Policy 6 – Vacation – Staff

The policies found on the website of the Secretariat are compulsory rules for the university community. The authoritative copies of the policies are held by the Secretariat and bear the seal of the university. The online version accessible through the website of the Secretariat is available for information purposes only. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the authoritative copy held by the Secretariat, the authoritative copy shall prevail. Please contact the Secretariat for assistance if necessary.

Established: 29 June 1961


Last updated: 1 July 2022

Mandatory review date: 28 October 2018
Supersedes: N/A
Class: S
Responsible/originating department: Human Resources
Executive contact: Associate Provost, Human Resources

Related policies, guidelines & procedures:

1. Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leaves (including Adoption), and the Return to Work

2. Policy 39 – Leaves of Absence for Staff Members

3. Policy 54 – Definition of Staff

1. Introduction

Vacations are pre-planned breaks from the workplace, mutually arranged between managers1 and staff members and meant to provide an opportunity for refreshment and rejuvenation. 

Because the workplace has become so busy and demanding, it is not unusual for staff members to want to postpone their vacations. Managers, too, may find it difficult to spare people from their jobs. However, vacation is an entitlement, not a privilege, and it is the responsibility of both the staff member and manager to ensure that all Vacation Credits are taken within the appropriate Vacation Credit Year. Work assignments should be managed so that staff members can take vacation entitlements without unduly affecting the ongoing operation of their departments.

The positive effects of a refreshed and rested staff member can reduce the possible tension and stress that can arise from extended periods of hard work with no break.

2. General

This policy covers all regular full- and part-time staff members with expected appointment duration of two years or more (see Policy 54). For purposes of this policy, years of service shall be calculated from the date of commencement of uninterrupted regular full- and part-time employment with the university.

  • Continuous employment during an approved reduced workload appointment shall, for the purposes of this policy, be considered full-time employment with the university and will not affect ongoing entitlements as described in Appendix A of this policy, but will affect Vacation Credits (see section 4.B).
  • An approved leave of absence, or lay-off of not more than 12 consecutive months, will not be considered an interruption of employment with the university and will not affect ongoing entitlements as described in Appendix A of this policy, but will affect Vacation Credits (see section 4.C).

3. Explanation of terms

During the Vacation Credit Year (1 July to 30 June), staff members accumulate Vacation Credits, which are available to be used as paid vacation.

A staff member may begin to use any Vacation Credits accumulated to date, while starting to earn additional Vacation Credits.

  1. Earning Vacation Credits
  • The Vacation Credit Year is the 12-month period beginning 1 July and running through to the following 30 June, during which staff members earn Vacation Credits.
  • Vacation Credits are the portion of a staff member’s full vacation entitlement accumulated during the corresponding portion of the Vacation Credit Year. The maximum entitlement is determined as a function of the number of years of service at the university (see Appendix A).
  1. Using Vacation Credits
  • Following 30 June each year, Vacation Credits are available for a staff member to take as paid vacation.
  • Vacation time should be scheduled at mutually agreeable times for both staff members and managers. Principles and Guidelines, Appendix B of this policy, may help to establish and maintain vacation schedules and practices within a department.
  • In some departments, there may be unusual work schedules that may require some assistance/advice from Human Resources in scheduling vacations.

4. Vacation entitlement and accrual

  1. A staff member’s Vacation Credits depend on the duration of service, as shown in Appendix A.
  2. A staff member on an approved reduced workload appointment shall receive a pro-rated portion of the Vacation Credits shown in Appendix A.
  3. During an unpaid leave of absence or layoff in excess of ten working days (consecutive or accumulative, including partial unpaid leaves), the amount of vacation credit earned for that vacation year will be reduced proportionately. Service is not affected.
  4. Should a staff member be absent because of illness, for an extended period of time, the staff member will continue to accrue Vacation Credits for a maximum period of six months. Should the absence continue beyond six months, no further Vacation Credits will accrue until the staff member has returned to work.

