Human Resources

Updated time away from work benefits

In the coming months, the College will begin implementing updates to its time away from work benefits for staff members. These changes are designed to create a simpler, more flexible and more equitable array of benefits that both promotes the well-being of our staff members and meets the operational and constituent service needs of the College.

These changes do not apply to leaves of absence for faculty, which are covered in the Faculty Manual.

Click on each link below to read about these changes. The information session slides can be found here and full policy details can be found in Section 400 of the Employee Handbook.

  • Vacation and Personal Leave (VPL)

    Vacation and Personal Leave (VPL)

    • Vacation and personal business leave will be consolidated into one “bucket” called vacation/personal leave (VPL). Starting with the first pay period in October, full-time staff members, regardless of their pay status (hourly or salaried) or years of service, will accrue 20 VPL days over 12 months:
      • Vacation balances as of the last pay period in September will be converted to VPL.
      • Hourly staff members will accrue 6.15 hours of VPL each biweekly pay period, starting with the pay period that is paid on Oct. 20 (26 pay periods).
      • Salaried staff members will accrue 6.67 hours of VPL each semimonthly pay period, starting with the pay period that is paid on Oct. 1 (24 pay periods).
      • Accruals are prorated for staff members who work less than 40 hours/week or less than 12 months/year.
    • VPL is in addition to 15 days off for holidays and recesses (including two new summer recess days starting in 2024), bringing the total time away from work to 35 days annually – more than 13 percent of weekdays in a year. (Refer to the holidays and recess days section for details.)
    • For hourly staff members, VPL will be used to cover absences you would have previously used personal business leave to cover. When this change takes effect in October, hourly staff members’ unused personal business leave will be added to their VPL balance, so they will not lose those days. For example, if you have 120 hours of vacation and 16 hours of personal business leave, you will have 136 hours of VPL.
    • Staff members will accrue vacation/personal leave (VPL) on a continuous basis instead of on a calendar-year basis. This means accruals will no longer reset to zero every January, and the practice of carrying over up to one week of unused time from the prior year will become unnecessary.
    • Starting on Jan. 1, 2024, a staff member’s vacation/personal leave (VPL) balance cannot exceed 20 days. VPL balances may exceed 20 days until then. On Jan. 1, any balances exceeding 20 days will be reduced to 20. Under the prior practice, accruals would have reset to zero and staff members would have been limited to carrying over up to one week only.
    • After Jan. 1, 2024, if a staff member reaches 20 days of VPL, accrual of VPL will stop until the staff member takes time off, at which point their accrual of VPL will resume. Since accruals will no longer reset to zero every January, staff members will not lose any of their accrued VPL at year end. VPL will simply continue accruing, unless the maximum VPL balance is reached.
    • Hourly staff members hired before 2014 also receive 1 to 3 days of supplemental paid leave (SPL). SPL is designed to account for the additional days off these staff members earned under the College's prior vacation policy. SPL hours do not count toward the maximum VPL balance. Also, once you earn SPL hours, you will not lose them, but SPL is not paid out at the end of employment like VPL.

    Question: Why only 20 days of vacation/personal leave?

    Adequate time away from work is an essential benefit for sustaining well-being and should be available equally to everyone. Meanwhile, salaried and hourly staff members who earn more than 20 vacation days do not use all their time and end up losing some of it at the end of the year due to the resetting of accruals every January and the limit on carrying over unused time from the prior year.

    With these changes, full-time staff members, regardless of pay status or years of service, will get the same number of days off per year: 35 days – 20 vacation/personal days (VPL) and 15 holidays/recess days. This is a rebalanced amount of time off we feel staff members can reasonably manage and still get their work done. It also takes into account other steps the College has taken in recent years – as well as in these changes – to enhance other time-away benefits. Specifically, the College has added four holidays over the last two years – Memorial Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth. We are also adding two summer recess days alongside Independence Day, as well as immediately expanding bereavement leave to cover other types of absences that would have previously required using vacation time.

    Question: I can currently carry over up to one week of vacation at the end of the calendar year. Why is that going away?

    The fact is that most of our staff members do not use all their time off within the calendar year and end up losing some of it. We feel that accruing vacation/personal leave (VPL) on a continuous basis instead of accruals resetting every January provides staff members with more flexibility in planning their time off. Since accruals will run continuously and no longer reset to zero every January, the practice of carrying over a limited amount of unused time from the prior year will become unnecessary. After the maximum VPL balance takes effect in January 2024, you will not lose any of your accrued VPL at the end of each year. And as long as you regularly use your VPL, you will avoid hitting the maximum VPL balance.

    Question: Can I still borrow vacation/personal leave before I accrue it?

    Yes, full-time staff members may borrow up to 80 hours of VPL, subject to prorating for those who work less than 40 hours per week and/or less than 12 months of the year.

  • Holidays and Recess Days

    Staff members frequently tell us how much they value holidays and winter recess (the days off between Christmas and New Year’s). In addition to having this special time away with their friends and family, emails are not piling up and meetings are not being missed. Staff members feel they can disconnect on holidays and recesses more than they can on vacations.

    • Consistent with that sentiment, we have added two summer recess days alongside the Independence Day holiday. For example, in 2024, July 4 falls on a Thursday, so the recess days will be Wednesday, July 3, and Friday, July 5, giving most staff members a five-day break.
    • With the addition of the summer recess days, staff members will now have 15 holiday/recess days over the course of the year – nine holidays and six recess days (four in the winter and two in the summer). You will find the yearly holiday and recess calendar on the HR website.
    • Except for essential operations and services, college offices will close on recess days.
    • The discretionary day currently chosen by the administration (this year it was July 3) will be discontinued after this year.

    Question: What if I must work on a holiday or recess day?

    When staff members are required to work on a college holiday or recess day, they will receive an alternative day off (ADO) they may use at a later time. Supervisors are expected to work with their team members to plan when alternative days off will be used.

    Question: Why is the discretionary day going away?

    The discretionary day – which has been a day off designated by the College each year – is a common source of confusion among staff members. To simplify matters, we are discontinuing the discretionary day after this year and adding two summer recess days.

  • Sick Leave
    • Starting next year, salaried staff members will receive and may use up to 10 days of paid sick leave each year, equitable with what hourly staff members receive and may use. Under our current sick leave policy, salaried staff members do not accrue sick leave and have no set limit on using sick leave.
    • On Jan. 1, 2024, salaried staff members will have a starting balance of 10 days of sick leave. If you started employment as a salaried staff member in 2023, your starting balance will be prorated.
    • Salaried staff members will then accrue 3.33 hours of sick leave each semimonthly pay period (10 days over 12 months), starting in January.
  • Bereavement/Trauma Leave (BTL)
    • We have created an expanded category of leave to provide staff members with time away due to traumatic events, as well as to mourn the death of a loved one.
    • BTL will typically be between one and five days, as agreed upon by the staff member and their supervisor, but can be longer if circumstances dictate. HR should be consulted on BTL requests of more than five days.
    • BTL eliminates the need for a staff member to use VPL to cover absences due to a range of traumatic events, such as the loss of one’s home due to a fire or flood or the death of a non-relative with whom you had a significant relationship.
    • This expanded benefit replaces our current bereavement leave, which had been limited to the death of a close family member.