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START program would yield salary savings

09 April 2003

The university has proposed a new program that allows eligible employees to voluntarily reduce the time they work, resulting in temporary salary savings for cash-strapped campuses.

The program — called Staff and Academic Reduction in Time (START) — is being reviewed on the 10 UC campuses. Each campus department would implement the program at its discretion, with department-head approval required for any individual employee’s participation.

Eligible employees could volunteer to reduce their time from 10 to 50 percent of full time. In return, START participants would accrue vacation, sick leave, and UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) service credit at the same rate that applied to them before they volunteered for the program. An employee’s full salary before signing up for START would be used in calculating UCRP pension, death, and disability income.

In addition, those reducing their time through START would be exempt from any mandatory pay-cut plan, should such a plan be deemed necessary for UC employees.

“A similar program was in place in hard budget times in the early 1990s,” noted David Moers, assistant vice chancellor for human resources. “It would give campus employees some flexibility in their work life and save the campus money during this fiscal crunch.”

The program could begin as early as May 1 on some campuses, but, because of the adjustments to campus systems that it would require, Berkeley officials hope it would start here by July 1, if approved. START would run through June 30, 2005.

Those eligible for the program are all full- and part-time career employees (who have completed the probationary period) and academic appointees, except those in faculty and student academic titles. Negotiations are in progress to make the program available to those covered by collective bargaining.
Employees would sign a START agreement with their department head specifying the percentage reduction and how long it will be in effect (from 1 to 12 months). If their business needs require it, department heads can end participation in START.

The full START proposal is available at hrweb.berkeley.edu/policy/start.htmor at 127 California Hall or 207 University Hall. Comments should be sent by April 14 to David Moers, ß207 University Hall #3540 or :newhr1@uclink4.berkeley.edu.