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(2008-2009 HR#28) Temporary Voluntary Staffing Options to Assist with Cost Containment

Date:
June 24, 2009
To:
Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs; (CC: Divisional HR Offices)
From:
Christina Sass-Kortsak, Assistant Vice-President, Human Resources
Re:
Temporary Voluntary Staffing Options to Assist with Cost Containment

We have developed a number of temporary voluntary staffing options that may assist Divisions in meeting budget restrictions and may be of interest to staff.

The purpose of this communication is to provide you with summary information about these three options:

Voluntary Phased Retirement Program: this program was approved by Business Board on June 18 and will be announced shortly to eligible staff, which includes: Confidentials, USW (appointed) staff, and Professionals/Managers (P/M) in levels 1-5.

The Voluntary Phased Retirement Program is available to eligible staff in all divisions; acceptance of a staff member’s application for phased retirement will be subject to Division Head approval, with Central Human Resources review before final approval is provided. Decisions will be based on operational needs and feasibility within the work unit.

Voluntary Unpaid Days Off Program and Voluntary Temporary Reduction in FTE Program: these programs may be made available at the discretion of each Division.

These programs will be announced shortly to eligible staff, which includes: Confidentials, USW (appointed) staff, and Professionals/Managers staff in levels 1-5. In our communications to staff, we will emphasize that these programs will be available to them only if their Division elects to do so.

The divisional HR Offices will work with Division Heads to determine if these programs would facilitate a cost reduction in their respective division and, if so, how and when these programs will be rolled out within their division.

A description of each program is provided on the following two pages. More detailed descriptions are posted on the HR & Equity website at: http://www.hrandequity.utoronto.ca/news/voluntaryoptions.htm along with the application form and step-by-step application and approvals process for each program.

Questions concerning these programs should be directed to your divisional HR Office.

A. Voluntary Phased Retirement Program

The purpose of the Voluntary Phased Retirement Program is to enable staff to make a retirement decision now, with a future fixed retirement date. This will help facilitate staff planning in departments and divisions, and provide an additional mechanism to assist with staff renewal in the face of budget pressures.

Key features of the Program include:

  • The Phased Retirement period may be from 6 months to a maximum of 2 years, at the end of which the participant must retire (no later than June 30, 2011).
  • The final retirement date at the end of the phased retirement period is set and irrevocable once the agreement has been reached.
  • Phased retirement can begin as early as 2 years prior to first eligibility for an unreduced early retirement pension (60/80 provision for administrative staff-appointed members), and no later than 2 years prior to the date at which the participant is required to commence receiving his/her pension under the Income Tax Act, currently December in the year in which the individual turns 71.
  • During the phased retirement period:
    • The participant works a reduced workload of between 50% and 90% FTE and receives a salary based on the actual reduced FTE worked.
    • The participant accrues 100% pension service during the period of phased retirement, at the 100% nominal salary.
    • The participant contributes to the Pension Plan at his/her part-time salary; the cost of the difference in employee pension contributions will be charged to the participant’s Department.
    • The participant is covered by the sick leave and LTD plan based on his/her actual part-time salary received.
    • The participant continues to receive the regular employer subsidy for all group benefit plans in which s/he participated prior to the start of the phased retirement, for the duration of the phased retirement period.

B. Voluntary Unpaid Days Off Program and Voluntary Temporary Reduction in FTE Program

Each Division has the discretion to make these temporary options available within their Division over the next two years, with any staff participation in either program ending June 30, 2011.

Approval of individual staff requests is at the Division Head’s discretion based on operational requirements and potential for cost reduction.

i. Voluntary Unpaid Days Off

Staff may volunteer to take unpaid days off at intervals (e.g., occasional Mondays or Fridays) or in a block of time (e.g., 3 weeks in July) or a combination thereof.

As a temporary cost reduction measure, staff taking these voluntary unpaid days will not experience any impact on their pension and benefits entitlements. Full-time employees will continue to accrue pension service at full-time, with contributions based on annualized salary, and will be able to continue the Group Health, Dental Plan, and Joint Membership plan subsidy at 100% FTE, and LTD, and Group Life Insurance.

Arrangements must be recorded in writing setting out clearly which dates will be taken as unpaid days off.

ii. Voluntary Temporary Reduction in FTE

Staff may voluntarily elect to temporarily reduce their FTE appointment by 10% to 50%. The supervisor/manager and the staff member must mutually agree to a new work schedule.

As a temporary cost reduction measure, staff choosing this option will not experience any impact on their pension and benefits entitlements. Full-time employees will continue to accrue pension service at full-time, with contributions based on their full- time salary, and will be able to continue Group Health, Dental Plan, and Joint Membership plan subsidy as if at 100% FTE. Group Life Insurance and LTD will be based on the employee’s salary and FTE prior to the FTE reduction for this period of time only. Vacation accrues at the reduced FTE level during the period of the reduction.

Arrangements are limited to a 12 month period. Once the arrangement is in place, no changes may be made except in exceptional cases and with as much notice as possible.

Employees who wish to continue a part-time arrangement after the initial 12 month period, with agreement of their supervisor/manager, will be converted to a part-time appointment with salary, pension and benefits prorated accordingly.