Leave Update: December Benefits

Published: August 28th, 2003

Category: Memos

Larry T. Ellis, Director, Division of Human Resources

On January 7, the University of Florida introduced the TEAMS and Academic Personnel pay plans along with certain enhancements that include the following leave benefits:

  1. Four personal leave days available to TEAMS and Academic Personnel: TEAMS employees and Academic Personnel are eligible to use four personal leave days in proportion to their FTEs for the period 12/26 to 12/31.
  2. Annual Leave Payment: This December, TEAMS employees also are eligible to receive cash payment for up to 16 hours of their accrued annual leave provided their remaining annual leave balances total at least 40 hours.

Providing these benefits to employees may significantly affect college, department, and unit operating policies. These policies should be reviewed carefully and reformulated in light of the considerations below.

The personal leave days offer University of Florida departments the flexibility to reduce operations and staffing or even to close offices entirely during the indicated period. Appropriate vice presidents, working with deans, directors, and department chairs, should review needed services and security concerns during this period and determine an appropriate level of staffing. Employees needed to maintain critical services during this period may be designated as essential personnel and required to report for work. If so designated, they may use their unexpended personal leave days before the end of the fiscal year at other times when they can be released from work. Each vice president shall decide the criteria to be used in designating essential personnel. The days off from work typically should be provided in full-day increments (eight hours per day for a full-time employee/four hours per day for a half-time employee), but other increments may be provided if appropriate. Personal leave days are tracked manually at the departmental level and do not affect eligible employees’ annual leave balances. Because of this—and given the fact that USPS employees are not eligible for the four personal leave days—we are asking that those employees who do take the time off from 12/26 to 12/31 complete a leave slip.

Areas that may need to remain open, with at least a limited number of essential personnel, include the University Police Department; areas with ongoing construction projects; units that have animals, plants, or research requiring care; and divisions that provide food, housing, patient, and certain computing services. Employees responsible for critical administrative functions (for example, paycheck distribution will occur on December 26 and payroll certification is due by 10 a.m. on December 31) and student services (admissions/registration) also may be required to work for all or a portion of these four days. Again, this is to be determined by the appropriate vice president.

USPS employees are not eligible for these four personal leave days but may be required to use annual leave in keeping with existing leave policies during the 12/26 to 12/31 period if a department chooses to reduce operations to the point that the employees’ services are not required. In the event a USPS employee does not have annual leave to cover the period, he or she may request that annual leave be advanced to cover that absence, in which case the department is obligated to provide it. (The holiday season as designated by the Office of Finance and Administration is the only time when annual leave may be advanced.) If a USPS employee does not want to have leave advanced to him or her, he or she also may use leave without pay, in keeping with University of Florida policy, during this time.

For planning purposes, we recommend deciding now whether or to what extent department operations will be reduced, who will be designated “essential,” and whether USPS employees will be required to take time off during this period. We also recommend sharing this information with employees in your area so that they may plan accordingly.

Annual Leave Payment
This December, TEAMS employees also are eligible to receive cash payment for up to 16 hours of their accrued annual leave provided their remaining annual leave balances total at least 40 hours.

The certification for this cash out is scheduled for the 11/21 to 12/4 pay period, with payment provided with the 12/12 paycheck. Employees who elect to cash out up to 16 hours annual leave must submit a leave slip to the appropriate UF leavekeeper by December 2 indicating the amount of leave to be cashed out.

For additional information about these leave issues, please see our frequently asked questions page at http://www.hr.ufl.edu/transition/leave faq.htm or contact Central Leave at central-leave@ufl.edu or 392-5732. Guidelines for leavekeepers are available at http://www.hr.ufl.edu/benefits/leave.htm. The University Controller’s Office will communicate payroll certification guidelines at a later time.

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