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A 2-Week Winter Break for Staff

By Dave Jones on October 27, 2020 in University

Quick Summary

  • 6 curtailment days on top of the regular holidays, with exemptions for employees in essential operations
  • This is different from the “soft closures” of previous winter holiday seasons at UC Davis
  • Separately, the Office of the President is considering an expanded curtailment program for the campuses

Most staff members on the Davis campus will get a two-week winter break: the four regular holidays plus six curtailment days for which employees may use vacation time and/or compensatory time off.

Here are the curtailment days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the Dec. 24-25 holidays, and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the Dec. 31-Jan. 1 holidays.

“Staff will have two weeks off work to refresh after such a demanding year, which is especially important for the self-care of individuals who have delayed taking vacation to attend to pressing work assignments during the pandemic,” said Christine Lovely, associate vice chancellor and chief human resources officer.

She explained that in the past at UC Davis, around the holidays, many departments and units opted for “soft closures” during which employees could work if they wished or use vacation days or compensatory time off to extend their winter holidays.

Curtailment as the ‘default’

But these “soft closures” did not constitute campuswide curtailments, Lovely said, unlike what is coming in December. “The default this year will be that most areas of campus will be curtailed and staff will not be working ... except for essential operations that require employees to work,” she said.

Employees without sufficient accrued vacation time to cover the six curtailment days will be allowed to borrow up to six days of vacation. During curtailment, staff will continue to accrue vacation and sick leave.

The winter curtailment applies only to the Davis campus — except for the School of Veterinary Medicine — and only to nonacademic staff, both represented and nonrepresented. Deans and vice chancellors/provosts have the authority to grant exemptions to employees whose work is deemed essential.

The curtailment does not apply to academic employees, including graduate student researchers and postdocs, and student employees.

The Davis campus curtailment program is consistent with programs at other UC locations. For example, the Davis campus program is the same as what the UCLA campus announced recently.

University policy

Under UC’s Absence from Work Policy, chancellors may curtail operations for specific periods of time, during which staff employees may elect to use vacation or compensatory time off to remain on pay status, or employees may opt for leave without pay.

Locations may implement curtailment periods for various reasons, including: to achieve energy and operational savings, to observe a seasonal/holiday period in the academic year, to address emergencies, or for other reasons in the best interests of the university.

Lovely emphasized the Davis campus curtailment program to be implemented in December is different from the expanded curtailment program that the UC Office of the President has proposed to help address the fiscal challenges of the pandemic.

“As you may know, every campus and the UC Office of the President observe a certain number of curtailment days per year around the winter holidays,” President Michael V. Drake wrote in an Oct. 12 message to the university. “In consultation with UC chancellors, Academic Senate leaders, the Board of Regents and other UC stakeholders, we are currently considering a new systemwide program to achieve additional operational and salary savings.

“This program would expand the existing curtailment periods or add new curtailment periods as needed to achieve a minimum of five curtailment days at every UC location in fiscal year 2020-21.”

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About the author(s)

Dave Jones Dave Jones is the editor of Dateline UC Davis. He can be reached at 530-752-6556 or dljones@ucdavis.edu.

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