Options for Employees Providing Care

With the expiration of FFCRA leave on 12/31/2020, we recognize many employees continue to face unprecedented challenges in balancing work and family needs. This webpage is intended to help employees and supervisors evaluate where there might be operational flexibility and consider creative ways to manage workloads; especially for employees who may be experiencing additional difficulty navigating these times while balancing childcare needs. These options and considerations are provided under the assumption that those employees whose job allows them to work remotely are already doing so. 

Options & Considerations

Option and Definition: With supervisor approval, employees may set an alternate workweek schedule which differs from their normally scheduled workweek, while still equaling their total appointment percentage. 

Example: Employee is normally scheduled to work 8am-5pm Monday through Friday (totaling 40-hours); they are approved to work an alternate work week of 6am-4:30pm Monday through Thursday (totaling 40-hours). 

Considerations:  

  • Positive: Acknowledges the employee is unable to meet their normal schedule expectation 

  • Neutral: The alternate work week is now considered their normal workweek for purposes of overtime computation 

  • Neutral/Negative: May result in holiday credit or hours owed during weeks that include a holiday 

  • Negative: May result in work being performed at atypical times, requiring additional effort to ensure effective communication with coworkers and customers 

Populations/Links:  Available to classified employees and professional staff: 

  • Bargaining units A, B, E, F, G:  WFSE Agreement, Article 7.3 

  • Bargaining units D and PTE:  PSE Agreement, Article 12.2 

  • Professional staff guidance can be found in the PSO Handbook, page 8 

Options and Definitions: With supervisor approval, employees in bargaining unit D and overtime-eligible professional staff employees may flex their work schedule on an as-needed basis to accommodate partial day absences and ensure their full appointment percentage is worked each week.  

Example: A full-time employee must end their workday 2 hours early to care for their child and they report only 6 hours worked. The following day the employee works 2 additional hours for a total of 10 hours. The employee works their regular schedule for the remainder of the week and in total has worked 40 hours. 

Considerations

  • Positive: Acknowledges that employees may have emergent issues that cannot be met with a set alternate workweek schedule 

  • Neutral: Employee must account for “flexing” on their timesheet by recording actual hours worked each day 

  • Negative: Results in an inconsistent schedule 

Populations/Links:  Available to classified employees in Bargaining Unit D and professional staff 

  • Bargaining unit D:  PSE Agreement, Article 12.3 

  • Professional staff guidance can be found in the PSO Handbook, page 8 

Options and Definitions: With supervisor approval, employees in bargaining unit PTE may flex their work schedule on an as-needed basis to accommodate partial day absences and ensure their full appointment percentage is worked each week.  

Example: A full-time employee must end their workday 2 hours early to care for their child and they report only 6 hours worked. The following day the employee works 2 additional hours for a total of 10 hours. The employee works their regular schedule for the remainder of the week and in total has worked 40 hours. 

Considerations

  • Positive: Acknowledges that employees may have emergent issues that cannot be met with a set alternate workweek schedule 

  • Neutral: Employee must account for “flexing” on their timesheet by recording actual hours worked each day 

  • Neutral/Negative: To flex their work schedule as described in this section, the employee and supervisor must come to mutual written agreement that overtime will not be calculated by hours worked over their daily schedule, rather only by hours worked beyond forty (40) in a workweek. 

  • Negative: Results in an inconsistent schedule 

Populations/Links:  Available to classified employees in Bargaining Unit PTE  

  • Bargaining unit PTE: PSE Agreement, Article 12.3 and Article 15.2 

Options and Definitions: With supervisor approval, employees in bargaining units BUA, BUB, BUE, BUF, BUG may flex their daily start and end times on an as-needed basis to accommodate partial day absences and ensure their full appointment is worked each day.  

Example: A full-time employee must start their workday 2 hours late to care for their child. That same day, the employee works 2 additional hours at the end of their normal workday, totaling 8 hours. The employee works their regular schedule for the remainder of the week and in total has worked 40 hours. 

Considerations

  • Positive: Acknowledges that employees may have emergent issues 

  • Neutral/Negative: Employees are limited to flexing their schedule within the same workday only 

  • Negative: Results in an inconsistent schedule  

Populations:  Available to classified employees in Bargaining Units BUA, BUB, BUE, BUF, BUG

Option & Definition:  Employee may use accrued leave to accommodate partial and full-day absences. 

Example: Employee uses their own accrued leave time for absences. 

Considerations

  • Positive: Employee continues to receive full wages and time off accruals.
  • Neutral: Qualifying conditions for time off use (e.g., childcare vs. eldercare) vary by leave type. Policies must be reviewed and understood.
  • Neutral/Negative: Depending upon each individual’s circumstances, the use of leave for this purpose may not allow for sufficient available leave later in the year for other needs (such as recurring health appointments).
  • Negative: Less work is accomplished during weeks when leave is used.

Populations/Links:  Accrued leave use for partial and full-day absences is available to classified employees and overtime-eligible professional staff. 

