This section provides an overview of many benefits available to faculty and staff. In the event of conflict between the overview provided in this handbook and the plan document or insurance plan, the plan document or insurance plan will govern. Complete descriptions are not possible in the handbook; employees should contact Human Resources for specific plan details. The Labor Agreement governs in the case of Union employees in all aspects of this section. Regular non-union employees who have a schedule involving a (.46) FTE or above, and Union employees who have a (.50) FTE or above are eligible to participate in the College’s benefit programs.

Carleton College will comply with all applicable laws such as ACA, FMLA, federal, state, and any applicable regulations.

Employment & Benefits



All regular, benefit-eligible employees will accrue paid vacation time based on the employee’s current accrual rate and/or the employee’s budgeted FTE . Maximum accrual and maximum negative balances are also prorated by FTE and are adjusted when an employee’s FTE changes. Employees are responsible for managing accrual balances in preparation for adjustments.


Accrual Rate Total vacation for full-time employee Maximum accrual balance Maximum negative balance allowed for full-time employee
Biweekly (Non-exempt and Union)
At start of employment or benefit eligibility .0577 per hour paid 120 hours 160 hours 40 hours
Upon completion of the 5th year .0769 per hour paid 160 hours 240 hours 40 hours
Upon completion of the 10th year .0885 per hour paid 184 hours 320 hours 40 hours
At start of employment or benefit eligibility 13.36 hours per month 160 hours 320 hours 40 hours
Upon completion of the 10th year 15.36 hours per month 184 hours 320 hours 40 hours

Vacation leave accruals begin on the first day of employment (or upon benefit eligibility). There is no waiting period for non-union staff to use vacation days, however, prior supervisor approval is required. Although the college seeks to schedule vacations at the times sought by staff members, it is not always possible to do so and accommodate the department’s work cycle. Arrangements to take vacation should be made with the supervisor prior to use. Due to specific operational needs, some college departments may adopt specific guidelines for requesting and scheduling vacation (for example a department may adopt a guideline requesting two weeks prior notification and approval for normal vacation requests). Supervisors are encouraged to be as flexible as operationally feasible when reviewing vacation requests, and should counsel staff members to take advantage of the vacation benefit.

Staff working less than 12 months must use their vacation during their paid employment period. Staff positions are budgeted for the appointment period only and therefore there are no funds available for paid vacations outside of the appointment period.

Employees do not accrue vacation hours during an unpaid leave or a Paid Parental Leave. Vacation leave is paid at the staff member’s base rate of pay at the time of the absence. It does not include overtime or any special forms of compensation such as stipends or bonuses.

Staff will request absences using ”Request Absence” in Workday. When requesting absences, non-exempt staff should record time utilized in ¼ hour increments (i.e. .25, .50, and .75) and exempt staff should record time utilized in one-hour increments. Employees who are unable to work their scheduled weekly hours are expected to record approved absence accruals to cover all time missed. Employees must record absences in the pay period in which they occurred and failure to do so may result in negative absence plan adjustments and/or disciplinary action.

When an employee reaches the Maximum Balance, their vacation accruals will cease until their balance drops below the maximum. This also applies to employees with an FTE reduction; if their balances are above the prorated maximum, accruals will cease until their balance falls below the prorated maximum amount. Carry-over maximums are equal to maximum balances.

The purpose for allowing employees to use vacation before it is earned (negative balance) is in response to the cyclical work of many offices around campus that may dictate when an employee can use vacation, sometimes before they have earned it. It is not the College’s intent for employees to carry a negative balance for an extended period of time, and like other aspects of the vacation policy, supervisor approval is required before an employee can use unearned vacation time.

This is meant to be an informative guide for union employees. The CBA should be referenced for more information.

Unpaid Leave

Employees may, with supervisor approval, take the option of unpaid leave in lieu of vacation or sick pay for hours not worked in cases where the employee does not have a substantial amount of leave accrued. This option is intended for absences not covered under FMLA, and should be of limited duration. To ensure compliance with labor laws, unpaid leaves in excess of three days for non-exempt staff and all unpaid leaves for exempt staff require prior approval from Human Resources.

If the employee’s paycheck is diminished by unpaid leave such that the total is not sufficient for standard benefit deductions, it is the responsibility of the employee to make payment arrangements.

Separation of Employment and Accruals

Upon voluntary separation (minimum of two weeks notice) employees are eligible to receive time off accruals eligible for payout.

Any negative vacation balance will be deducted from the employee’s final pay check.

  1. Temporary Extension of Maximum Balance

    Carleton’s vacation policy provides staff with an opportunity to step away from work for rest and renewal. Taking vacation can be particularly important when workloads are high. However, we recognize that extenuating business circumstances may prevent an employee from taking accrued vacation time, and such circumstances periodically result in an employee reaching the vacation maximum accrual balance. When an employee reaches the maximum accrual balance, their vacation accruals will cease until their balance drops below the maximum. As a result, employees lose vacation accruals.

    In response, Carleton will temporarily extend an employee’s maximum balance by up to ten days. Such circumstances are rare and will be reviewed and approved by Tuesday Group. Extension, if granted, will include a specific extension period. During that extension period, the employee’s maximum accrual balance will increase by the approved number of days (up to ten). At the end of the extension period, the employee’s accrual balance will return to the regular maximums and accruals above the maximum will be lost. It is important to note that the maximum payout balance will not change.

    Supervisors are encouraged to work with employees to find vacation opportunities to avoid balances up to the maximum.

Last Revised: June 15, 2022

For: Staff

Last Reviewed: August 13, 2021

Maintained by: Human Resources

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