MU changes rules on sick time and layoff assistance

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri is changing some of its rules and regulations to offer more leave and layoff benefits to faculty and staff.

The UM System said it wants to provide more flexibility to faculty and staff without increasing costs.

The Board of Curators approved the revisions to support a "broader segment" of the university community as part of the fiscal year 2019 budget, a statement said.

Christian Basi, MU's director of media relations, said he hopes these policy changes can "reduce the amount of concern and stress when caring for a family member so it's less worry and they can take the time off to properly prepare for their family."

Newly-hired employees will be allowed to accrue personal time and to use it without restrictions for their first six months.

For all employees, they can accrue sick time for both the employee's illness or that of a family member. That replaces the old setup, which was only 12 sick days for family illness or adoption.

Basi said these programs were designed to help faculty and staff feel like they have enough time off when they are sick or need to deal with personal issues so they don't have to worry about not being paid for a day they may have to take off.

The university also extended layoff and transition assistance to full-time non-tenure track and unranked faculty. It includes transition pay of a maximum of 20 weeks or $50,000, plus six months of medical coverage.

"We put those caps on there. It's still a very generous program, but at the same time, it makes sure that program will be in place for what we hope is many years to come," Basi said.

He said the 2019 fiscal budget that was approved at the meeting incorporates the new policies for faculty and staff.

"We're always looking at the whole picture and so that does include HR and salaries and benefits and all of that that is incorporated into what the university offers its employees."

Marsha Fischer, chief human resources officer, said HR is also working to establish its shared leave program that was approved in December.

"We anticipate the shared leave program will be implemented in July 2018. We know these changes will have a positive impact on our employees," Fischer said.