Manage Your Time Off

Columbia allows for many types of absences based on your role and union arrangements. Follow the guidelines herein to view eligibility and manage your time off, and use the forms or online system to make absence requests to your supervisor.


Officers can request the following absence types. 

Vacation          Used for vacation (taken in whole or half days only)

Personal          Used for personal time off (taken in whole or half days only)

Sick                  Used for illness (taken in whole or half days only)

NY Safe/Sick          Used for employee’s medical appointments, the care of an ill family member or for safe time (taken in hours only)

Jury Duty         Used when you must report for jury duty (taken in whole days only)

Bereavement   Used for the death of an eligible family member (taken in whole days only)


Full-time officers accrue vacation on a fiscal year basis; that is from July 1 through June 30. Vacation earned in one fiscal year must be scheduled, approved and used by the end of the following fiscal year. Vacation is earned at the rate of 2 days per completed calendar month of employment up to a maximum of 23 days per fiscal year. The 23rd day is earned at the end of the fiscal year; that is, June 30th. After 20 or more years, full-time officers earn vacation at the rate of 2 1/3rd days per completed calendar month up to a maximum of 28 days per fiscal year.


  1. Officers do not accrue vacation or personal days during an extended leave of absence (30 calendar days or longer), paid or unpaid. For vacation, if the leave covers one or more whole calendar months, the accrual is not earned during those months. If a leave overlaps two calendar months and is at least 30 calendar days in length, the vacation accrual is not earned in the second month (e.g., if an officer is on leave from mid-January to mid-February, they don't accrue their February vacation days). For Personal Days, a reduction of the accrual occurs only if the officer is on leave for the equivalent of four consecutive whole months (or six consecutive whole months at the Medical Center), resulting in the loss of the one personal day normally accrued during that period.
  2. Changes in an employee’s accrual rate take effect the fiscal year following the employee’s anniversary date.  For instance, if the employee’s anniversary date is February 1, 2011, the new accrual rate goes into effect in the new fiscal year starting July 1, 2011. 

    For example: for officers who have reached their 20th anniversary with the University, the higher vacation accrual rate takes effect at the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1) following that anniversary date.  If the anniversary date falls on July 1, the higher accrual rate is effective on that date.
  3. The salary continuation period for an officer on a documented disability leave of absence includes any paid holiday that may occur during the period of disability. An officer is not paid for holidays that occur during an unpaid leave of absence.
  4. An officer forfeits any vacation days not used by the end of the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which they were accrued. This means that an officer cannot carry more than 23 vacation days (28 vacation days after 20 years) over into a new fiscal year.

Officers earn personal days (or "floating holidays") at intervals throughout the year and must use them within 12 months of earning them. 

Schools/Departments following the University Holiday Calendar (including all Morningside, Lamont-Doherty, and Nevis): Officers earn three personal days a year, one for every four months they work from their date of employment. 

Medical Center (CUIMC) Schools/Departments following the Clinical Practice Calendar: officers earn two personal days a year, one for every six months they work from their date of employment. In addition, they earn personal days based on the clinical practice calendar for the year.

Note: Personal days do not accumulate; you must use personal days within 12 months of them being earned. An officer forfeits any personal day not used by the end of 12 months from when it was earned. For example, if on March 31st there is a 3-day personal balance (Morningside) and the officer will accrue another personal day in April, the balance remains at 3 and thus forfeiting the 4th day (if it was not used by the end of March).

Medical Leave of Absence (Sick Leave)

Full-time officers are entitled to salary continuation of up to a combined maximum of six (6) months pay during any 12 month period when the extended absence is caused by medically documented illness or injury. Upon exhaustion of six (6) months salary continuation, an officer must be back at work for at least 12 months before becoming eligible for additional salary continuation. For more details see, Take a Leave of Absence.

Jury Duty and Bereavement

For policy information on the entitlement and usage of these and other absence types, refer to the Time Away From Work policy section in the Administrative Policy Library.

Support Staff

Support Staff employees can request the following absence types. 

Vacation            Used for vacation (taken in hours)

Personal            Used for personal time off (taken in hours)

Sick                    Used for illness ( taken in hours)

NY Sick            Used for employee’s medical appointments and the care of an ill family member (taken in hours)

Jury Duty           Used when you must report for jury duty (must be taken in whole days only)

Bereavement     Used for the death of an eligible family member (must be taken in whole days only)

Marriage             Used in the event of marriage.  1199 Clerical and Cafeteria employees only

Birth/Adoption  Used in the event of a birth/adoption of a child.  1199 Clerical and Cafeteria employees only

Absence Types that Accrue

Union Support Staff:  Sick leave, personal days and vacation accruals and entitlements for union support staff vary depending on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The respective CBA should be consulted for more information.

Non-Union Support Staff:  For more information on vacation and personal day accruals for non-union support staff employees, see the HR Manager Toolkit Vacation, Holidays & Personal Days page in the Time Away From Work section of the toolkit. For more information on sick leave, see the HR Manager Toolkit Sick Time page.

Absence Types that Do Not Accrue

  • Jury Duty and Bereavement
  • Marriage, Birth/Adoption for 1199 Clerical and Cafeteria employees only

For policy information on the entitlement and usage of these and other absence types:

Using the PAC System

PAC Login

Absence Management is a module within the People @ Columbia (PAC) application that allows employees to see their current balances for vacation, sick and personal days at the end of each pay period.

Time Reporting is a module that allows employees to enter their timesheets electronically directly into PAC.

Employees will view absence balances and enter their time off through myColumbia Employee Self-Service. The information stored in the system will be the authoritative source for balances and allow the University to have an accurate estimate for these paid time off categories. Time Reporters will also access their timesheets through myColumbia.

For questions about the various University leave policies, please refer to the Time Off Work policies, available in the Administrative Policy Library.


    The following training videos highlight the PAC Time and Absence functionality. When you click on one of the links below, you will be asked to sign in with your UNI and password. Once on the page, simply click the blue "Enroll" or "View Summary" button to begin.


    The PAC Webinar Recordings are located in ELM (Learning Management System). Once logged in, click the blue enroll button for the webinar you would like to view.

    For Officers not currently using PAC to record time off, you can enter your New York State Sick Leave into PAC. View the Recording New York State Sick Leave in PAC training module for information on how to access the page and record this time off.