Vacation Time Overview

 

 

Vacation Time Overview

GW has undergone a significant transformation in our approach to annual time policies.
Starting from July 1, 2024, we will be departing from the "use it or lose it" concept. Our new vacation policy will ensure that staff who currently accrue and take time off under GW's existing Time Off Policy will no longer forfeit unused accrued time. In introducing this vacation time policy, GW is shifting to a maximum accrual limit structure.

Under the new policy, employees will continue to accrue time until they reach their maximum accrual limit, which is determined based on years of service. Accrual will cease once the maximum cap is reached. In cases where no vacation time is taken, this cap will be reached within 18 months.

 

 

 

Navigate the Changes

 

 


 
booklet icon to represent the vacation policy

Vacation Policy

GW has re-envisioned our philosophy of time off. Effective July 1, 2024, “use it or lose it” will no longer apply.  Under this new vacation policy, staff* that currently accrue and take time off under GW’s current Time Off Policy will no longer forfeit unused time that has been accrued. In introducing vacation time, GW is moving to a maximum accrual limit structure where an employee will continue to accrue vacation time until they reach their accrual limit (based on years of service) and will stop accruing once the maximum accrual cap is reached (within 18 months, if no vacation time is taken).

Below is a comparison of the current policies to the new policies, effective July 1, 2024.

Staff Vacation Time Accruals

Current Staff Policy Features

  • "Use it or lose it" structure: Excess balance over carryover limits (e.g. 40 hours FT, 20 for PT) is forfeited on 6/30. Unused carryover is forfeited 8/31.
  • Years of Service Tiers: 0-2, 2-4, 4-15, 15+.
  • Annual time can be used in advance of accrual.
Years
(Months of Service)
Monthly Accrual Rate (Hours) Max. Annual Time (Hours) Accrued
Up to 2 years
(0-24 Months)
10 120
2-4 years
(25-48 Months)
12 144
4-15 years
(49-180 Months)
14 168
15+ years
(181+ Months)
16 192

*Policy exclusions may apply.

  • For employees represented by a union, they should consult their Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) for their applicable leave policies or otherwise speak with their union representatives for more information about the policy applicable to them. 
  • For librarians who fall under the Code for Librarians, current monthly accrual rates and service year tiers will continue to apply.
  • For full-time Biostatistics Center employees who work 35 hours per week, current proration rules will continue to apply. Maximum accrual limits are 157.5, 189, 220.5, 252, respectively, based on years of service.

**Part-time maximum accrual limits are 90, 108, 126, 144, respectively, based on the years of service.

New Staff Policy Features

  • Maximum accrual limit structure: Time accrues until maximum accrual limit is reached and is not forfeited.
  • Those that reach 10 years of service (less than 11) are rewarded at a higher accrual rate sooner than current policy.
  • Use of vacation time in advance of accrual not allowed.
Years
(Months of Service)
Monthly Accrual Rate (Hours) Max. Vacation Time (Hours) Accrued**
Up to 2 years
(0-24 Months)
10 180
2-4 years
(25-48 Months)
12 216
4-10 years
(49-120 Months)
14 252
10+ years
(121+ Months)
16 288

*Policy exclusions may apply.

  • For employees represented by a union, they should consult their Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) for their applicable leave policies or otherwise speak with their union representatives for more information about the policy applicable to them. 
  • For librarians who fall under the Code for Librarians, current monthly accrual rates and service year tiers will continue to apply.
  • For full-time Biostatistics Center employees who work 35 hours per week, current proration rules will continue to apply. Maximum accrual limits are 157.5, 189, 220.5, 252, respectively, based on years of service.

**Part-time maximum accrual limits are 90, 108, 126, 144, respectively, based on the years of service.

 

Librarian Vacation Time Accruals

Current Librarian Accruals

Library Years (Months) of Service Monthly Accrual Rate (Hours) Maximum Vacation Hours
GW Libraries & Academic Innovation N/A 14.67 176
Jacob Burns Law

Up to 15 (0 - 180 months)

14.67

176

More than 15 (181+ months) 16 192
Himmelfarb Health Sciences

Up to 15 (0 - 180 months)

14.67

176

More than 15 (181+ months) 16 192

New Librarian Accruals

Library Years (Months) of Service Monthly Accrual Rate (Hours) Maximum Vacation Hours
GW Libraries & Academic Innovation N/A 14.67 264
Jacob Burns Law

Up to 15 (0 - 180 months)

14.67

264

More than 15 (181+ months) 16 288
Himmelfarb Health Sciences

Up to 15 (0 - 180 months)

14.67

264

More than 15 (181+ months) 16 288

 

For more information, see the Policy FAQs

 


 

 

map icon to illustrate the transition plan

Transition Plan

GW recognizes that change to a new vacation policy will require an adjustment period in moving to a maximum accrual limit structure. To ensure continued support for taking time away and to encourage continued vacation planning without interruption, GW will be providing transition time.

