your length of service as a faculty member and the type of appointment.
|Faculty appointment||Length of service as faculty||Amount of vacation and sick time off granted to professional staff position|
|12-month appointment||11 or more years, OR
if professional staff grade 11 or above
|208 hours of vacation, less any vacation time off taken in the previous 12 months|
|12-month appointment||Less than 11 years||A prorated amount as determined by Human Resources, less any vacation time off taken in the previous 12 months|
|Less than 12-month appointment||Any amount||No vacation time off is granted|
Change in FTE
If your FTE status changes during a calendar month, the number of leave hours you earn for that month will be prorated based on the amount of time worked at each FTE during that month.
Change in employment program
If you move during a calendar month from one employment program to another with a different rate of accrual, the system will look at the accrual rate at the beginning of the month and the last day of the month and use the higher of the two.
Leaving UW employment
The University pays out unused vacation time only when you separate from University employment or move within the University to a position that does not accrue time off. When you leave UW employment, you will be paid for your unused vacation hours, as long as you have completed six months of continuous employment.
Number of hours paid
|If you are:||You will be paid for:|
|Classified non-union||All unused vacation time off hours|
|Contract covered staff||Refer to your collective bargaining agreement|
|Professional staff||Up to a maximum of 240 hours|
Payment is based on your regular salary at the time of separation and is paid as one lump-sum payment.
Transfers to another state agency
Your entire vacation balance may transfer with you if you move from University employment to a covered staff position at another Washington state agency or institution of higher education without a break in service (one business day or more, weekends and holidays not included). With this type of separation from the University, you do not receive a lump-sum payout. In order for your balance to transfer, your UW department must ensure Workday reflects that you are moving to another state agency without a break in service.
As a manager, you are responsible for:
- assisting employees in scheduling time off in accordance with departmental vacation time off approval process, and
- monitoring employee vacation time off balances to prevent excess accrual.
The University encourages responsible scheduling and use of vacation through the cooperative efforts of staff and their managers. Vacation planning should balance the employee’s need for time away from work with the University’s interest in ensuring that work obligations are met. If you cannot approve a vacation request due to departmental needs, work with the employee to schedule their use of vacation time off at the earliest opportunity to allow them to maintain their balance at or below 240-hourthreshhold.
Additionally, if your denial will cause a classified employee to exceed the 240-hour maximum accrual, you should submit a request for extension to HR Operations immediately.
Requesting extensions (classified staff only)
Managers should request an extension approval from HR Operations if your time off denial will cause a classified employee’s vacation balance to exceed the 240 hour limit. An approved extension allows the classified employee to carry excess vacation hours beyond their anniversary date. Without an approved extension, the excess hours will be deleted permanently from the classified employee’s balance on their anniversary date.
The extension request must:
- Be in writing
- Identify the circumstances and departmental staffing needs that prevent approval of the employee’s request
- Outline a plan for the employee to use the excess vacation time off in the near future
- Be submitted to HR Operations at the time you deny the vacation request and before the employee’s balance exceeds 240 hours
Expiration of pandemic policies related to annual forfeiture of vacation time off balances
In response to the COVID-19 state of emergency, classified employees who voluntarily exceeded the 240-hour limit between April 10, 2020, and October 31, 2022, were allowed a 9-month grace period to use their excess vacation hours. This grace period has now expired and accruals in excess of 240 hours during that time period have now been forfeited. As of August 1, 2023, Workday has resumed automatic forfeiture of excess vacation time off on a classified employee’s anniversary date.
APS 43.15 Leave Policy for Classified Non-Union Staff