Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS)

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Policy Statement

Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS) is a program that allows employees to voluntarily trade income for time off. The VRWS program is available to eligible annual-salaried CSEA, PEF and M/C classified employees. Individual VRWS agreements may be entered into for any number of payroll periods up to a maximum of 26 biweekly pay periods in duration and must expire at the end of the last payroll period in the fiscal year.

Category Name: Human Resources
Responsible Unit: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Exec: VP for Administration and Finance
Adoption Date: October 2000
Last Revision Date:
Last Review Date:

Purpose/Scope

VRWS provides the College with a flexible mechanism for allocating staff resources.

1. VRWS permits employees to reduce their work schedules to reflect personal needs and interests.

Applicability

Eligibility:

• Employees are required to be employed to work on a full-time annual salaried basis for a minimum of one bi-weekly payroll period immediately prior to the time of entry into the VRWS Program. Time on paid or unpaid leave from a full-time annual salaried position satisfies this requirement, and
• Employees must remain in a full-time annual salaried position during the term of the VRWS agreement, and
• Employees must have one continuous year of State service on a qualifying schedule (any schedule which entitled the employee to earn leave credits, not necessarily a full time schedule).

Reduction Allowances:

Work Schedule Reduction - Participating employees may reduce their work schedules (and salaries) a minimum of five (5) percent, in five (5) percent increments, up to a maximum of thirty (30) percent (See Appendix A).

Definitions

There are no definitions for this policy at this time.

Policy Procedures

Description of an Employee VRWS Agreement:

  • An employee develops a plan for a reduced work schedule
  • The Supervisor reviews and approves the plan as long as it is consistent with operating needs
  • Jointly agreed plan specifies:
    • Duration of VRWS agreement which may be up to a maximum of 26 biweekly payroll periods with the VRWS agreement expiring the last day of the last payroll period in the fiscal year
    • Percentage reduction of work schedule and salary
    • Amount of VR time earned in exchange for reduced salary
    • Schedule for use of VR time earned. This may be a fixed schedule, e.g., every Friday, every Wednesday afternoon, an entire month off, etc. or * intermittent time off

*VR time used as intermittent time off will be subject to scheduling during the term of the VRWS agreement, and will require advance approval by the employee's supervisor.

  • Complete the required forms and route for appropriate approval.

Time Limits:

The employee and supervisor can establish a VRWS agreement on a fiscal year basis of any number of payroll periods in duration from one (1) to twenty-six (26). The VRWS contract expires the last day of the last payroll period in the fiscal year. The VRWS agreement must begin on the first day of a payroll period and end on the last day of a payroll period. VRWS ending balances must be segregated for each fiscal year. The employee and supervisor may, by agreement, discontinue or modify the VRWS agreement if the employee's needs or circumstances change. 

VR credits earned during an agreement may be carried on the employee's time card past the end of the individual VRWS agreement and past the end of the fiscal year but must be liquidated by the September 30th following the end of the fiscal year in which the individual VRWS agreement expires. VRWS ending balances must be segregated for each fiscal year.

Effect on Benefits and Status:

The effect of participation in the VRWS program on benefits and status is outlined below:

1. Vacation, Sick and Personal Leave: Prorate accruals based on the employee's VRWS percentage. There is no requirement that leave credits be exhausted prior to the beginning of the VRWS agreement. Vacation, sick leave and holiday balances are carried forward without adjustment; the personal leave balance is prorated 

2. Holidays: No change in holiday benefit.

3. Sick Leave at Half Pay: There is no impact on eligibility or entitlement. Employees who go on sick leave at half pay for 28 consecutive calendar days will have their VRWS agreement suspended and be returned to their normal full time work schedule and pay base.

4. Workers' Compensation Benefits: There is no impact on eligibility for entitlement to workers' compensation benefits pursuant to rule or contract. Following 28 consecutive calendar days of absence due to a work-related injury or illness, the VRWS agreement is suspended and the employee is returned to his or her normal full time work schedule and pay base.

5. Leave Donation: Employees who are absent using donated leave credits for 28 consecutive calendar days will have their VRWS agreement suspended.

6. Military Leave and Jury Duty: No impact on eligibility or entitlement.

7. Shift Pay, Inconvenience Pay, and Geographic Pay: Prorated

8. Salary: Normal gross salary earned is reduced by the percentage of voluntary reduction in work schedule. There is no effect on the base annual salary rate.

