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The University of Missouri Board of Curators unanimously approved a new paid time off policy for system staff members, which was opposed by an employee union and faculty members, The Columbia Missourian reported.

Laborers Local 955, the labor union representing service and maintenance workers at two of the system’s campuses and the University of Missouri hospital, held two protests against the policy before Wednesday’s meeting.

Effective January 2024, university staff members will move to a bank of paid time off rather than having separate buckets of vacation, personal and sick days, and they will be paid for caregiver leave as well as short-term disability. System officials said the changers were aimed at modernizing the leave policy, boosting recruitment and retention, and saving money.

However, the union said the plan would mean a cut in benefits for employees that would hamper recruitment and retention efforts. Under the new policy, hourly employees would get 31 paid days off a year, including holidays and winter break, which is 10 fewer than the current system.

“We remain opposed to all cuts to wages and benefits,” Andrew Hutchinson, a representative for the union, said in a news release. “This is a significant loss, not just to our union members, but to 13,000 workers across the state.”

The new plan is the result of years of discussion.

“We have taken it very seriously,” Curator Keith Holloway said. “I wanted the employees, staff and public to know that there’s a lot of work and a lot of consideration has been given to these changes.”

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