Katy Abel
MA Department of Higher Education
617-994-6932 (office)
617-981-2344 (cell)

For Immediate Release
June 14, 2016

Board of Higher Education Votes Changes to Leave Policies Governing State Universities, Community Colleges

Vote Impacts Employee Leave and Employment Contracts for Former Presidents

Worcester, MA – June 14, 2016 – The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education voted today to amend the leave policies for non-unit professionals (NUPs) at the state’s fifteen community colleges and nine state universities in an effort to better align such policies with those governing University of Massachusetts employees, public higher education systems in other New England states, and Massachusetts state employees. The changes will impact approximately 1650 employees.  

The Board voted to eliminate the current policy allowing employees to convert unused vacation days into sick time. Going forward under the new policy, any vacation days that remain over a 64-day balance would be forfeited by the employee if not used. The 64-day vacation balance would be reduced over the next two and a half years to a maximum of 50 days that can be “carried” by an employee.

Additionally, the Board voted to:

“These changes will bring our employment policies for non-unit professionals at community colleges and state universities into alignment with those in place at the University of Massachusetts, at public colleges and universities across New England, and for state employees,” said Higher Education Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago, who ordered an expedited review of the policies in March. “They will allow us to remain competitive with other institutions in our bid to attract top talent, while also making good on our commitment to be effective stewards of state resources.”

In addition to the policy changes approved by the Board, the Department of Higher Education staff will continue to offer training opportunities for local boards of trustees and will distribute “best practice” materials for their use in overseeing presidential leave time. Presidents will be expected to regularly report their leave time to their campus board chair, and additionally, to provide an annual summary of their leave to the Commissioner of Higher Education as part of the presidential evaluation process.

The Board also approved a separate policy that prohibits campus boards of trustees from entering into contractual agreements with outgoing or former presidents without the approval of the Commissioner of Higher Education. The motion spells out a series of guidelines for trustees to follow in considering such post-employment contracts and reaffirms current BHE policy, which states that “no sitting state university or community college president shall be offered a severance agreement involving compensation to be paid subsequent to the time he/she no longer performs the duties of president.”


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