Annual Leave (Vacation Leave)

Typically referred to as “vacation”. Classified employees receive paid annual leave which can be taken for any purpose. Annual leave is earned at the end of each pay period - the 9th and the 24th - and is available for use on the 10th and 25th. The rate at which annual leave is earned depends on length of service. Employees must work an entire pay period, or be on approved paid leave, to earn annual leave at the end of each pay period. Annual leave must be earned before it is used. Employees may accumulate annual leave, but only a limited amount may be carried over from year to year. Upon leaving state service, employees are paid for unused annual leave up to the maximum payout limit.

This chart shows the hours earned each pay period based on years of service, the maximum hours accrued, the maximum carry-over limits, and maximum payout limits:

Years of Service

Hours Accrued per Pay Period

Hours Accrued per Year

Maximum Carry-over Limits

Maximum Payout Limits

0-5 years

4 hours

96 hours (12 days)

192 hours (24 days)

192 hours (24 days)

5-10 years

5 hours

120 hours (15 days)

240 hours (30 days)

240 hours (30 days)

10-15 years

6 hours

144 hours (18 days)

288 hours (36 days)

288 hours (36 days)

15-20 years

7 hours

168 hours (21 days)

336 hours (42 days)

288 hours (36 days)

20-25 years

8 hours

192 hours (24 days)

384 hours (48 days)

336 hours (42 days)

25+ years

9 hours

216 hours (27 days)

432 hours (54 days)

336 hours (42 days)

When an employee takes leave time that was requested but not approved, the employee will be subject to the following actions:

  • the absence will be designated as unauthorized;
  • the employee will not be paid for the time missed;
  • because the employee has experienced a Time Loss, he or she will not accrue annual or traditional sick leave for the pay period(s) when the absence occurred; and
  • the agency may also take disciplinary action under Policy 1317-Standards of Conduct and Performance for Classified Employees.

When an employee missed work and they do not have leave in their leave balances to take, the employee will be subject to the following actions:

  • the employee will not be paid for the time missed; and
  • because the employee has experienced a Time Loss, he or she will not accrue annual or traditional sick leave for the pay period(s) when the absence occurred.

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 4.10 - Annual Leave.

Civil and Work-Related Leave

Civil and Work-Related Leave may be granted in situations that include serving on a jury, appearing in court as a witness under subpoena, serving as an officer of election, or participating in the formal resolution of workplace conflicts and certain other work-related activities.

A copy of the summons and work excuse(s) is required when serving on a jury or appearing in court as a witness. Civil and Work-Related Leave CANNOT be used to appear in criminal proceedings in which employee is the defendant. Employees who appear for jury duty or who serve as officer of election for four or more hours in one day, including travel time, will not be required to start a work shift that begins on or after 5:00 p.m. on the day of that service or that begins before 3:00 a.m. on the day following the jury duty or officer of election service. In this situation, the entire shift will be coded as Civil and Work-Related Leave.

Civil and Work-Related Leave may also be taken when interviewing for other state positions. Written verification from the interviewing agency is required. If use of this leave for interviewing becomes excessive, it may be restricted.

Advance approval by supervisor is required to use all Civil and Work-Related Leave. Civil and Work-Related Leave is granted by the Leave Specialist and all documentation is required prior to awarding leave.

See DHRM Policy 4.05 - Civil and Work-Related Leave for more information regarding Civil and Work-Related Leave.

Community Service Leave (School Assistance and Volunteer Service Leave)

Classified employees receive 16 hours of paid leave per leave year to perform volunteer services through eligible non-profit organizations within or outside their communities. Such service may be provided as a member of a service organization or through authorized school assistance. This leave is not carried over from leave year to year leave and it is not paid out upon separation. Documentation may be required in order to take Community Service Leave. Leave under this policy may be used for providing volunteer service through volunteering for non-profit organizations or for school assistance as outlined below.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Volunteer Fire Departments and Rescue Squads - Members of volunteer fire departments and rescue squads, or auxiliary units thereof, shall be granted paid leave of up to 24 hours under this policy in accordance with §2.2-2821.2 of the Code of Virginia.
  • Other Volunteer Service Activities - Employees may be granted paid leave under this policy to provide voluntary service as part of an organized service project sponsored by a community, national or other service organization. For example, an employee could be granted volunteer leave to:
  • deliver meals to the elderly or to needy community citizens through an organization such as Meals on Wheels;
  • attend non-profit boards and committee meetings (Scouts, Big Brother/Big Sister, Red Cross, etc.);
  • participate in activities directly related to non-profit fundraising (e.g., set up/take down, registration, answering phones, recruiting/organizing/training volunteers);
  • do yard work, painting, cleaning, maintenance through a non-profit organization, or;
  • volunteer for Scouts, Big Brother/Big Sister, or other non-profit organization.

