Vacation, Holidays & Personal Days

The University provides eligible employees with paid time off, including vacation days, personal days, and holidays (federal and University-designated). Vacation and personal days can be used as they are earned, and should be scheduled in advance with approval from the manager. 

Vacation Days

Eligibility for time-off benefits varies based on whether an employee is a an Officer, Non-Union Support Staff or Union Support Staff, and whether they work full time or part time.

Union Support Staff: Employees in a bargaining unit are governed by the time-off provisions of their respective bargaining agreement. Please review the applicable collective bargaining agreements for detailed information. 

  • Note: Employees in a bargaining unit are governed by the provisions of their respective bargaining agreement. Employees’ rights and obligations under applicable collective bargaining agreements are not affected by the Vacation policy. 

Academic Personnel (Officers of Instruction/Research/Libraries): Information regarding time off can be found in the Faculty Handbook.

Regular Non-Union Support Staff and Officers of Administration accrue vacation allowance on a fiscal year basis, from July 1 through June 30 and, with supervisory approval, may use the vacation as it is earned. However, the total allowance earned must be used by June 30 of the year following accrual. It may not accumulate nor may the employee receive pay in lieu of unused vacation except upon termination and then only for earned unused vacation days.

  • Vacation pay will be based upon the employee's current base salary.
     
  • Employees transferring to a new department may carry a maximum of one year of vacation accrual.
     
  • Changes in an employee's accrual rate take effect the fiscal year following the employee’s anniversary date.
     
  • Employees in a bargaining unit are governed by the provisions of their respective bargaining agreement. Employees' rights and obligations under applicable collective bargaining agreements are not affected by this policy. 

Vacation should generally be scheduled as a block of time based on operational needs. Staff may take vacation as it is earned with supervisory approval. However, it is recommended that vacation time for support staff be taken in no less than whole or half days. Vacation time for officers must be scheduled and taken in no less than whole or half days. As a supervisor or manager, you must be familiar with the Paid Vacation policy.

Note: vacation is accrued only during months worked.

NUSS Probationary Period

Regular Non-Union Support Staff members accrue vacation allowance commencing with the completion of the probationary period. Vacation allowance for regular part-time non-union support staff shall be computed on a pro-rata basis in accordance with the number of hours regularly worked per week.

Earned Vacation Rate

Full-time Officers of Administration accrue vacation allowance commencing with the employee's hire date. Vacation allowance shall be earned at the rates listed below.

Part-time Officers of Administration (must work 20 hours or more per week) accrue vacation allowance commencing with the employee's date of hire, at the rate of one day per month, up to a maximum of 10 days per fiscal year. A maximum of one year's accrual (up to 10 unused days) can be carried from one fiscal year to the next.

Personal Days

Morningside

Full-time employees at Morningside earn up to three personal days per year based on date of hire.

At Morningside, personal days are earned at the rate of one paid leave day for each four-month period worked starting from the date of hire.

Medical Center

Full-time employees at Columbia University Medical Center earn up to two personal days per year based on date of hire.

At the Medical Center, where Washington's Birthday is observed as a holiday, two personal days are earned at the rate of one day for each six-month period worked starting from the date of hire.

Use of Personal Days

Personal days may be used by an employee to observe religious holidays or for any other purpose.

  • For Officers, personal days must be used within twelve months of being earned.
  • For Non-Union Support Staff, personal days do not accumulate; they must be used within twelve months of being earned.
  • Bargaining Unit Staff are governed by the provisions of their respective bargaining agreement. Employees’ rights and obligations under applicable collective bargaining agreements are not affected by this policy. 

See Personal Days Policy

Holidays

See Holiday Calendar

The University observes the following holidays in its offices and laboratories:

Federal Holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
  • President's Day (Medical Center Only)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Election Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

University-Designated Holidays:

  • Friday following Thanksgiving
  • Two days selected by the University during the Christmas/New Year Season

The full policy on holidays is available in the University’s Administrative Policy Library.