The University Record, February 25, 1997

Paid Time Off plan in effect June 29, July 1 for Health Systems employees

The U-M Health System's Paid Time Off (PTO) plan (formerly known as Combined Time Off) was approved by the Regents at last week's meeting. It will go into effect on July 1 for employees paid monthly and June 29 for those paid biweekly.

The PTO plan's primary objectives are to:

---Provide greater flexibility for employees in scheduling time away from work.

---Reduce unscheduled employee absences.

---Provide increased productivity and costs that are more consistent with the Medical Center's market.

The move to the new plan is one of a number of actions being taken to cut $200 million from the Health System budget over a three-year period. Nearly $60 million was trimmed during the last fiscal year.

Under the plan, employees will accrue a bank of time that replaces the current separate vacation, season day and short-term sick time programs for employees in the Allied Health, Office, Professional/Administrative and Technical job families. Employees can "sell" back some unused PTO days.

Employees in the Health Care Associates job family already are covered by a PTO program and are not affected by this plan. PTO will be addressed with the unions as bargaining agreements are negotiated this plan. PTO will be addressed with the unions as bargaining agreements are negotiated.

Under the current plan, employees may have 12---14 vacation days and 15 paid sick days per year, as well as four "season days" to be taken Nov. 15---Jan. 15, and, according to Health System administrators, is "significantly more generous than programs offered by health care competitors."

How time is accrued

Time off is accrued in hours on a monthly basis and is prorated for part-time employees. The amount of time accrued depends on an employee's position with the Medical Center and years of service. The accrual rate is different for non-exempt and exempt staff.

---Non-exempt staff are those who currently accrue eight, 12 or 16 hours of vacation each month, depending on length of employment, and who are eligible to be paid time-and-a-half for overtime.

---Exempt staff are those who currently accrue 16 hours of vacation time each month from date of hire and are ineligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay. overtime pay.

 

PTO days can be 'sold' back

Once each fiscal year, non-exempt employees can "sell" back to the University up to 10 unused PTO days (80 hours) at 100 percent of current value, as long as at least five days (40 hours) remain in their PTO bank to cover unanticipated absences. Exempt employees may sell back up to five days (40 hours) annually with the same stipulation that at least five days remain in their PTO bank. The buy-back plan is designed to allow employees to have greater flexibility in their time off/cash compensation configuration.

An employee cannot accrue more than one-and-one-half times the annual accrual at any time. No time may be earned above the maximum.

 

Sick time not affected

The current extended sick time plan is not affected by PTO with one exception: An employee will not be allowed to use extended sick time until he or she has been absent because of a single serious illness or injury for 10 consecutive working days.

Employees with chronic and/or recurring health conditions or absences from pregnancy may access extended sick time after 80 hours of absence per year because of this condition or pregnancy. These absences don't have to occur on consecutive days, but medical documentation satisfactory to the supervisor will be required.

At the time of conversion this summer, a maximum of 10 days (80 hours) of unused short-term sick time will be retained by each employee in a separate bank to cover the 10 consecutive days of illness prior to using extended sick time. This time will not renew, but it will remain available to the employee indefinitely until used. Employees with fewer than 80 hours of unused short-term sick time remaining will retain that lower amount in this separate bank.

 

No one will lose accrued vacation time

All accrued vacation time will be converted to PTO on June 29, 1997, or July 1, 1997. Since the total maximum accrual for PTO is the same or more than the current total maximum accrual for vacation, all hours will be converted. No employee will lose any accrued vacation time.

Employees who currently accrue two vacation days a month---all non-exempt staff with greater than eight years of employment at the time of conversion and all exempt staff hired before that date---will accrue PTO hours at the maximum rate. All other employees and all new hires will accrue time based on level and years of employment as outlined above.

Summary of the PTO accrual rate

0-5 years of service

5-10 years

More than 10 years

Non-Exempt

20 days/year

26 days/year

32 days/year

160 hours/year

208 hours/year

256 hours/year

13.33 hours/month

17.33 hours/month

21.33 hours/month

Exempt

26 days/year

32 days/year

32 days/year

208 hours/year

256 hours/year

256 hours/year

17.33 hours/month

21.33 hours/month

21.33 hours/month