Section 6 - Attendance/Leave

Policy Number: 6.8 - VACATION LEAVE

SCOPE: FACULTY AND STAFF Issued: 4/1/00

Revised: 1/01/07; 3/01/07


1. Policy and Eligibility: Regular staff members and faculty who work the staff work schedule of Lamar University are entitled to a vacation leave allowance within the standards of the Texas Government Code. The purpose of vacation leave is to provide income protection to the employee while allowing for a period of recreational leave or other absences from work not covered by other leaves. Employees are encouraged to use the majority of their earned vacation leave each year. It is important that employees have time to rest and relax each year in order to maintain maximum productivity. Vacation leave also allows employees to take care of a variety of personal matters when it is not possible to do so outside normal working hours.

2. Rate of Accrual and Accrual Computations: Vacation entitlement accrues as follows:

2.1 Vacation leave entitlement accrues from the first day of employment and terminates on the last day of employment.

2.2 Vacation with pay may not be taken until the staff member has been continuously employed with the state for six months.1 Continuous employment means that no leave without pay (i.e., for a full calendar month which does not count as state service credit) has been taken.* The six-month eligibility requirement means that once an employee has completed six months or more of continuous state employment and then leaves state employment, that person is eligible to take vacation leave as it is earned upon reemployment, or be paid for it on termination following such reemployment. 2 An employee who separates from one state agency will not be paid for his or her unused vacation time if they are reemployed by another state agency that grants vacation time within 30 days of leaving his or her previous job.2

2.3 Full time employees will accrue vacation leave in accordance with the following schedule.3

                 Length of                             Hours Accrued                     Max Hours to Carry
            State Employment:                        Per Month                       Forward – Year to Year

          Less than 2 years                                        8                                            180

          2 but less than 5 years                                 9                                            244

          5 but less than 10 years                              10                                            268

         10 but less than 15 years                              11                                           292

         15 but less than 20 years                              13                                           340

         20 but less than 25 years                              15                                           388

         25 but less than 30 years                              17                                           436

         30 but less than 35 years                              19                                           484

         35 years or more                                           21                                           532


2.4 Part-time employees accrue vacation leave on a proportionate basis. 4 For example, a fifty (50) percent staff member with under two (2) years of total State employment will earn four hours monthly (.50 X 8 = 4).

2.5. Vacation leave entitlement will continue to accrue during periods when the employee is on an approved leave with pay; however, this leave accrual will not be credited until the date of the employee's return to duty. 5 Vacation leave entitlement will be credited to an individual for time in a leave without pay status if he/she has any fraction of paid employment in that month.6

2.6 State service is defined to include all eligible service to the State of Texas including part-time, faculty, or legislative service. Time need not be continuous. All previous State service must be verified by Human Resources. Credit for the higher rate of accrual as shown on the chart shall be given if the anniversary date falls on the first calendar day of the month; otherwise the increase will occur on the first calendar day of the following month. If an employee begins working in a position that accrues vacation leave on the first work day of the month, the employee is deemed to have begun working on the first calendar day of the month for the purpose of this subsection.7

Service in a public independent school system of Texas or a Community College is not considered State service.8

Employees who return to State employment following an extended military leave of absence without pay are entitled to have their time on active duty credited toward total State employment for vacation leave earning purposes.


3. Vacation Leave Utilized: Vacation leave taken must be recorded in hours. When charging for time less than an hour, vacation leave taken must be rounded off to quarter hours, i.e., fifteen (15) minutes = 0.25 hrs., thirty (30) minutes = 0.5 hrs., forty-five (45) minutes = .75 hrs., etc.

In computing vacation time taken, holidays falling during an individual's vacation period will not be charged against vacation leave. Illness occurring during a vacation period will be charged against sick leave and will not be charged against vacation leave if the staff member presents a physician's statement or other acceptable verification.

4. Maximum Accrual: Normally, supervisors should encourage staff members to take vacation leave during the fiscal year in which it is earned. An employee may carry forward from one fiscal year to the next fiscal year an amount not to exceed the applicable maximum rate as cited in Section 2.3 of this policy. The maximum carry over for part time employees will be proportional to the amount of hours of their regular schedule. For example, a fifty percent staff member could carry over half the amount that a full-time employee can carry over. Any vacation leave balance which exceeds the maximum carryover will be rolled into the employee’s sick leave.9 Maximum allowable carry-over is indicated in the accrual chart.

5. Scheduling of Leave: Directors, Deans, Department Chairs, and Supervisors shall schedule vacations in accordance with department needs and to insure the presence of an effective work force at all times. Employee preferences should be given as much consideration as possible.

6. Vacation Leave Approval: Vacation leave must be requested in advance and approved by the designated department official. Prior to taking vacation leave, the employee must complete a Request for Leave Form (F3.6A) and submit it to the department official with the designated authority to approve leave. The department official who has the authority to approve leave will be the head of the department unless otherwise directed by the President. The employee is responsible for recording vacation leave taken on the Departmental Vacation/Sick Leave Record (F3.6) and the Department shall verify its accuracy. All vacation leave taken by an employee during the month must be reported on the Vacation/Sick Leave Record (F3.6) and the record must be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources.