9. Return to Normal Work Schedule: An employee will return to his or her normal full-time work schedule and pay basis upon completion of the VRWS agreement period. 

10. Unused VR Time upon Return to Normal Work Schedule: VR time credits may be carried forward on the employee's time card after completion of the individual VRWS agreement period but must be liquidated by the September 30th after the end of the fiscal year in which the employee's individual agreement expires. VRWS ending balances must be segregated for each fiscal year.

11. Unused VR Time upon Separation: Unused VR time credits will be paid at the straight time rate upon layoff, resignation from state service, termination, retirement or death.

12. Unused VR Time upon Promotion, Transfer or Reassignment within an Agency or within a Facility or Institution: Unused VR time credits are carried forward on the employee's time card when movement is within an appointing authority. Continuation of the VRWS program agreement is at the discretion of management.

13. Unused VR Time upon Movement from One Agency to Another or Between Facilities or Institutions within an Agency: Unused VR time credits will be paid at the straight time rate by the agency or facility/institution in which the VR time was earned, unless the employee request and the new agency or facility/institution accepts the transfer of VR time on the employee's time card.

14. Health Insurance and Dental Insurance: No effect; full coverage.

15. Retirement Benefit Earnings: Participation will reduce final average salary if the VRWS period is included in three years of earnings used to calculate final average salary.

16. Retirement Service Credit: Prorate.

17. Performance Advance or Longevity Increase: Evaluation date is not changed; no change in eligibility.

18. Probationary Period: No effect; scheduled non-work time under a VR agreement is not an absence for this purpose.

19. Seniority: No impact; employee never leaves the payroll; seniority date is not changed; full seniority credit is earned. 

20. Overtime Work: VR time used shall not be counted as time worked in determining eligibility for overtime payments at premium rates within a workweek.

Discontinuation or Suspension of VRWS Agreements:

Although VRWS agreements are for stated periods of time, they can be discontinued by mutual agreement at the end of any payroll period. VR agreements may be discontinued, at management discretion, when an employee is promoted, transferred or reassigned within an agency, facility or institution, although VR credits must be carried forward on the employee's time record.

VR agreements may also be discontinued when an employee moves between agencies or between facilities or institutions within an agency. (See Provisions for Payment of Banked (Unused) VR Time in Exceptional Cases below.) 

Employees who go on sick leave at half pay for 28 consecutive calendar days, who receive leave donation credits for 28 consecutive calendar days or who are absent because of a work-related injury or illness for 28 consecutive calendar days will have their VRWS agreement suspended and be returned to their normal full-time work schedule and pay base. If the employee returns to work prior to the scheduled termination date of the VR agreement, the employee's participation in the VR agreement resumes and continues until the scheduled termination date, unless both parties agree to terminate the agreement.

Provisions for Payment of Banked (Unused) VR Time in Exceptional Cases:

Payment for banked (unused) VR time may be made in exceptional cases that fall under the following criteria:

1. Upon layoff, resignation from State service, termination, retirement or death, unused VR time will be paid at the then current straight time rate of pay. 

2. Upon movement of an employee from one agency to another or between facilities or institutions within an agency, unused VR time will be paid at the then current straight time rate of pay by the agency or facility/institution in which the VR time was earned, unless the employee requests and the new agency or facility/institution accepts the transfer of the VR time on the employee's time card. 

3. VRWS ending balances must be segregated for each fiscal year. Employees who accumulate VR time in a fiscal year and who are unable to use the VR time by the applicable September 30th liquidation date due to management requirements, will be paid at the then current straight time rate of pay.

Review of VRWS Denials:

An employee whose request to participate in the VRWS program has been denied shall have the right to request a written statement of the reason for the denial. Such written statement shall be provided within five working days of the request. Upon receipt of the written statement of the reason for the denial, the employee may request a review of the denial by the Director of Human Resources. The determination of the Director of Human Resources shall not be subject to further appeal.

Links to Related Procedures and Information

Related Forms:

Appointment Form
Application for Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS) 

Reference(s):

GOER – New York State Governor's Office of Employee Relations Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule in Work Schedule Program Guidelines. (September 2000 Supersedes VRWS Guidelines Dated September 1995)
CSEA Contract – Appendix XII Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule

Contact Information

There is no contact information for this policy at this time.

History (in descending order)

Item Date Explanation
Next Review Date  October 2003 Three year review
Adoption Date  October 2000 Policy Adopted

Approval

This policy is approved by:

Last Updated 1/5/18

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