Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Unit
Appendix IV - VRWS Guidelines
VOLUNTARY REDUCTION IN WORK SCHEDULE
Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS), commonly referred to as
Voluntary Furlough, is a program that allows employees to voluntarily trade income for
time off. The VRWS program is available to eligible annual-salaried employees in the
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services Unit (PS&T).
VRWS provides agencies with a flexible mechanism for allocating staff
VRWS permits employees to reduce their work schedules to reflect personal
needs and interests.
Limitations: Eligibility, Work Schedule Reduction, Term of VRWS
Eligibility: This program is available to certain annual-salaried employees in
the PS&T Unit.
Employees are required to have 26 consecutive payroll periods of full-time
annual salaried State service immediately prior to entry into a VRWS program. Payroll
periods of VRWS participation, Sick Leave at Half Pay, or Workers' Compensation
Leave will count as full-time annual salaried service in computation of the 26
consecutive payroll periods so long as the employee was working on a full-time annual
salaried basis immediately prior to the VRWS participation, Sick Leave at Half Pay, or
Workers' Compensation Leave. For example, an employee who had worked twenty-one payroll periods on a full-time annual salaried basis followed by five payroll periods
on Sick Leave at Half Pay and then returned to work would be eligible for VRWS upon
return to work.
Employees who were eligible for the VRWS program under the 1984-86
Program Guidelines continue to be eligible to participate in the program even if they
never participated in the 1984-86 VRWS program. (Under the Guidelines for the 1984-86 program, VRWS was available to employees: (1) who were full-time annual-salaried
employees as of April 1, 1984, or (2) who first entered the PS&T unit as full-time
annual-salaried employees between April 1, 1984 and April 1, 1986.)
Work Schedule Reduction: Participating employees may reduce their work
schedules (and salaries) a minimum of 5%, in 5% increments, up to a maximum of
Description of an Employee VRWS Program
Employee develops a plan for a reduced work schedule.
Management reviews and approves plan as long as it is consistent with
Jointly agreed plan specifies:
Duration of VRWS agreement.
Percentage reduction of work schedule and salary.
Amount of VR Time earned in exchange for reduced salary.
Schedule for use of VR Time earned. This may be either a fixed schedule,
i.e., every Friday, every Wednesday afternoon, an entire month off, etc., or intermittent
An employee's fixed schedule VR Time off, once the VRWS schedule has
been agreed upon by management, cannot be changed without the consent of the
employee except in an emergency. In the event an employee's schedule is changed
without the consent of the employee, the employee may appeal this action through an
expedited grievance procedure.
VR Time used as intermittent time off will be subject to scheduling during the
term of the VRWS agreement, and will require advance approval by the employee's
While the VRWS agreement is in effect, the employee will earn and
accumulate VR credits in accordance with the percentage reduction in workweek, i.e., a
10% reduction will result in 7.5 or 8 hours of VR credit earned each payroll period; the
employee will charge VR credits on his or her scheduled VR absences, i.e., an
employee whose VRWS schedule calls for one-half day off every Friday afternoon will
charge 3 3/4 or 4 hours VR credits each Friday afternoon. An employee whose VRWS
agreement calls for a 10% reduction and taking an entire month off will work his or her
full 37 1/2 or 40 hours each week, accrue 7.5 or 8 hours of VR credit each payroll
period, and have the accumulated VR credits to use during that month.
The employee never goes off the payroll. The employee remains in active
pay status for the duration of the agreement and receives paychecks each payroll
period at the agreed-upon temporarily reduced level.
The employee will work a pro rata share of his or her normal work schedule
over the duration of the agreement period.
Participation in the VRWS program will not be a detriment to later career
moves within the agency or the State.
Scheduled non-work time taken in accordance with a VRWS agreement shall
not be considered to be an absence for the purpose of application of Section 4.5(f) of
the Civil Service Rules governing probationary periods.
The employee and management can establish a VRWS agreement of any
number of payroll periods in duration from 1 to 26. The VRWS agreement must begin
on the first day of a payroll period and end on the last day of a payroll period. The
employee and management may, by agreement, discontinue or modify the VRWS
agreement if the employee's needs or circumstances change.
Time Records Management
All VRWS schedules will be based on the crediting and debiting of VR credits
on the employee's time card against a regular 37 1/2 or 40 hour workweek.
