NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE
ATTENDANCE AND LEAVE MANUAL
POLICY BULLETIN 2001-01
Section 26.3
March 22, 2001

TO: Manual Holders
FROM: Robert W. DuBois, Director - Employee Benefits Division
SUBJECT: Attendance and Leave Items in the 1999-2003 Negotiated Agreement Between the State of New York and the Public Employees Federation for Employees in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Unit


INTRODUCTION
The following material has been prepared to assist you in implementing the new or revised attendance and leave provisions contained in the 1999-2003 State/PEF Agreement. References to applicable sections of the State Attendance and Leave Manual (Manual) are included.


EFFECTIVE DATES
These provisions are effective as of August 11, 2000, the date of ratification of the Agreement, except as follows:

Benefit Date
Health Option Program January 1, 2001
VRWS Program modifications First full biweekly payroll period in October, 2000
200 days of sick leave for health insurance in retirement January 1, 2000

Questions concerning this material should be directed to the Attendance and Leave Unit of the Department of Civil Service at (518) 457-2295.


CONTRACT PROVISIONS

12.1 (d) Holiday Observance - Floating Holidays
Manual Reference - Section 21.1, pp. C-4 and C-5
This Article has been modified to provide that employees cannot be required to use floating holidays in units greater than one-quarter hour. This provision does not supercede any local agreements which provide for liquidation in smaller units of time. Previously, employees were required to use floating holidays in full day units. All other provisions regarding the designation, crediting, use and expiration of floating holidays remain unchanged.


12.8 (b) Use of Sick Leave Credits for Health Insurance in Retirement
Manual Reference - Section 21.3, pp. 9, 11, C-1
This Article has been revised to increase the maximum number of accrued sick leave days an employee who retires on or after January 1, 2000 can use to pay for health insurance in retirement from 165 to 200 days. The maximum number of sick leave days that can be used for retirement service credit remains capped at 165.

Subject to the maximums described above, the same accrued sick leave days can be applied for both purposes. Application of sick leave balances for these purposes provides benefits based on an employee's sick leave balance at time of retirement, but does not actually liquidate those credits. Therefore, employees who return to State service within one year following retirement or who are reinstated by the Civil Service Commission or other process of law are entitled to have their sick leave balance restored in full, despite the fact that they received retirement service credit and credit applied toward their health insurance premiums in retirement based on that sick leave balance.


12.15 Leave for Professional Meetings
Manual Reference - Section 21.12, p. C-1
Employees in this unit may now use leave available under this Article to attend programs which are necessary for the employee to maintain or obtain licensure or accreditation in the employee's position with the State. The training need not be offered by a professional organization.

For example, such leave is available for an employee who holds the position of attorney to attend required continuing legal education sessions. However, employees are not eligible for leave for this purpose to maintain or obtain licensure or accreditation in a profession in which they are not employed by the State. For example, an employee who is an attorney by profession but who is employed by the State as an engineer would be eligible to use leave under this Article for programs for licensure or accreditation as an engineer, but not for programs for continuing legal education.

Other provisions of this Article remain unchanged. Professional meeting leave continues to be available to attend conferences or seminars of recognized professional organizations which are directly related to the employee's profession or professional duties. The employee need not be a member of the professional organization in order to be eligible to request use of leave to attend professional meetings.

The number of days available under this Article for all purposes, including travel time, remains capped at a total of three days per fiscal year. Such leave is not cumulative and unused leave for this purpose is cancelled at the end of each year of this Agreement. There is no cash payment for unused leave at separation.

Leave under this Article requires prior approval. Agencies continue to have the discretion to restrict absence under this Article for any conference or at any one time to five percent of the profession in the operating unit (e.g., institution, hospital, college, main office or other appropriate facility) and to base approval to attend on a determination that the activity to be undertaken will benefit the agency and that the absence will not interfere with the proper conduct of governmental functions.

