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Introducing the voluntary days-off program

New initiative offers additional days off option for employees, potential cost savings for university

June 12, 2015 — 

Considering extending your Canada Day into a holiday weekend? The new voluntary days-off program offers staff the opportunity to take additional days off without losing service, pension or vacation entitlement accruals — an important benefit.

The voluntary days-off program, which will allow up to 10 days off with manager approval, is an extension of current unpaid leave days, another form of voluntary days off.

However, the new program provides an a opportunity for employees to take additional time away from work to spend on their personal priorities through unpaid days off, without penalization to service, pension and vacation, says Greg Juliano, associate vice-president (human resources). He notes that the new program is completely voluntary.

As one of a variety of suggestions being explored by the U of M in light of the institution’s current fiscal realities, the program is aimed at alleviating the impact of budget constraints while simultaneously providing flexibility in units’ staffing complement. It balances the need to sustain the university’s long-term financial health with the U of M’s ongoing commitment to being an outstanding employer.

The invitation to take extra unpaid days off can be utilized anytime during the 2015-2016 calendar year.  Creating an extra-long Canada Day holiday by taking July 2 and 3 — the Thursday and Friday after the July 1 closure — is one suggestion which may be of interest, particularly to those whose scheduled workdays best allow for an opportunity to supplement their vacation time through unpaid days.

The voluntary days-off program is universal, and available to all employee groups. In fact, employees may be able to take up to 10 days off under this program any time throughout the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Savings realized by the program stay directly within the employee’s unit.

It’s also designed to be a very simple process, adds Juliano.

“Basically, an employee can seek approval [for a day off] from their manager, who would code them in the system as having taken one of these days under the program,” he says. “The person can stay home, and although they don’t receive a salary that day, in terms of vacation, benefits and pension and service accrual, they are treated as if they were at work that day. For the individual, that’s how it works.”

“You’ve always been able to do it, but now it’s even better.”


For more, see the voluntary days-off program page on the human resources website.

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2 comments on “Introducing the voluntary days-off program

  1. Ray

    I would be more than willing to access this program if the reduced salary for the voluntary days off was spread across multiple pay periods and not the pay period in which the time was taken. MGEU employees also have the same type of program and the pay is deducted from the total overall salary for the year, so the employee sees a minimal overall reduction in weekly pay. Another look at the ability to do this might be warranted if the desire is for this program to be successful.

  2. UM Today

    Thank you for your comment – the input is appreciated and has been forwarded. The U of M is currently examining ways to improve this program with an option to distribute the reduced salary over multiple pay periods. Due to the administrative technicalities it would entail, it is unable to do so immediately. Depending on the program’s success, however, this may be possible in the future.

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