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Vacation Time Policy

The University strives to provide a healthy workplace that supports a work/life balance and provides employees with periods of uninterrupted time away from their jobs and work-related duties.

In support of this pursuit, please find the relevant policy and procedure documents below:

Vacation Policy: The purpose of this Policy is to set standards for the fair and consistent accrual and usage of paid vacation time.

Vacation Policy Procedures: The purpose of these Procedures is to support the Vacation Policy and to provide a clear statement of the principles to be considered for ensuring that the University complies with the Vacation Policy and adheres to the Employment Standards Act and the applicable collective agreement(s).

Vacation Policy Transition Plan Q&A

Questions

  1. How does vacation work now?
  2. What is changing about vacation?
  3. Does this change affect the number of days of vacation to which I am entitled in a year?
  4. Why is the vacation policy changing?
  5. Who is affected by these changes?
  6. Do these changes affect the collective agreements in place at the university?
  7. How will the alignment of vacation earning and usage periods be implemented?
  8. How much vacation am I entitled to during the transition period?
  9. How will vacation be calculated beginning January 1, 2017?
  10. What happens if I can’t use all of my vacation for the transition period?
  11. What happens if I earn an additional day of vacation effective July 1, 2015?
  12. What happens if I earn an additional day of vacation effective July 1, 2016?
  13. How can I find out my vacation entitlement during the transition period?
  14. Can I take my “advance access” vacation at any time that I want?
  15. My FTE fluctuates throughout the year; how does this affect me?
  16. I am on a continuing term appointment; how does this affect me?
  17. I am on a term appointment; how does this affect me?
  18. My employment is subject to an averaging agreement; how will these changes affect me?
  19. I began working at the University prior to 2015 and I was offered additional vacation days as part of my initial offer of employment; how does this transition affect me?
  20. I began working at the University in 2015 and I was offered additional vacation days as part of my initial offer of employment; how does this transition affect me?
  21. What happens if I leave the university during the transition period?
  22. What happens if I leave the university after the transition period?
  23. How do these changes affect new employees?

Answers

  1. How does vacation work now?

  • ​In most circumstances, employees earn vacation from July 1 – June 30 of each year and can use this vacation between January 1 and December 31 of the following year

  • The current system means employees earn (or accrue) vacation between July 1 and December 31, but are not able to use that vacation until the following calendar year

  1. What is changing about vacation?

  • Effective January 1, 2017, both the vacation earning period and the vacation usage period will be aligned with the calendar year

  • This means that employees will earn and use vacation from January 1 – December 31 of each year

  1. Does this change affect the number of days of vacation to which I am entitled in a year?

  • No – vacation entitlement is still based upon an employee’s completed years of continuous service and/or the terms of their employment contract

  • This entitlement is outlined in the vacation policy on the HR website, the applicable collective agreement, or in the employee’s employment contract

  1. Why is the vacation policy changing?

  • These changes will make the vacation system more transparent and easier for employees and managers to track how much vacation has been earned and how much remains available to use.

  • The new vacation policy will align with HR PeopleSoft, which tracks vacation based on a calendar year.

  • Unused vacation is a financial liability for the university, and the new policy will help reduce the carry forwards that result from the July 1 – December 31 accrual period.

  1. Who is affected by these changes?

    All staff employed in grades 2-9 (non-union) and 10-14 appointments; staff in appointments included in USW Local 2010, CUPE Local 229, CUPE Local 254, CUPE Local 1302, ONA and OPSEU bargaining units

  2. Do these changes affect the collective agreements in place at the university?

    The transition does not change the content or interpretation of any of our collective agreements

  3. How will the alignment of vacation earning and usage periods be implemented?
  • As communicated to employees on October 2, 2015, an 18-month transition period began on July 1, 2015 and will continue until December 31, 2016

  • During this transition period employees will have “advance access” to the vacation that typically is earned between July 1 and December 31, 2015 but not accessible until January 1, 2016

  • The purpose of this “advance access” is to eliminate the six months of accrual that, under the current policy, employees carry forward into each new calendar year

  • Employees are expected to use 24 months of vacation entitlement during this 18 month transition period, as well as, any existing vacation carryover

  • Employees are therefore expected to have a zero vacation balance as of December 31, 2016

  1. How much vacation am I entitled to during the transition period?
  • Employees continue to earn their normal vacation entitlement and do not get additional vacation as a result of this transition period.

  • However, it may seem like extra vacation as employees are expected to use 24 months of vacation during the 18 month transition period

  • What is being used during this period is the 6 months of vacation entitlement that employees normally accrued between July 1 and December 31, 2015, but previously could only begin to access beginning on January 1, 2016 

  • This is equivalent to half of an employee’s 2016 vacation entitlement

  • This is a one-time alignment of the vacation accrual and usage periods

How it used to be Diagram

Transition to New Policy Diagram

Please note: the above calculations are an example only, and based on an assumption that the employee earns 15 days of vacation per year and is not eligible for an increase during this period.

