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Vacation policy updated, ready for review

Queen’s University is revising its vacation policy and procedures to reflect recent administrative changes.

“Uninterrupted time away from work-related duties supports a work-life balance, which is a key component of a healthy workplace that we seek to foster at Queen’s,” says Dan Bradshaw, Interim Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources). “The revised policy and related procedures set standards for the transparent, fair and consistent accrual and usage of paid vacation time.”

The policy and procedures simplify how staff earn and take vacation. Previously, staff would earn vacation from July 1 to June 30, and take that vacation from January 1 to December 31. Under the new system, vacation will be both earned and taken in the same calendar year.

Human Resources reminds managers and staff that the goal is for all staff to have a zero vacation balance by Dec. 31, 2016. If operational requirements don’t allow for vacation to be used by the end of 2016, carryover may be approved if a transition plan is in place that outlines how and when outstanding vacation balances will be eliminated.

Vacation Transition Explained
Human Resources has posted on its website a list of commonly asked questions regarding the vacation time transition plan.

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

Importance of tracking vacation

The draft procedures also clearly outline management responsibilities for administering and scheduling vacation. A key aspect is that department heads or designates must ensure that vacation taken by staff is entered into the PeopleSoft system on a monthly basis by the departmental timekeeper, prior to payroll cut-off dates.

“This draft procedure reflects current practice, and reinforces that department heads or designates play an important role ensuring the maintenance of current and accurate timekeeping records,” says Heather Shields, Director and Counsel, Employee and Labour Relations.”

Department heads or designates must also make reasonable efforts to schedule staff vacations as requested, considering the applicable collective agreements and the operational requirements of the department.

Feedback welcome

The draft policy and procedures have been posted on the Queen’s Secretariat and Legal Counsel website. Members of the Queen’s community can submit their comments to policies@queensu.ca by Wednesday, June 15.