Voluntary Leave and Schedule Reduction Policy

Title: Voluntary Leave and Schedule Reduction Policy
Policy Owner: Human Resources
Applies to: Faculty, Staff
Campus Applicability:
Effective Date:
For More Information, Contact Human Resources
Contact Information: (860) 486-3034
Official Website: http://www.hr.uconn.edu/

Overview:

The State has legislated a Voluntary Schedule Reduction Program in which participation is entirely voluntary, subject to the approval of the agency’s appointing authority. The Legislative Regulation Review Committee approved the final Regulations on March 19, 1996. Employees who participate will receive time off without pay, but will continue to receive health insurance and other benefits in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement. Human Resources will not approve requests if the services need to be replaced during the period of leave. Employees may not substitute voluntary leave for medical leaves.

Plan Options:

Classified Employees:

(Administrative & Residual; AFSCME Social and Human Services and Administrative Clerical; CEUI Maintenance; CSEA  Engineering & Scientific; Protective Services; 1199 Health Care Workers)

A.  Sporadic Days Off – pre-scheduled, non-sequential days off (Friday and Monday are NOT considered to be sequential

B.  Work Schedule Reductions the University will not approve requests for schedule reductions to a previously negotiated workweek (e.g., 35 or 37.5 hours).    Examples of possible work schedule reductions for full-time employees are:

  • 4 day workweek (20% reduction)
  • 4 days a week with each day extended, but not equaling a full week’s schedule
  • 9 days per pay period (10% reduction)
  • Mornings or afternoons off (50% reduction)

Unclassified Employees: (AAUP, UCPEA, Managerial/Confidential)

A. Sporadic Days Off – pre-scheduled days off less than one week at a time.

B. Work Schedule Reduction:

  • 4 day workweek (20% reduction)
  • 4 days a week with each day extended, but not equaling a full week’s schedule
  • 9 days per pay period (10% reduction)
  • Mornings or afternoons off (50% reduction)

C. Leave of Absence without Pay – unpaid leave from 1 to 24 weeks at a time.

D.  Educational Leave – 3 or more months without pay to participate in an educational program.

Eligibility:

Any permanent state employee may apply for participation in the Voluntary Schedule Reduction Program. A permanent employee is one holding a position in the classified service under a permanent appointment or one holding a position in the unclassified service who has served in such a position for more than six months.

Application Procedure:

  1. An employee submits a completed application to his/her supervisor. The supervisor reviews the application, noting the impact on departmental operations, and either approves, modifies or denies the request, sending it to the Department of Human Resources for a final decision.  Should the supervisor be unable to approve the request because of departmental needs, he/she may discuss possible alternatives (if any) with the employee. If no alternative is possible, the supervisor will indicate on the form the reason the request cannot be granted. Since approvals are entirely at management discretion, denials are not grievable.
  2. Applications should be submitted to Human Resources at least two weeks in advance of the desired leave, and should include starting and ending dates, dates of individual leave days (if sporadic), and the number of hours of leave requested. The use of accrued time or compensatory time earned and accumulated pursuant to the provisions of any  collective bargaining agreement or to an order of the Commissioner under Section 5-200(p) of the Connecticut General  Statutes is not a condition precedent to being granted a schedule reduction under these regulations.
  3. A schedule reduction will not be granted if it would result in an employee falling below the threshold for eligibility for health insurance benefits, less than half time.
  4. The program will operate by the fiscal year (July 1st through June 30th), so the requested dates on each application should fall within those dates.

Changes to Approved Applications:

In the event of a change of plans, employees on a voluntary schedule reduction should apply for a modification. The new application should be marked “REVISED” and routed in the same manner as the original request.

Benefits and Status:

An employee whose application is approved shall be entitled to benefits as follows:

Health and Life Insurance:

During the period of any approved leave or work schedule reduction, an employee’s health and life insurance will continue on the same basis as before the leave or schedule modification. The employee must contribute, on an on-going basis, that portion of the premiums that would normally have been payroll-deducted.

Seniority and Longevity:

An employee shall receive all seniority credit and the full longevity benefit without regard to the leave or reduced work schedule. (Longevity payment to an employee on leave shall be paid in accordance with Regulations 5-213-1)

Vacation and Sick Leave Accruals:

  • An employee on a reduced work schedule shall continue to accrue vacation and sick leave at the same rate as prior to the schedule reduction and shall not lose accruals for any month as a consequence of a schedule reduction.
  • An unclassified employee who takes a leave of absence without pay shall continue to accrue vacation, if applicable, for up to two months subject to any accrual maximums in the collective bargaining agreement. An employee who takes a leave of absence for more than two months will cease accruing vacation time after the first two months. In order to be eligible for payment of these accruals, an employee must be reinstated from the leave for at least two months.

Holidays:

An employee on a schedule reduction shall be granted time off with pay for any legal holiday which falls on a day when he would otherwise have been scheduled to work. If an employee is required to work on a holiday, he/she shall be granted a day off in lieu thereof.  If a holiday falls on a day when an employee would not have been scheduled to work as a result of a schedule reduction, he/she shall receive pro-rata holiday credit at the percent of his/her scheduled weekly hours.

Examples:  If 4th of July falls on a Friday:

  1. Employee reduces schedule to a 4-day workweek, with Monday’s off and recieves full pay for holiday on Friday (not to exceed the number of hours in a regular work day
  2. Employee reduces schedule to a 4-day workweek, with Fridays off, receives 80% credit – based on percentage of time worked on the reduced schedule – (recorded as earned time), since he/she was not scheduled to work on Fridays.

*An unclassified employee who takes a leave of absence without pay (Option C) will not receive pay for any legal  holiday falling during the leave.

Workers’ Compensation:

Any benefits to which an employee is entitled under Worker’s Compensation Statutes shall not be affected by a schedule reduction.

Retirement:

As of June 8, 1994, an employee shall receive full credit towards retirement for voluntary leave only when it totals 22 work days, whether it be for sporadic days off, work schedule reduction or blocks of time. Employees shall not be required to contribute any sums for that credit. Each accumulation of 22 days of voluntary leave will equal a calendar month of retirement credit. Note that voluntary leave which totals less than 22 working days will not be credited towards retirement.

Employees may direct their inquiries about retirement credit for voluntary leave taken before June 8, 1994 to a retirement specialist at (860) 486-0413.

Overtime:

Overtime payment during a schedule reduction will continue according to the employee’s collective bargaining agreement or Section 5-245 of the Connecticut General Statutes. Calculations of overtime payment will not include schedule reduction hours as time worked.

Initial or Promotional Probationary Employees:

  1. An employee in an Initial Working Test period is not eligible to participate.
  2. Days off which are taken as a result of this program will not be counted toward the completion of a Promotional Working Test period.

Questions may be addressed to the Leave Administrator, Department of Human Resources at (860) 486-3034.