This contract item does not guarantee that every eligible employee will receive three days leave with pay each year. Because of the timing of employee requests for the leave, the need to conduct governmental functions and imposition of the five percent of staff limitation, some employees may receive less than the maximum number of days allowed. Whenever possible, employing agencies should take appropriate steps to ensure that the leave is equitably distributed among eligible employees in the operating unit.


12.17 Maintenance of Time Records
Manual Reference - Section 20.2, p. C-1

Time Records
All employees in the PS&T Unit are now required to keep a detailed record of attendance including actual hours worked and leave credits earned and charged. This is not an option; this is a requirement which applies to employees in this unit in all agencies. Previously, employees in this unit who were ineligible for overtime were only required to keep a record of presence and absence, including credits earned and charged.

A detailed record of attendance showing actual hours worked includes the time the employee begins work, time of departure and return from meals and time of departure at the end of the work period, as well as any additional departures and returns. The record must indicate credits earned and charged and a certification statement attesting to the accuracy of the record.

Forms may be paper or electronic. An electronic form on which an employee makes entries on a self-accounting basis in the same manner that entries would be made on a paper time record is not an electronic recognition system.

It is permissible to use a two-part form as the official record of attendance. Such a two-part form exists when an agency requires employees to both 1) record times of arrivals and departures on a sign-in/sign-out sheet, and 2) complete a time record showing total hours worked each day, including a daily record of absences and leave credits earned and used. In such cases, these two documents together comprise the official record of attendance. Where a two-part record of attendance is used, overtime ineligible employees can now be required to record times of arrivals and departures on the sign-in/sign-out sheet.

Overtime ineligible employees continue to be expected to work the hours necessary to do their job. This includes their basic workweek plus any additional hours necessary to do their job. Although they are now required to keep a detailed record of attendance showing actual hours worked, this does not make them eligible for overtime. payment or compensatory time for additional hours worked beyond their basic workweek. They are not entitled to work schedule adjustments.

The new requirement regarding maintenance of detailed time records supercedes provisions contained in Section 20.2 of the Attendance Rules which permit agencies to request that the Department of Civil Service exempt certain overtime ineligible positions from keeping a detailed record of attendance showing actual hours worked. That exemption is no longer available to employees in the PS&T Unit. Any previously granted exemptions for PS&T Unit employees are cancelled pursuant to this Agreement.

Timekeepers
The provision in Article 12.17 that no employees in this unit can be required to punch a time clock or sign in and out with a timekeeper continues unchanged.

The appointing authority may require that time records be retained in a central location (e.g., a time card wall rack), except when removed for posting time and leave entries, or be placed in such central location for collection at the beginning or at the end of each workday so long as such retention or filing requirements do not involve the recording of arrival and departure times under the direct and immediate observation of a supervisor or other person acting as a timekeeper. The review at the close of each workday of daily time records to verify the accuracy of such records for one or more employees in a work unit does not constitute the recording of attendance with a timekeeper.

A supervisor continues to have the right to require employees in need of close supervisory control because of tardiness and/or attendance problems to sign in and out at his/her desk. A supervisor who imposes this requirement under such condition is not a timekeeper within the meaning and intent of the subject contract item (see Manual Section 20.2, p. C-1).

Where an agency uses a two-part form as the official record of attendance, as described above, overtime ineligible employees can now be required to record times of arrivals and departures on the sign-in/sign-out sheet. However, an overtime ineligible PS&T Unit employee may not be required to record times of arrival and departure on a sign-in/sign-out sheet used to verify the accuracy of a separate official record of attendance. All employees in this unit may be required to record times of arrival and departure on sign-in/sign-out sheets established for operational or programmatic purposes.

Employees in this Unit may bee required to use electronic recognition systems for operational and programmatic reasons, including but not limited to improving health and safety at State work locations, but data from such systems cannot be used for any time and attendance purposes.

Certification of Time Records
The mandate to maintain a detailed record of attendance requires a change in the time record, including the certification statement, for overtime ineligible employees. Agencies should review their time records to ensure compliance with this new provision.

