Most vacation and sick leave policies are written in one of two ways. Days off are either earned over time (accrued) or are granted on a certain date, such as January 1 or an employee’s hire date. If vacation days are granted before employees earn them, and you don’t want to pay for unearned vacation time upon termination or separation from employment, it’s important to specify this in your policy.
If the policy doesn’t address the payment of unearned vacation time upon termination or separation, you may be legally required to pay for all unused vacation time. Including the following sample language can address this situation:
Your organization will want to consult a locally licensed attorney to confirm that your vacation and sick leave policies comply with state and local law.
(Name of organization) will grant vacation and sick leave to full-time employees on January 1 of each calendar year, according to the following schedule:
First Calendar Year of Employment
|Hire Date||# of Days||Eligibility Date|
|Date of Hire
|Date of Hire
|Date of Hire
|Date of Hire|
|Calendar Year||# of Days||# of Vacation Days|
|2 (hired 1st Quarter)||4||6|
|2 (hired 2nd Quarter)||4||5|
|2 (hired 3rd Quarter)||4||4|
|2 (hired 4th Quarter)||4||3|
|10 Years +||4||11|
Part-time employees (20 hours or more)
If you are a part-time employee and work 20 hours or more during the year, you will be granted a pro-rated portion of sick and vacation time based on your annual average of hours worked during the prior calendar year.
Carryover of Days
Full-time employees may carry over the following number of days each calendar year:
Part-time employees eligible for vacation and sick time may carry over the following number of days each calendar year:
Sick leave may be used only for health care appointments, personal illness, or the illness of a close family member. A close family member includes a parent, child, or spouse of the employee or a parent or child of the employee’s spouse. Sick leave will not be paid to employees when they leave employment with this organization.
Vacation time may be used for vacation, personal business, or additional sick leave once the allotted sick days have been exhausted. Vacation time should primarily be used for scheduled absences and should be approved by the manager at least 24 hours in advance. You are expected to receive managerial approval prior to taking any vacation time. Managers have discretion when approving vacation time. Seniority is one factor that managers may consider, but they are not required to consider seniority in making their decision. Employees are generally required to exhaust all vacation time before unpaid time off will be granted.
Note: Be sure that your policy explains how vacation time will or won’t be paid to employees when they separate from the organization.
Optional: Vacation Length
In order for employees and this organization to derive the fullest benefits desired from vacation, the employee is encouraged to take at least one week of eligible vacation in consecutive days if the employee has earned at least 10 days of vacation time. An employee may use vacation and holidays together to satisfy the “one week of vacation” encouragement. Employees will be paid for any earned and unused vacation days upon voluntary separation of employment with this organization.
This is a sample handbook policy only. Your organization is responsible for compliance with all applicable laws. Accordingly, this document should not be used or adopted by your organization without first being reviewed and approved by a licensed attorney in your area.
This sample policy is published with permission from Working Together—A Guide to Employment Practices for Christian Employers.
© 2022 Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved. www.brotherhoodmutual.com/working-together. Updated 9/2021.