  1. How will vacation be calculated beginning January 1, 2017?

  • Effective January 1, 2017 employees will earn and use vacation on the basis of a January 1- December 31 vacation year

  • Vacation will continue to be earned on a pro-rated monthly basis

  • The current practice of using vacation which has not yet been accrued will remain in place, with requests submitted to the applicable department head/designate and approved or declined on a case-by-case basis

  • As always, reasonable attempts will be made to allow employees to take vacation at times that are agreeable to them, while ensuring that the operational requirements of the department are satisfied

  1. What happens if I can’t use all of my vacation for the transition period?

  • The goal is for all employees to have a zero vacation balance by end of business on December 31, 2016, if this is not operationally feasible, carryover may be approved, pursuant to the terms of the vacation policy

  • In exceptional circumstances, some departments may have a longer transition period to use vacation balances that remain on January 1, 2017

  • A transition plan will include details as to how and when outstanding vacation balances will be eliminated. Please contact your HR Advisor should you require advice or assistance with respect to any such special circumstances

  • As always, reasonable attempts will be made to allow employees to take vacation at times that are agreeable to them, while ensuring that the operational requirements of the department are satisfied

  • Under the new policy a carryover of 5 days will continue to be permitted if a department head/designate grants an employee’s written request in advance for carryover or  where exceptional circumstances prevented the utilization of vacation days 

  1. What happens if I earn an additional day of vacation effective July 1, 2015?

Employees who receive an increase to their vacation entitlement accrual rate effective July 1, 2015 based upon their completed years of continuous service or employment contract will be entitled to 0.5 additional day as part of their “advance access”

  1. What happens if I earn an additional day of vacation effective July 1, 2016?

An increase effective July 1, 2016 will have no effect upon this transition process, but an employee’s increment will be reflected in their 2017 vacation entitlement

  1. How can I find out my vacation entitlement during the transition period?

Employees should start by asking their manager, and then if necessary, contact the appropriate  HR Advisor

  1. Can I take my “advance access” vacation at any time that I want?

  • Employees should follow the same process previously followed for requesting and taking vacation – it should be taken at a previously-approved time which is agreeable both to the employee and the department head/designate

  • The department head/designate has the ability to schedule vacation for an employee when necessary

  1. My FTE fluctuates throughout the year; how does this affect me?

  • Vacation entitlements will continue to be prorated based upon FTE during and following this transition period

  • For example, an employee who works 80% time for three months of the year will have their vacation entitlement prorated at 80% for those three months of the earning period

  1. I am on a continuing term appointment; how does this affect me?

  • Vacation entitlements will continue to be prorated based upon the terms of an employee’s appointment

  • Employees on continuing term appointments typically use their entire vacation entitlements during their terms and therefore are not eligible for “advance access” vacation

  1. I am on a term appointment; how does this affect me?

Employees with term appointments will be treated the same as those on continuing appointments

  1. My employment is subject to an averaging agreement; how will these changes affect me?

Employees whose employment is subject to averaging will have their vacation transitions managed during the transition period in the same way as all other staff, as averaging does not affect vacation entitlements

  1. I began working at the University prior to 2015 and I was offered additional vacation days as part of my initial offer of employment; how does this transition affect me?

Employees are entitled to the “advance access” vacation in the same manner as other employees 

  1. I began working at the University in 2015 and I was offered additional vacation days as part of my initial offer of employment; how does this transition affect me?
  • Employees hired in 2015 commenced employment during the transition period and their entitlement to the “advance access” vacation will depend on the terms of their  contract of employment

  • Employees hired in 2015 should start by asking their manager about their entitlement to advance access, and then if necessary, contact the appropriate  HR Advisor

  1. What happens if I leave the university during the transition period?

Employees who leave the university will be paid out any vacation balances which have been earned but not yet used

  1. What happens if I leave the university after the transition period?

  • Employees who leave the university will be paid out any vacation balances which have been earned but not yet used. 

  • Under the new policy vacation continues to be earned on a monthly basis based upon an employee’s completed years of continuous service or the terms of their employment contract, for example, if an employee leaves the university in February (after the 15th of the month), they will be paid out for two months’ worth of unused vacation (not twelve months)

  1. How do these changes affect new employees?

  • Previously, new employees usually had little to no vacation in their first year of employment (as they were earning vacation which they could not yet access from July 1 – December 31 of their first year)

  • Under the new administration of the vacation policy, new employees will have “real time” access to vacation as they earn it, and so will not be required to wait until the following year to access earned entitlements

  • This practice will be in effect for any employees hired during the transition period, and any new employees to the university on a go-forward basis