Attn: Executive Branch Members – Changes to Overtime Pay and Unscheduled Sick Leave

We have learned that an email distributed by DHHS Human Resources to all DHHS employees has caused some confusion and angst among workers. The content of the email was related to changes in the calculation of overtime as it relates to “unscheduled” sick leave. We anticipate that some, if not all Executive Branch Agencies’ HR Depts. have or will be issuing something similar, as this is an across the board issue.

Unscheduled sick leave pertains to leave that was unanticipated, i.e., you come down with the flu and need to call out.  Scheduled sick leave pertains to Medical appointments, surgical procedures, etc. that you have pre-arranged as sick leave.

There is a new provision in the Executive Branch CBA that stipulates that if you take unscheduled sick leave within a work week and wind up submitting (work and leave time combined) more than your normal work week hours, those hours for which you called out will not be paid at time and a half. For instance, you work your regular hours Monday and Tuesday; call out sick on Wednesday; return to work on Thursday and Friday and work 10 hours each of the days. The additional time over 40 hours will not be calculated at time and a half. You will be paid for the sick day at your usual rate.

This provision has led to the development of an additional leave category in NH First.  The program change will take place as of midnight, Friday November 13th.  As a precaution, DHHS (and we presume other agencies) is asking that anyone who has completed future time cards with pre-approved leave, beyond November 12, should delete them and re-enter the information in order for the new pay codes to apply and to avoid any of your pre-approved leave falling between the cracks – particularly with the holidays coming up. Note: It is always a good idea to print out and save your approved leave requests.

If you encounter any problems resulting from the NH First transition, post November 12, please contact HR first. If you are unable to resolve the issues through your HR department, contact your steward.

This is the contract language that DHHS cited:

Time and One Half Rate: Where the basic workweek is 37 1/2 hours, overtime in excess of 2 1/2 hours, and where the basic workweek is forty (40) hours, all overtime shall be compensated as follows:

a)      Non-exempt employees shall be entitled to overtime pay at the rate of time and one half. Shift differentials shall also be included where appropriate.

b)      Exempt employees will be given compensatory time off or overtime pay at straight time.

c)      All hours that an employee is on pay status, except unscheduled sick leave, will constitute “time worked” for the purpose of determining the workweek required to establish eligibility for overtime compensation. For the purpose of this provision, ‘unscheduled sick leave’, with the exception of bereavement leave, shall be defined as any sick leave taken with less than three (3) work days’ notice.

d)     There shall be no pyramiding or duplication of compensation by reason of overtime or holiday or other premium pay provisions of this Agreement.

e)      Hours compensated for while on authorized overtime in accordance with RSA 99B and RSA 99C shall not constitute “time worked”.

f)       Alternative Work Schedule: An employee who works a schedule which does not consist of five (5) consecutive 7 1/2 or 8 hour days, shall only be entitled to that premium pay for overtime worked which is specifically provided for in the memoranda of agreement which authorizes alternative work schedules or flex-time.

Note: The complete Executive Branch Collective Bargaining Agreement should be available in book form for all members in early 2016, if not before.

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