Bargaining units A, B, E, F, G: WFSE Agreement 

Bargaining units D and PTE:  PSE Agreement 

Professional staff guidance can be found in the PSO Handbook 

  • Vacation Leave: Article 11
  • Sick Leave: Article 12
  • Personal Holiday: Article 10.4
  • Personal Leave: Article 18.6
  • Compensatory Time: Article 8.3
  • Vacation Leave: Article 18
  • Sick Leave: Article 19
  • Personal Holiday: Article 17.7
  • Personal Leave: Article 24.1
  • Compensatory Time: Article 15.6
  • Vacation Leave: Page 9
  • Personal Holiday Leave: Page 10
  • Sick leave: Page 11

 

Option & Definition:  Employee may apply for shared leave to accommodate partial and full-day absences. Changes were made to the Shared Leave RCW to include any reason related to COVID-19. 

Example: An employee may use Shared Leave time for absences.  

Considerations

  • Positive: Employee continues to receive full wages and time off accruals 

  • Neutral/Negative: To qualify for Shared Leave, an employee must deplete or soon deplete other available accrued leaves before using Shared Leave, leaving no more than 40 hours of applicable leave in reserves 

  • Neutral/Negative: Depending upon each individual’s circumstances, the depleting leave for this purpose may not allow for sufficient available leave later in the year for other needs (such as recurring health appointments). 

  • Negative: Less work is accomplished during weeks when leave is used 

Populations/Links:  Shared Leave is available to employees that accrue sick and/or vacation leave, who have a qualifying reason, and have depleted or will deplete accrued leave leaving no more than 40 hours of applicable leave in reserves. 

Option & Definition:  Employees may volunteer to take a furlough or temporarily reduce their appointment percentage; requests are subject to approval by the department and result in a reduction in salary.  Employees return to their permanent appointment percentage and FTE on a pre-arranged date unless there is mutual agreement by both the department and the employee to return to work earlier.  Visit the HR Voluntary Reductions webpage for more information.  Current agreements with our classified unions allow for this option through June 30, 2021. 

Example: Employee’s schedule is reduced from 40 hours/week to 30 hours/week at employee’s request because scheduled hours in the week cannot be met. Employee’s salary is reduced accordingly. 

Considerations

  • Positive:  Acknowledges that employee is unable to meet hours expectation
  • Neutral/Positive:  Employee’s medical insurance, leave accruals, holiday pay, and seniority date are not reduced as a result of the reduction
  • Negative:  Employee’s salary is reduced
  • Negative:  Retirement service credit/contributions may be reduced (depending on your total hours worked each month and specific retirement plan)

PERS Plans 

WWURP Plan 

  • 90+ hours worked = one service credit
  • 70-89 hours worked = one-half service credit
  • 69 or less hours worked = one-quarter service credit

Must work 50% of the month to receive credit; contributions are based upon gross salary 

 

Populations/Links:  Available to classified employees and professional staff 

Option & Definition: Employees may request to reduce their appointment on an ongoing basis or with a specific end date. During the time of appointment reduction, an employee’s salary, leave accruals and holiday pay are proportionately reduced. Requests are subject to approval by the department and, for classified staff, the applicable union.

Example: Employee’s schedule is reduced from 40 hours/week to 30 hours/week at employee’s request because scheduled hours in the week cannot be met. Employee’s salary is reduced accordingly.

Considerations:

  • Positive: Acknowledges that employee is unable to meet hours expectation
  • Neutral/Positive: Employee’s medical insurance and seniority date arenotreduced as a result of the reduction
  • Negative: Employee’s salary, leave accruals and holiday pay are proportionately reduced
  • Negative: Retirement service credit/contributions may be reduced (depending on your total hours worked each month and specific retirement plan)

PERS Plans

WWURP Plan

  • 90+ hours worked= one service credit
  • 70-89 hours worked = one-half service credit
  • 69 or less hours worked = one-quarter service credit

Must work 50% of the month to receive credit; contributions are based upon gross salary

Populations/Links: Available to classified employees and professional staff

Option & Definition:  Employee’s ongoing use of leave without pay.  Requests may be subject to approval by the department depending on the reason for the request.  Classified employee leave without pay requests must meet the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement. 

Example: Employee plans to use approved leave without pay as needed to address childcare needs 

Considerations

  • Positive:  Acknowledges that employee is unable to meet hours expectation but maintains employment
  • Positive:  Employee’s leave accruals continue to accrue leave at their regular rate, provided they do not have more than 10 days of leave without pay in any given month 
  • Neutral/Positive:  As long as the employee remains in paid status for a minimum of 8 hours per month, the employee’s medical insurance is not reduced as a result of the reduction
  • Negative:  Employee’s salary is reduced
  • Negative:  Employee’s seniority date is adjusted for each day of leave without pay 
  • Negative:  Retirement service credit/contributions may be reduced (depending on your total hours worked each month and specific retirement plan) 

PERS Plans 

WWURP Plan 

  • 90+ hours worked = one service credit
  • 70-89 hours worked = one-half service credit
  • 69 or less hours worked = one-quarter service credit

Must work 50% of the month to receive credit; contributions are based upon gross salary 

Populations/Links:  Available to classified employees and professional staff 

Additional Western Information/Resources