School Assistance

  • Employees with children may be granted paid leave under this policy to:
  • meet with a teacher or administrator of a public or private preschool, elementary school, middle school, or high school concerning their children, step-children, or children for whom the employee has legal custody; or
  • attend a school function in which such children are participating.
  • Any employee may be granted paid leave under this policy to perform volunteer work approved by any teacher or school administrator to assist a public preschool, elementary school, middle school, or high school.

Home Schooling

  • Employees may be granted paid leave under this policy to assist in the education of their child (or step-child or child for whom the employee has legal custody) in state-approved home education curricula, including meetings with local school board officials and required field trips.

Community Service Leave should not be used to vote in an election.

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 4.40 - School Assistance and Volunteer Service Leave.

Compensatory Leave

Non-exempt employees earn compensatory leave (comp leave) for hours worked on a holiday, hours worked on an authorized closing if in designated positions or when over 40 hours have been accounted for during the work week, but not physically worked over 40. Granted hour-for-hour, compensatory leave must be authorized by a supervisor. It may be used for any purpose and must be used within 12 months of the date earned or it will expire.

Once lapsed, accrued compensatory leave may not be used or paid off upon an employee's change of status. Exempt employees do not earn compensatory time except when required to work on a university holiday.

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 3.10 - Compensatory Leave or JMU Policy 1303 - Provisions for Granting Overtime and Compensatory Leave.

Educational Leave

Educational leave may be provided at the discretion of the agency, for the purpose of allowing employees time to further their education through a course of study related to their work or that of their agency. Educational leave is limited to 12 months and may be granted with full, partial or no pay, at the agency's discretion. Leave is subject to the supervisor's approval.

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 4.15 - Educational Leave.

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires the university to give eligible employees unpaid job-protected leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care of a child, or the serious health condition of the employee or an immediate family member (child, spouse, or parent), a qualifying exigency arising from a call to active duty of a spouse, son, daughter or parent, being on active duty, having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces. Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any calendar year. FMLA may be used when an employee is the care-giver for an injury or illness of a service member that is a spouse, son, daughter, parent or being the nearest blood relative of the active service member (up to 26 weeks).

To be eligible, the employee must have been employed for at least 12 months and have provided at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period prior to the leave request. The 12-week period is calculated starting from the date the employee begins FMLA leave. Eligible employees have the option of using paid leave, as appropriate under each particular leave policy, for absences covered under FMLA. The agency may designate such leave as family and medical leave. If you take leave under FMLA, you will normally return to your prior job, or in unusual cases, a job with equivalent status and pay. Health benefits must continue during the leave at the same level and conditions as if you had continued to work.

Employees must give a 30-day advance notice to their supervisor of the need to take FMLA leave when it is foreseeable for the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or for planned medical treatment. When it is not possible to provide advance notice, the employee must notify their supervisor as soon as practical.

Intermittent leave that is medically necessary may be taken without supervisor approval for each absence. Employees are encouraged to provide proper notice to their supervisor even though the supervisor's permission to use leave is not required. Supervisors must approve requests for intermittent leave if taking leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.

Certification from the employee's or their family's health care provider must be provided to HR to support family medical leave.

For complete information on the Family and Medical Leave Act, please visit the Family Medical Leave Act website, contact the Benefits Team, or refer to Policy 1308-Family and Medical Leave.

Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

Employees may be granted leave without pay with supervisor's approval. Requests for leave without pay must be requested in writing to the supervisor and leave without pay may not be granted for more than 12 calendar months, except for extended illness or injury, or for active duty military.

Leave without pay may be granted for: (1) educational leave (more than the allowable leave with pay), (2) military leave, (3) medical, and (4) personal reasons.

Leave without pay may be unconditional or conditional based on the needs of the department, as determined by the supervisor. Unconditional leave without pay guarantees the employee's reinstatement to their former position. When reinstatement to the former position does not appear practical because of the university's need to fill the job, employees may be placed on conditional leave without pay. Conditional leave allows employees to retain prior sick and vacation credits, but, if the position has been filled, does not obligate the university to reinstate you. If employees are unable to attain a position at James Madison University or another state agency, employees will be separated from state service when leave without pay expires. No leave accrual will occur while an employee is on leave without pay status. Leave without pay may also affect other benefits such as health insurance, retirement benefits, and life insurance. Employees should contact Human Resources prior to requesting a leave without pay to learn of the effect of leave on benefits.

Please review JMU Policy 1319-Classified Employee Leave Without Pay for additional information.

Military Leave

Employees who are members of a military unit, the National Guard, Naval Militia, or Armed Forces Reserves, are entitled to 15 work days (120 hours) of military leave per federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) for federally funded military duty.

