Hourly employees at Purdue oppose changes in leave policy

FILE - This April 22, 2014, file photo shows an employment application form on a table during a job fair at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, N.Y. The Labor Department reports on job openings and labor turnover in June 2014 on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Some Purdue University hourly employees are concerned proposed changes that would consolidate leave policy would eliminate the payout of unused vacation and sick days historically banked for retirement.

The plan announced a week ago would reduce the number of days off allotted annually for Purdue’s 3,500 hourly employees to 25 days. Those workers now receive 31 days.

“You’re taking six days a year away that we used to build up for retirement,” employee Alan Farrester said during a faculty organized meeting Friday.

Paid time off and medical insurance provided by Purdue have compensated for a lack of pay raises, the Journal & Courier reports (http://on.jconline.com/1LXHkIf ). Laura Thompson, who works as a nurse at the university student hospital, said those benefits make a big difference.

“You’re going to lose employees like me, and you’re not going to be able to hire quality employees because they can’t afford to live on what you’re paying,” she said.

Purdue University Senate Chairwoman Patty Hart said the faculty organized the meeting because hourly workers were frustrated by the proposed changes. Purdue said it wants to form a new category called paid time off, rather than giving people separate vacation, personal and sick days.

Under the plan Purdue would for the first time offer short-term disability leave, a benefit most employees wanted, interim vice president for human resources Trent Klingerman said.

Vic Lechtenberg, who chaired the committee that recommended the changes, said the committee will consider the employee comments and fine tune the policy.

“I heard people say, ‘Give us back the six days,'” he said. “The (committee’s) thinking was the short-term disability coverage was worth six days. We’ve got to look at that.”

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Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com

 

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