Highly toxic DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) readily trigger the DNA damage response (DDR) in cells, which delays cell cycle progression to ensure proper DSB repair. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mitotic S phase (20–30 min) is lengthened upon DNA damage. During meiosis, Spo11-induced DSB onset and repair lasts up to 5 h. We report that the NH2-terminal domain (NTD; residues 1–66) of Rad51 has dual functions for repairing DSBs during vegetative growth and meiosis. Firstly, Rad51-NTD exhibits autonomous expression-enhancing activity for high-level production of native Rad51 and when fused to exogenous β-galactosidase in vivo. Secondly, Rad51-NTD is an S/T-Q cluster domain (SCD) harboring three putative Mec1/Tel1 target sites. Mec1/Tel1-dependent phosphorylation antagonizes the proteasomal degradation pathway, increasing the half-life of Rad51 from ∼30 min to ≥180 min. Our results evidence a direct link between homologous recombination and DDR modulated by Rad51 homeostasis.