Regardless of whether the duty is fragmented, employees are still entitled to 15 work days of leave per federal fiscal year. An employee must include a copy of military orders or other official documentation with the request for military leave. If ordered to duty because of an emergency, employees must supply Human Resources with supporting documentation upon their return to work to verify use of military leave.

Please review DHRM Policy 4.50 - Military Leave for additional information.

Overtime Leave

Non-exempt employees working more than 40 hours in a work week may be granted overtime leave instead of overtime pay. The rate of overtime leave is one and one-half hours of leave for every hour physically worked over 40 in any work week. The work week is defined as Sunday midnight through Saturday midnight unless an alternate work week has been approved by Human Resources and Administration based on the need of the department. Only hours physically worked are used to determine if compensation for overtime is required. The overtime leave balance may not exceed 60 hours except in certain situations.

Employees whose balance has reached this level must be compensated with time and one-half overtime pay for additional overtime hours worked until the overtime leave balance is reduced by using the hours as time off.

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 3.15 - Overtime Leave or JMU Policy 1303 - Provisions for Granting Overtime and Compensatory Leave.

Personal Leave Day

Eight hours of personal leave is granted to all classified employees on January 10 of every leave year (or the first day of employment for new hires). The personal leave day is considered an 8-hour floating holiday. The personal leave day must be used by January 9 of the leave year or will be lost. The personal leave day must be used in the full eight-hour increment. Unused hours are not paid out upon separation.

Recognition Leave

The president of the university grants 40 hours of recognition leave to employees each calendar year. This leave is typically used to extend the Thanksgiving and Winter breaks as well as close the university early on the Friday before Spring Commencement.

Sick Leave and Family/Personal Leave - Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP)

Classified employees are provided sick leave and family/personal leave each leave year based on months of state service. The leave accrual year begins on January 10 of the current year and runs through January 9 of the following year. Sick and Family/Personal leave cannot be carried over from year to year, nor is it paid out upon separation.

  • Sick Leave may be taken for personal illnesses, injuries, preventive care and wellness physician visits. Supervisors may request medical documentation for any absences related to illness. Absences over 3 work days or 24 work hours require medical documentation which should include the dates of absence. This documentation should be submitted to Human Resources upon the return to work.
  • Family/Personal Leave may be taken at the discretion of the employee for any purpose (family, illness, attend a funeral, or other personal needs, etc.) provided the employee gives reasonable notice and his/her supervisor approves the absence.


Accrual rates are based on total months of state service (or previous state service). Accrual rates for new hires and rehires are based on the date of employment.

The following charts reflect the accrual rates for sick leave and family/personal leave according to months of state service:

Current Full-Time

Months of State Service

Sick Leave Hours/Working Days

Family/Personal Hours/Working Days

Less than 60

64 (8 days)

32 (4 days)

60-119

72 (9 days)

32 (4 days)

120 or more

80 (10 days)

40 (5 days)


New Full-Time

Employment Begin Date

Sick Leave Hours/Working Days

Family/Personal Hours/Working Days

January 10 - July 9

64 (8 days)

32 (4 days)

July 10 - January 9

40 (5 days)

16 (2 days)

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 4.57 - Virginia Sickness and Disability Program.

Traditional Sick Leave

The traditional sick leave program applies to employees hired prior to January 1, 1999 who are not in VSDP. Traditional sick leave is earned at the rate of five hours at the end of each pay period - the 9th and the 24th with no maximum accrual limit. Supervisors may request medical documentation for any absences related to illness. Absences over 3 work days or 24 work hours require medical documentation. This documentation is to be submitted to Human Resources upon the return to work. Employees shall be allowed to use traditional sick leave to take time off from work for the illness or death of an immediate family member. Immediate family includes mother, father, children, spouse, siblings, step-parents, step-children, step-siblings, or any relatives, either by blood or marriage, living in the employee's household. The maximum amount of family sick leave an employee may use for minor or brief periods of disability, or following the death of certain family members, is limited to 48 total work hours in a leave year. Employees with five years of service are eligible to be paid for 25% of their accumulated, un-used traditional sick leave up, to a maximum of $5,000 upon separation from state service.

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 4.55 - Sick Leave.

Volunteer Fire and Rescue Leave

Members of volunteer fire departments and/or rescue squads, or auxiliary units thereof, are granted an additional 8 hours of leave (over and above the 16 hours of community service) to serve in this capacity.

The additional 8 hours must be used for this purpose only. For example, members of volunteer fire departments and rescue squads may use the 8 hours of fire and rescue leave plus the 16 hours of community service leave for a total of 24 hours of leave for fire and rescue services, but may not use this eight additional hours for school assistance or other volunteer activities. Documentation of eligibility is required and must be submitted to HR each leave year for these additional hours to be granted.

This leave is not carried over from year to year and nor is it paid out upon separation.

Additional information may be found in DHRM Policy 4.40 - School Assistance and Volunteer Service Leave.

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