Over the past several weeks, HPAE along with the Rutgers Union Coalition, have been meeting with Rutgers Administration through Labor Management meetings to address the growing concerns of negotiations unit employees regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have received a number of questions regarding vacation time carryover. Our contract states that vacation time that is more than a year’s worth accrual must be used or forfeited by June 30th of each calendar year.
During the Labor Management meeting this week, after repeatedly being told the University was looking into an extension, our local was given clear information regarding paid time off. The University stated that, absent a change, they are currently adhering to their paid time off policy, and that excess paid time off should be used by June 30th. The University will not consent to an automatic extension of vacation time.
HPAE and the union coalition expressed concern regarding this decision as all negotiations unit employees have been working harder than ever to make sure the needs of the departments are met, some negotiations unit employees experienced vacation time being cancelled by managers, and vacations being cancelled as a result of the current pandemic.
We, as a Coalition, are actively working on an alternative to taking vacation time when it is impossible to go on vacation. We are working on entering negotiating regarding this and other financial issues with Rutgers but negotiations take time.
We are encouraging all negotiations unit employees to schedule any excess benefit time that will expire with the end of the fiscal year June 30th. This will include all personal, administrative, and mandatory time in your benefit bank as well as vacation time in excess of one-year worth of accrual. Please remember to put in vacation requests in writing, because if it is not put in by the end of the fiscal year it may be lost! HPAE and your local leadership will keep all of our members informed as this process moves along.
If your time is denied by your supervisor, be sure to have the denial and the reason for denial in writing and contact your local union representative or local officer to report the denial.
Cynthia McDougall, President, Local 5089
Sabrina Brown-Oliver, Vice President, Local 5089