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.

Policy 1.

Guaranteed 24X7 support – work outside of normal working hours


Categories of Support:

Applies to:


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

Policy 2.

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 their whereabouts.

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.

Policy 3.

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 competition.

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.

Policy 4.

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.

Policy 5.

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:
  1. Scheduled off-hours work is off-hours work that is planned and scheduled ahead of time with the approval of ITSS management. This includes:
    1. work that is scheduled for off hours in order to avoid inconveniencing the majority of our customers, such as upgrades and improvments,
    2. 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,
    3. work that involves monitoring our major systems during off hours to ensure that they are working properly, and
    4. work involved with the offering of special seminars or workshops that are needed during off hours.
  2. Unscheduled emergency off-hours work is work done during off hours to respond to an emergency situation. This includes:
  3. 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:
  1. Flex-time scheduling can be used to provide off-hours support. See our departmental work rules for more information about flex-time scheduling.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

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:

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:

ITSS managers (or expert staff members when no manager is available) will use the following process to address the problem: