Vacation Access FAQ

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Vacation Access FAQ

Why is the system changing?

-As our department grows, existing rules for the amount of personnel allowed off every day has begun limiting our ability to use our earned time off. Labor and management identified the need to address that issue as we increase minimum staffing and total number of line firefighters over the next few years.

What is the 2018 PERC ruling?

– In 2018, additional personnel were hired as minimum staffing was increased to staff Station 25 with four firefighters. When fire admin was unwilling to open more vacation spots, a grievance was filed which ultimately resulted in a PERC ruling stating the city had to maintain our existing access to time off.

What does 115% access mean?

– The city is legally obligated to provide access to 100% of the time off benefits employees receive. When investigating the level of access we had during the 2018 PERC ruling, it was determined that our members had access to 114.7% of their earned time off. For example, in a given year, if the department earned 1000 hours of time off, the city had been providing 1147 hours worth of vacation slots.

How will I know if there can be 5 or 6 people off on vacation?

– The annual vacation bid matrix will highlight the dates in which six people can be off versus five. Telestaff will also be updated every year to reflect those dates, so if you try to add time off, it will tell you whether you’re over the appropriate amount of people allowed off.

In the past, if we only had 2 people off on Kelly, we could have up to 7
more people off on vacation. Aren’t we losing those spots?

– Those spots were accounted for when we ran the numbers from our
2018 PERC ruling. No spots are lost, just distributed in a different pattern.
Splitting the vacation/Kelly day total time off grants a more even
distribution of available time off throughout the shifts. For example, if B
shift had additional personnel for a given year, they would not only have
more people bidding vacation slots, but they would also have less access
to available slots because more Kelly day slots were filled.

How do we calculate the number of extra days off every year?

– January 1st, fire admin will calculate the total amount of time off earned
by our line firefighters. They will then multiply that many hours by 115%
and divide by the total days in the year. This year that number came out to
5.14. This means 5 slots available every day, and the .14 is distributed as
an additional 6th person off in a predetermined pattern throughout the

Why isn’t all the extra vacation availability allocated in the summer?
Wouldn’t that be better?

– While that would be better, the Local understands the city’s desire for
spreading the days out equally per quarter and agreed to an even
distribution throughout the year. They will be distributed as follows: Q1 –
Working back from March 31, Q2 – Working back from June 30, Q3 –
Working forward from July 1st, Q4 – Working forward from Oct 1st. This covers a large amount of kids summer break and hunting season.

Are the rules for vacation picks changing?

– No, other than the split between vacation/Kelly days, rules for picking
vacation will remain the same.

What if we’re above minimums on a day I want off?

– Vacation tentative will come into play more during the summer if we
have minimal people on Kelly days. Throughout this year, we don’t see
that as a factor because each set is almost maxed out with people on
Kelly days. During that time, the union and admin will be working on
ways to improve the vacation tentative selection process.

Why are Kelly Days and Vacation days separate now?

– The union felt that by splitting those days, we would not only simplify
the vacation selection process, but also distribute vacation access more
evenly throughout the shifts.