Faculty Senate Discussion

Benefits Restructuring Discussion

November 7, 2011

TO: All Faculty

FROM: Faculty Senate Chair

SUBJECT: Regulation on Leave Changes: Comments Invited

Dear colleagues:

The official comment period for the regulation regarding changes in leave policies ends on November 11. The University Constitution Committee has marked this regulation as being of special interest to the faculty.

The proposed regulation can be found at http://regulations.ufl.edu/. Additional information, including the October 25 memo from Paula Fussell and answers to frequently asked questions may be found on the Human Resources Services web site at www.hr.ufl.edu/leave/facultyproposalfaqs.asp.

Although the posted regulation mentions only the changes in leave policies, President Machen has given his assurances to the faculty that the regulation would only be implemented to support a 3% raise for the faculty. He expects to address the issue further at the Faculty Senate meeting on November 17. The President has also agreed to extend the comment period past its official closing on November 11 in order to allow for as complete a discussion as possible.

The proposed regulation will be presented for a vote by the Board of Trustees at their December 2 meeting. If approved by the Trustees, the regulation is scheduled to go into effect in January, 2012.

Comments can be sent directly to Human Resources at human-resources@ufl.edu, or to the Faculty Senate website.

To post a comment at the Faculty Senate website, http://www.senate.ufl.edu, click on “Discussion” at the top of the webpage, then on “Faculty Senate Budget Discussion,” scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Add a Comment” and click on “You must be logged in to post a comment”.

Please note that Faculty Senate comments are invited as a fact-finding process, and that debate of issues that might come before the Senate are reserved for public meetings. Accordingly, independent statements are encouraged, but not replies to other comments. Since comments are routed through the Faculty Senate office, there may be a brief delay before your comment is posted.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate

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October 11, 2011

Continuing Discussion of Proposed Benefits Restructuring

Two options are currently being discussed as a basis for a proposed regulation due to be posted in early November. For more information on the details of the two options, click below on Paula’s Fussell’s presentation at the 9-22-11 meeting of the Faculty Senate.

For clarification, the future proposed regulation will be based on one of the two options, and will not include both. However, option two includes a choice within it. Faculty are encouraged to express their views of these two options now in order to contribute to the process before the regulation is finalized.

Faculty comments are invited on the Discussion section of this website.  To post a comment, please click on “Discussion” above, then on “Faculty Senate Budget Discussion,” scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Add a Comment” and click on “You must be logged in to post a comment”.

Please note that comments are invited here as a fact-finding process, and that debate of issues that might come before the Senate are reserved for public meetings. Accordingly, independent statements are encouraged, but not replies to other comments. Since comments are routed through the Faculty Senate office, there may be a brief delay before your comment is posted.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate

Benefits Restructuring Options currently being discussed (as of 9/22/2011 – presented by Paula Fussell at Faculty Senate Meeting)

Salary Increase Options Comparison (by Charles Guy, verified by Paula Fussell 10-14-11)

Fringe Benefit Rates FY2011-12E (presented at Faculty Senate Meeting 9/22/2011)

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September 15, 2011

Budget Proposal Update –

A discussion of proposed benefits restructuring for faculty has been scheduled for the Faculty Senate meeting at 3-5pm on September 22, 2011 in the Reitz Union Auditorium.

Last May, President Machen proposed a budget that would allow UF to manage the severe cuts from the legislature over a two-year period. As part of this budget, he proposed a 3% raise to faculty, to offset the legislature’s 3% cut in retirement, which would be funded by restructuring faculty benefits. The proposed restructuring would eliminate sick-leave payouts and cut vacation accrual, among other adjustments. He then postponed implementation of this restructuring to allow faculty time during the fall to discuss the trade-offs involved. Initially, vacation accrual was to be cut to fund a raise beginning September 1 for faculty making less than $75,000. However, after extensive faculty comment, this proposal was also delayed to allow for discussion of all benefits restructuring together. Accordingly, the Faculty Senate discussion on September 22 will be an opportunity for faculty to voice their ideas on the topic before the proposal is finalized as a new regulation.

Faculty who are not senators are welcome to attend, and there will be an opportunity for open discussion at the end of the meeting. Faculty may also watch the discussion on the Faculty Senate website, where it will be streamed live and then available as a recorded video, and add their comments here as part of the “Budget Proposal” website Discussion.

