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Handbook of Operating Procedures


Policy Number: 28




Eligible employees

Date Reviewed:
July 2020
Responsible Office:
Human Resources and Payroll
Responsible Executive:
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer; Vice President, Finance and Business Services


Vacation is provided to eligible employees to allow time away from work without loss of pay or benefits. Employees are encouraged to use vacation hours during the fiscal year in which they accrue.

Each department is responsible for maintaining accurate vacation records by accurately/timely recording in UTHealth Employee Self Service.


Employees appointed to work at least 20 hours per week for a period of at least four and one-half months earn vacation leave beginning on the first day of eligible employment. (See II.D. Entitlement to Leave below.) Students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment do not earn vacation leave. Faculty members with an appointment of nine months or less do not earn vacation leave.


A. Requesting Vacation

Vacation should be requested in advance and must be approved in advance by a representative of departmental management. Each department may establish its own processes and procedures for requesting vacation, and those processes must be followed in order to obtain approval. Approvals of vacation leave requests are contingent upon the employee having sufficient accrued vacation leave to cover the absence at the time the vacation is taken and upon the business needs of the department.

B. Accrual and Carry Over

Full-time eligible employees accrue vacation leave and may carry it forward from one fiscal year to the next in accordance with a schedule set by the state.

Less than full-time, benefits eligible employees will accrue vacation leave on a proportional basis, and the maximum carry over will also be proportional.

An employee who retired from state employment before 6/1/2005 and returned to state employment before 9/1/2005, will continue to accrue vacation leave at the same rate the employee was entitled to receive immediately before 9/1/2005. An employee who retired from state employment before 6/1/2005 and returned to state employment on or after 9/1/2005 will accrue vacation leave based on the length of state service since the return to work. An employee who retired from and returned to state employment on or after 9/1/2005 will accrue vacation leave based on the length of state service since the return to work.

An employee with prior state employment should contact his or her prior state agency to obtain information on leave accruals.

The vacation hours accrued per month and the maximum carry over amounts are published in the Holiday and Vacation Schedule.

Full credit for one month's accrual will be given for each month or fraction of a month of service. An employee earns vacation entitlement beginning on the first day of employment and ending on the last day of employment.

If an employee is absent but on a paid leave status, the employee will continue to accrue paid leave each month on leave. The hours accrued while on leave may be posted to the leave balance only when the employee returns to work. Should the employee fail to return to work, he/she will not receive the accruals and will not be paid for those hours upon separation from the University. Note: An employee on faculty development leave accrues at the full-time rate.

No vacation will be accrued while an employee is on unpaid leave of at least one full calendar month. When an employee is approved for an unpaid leave to extend a vacation, all leave accrued prior to the beginning of the vacation must be exhausted before the unpaid leave is used. Sick leave may only be exhausted in those cases where the employee is eligible to take sick leave. (See HOOP Policy 30 Sick Leave.)

Employees are entitled to carry forward from one fiscal year to the next the balance of unused, accumulated vacation leave that does not exceed the maximum amount allowed by law. All hours of unused, accumulated vacation leave that may not be carried forward at the end of a fiscal year will be credited to the employee's sick leave balance effective on the first day of the next fiscal year.

C. Negative Leave Balances

Negative vacation leave balances cannot be carried over from one calendar month to the next. An employee with a negative vacation leave balance must be placed on leave without pay for any unearned vacation leave taken.

D. Entitlement to Leave

Although eligible employees begin to accrue vacation time on their first day of employment, they will not be permitted to take a vacation with pay until they have completed six months of continuous state service. Continuous state service means the employee is paid a regular salary for the period. The time an employee is on leave of absence without pay does not count toward fulfilling the six-month requirement if the period covers one or more entire calendar months. The six-month eligibility requirement does not have to be met again upon reemployment to state service.

Employees who transfer directly from another state agency without a break in service will carry their earned but unused vacation with them.

E. Payment or Transfer of Vacation Leave upon Separation of Employment

Eligible employees who have vacation hours remaining when they separate from the University will be paid a lump-sum payment for the remaining hours. The payments are computed based on the rate of pay on the last date of employment and an hourly rate calculation as prescribed by the State Comptroller.

In addition, eligible employees whose employment status changes to non-benefit eligible may receive a lump sum vacation payment at the time of the status change.

In lieu of a lump-sum vacation payment, eligible employees may, with the approval of a representative of departmental management, be allowed to remain on the payroll after the last day worked to utilize vacation leave. Compensation and benefits that the employee was receiving on the last active work day, including paid holidays, longevity, and/or hazardous duty pay will continue.

If employees are paid for vacation upon separation, they will be credited for any holiday that falls within the period after the date of separation and the last date of the period in which the employee would have used the time had they remained on the payroll. Lump sum payments for accrued but unused vacation time are computed as though the employee worked the holiday.

The accrued, unused vacation leave balance of an employee transferring to another state agency without a break in service will be transferred by Payroll.

In the case of the death of an employee who has an accrued vacation leave balance after six months of continuous employment, the employee’s estate will be paid for all of the accumulated vacation leave. Payroll will calculate the payment at the rate of compensation being paid to the employee at the time of death.


    • Human Resources (eligibility to use vacation)
    • 713-500-3130
    • Payroll (transfer of vacation leave)
    • 713-500-3962