Responses to CIO Listserv on 24x7 Support
Summary of Responses:
Total # responses = 12
Comp Time Only (exempt staff) = 5
No Specific Plan =3
Plan and/or Policy in effect = 4
Detailed plans sent to me appear below. The first one is the proposal submitted
to me by a member of my staff.
Thanks again for your input.
Guaranteed 24X7 support – work outside of normal working hours
Categories of Support:
- Continuously available by phone or pager with expected call back within
- Respond to and fix problems from home or other off-site location within
- Return to campus when necessary within one hour to respond to problems
- Scheduled work outside of normal working hours and in addition to normal
- Week nights (after 6pm)
- Paid holidays
Return to campus for emergency call in when not normally scheduled to work
- minimum four hours pay. Time begins when employee returns to the workplace.
Scheduled work outside of regular hours when no comp time elected. –
minimum two hours pay. Time begins when employee returns to the workplace
Employee on call by phone or pager – two hours pay for each 24 hour day
on call. Includes phone and pager availability and handling problems that are
resolvable by remote access to systems
Staff members required by their functional manager(s) to restrict their whereabouts
and activities in order to be available for consultation or return to work to
meet emergencies, shall receive appropriate on-call compensation.
The on-call status may be any period of time specifically designated by the
functional manager(s). Staff members while scheduled for on-call are paid
at the rate of 20% of the MINIMUM rate of the staff member's job classification
for hours they are required to restrict their whereabouts to the extent that
they are required to leave word at home or with their supervisor where they
can be reached or required to carry a pager. Further restriction of whereabouts
is not permitted under on-call status.
Staff members, when called in to work during their scheduled on-call shift,
shall receive compensation at their regular rate for time worked.
Overtime compensation and shift premium shall be paid where applicable. Staff
members will not receive the on-call pay if called in to work for the duration
of time spent at their assigned place of work. The on-call pay resumes when
the staff member leaves the assigned place of work, if they must again restrict
The functional manager should maintain a record of each staff member's on-call
status as it occurs and record each incidence of actual return to assigned place
of work. The staff member should also keep a record in order to fill out their
regular time sheet (and/or special payment form) appropriately. The special
payment form should be forwarded along with the time sheet to the building support
person within 30 days after the actual on-call period was worked. For more specific
information, see U-M Standard Practice Guide 201.36. NOTE: If a specific procedure
differs from what we've published here, bargained-for staff are bound by the
limits of their negotiated contracts.
Our policy is to pay our staff at their regular hourly rate (even though
they are senior staff and exempt from overtime) for checking systems nights and
weekends (this is a regular assigned duty and they get that pay 2x a year)
and for anytime they have to come in to perform emergency maintenance or work
an inordinate amount of hours on a project (example - we are converting email
this weekend which is a 36-48 hour process.) Our UNIX folks will work in 18 hour
shifts (over a holiday!) to get this accomplished. We are in a very competitive
IS location (Baltimore/Washington corridor) and we try to keep pace with our non-academic
BTW, my UNIX team will also get a project bonus for the work
they've done on this conversion over the last 9 months, but that's a whole new
topic! Bonuses by university policy can be up to 5% or their base salary, so
that gives us a lot of flexibility.
Our policy is that where staff (unionised or not) are on call -
i.e. have to carry a pager - usually on weekends and after hours - we pay
around 1/8 of their normal hourly salary for every hour they are on call.
If they have to perform a task - either on site or remotely,
they are paid whatever overtime rate is in effect for that time period.
(i.e. holidays may require double time while normal overtime is time and a half)
We have a number of people on call - systems staff
for critical servers such as email and web, network support staff, support staff
for applications such as payroll and student records etc.
We determined that we could not fully staff a 24 x 7 operation but for some
additional funds we could provide a lot better coverage. When staff are on call,
they are expected to respond within a certain period - can't remember if it
is 30 minutes or less.
We found that it was unfair to expect staff to do this
on good will and also the coverage was very uneven.
In all critical areas the staff are expected to rotate being on call.
Purpose of this policy
The purpose of this policy is to clarify when and how we will provide services
to our customers outside of regular working hours. In addition, it will clarify
when and how we will compensate staff members for providing such off-hours service.
ITSS is not funded to provide service twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
In general, ITSS staff work a forty-hour week during regular working hours, with
some exceptions. (See our departmental work rules for more details.) On the other
hand, our customers use many of our services during off hours, and many of them
would prefer to have major problems fixed sooner than the next working day when
possible. ITSS would like to meet some off-hours needs of our customers by making
creative use of flexible work scheduling and payment policies to compensate staff
appropriately for off-hours work. We also intend for our policy and procedures
to be consistent with University policies and procedures with regard to flexible
work scheduling and payment policies.
Types of off-hours service
There are three types of off-hours service that we will consider in this document:
- Scheduled off-hours work is off-hours work that is planned and scheduled
ahead of time with the approval of ITSS management. This includes:
- work that is scheduled for off hours in order to avoid inconveniencing
the majority of our customers, such as upgrades and improvments,
- work that supports some of our services (such as AV, ITV, or lab services)
or provides supervision of our student staff (such as AV/ITV assistants
or lab consultants) who work during off hours,
- work that involves monitoring our major systems during off hours to
ensure that they are working properly, and
- work involved with the offering of special seminars or workshops that
are needed during off hours.
- Unscheduled emergency off-hours work is work done during off hours to respond
to an emergency situation. This includes:
- work done to correct a major service outage,
- work done to answer a security alarm.