To add a comment, scroll down to the bottom of the page to “Add a Comment” and click on “You must be logged in to post a comment”.

Please note that comments are invited here as a fact-finding process, and that debate of issues that might come before the Senate are reserved for public meetings. Accordingly, independent statements are encouraged, but not replies to other comments. Since comments are routed through the Faculty Senate office, there may be a brief delay before your comment is posted.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate
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August 23, 2011 –

Budget Proposal Update –

The Budget Proposal continues to evolve in response to faculty comment. A revision to the proposed regulation on benefits restructuring has now been posted at the HR website:

Proposal for salary increases and changes to 
leave benefits revised August 23

http://www.hr.ufl.edu/proposal_8_23.pdf

In brief, the revision postpones any changes to faculty benefits to allow further discussion this fall.

As before, if you have any recommendations or concerns about the current proposal or benefits restructuring in general, I encourage you to add a comment below.

Please note that comments are invited here as a fact-finding process, and that debate of issues that might come before the Senate are reserved for public meetings. Accordingly, comments are encouraged, but replies to other comments should be limited to issues of factual accuracy rather than policy.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate

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August 19, 2011-

Budget Update-

The Budget Proposal has changed over the summer in response to discussions with staff. A memo from Paula Fussell at Human Resources (HR) explaining the changes, together with an FAQ, can be found at the following website:

http://www.hr.ufl.edu/leave/proposal_faqs.asp

The website also includes links to President Machen’s 2011-12 Budget Message presented on 6-10-11 and related documents.

If you have recommendations or concerns about the current proposal, I encourage you to add a comment below.

I look forward to working with you this year to address the challenges we face and succeed.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate

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June 2, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the state budget has now been finalized with severe cuts to UF’s allocation, for the fourth time in the last five years. At the last Faculty Senate meeting on  May 12, 2011, President Machen outlined how he plans to protect programs and avoid layoffs, while making cuts where necessary.

I encourage all interested faculty to review the webcast of the meeting, which includes President Machen’s discussion of his proposals, as well as the accompanying  Budget Discussion document for reference. Both of these are posted on the Faculty Senate website under “Senate Meetings”:

http://www.senate.ufl.edu/senate/meetings.htm

Since some significant cuts will need to be made before the July 1 beginning of the new budget year, I have opened this  Faculty Senate Blog topic to invite faculty comments.  If you have recommendations or concerns that you would like to contribute to the discussion, you will need to respond within the next one or two weeks to be considered within the available time.

President Machen has said that where possible he will defer some items for further discussion in the fall. The distinction between immediate and longer  term decisions is included in the webcast.

Despite current setbacks, I believe the University can continue to thrive and succeed.

I hope you have a good and productive summer.

Scott Nygren
Chair, Faculty Senate

216 Responses to “Benefits Restructuring Discussion”

  1. groisser says:

    The proposed leave-change/pay-raise proposal would have vastly different effects on different faculty members; people in one demographic would be penalized to the benefit of others. It is already unfair, and unnecessary, that faculty are being asked to give up benefits in order to restore the legislature’s 3% cut; this was definitely not the first impression President Machen gave the Senate of what he hoped to do to make this up. When the benefits/pay-raise swaps started to be proposed, the least unfair proposal to date was the one in which each faculty member was given the choice: keep the current benefits, or accept the leave-change and get a 3% raise. I personally expect to work long enough to benefit from the proposed change (relative to no change). But not everyone will, and it is disappointing and very disturbing that choice has been taken off the table.

  2. I’ve already Commented at the Senate Meeting at the Reitz Union and I also commneted here earlier. Just to be clear. I would gladly pass on the 3% pay raise. Just leave our benefit structure intact, including pay out $$.

    If a change needs to be made, do it for new hires, not current salaried faculty.

  3. Although option 1 may provide best for faculty near retirement, option 2 provides choice, and choice would best service the faculty as a whole. I am in favor of option 2–it has broader appeal.

  4. Does the employees total sick leave payout amount compensate exactly for the employees total 3% amount? If so, what does the university gain in making the swap?

    On the other hand, it is clear that the two amounts are unequal for most individual faculty, ergo, each faculty member should be allowed to make their own calcuations and make a choice between options that have been put before them, or even better, to suggest
    other options that are both fair to individual faculty members and manageable at the same time.

