Policy on Paid Time Off

Policy Number: 424

Human Resources

The permanent link for this policy is: https://policies.northeastern.edu/policy424/

I. Purpose and Scope


This policy provides basic information about the paid time off which the university offers to its employees. The university provides eligible faculty and staff with paid time off, including paid sick time, vacation time, personal time, and others as described in this policy.

II. Definitions


For purposes of this policy,

Paid time off means paid sick time, vacation time, personal time, and other paid time off.

Days: Note that sick, vacation, and personal time is accrued and allotted in days. Days are converted to hours for purposes of tracking time in the Workday system. Time off may be used in increments of time less than a day where permitted under this policy.

Benefits-eligible employee: Employed in an annual budgeted benefits eligible position and is regularly scheduled to work at least 24 hours per week for 52 weeks per year or full time for eight months of the year.

III. Policy


It is the policy of the university to pay employees at their regular rate of pay for certain absences or other time away from work.

The university reserves the right to change the amount of paid time off which it offers to its employees as a matter of policy and consistent with state and federal law. The policy applies to all employees based in the United States whose primary relationship with the university is as employee and employer, including full-time, part-time, and temporary employees, unless otherwise required by applicable law.

A. Paid Sick Time

The university provides, within certain limits, compensation to employees at their regular rate of pay for absences relating to their medical care, some medical needs relating to their family members, and for other specified purposes.

i. Allotment and Use of Sick Time for Benefits-Eligible Employees

Allotment: Sick time is allotted at the start of the fiscal year (July 1) and on a new employee’s initial date of hire. Sick time will be allotted at 12 days per year. Unused time can carry over up to a maximum of 30 days. Unused accumulated sick time will not be paid out at termination.

Benefits-eligible employees who work less than full time will be provided a pro-rated amount of sick time based on hours worked.

ii. Accrual of Sick Time for Eligible Part-time, Temporary and Student Employees

Part-time, temporary, and student employees are entitled to accrue 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused earned sick time to the next fiscal year. Employees, however, cannot use more than 40 hours of earned sick time in a fiscal year.

Student Employees are eligible to accrue sick time only if they are not (a) participating in a federal work study program or substantially similar financial aid or scholarship program; or (b) providing support services to residents of a resident hall in exchange for a waiver or reduction in room, board, tuition or other education-related expenses; or
(c) exempt from FICA.
Part-time faculty are allotted 40 hours of sick time at date or hire and then at the start of the fiscal year (July 1).

iii. Use of Sick Time

Sick time may be used for the following purposes, which in are accordance with the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law:

a. To care for a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition that requires home care, professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventative medical care affecting the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse;

b. To attend routine medical appointments of the employee or the employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse;

c. To travel to and from an appointment, a pharmacy, or other location related to the purpose for which earned sick time was taken; or

d. To address the psychological, physical, or legal effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s dependent child.

Employees should notify their supervisors in advance if the need for sick time is foreseeable. If an employee anticipates a multi-day absence from work, employees must provide notification of the expected duration of the leave, or, if unknown, must provide notification on a daily basis, unless the circumstances make such notice unreasonable.

Use of sick time that is unforeseeable must be reported to employees’ supervisors as soon as is practicable. Both employees and supervisors are responsible for maintaining accurate paid sick time information.

Employees who are eligible for and use sick time may be required to submit documentation to the HR Leave Management Team signed by a health care provider certifying that the use of sick time was for an authorized purpose when the absence

1. exceeds twenty-four (24) consecutively scheduled work hours or three (3) consecutively scheduled work days;

2. occurs within two (2) weeks prior to an employee’s final scheduled day of work before termination of employment, except in the case of temporary employees; or

3. occurs after four (4) unforeseeable and undocumented absences within a three (3) month period.

Employees who do not have a health care provider may provide a signed written statement evidencing the need for the use of sick time for an authorized purpose in lieu of certification by a health care provider in the event documentation is required.

The university may require employees to provide a fitness-for-duty certification, a work release, or other documentation from a medical provider before returning to work after an absence during which earned sick time was used.

If a benefits-eligible employee is absent in excess of five (5) consecutive workdays due to their own medical condition, the employee and/or the employee’s supervisor must notify the HR Leave Management Team as the employee may be eligible for leave under the PLP. Please refer to the Policy on Paid Leave Program, Policy on Leaves of Absence and additional information regarding medical leaves available on the Disability Leave Programs section on HR Service Center.

If employee would also be eligible for leave under other policies, the employee must comply with usual notice requirements for requesting and being approved for such leaves. Employees may be subject to disciplinary action for failure to follow these notice and procedural requirements. Employees are further required to comply with any applicable attendance and call-in procedures.

Payout of Paid Sick Time

Upon separation from employment, the university does not pay out unused sick time.