VR credits earned during FY 93-94, and 94-95 may be carried over on the
employee's time card past the end of the individual VRWS agreement, but must be
liquidated by September 30, 1995.
VR credits earned during an agreement may be carried on the employee's
time card past the end of the individual VRWS agreement but must be liquidated by the
September 30th following the end of the fiscal year in which the agreement expires.
There is no requirement that existing paid leave credits (including previously
earned and banked VR credits) be exhausted prior to the beginning of the new VRWS
Advancing of VR Credits; Recovering a VR Credit Debit
To accommodate employees whose VRWS agreements call for an extended
absence during the agreement period, agencies may advance VR credits in an amount
not to exceed the number of hours for which the employee is paid in one payroll period.
If an employee terminates his or her employment and has a VR debit, the
agency shall recover the debit from the employee's lagged salary payment for his or
her last payroll period at work.
Coordination with Alternate Work Schedules
It is possible to coordinate VRWS agreements with alternate work schedule
arrangements when desired by the employee and consistent with operating needs. For
example, a VRWS agreement can be combined with four-day week scheduling for a 37
1/2 hour/week employee by the employee opting for a 10% reduction to produce a
workweek of 3 days of 8 1/2 hours and 1 day of 8 1/4 hours. Such a schedule would
generate savings of commuting expenses, child care costs, etc. for the employee.
Copies of the "Application for Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule
(VRWS)" must be filed with the Division of the Budget, Attention: Management Review
and Labor Relations Unit, for those applicants who propose to use VR time credits in
conjunction with a newly established alternative work schedule (AWS), e.g., longer
workday/shorter workweek. Agencies may utilize this filing procedure instead of that
currently required by Budget Policy and Reporting Manual, Item G-068 for employees
who propose to combine a Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule program with an
alternative work schedule option.
Effect on Benefits and Status
The effect of participation in the VRWS program on benefits and status
is outlined in Appendix A (attached).
Effect on Overtime Payment for Overtime Eligible Employees
Scheduled absences charged to VR credits, unlike absences charged to leave
credits, are not the equivalent of time worked for purposes of determining eligibility for
overtime payments at premium rates within a workweek. For example, an employee
who, under an 80% VRWS schedule works four days, charges the fifth day to VR
credits, and is called in to work a sixth day, will not be considered to have worked the
fifth day and thus will not be entitled to premium rate payments on the sixth day.
Sections 135.2(h) and (i) of Part 135 of the Budget Director's Overtime Rules are
waived to the extent necessary to permit payment of overtime compensation to
overtime-eligible employees who are participating in this program.
Discontinuation of VRWS Agreements
Although VRWS agreements are for stated periods of time, they can be
discontinued by mutual agreement at the end of any payroll period. Employees who go
on sick leave at half pay for 28 consecutive calendar days or who are absent because
of a work-related injury or illness for 28 consecutive calendar days will have their
VRWS agreement cancelled and be returned to their normal work schedule and pay
Provisions for Payment of Banked (Unused) VR Time in Exceptional Cases
The VRWS program is intended to be a program that allows employees to
voluntarily trade income for time off. The agreement for program participation between
the employee and management includes a plan for the use of VR time earned.
Management must make every effort to ensure that VR Time earned by an employee is
used: (1) under the terms of the individual VRWS agreement; (2) before the September
30th, liquidation date (see section 5); (3) before the employee separates from State
service; and, (4) while the employee is on the job he or she was in when the VRWS
program agreement was made. If this is not possible, payment for Banked (Unused)
VR time can be made in exceptional cases that fall under the following criteria:
Employees who accumulate VR time during the 1993-95 VRWS program and
are unable to utilize VR time by September 30, 1995 due to management requirements
predicated on workload will be paid at the then current straight time rate of pay.
Payment will be made within two payroll periods following the September 30, 1995
Employees who accumulate VR time on and after April 1, 1995 and are
unable to utilize the VR Time by the applicable September 30th liquidation date due to
management requirements predicated on workload will be paid at the then current
straight time rate of pay. Payment will be made within two payroll periods following the
applicable September 30th liquidation date.
Unused VR time will be paid at the then current straight time rate of pay upon
layoff, resignation from State service, termination, retirement or death.
