Introducing the voluntary days-off program
New initiative offers additional days off option for employees, potential cost savings for university
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.”