Alternative Work Options

For Professional and Classified Service Support Staff

Background

We are all aware of the economic difficulties facing the State of New York. In an attempt to creatively meet the coming challenges while maintaining academic excellence as a priority, it has been suggested that we explore alternative work schedule options.

Here you'll find information, originally shared with the campus in 2003 and again in 2008, which outlines some of the flexible work schedule options which may be of interest to you or your staff.  The ideas and concepts are not new - in many cases, they have been options for years.

The information provides important detail in how these options work and what the requirements are to participate. Of course, work schedule changes would need to be reviewed and approved by managers and supervisors, so we encourage you to have conversations with those to whom you report.

Human Resources is prepared to answer any specific questions you may have including impacts on your salary, benefits, and options regarding permanent or temporary changes in your work schedule. Please feel free to talk with us after you have reviewed the information.

Please understand that not all of the options are available to all staff, so review them carefully in terms of what is available to you.

We have tried to think of questions that would arise as you consider these programs and have addressed them in the bulleted information under each option.

It is important for you to note under "Next Steps" that informing our office of your interest in a particular program will be a necessary step.

The contacts on the right-hand side of this page will be happy to talk with you about questions you might have. We are available by either e-mail or telephone.

Options for Either Professional or Classified Service Staff

Full-time to Part-time work

For professional or classified staff, there is the option of moving from full-time to part-time. The implications are indicated below:

  • Depending on the percentage of part-time and the accompanying salary, benefits can change. For the classified service (CSEA, Council 82, PEF), if the staff person remains 50% or more, health, dental, prescription and vision remain the same. For professionals in UUP, benefits eligibility is based on the salary earned; if the earnings are more than the minimum for benefits eligibility per year, health, dental, prescription and vision remain the same.
  • For staff in either ERS (Employees' Retirement System) or TRS (Teacher's Retirement System), service credit will be pro-rated for any part-time service. For further details, contact the Retirement Systems.
  • Leave accrual earnings are different. For both classified and professional staff, accruals are pro­rated based on the part-time status. For the professional staff, accrual earnings will be based on salary earned as per the UUP Agreement and the method by which accruals are charged may change, depending on your work schedule. All accruals remain intact and would be moved with the staff person when the transition occurs.
  • For professional employees, this change does affect the issue of permanent appointment. As per the Policies of the Board of Trustees, only full-time service counts toward permanent appointment. However, periods of part-time service, while not counted toward service required for permanent appointment, are not deemed an interruption of consecutive service in computing permanency. A full-time professional staff member who had already attained permanent appointment and then moves to part-time would retain their permanent appointment.
  • For professional staff, the required notice for potential non-renewal of part-time term appointments is 45 days.
  • Salary is reduced based on the percentage of full-time work and is spread over 12 months to avoid disruption of paychecks.
  • For professionals, eligibility remains for both discretionary and across-the-board raises; for classified staff, eligibility remains for across-the-board raises, performance increments and longevity increments.
  • Please note that changes in employment percentage may not correspond exactly to a change in net pay, meaning moving from 100% to 50% may not result in you receiving half of what you currently receive as net pay in your paycheck.  Please contact Cheryl Robinson-Boyett at
    (607) 777-2129 with questions regarding paycheck impacts.

Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule

This program allows eligible full-time employees to voluntarily trade income for time off.  The VRWS program does have some eligibility criteria, which are indicated below.  Basically, the employee and supervisor collaboratively develop a plan for a reduced work schedule that represents a reduction of effort and salary between 5% (minimum) and 30% (maximum). The duration of the program can be for up to 26 bi-weekly payroll periods (one year) at a time. This option allows employees to be absent during "off" times, for instance, during the summer, intersession, etc. and at the same time remain on the payroll without affecting eligibility for benefits.

  • Status changes from full-time to part-time.
  • Benefits will remain intact, since the most an employee may reduce their effort is 30%, thus leaving them benefits-eligible.
  • Retirement service credit will be pro-rated (see information under the option of part-time work).
  • Employee must meet the eligibility criteria:
    • Must be in UUP, CSEA, PEF, or be a classified Management/Confidential employee.

    • Must be in an annual, salaried position.

    • Required to be on a full-time annual salaried basis for a minimum of one bi-weekly pay period immediately prior to the time of entry into the program. Time on paid or unpaid leave from a full-time annual salaried position satisfies this requirement.

    • Must have one continuous year of State service on a qualifying schedule prior to entering this program.

  • The program is set in motion and agreed to for a year at a time - and can be changed by either the employee or supervisor on a yearly basis.
  • Salary is reduced by the appropriate percentage of work reduction and is spread out over the entire year.

Example:

A staff person requests participation in the voluntary reduction in work schedule program (VRWS). He/she earns $35,000 per year and negotiates/receives approval for a 20% reduction in work effort and salary beginning on September 1, 2008 through August 31, 2009. He/she and their supervisor plan their work schedule for this period of time indicating times to work and times to take off. He/she will remain on the payroll as an 80% employee earning $28,000 (20% reduction in annual salary) year round. By working full-time beginning on 9/1/08 and throughout the academic year, instead of receiving a full-time salary, he/she will actually "earn" one day of "VR" time each week. He/she will accumulate/bank that earned "VR" time, using it to take off a block of time during the summer months (remaining on the payroll and keeping benefits intact). He/she and the supervisor might also choose for him/her to use the banked "VR" time to opt for a shorter work week, intermittent days off, or shorter workdays, since the VR time is actually earned in hours. The HR office would need to work out individual plans for each interested staff person in order to meet both personal and operational needs.

For Professional UUP and Management/Confidential Staff Only

Change in Obligation:  Calendar to College Year

Within the professional unclassified service, it is possible for a position/person to observe a college year (10 month obligation) rather than a calendar year (12 month obligation). While there might be some exceptions, in general college year positions mirror the traditional academic cycle, beginning their obligation each year on August 15 and extending through the following June 14.

  • Still considered full-time, but with a college year obligation.
  • As a full-time person, benefits eligibility and programs remain the same (health, dental, vision, prescription, etc.).
  • For members of the Optional Retirement Program (TIAA/CRE) pension system, the reduced salary of a college year obligation means that less money goes into the individual's retirement contracts.
  • For staff in the Employees' Retirement System (ERS) or the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), a full year's credit for the completion of each year with a college year obligation is received for the purposes of retirement service credit.
  • Leave accruals are earned at same full-time rate, but accruals are not earned during the two months for which there is no obligation.
  • All earned accruals remain intact when the transition occurs.
  • Changing to a full-time college year schedule does not adversely affect one's eligibility for permanent appointment, nor progression toward permanent appointment.
  • Salary is reduced as per the calculation provided by the State of New York: 
    • Calendar year salary x 10 divided by 12. Example: $45,000 calendar year salary - $45,000 x 10 = 450,000 divided by 12 = $37,500 as a college year employee
  • Salary is paid over the 12-month period, assuring no disruption of paychecks or benefits.
  • Regarding across-the-board raises in the future, college year employees receive the increase in July.
  • Since the conversion from 12 to 10 months results in a lower annual salary, your calculation regarding the value of your sick leave to offset health insurance premiums in retirement would be lower upon retirement had you retired a 12 month employee.
  • Plan ahead - with this option you must work 10 months, your obligation period, before taking 2 months off.

Next Steps

  • Feel free to call any of the Human Resources contacts listed on this page for clarification.
  • If you remain interested, discuss the concept with your supervisor and/or others who would be involved in the approval of such a change.
  • Several personnel transactions may be necessary so early planning is key.

Last Updated: 1/21/15