Upon movement of an employee from one agency to another or between
facilities or institutions within an agency, unused VR time will be paid at the then current
straight time rate of pay by the agency or facility/institution in which the VR time was
earned, unless the employee requests and the new agency or facility/institution accepts
the transfer of the VR time on the employee's time card. The lump sum payment for
VR balances upon movement to another agency or facility/institution will be made
irrespective of whether or not the employee is granted a leave of absence from the
agency where the VR time was earned. Payment will be made within two payroll
periods following the move to the new agency/facility/institution.
Requests for payment in exceptional cases other than those specified above
should be directed to GOER Research Division--VRWS Program and will be decided
on a case-by-case basis.
In all cases where payment for unused VR time is made, notification of payment
must be sent to GOER Research Division VRWS Program. Such notification must
include date of payment, circumstances of payment, employee's name, title, number of
hours in the employee's normal workweek (37 1/2 or 40), number of days of unused VR
time, daily rate of pay, and gross dollar amount of payment. In addition, agencies must
certify that they have not already used these savings for replacement staff in other
programs or, if they have, identify another funding source for the payment.
Review of VRWS Denials
An employee whose request to participate in the VRWS program has been
denied shall have the right to request a written statement of the reason for the denial.
Such written statement shall be provided within five working days of the request. Upon
receipt of the written statement of the reason for the denial, the employee may request
a review of the denial by the agency head or the designee of the agency head. Such
requests for review must be made, and will be reviewed, in accordance with the
Requests must be submitted by the employee or the employee's
representative within ten working days of receipt of the written statement or of the date
when the written statement was due.
Requests must be submitted to the official who serves as the agency head's
designee at Step 2 of the grievance procedure. Employees of facilities must
concurrently provide a copy of such request to the facility head.
Such requests shall specify why the employee believes the written reasons
for the denial are improper. The request must explain how the employee believes his or
her work can be reorganized or reassigned so that his or her participation in the VRWS
program will not unduly interfere with the agency's program operations.
The designee of the agency head shall review the appeal and make a
determination within ten working days of receipt. The determination shall be sent to the
employee with a copy to the President of PEF. The determination shall be based on the
record, except that the agency head's designee may hold a meeting with the employee
and/or the employee's supervisors if the designee believes additional information or
discussion is required to make a determination. If the employee believes that there are
special circumstances that make a meeting appropriate, the employee may describe
these circumstances in addition to providing the information specified in paragraph 3
above, and request that a review meeting be held. The agency head's designee shall
consider such request in determining whether or not to hold a review meeting.
The determination of the agency head's designee shall not be subject to
Facility-Wide or Agency-Wide Practices
When PEF alleges that an agency or a facility, or a sub-division thereof, has
established a practice of routinely denying employee applications to participate, this
matter shall be an appropriate subject for discussion in a labor/management committee
at the appropriate level. Such labor/management discussions shall be held in
accordance with the provisions of Article 24 of the State/PEF Agreement.
The restrictions and limitations contained in these Program Guidelines may be
waived by the Governor's Office of Employee Relations whenever that Office
determines that strict adherence to the guidelines would be detrimental to the sound
and orderly administration of State government.
Note 1: The Department of Civil Service will issue Attendance and Leave
Guidelines that describe the way in which the leave provisions of the Attendance Rules,
negotiated agreements, and related laws and policies apply to VRWS participants. See
Attendance and Leave Manual Advisory Memoranda No. 93-02 Section 26.1, for chart
for calculating Accrual and Grant Rates for Employees Participating in the VRWS
Note 2: The Office of the State Comptroller will issue a payroll Bulletin explaining
PR-75 transaction codes and data requirements for employees participating in VRWS.
See Bulletin P-486 dated June 13, 1986 until a new bulletin is issued. Form PR-75,
Payroll and Personnel Transactions, using transaction code "VOL.REDUCT" must be
submitted to place an employee on a VRWS program with reduced pay. A new form
PR-75 must be submitted if there is a change in an employee's VR schedule that
involves a change in the salary payment (percent of reduction). Upon termination of the
VRWS agreement, Form PR-75 using the transaction code "CHG PT FUL" must be
submitted to return the employee to full-time employment and full pay.
Appendix A - Effects on Benefits and Status