As a salaried employee, I get a certain number of vacation days each year. Earlier today I was looking on the company payroll portal and was trying to calculate the number of days I have available for the rest of the year. Time to plan that winter ski trip perhaps?

Here’s the weird thing, I’m looking at the page on the HR portal and cannot for the life of me figure out how to estimate how many days I have left for the rest of the year. I know there is a way, but it’s not abundantly clear.

The first box in the “Accrual Amount” section is titled, “Awardable Hours.” What does that mean? Is “awardable” even a word? My guess is that this box shows how many hours I get each pay period. Makes sense that my employer would want to “award” me with some vacation time. I thought I earned it, but apparently I now need to send a thank you note to my company for their generous award!


Second box is titled, “Beginning Balance.” Okay, this one I have figured out. It’s the number of hours I carried over from last year. Dammit! Apparently I missed out on taking 6 and a half hours of vacation last year. Bonus for my company last year, bonus for me this year! Hopefully they don’t rescind this amazing award of time. Trust me, I won’t make that same mistake this year, I’m shooting for a full 0 beginning balance in 2017.

Third box is labeled “Awarded Amount”  and I have zero clue what this is. Is this how many total vacation hours I have been given by my company? If so, does it include the beginning balance? Is it net of hours I’ve taken already? Help!

The final box is “Taken Amount” which I assume is the number of hours I’ve taken so far this year. I can verify this with simple math. I’ve taken 4 days so far this year, at 8 hours per day that number matches the figure in this box, 32. Woo hoo! I know how many hours of vacation I’ve taken so far this year.

Crap, that doesn’t really help me at all since I’m trying to figure out how many days I have left for the year. Knowing the number of days/hours I’ve taken doesn’t hurt, but it certainly doesn’t answer my main question.

Okay, I broke down and called HR to find out what the deal is.

  • Awardable Hours is the number of vacation hours earned in a pay period. Multiple that number by the number of pay periods and I get my total number of vacation days! Yay! Now we’re getting somewhere.
  • I was totally correct about Beginning Balance. Silly me for not using up all my time last year.
  • Awarded Amount is the amount of vacation time earned so far this year and does not include my Beginning Balance.
  • The Taken Amount is the number of hours I’ve taken so far, just like I said.

Okay, the easiest way to figure out how many hours I have left to earn this year is to:

  1. Multiple the Awardable Hours by the number of pay periods in the year. Woo hoo!
  2. Add in the Beginning Balance. WOO HOO!
  3. Subtract out the Taken Amount. D’oh!
  4. Take the resulting number and divide by 8 to get total days instead of hours. Dammit! That’s it? Only X days?
  5. Take the number of total days and subtract out already committed days (i.e. summer vacation, camping trips, etc.). Well, shit! That’s a really depressing few days remaining.

Based on my calculations, I think I’ll end up owing the company about 2 weeks if I take that December ski trip I was planning. That simply won’t stand. Need to hack the vacation tracking system and double my Awardable Hours figure. Ain’t no way I’m missing that ski trip!

Why don’t they just list, you get X total days per year and have already used Y total days? Nope, it’s got to be complex to justify some fancy software system. Ugh! Either way I somehow lose on this thing.