  • Who is eligible for transition time? Those staff members hired before July 1, 2024 are eligible for transition time.
  • When can transition time be used? Transition time will be available starting on July 1, 2024 for the first six months and may be used during the transition period (July 1, 2024 - December 31, 2024). Transition time can be used for the same reasons vacation time can be used.
  • How much transition time will I receive? The amount of transition time given will be 40 hours for Full Time staff (20 hours for Part Time staff).
  • NEW! Do I need to use all accrued vacation time before transition time can be used? No, when requesting time off, transition time will be used before all accrued vacation time is applied.

We hope this additional transition time will ensure a smooth adjustment to the new policy and allow for vacation planning as vacation time is being accrued. 

Please note:  Transition time will only be available through December 31, 2024.


To illustrate, please review this transition time example: 

  • George has 50 hours of accrued but unused annual time on June 30, 2024.  All 50 hours will be carried forward and become his starting vacation time balance as of July 1, 2024. (No accrued time is forfeited.)
  • Because George is a GW employee hired prior to July 1, 2024, he also receives 40 hours of transition time.
  • George has been with GW for 3 years so he will accrue 10 hours at the end of each month. His maximum accrual under the new policy is 216 hours. This means that once he accrues 216 hours he will no longer accrue vacation time until he takes time off and records that time in the Time Reporting System.
  • George plans to take 6 days (i.e., 48 hours) of time off in July of 2024. 
Status  Month Transition
Time Balance
Accrued
Time Balance
Total Time Off Balance
Balance as of June 30, 2024 June 0 hours 50 hours 50 hours 
Balance as of July 1, 2024 July 40 hours 50 hours 90 hours
Takes a 6 day (48 hr.) vacation in July. 
All 40 hours of transition time and 8 hours of vacation are used
July 0 hours 42 hours + 10 hours accrued 52 hours
No other vacation time is take in August. 
Balance as of end of August
August 0 hours 52 hours + 10 hours accrued 62 hours

For more information, see the Transition FAQs or register to attend an upcoming infosession.

 


 

 

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What's Staying the Same?

  • Sick and Safe Time
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Bereavement
  • Jury Duty
  • Voting Time
  • Holidays

     

     

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      Additional Online Resources

    To review the current time off guide and other information about time off and leave programs, please visit the Time Off and Leave page.

     


     

     

     

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    With big change comes many questions. To better introduce GW’s new vacation policy, we have compiled FAQs and scenarios that take a deeper look at these changes and provide more detailed information on what these changes are, when they will take effect, and how they will impact you. 

    Policy Change

    Why is GW changing the current time off policy?

    The new vacation policy provides staff more flexibility in using vacation time and increases time off for employees with more than 10 years of service. These enhancements provide a more comprehensive and competitive time off program that can aid in attracting and retaining talent.  

    When is the new vacation time policy effective?

    The new vacation time policy is effective July 1, 2024. 

    What is a maximum accrual limit vacation policy?

    With a  maximum accrual limit structure, vacation hours are accrued at a certain rate towards a certain limit based on years of service tiers. Vacation time will continue to accrue under this practice until a set cap (limit) is reached.

    What are the accrual rate tiers under the new vacation policy?  
    • Up to 2 years (0-24 months)
    • More than 2 years up to 4 years (25-48 months)
    • More than 4 years up to 10 years (49-120 months)
    • 10 plus years (121+ months)
    What can vacation time be used for?

    Vacation time can be used for leisure time and to attend to personal matters. Whether it’s celebrating a birthday or anniversary, planning a vacation, observing a religious holiday or just needing some time to tackle home improvement projects, we encourage employees to take time away from work to support their life outside of work.

    Will I still have to request and obtain manager approval for using my vacation time?

    Yes, employees will still be required to submit vacation requests to their manager for approval before taking vacation time.

    Do I have to use all of my annual time by June 30, 2024?

    No, all accrued but unused annual time remaining on June 30, 2024 will become your new vacation time balance on July 1, 2024.

    Will I forfeit annual time on June 30, 2024?

    No, all accrued time over 40 hours will not be forfeited at the end of June.

    Does the annual time I carry forward from June 30, need to be used by August 31, 2024? 

    No, accrued time will not be forfeited at the end of August.

    How will I know how much time I will have for vacation when the new policy begins?  