All employees covered by Article 12.17 may be required to submit their time records on a daily, weekly, biweekly or bi-pay period basis to their supervisors for review and shall be required to maintain such records on forms prescribed by the appointing authority.

The record of attendance, regardless of its format, continues to be subject to supervisory review and certification.

The official time record is the only time record. It is not permissible to have any informal or unrecorded timekeeping arrangements.

Tardiness
Overtime eligible employees continue to be subject to agency tardiness penalty schedules, as well as disciplinary action for excessive tardiness.

Overtime ineligible employees are not subject to agency tardiness penalty schedules. Tardiness must be charged to leave accruals. Overtime ineligible employees are subject to disciplinary action for excessive tardiness.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
In order to be granted FMLA leave, the employee must have worked a minimum of 1250 hours during the 52 consecutive weeks immediately preceding the date the FMLA leave is to begin. In determining whether this requirement has been met, the agency must count all hours the employee actually worked. For employees who are overtime ineligible, hours worked for which the employee was not compensated count toward the 1250 hour requirement (see Manual Policy Bulletin No. 98-02, dated December 11, 1998).

Additional Information
For a further discussion of timekeeping requirements under Article 12.17, refer to the GOER Memorandum entitled "1999-2003 State/PEF Agreement, Article 12.17 - Maintenance of Time Records and Electronic Recognition Systems Side Letter" dated November 8, 2000 and the GOER Memorandum entitled "Maintenance of Time Records - Clarification of Unpaid Meal Periods in Institution and Facility Settings" dated February 16, 2001.


12.24 Telecommuting Program
Manual Reference - none
The Telecommuting Memorandum of Agreement is now reproduced in Appendix III of the Agreement. The program continues unchanged.


Side Letters
The following side letters are contained in Appendix III. Manual References noted are the applicable Manual sections to which these provisions relate.

Side letter - Use of Vacation Prior to Separation
Manual Reference - Sections 21.2 and 23.1
The State agreed to reaffirm existing policy with respect to liquidation of vacation credits prior to separation from service in this Memorandum. Specifically:

Agencies are encouraged, where possible and subject to operational needs, to permit employees prior to separation from State service to liquidate accumulated vacation credits in excess of 30 days.

This policy is consistent with Manual Section 21.2, p C-8 and Section 23.1, p. 3. The 30-day limit on vacation lump sum payments remains unchanged.


Side letter - Use of Other Credits as Sick Leave
Manual Reference - Section 21.3
The State agreed to include the following clarification of existing policy in this Memorandum:

Employees who have exhausted accrued sick leave credits shall be permitted to charge absences otherwise chargeable to sick leave to other leave credits (vacation, personal leave, etc.) subject to the same approval procedures and documentation requirements as apply to the use of sick leave credits.


Side letter - Health Option Program (HOP)
Manual Reference - Section 21.3, pp. 2 and 3
Under the new Health Option Program (HOP), eligible employees in this unit may elect to accrue sick leave at a reduced biweekly rate in exchange for a reduction in biweekly health insurance premiums. Employees elect to participate in November preceding the calendar year in which they choose to participate. Participating employees earn sick leave at a reduced biweekly rate which results in three fewer days of sick leave earned over the calendar year in exchange for a reduction in biweekly health insurance premiums of up to $300. The program will be in effect for calendar year 2001 and may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties.

Detailed information on this program may be found in the HOP Program description issued by GOER dated October 25, 2000, and the Department of Civil Service Attendance and Leave Manual Policy Bulletin 2000-02 on the Health Option Program dated October 25, 2000.


Appendix III - Leave Donation Program Memorandum of Understanding
Manual Reference - Appendix H, Leave Donation
The Leave Donation Program has been modified to permit eligible family members in the PS&T Unit who are not employed in the same agency to donate leave across agency lines. Donations may be made to family members in other negotiating units in other agencies if that negotiating unit also has the same leave donation provisions. Effective dates for donations across agency lines vary by eligible bargaining unit. Donations between employees who are not eligible family members continue to be restricted to employees of the same agency.

