Carnegie Mellon University

Wooden blocks that spell "PTO" on neutral background

March 02, 2023

Refresher: Paid Time Off and Reserve Sick Days

The university has an established policy related to paid time off (PTO). This policy provides detailed information about PTO eligibility, usage, entitlement and accrual.

OHR receives many inquiries regarding the carryover of accrued and unused PTO from one employment year to the next based on someone’s PTO anniversary date. Here are some key pieces of information to be aware of regarding the policy:

What is an employment year and anniversary date for PTO purposes?
A staff member’s employment year and anniversary date (PTO Anniversary Date) for PTO purposes are determined by their date of hire. PTO is accrued on the first calendar day of each month following an employee’s date of hire. For example, if a staff member was hired on February 16, their PTO anniversary date would be March 1 of each year. Their employment year for PTO purposes is from March 1 through February 28 of each year.

Can I carry over accrued and unused PTO from the previous employment year?
Yes. CMU does allow accrued and unused PTO to be carried over into the next employment year.

How much accrued and unused PTO can I carry from the previous employment year?
Based on your years of service, eligible employees are allotted a certain amount of PTO accrual each year. The balance carried over may not exceed your annual PTO entitlement. PTO entitlement means the maximum amount of PTO earned per year. To illustrate this, please see the examples below.

Example 1:

  • Hire Date: 2/15
  • PTO Anniversary Date: 3/1
  • Years of Service: 10
  • Annual PTO Entitlement (based on 7.5 hour day): 187.50 hours
  • PTO Balance as of 2/28/2023: 200 hours
  • PTO moved into RSD bank on 3/1/2023: 12.5 hours

Example 2:

  • Hire Date: 4/10
  • PTO Anniversary Date: 5/1
  • Years of Service: 3
  • The employee doesn't use any PTO during their first year of employment.
  • On 5/1 of the following year, they still have 17 days of PTO in their bank. This is their maximum accrual so they can carry all 17 of these days into Year 2.
  • On 5/1 the following year, the employee uses PTO leaving 23 days in their PTO bank.
    • 17 of those days can move with them into Year 3.
    • 6 days will move to their Reserve Sick Day bank.

For more information on how anniversary dates and years of service are calculated, check out Understanding Service Dates in Workday [pdf].

What happens to the accrued and unused PTO that cannot be carried over?
Any PTO that exceeds your annual entitlement for the employment year is moved into your Reserve Sick Day (RSD) bank. Excess PTO that has been moved to the RSD bank can be used by an employee who has an approved Short Term Disability (STD) claim. This time is a safety net that can be used in place of 60% STD pay allowing for receipt of 100% of salary for any RSD hours used. A maximum of 130 days can be accumulated in someone’s RSD bank. In most instances (unless someone already has 130 days in the RSD bank), staff do not lose PTO per se; the excess PTO simply gets moved to the bank of RSD that can be used by someone on STD.

What about the extension that was granted during the pandemic?
To provide staff more time to use their accrued PTO, university leadership authorized the Office of Human Resources to extend a temporary exception to the university’s Paid Time Off Policy to December 31, 2022 for PTO that normally would moved into a staff member’s bank of RSD from April 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022.

Affected PTO not used by a staff member’s PTO anniversary date after December 31, 2022 will be converted back to the staff member’s bank of RSD after that PTO anniversary date. The excess PTO simply gets moved to the bank of RSD, which can be accessed while on short-term disability.