Scheduling problems typically assume uninterrupted availability of machines such that jobs can be processed at any time during this uninterrupted period. However, this assumption is seldom valid in reality. For a variety of reasons, e.g. machine adjustments, shift changes, planned maintenance, etc. machines are available only at specified times. The duration for which the machine is not available is known as the vacation. This paper considers the problem of scheduling jobs on unrelated parallel machines when machine vacations are specified. Two cases are considered, first, when the machine vacations are known a priori, and the second, when these constraints are not known a priori. Algorithms have been developed for both models, and computational results are also reported. Kuwait. © 1996 Taylor & Francis Ltd.