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Labour Relations

2017/2018 Voluntary Reduced Workweek Program

Employee Guidelines

PROGRAM OBJECTIVE

1:01 The VRW Program provides employees with an opportunity to request up to 20 days of leave of absence without pay (VRW days) during the
2017/2018 fiscal year, while spreading out the pay reduction for the VRW days over 24 pay periods between May 12, 2017 and March 30, 2018.

PROGRAM PARAMETERS

2:01 The Voluntary Reduced Workweek (VRW) Program applies to the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.
2:02 Where operational requirements and services to the public permit, government programs may be operated with reduced staffing levels by allowing employees who are scheduled to work to take up to 20 days of leave of absence without pay.  However, no closures of government offices will be permitted.
2:03 Pay reductions will be implemented to assist employees by spreading out the financial impact of the VRW days over as long a period as possible rather than having individual pay cheques reduced when the VRW days are taken.
2:04 No increased overtime costs shall be incurred as a result of approving VRW days.
2:05 Where VRW days could otherwise result in unacceptable backlogs being created and excessive delays in turnaround times (which may occur in operations involved with processing of documents for example) and/or a requirement to work staff on an overtime basis, departments are expected to retain sufficient staff at work to avoid these problems. 
2:06

Under this voluntary program, eligible employees may request up to 20 days of leave of absence without pay (VRW days).

2:07

The VRW program allows employees to request a VRW “day” off.  A “day”, for the purposes of the VRW request, is considered to be an employee’s regular work day. 

2:08 Employees may request days to be taken at any time during the current fiscal year up to March 16, 2018. However, employees will be approved to take their leaves of absence on days only when operational requirements permit.
2:09 An approved VRW day will be treated as a regular working day for the purposes of pension, group life insurance, and accumulated service calculations.
2:10 Employees will not be permitted to “cash out” vacation, overtime, compensatory leave or holidays to offset the impact of the Program.  Employees will also not be permitted to use any form of leave with pay to offset the impact of the Program; e.g. sick leave, compassionate leave, vacation, etc.
2:11 Once an employee has requested and been approved to take up to 20 VRW days, the employee must take the time off. 

ELIGIBILITY

3:01

The VRW Program applies to employees of the Provincial Civil Service with the exception of casual employees and employees that are normally subject to seasonal lay-off.

APPROVAL PROCESS

4:01

Employees may apply for up to 20 days leave of absence without pay (VRW days) to be used before March 16, 2018.

4:02 Applications specifying the number of days requested and the date of each VRW day must be submitted on the designated form to the Department Manager/Director by March 30, 2017.
4:03 The Department Manager/Director will review each application and will approve all or part of the request subject to operational requirements and service to the public.
4:04 Applications received after March 30, 2017 can be considered by department management subject to scheduling and operational requirements at the time of the request. 
4:05 Departments will advise employees of their approved and/or denied VRW days by April 13, 2017.
4:06 Once an employee has requested and been approved to take up to 20 VRW days, the employee is required to take the time off.  The employee cannot change the total number of approved VRW days.  Subject to the approval of the employing authority, the specific dates of the approved leave may be varied.
4:07

With appropriate notice, the Department may require an employee to work on a scheduled VRW day.  An alternate VRW day may be scheduled within the fiscal year with the agreement of the employee and the employer.

PAY

5:01 Where an employee has been approved for between 1 and 20 VRW days, the Department will determine the appropriate pay reduction for each pay period between May 12, 2017 to March 30, 2018.  This allows the financial impact of the VRW days to be spread out.
5:02 The pay reduction for the VRW program will be calculated based on an employee’s rate of pay as of April 1, 2017.
5:03

Pay reductions will begin on May 12, 2017, and will continue for 24
bi-weekly pay periods up to and including March 30, 2018.

5:04 If applicable, VRW pay reductions will be retroactively adjusted to reflect new rates of pay as a result of any general pay increase.  The retroactive pay adjustment will occur at same time as implementation of any general pay increase.
5:05 If an employee’s pay is reduced on a bi-weekly basis due to participation in the VRW program, and the employee subsequently leaves the employ of the Province or is laid off, any VRW-related overpayment or underpayment will be adjusted by the Department.
5:06 If an employee incurs a reduction in their salary (not including layoff, termination or resignation), the employee may cancel their participation in the current year’s program by submitting their request in writing to their employing authority and Pay and Benefits within two (2) weeks of incurring the reduction.  All remaining VRW days will be cancelled and any VRW-related overpayment or underpayment will be adjusted by the Department.
5:07 To determine the approximate decrease in net pay that an employee may experience for each of the 24 bi-weekly pay periods between May 12, 2017 to March 30, 2018, see the Approximate Net Pay Reduction Chart 2017.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

6:01    In accordance with the provisions of The Civil Service Superannuation Act, approved VRW days will not have an impact on employee pensions or group life insurance.  Employee contributions will continue to be made for approved VRW days based on regular gross bi-weekly salary.
6:02   

Approved VRW days will be treated as a regular working days for the purpose of accumulated service calculations.

6:03 For the purpose of producing a Record of Employment, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) requires that hours be reported as actual hours worked in the bi-weekly pay period and earnings be reported as earnings associated with the hours actually worked in the bi-weekly pay period.
6:04

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) advises that when applying for Employment Insurance (EI):

  • Insurable hours will be the actual hours worked in the bi-weekly pay period; and

  • Insurable earnings will be the earnings associated with the hours actually worked in the bi-weekly pay period.
6:05 Should employees have specific questions about eligibility for and calculation of Employment Insurance they should contact their local ESDC office.

OTHER LEAVES OF ABSENCE

7:01    Notwithstanding the VRW program, an employee may apply for a leave of absence without pay according to the existing Leaves of Absence Policy.  If you require further information regarding the Leaves of Absence Policy please contact your Department Manager/Director.

 


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