B. Personal Time

Use of Personal Time for benefits-eligible employees

Three personal days are allotted each fiscal year (July 1), or on date of hire for new employees, to be used for personal matters including, but not limited to, appointments, parent teacher conferences, and religious observances. This time must be pre-arranged with the manager. Unused personal days do not roll over and will not be paid out at termination.

Personal Time for Maine Employees

If you work in Maine, you are eligible for 5 personal days in accordance with state law. This time must be pre-arranged with the department head, unless the leave is used for an emergency or other sudden necessity, in which case the employee must give as much notice as is practicable. Personal time may be taken in hourly increments.

C. Religious Observances

Northeastern respects the religious beliefs of faculty and staff and their desire to take time off for religious observances. Employees may use personal or vacation time for religious observances.

D. Vacation

i. Use of Vacation Time for benefits-eligible employees

The university encourages employees to use their accrued vacation time. Vacation time may only be taken with prior approval of the employee’s supervisor. Vacation days must be accrued before taken. Paid time off for holidays recognized by the university do not require the use of vacation time. Vacation time cannot be used to extend an
employee’s separation date. The employee’s separation date is the last day they work. Employees who have a position change that results in an increase in hours will receive a one-time vacation adjustment.

ii. Accrual, Rollover and Payout of Accrued Vacation Time

Vacation time is accrued monthly and will begin to accrue in the first month of employment if the employee begins work on or before the 15th of that month, or the second month of employment if the employee begins work after the 15th of that month. Employees who work less than full-time accrue vacation time on a pro-rated basis. For rates of accrual, please see the Vacation Accrual Rate Addendum, attached to this Policy.

Vacation time accrued during one fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) must be used by June 30 of the following fiscal year and cannot be carried forward. The university will not pay an employee for unused vacation days, except to the extent required by law.

Any unused, accrued vacation time will be paid with the employee’s last paycheck upon separation from the university. In the case of the death of an employee, vacation accrued and not taken will be paid to the estate of the employee.

If you work in California, your accrued vacation time rolls over from year to year. In accordance with the state’s law, total accrual of vacation time is capped at an amount not to exceed 2x the number of vacation days you earn in a fiscal year. For example, an employee earning 15 vacation days per year may not accrue more than 30 total vacation days.

E. Holiday

A holiday is a day designated by the university on which employees are paid for time not worked. Exempt staff who are required to work on a designated university holiday can take another day off as coordinated with their supervisor. Non-exempt staff who work on a designated university holiday will be paid for the time worked, including but not limited to any overtime pay required.

To be paid for a holiday, a faculty or staff member must be in a benefits-eligible, paid status on the working days before and after the holiday. The holiday schedule is determined by the university and posted on the HR Service Center each year for the upcoming year.

F. Other Paid Time Off

The university provides for other paid time off, such as bereavement leave, payment for jury duty service, and other situations where an employee must be absent from work.

Please refer to the HR Service Center for details.

IV. Additional Information


Each department is responsible for managing the records of its employees’ paid time off benefits. Each employee is responsible for accurately reporting time off.

Enforcement: Employees may be subject to disciplinary action for misuse of time off if they are engaging in fraud or abuse of benefits available under this policy.

Non-Retaliation: The university will not tolerate retaliation against an employee who exercises or attempts to exercise rights under the law.

More detailed information regarding paid time off in accordance with this policy is provided on the HR Service Center

V. Contact Information


For questions about this policy, please contact the HR Service Center.

HR Customer Service Center: 250 Columbus Place; (617) 373-2230

Responsible Office/Department(s)

Human Resources

Related Procedures


Vacation Accrual Rate Addendum

Grades 101 to 108, Trades, Facilities, NUPD

  • Accrue vacation on the basis of the number of months employed during each fiscal year (July 1-June 30).
  • The number of days accrued is based on the employee’s length of service and maximums as detailed below.
Number of Years Employed

Vacation Accrued Each Month of Employment


Up to 4 years of completed service 1.25 days — maximum of 15 days/year
Over 4 years or completed service and less than 14 years of service 1.67 days — maximum of 20 days/year
Over 14 years of completed service 2 days — maximum of 24 days/year


Grades 109 to 119, full-time faculty*, POD

  • Accumulate vacation time at the rate of two days per month

*Members of the full-time faculty in teaching or research who hold appointments on a 12-month basis are entitled to an annual vacation to be accrued at the rate of two work days per month up to a maximum of 24 days/year. Faculty, including coordinators, specialists, or lecturers, who are employed on a less than 12-month basis and are paid an annual salary do not accrue vacation during the periods when they are in service at Northeastern.




Paid Time Off; Sick Time; Personal Time; Vacation Time; Holiday

Version History

Last Revision Date: January 1, 2022

Issued: April 2, 2014