Special Benefit: Convert Extra Vacation Time to a TDA

Hitting a Harvard longer-service milestone? Put your extra vacation time into a TDA!

Union staff with 10+ years of service can convert some of their extra vacation time to a TDA one year before they hit their Harvard anniversary milestones (10 years of service, 15 years of service, 20 years of service, etc.)

If you’ve been directed to this page from an HUCTW email message, you will also receive a notice in your home mail from the University Retirement Office. The notice describes this special, time-limited, financial benefit for which you are eligible due to your length of Harvard service: the option to “convert” some unused vacation time and deposit its value into a Tax Deferred Annuity for retirement savings. It also provides a form to fill out to take advantage of this benefit.

This is an opt-in benefit, and nothing will happen unless you complete and submit the University’s form by December 1st, 2023.

This opportunity is only available the year before you hit one of your 5-year Harvard anniversary markers (10 years of service, 15 years of service, 20 years of service) and is only available for a very limited time.

What is this benefit and how does it work?  This is a fantastic benefit we negotiated together as a Union. It works like this: the year before you approach each “milestone” service year, you are eligible to designate to exchange a certain number of vacation days for the equivalent amount of money put into a TDA (you do not need to have a TDA already in place to do this). The chart below shows how many days you are able to convert to a TDA contribution depdending on how many years of service you have at Harvard. A TDA is a pre-tax retirement savings account (TDA = “Tax Deferred Annuity”).

Years of service you will reach in 2024 Number of 2024 vacation days you can  “convert” into a TDA now
10 years of service 5 days eligible to convert
15 years of service 10 days eligible to convert
20 years of service 15 days eligible to convert
25/30/35/40/45 years of service 20 days eligible to convert


What’s unusual about this benefit?  Because federal tax and payroll laws apply to this process, it has very particular rules: you must designate the vacation days for TDA conversion in the year before you earn them. In other words, although you will reach your Harvard service milestone year in 2024, you must designate the vacation days to be “cashed out” now, in 2023.

I have more questions. Can I get help with this?  Yes. The Union will host two virtual lunchtime meetings where we can explain the details. Please email alex.chisholm@huctw.org and let us know you want to sign up for the workshop, and we will send you the Zoom registration details.

Do I need to go to a meeting?   No. If you have used the program before or you have no questions, please simply submit the University’s form as instructed when it arrives.

When is the deadine?  Submit the form to the retirement office before or by December 1, 2023.

We hope you’re able to make use of this special financial benefit, and we look forward to discussing it at an upcoming meeting. (If you did not receive notice about this benefit, you are probably not eligible this year; feel free to contact huctw.info@huctw.org to find out the date of your next eligible service anniversary.)