  5. fclmin says:

    As a 26-year faculty member with 11 weeks of accrued vacation and 33 weeks of accrued sick leave who may be facing forced “retirement” in July 2013 due to the Legislature’s decision to abolish my unit, I would really have preferred Option 2 NO so that I could have maximized my payout. I may not have the luxury of working additional years to amortized the loss in payout with the one-time 3% raise. It won’t appreciably change my 5-year average. If I have the opportunity to enter DROP, I may only be in it for a few months. So I’m really

  6. I would like to express my deep concern regarding the proposed leave change policy. It will negatively impact all senior faculty members with higher salary and longevity at UF. A 3% raise will not cover the loss in sick leave payout for such individuals. For example, it will take me almost 10 years to recoup the loss in sick leave payout. The present proposal addresses the issue for those who are likely to retire in 5 years but it does not address the issue for ones who decide to leave UF (for whatever reasons). This policy is likeky to impact almost all senior faculty members in the COM. It is extremely unfair……..

  7. sspslp says:

    As other longterm employed faculty, I too, have been “banking” sick leave and vacation leave. The reasons: 1) I have been counting on the cashouts as part of my retirement packet (which for me, retirement will occur a few years after 2016…so I will lose out on sick leave cashout and will be minimized to 200 hrs of vacation cashout) as were the terms at the time of my hire; 2) as clinical faculty, taking the amount of accrued time interferes with patient care. Surely there can be a compromise/option mix? Those who have been employed for 10 or even 15 years still qualify for cashouts for both sick leave and vacation leave-regardless of when they qualify for/take retirement. The terms should be the same terms (cashout max) as when hired. Newer hirees could fall under these new “regulations”. Tho-will be difficult to recruit high quality faculty. If not-and as dedicated as I am to the university, state, students and my patients-i don’t want to “give my deserved time” away and lose it…so I may be taking lots of time off…and my patients will suffer, and our training program will suffer. Very sad.

  8. I have now earned six weeks of sick-leave payout, and I think it is wrong for the university to refuse to pay that, just as it would be wrong to refuse to pay me my next paycheck after it has been earned. I expect to have about two months of sick-leave payout by June 2016. Under the proposed rule, by working beyond June 30, 2016, I lose this payout, which has the same effect as having to work July and August 2016 for no pay. This is not something I would do unless I had no choice.

    Also, under the proposal, I have to take 7 weeks of vacation by the end of next year to get under the new year-end cap, and almost 4 additional weeks to get down to the cap on payouts. It might not be in the university’s best interest for me, and others in a similar situation, to have to take so much leave.

  9. As a county faculty person, our salaries are split by UF and County. The county will not support an increase in years where the county staff are not getting raises, so the 3% is far less. For those of us who are no longer entry level faculty, we are banking on leave pay outs at retirement, even those beyond 2016.

    In addition, those of us who work way too many hours and don’t take our leave are going to feel a significant penalty in reduced hours for pay out at retirement that willnot be made by a small increase now. Planning for retirement has included calculations based on these payouts. Reducing the number of hours adversely affects this payout to faculty who have given decades of commitment to public service. These impacts are far greater than the (portion of)the 3% salary increase proposed.

    Please consider having a split arrangement — retaining the arrangement we started with for those of us who have been around a while and another for those new hires.

  10. The more options the better so I support option 2. This gives the most flexibility to all faculty and let’s us choose what is best for us. More options- choose option 2.

  11. Option 1 was described in this way in previous communications: “Faculty who formally retire by June 30, 2016, would keep their current leave structure and receive any eligible payment of unused sick leave.”

    The payout for unused vacation leave at 352 hours should also remain for those retiring on or before June 30, 2016. Those of us retiring soon have made plans based on these payouts. Reducing this payout affects senior faculty near retirement who have made decades of commitment to the university.

  12. From what I have seen and read, as a County Extension faculty, I prefer Option 2, with no 3% pay increase, but the better benefits at the end when I leave. I’d rather forgo the immediate small increase and have the fuller benefits at the end.

