Transfers from other state agencies
Employees transferring from another Commonwealth of Virginia state agency are credited for years of service for purposes of leave accrual. However, leave balances from other state agencies or institutions are not transferrable. The previous state agency may be required to pay out leave balances prior to transfer in accordance with DHRM policies and/or in accordance with its own policies.
Traditional sick leave transfer
The traditional sick leave bank may be used for absences in excess of five work days for serious illness, injury or catastrophic or major chronic conditions that prevent the employee from performing the full duties of their job. Up to six days (48 hours) of traditional sick leave per leave year may be used to cover a short-term family illness. University employees with banked Traditional Sick Leave balances must exhaust those balances prior to using university short-term disability.
Disability credits - former Classified Employees only
The University leave plan does not impact disability credits. Employees with disability credits will have their balances maintained for future use. The disability credits may be used for absences to supplement income replacement for absences approved under the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP). 25% of any unused disability credits will be paid out upon separation up to a maximum of $5,000. Employees may opt to convert disability credits to additional VRS Service credit, in lieu of payment. Unused disability credits for employees who transfer to another VSDP-covered position outside VCU are transferred to the agency where the new position is located, and not paid out by VCU.
Disability credits - former A&P Faculty only
The University leave plan does not impact disability credits. Employees with disability credits will have their balances maintained for future use. The disability credits may be used to supplement income replacement for absences under the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP). Unused disability credits are not payable upon separation. Employees may opt to convert disability credits to additional Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Service credit upon separation from state employment. Unused disability credits for employees who transfer to another VSDP-covered position outside VCU may be transferred to the agency where the new position is located.
New hire proration
New hires or rehires receive a prorated leave balance for the year in which they are hired or rehired based on their start date. Although employees have access to the full prorated amount of the applicable leave year accrual amount at the beginning of their employment, leave is accrued on a per-pay-period basis. If the new hire starts in the middle of a pay period, they will receive the accrual for the entire pay period. A new employee who starts work on July 10th is granted approximately 14 days of leave for the calendar year, the prorated amount for half a year.
The full year leave benefit is available for use at the beginning of each leave plan year (January 10th.) However, leave is actually accrued over the course of the year, on a per-pay-period basis, based on one’s years of service. For example, an employee with 5 years of service may opt to use 10 days of leave starting on January 10th, even though the employee will not actually have accrued these days until May. (Leave accrues at a rate of 1.25 days per pay period, which is the full year accrual rate divided by the number of pay periods or 30 days/24 pay)
If an employee leaves the university or reduce their FTE during the course of the year, the time used and the time earned are reconciled. (See Reconciliation and payout upon separation below.)
Employees considered to be nonexempt pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act report leave time taken in 15-minute increments. For example, a nonexempt employee who has a doctor’s appointment that requires the individual to be out of the office for an hour and 30 minutes will report an hour and a half of leave.
Exempt employees typically only report leave time for absences of a half day (four hours) or greater. Non-routine or occasional absences of less than half a day (four hours) are considered incidental and not reportable. For example, if an exempt employee has a doctor’s appointment that requires the individual to be out of the office for an hour and 25 minutes, no leave is reported. If an exempt employee with a typical work schedule of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. leaves at 11:00 a.m., five hours of leave must be reported. (Five and not six hours are reported because the employee does not need to report leave for the lunch period.) Note: just because the leave does not meet the threshold for reporting, employees still need to inform their manager of their absence.
Officially recognized university holidays are granted in addition to the leave balances granted in this policy. Holiday leave is not part of one’s paid time off allotment. The university observes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving observance (2 days), Winter Closing. Occasionally, the Governor grants additional holiday leave. University and Academic Professionals are eligible for these additional holidays when granted. All full-time employees earn the scheduled holiday by either working or having paid leave hours to cover the scheduled work shift on the work day before and the work day after the holiday. Full-time University employees are compensated for 8 hours of time per work day for these holidays. Part-time employees’ pay is prorated based on “typical” or “average” hours worked on that day.
University designated employees or those who are required to work on a university holiday, or those whose normal, scheduled day off falls on a holiday, accrue holiday leave. The amount of leave earned is proportional to the “typical” or “average” number of hours worked (not to exceed 8 hours). Holiday leave must be used within a year of its accrual or it is forfeited. Upon termination, employees will be paid for any banked holiday leave.
The maximum number of hours that can be carried forward at the end of the leave year is equal to one year’s leave accrual (see Table A). For example, if an employee with 2 years of service earns 224 hours of leave in a year, 224 hours of leave may be carried over and added to the new leave bank that is granted on January 10th. The employee would begin the year with 448 hours of leave (224 carry forward hours plus 224 hours for the new leave year.) The carry-forward hours serve as the beginning balance on which the next year's leave time is added.
