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It's Time for Vacation Planning!

As June gloom inspires daydreams of warmer climates, summer vacations can be just on the horizon. To make sure you get your full complement of earned vacation time, Human Resources has a public service message: check your vacation balance and plan to use vacation. To cut costs across the university, at the beginning of this year Stanford began a three-year process to lower the maximum vacation accrual cap from 60 days in 2009 to 30 days in 2012.

As of January 1, 2010, SLAC staff with vacation hours at or above the cap for their accrual rate stopped earning additional vacation hours. The cap will decrease each year on January 1, through January 1, 2012. So now is a great time to plan a vacation!

Here's how to get the most out of your time:

Q: Where is the cap now?
A: The cap varies, depending whether you are exempt or non-exempt staff, and based on your accrual rate, which increases with years of employment at SLAC. The largest cap, for exempt staff with more than two years of service (or non-exempt with 10 or more years), dropped from 60 days (480 hours) to 50 days (400 hours) in January 2010, and will drop to 40 days (320 hours) in January 2011 and again to 30 (240 hours) in January 2012, where it will remain constant. See the table below for accrual rates and caps for 2010.

Q: What happened for people who had more than 400 hours this January?
A: Their balances were held at that number, and they can continue to use all of their earned hours—but they will not accrue any more vacation until they drop below 400 hours.

Q: What happens if I have more than my allowed maximum hours at the end of the year?
A: You will no longer accrue any vacation hours until you use enough vacation time to drop your balance below its 2011 limit.

Q: How do I know how much vacation time I've earned?
A: It's on your time sheet (or effort sheet) at the bottom right column.

Q: How do I know if I'll reach the 2011 cap before December 31, 2010?
A: You can plan your vacation time using this spreadsheet: Go to the Human Resources Forms page, and under Records, click Vacation Planner (an Excel file).

Q: How quickly do I accrue vacation time?
A: It depends on how many years you've been at SLAC and whether you are an exempt or non-exempt employee. Accrual rates range from 10 days per year (6.67 hours per month) to 24 days per year (16 hours per month). See Stanford's guide, under Vacations, section 22.5.

Q: What can I do to earn all of the vacation time I can?
A: Pay attention to how much vacation your accrue and what your cap is, using the links above. Work with your supervisor to plan when to use your vacation this year.

Vacation Accrual Caps for 2010
Non-exempt employees Exempt employees
Years ServiceHours/MonthCap  Years ServiceHours/MonthCap
0-16.67 300   0-110 300
2-410300   2-9 13.33400
5-911.33 340   10+16 400
10-1414.67 400       

Editor's note: Please note that these policies do not apply to bargaining unit employees, for whom vacation is determined by the bargaining unit contract.

—Marissa Cevallos
SLAC Today, June 2, 2010