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VTO and the Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction

Author: Human Resources
Date: 7/10/2020 2:22:35 PM

This article highlights information about the Voluntary Time Off program and the new Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction program.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant economic impact on the County of San Luis Obispo. During this unprecedented time, the County is looking to help bridge any budget gaps created by the pandemic in ways that are least impactful to employees. There are two voluntary options for employees to participate in that could provide significant cost savings to the County while also offering benefits to employees: the Voluntary Time Off program and the Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction program. These programs are already in place and if your department is participating in either or both of the voluntary programs, you can apply at any time. Voluntary Time Off can begin immediately after approval, and the Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction will begin the pay period immediately following approval. 

 

Voluntary Time Off Program

 

The Voluntary Time Off (VTO) program gives employees the ability to take up to 160 hours of unpaid time off per fiscal year while receiving time in service, leave accruals, and pension benefits as if the employee was working a normal schedule. Employees must coordinate paid leave with VTO to receive the full cafeteria contribution and are still responsible for paying their normal share of any benefits-related costs.

 

 

Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction Program

 

The new Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction (VTSR) is to allow permanent, full-time employees the opportunity to reduce their weekly work schedules while still receiving up to full-time cafeteria contributions or cafeteria cash-out benefits depending on the level of schedule reduction. This program is in place for Fiscal Year 2020/21. The County will reevaluate to determine if it should continue into Fiscal Year 2021/22 or beyond.

 

  • Employees who reduce their schedules to between twenty (20) and twenty-nine (29) hours per week will receive 75% of their full-time cafeteria contributions or cash in-lieu payments.
  • Employees who reduce their schedules to between thirty (30) and thirty-nine (39) hours per week will receive 100% of full-time cafeteria contributions or cash in-lieu payments if eligible to receive those payments.  

 

VTO & VTSR Program Comparison

 

Program

Voluntary Time Off

Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction

Overview

  • Employees receive time in service, leave accruals, holiday pay, and pension benefits as if the employee was working a normal schedule.
  • Employees are responsible for their share of any benefit costs.
  • Time off may vary. Approval may be needed for each time off request.
  • Limited to 160 hours of time off per Fiscal Year (approx. 3 hrs a week off).
  • Employees must still code a minimum of 20 hours paid time a week.
  • Not a vested employee benefit, Department Head or Designee retains discretion to approve or deny requests.
  • Employees receive time in service, leave accruals, holiday pay, and pension benefits only on hours worked.
  • Set weekly schedule with regular working and non-working time.
  • Employees must work a minimum of 20 hours a week, but otherwise no Fiscal Year limit on time off.  
  • Not a vested employee benefit, Department Head or Designee retains discretion to approve or deny requests.

Why Should I Participate?

  • The VTO program is advantageous to employees who:
  • Desire to take time off but do not have enough vacation time available.
  • Employees who do not wish to reduce their vacation leave balances.
  • VTO is also available to employees who need additional time off for a COVID-19 related absence.
  • The VTSR program is advantageous to employees who:
  • Desire more time off than they would be eligible for under the VTO program.
  • Who need to have a reliable reduced work schedule with regular days on and off each week while still receiving up to full time cafeteria contributions for healthcare.
  • Who do not need to work a full-time schedule but do need full-time cafeteria benefits.

Eligibility

  • All permanent employees are eligible to participate except employees that are currently on an approved leave of absence or participating in the Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction Program.
  • All permanent, full time employees are eligible to participate.
  • Employees on an approved leave of absence are not eligible to participate.

How to Enroll

  • The Department Head has the discretion to approve or deny a request for an employee to participate in VTO based on department needs.
  • Employee’s should fill out the NeoGov eForm prior to following their department’s procedure to request VTO – time off.
  • The Department Head has the discretion to approve or deny a request for an employee to participate in the voluntary schedule reduction program based on department needs.
  • Once a new schedule is set, that schedule should remain for the entire fiscal year, but if there is a need for a change it will be at Department Head discretion and in accordance with any applicable provisions agreed to in a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Employees that are interested in signing up for a VTSR should read the Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction program document and speak with their supervisor/manager prior to completing the NeoGov eForm.

Healthcare and Cafeteria

  • To maintain full cafeteria amount, 20 hours of paid time per week must be coded.

 

  • 75% cafeteria contributions for reducing schedule between 20 and 29 hours per week.
  • 100% cafeteria contributions for reducing schedule to between 30 and 39 hours per week. 

Timecard Coding

  • Employees code VTO for their non-working time.
  • VTO hours is unpaid.
  • Employees code Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for the non-working time.
  • LWOP hours for schedule reduction is unpaid.

 

 

 

Additional Information

 

 

If you have any questions about either of these programs prior to participating, please contact your department’s Payroll Coordinator, the Human Resources Department, or contact the Auditor Controller’s Office.