University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Reduce Employment Costs through Employee Salary Savings (RECESS)

Additional RECESS Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty Agreement Forms:

Staff Agreement Forms:

A Program for Non-Represented Faculty and Staff

Aligned with the University’s effort to manage or reduce costs, the RECESS Program was created in 2009. Under this program, employees are encouraged to consider voluntarily reducing their hours of work, for a specified period of time, where possible. The provisions of the RECESS program allow employees to temporarily reduce their work effort to as low as 50%, while still receiving the same University contribution toward medical and dental benefits that they enjoyed prior to such reduction.

Employees interested in this program should fill out the RECESS application, and then meet with their responsible administrators/supervisors to work out the details of their work commitment. Arrangements must be mutually agreeable with the employee and the responsible administrator/supervisor, and a written agreement (see RECESS forms) must be prepared and approved in accordance with each unit’s guidelines. Such agreements must also include the plan for how the work will be accomplished throughout the period of the reduced appointment, as units will not be allowed to hire temporary or other assistance to back fill for employees participating in the RECESS program.

The agreement must include:

  • Begin and end dates. Reductions must begin the first day of a pay period and end on the final day of a pay period. Reductions need not be for the entire fiscal year, but separate request forms will be needed to cover each fiscal year.
  • Level of reduction
  • Work coverage and distribution plan

If an agreement can be worked out, the document should be signed by the employee, the supervisor, the appropriate unit administrator, and then sent to Employee Relations Director Patti Dion in 100 Donhowe (3122A, Campus Delivery Code). Each of these RECESS agreements would expire at the end of the fiscal payroll year, (or at the end of the academic appointment term, if earlier). Employees would return to their original work commitment unless a subsequent agreement is reached to cover the following year. Any one person may have their work effort reduced under the provisions of this program with appropriate approval for no more than a total of 24 months, spread out over any number of years.


  • This program allows employees to maintain a work effort of as low as 50%, but not lower
  • University contribution toward medical and dental coverage (as well as toward basic life insurance) shall continue at the same level as prior to the reduction
  • Vacation and sick leave for Civil Service staff would accrue in accordance with the hours worked
  • Academic employees will continue to be eligible for vacation (prorated to the percent work effort) even if they reduce below 67%. Vacation will be prorated to a 67% accrual when work effort is 50% up to 67%.
  • Retirement earnings would continue to be based on actual pay, regardless of plan
  • Employees covered by MSRS and PERA, and who are in their last five years of employment, should be aware that a reduction under this program will have an effect on their “high five” earnings.
  • Tenure track faculty interested in the RECESS program should consult with the vice provost for faculty and academic affairs regarding the impact such participation may have on their tenure clock.
  • Benefits under the Academic Disability Program are based on actual earnings; therefore, participation in this program could affect disability pay for the period of disability.
  • Failure to gain approval for a reduced appointment pursuant to this program will not be grievable.

Participation in the RECESS program will assist the University and individual departments in meeting their budget goals. The University reserves the right, however, to rescind a RECESS agreement with 30 calendar days notice. A layoff or non-renewal notice could then be given, and the appropriate notice period for the layoff or non-renewal would apply.

Please carefully read the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the RECESS program for more detailed information about how participation in the program may affect your benefits.

For questions related to how the program will affect your individual benefit coverage, call 612-624-UOHR (612-624-8647) or 800-756-2363 to reach the Employee Benefits Service Center.