The Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS) program allows employees to voluntarily trade income for time off. The VRWS Program is available to eligible annual-salaried employees in the State University Professional Services Negotiating Unit (PSNU) and Management Confidential. Individual VRWS agreements may be entered into for any number of payroll periods up to a maximum of 26 bi-weekly pay periods in duration and must expire no later than the end of the last payroll period in the University fiscal year.
If an employee wishes to establish a VRWS agreement, please contact Human Resource Management, Cleveland Hall 403, 878-4822. The application will elicit the employee’s plan for a reduced work schedule, which will be approved or disapproved by the supervisor and the provost/vice president/president, in consultation with Human Resource Management, based on operating needs.
VRWS provides campuses a flexible mechanism for allocating staff resources. VRWS permits employees to reduce their work schedules to reflect personal needs and interests.
Limitations: Eligibility, Work Schedule Reduction
This program is available to certain full-time calendar year, college year and academic year employees in the PSNU. Eligibility shall be as described under the terms of the VRWS Program Guidelines. All of the following eligibility criteria shall apply:
Description of an Employee VRWS Agreement
The employee and management can establish a VRWS agreement on a University fiscal year basis of any number of payroll periods in duration from one to twenty-six. The VRWS agreement must expire no later than the last day of the last payroll period in the University 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 University fiscal year. The employee develops and submits a plan for a reduced work schedule. Management reviews and approves the plan as long as it is consistent with operating needs.
A jointly agreed plan specifies:
While the VRWS agreement is in effect, the employee will earn and accumulate VR credits in accordance with the percentage reduction of professional obligation in a workweek, e.g., a 10 percent reduction will result in eight hours of VR credit earned each payroll period that the employee will charge in the future on his/her scheduled VR absences. If the employee’s VR schedule calls for one-half day off every Friday afternoon, four hours of VR credits will be charged for each Friday. An employee whose VRWS agreement calls for a 10 percent reduction and taking an entire month off will work his/her full 40 hours each week, accrue eight hours of VR credit each payroll period, and have the accumulated VR credits to use during the approved VR absence. Solely as a matter of computational convenience for purposes of creating a schedule for accruing and using leave hereunder, a “day” is defined as eight hours. This definition is not intended to have any wider application and does not otherwise reflect any agreement or acknowledgment as to the length of a workday.
Attendance Records Maintenance
All VR schedules will be based on the crediting and debiting of VR credits on the employee’s attendance record against a regular professional obligation.
VR credits earned during a VRWS agreement may be carried on the employee’s attendance record past the end of the individual VRWS agreement and past the end of the University fiscal year but must be liquidated by the December 30th following the end of the University fiscal year in which the individual VRWS agreement expires. VR ending balances must be segregated for each University fiscal year.
There is no requirement that existing paid leave credits (including previously earned and banked VR credits) be exhausted prior to the beginning of the new VRWS agreement. Employees are encouraged to use carried-over VR credits on a priority basis.
Advancing of VR Credits
To accommodate an employee whose VRWS agreement calls for an extended absence during the VRWS agreement period, a campus may advance VR credits in an amount not to exceed the number of hours for which the employee is paid in one payroll period.
Recovering a VR Credit Debit
If an employee terminates his/her employment and has a VR debit, the campus shall recover the debit from the employee’s lagged salary payment for his/her last payroll period at work.
Effect on Overtime Payment for Overtime Eligible Employees
Scheduled absences charged to VR credits are not the equivalent of time worked for purposes of determining eligibility for overtime payments at overtime rates within a workweek. For example, an employee who, under an 80 percent VRWS schedule, works four days, charges the fifth day to VR credits, and is called in to work a sixth day, will not be considered to have worked the fifth day and thus will not be entitled to overtime payments on the sixth day. Similarly, VR credits earned, banked, and charged after the payroll period in which they are earned are not counted in determining eligibility for overtime in the workweek in which they are charged. Sections 135.2(h) and (i) of Part 135 of the Budget Director’s Overtime Rules are waived to the extent necessary to permit payment of overtime compensation to overtime-eligible employees who are participating in this Program.
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. VRWS agreements may be discontinued, at management’s discretion, when an employee is promoted, transferred or reassigned within a campus, although VR credits must be carried forward on the employee’s attendance record. VRWS agreements may also be discontinued when an employee moves between campuses.
Provisions for Payment of Banked (Unused) VR Credit in Exceptional Cases
The VRWS Program is intended to be a program that allows employees to voluntarily trade income for time off. The agreement for VRWS Program participation between the employee and management includes a plan for the use of VR credit earned. Management must make every effort to ensure that VR credit earned by an employee is used: (1) under the terms of the individual VRWS agreement, (2) before the December 30th liquidation date (see section c.), (3) before the employee separates from SUNY service, and (4) while the employee is on the job he/she was in when the VRWS agreement was made. If this is not possible, payment for banked (unused) VR credit may be made in exceptional cases that fall under the following criteria:
Review of VRWS Denials
Individual Requests - 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. Such requests for review must be made, and will be reviewed, in accordance with the following procedure:
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