  13. Option 1 seems to be the best compromise for most individuals.

  14. October 17, 2011

    Paula Varnes Fussell, MBA, SPHR
    Vice President
    Human Resource Services
    University of Florida
    903 West University Avenue, PO Box 115002
    Gainesville, Florida 32601-5002

    Dear Ms. Fussell:

    Please accept this correspondence as a formal response from the Faculty Council/College of Medicine Jacksonville to the proposed options for sick and vacation leave changes that were discussed during the faculty senate meeting on September 22, 2011. This response represents a consensus among the Officers of the Faculty Council, based on feedback received from the faculty in our campus.

    While we are supportive of the President’s plan to offset the 3% mandatory contribution for faculty, the faculty council at College of Medicine-Jacksonville offers the following recommendations in order to minimize the impact of recruiting, retention and clinical productivity of our faculty:

    Vacation payout reduced to 200 hours.
    These changes would have a significant negative impact on our institution’s efforts to attract and retain valuable faculty. It would be very difficult to recruit faculty with a non-competitive vacation benefits package.
    If UF were to drastically reduce the vacation payout to 200 hours, it would significantly reduce UF’s ability to attract and retain desirable candidates, who might be recruited by other state of Florida institutions.
    The reduction of vacation payout to 200 hours is less than what is currently being offered by other state of Florida institutions. FSU, USF, and UCF will continue to offer 352 hours of vacation payout despite cuts on their state funding.
    This is a substantive change in the commitment to faculty that was made as part of the recruitment package.
    This vacation time compensates faculty in part for the income differential related to working in the academic sector.
    This will impact the morale of faculty and will decrease satisfaction with the work environment. It sends a negative message, especially after having one of the most successful financial years in the history of our institution as a result of outstanding clinical productivity.
    RECOMMENDATION: Vacation payout should remain at 352 hours, similar to other state of Florida institutions.

    Vacation leave maximum annual accrual reduced to 352 hours.
    These changes would lead to a decrease in clinical productivity.
    Due to the uniqueness of the clinical faculty in Jacksonville, it is often not possible to take full vacation time. With the proposed changes, faculty are being penalized for their commitment to patients, and programs.
    The change of year-end maximum accruals for vacation leave (from 480 to 352) will have a serious impact in our ability to provide coverage, clinical care, etc. In the Jacksonville campus, it is estimated that faculty will take approximately 11,600 hours of vacation to remain under the new cap of 352 hours. This will have a serious financial impact at College of Medicine-Jacksonville. The estimated loss in projected net revenue is $2,198,000.
    RECOMMENDATION: The proposed change of maximum vacation leave annual accrual to 352 hours (from 480 hours) is similar to year-end vacation benefits offered at other state of Florida institutions. Conversion of excess accrued vacation (over 352 hours) to sick leave should occur no earlier than December 31, 2012, thus allowing faculty, and department chairs the opportunity to plan ahead without disrupting patient care and minimizing loss of productivity.

    Eliminate payment of unused sick leave
    Faculty who are hired on or after April 1, 2010, are not paid for any unused sick leave upon separation.
    The payment elimination of unused sick leave is less than what is currently being offered at other state of Florida institutions. FSU, USF, and UCF will continue to offer sick leave payouts (¼ up to a max of 480) for those employees with 10 years of credible service.
    RECOMMENDATION: Continue with payment of unused sick leave for employees hired before April 1, 2010, but reduce the payment of unused sick leave to a maximum of 352 hours and increase the credible service to 15 years.

    In summary, these proposed leave changes would have a substantive impact on the competitiveness of our University and our academic, clinical, and service missions. If you would like to further discuss, I can be contacted at (904) 244-3051 or via email at ana.alvarez@jax.ufl.edu.

    Sincerely,

    Ana M. Alvarez, MD, FAAP
    Associate Professor & Fellowship Director
    Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology
    President, Faculty Council
    University of Florida College of Medicine Jacksonville

  15. Option one provides benefits to long term members of the faculty who have not used or abused leave. This also provides an opportunity for salary increases plus sick leave payout and vacation payout (slightly reduced from previous options). This provides the best benefit for someone near retirement, and also allows a continuation of employment for completing obligations, e.g. grant supported research.

  16. Thank you for providing the table of options and insightful comments. Both a reduction in the salary (option 2b) and a reduction in the amount of leave (option 1 and 2a) have implications for people who need to cover school holidays either by taking time off or by paying for childcare. There seems to be no difference between option 1 and option 2a for recently hired faculty but option 2 at least allows to make a choice.

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