5. Special circumstances

A. Regular full-time staff during their first year of employment

Vacation Credits for regular full-time staff members, for the first year of employment, will be pro-rated based on the formula below. If the incumbent’s hire date is between the 1st and the 15th, vacation credit for the full month will be given. Hire dates from the 16th to the end of the month are counted as a half month’s vacation credit.

Number of months worked / x 15 (number of vacation days after 1 full year)
   12 (months in a year)

For example: A new regular full-time staff member who started work on 1 October and will have worked nine months to 30 June will have accumulated 11.25 Vacation Credits.

9/12 x 15 (number of vacation days from 1 July to 30 June the following Vacation Credit Year)

Applying section 6.A, the accumulated 11.25 Vacation Credits would become 11 days.

B. Pro-ration of Vacation Credits for regular part-time staff

Vacation Credits shall be pro-rated, based on the following formula:

Number of hours worked in a week, divided by
Hours in a normal work week for full-time staff in the same category, multiplied by
Number of days (in hours) to which part-time staff would be entitled if regular full-time staff

C. Temporary appointment staff

Vacation Credits shall be 4% of gross earnings upon termination of each period of temporary employment, or equivalent time off as may be specified by the university for contracts 1 year or greater.

D. Casual earnings staff

Vacation Credits for persons employed on a casual earnings basis shall be 4% with each salary payment.

E. Termination of employment

  1. A staff member whose employment with the university has been terminated shall be entitled to Vacation Credits from 1 July preceding the termination date to the date of termination, in accordance with the following formula:
Number of months worked from preceding 1 July divided by 12 (months in a year)
multiplied by
Vacation Credits to which the staff member would have been entitled on the previous 1 July

In no case will the payment be less than 4% of wages or salary earned during this period.

  1. In addition, a staff member whose employment has been terminated will be entitled to payment for any unused Vacation Credits accrued during the previous Vacation Credit Year.
  2. A staff member who voluntarily terminates her/his employment shall have the option of:
    1. Specifying a termination date and receiving a cash payment for any unused Vacation Credits available to that date, or
    2. Specifying a termination date which includes the use of any unused Vacation Credits. In this case, the staff member would be accepting time off with pay in lieu of a cash payment.

6. Vacation Credits - general notes

  1. Vacation Credits should be calculated to the nearest full day, with a half-day or more counting as a full day.
  2. All Vacation Credits earned in a Vacation Credit Year must be used by 30 June of the vacation year following, and are not to be accumulated from year to year. In special cases, a maximum of two weeks vacation credit may be carried over from one Vacation Credit Year to the next Vacation Credit Year with the written approval of the appropriate manager. Such vacation carryovers must be planned, approved and recorded in advance by the appropriate manager.  In highly unusual circumstances, the business of the university may require extraordinary vacation carryforward.  On these occasions, a staff member may request approval to carry forward more than ten days.  Department heads who agree with such requests must obtain the approval of the Vice-President, Academic & Provost prior to 1 May.
  3. Vacation Credits may be used prior to the beginning of the Vacation Credit year with approval of the appropropiate manager. The amount of vacation taken should not exceed the amount of accrued vacation credit available at that point in time.
  4. The appropriate vacation credit, as indicated in Appendix A, is based upon the staff member’s length of service as of July of the Vacation Credit Year.
  5. Pregnancy, Adoption and Parental Leaves (see Policy 14).
  6. In all cases, vacation schedules shall be arranged by and within each department, keeping in mind the work requirements of the department and the convenience of the individual. In all cases, the staff member must have the approval of the manager before taking vacation. Where Vacation Credits exceed two weeks, the manager may elect to limit vacation to units of not more than two weeks.
  7. Staff members who, during a given Vacation Credit Year, have not accumulated sufficient Vacation Credits to justify their normal vacation period, as indicated above, may, with the approval of the manager, combine the vacation earned through the normal Vacation Credit Year with an unpaid leave of absence as indicated in Policy 39.
  8. Should a university recognized paid holiday fall during the vacation period of an eligible staff member, the day may be recognized on a date mutually agreeable to the staff member and the manager.

  9. Special work arrangements may require special interpretations of this policy and queries in this regard should be directed to Human Resources.

