November 2017, Vol. 1

3 steps to standardize duty schedules

by Tracy Morris
Maintaining a multitude of work calendars can be a time-consuming process for human resources and payroll and result in employees being confused about their work start and stop dates.
When districts have employees within a single job group on different annual work schedules, confusion and inefficiencies can arise. Employees can misinterpret the schedule—they show up a day too early, don’t show up when you expect them, and they have difficulty understanding their pay.
It’s common to find districts that have 20 or more duty schedules across all jobs. While there may be a legitimate reason for maintaining a number of duty calendars, many of the individual calendars have very few incumbents on those schedules. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to see duty schedules that differ from one another by only one day.
Districts can improve management efficiency and reduce employee confusion by limiting the number of duty calendars. Here are some best practices to follow to reduce the number of different duty calendars:
1. Consider the business needs of the district.
As student schedules change, be sure to consider whether you still need bus drivers, custodians, or cafeteria workers for the same number of days as you previously did. If you don’t, change the schedule. While a reduced student calendar may free up work days for professional development, weigh how many days are reasonable and cost-effective to include in the duty calendars. Review calendars with few incumbents to determine the specific service provision needs and consolidate calendars where appropriate.
2. Maintain annualized salaries for affected employees.
If consolidating calendars results in a reduction in pay for the employees, consider maintaining the annualized salaries at the current rate for the affected employees. This means their hourly or daily rate should increase to keep the employee earning no less than they previously were on the former duty schedule.
3. Match the market.
Just as it’s important to compete with the market for pay, you can use the market to help guide duty calendars. Wide variances in days for positions from the market can affect market competitiveness. Find out what days your peers are staffing for each position and consider doing the same, as long as it continues to meet the business needs of the district.