Johnsen responds to staff governance compensation requests

by Michelle Saport  |   

President Johnsen announced changes to personal holiday days and the annual leave cash-in program in a May 26 memo to Staff Alliance and the Statewide Administration Assembly in response to five recommendations by those staff governance bodies. Each decision is supported through consultation with the Summit Team and Chief Human Resources Officer Keli McGee.

1. Increased Personal Holidays Currently, only non-exempt staff are eligible for one personal holiday each fiscal year. In the memo, Johnsen states, "although the university provides generous annual and sick leave accruals, in the interest of equity and appreciation for the hard work of all our staff, I am willing to expand the personal holiday benefit to all non-represented exempt employees." He did not support the request for an additional personal holiday day for non-exempt staff.

2. Employee Recognition Program Each of the three universities and the system office will continue to manage their own employee recognition programs. Johnsen and the three chancellors agree that it is important "to recognize and celebrate the high quality work our staff performs for the university."

3. Loyalty/Retention bonus In response to a Staff Alliance recommendation to implement a small longevity bonus upon achieving a specified milestone, Johnsen recognized the lack of a funding mechanism to support the effort, but does encourage retention bonuses on a case-by-case basis "as funding and university priorities may be appropriate."

4. Non-mandatory Winter Closure No changes will be made at this time to change the current practice of a winter hard closure with specifically approved exceptions as it "is in the best interest of the university, specifically as the practice results in real cost savings at a predictable time each year."

5. Annual Leave cash-in Johnsen is expanding the annual leave cash-in program to allow all eligible non-represented exempt and non-exempt employees to cash in up to 40 hours of their annual leave bank so long as, "in order to maintain work life balance," they have taken 80 hours of annual leave prior and have 40 hours remaining in their annual leave bank. In addition, the president and human resources will be advancing a recommended policy change to the Board of Regents to increase the cap on annual leave maximum balance. "I am especially sensitive to the fact that some employees lose annual leave each year and that employees may not be getting time off needed to recharge." The human resources departments at the multiple campuses will work on the implementation and more details will be communicated in the near future.

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