Frequently Asked Questions - Employee and Labor Relations

Employee and Labor Relations

Whom do I call regarding state of emergency issues?

This could be either Public Affairs or Employee Relations, depending on the question.

Whom do I call regarding contract questions?

You should consult first with your department human resources manager, who may wish to consult with Employee Relations. If you do not have a department human resources manager, you should contact campus Employee Relations at 642-9046.

Can we offer to pay our volunteers?

No, we cannot pay volunteers, but we can hire them as employees.

Can volunteers work for money?

No, volunteers cannot be paid. The receipt of money for services performed would render these individuals “employees.”

Will background checks be required for new hires?

If there is a legal mandate that an employee be subject to successful completion of a background check before commencing work, the University is obligated to comply with the law. The campus has identified positions that, under policy (not the law), require background checks. In an emergency situation, a decision will be made by senior campus management as to which of those positions would require an individual to have a background check.

Is a supervisor’s presence required for staff to perform work?

A supervisor or manager should be available to employees in a work area. Lead employees can be used to give out work, direct work or oversee the performance of a task. However, only a supervisor can give a direct order, impose discipline, reschedule the employee, assign overtime, and make determinations regarding health and safety issues. Specific questions regarding the authority of a lead employee should be directed to an Employee Relations Consultant.

Will employees be granted any administrative leave?

The decision to grant administrative leave with pay rests with the Chancellor.

Will staff be given time off to go to the bank?

Staff are free to use break and lunch time as they wish. As is the case now, supervisors can permit employees to occasionally combine lunch and break periods on a case-by-case basis. They can also approve the use of vacation or compensatory time off or permit the employee to make up the lost time during that same workweek.

Can staff change their work schedule?

PPSM and the contracts permit changes in work schedules at either the employee’s request or the request of management. Most of the contracts require some advance notice to employees and the union of schedule changes. Again, it may be possible to waive those notice requirements. Supervisors and Managers should contact their Employee Relations Consultant for guidance.

If an employee who receives a shift differential is temporarily (4 days or less) transferred to a shift that does not receive a shift differential, PPSM and the contracts require the University to continue to pay the shift differential.

If an employee is moved from a shift that does not get a shift differential to one that does, the employee should be paid the shift differential at the appropriate rate.

Can staff work alternative work schedules?

The regular work schedule at the University is eight hours/day for five consecutive days within a week. Alternate work schedules are schedules that are not five days at eight hours, for example, working ten hours per day over four days within a week.

PPSM and the contracts covering staff employees permit alternate work schedules. The contracts require 30 days advance notice to employees and the union when the University is attempting to establish an alternate work schedule. Most of the contacts permit some flexibility on the notice requirement. Supervisors and managers who need to have employees work an alternate schedule or who get requests from employees for alternate work schedules that they can accommodate should contact their Employee Relations Specialist to determine how best to proceed.

How do we account for staff’s time?

Supervisors and managers should follow departmental procedures. Supervisors or managers with questions regarding hours of work, leave of absence, vacation and sick leave should consult PPSM or the appropriate collective bargaining agreement and/or a campus Employee Relations Consultant.

How is time accounted for if the Chancellor declares a “campus closure”?

Information on campus closures can be found primarily in the vacation articles of the contracts; information on how sick leave accrual is handled during campus closures is found in the sick leave articles of the contract. For PPSM, see Absence from Work, III.F, Administrative Leaves.

During a curtailment, employees are allowed to use accrued vacation or compensatory time off, or up to three (3) days of vacation leave prior to accrual. Employees may also opt to use leave without pay. Additionally, up to three (3) days of an unpaid curtailment leave shall be considered time on pay status for the purpose of accruing vacation credits and sick leave.

Are staff required to fill out timesheets during this time?

To the extent that staff are present or can fill out timesheets via some other form of communication, timesheets should be completed in accordance with department policies. If employees are not available, timesheets may be delayed or may have to be amended. Please remember that the University cannot recoup overpayments to an employee without going through proper legal proceedings. If an employee has been overpaid, the supervisor will have to contact Payroll to secure the necessary forms for adjusting subsequent paychecks.

Can staff use vacation time if they do not come in?

Staff can use accrued vacation and compensatory time off if approved by the supervisor in accordance with departmental policy and PPSM or the appropriate contract. Operational needs will need to be taken into consideration when granting any type of leave.

Will special consideration be made for people who are caretakers of children or the elderly?

Supervisors should take such demands into consideration, but may require some proof or written documentation that the employee is required to be present and be the care-giver. It may be that the supervisor and the employee can reach some agreement regarding hours of work or a reduction in time. Again, this should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Can staff be required to perform work normally performed by employees in other classifications?

Yes, if they possess the necessary skills, knowledge and ability and meet all other requirements of the position. Most contracts have provisions for out-of-class work. If the work assigned is at a lower classification, the employee retains her/his current salary. If the work is at a higher level and is performed for 20 or more days, the employee should be paid at the higher rate. For PPSM employees, see PPSM Policy #30, Salary, I. Administrative Stipends for temporary appointments. The change should be documented to the employee and a copy of the documentation should be placed in the personnel file.

What are the consequences if staff do not come in to work?

Supervisors should handle this on a case-by-case basis and exercise good judgment. In this instance, supervisors may have to balance the personal needs of the employee with the needs of the department.

If a supervisor does not grant the employee leave, the employee will be considered absent without approval and will not be paid for the time. The decision whether or not to take formal disciplinary action is a decision to be made on a case-by-case basis.

Can we require staff to work overtime?

Staff can be required to work overtime. Under the contracts, overtime is offered on the basis of seniority. If no one accepts the offer of overtime, then it is assigned on the basis of inverse order of seniority. Some contracts permit employees to file “requests not to be assigned overtime.” To the extent possible, supervisors and managers should honor those requests. If a particular skill is required to be performed during the overtime, supervisors and managers can assign that overtime to employees who possess that skill regardless of seniority. PPSM has no requirement to assign overtime by seniority; thus, management has discretion to assign overtime as it deems necessary.

Can I order my staff to come in?

Pertinent contract articles: Hours of Work, Leaves of Absence
Pertinent PPSM Policies: #31 Hours of Work, Absence from Work

Staff can be directed to come in to work on their normal work days. If an employee states that s/he cannot come in, the matter should be handled as a leave request. Supervisors should follow their normal protocol in approving or denying the requested leave.

PPSM and most contracts have provisions for call-back. Supervisors can use these provisions to call employees back to work on their non-work days or for hours on work days that fall outside the employee’s regular hours of work.

Supervisors can also require employees to work overtime. In all instances, supervisors should review the overtime provisions found in the Hours of Work articles of the collective bargaining agreements and PPSM Policy #32, Overtime. Supervisors should check the policy or appropriate contract covering the bargaining unit that the employees who are being assigned the work.