    Your accrued (but unused) annual time balance on June 30, 2024 will be your new vacation balance on July 1, 2024. Plus, you will have access to transition time during the transition period (e.g., 40 hours for FT employees, 20 for PT employees) through December 31, 2024. 

    I am at the maximum accrual. Can I get a payout so I can start accruing again?

    No, employees will stop accruing once their maximum accrual limit is reached. The only option for accruing or “accessing” more time is to take vacation time so the accrued balance falls below the cap so that accrual can occur again.

    How are the maximum accrual caps calculated?

    The maximum accruals are equal to 18 months times the accrual rate for each tier. (e.g., 180 hours = 10 hours x 18 months).

    Transition Time

    What is the transition plan?

    The transition plan will provide 40 hours of transition time (un-accrued time) for FT employees (20 hours for PT) that can be used during the transition period (July 1, 2024 – December 31, 2024).

    When is transition time available to use?

    Transition time can be used in the first six months during the transition period (July 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024.) 

    How do I use transition time?

    Transition time will be used in the first six months during the transition period, before all accrued and unused vacation time is used. 

    What if I have a pre-planned vacation but do not have enough vacation and/or transition time available?

    Employees can request unpaid time through their manager if the employee has no accrued vacation time or available transition time.

    Will the system know to deduct from my accrued vacation time balance first and then deduct from the transition time balance?

    When requesting time off, your transition time balance will be exhausted first before any accrued but unused vacation time is applied. This will ensure that staff are able to take time off during the summer of 2024 as the new vacation policy becomes effective July 1, 2024.

    New Hires/Position Changes

    I am a new employee, how does this policy affect me?

    New employees are required to complete a 90-day Introductory Employment Period (“IEP”). During the IEP, employees cannot take vacation time, but will be accruing time to be used after a successful completion of their IEP.

    I moved from a staff position to a GW temp position. Does transition time get paid out?

    No, transition time is not paid out if moving to a non-vacation time accruing position.  

    Leaving GW

    What happens to accrued but unused vacation time upon separation from GW?

    All accrued and unused vacation time is paid out to an employee upon separation from the university.

    Does transition time get paid out upon separation from GW?

    No, transition time is not paid out upon separation from GW.

    If I separate, how much time will be paid out to me?

    All accrued (but unused) vacation time will be paid out upon separation. Transition time is not paid out. 

    Other Time Off and Leave

    I have been receiving GW paid short term disability benefits and have met my maximum accrual. Can I get an exception to the maximum accrual cap or be paid out some of my vacation time?

    No exceptions to policy will be granted if an employee reaches the maximum accrual. Payouts of accrued vacation time will only be processed at time of employment separation

    Can I use my transition time on FMLA?

    Yes, employees on approved FMLA can use their transition time to remain in paid status (as well as use their accrued vacation and sick time).

    Are other paid time off programs changing?

    No, GW’s other paid time off programs such as sick time and holidays are not changing at this time. 

    Real Life Scenarios

    Has Vacation Balance on June 30, 2024

    A Full-Time Staff member with 1 year of service has a balance of 50 hours on 6/30/2024.
    • At the end of July, accrues 10 more hours for a total of 60 hours of accrued vacation time and 40 hours of transition time available as of July 31, 2024. 
    • Takes a two-week (80 hours) vacation in August using all 40 hours of accrued vacation time plus all 40 transition hours leaving a balance of 0 transition hours and 20 accrued vacation time.
    • At the end of August, accrues 10 more hours for a total of 30 hours of accrued vacation time and 0 hours of transition time available as of August 31, 2024. 
    • Takes one day (8 hours) of vacation time in September and has a remaining balance of 22 hours of accrued vacation time and 0 hours of transition time. 
     

    No Vacation Balance on June 30, 2024

    A Full-Time Staff member with 1 year of service has a balance of 0 hours on 6/30/2024.
    • Planned on taking a week of vacation in July.
    • Would need to use their 40 hours of transition time for their vacation. 
     

    Leaves GW between July 2024-December 2024

    A Full-Time Staff member with 11 years of service has a balance of 20 hours on 6/30/2024.
    • At the end of June, accrues 14 hours under current policy and will have a total of 34 accrued but unused vacation hours on 7/1/2024 when the new policy begins and 40 hours of transition time. 
    • At the end of July, accrues 16 more hours of vacation time (under new vacation policy) for a total of 50 hours of accrued vacation time and 40 hours of transition time. 
    • Separates from GW on August 1, 2024 and is paid out for the 50 hours of accrued vacation time; transition time is not paid out. 

     

     


     

     

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    Contact Us

     We Are Here to Help

    You can contact the Benefits office at [email protected], M - F, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. (ET) with questions regarding the new vacation time policy.