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May 1997

Delphi Questions: Retirement and vacation policies

Questions #429 and 430 (received 25 February): I have two questions prompted by the February 1997 issue of Staff Notes [Monthly]:

(1) The first concerns the nonanswer to the question reported on page 10. [Editor's note: this question involved the filling of a job for which formal advertisement through the usual channels was waived under UCAR policy 2-1-3.] I assume the question was, really: what was the justification for waiving the policy, i.e., which circumstance listed in the policy, not simply was the policy technically followed by asking for a waiver.

(2) The second concerns using vacation time before retirement instead of taking it in a lump sum. Some of us have been told by our administrators that that is no longer allowed and has not been allowed for several years. The article on page 11 states that an employee has been out of the office since last summer, using up vacation time. The advantages are obvious: you earn vacation while on vacation; UCAR continues to contribute to TIAA/CREF, life insurance, disability coverage, etc. Just what is the policy?

Answer to (1) (received 16 March): The applicable policy provision for this situation is provision 7E from UCAR policy 2-1-3, which states that a waiver may be requested when the candidate is "an extraordinarily qualified individual whose skills are consonant with UCAR's mission." In this particular situation we had a highly qualified individual who was already performing a major portion of the responsibilities. Importantly, we did not have a vacancy into which we could recruit. Our ability to combine the contracts management function with risk management was only possible because Butch Taylor agreed to continue all of his risk management duties as well as take on contract management functions. Had a bona fide vacancy existed, we would have advertised for the position. The action we took allowed us to provide needed management oversight without increasing G&A expenses.

--Jeff Reaves, UCAR associate vice president for business services

Answer to (2) (received 19 March): There is not a UCAR policy that prohibits departing employees from using their accrued vacation beyond their actual last day of work. UCAR has discouraged this practice, since as the questioner points out, it increases UCAR's benefits costs.

In the case cited in Staff Notes Monthly, the employee was under a Preretirement Work Reduction Agreement, per UCAR policy 2-4-5, which provides for a schedule of less than full-time employment for a specific period prior to retirement. Under such an agreement, an employee is covered by benefits and may use vacation time.

UCAR's policy for using vacation at the time of termination is under review and may be modified in the future. Any employee nearing retirement may request a Preretirement Work Reduction Agreement.

--Bob Roesch, UCAR compensation/benefits manager

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi coordinator, Rene Munoz (ext. 1173, ML room 135), in written form; they must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 1-1-13. Questions and answers of general interest to staff are submitted to Staff Notes Monthly by Rene. They may be edited for publication.

Delphi on the Web: A note from the coordinator

I am pleased to announce the addition of the Delphi Service Home Page to the UCAR Web site. Policies and procedures pertaining to submission of a question to the Delphi coordinator (from Section 1-1-13 of the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual) are listed, along with a new feature providing information that has not been available to staff before.

The "Delphi Record" section of the Web site includes a chronological listing of all questions (both published and unpublished) submitted to date to the current coordinator. Although topics are framed in general terms--to protect the anonymity of the questioner, the details of the question, and sometimes the specific respondent to whom the question was sent--the listing does provide the opportunity to see in general terms what types of questions are submitted for resolution or clarification of an issue by our coworkers and colleagues. It is my hope that this listing will encourage more staff to use the Delphi process if they see that others have asked similar types of questions.

In the other section of the Web site, "FAQ," there are some Delphi-relatedquestions and answers to get the site going. I hope that staff will submit additional questions or comments that might allow us to develop this section further. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Rene Munoz
Delphi Service coordinator

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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu