Q. What is the Combined Time Off system that we have heard about?
Under a Combined Time Off system, each employee’s time off is combined into one “bucket,” which can be used for vacation, floating holidays, personal illness, doctor’s appointments and other personal reasons. Personal reasons could include caring for members of the immediate family who are seriously ill and require care at home or for children’s doctors’ appointments that cannot be scheduled outside of working hours. In a Combined Time Off system, it is not necessary to distinguish how the time is being used and departments establish practices for providing notice of absences from work, and scheduling time away. Read the complete policy.
Q. Why is the University adopting this Combined Time Off system?
A. In the first instance, it is important to note that this program is not taking away the current extended sick leave policy. Rather, this is a way for employees to manage their time off more effectively to meet their personal needs. Here are reasons we’ve chosen to adopt this program:
Q. How many extra days is W&L giving us in the form of Combined Time Off (CTO)?
A. Each staff member will get an additional 6 days per year in their CTO pool and will be able to accumulate significantly more time than the 5 days they can now carry over. In addition, each employee will get a sick leave reserve (SLR) and will be granted 5 days of SLR to start the “bank.”
Q. Do I lose the “unlimited” sick leave that I currently have under the CTO system?
A. No. Washington and Lee will still cover any extended illness or injury that exceeds 10 days. The first 10 days of any absence will need to be charged to CTO or SLR. During the first year HR will work with any individual who has an extended illness or injury and has not been able to build up enough time to cover those days. We do not want anyone to be disadvantaged by the transition to this new program.
Q. Why have SLR in the first place? Why not just keep everything in CTO since CTO is payable on termination of employment and SLR is not?
A. Employees may want to keep most of their time in CTO. SLR is designed to be a place to transfer time that employees may lose because they are reaching their maximum accrual. By putting hours into the SLR, that time will be available at a later date should the employee need extended time off to care for a family member who needs care (under current policy that time would be charged to vacation), or for the first 10 days of a personal illness. SLR can also be used for doctor appointments for the employee or family member, which leaves more time in the CTO for other uses.
Q. If I have to go to the doctor for an examination on something that does not keep me from working but that I want to have examined, do you have to take vacation time for that doctor’s appointment?
A. After January 1, time off for doctor's appointments should be charged to either CTO or SLR. Alternatively, with your supervisor's approval you can make that time up by working additional hours. Just remember that any hours in excess if 40 must be paid at time and one half.
Q. Will any hours accrued up to January 1, 2009 will carry over?
A. You will be able to carry over up to 5 days under the current policy into your CTO account.
Q. Does the University have any plans to mirror the days off that the schools of Lexington have off when W&L is up and running?
A. No, W&L does not plan to give staff all the days off that the schools of Lexington have off. Under the CTO system your accrual will increase after 2 years (currently an employee has to complete 5 years before receiving an increase in the number of vacation days accrued).
Q. Why does the family leave policy exclude siblings in its definition of "immediate family?”
A. While siblings are not included in the definition of immediate family, we will allow staff to use CTO or SLR to care for a sibling if the employee is the primary caregiver for that individual. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Q. Will W&L develop guidelines for telecommuting? Perhaps this could be encouraged as a way to save money for the University and the employee?
A. We have allowed telecommuting on a limited basis in certain areas. While telecommuting will not be possible in many jobs, workable arrangement may be possible for some positions. While telecommuting does not really result in measurable savings to the University, it clearly would save on individual employee expenses. Employees should contact their supervisors if they are interested in exploring this option.
Q. Is there any consideration being given to improving the benefits available to part-time staff?
A. At this point, we are focusing our efforts to reach the greatest number of employees. Only a very small percentage of our work force is part-time, and we do want to make such positions as attractive as possible. It is important to note that employees holding approved part-time positions of 20 hours/week or more are eligible for some University benefits, including retirement plan contributions, life insurance, long-term disability and health insurance subject to certain length of service requirements.
Q. Why will it take until 2014 to implement the reclassification of jobs?
A. It won't. That 2014 date has led to some misunderstanding. Work on the classification of staff jobs will begin immediately as part of a comprehensive plan that includes performance development for staff. This plan will address career planning, coaching, feedback and evaluation. It will also recognize and reward exceptional performance, and it will enhance career mobility. We are currently forming a Design Team to work with HR and with Mercer on the program and will include opportunities for staff and supervisor input at various stages. We have not yet determined a date when that program will be implemented well before 2014.
Q. What is the timetable for the adjustment of staff salaries?
As President Ruscio noted in his presentation, the University has committed $1.5 million to achieve salary benchmarks in deficient areas by 2014-15. These funds, which will be in addition to regular staff salary increases, will need to be phased in over that period of time.