Whenever possible, this work should be approved in advance by ITSS management.
See our policy on major service outages for a definition and list of major
service outages. If a major service outage of rank 1 or 2 occurs and no
manager is available, staff may choose to work on the problem without
- Off-hours work by employee's choice is additional work provided by V-class
employees for which no additional compensation is made. This can include work
of type 1 or 2 above, but it can also include other types of work that is
done off-hours for the convenience of the employee.
Compensation for off-hours service
ITSS will use four types of compensation for off-hours service:
- Flex-time scheduling can be used to provide off-hours support.
See our departmental work rules for more information about flex-time scheduling.
- Overtime pay is available for non V-class employees for time
worked in excess of 40 hours per work week. See our departmental work rules
for more information about overtime. With the exception of security alarms
or major service outages of rank 1 and 2 when no manager is available, overtime
pay must be approved in advance by a manager.
- Premium pay is available to V-class employees for time worked
off-hours that is not adequately compensated by the additional vacation accrued
by V-class employees. We will use premium pay only for scheduled off-hours
work or unscheduled emergency off-hours work. With the exception of security
alarms or major service outages of rank 1 and 2 when no manager is available,
premium pay must be approved in advance by a manager.
- V-class hours are extra hours that we expect V-class employees to work
as a result of their classification. See our departmental work rules for more
information about V-class. By following the University's guidelines and rules,
employees will be allowed to choose an appropriate combination of the above
compensation types for the off-hours services that they perform. Management
must approve the amount of overtime, premium pay, and flextime in advance.
Communicating expectations to customers
ITSS management and staff should work together to convey the following messages
to our customers about off-hours service:
- ITSS is not funded to provide continuous twenty-four-hour, seven-day service.
ITSS makes no guarantees that service will be restored during off-hours.
- Customers are encouraged to report problems to the Help Desk
at 8847 at any time. Regular Help Desk hours are 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through
- During off hours, customers should leave a voice-mail message at the Help
Desk so that staff who do answer an emergency call can check for further information.
- Problems reported to the Help Desk during off hours will be addressed during
the next working day if they are not able to be addressed prior to that.
Procedures for scheduled off-hours work
Scheduled off-hours work must be arranged in advance in consultation with the
appropriate manager. Work that can impact systems or services must address appropriate
backup support. Work done by staff in isolated areas or work that has any possibility
of proving dangerous to staff members must be arranged with appropriate safety
precautions. Compensation for off-hours work must be arranged in advance. Management
will work with staff to schedule time during weekends to monitor the status of
major systems. There are currently no plans for monitoring during weekday evenings.
Monitoring duties will include listening to the Help Desk messages and looking
at several designated logs to ensure that major systems are operational. Procedures
for unscheduled emergency off-hours work ITSS will make a reasonable attempt to
respond to major service outages during off hours. See our departmental policy
on service outages for details about how we classify and respond to service outages.
Alerts about major service outages can come to either management or staff in
a variety of ways:
- staff monitoring during weekends may discover a problem through the monitoring
- lab consultants or AV/ITV student assistants may discover the problem while
- regular or student staff may discover a problem if they happen to be on
campus or if they access campus systems from home.
- customers may phone staff or managers at home or send email to report a
As soon as an ITSS staff member or student employee becomes aware of a major
service outage during off hours, he or she should attempt first to contact a
supervisor or manager:
- lab consultants should contact Jason Davis first, Steve Patterson second,
Linda Deneen third, and either Dan Burrows or Tom Nylen next.
- AV/ITV student assistants should contact Jay Opela first, Tom Nylen second,
Linda Deneen third, and either Dan Burrows or Steve Patterson next.
- regular staff members, including the staff member doing monitoring, should
contact their own manager first, Linda Deneen second, and any other manager
next. If no manager is available, and if the service outage is ranked a 1
or a 2 on the service outage list, the staff member or student employee should
next attempt to contact the staff members listed in the service outage list
for the particular problem. Other problems should be reported to the Help
Desk to be dealt with later.
ITSS managers (or expert staff members when no manager is available) will use
the following process to address the problem:
- do some minimal diagnosis such as listening to Help Desk messages, checking
logs or systems, and checking email, if these things have not already been
done by the person reporting the problem.
- consult the departmental policy on service outages to determine the importance
of the problem.
- decide whether the problem should be addressed immediately or be delayed
until the next working day.
- call an expert staff member assigned to the problem on the service outages
- based on availability and willingness of an expert to work on the problem
and the seriousness of the problem, determine whether any further work is
to be done.
- if further work is to be done, reach agreement with the expert staff member
about compensation method, amount of time to be spent on the problem, and
- send email to the appropriate team so that staff will be informed about
the approach and anticipated action.
- check back with the expert at reasonable intervals to see if the problem
was resolved or if further assistance is needed. Once an expert staff member
has been designated to work on a problem, he or she should use the following
- update the Help Desk voice-mail message and other messages on systems or
servers as appropriate to inform customers and staff members about work in
- fix the problem as quickly as possible, keeping track of time spent.
- send email to the appropriate team about the action taken and results.
- if no manager has yet been contacted, make continued, reasonable attempts
to report the problem, especially if it is not easily resolved.
- do not work problems below a 2 on the service outage list without prior
ITSS management approval, especially if monetary compensation is expected.
- resolve any compensation issues with your manager at the next reasonable
opportunity or the next working day, whichever comes first.