4.2 Vacation

This policy was last updated January 4, 2024. See the update history page for more information.

4.2.1 Eligibility

Full-time and part-time employees, including Administrative Staff, Support Staff, and Sponsored Research Staff, who work at least 50% of a regular work schedule and have an appointment of at least three months are eligible for paid vacation leave. This includes both MIT "regular" and term employees who meet those requirements. Vacation benefits for unionized employees are determined by their collective bargaining agreements.

Individuals employed by other entities, such as MITemps employees, are not eligible for vacation through MIT. In addition, student employees are not eligible for vacation. See Section 2.1.2 Types of Non-Academic Appointments; see this Human Resources website about temporary help.

4.2.2 Earning Vacation

  1. Number of Vacation Days
    Employees accrue 15 days of vacation for the first year of employment and 20 days of vacation each year after the first year. This works out to a monthly accrual of 1.25 vacation days during the first year and 1.6667 vacation days per month after the first year. Part time employees accrue vacation on a pro-rated basis.

    Vacation is accrued while employees are on paid leave status, including sick leave, extended sick leave, vacation, and workers' compensation leave. Vacation generally does not accrue when employees are on unpaid leave.

  2. Fifth Week Vacation Credit
    In recognition of long-term service to the Institute, employees with 10 or more years of full-time service will be credited an extra five days of vacation, beginning on each anniversary of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 etc. years of service. The extra fifth week must be taken within the 5-year period and does not carry over from one 5-year period to another. Employees must designate when they are using the fifth week vacation.
  3. Limit on Accruals
    Employees cease to accrue their regular vacation once they have a balance of 40 days. However, the 5th week vacation credit will still be credited even if the employee is at the 40-day cap.

4.2.3 Taking Vacation

In the rare case where, due to operational necessity within a unit, an employee is not able to take enough vacation to stay within the 40 day accrual limit, requests for alternative ways to provide the vacation benefit may be presented to the Vice President for Human Resources.

  1. Scheduling of Vacations
    Prior to requesting vacation leave, an employee should check to determine their current balance. Supervisors have responsibility for coordinating and approving vacation schedules of their employees, following employees' preferences whenever work requirements in the department permit. The amount of vacation to be taken in any one period of time should be discussed well in advance with the supervisor, to allow adequate time to plan for work coverage.
  2. Using Vacation During Leaves 
    Vacation time may not be used to supplement SIRP or State Formula Rate payments under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, nor to supplement Workers Compensation payments. See Section 4.3.5; Section 4.5.
  3. Using Vacation Not Yet Accrued
    At the discretion of the supervisor, an employee may take up to 5 days of vacation that has not yet been accrued.
  4. Vacation Pay at Termination
    A terminating employee is paid in full for earned and unused vacation hours, including any applicable shift differential. Any unaccrued vacation that was paid in advance will be deducted from the final check. The maximum amount of unused vacation that is paid at termination is 40 days, plus any days remaining from the extra fifth week of vacation. There are no exceptions to this policy unless approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.

4.2.4 Additional Information on Calculation of Vacation

  1. Determining Length of Service for Vacation Accruals
    All continuous employment for full-time and part-time employees on vacation eligible payrolls will be counted in determining length of service at the Institute for vacation purposes.
  2. Amount of Pay
    Vacation pay is based on an employee's standard workweek at their rate of pay (including any shift differentials) at the time the vacation begins. For example, a part-time person working 4 hours per day is paid 4 hours when they take a day of vacation.
  3. Holiday or Illness During Vacation
    If a recognized Institute holiday falls on an employee's regularly scheduled workday during their vacation, the day is paid as a holiday and is not counted against vacation balances. Ordinarily, illness during vacation is not counted as sick leave. However, if an employee has a serious accident or illness which impairs the intended benefits of the vacation, the supervisor should discuss the matter with the Human Resource Officer for the department to consider whether sick leave should be granted, and part or all of the vacation rescheduled.
  4. Change in Work Schedule -- Adjustment of Vacation Balance
    When the regular work schedule of an Administrative or Sponsored Research Staff employee changes, causing either an increase or decrease in the amount of time normally worked in a week, the accumulated vacation balance is converted to the new schedule without loss or gain. For example, if an employee working half-time with 20 days of vacation earned for the prior year changes to a full-time work week, the 20 days of vacation at half-time is converted to 10 days of vacation at full-time. New vacation is then earned according to the new schedule.

For Support and Service Staff employees, vacation is credited in hours based on their normal work week at the time of their monthly accrual. Therefore, a change in work schedule does not affect vacation hours that have already been accrued. Vacation accrued after a change in schedule is based on the new schedule.

4.2.5 Additional Information on Implementation

As mentioned, the employee is responsible for checking the number of vacation days accrued and then seeking permission from the supervisor for vacation. The employee is also responsible for informing the supervisor when they are taking days from the 5th week of vacation credit. Generally, the supervisor is responsible for recording the number of approved vacation days taken. For Support, Service and Sponsored Research Staff, the supervisor is also responsible for informing Payroll of the number of days taken, and when an employee has designated any vacation days from the 5th week of vacation credit. Payroll is responsible for ensuring that terminating employees are not paid more than 40 full-time days of unused vacation (plus any days remaining from the extra fifth week of vacation).