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SU implements new 2008-09 winter break schedule to promote sustainable leadership

November 26, 2008

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

Sara Miller

In continuation of Syracuse University's Flexible Work and Sustainability Initiative, the University today announced a new 2008-09 winter break work schedule for employees considered non-essential for the break period. The new schedule will promote sustainability and energy conservation by reducing University-wide energy use and employee commuting during the break.

The schedule is the result of work completed by the Winter Break Task Force, which was asked to provide specific recommendations on whether the University can effectively and efficiently adapt a winter break schedule this year that furthers the institution's sustainability goals while maintaining the essential function of all academic and administrative units. The committee was charged by Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Louis G. Marcoccia and Senior Vice President Eleanor Ware, and chaired by Neil Strodel, associate vice president and chief human resources officer. The committee proposed a pilot winter break schedule that was reviewed and approved by Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor and her Cabinet.

Following are details of the winter break work schedule:

  • With the exception of employees who provide essential services, University employees will not report to work from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2. In past years, the University operated on a reduced-hour schedule (9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.) during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. With the adoption of a new winter break schedule for 2008-09, the University eliminates the reduced-hour work days and all non-essential, benefits-eligible employees-including staff at Lubin House, Greenberg House and the Los Angeles office-will be given this time off with pay. As outlined in the pilot schedule, these days-Dec. 29, 30, 31 and Jan. 2-will be provided as paid "Green Days," in addition to the previously scheduled holidays of Dec. 24, 25, 26 and Jan. 1. Non-essential employees will report back to work on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.
  • Essential services in units such as Public Safety, Physical Plant and Maintenance will continue to be provided during the break. The SU Library will also be open for reduced hours during the break period. Faculty and graduate students may make arrangements through their school and college offices regarding lab and other research space.
  • All essential non-bargaining unit employees who are required to work during the winter break will be given an equal amount of time off to be used at another time within the fiscal year, scheduled with supervisor approval. The pilot schedule will be offered to all employee groups, including those represented by unions, pending the fulfillment of bargaining responsibilities. Essential employees are considered those who provide services that: serve an ongoing critical function; may directly affect the health, safety or quality of life for personnel on campus property; and must take place during some or all of the winter break period.

The committee-recommended and -accepted proposal is being implemented as a pilot program this year and will be evaluated to determine if it should be implemented next year and beyond.

The Office of Human Resources will provide additional information for employees on the winter break closing on the HR website. Supervisors will work directly with staff to let them know who is deemed essential and non-essential during this period and to discuss how the unit will maintain any essential functions.

Under the new pilot schedule, sustainable benefits will be seen through a reduction of the carbon emissions otherwise generated through the daily commutes of University staff and campus transportation; reduced fuel consumption and costs; and anticipated energy-savings that will result from closing or reduced operation of non- essential campus units and facilities. In developing this sustainable initiative, the University continues toward an effective and efficient plan to ensure a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, as part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which Chancellor Cantor signed in 2007.

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