About this directive
|HR Directive No.||01/2023|
|Reference to applicable legislation (act or regulation):||Sections 63 to 66, Public Service Employment Regulation (PDF, 1.2 MB)|
|Application:||All employees appointed or employed pursuant to the Public Service Act. |
Note: employees who are members of the bargaining unit are subject to the terms of the Collective Agreement. Any terms, conditions, or entitlements related to vacation leave addressed in the Collective Agreement supersede this Directive.
|Last updated:||March 2023|
|Last reviewed:||March 2023|
|Amended by:||Alberta Public Service Commission: |
Labour Relation Policy and Programs, Labour Relations Policy and Programs Branch, Policy and Negotiations
The intent of this directive is to ensure consistency in the administration of vacation leave. This directive describes how vacation leave and supplement are scheduled and earned, including how they are earned and calculated when employees work only partial months or are on paid or unpaid leaves.
This directive covers how vacation leave is earned and scheduled for position exempt, opted out and excluded, and management employees.
Employees on a contract of employment should be directed to their contract.
Entitlements for bargaining unit employees are contained in the Collective Agreement.
Definition of terms
Deputy head: chief officer of a department, as well as various positions including clerks, officers, and commissioners as prescribed in section 1(d) and section 1(d)(viii)(B) of the Public Service Act.
First year vacation credit: an employee hired into a permanent or temporary salaried position will receive 5 work days' vacation credited at the date of commencement.
Management: employees appointed to a position in the Management Job Evaluation Plan, and paid in accordance with Schedule 2, Management Official Pay Plan, as included in the Public Service Employment Regulation.
Month: means calendar month.
Opted out and excluded: employees in a classification not included in the bargaining unit, who are appointed to a position in the Point Rating Evaluation Plan, and paid in accordance with Schedule 1, Part 1-A, Part 2-A and Part 2-B of the Opted Out and Excluded Official Pay Plan in the Public Service Employment Regulation.
Position exempt: employees in a bargaining unit classification who are excluded from the union in accordance with Part 3, Division 3, Section 12 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act.
Vacation leave: is an earned entitlement based on recognized service. See Recognition of Prior Service Directive for more information.
Vacation supplement: management employees receive 5 additional work days of vacation at the beginning of each calendar year.
Work day: any day on which employees are expected to be at their place of employment.
Employees' immediate supervisor, in accordance with the HR Decision Matrix, approves the use of vacation leave and vacation supplement.
Employees may split their vacation leave into separate periods. Employees should schedule vacation leave so that they do not have more than 2 years worth of vacation leave entitlements outstanding. As an example, employees are encouraged to take at least one consecutive period of 5 work days in each calendar year and must take a total of at least 2 weeks (3 weeks with 5 or more years of service) of vacation leave each year.
With the exception of first year vacation credit, vacation supplement and additional vacation negotiated at time of hire, vacation leave can only be used after it has been earned.
Earning vacation leave
In the first calendar year employees are employed, they will earn 1 1/4 work days of vacation leave for each month they work. Qualifying prior service would adjust the vacation leave at a higher earn rate.
Vacation leaves are earned and accumulated each full calendar month. Employees can take vacation leave as it is earned.
If an employee works a partial month (for example upon commencement and concluding employment) vacation will only be earned if employee works the majority of the month.
- If an employee commenced on the 15th or prior to the 15th in a month, that commencement month would accrue vacation. Commencing on the 16th or after the 16th in the month, vacation would not be accrued.
- If calculating the period of vacation leave for a year results in a fraction of a half day or less, the fraction will be rounded to the next half day. If a fraction of more than a half day results, the fraction will be rounded to the next full day. This does not apply to vacation pay out.
- When an employee concludes employment, if the last day of employment on a scheduled work day is on the 15th or a date after the 15th, vacation would be accrued in that month. Concluding employment on the 14th or a date prior to the 14th in a month, vacation would not be accrued for the month.
Earning rate changes in the month following the month in which the vacation service threshold is reached. The following table sets out the amount of vacation leave that full-time employees earn in each year after completing specific years of service. It also sets out the rate at which full-time employees earn vacation leave for each full calendar month they work. Vacation leave shall be applied on a pro-rata basis for an employee who works part-time.
Table 1. Calculating vacation leave
|Service||Vacation time (per year)||Earning rate (per month)|
|Upon commencement||15 work days||1 1/4 days|
|5 years||20 work days||1 2/3 days|
|13 years||25 work days||2 1/12 days|
|21 years||30 work days||2 1/2 days|
|30 years||35 work days||2 11/12 days|
Special recruitment circumstances
A higher earning rate for managers may be approved in special recruitment circumstances. This may be requested upon promotion into management and for new hires recruited into management positions in the Government of Alberta. The deputy head of the hiring department may request a higher earning rate and the request must include:
- the amount of additional vacation leave requested
- the candidate’s directly related work history
- any other relevant considerations
Requests for a higher earning rate to allow for one additional week of vacation leave must be authorized by the Executive Director, Talent Acquisition in the Public Service Commission. Requests for a higher earning rate which would result in more than one additional week of vacation must be authorized by the Public Service Commissioner.
