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Need Help Taking a Time Away?

Everyone needs and deserves time away from work to relax and recharge. Regular vacations make for healthier, happier employees and a more productive workplace.

Sometimes members tell us they feel pressure from their supervisor(s), colleagues, or even themselves, not to take time away from work for vacation. Others have indicated that it feels like their vacation requests are regularly denied, or that when they are on vacation, they feel obligated to do work. Although for some members, it helps them feel more relaxed to keep an eye on their email while on vacation — and that’s their personal choice — a department should never require a member to work or check email while on vacation.

To ensure that vacation requests go smoothly from the start, it’s best to give as much notice as you can, and to have an in-person, informal conversation about the request with your supervisor(s) before you formally make the request in PeopleSoft.

Below are some key excerpts from the HUCTW contract about vacation time:

“…A new employee begins accruing vacation immediately, but generally no vacation may be taken until the Orientation and Review Period has been completed…” (Personnel Manual, page 19) 

“…Employees are encouraged to take earned vacation leave. Normally, no accrual is allowed beyond the stated maximum…” (Personnel Manual, page 20)

“…Employees will begin discussion of their vacation scheduling with their supervisors as far in advance as possible. In scheduling vacations every effort will be made to accommodate the desires of the employee in the context of the needs of the workplace.” (Personnel Manual, page 22)

The full text of the contract langauge on vacation time can be found on pages 19 – 22 of the Harvard-HUCTW Personnel Manual.

If you’re having trouble getting uninterrupted time off for vacation, please reach out to your HUCTW organizer. An organizer can help you navigate these types of discussions with your supervisor or colleagues. If you are unsure of who your organizer is, just reach out directly to the Union office. All conversations with Union organizers and the Union office are confidential.

You can find contact information for all HUCTW organizers and the main HUCTW office here: