Policy Tuesdays

Welcome to Policy Tuesdays! 

Over the past year, HR colleagues have reviewed numerous policies and business processes. This was prompted by many factors, including what we learned during the pandemic, preparing for the transition to Workday (The C.O.W. Project), the work of the HR-Policy and Strategy Advisors (PSA), and compliance improvements. 

Our guiding principles for policy review:

  • Utilize modern best practices whenever possible
  • Consistently apply across all populations 
  • Improved compliance

All policies were vetted and approved by senior staff as well as previewed with the HR-PSA and the HERD Network. While we aim to make thoughtful and well-informed decisions utilizing the established governance structures, all policies are subject to change as the needs of the college and our community evolve. 

We are launching Policy Tuesdays as a quick and informal way to start socializing upcoming policy news. The new policies will not go into effect until July 1, 2024. We will continue to draft the detailed policies and update the staff handbook over the spring; however, we want to share what’s coming and provide opportunities for clarifying questions. 

  • Effective July 1st, 2024, the maximum vacation balance that employees will be able to accrue will be 1.5 times their annual accrual. This is an effort to align all staff with the same maximum vacation accrual.

    We recognize that individuals with multiple years of service could be over the new maximum by as many as 40 hours. If you are currently above the new 1.5 times cap, we encourage you to use your vacation time before June 2024. If you’re unable to use vacation time to get below the new maximum, you will be paid out for any accrued vacation time over the new maximum limit. These hours will be paid as straight time and will not count towards overtime.

    We anticipate paying this out in June 2024 — for individuals to whom this applies, you will receive more details later this spring.

    Link to current vacation policies.

  • Support staff currently receive two personal days each year, originally intended to align the highest level of support staff vacation time with admin staff, at a total of 22 days. These days are “use it or lose it” and cannot be carried over.

    Effective July 1, 2024, personal days will be converted to vacation time. Hours will be accrued biweekly and will be carried over as well as paid out upon separation, like standard vacation practices.

    New Vacation Accruals and Maximums - Effective July 1, 2024

    Staff Type Annual Accrual* Max Accrual*
    Non-exempt (at hire to < 3 years)  12 days  18 days
    Non-exempt (3 years to < 7 years)  17 days  25.5 days
    Non-exempt (at 7th anniversary)  22 days  33 days
    Dining Services (additional time for shutdown)  22 days  33 days
    Exempt staff  22 days  33 days

    *This includes personal days being converted to vacation time. Assumes 8 hours days for 1.0 FTE; time will be prorated for less than 1.0 FTE.

  • Currently, employees can use vacation time before it is earned, allowing vacation balances to go into the negative up to an individual’s annual accrual. Depending on years of service, this negative balance can range from 10 to 22 days. On average, only one or two people have negative vacation leave balances of more than 10 days. 

    Effective July 1, 2024, all staff will be allowed to go into negative vacation balance for a maximum of 80 hours or 10 days for a full-time employee. This amount will be prorated based on an individual's full-time equivalent (FTE).

    Standardizing the negative balance maximum does three things:

    1. It creates consistency across all staff; 
    2. It upholds the standard of providing flexibility to meet employees’ needs; and 
    3. It helps minimize the risk of an individual having to pay back the college for vacation time taken in advance in the event they should separate from the college with a negative balance.

    Individuals are still expected to follow departmental protocols for requesting time off. 

  • As many of you have learned through our Workday preview sessions, time entry will look slightly different. All staff will enter requests for vacation time, cultural religious observances, sick time, etc., in the system. Non-exempt staff and student workers will either enter time in and out or punch time, depending on the department and roles.

    Front-line Campus Safety and Dining staff currently punch in and out in PeopleSoft on computer-based web clocks. Administrative support (non-exempt) staff in those areas and across the campus enter the total number of hours worked each day, defined as elapsed time.

    The use of elapsed time (entering the total number of hours for the day) is not a best practice as it provides no visibility into whether legally required meal breaks are being taken. Elapsed time in a department like Facilities is also a challenge as it places the responsibility on the individual to accurately calculate the number of hours eligible for shift differential and on-call pay. 

    Effective July 1, 2024, Dining Services, Campus Safety, and Facilities will utilize punch time as their time entry method.

    Dining staff will continue to use kiosks in their units to enter time. (Note: this does not replace 7-shifts for scheduling and requesting time off) Each dining hall will be set up to capture the unique costing allocation related to where an employee works. So, when you are not working in your typical unit, the system will know where to charge your hours.

    Campus Safety staff will continue to use the computers in their area for time entry.

    Facilities staff will be able to punch in and out from a computer and mobile devices, whether that be college iPads or a personal device. Mobile time entry allows the Facilities staff to punch in and out for the day or for a meal break, no matter where they are doing their work, whether that is at Mission Park or Mt. Hope.

    For staff in all these critical operating areas, Workday will automatically calculate shift differential, overtime, and on-call hours, where applicable. 

    All other administrative support (non-exempt) staff and student workers will enter time in and out for their day, including their meal breaks. This improves the level of detail in time tracking for better audit controls but still relies on a sense of trust for staff to report their time. They will be able to utilize mobile entry if they choose. 

    The mobile app is entirely optional. No one will be required to put the Workday app on their personal device if they don’t want to. 

  • The college officially observes a number of holidays throughout the year. All regular and term staff working at least half-time (0.5 FTE) are eligible for paid holidays. 

    College holidays are categorized as either premium or non-premium. 

    The college is officially closed on premium holidays*, and only essential services are maintained. Non-exempt (hourly) employees required to work during these holidays will continue to receive premium pay (straight time for the holiday plus time and one-half for hours worked = 2.5 times their rate). Exempt (salaried) employees who work full or half-days on premium holidays can still take an alternate day off within the same fiscal year. 

    The college remains in operation on non-premium holidays**, but administrative offices may close or curtail services. Both hourly and salaried employees working during these holidays will accrue holiday time off to be taken within the same fiscal year. 

    For staff in 24/7 operations, like Campus Safety, the heating plant, and occasionally others in facilities, it is often difficult for staff to use all of their accrued holiday time before the fiscal year end.

    Effective July 1, 2024, non-exempt staff in Campus Safety and Facilities can elect to be paid out their accrued holiday balance for up to five non-premium holidays per fiscal year. When accrued holiday time is paid out, it will be paid as straight time and not included in the overtime calculation of hours worked during the week it is paid out. 

    Details and guides on how to request payout for non-premium holidays will be provided during Workday training later this spring.

    *Premium Holidays: New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day & the day after, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day (6 total)

    **Non-Premium Holidays: Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Labor Day, (Floating Holiday), and Winter Shutdown break, with the exception of Christmas Eve & Day. (5 days + Winter shutdown)

    Floating Holiday: All staff who are eligible for holidays are also entitled to one floating holiday each fiscal year.  The floating holiday is accrued annually on July 1st. Floating holiday time will be viewable in Workday, and employees will be able to enter to take their floating holidays using the same process as is used for requesting vacation time.  Floating holidays are not paid out on separation of employment and must be used within the fiscal year they are earned.

    Note that accrued holiday time, including the floating holiday, is not eligible for payout upon separation from employment.

  • Historically, we have had two different models for standard hours* for non-exempt staff. This means that hourly staff can be full-time, with 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) at 40 hours or 35 hours per week.

    Over time, many 35-hour jobs have grown to 40 hours to meet department needs, so there are only about a dozen individuals who are 1.0 FTE at 35 hours per week. We understand maintaining 35 hours per week may work for some departments and/or may also be based on an individual's preference. As we transition to the new system, all exempt and non-exempt staff FTE will be calculated based on 40 hours being the standard.

    To be clear, we are not asking anyone to change their weekly hours worked, and this will have no impact on an employee’s earnings or benefits. We are simply changing the math behind the scenes in how we calculate a position FTE.

    To illustrate, we are changing the denominator in the calculation.

    35/35 = 1.0 FTE

    35/40 = 0.88 FTE

    *The standard hours for all library staff will remain at 37.5 hours per week.

  • A review was done of the college's shift differential rates and practices. While the rates have been consistently applied across departments, shift hours, calculation methods, and practices have varied by department. A comparison study was conducted, and senior staff have approved the following changes to the shift differential pay program.

    For consistency, the new rates and schedule will be applied to all non-exempt staff positions that are eligible for shift differential pay in Campus Safety Services, Dining Services, Facilities, Libraries, Student Medical Services, and WCMA.  

    Rates:

    Current

    Type Hourly Amount
    2nd SHIFT - REGULAR $0.55
    3rd SHIFT - REGULAR $0.90
    WEEKEND - 1st SHIFT $0.55
    WEEKEND - 2nd SHIFT $1.10
    WEEKEND - 3rd SHIFT $1.45

    NEW, effective 7/1/24

    Type Hourly Amount
    2nd SHIFT - REGULAR $1.00
    3rd SHIFT - REGULAR $2.00
    WEEKEND* - 1st SHIFT $0.55
    WEEKEND* - 2nd SHIFT $1.55
    WEEKEND* - 3rd SHIFT $2.55

    Shift Differential Hours:

    First Shift 7 am - 5 pm 10 hours
    Second Shift 5 pm - 12 am 7 hours
    Third Shift 12 am - 7 am 7 hours

    *Weekend differential begins at midnight (12 am) on Friday through midnight (12 am) on Sunday

    Please note: Work shifts can vary by department, and some areas have rotating shifts. Second shift may also overlap with first and third shifts. This new schedule recognizes hours that occur during typical business hours between 7 am - 5 pm, and applies shift differential to work outside those hours.

    Application:

    Shift differential will be applied to the actual shift hours worked (second, third, and weekend shifts) and no longer on the majority of shift. 

    Summary:

    The rates have been updated to ensure that we are competitive with peer institutions and local employers.

    Given the schedule changes, it is important to note that while the new policy may not offer the same benefits to everyone, we want to emphasize that no individual will receive less than they did under the previous policy. Some staff may have slightly fewer hours that differential pay will be applied to, but still, the rate increases for differentials and set shift hours, rather than the majority of hours, making this a positive impact for all employees.

  • HR reviewed summer student employment practices in collaboration with the controller, general counsel, grants administration, and the dean of the faculty’s office. There are two different ways a student can receive payments.

    1. When a student provides a service to the college, this is considered employment, and they are paid an hourly wage for their labor through payroll. During the summer, this income is taxed, and students will receive a W-2. Examples include library assistants, summer conference staff, and lifeguards.

    2. Summer student experiences that are educational or experiential in nature, where they receive a stipend to offset their living expenses, will be paid through accounts payable (AP) in Finance going forward. Experiential opportunities are primarily driven by student interests/goals (with college support), are immersive in nature, and students are the primary beneficiaries of the experience. Examples include Alumni Sponsored Internships, Summer Science Research Fellows, and the Math SMALL Program.

    IRS regulations require individuals who receive more than $600 for certain types of payment to receive a 1099. In general, students who receive research stipends or awards will not receive a 1099 for their payments.

    The Finance Office will provide additional guidance on how to submit payment requests. Please contact Janine Burt with questions about student employment and Val Myers with any questions about summer stipend experiences.

  • After careful consideration, sick leave will no longer count towards overtime calculations, effective July 1, 2024. It's important to note that our current practice, where sick leave is counted towards overtime, is not a standard practice. We recognize the need to align our policies more closely with best practices and to ensure fairness and consistency for all employees.

    We encourage all employees to prioritize their health and wellbeing. We understand that illness is unavoidable at times, and it's essential for our team members to prioritize their health without the added concern for them or the department of accumulating overtime hours due to sickness.

    As an example:

    Monday 8 sick
    Tuesday 8 reg
    Wednesday 8 reg
    Thursday 10 reg
    Friday 8 reg
    Total 42 hours

    If someone called in sick on Monday and then worked a couple of extra hours on Thursday, in our current model, those 2 hours would be paid at time and a half.

    Effective 7/1, the 8 hours of sick time will no longer count towards overtime. So, the employee will be paid for 42 hours of straight time, no overtime.

  • We wanted to provide some additional details on the conversation of personal time to vacation time and the plan to pay out vacation time for those over the new maximum.

    As previously announced, personal days will be converted into vacation time. Any accrued personal leave will be converted to vacation hours on June 16, 2024, when Workday goes live.

    Once we are live in Workday, you will notice that your biweekly vacation accrual is slightly higher because the personal days are added to the annual accrual.

    If you are over the new vacation maximum, you will receive an email from HR the first week of May letting you know how many hours we intend to pay out in the May 24 payroll. We understand some individuals may have plans to take time in May or June and would prefer not to have the time paid out. The email will provide instructions on how to confirm how much time you would like paid out.

    The Personal Days (2/20) post above includes a chart view of the new vacation accruals and maximums.

  • This feedback form is available to ask clarifying questions or make suggestions for improved communication.  

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