Pasco swaps furlough, vacation days for employees
Confusion over work rules for the Pasco school district's December furlough day has prompted the district to switch its second mandatory unpaid leave from the last day of the year to the first day of spring break.
The goal, School Board vice chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong said, is to ensure employees have the ability to work as they deem necessary in the final week of classes. Federal labor law limits the daily schedule for workers during a week when a furlough is in place.
"It just gives flexibility to the teachers who might have wanted access to the schools that week," Armstrong said.
The board authorized furlough days to save $6 million in spending amid a budget shortfall that approached $60 million.
All employees got a memo from the administration explaining the situation. Few filed any written complaints. United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb said the organization agreed to the change. Read on for the full memo.
Subject: Furlough Day Implementation
This message was sent to all employees
"As you may be aware, many concerns were raised about the implementation of the furlough day that occurred for most employees prior to winter break. Federal labor laws require that salaried employees be treated as hourly employees during weeks in which furloughs are implemented. This created difficulties surrounding school events that were scheduled in the evening of the impacted week. Additionally, some staff members expressed concerns about not being able to complete necessary duties prior to the end of the semester. We worked through those issues in order to comply with the law, but have been working with the Union to avoid similar problems later this school year as we implement the second furlough day.
"As such, we are making changes to the work calendar for some employees. The only employees impacted by this change are those who were previously scheduled to have a furlough day on June 7, 2012. For these employees, April 2, 2012, will now be a second furlough day. April 2, 2012, was originally scheduled as a paid holiday for these employees. Now, June 7, 2012, will be a paid holiday for these employees. Both April 2, 2012 and June 7th, 2012 will remain non-working days for this group of employees.
"Since the District has pro-rated the amount of the furlough day throughout the year, this change will not result in a change to anyone's pay. However, by changing how the days are coded in the system, we will have greater flexibility with activities during the last week of school. This change will remove the strict working hour limitations that would have been in place for salaried employees during the last week of school; however, the restrictions will be in place during spring break. All impacted employees are not permitted to work during spring break, as doing so would be a violation of federal law. We apologize for any confusion. The revised work calendars have been updated on the District website. If, after reviewing your work calendar, you have any questions please contact your immediate Supervisor."