Finally: A New Attendance Policy!
We are excited to announce that we have negotiated a new attendance policy that will go into effect within the next 30 days. This policy will replace the flawed “point system.” While the new policy doesn’t include everything we wanted, we believe that it is a fair compromise and represents a victory for Co-op workers. The key points in the new policy are:
A. Sick Time: All workers, including part timers, will get paid sick time hours front-loaded once per year. The amounts vary based on the amount of time you are regularly scheduled:
This is substantially more paid time than we had under the old “Sick and Discretionary Time” policy. This time can be taken without penalty, and using it will not count as an absence. This time is separate from vacation or PTO time, which we will address later in negotiations.
This paid time is designed to be used not banked from year to year. Therefore, only employees with more than 40 hours of remaining sick time will be paid out at the end of the year, and it will be paid out at a rate of 50%.
B. Absences: After you exhaust your sick time, you can have an unpaid excused absence for certain documented reasons, such as:
- Sickness listed in the Wisconsin Food Code (twice per year)
- Court testimony
- Suffering an accident on the way to work
- Being the victim of a crime
These absences must be accompanied by specific documentation showing the need for the absence, and employees can be terminated for supplying fraudulent documentation.
If you are absent for other reasons after your sick time is used up, there is a progressive discipline schedule that applies when you have an unexcused absence:
- Performance Discussion
- Written Warning
- Final Written Warning
- Working suspension
If you are on this discipline schedule, you can revert to the prior stage when you have 60 days without an attendance incident. Importantly, using your sick benefit time will not count against meeting the 60 day requirement.
C. Lateness: there will now be a 5 minute grace period. If you report to work more than 5 minutes late more than three times, you are subject to the same 5-step disciplinary schedule for each additional lateness (more than 5 minutes.) Lateness, however, is tracked separately from absences. That means an employee would have to be more than 5 minutes late seven times - and unable to use one of the above excuses - before being subject to termination.
D. Leaving Early: You do not get disciplined for leaving early with manager approval. So if you are sick and your manager agrees that you need to leave, there is no penalty. You MAY leave early without manager approval, but if you show a pattern of doing so you would be subject to discipline.
E. Implementation: This agreement will be implemented within 30 days. Once implemented, all points and discipline under the prior attendance policy will be null and void. Upon ratification, all non-probationary employees will receive their sick time allotment (probationary and new employees will get theirs at the completion fo their 90 days) and any unused Sick and Discretionary time will be rolled in with the time given under this policy.
Until the new policy is implemented, the current point policy will be in effect. However, the number of points required for termination will be raised from 14 to 18 points during this period.
Our next bargaining session will be on Wednesday, January 22.