Sunday, February 20, 2011

February Meeting Notes: Part-time/Flex time/Job share

Our meeting today focused on job-sharing and part-time.
Ingrid Fish, Naomi Tsurumi, and Havilah Ferschweiler shared their experience with job-sharing.  Ingrid worked in a job-share with OMF for almost a year and is now at BPS part-time.  Naomi currently works for BES in a job-share position, and Havilah is returning from an extended maternity leave where she is beginning her job-share with ONI.

Each of these job-shares ranged from being initiated by the employee (as in Ingrid’s case, where she and a co-worker went to their supervisor proposing the job-share; and in Havilah’s case, where she asked her manager specifically for a job-share position) to being initiated by the employer (in Naomi’s case, where she had requested part-time and her manager proposed a job-share to keep 1.0 FTE). 

Ingrid and her co-worker first proposed their job-share to their manager who did not like the idea, and they dropped the idea altogether.  When he retired and their new supervisor seemed open to it (his wife works a job-share position with the state), they brought it up again.  Her new supervisor went to council to ask for the extra .2 FTE so that she and her co-worker could each work .6 FTE (totaling 1.2 FTE).  Their positions required lots of communication.  They overlapped by one day, so that they could meet and coordinate.  Her experience may be unique to OMF because of the intense budget season and “off-season”.  It worked well because she maintained a good relationship with her co-worker (fellow CityMama Stacey Jones), whom she also sees outside of work.  During budget season, it worked less well – she and Stacey found themselves putting in a lot of extra time for which they were not being paid (it was a salary position, fixed at .6 FTE).  The stress and inflexibility eventually ended the arrangement.  She advised that it may be easier if the job-share partners don’t share the workload but work independently; otherwise communication is the key, and it helps to be friends outside of work, though that is not always possible. 

Naomi and her job-share partner work independently, and that arrangement has worked so far.  They are the only job-share in BES currently.  Job-share has been frustrating when holidays force her to take 4 hours of vacation or unpaid time (see COPPEA notes below). 

Havilah is in the midst of arranging her job-share situation; she is currently filling one of the slots and the other slot is currently being filled by a temp but will soon be an open recruitment position.  She feels the pressure to “make it work” since this is a first for ONI and she feels she is setting a precedent.  Her manager felt that the job-share would be less vulnerable to cuts than a part-time position during budget time since ONI is very budget-conscious and part-time positions are often the first to get cut.  She will keep us posted!

Rachel Whiteside, COPPEA Vice President, shared some of the new contract rules with regard to part-time employment. Highlights:
o   When eligible for vacation accrual increases, they occur on the year of your anniversary (not the specific anniversary date, as before) – for part-time or full-time employees
o   City maintained its 95-5 percent split for health benefits
o   PTE, permanent employees have the same seniority/recall rights as FTE.  It is based on years of service, not prorated to hours worked.  For instance, if a part-time position gets cut, the PTE with more seniority than a FTE would have the option to take the full-time position.
o   For the first year of the contract (June 2010-June 2011), the PDF (professional development fund) and COLA (cost of living allowance) have been suspended but will return in the second year of the contract
o   If a holiday falls on an employee’s regular day off, instead of being able to take deferred holiday and banking the hours, an employee is forced to take the day before or after (it is specific, but depends on the situation) – ** the workaround is through changing your schedule in SAP to accommodate holiday
o   BHR has changed their interpretation of existing language regarding flex-time and holidays.  The new interpretation does not allow people to use flex time to make up remaining time on holidays, thus requiring people to use vacation or unpaid time.  Naomi gave the following example: she works a Wed-Friday schedule, working 8 hours on Wednesday and Thursday and 4 hours on Friday.  When a holiday falls on a Monday, she is forced to take it on the following Wednesday (per the change explained above).  Since she’s half-time, she gets 4 hours of holiday pay for each holiday, leaving 4 hours to be accounted for on the Wednesday she takes the holiday.  BHR’s new interpretation does not allow her to make up the 4 hours within the same pay period.  She has to use vacation or take unpaid time.  ** The workaround is as above- have your supervisor temporarily change your schedule in SAP.

Rachel urged COPPEA members to stay in touch by logging into the COPPEA website ( or contacting their bureau rep if they have any questions with the new contract.

There was a discussion over part-time vs. job-share, which is easier, more flexible, etc.  Mindy Brooks, who formerly had a job-share at BES, now works part-time for BPS, offered that her job is flexible because she is “positive pay”, which means that she does not have a set schedule in SAP.  Her workaround for taking forced holidays is to make up the time within the pay period.  When asked if it was more pressure to work more if one is part-time (versus job-share, where there is a fixed number of hours) she mentioned that it depends on the manager.  That seemed to be the consensus of the meeting: it depends on the manager, it depends on the bureau.  Some bureaus at this time seem to have more capacity (or the stomach for) part-time employees, others do not.

Darcy offered up the idea that this group write a letter to Commissioner Fritz or Council to advocate for more flexibility throughout the City when it comes to part-time employment, as a family-friendly approach and a strategy for job-retention.  Additionally, it was mentioned that the City explore a family-leave policy that is greater than above-minimum Federal and state requirements (Darcy mentioned that during election time, Commissioner Fritz had been surprised before that the City does not have a paid-leave policy).

HR was asked to come to the meeting to explain new administrative rules around part-time, job-share and flex-time, but they were unable to find someone to attend.  If there are any questions, please forward them here and we will try to get a response from HR.

If we missed any points or notes, please comment!

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