Paid Winter Recess

All staff employees are eligible. Excluded are resource employees, per diem employees, faculty and those claiming student status (including teaching and research assistants). In the event of a discrepancy between these policies and procedures and a collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern.

Winter Recess is the time between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays when university departments are encouraged to suspend operations if possible. Departments are presumed closed unless due to business necessity the managers responsible for the department (in most cases, the dean or associate senior vice president or above) decide to stay open. The decision to stay open during Winter Recess should be made and announced well in advance.

For all staff, Winter Recess hours are posted in Workday in December each year. Hourly employees may use winter recess once available in their respective timekeeping system.

Winter Recess hours will not be posted for employees on unpaid leave of absence.

Hours of Winter Recess Posted

For full-time staff (excluding hospital staff on the biweekly pay cycle):

  • 37.5 hour workweek = 30 hours of Winter Recess
  • 40 hour workweek = 32 hours of Winter Recess

For full-time hospital staff on the biweekly pay cycle:

  • 24 hours of Winter Recess


A staff employee working less than full-time (100% effort) will have the Winter Recess hours prorated based on the percentage of effort.

Employees returning from unpaid leave during Winter Recess will have the Winter Recess hours prorated based on their return-to-work date.

Staff Required to Work During Winter Recess

Due to varying operational needs throughout the university, some departments cannot suspend operations during Winter Recess and some staff employees are required to work. Managers will coordinate with employees to schedule the use of Winter Recess hours at an alternate time in part or as a block no later than December 1 of the following year. The maximum number of Winter Recess hours posted may not exceed what is earned in a single Winter Recess period.

Payment for Unused Winter Recess

Payment for any posted and unused Winter Recess hours will be made upon termination of employment. Such payment is based on the staff employee’s regular hourly rate or equivalent salary rate at the time of termination. Staff employees who transfer or are promoted within the university carry their accrued Winter Recess hours with them.

Responsible Office

Human Resources Administration
(213) 821-8100

Issued by

Todd R. Dickey Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California