2124 - Employee Leave Management



Audience List

  • Agency Secretaries
  • Agency Undersecretaries
  • Department Deputy Directors
  • Department Directors
  • Employee Relations Officers
  • Personnel Officers
  • Personnel Transactions Supervisors


This policy

  • Explains the requirement for all departments to have an employee leave management plan.

  • Identifies the actions appointing authorities, state managers, and supervisors must take to ensure leave is being tracked and accommodated for accuracy.

  • States the existing leave statutes, regulations, policies and Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), pertaining to leave that departments should comply with.

  • Explains the employee leave management activities that California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) is expected to perform.

  • Reminds departments that some MOU’s require employees use Personnel Leave Program (PLP) 2010, PLP 2012, and Furlough hours before vacation or annual leave.


The state established vacation and annual leave benefits with the intent to rejuvenate the workforce (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, §§ 599.742, 599.742.1), ensuring employees maintain the capacity to optimally perform their jobs. Also stipulated in rule, “It is the appointing power's responsibility to provide reasonable opportunity for all employees to take an annual vacation commensurate with their annual accrual rate of vacation or annual leave.” (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 599.742.1).

Research shows that taking periodic vacations is beneficial to employee health and well-being, allows reconnection with their families, and restores balance between their work and private lives. To both comply with existing civil service rules and adhere to contemporary human resources principles, state managers and supervisors must cultivate healthy work-life balance by granting reasonable employee vacation and annual leave requests when operationally feasible.

California state employees have accumulated significant leave hours over the last several years creating an unfunded liability for departmental budgets. The value of this liability increases with each passing promotion and salary increase. Accordingly, leave balances exceeding established limits need to be addressed immediately.

A result of excess leave accumulation is when employees separate from state service and departments are obligated to cash-out accrued leave credits at their current salary rates, which in most cases are higher than when much of the leave credits were earned. These payouts amount to millions of dollars each year, and represent an unfunded liability that must be paid from current-year funds. This puts a strain on departmental budgets as they must keep vital positions vacant, redirect from other funding sources, and/or request additional funds.


Leave Balance Management Plan

In an effort to reduce leave balances that exceed caps found in various MOUs, the state has many strategies departments can employ. Departments should comply with existing leave statutes, regulations, policies and MOUs pertaining to leave such as:

  • Provide the option for up to 80 hours of leave cash-out for certain represented employees and excluded employees (Policy Statement 2104).

  • Require employees to use PLP 2010, PLP 2012 and furlough hours before vacation or annual leave (Policy Statement 2113).

  • Pay overtime in cash and avoid compensating time off (CTO) when operationally feasible.

  • Comply with the regulation requiring departments to cash out CTO for employees transferring to a new appointing authority (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 599.707).

  • Comply with the regulations that require a written leave plan for every employee over their cap (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 599.742.1 and applicable MOU sections).

  • Use CalHR leave plan templates to manage employee leave balances.


Plan Goals:

By emphasizing the importance of employee leave and policies within departments the following goals will be met:

  1. Shift organizational culture by emphasizing and promoting a work-life balance philosophy that improves employee health and job performance through the use of leave hours.

  2. Implement a leave management and monitoring process by auditing departmental leave balances.

  3. Reduce future unfunded leave liability by enforcing CTO and leave policies.

  4. Hold supervisors accountable for monitoring leave balances and leave reduction plans of their direct reports.

  5. Reduce the number of hours over the cap by 15-20 percent each year.

  6. Eliminate all furlough and PLP hours still on the books.


Employee Leave Management Oversight:

Responsible oversight of employee benefit programs requires monitoring, reporting, training and enforcement activities. In conjunction with its plans to establish a more robust review function, CalHR is working to enhance its capability to oversee and manage the state’s leave programs.

The following is a list of employee leave management activities that CalHR expects to perform:

  • Enforce employee leave program laws, rules and policies.

  • Develop and communicate employee leave program policy, procedures, and practices to departments.

  • Provide leave management consultation to departments.

  • Develop guidance and tools to help departments manage employee leave balances.

  • Develop metrics to measure progress of excess leave balance reduction and the status of leave balance hours and cash value.

  • Monitor departments’ leave balance systems and compliance efforts.

  • Track, calculate and publish statewide leave balance hours and cash value.


Employee Leave Management Policy

It is the policy of the state to foster and maintain a workforce that has the capacity to effectively produce quality services expected by both internal customers and the citizens of California. Therefore, appointing authorities and state managers and supervisors must:

  1. Manage and schedule workload in a manner that accommodates employee leave to reinvigorate employees without compromising organizational performance (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 599.742.1); and

  2. Comply with existing leave statutes, regulations, MOUs, and policies pertaining to annual leave, vacation leave, CTO, PLP, and voluntary personal leave; and

  3. Create monthly internal audit processes to verify if leave is being keyed accurately and timely (Policy Statement 2101); and

  4. Create a leave reduction policy for the organization and monitor employees’ leave to ensure compliance with the departmental leave policy; and

Ensure employees who have significant “over-the-cap” leave balances have a leave reduction plan in place and are actively reducing hours.




Related Policies

  • 2101: Leave Accounting
  • 2104: Leave Buy-Back
  • 2113: Personal Leave Program (PLP)

Web Pages

Contact Person

Personnel Services Branch
Personnel Program Consultant, Personnel Services Branch
Phone: 916-323-3343
Fax: 916-327-1886
Email: psb@calhr.ca.gov

Authorized By

Melissa Russell
Chief, Personnel Management Division


View History

Table of Contents

1000 - Equal Employment Opportunity

1100 - Selection

1200 - Appointments

1300 - Exempt Employees

1400 - Benefits and Insurance

1500 - Work Schedules

1600 - Third Party Pre-Tax Parking

1700 - Compensation

1800 - Savings Plus

1900 - Bona Fide Associations

2000 - Collective Bargaining

2100 - Leave

2200 - Travel/Relocation

2300 - State Owned Housing

2400 - Employee Recognition

2500 - Discipline

2600 - Layoffs

2700 - Retirement

2800 - Training

2900 - Workforce Planning

3000 - Examination and Hiring

3100 - Drug-Free Workplace