It’s that time of year again!
Annual requests for scheduled paid time off (PTO) occur in February and March in a two-round process. This process – colloquially called “PTO rounds” or “rounds requests” – covers scheduled PTO requests for May 1 of the current year through April 30 of the following year. 1
Each nurse is guaranteed to have 75% of their annual accrual of PTO granted during this process.2 Depending on where you work, there may be little or no available PTO left for vacations after the Rounds process is complete – this means that if you don’t request 75% of your annual PTO accrual during Rounds, there is no guarantee you will be able to schedule more vacation time later in the year. So, it is important to plan ahead and know the rules to make the most of your PTO requests.
Round 1: Seniority isn’t everything
The first round of PTO requests occurs between February 1 and 21. 3 During the first round, each nurse is limited to 2 weeks of PTO. 4 The intent of this is to ensure that lower seniority nurses have a chance at some desirable vacation time each year (although on many units, most or all PTO from the summer months and other “prime” vacation times is gone before Round 1 is completed).
In both Round 1 and Round 2, requests are granted in seniority order, highest to lowest. In both rounds, time can be requested as full weeks or as individual days. There is, however, an added protection for lower seniority nurses which applies to Round 1 only: requests that result in 7 or more consecutive days off are prioritized over individual day requests. 5
This means, for example, that a nurse with one year of seniority who really wanted Halloween off could make a Round 1 request for 10/31 through 11/6; their request for a full week would take precedence over a nurse with 25 years’ seniority who had made a Round 1 request for 10/31 as a single day.
Round 2: All about seniority
Round 1 requests are granted and the schedule is reposted by February 28. The second round of PTO requests occurs between March 1 and 14. Round 2 requests are granted in seniority order, and seniority is the only factor that comes into play. Round 2 requests must be granted and posted by April 1.
For accrual rates based on seniority, see Paragraph 328, pages 81-82 of our contract under Article 29, Section B. To calculate 75% of annual accrual in hours, multiply your monthly rate of accrual by 12 months, then multiply this number by 0.75. If this number would result in a partial shift, it is at the discretion of the manager whether to round up or down.
PTO around the holidays
Each unit’s workload committee can develop guidelines to guarantee all employees a specific amount of time off during the period from December 15 through January 15. The time allotted during this time period may count toward the guaranteed 75% of annual accrual even if the time is not actually granted until the schedule development period for December 15 through January 15. 6
1) All of the relevant language can be found under Article 29, Section E of the contract, starting on page 84.
2) Paragraph 333 I 1), pages 84-85
3) See table on page 86 for complete timeline of dates relevant to PTO rounds, paragraph 333J 3)
4) Paragraph 333 J 1), page 85
5) Paragraph 333 K, page 86
6) Paragraph 333I 1), pages 84-85