Family for this purpose is the Attendance Rules definition as follows: Any relative or any relative-in-law regardless of place of residence, or any person with whom the employee makes his or her home.

Donations made across agency lines must be used prior to donations made within the agency. Credits donated across agency lines which are not used by the recipient will not be returned to the donor.

Leave donations continue to be available only for personal illness. However, in cases of catastrophic family illness, employees who provide a written explanation of the catastrophic situation and submit satisfactory medical documentation supporting personal disability associated with the family member's illness and who have exhausted all leave credits including sick leave may receive leave donations if otherwise eligible. This policy applies to an employee's use of his/her sick leave credits, and to the use of other credits as sick leave, as well as to eligibility for leave donations.

All other Leave Donation Program provisions remain unchanged. Revised Leave Donation Program Guidelines will be issued shortly. The program guidelines are not grievable.

During 2001, the State will review and evaluate experience with cross-agency donations between family members. Agencies are therefore requested to retain data on donations made across agency lines during the term of this Agreement. A form to collect this data will be forwarded to your agency in the near future.


Appendix IV - Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS)
Manual Reference - Section 26.1
The Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule Program is continued with the following modifications which will become effective with the first full biweekly payroll period in October 2000:

Beginning with the first full biweekly payroll period in October 2000, the following eligibility criteria for participation in the program apply to VR agreements entered into on or after that date:

Employees are required to be employed to work on a full-time annual salaried basis for a minimum of one biweekly payroll period immediately prior to the time of entry into the VRWS program. Time on paid or unpaid leave from a full-time annual salaried position satisfies this requirement;

AND

Employees must remain in a full-time annual salaried position during the term of the VR agreement;

AND

Employees must have one continuous year of State service on a qualifying schedule (any schedule that entitled the employee to earn leave credits, not necessarily a full-time schedule).

Consistent with the way in which creditable service is counted under the Attendance Rules, separations of less than one year and periods of leave without pay of any duration are not counted toward the one-year service requirement, but do not constitute a break in service. Employees who separate from State service (through resignation, termination, layoff, etc.) for more than one year cannot count service preceding that break in service toward the one-year requirement (unless the employee is reinstated by the Civil Service Commission or Department or appointed while on a preferred list). Payroll periods of VRWS participation, sick leave at half-pay, workers' compensation leave and time on the Leave Donation Program will count toward the one-year service requirement.

The Program has also been modified to provide that an employee who is absent on sick leave at half-pay for 28 consecutive calendar days, who is absent on leave donation for 28 consecutive calendar days or who is absent because of a work-related injury or illness for 28 consecutive calendar days will have his/her VRWS agreement suspended. Previously, such agreements were cancelled, not suspended. For accidents occurring on or after July 1, 1993, PEF employees covered under the Medical Evaluation Program will continue on VRWS until the first day they are placed on workers' compensation disability leave with percentage supplement at which time they will have their VR agreement suspended, and those who decline participation in the Medical Evaluation Program will have their VR agreement suspended the first day of leave without pay. Suspension of a VR agreement does not extend the agreement beyond its scheduled termination date. An employee who returns to work prior to the point at which his/her VR agreement would otherwise have lapsed resumes participation in his/her VR agreement and continues until the scheduled termination date of the agreement, unless both parties agree to terminate the agreement.

All other program provisions remain unchanged. However, the parties agreed to make editorial changes in the VRWS Appendix to clarify program provisions.

For further information, refer to revised VRWS Program Guidelines issued by GOER dated September 22, 2000. Revised Attendance and Leave Manual Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule Program Guidelines will be issued shortly. Until revised guidelines are issued, please refer to Attendance and Leave Manual Advisory Memorandum No. 93-02, dated June 23, 1993, for information about the leave benefits under the VRWS program.