Appendix A

Vacati​on Credits

Years of service

Vacation entitlement 
(in weeks)

Vacation entitlement
(in hours based on work schedule)





1-3 years

3 weeks




4-9 years

4 weeks




10-11 years

4 weeks + 1 day




12-13 years

4 weeks + 2 days




14-15 years

4 weeks + 3 days




16-17 years

4 weeks + 4 days




18 years

5 weeks




19-21 years

5 weeks + 1 day




22-24 years

5 weeks + 2 days




25-26 years

5 weeks + 3 days




27-29 years

5 weeks + 4 days




30 years

6 weeks




Appendix B

Principles and guidelines for vacations


  1. Vacation schedules should be part of overall departmental planning. Charts, forms, and written requests and approvals may help in establishing schedules, providing precedence, and giving managers and staff confidence that vacations are being handled appropriately. Various vacation planners or schedulers are available in printed or electronic formats and are a useful aid in charting vacation plans for large numbers of staff. Human Resources can provide examples of systems and processes in use across campus for initiating or improving a departmental vacation schedule procedure.
  2. It is recommended that both staff members and managers review, early in the Vacation Credit Year, the Vacation Credits a staff member is eligible for and plan vacation schedules well in advance of peak vacation periods. Each year, a department may want to establish for that year, the “peak work periods” and a “minimum staffing levels” model to determine how many staff are needed to service the department.
  3. Managers and staff members should work to ensure that – where possible, practical, and desirable – the staff member’s work load is covered during the time that the staff member is away.
  4. As an aid in scheduling vacation, and ensuring its use before the end of the Vacation Credit Year (30 June), it may be helpful for managers and staff members to gauge their vacation used as a proportion of the Vacation Credit Year. Both managers and staff members should periodically monitor vacation use to ensure that vacation is used within the vacation credit year.

In general (and where Vacation Credits exist), staff members are encouraged to take at least one, two-week holiday per year.


  1. In order to track vacation requests, it may be useful for staff members to submit a written request for vacation which would be approved in writing by the manager. When special circumstances make rescheduling necessary, either at the request of the staff member for personal reasons, or the manager for business reasons, the rescheduled time will be by mutual agreement. Rescheduling vacation should be discussed fully between the staff member and the manager, and should be arranged to occur as soon as possible after the original scheduled vacation period.

  2. When a staff member leaves employment with the university, all unused Vacation Credits must, by law, be paid to the staff member. It is essential that vacations are recorded by the manager.
  3. Although it is possible to carry over a portion of Vacation Credits from one year to the next (see section 6.B), it is not recommended. If such a need persists, it could be viewed as an indicator of a problem that needs to be addressed.


  1. In resolving conflicts when staff members propose to take vacations at the same time, (and where minimum staffing requirements or peak work levels do not allow for it), staff members are encouraged to resolve the matter among themselves. Where agreement cannot be reached, managers will resolve the issue. In resolving the issue, managers may wish to use any or all of the following methods:
  • consideration of the length of service of staff members involved;
  • establishing a rotation;
  • choosing by lot.

Special circumstances

  1. If a catastrophic event occurs (e.g., death of an immediate2 family member, hospitalization due to accident or illness) during a staff member’s vacation period, the portion of the vacation period affected may be rescheduled to a time mutually agreeable to both the staff member and the manager. In such cases, the manager may request documentation to verify the need to reschedule. The manager should consult with Human Resources to determine how or whether to reallocate vacation time.
  2. Because of sickness, sudden staffing changes, or other unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary for a manager to request a staff member to reschedule a previously approved vacation. It is appropriate to consider reimbursement of any direct expenses caused by the rescheduling (e.g., non-refundable deposits, tickets) that the staff member may have incurred. Managers should consult with Human Resources for guidance on what constitutes vacation-related losses eligible for reimbursement.
  3. Staff members in their first year of employment may take vacation time in pursuant to section 6. C of this policy.

1 For manager(s) read: supervisor, department head/chair, director of school/centre/institute.

2 Immediate family includes: spouse, child, parent or sibling (please contact your Human Resources representative forGuidelines for Bereavement Leaves)