Human Resources

Human Resources

Human Resources

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Important Update to All Staff Regarding Changes to Vacation

The message below was distributed by email to all staff on October 2, 2015 in reference to upcoming changes to the administration of the paid vacation benefit. A “Frequently Asked Questions” page can also be found on the Vacation Policy Transition Plan section of this website.

Good morning,

I am writing to follow up with you directly on changes to the administration of vacation. Managers were previously advised of these changes, so your manager may have already brought these changes to your attention.

The university is updating how it administers vacation to simplify how staff earn and take vacation. Currently, you earn vacation from July 1 to June 30, and take that vacation from January 1 to December 31. Under the new system, effective January 1, 2017, vacation will be both earned and taken in the same calendar year.

For example, under the current system, an employee may have earned 15 vacation days between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. That employee would then take those 15 vacation days between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Note that between July 1 and December 31 in any particular year, vacation is earned but isn’t available to the employee until January 1 of the following year.

Under the new system, beginning on January 1, 2017, all staff employees will both earn and take their annual vacation entitlement in the same calendar year. An employee who earns 15 vacation days over the course of 2017 will also take those 15 vacation days in 2017. You will have access to your entire 2017 vacation entitlement at the beginning of that year.

Moving to the new system will require a transition period to ensure that all vacation balances are used up by December 31, 2016. Therefore, effective immediately, staff may now have access to the six months worth of vacation entitlement that will be earned between July 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. These vacation days should be used during the 2015 and 2016 calendar years.  Please note that there may be employees who will have already used a portion or all of this six months of vacation entitlement pursuant to the terms of an employment contract or a departmental vacation program with a different vacation accrual and usage period.  The determination of entitlement in these circumstances will be made at the departmental level and will be based on the terms of the applicable employment contract or vacation program in effect.

For example, in the case of an employee with a continuous service date of February 1, 2014, whose years of service entitle her to 15 days of vacation in 2015 and 2016 and 16 days in 2017, the following situation would apply:

  • 15 days of vacation in 2015
  • 15 days of vacation in 2016
  • Access to a further 7.5 days of vacation (equal to 6-months of vacation entitlement) to take in either 2015 or 2016
  • 16 days of vacation in 2017

Please note that there is no change to the amount of vacation you earn. Your annual entitlement will continue to be based on your completed years of continuous service as of July 1 in any given year and/or the terms of your employment contract.

As always, you will be required to schedule your vacation in consultation with your manager, to ensure that departmental operations are not negatively affected. Managers have discretion as to how and when employees' vacation balances are used, and how this transition period will be managed.

In some cases, up to five days of carry-over into 2017 may be approved by your manager if operational requirements don’t allow for that vacation to be used by the end of 2016.

I encourage you to speak with your manager to develop a vacation schedule for the remainder of 2015 and 2016 that is both operationally feasible for your unit, and as convenient as possible for you.

If you have any questions about these changes or your specific situation and vacation entitlements, please speak with your manager directly. If you still have questions after speaking with your manager, please feel free to reach out to your Human Resources Advisor.


Heather Shields
Director & Counsel
Employee/Labour Relations
Human Resources
Queen’s University

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