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New Pilot Program

A new way that Gallaudet is offering 12-month exempt employees an opportunity to enhance their quality of life through travel, spending more time with family and friends, pursuing hobbies and interests, or just relaxing–while helping the University reduce costs–is through a pilot program that allows them to volunteer to work on a 10- or 11-month appointment at a proportionally reduced salary.

Vice President for Administration and Finance Paul Kelly announced the pilot program in a May 26 email as a way to reduce salaries and benefits, which constitute 70 percent of the University’s budget. There are currently 107 staff at the University and the Clerc Center who work 10 or 11 months of the year–and a few for nine months. This arrangement is based largely on the needs of individual departments and the reduced demand for student services that primarily takes place during the summer months. The following day, Director of Human Resources Services Elaine Vance sent out an email explaining the procedures for the pilot program and a form for interested employees to complete.

“During the summer, six employees participated in the pilot program, benefiting from a more flexible work schedule and saving the University approximately $46,000 in payroll costs,” said Kelly. “As a result, we will be offering the program again during fiscal year 2011.”

Those who find this arrangement attractive and are interested in taking advantage of it next summer–or other periods of the year, depending on when a department’s workload is less demanding–should be advised that it’s not too early to start planning. The first step staff should take is to inform their supervisor to make sure their office is adequately staffed in their absence. Second, they should budget their income accordingly, if they intend to take leave without pay.

Employees can elect to stretch their paychecks out over the year so they continue bi-weekly at a reduced rate and continue to receive paychecks during their time off, said Vance. However, she added that selecting this option requires plenty of foresight. Departments need to submit a Payroll Action Form to Human Resources Services no later than 11 months in advance from the period of time an employee will be off from work so that the Payroll Office can process the request. Because of time constraints, it’s too late for employees to consider this option for the summer of 2011, but it’s something to keep in mind for future summers.

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