First year vacation credit
An employee hired into a permanent or temporary salaried position will receive 5 work days' vacation credited at the date of commencement. All efforts should be made to ensure the employee takes their first year vacation credit before the end of their second calendar year of employment. If the employee does not use their first year vacation credit by the end of their second calendar year of employment (December 31 of the second year), the first year vacation credit will be paid out at the employee's regular rate of pay (including acting pay). This will not include any retroactive salary adjustments.
Should an employee terminate employment prior to the end of the first year (12 full calendar months) of employment and has not taken the First Year Vacation Credit or only a portion of it (for example, 2 out of the 5 days) will be paid out at the employee’s regular rate of pay for the total amount of vacation credit remaining.
Management employees will receive 5 work days’ vacation supplement on January 1 of each calendar year. This is to recognize that they often work extra hours without additional compensation. Newly hired managers or existing employees being promoted into management positions part way through the calendar year will be credited 5 work days’ vacation supplement upon the effective date of their management position.
If a management employee resigns or is dismissed before the end of the calendar year, they will be paid out, at the employee's regular rate of pay (including acting pay), any supplement remaining during the same calendar year. This will not include any retroactive salary adjustments.
For an employee moving from a management position into a non-management position, the employee will be paid out any supplement that has not yet been taken upon the effective date of the non-management position. Management supplement will not be carried over into a non-management position.
Paid or unpaid leaves
An employee continues to earn vacation leave (and vacation supplement if the employee is a manager) while on the following paid or unpaid leaves:
- military leave
- financially assisted staff development leave
- for the first 44 consecutive work days of sick leave, supplemental unemployment benefits, or workers' compensation leave
- for the first 22 consecutive work days of all other leaves of absence
An employee also continues to earn vacation leave (and vacation supplement if the employee is a manager) during approved vacation leave.
If an employee is approved to combine a leave of absence with a period of vacation leave, the vacation leave will be considered to precede the leave of absence.
The deputy head, in accordance with the HR Decision Matrix, approves payout of vacation and vacation supplement for opted out and excluded and management employees.
Management employees will be paid out for vacation leave and vacation supplement when one of the following conditions applies:
- the manager’s employment terminates
- the manager’s outstanding vacation leave and vacation supplement combined exceeds 2 years of entitlements, in which case the amount exceeding 2 years of entitlement will be paid out at fiscal year-end (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Note: Managers currently on an approved leave of absence without pay, as per the Leave of Absence Without Pay Directive, at the time the vacation is to be paid out may request to delay payout until the fiscal year-end following their return to work.
- the manager requests pay out and obtains their deputy head's approval (they may request pay out for any amount beyond 2 weeks of combined entitlements (vacation and vacation supplement) for managers with less than 5 years of service, and beyond 3 weeks of combined entitlements for manager with 5 or more years of service, to be taken as leave in the vacation year)
- A management employee who has been approved for an advance payment of group life insurance due to terminal illness may request a payout of all earned annual and supplement vacation.
Opted Out and Excluded employees in Schedule 1 Part 2-A and Schedule 1 Part 2-B of the Public Service Employment Regulation will be paid out for vacation leave when one of the following conditions applies:
- the employee's employment terminates, or
- the employee requests pay out and receives the approval of the deputy head (they may request pay out for any amount beyond 2 weeks of entitlements for an employee with less than 5 years of service, and beyond 3 weeks of entitlements for an employee with 5 or more years of service, to be taken as leave in the vacation year)
An Opted Out and Excluded employee who has been approved for an advance payment of group life insurance due to terminal illness may request a payout of all earned annual vacation.
All vacation leaves and supplements will be paid out at the manager or employee's regular rate of pay at the time of the request, as follows:
- at the manager or employee's salary rate (including acting pay) at the time the leave is paid out without adjustment for any retroactive salary adjustments, or
- in the case of retirement or death, the payout will include any retroactive salary increases
The entitlement amount paid out is never rounded up.
Use of vacation
Immediately prior to retirement
Once an employee declares in writing their retirement date, they may access a maximum of eight weeks of accrued vacation leave as a bridge to retirement. This is conditional upon operational requirements and approval in accordance with the HR decision matrix. A request of greater than eight weeks may be supported if there are extenuating circumstances and it is approved by the Public Service Commissioner.
After submitting resignation notice
Once an employee provides written notice indicating that they are terminating their employment with the Government of Alberta, additional vacation requests prior to the employee’s last day will generally not be approved. Extenuating circumstances (such as family obligations) may be considered if operationally feasible.
Employees transferring to other positions within the Government of Alberta may request additional vacation time and this may be approved if operationally feasible.
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