7. Transfers: An employee who transfers to Lamar University from another agency of the State of Texas will be given credit by the University for any unused balance of accumulated vacation leave, provided there is no interruption in service, i.e., the individual is placed on the payroll of the University on the first working day succeeding the day separated from the previous agency or department.10 This provision also applies to individuals transferring to and from grant accounts. Request for verification of past employment shall be presented to the Office of Human Resources immediately upon employment.

8. Vacation Leave on Separation: An employee who resigns, is dismissed, or is separated from the University after six (6) months of continuous state employment, is entitled to be paid for all vacation time. However, when an employee is a direct transfer to another state agency or institution without a break in service, vacation leave transfers to the new employer.11

8.1. Payment for all vacation time duly accrued as of the separation will be made by a "lump sum payment". Any questions concerning "lump sum payment" procedures should be directed to Payroll Services. A lump sum payment to an individual for accrued vacation time constitutes wages and is subject to Social Security and Federal Withholding Tax. A terminating or retiring employee is not entitled to receive longevity or hazardous duty pay when he/she is compensated for his accrued vacation leave in a lump sum.

8.2 Upon the recommendation of the department and approval of the Director of Human Resources, the terminating employee may be paid for accrued vacation leave by allowing the employee to remain on the payroll while drawing the terminal vacation time. Sick leave may not be used when the employee has been allowed to use vacation time in this manner, but the employee may continue to receive longevity and/or hazardous duty pay while remaining on the payroll. The employee on terminal leave will not accrue further vacation or sick leave.12

8.3. Employees separated during their first six (6) months of state service will not be paid for any accrued vacation time.


9. Status Change: An eligible employee whose status changes to a position not eligible for vacation leave entitlement shall expend accrued vacation entitlement or receive payment for that leave prior to changing status, or the President may grant an individual permission to freeze the accrued balance at the time of status change. For example, such an exception might be made if the change of status is expected to be temporary and it is planned that the individual will return to an eligible status within a reasonable period of time. However, if the individual separates from the University instead of returning to an eligible status, the lump sum payment will be based on the rate of pay the individual was earning at the time of freezing.

9.1 Vacation leave time which is not expended prior to the assumption of the non-vacation accruing position will be frozen for the duration of the employment in a non-accruing position. Lump sum payment for the frozen leave will only be made at the time of separation from the University, provided that the employee is not transferring to a vacation accruing position in another State agency or institution. Should the employee return to a vacation accruing position within the University, the employee will be eligible to use the accrued vacation as well as accrue in the future.


10. Advanced Vacation: Advanced vacation leave in excess of an employee's actual total accrued (unused) vacation balance is not permissible. For example, an individual cannot take a week (40 hours) off for vacation until he/she has actually accrued 40 hours of vacation leave entitlement. Exceptions shall be made only by the President.
 
11. Annual Leave Accruals for RTW Retirees: Vacation accruals for return-to-work retirees are based on retirement and rehire dates. Return-to-work retirees are not required to re-establish the six month continuous service requirement in order to take vacation with pay. The table below provides examples of the different vacation accruals for return-to-work retirees who retired on June 1, 2005, or later.

Rehire Date

Accrual Rate

Example

Prior to

9-1-05

Accruals based on total state

Service, (no change)

If the retiree retired on 5-31-05 and returned to work on 7-1-05, the July, August, and September vacation accruals would use total state service in the calculation just as before retirement.

After
9-1-05
Accruals based on total state
Service (no change)
If the retiree retired on 5-31-05 and returned to work on 10-1-05, the October vacation accrual would be based on total state service just as before retirement.
Prior to
9-1-05
Split accrual rates
If the retiree retired on 6-30-05 and returned on 8-1-05, the August vacation accrual would be calculated on total state service, but the vacation accruals for September and thereafter would be calculated based on state service since 8-1-05.
9-1-05 or later
Accruals based on state service since retirement
If the retiree retired on 6-30-05 and returned on 10-1-05, the vacation accruals for October and thereafter would be based on state service since 10-1-05.
 

 


 

12. Employees Paid From Grants: Since vacation hours earned by an employee while working on a grant or clearly a function of such employment, the fiscal impact must be included as a part of the grant budget. Hence, grant account managers shall ensure that there is no outstanding vacation liability on the last day of the grant period for hours accrued by such employees. The grant account manager shall require, as a condition of employment, that vacation time be used prior to grant expiration, and such time will be taken at a grant account manager’s discretion. However, grant account managers are encouraged to accommodate, as far as is practical and reasonable, the employee’s preferences as to when such vacation time is taken.



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References:

1 Texas Government Code §661.152

For more information see LEAVE WITHOUT PAY

2 Texas Government Code §661.062

3 Texas Government Code §661.152

4 Ibid

5 State Auditors Office Leave Interpretations No. 91-05 (5/8/91)

6 TX Government Code §661.152

7 Ibid

8 Attorney General Opinion No. WW1443

9 Texas Government Code §661.152

10 Texas Government Code §661.153

11 Texas Government Code §661.062

12 Texas Government Code §661.067