Unused leave above the maximum carry forward limit is forfeited. For example, the maximum carry over amount for an employee with 3 years of service is 224 hours. If an employee with 3 years of service ends the leave year (on January 9th) with 250 hours of leave, the individual may only carry over 224 hours of leave into the new leave year; 26 hours are forfeited (250 - 224 = 26).
Reconciliation and payout upon separation
Although employees receive the full annual leave at the beginning of the leave year, providing employees with maximum flexibility in their use of leave time, the leave is actually earned on a per-pay-period basis. If the employee leaves the university or reduces their FTE during the course of the year, the time used and the time earned are reconciled. Leave earned, but not used, is paid to the employee at 100 percent of its value, while leave used but not earned is subtracted from the final paycheck. For reconciliation purposes, if an employee leaves during the middle of a pay period they are considered to have earned the accrual for the entire pay period.
- An employee with 5 years of service receives 30 days of leave in a year, which is provided on January 10th. (This employee has not carried over any leave from the previous year.) The employee uses 14 days of leave in January for a vacation. The employee then leaves VCU in April, after the 7th pay period. Since leave is accrued on a per-pay-period basis, the employee accrues 1.25 days per pay period (30 days/24 pay periods = 1.25 days of leave.) The employee worked 7 pay periods, so has earned 8.75 days of leave (7 pay periods x 1.25 days = 8.75 days of leave.) The employee used 14 days of leave in January, but only earned 8.75 days of leave. As a result, the employee must repay the university for 5.25 days of leave that were used, but not yet earned (14 - 8.75 = 5.25).
- An employee with 5 years of service carries over 10 days of leave into the new leave year and receives 30 days of leave (for the new leave year) on January 10th, for a total of 40 days of leave. The employee uses 14 days of leave in January for a vacation and then leaves VCU in April, after the 7th pay period. Since leave is accrued on a per-pay-period basis, the employee accrues 1.25 days per pay period (30 days/24 pay periods = 1.25 days of leave.) The employee worked 7 pay periods, so has earned 8.75 days of leave (7 pay periods x 1.25 days = 8.75 days of leave.) For leave reconciliation purposes, the employee has a total leave bank of 18.25 days (the 10 days carried over + the 8.75 days accrued to date.) However, the employee used 14 days of leave in January, which must be deducted from the leave banks. As a result, the employee will be paid out upon termination for 4.25 days of leave (18.25 days - 14 days used = 4.25 days earned and not used.)
FAQ: I manage an exempt employee (University and Academic Professional) who is not reporting leave for time away from work stating she’s using the “half day” in the university leave policy that she’s entitled to. Is that allowed under the new leave policy?
In the university leave plan, exempt University and Academic Professionals typically only report leave time for absences of a half day (four hours) or greater. Non-routine or occasional absences of less than half a day (four hours) are considered incidental and not reportable. However, those four hours are not an entitlement and are subject to review by the employee's manager. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempt employees are paid a regular salary and are not paid based on the number of hours worked. They are expected to meet operational needs and are evaluated on results achieved, exercising professional judgment regarding the work that needs to be done and meeting expectations of dependability, conscientiousness, reliability and trustworthiness. For these employees, meeting the responsibilities of the position is emphasized over working a specific number of hours. While a standard work week for full-time exempt employees may be established based on a 40-hour schedule, they are expected to work as many additional hours as necessary to complete their jobs. It’s not unusual for exempt employees to work well beyond that typical schedule and when they do, the additional hours are not tracked, they do not result in overtime pay or in compensatory time off. The four hour reporting increment is designed to reflect the flexibility of an exempt employee’s work schedule and to help balance the demands of these additional expectations. It is important to keep in mind that the policy limits these non-reportable absences to “incidental,” “non-routine” or “occasional.” Regular or scheduled absences such as twice-aweek physical therapy appointments or time off every other Friday afternoon are reportable as leave under the policy. Assume in all cases, the exempt employee is a University and Academic Professional with a typical work schedule of Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For example:
- An exempt employee has a doctor’s appointment that requires the individual to be out of the office for an hour and 25 minutes during the middle of the work day.
- Typically, no leave is reported.
- An exempt employee leaves one afternoon at 3:30 to pick up a family member from the airport.
- Typically, no leave is reported.
- An exempt employee is not feeling well and leave works at 11 a.m.,
- Five hours of leave is reported. (Five and not six hours are reported because the employee does not need to report leave for the lunch period.)
It’s important to note in the examples above, even if the time away does not meet the threshold for leave reporting, the employee still must inform their manager of their absence. Also note, the four-hour reporting increment only applies to University and Academic Professionals under the VCU “university leave” plan. The Commonwealth of Virginia requires Classified Staff who are exempt employees to report leave in 15-minute increments. While any work schedule flexibility under the circumstances described above is ideally determined mutually by the manager and employee, ultimately, it is management’s duty to hold employees responsible and to be fair. There is no policy language that can substitute for good management. The cornerstones of the exempt working relationship are clear expectations from the manager, professional accountability of the employee and good communication between the two.