Q: What is a Reduced Workload?
A: A Reduced Work Load (RWL) allows a teacher working toward retirement to work part-time but to receive District contributions to STRS and to the cost of medical and dental benefits that are equal to what the District contributes when a teacher works full time.
Q: Who is eligible to go on a Reduced Workload?
A: State law requires that a teacher eligible for a RWL must be 55 years old and must have been employed full time in a position requiring certification for at least ten (10) years, of which the immediately preceding five years were full-time employment. The BUSD/BFT Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that a teacher eligible for a RWL must have worked full time in BUSD for five years prior to the RWL.
Q: What FTE do I have to work if I am on a RWL?
A: State law requires that a teacher on a RWL work no less than .50 FTE.
Q: How long can I work on a RWL?
A: State law limits the amount of time a teacher can be on a RWL to ten years.
Q: Does the District have to approve my request for a RWL?
A: No, this decision does not require District approval. State law specifies that the request will be granted.
Q: What happens with my benefits when I am on a RWL?
A: Your contribution and the District’s contribution to the cost of medical and dental premiums are calculated as if you are working full time.
Q: What happens with my annual sick leave credit when I am on a RWL?
A: Your sick leave credit is prorated based on your FTE. For example, if you work .60 FTE you will receive a credit of 6.6 sick leave days for that school year (11 days x .60 = 6.6 days).
Q: What if I want to increase my FTE the year after I start on an RWL?
A: BUSD and BFT do not see this issue in the same light. BFT's attorney believes these reduced work loads are year-to-year arrangements that can be changed from one year to the next. BUSD believes that once a teacher is on a RWL they cannot increase their FTE unless the District approves of the increase (which they are very, very reluctant to do). Teachers considering a RWL should know that this issue may not be resolved until there is an arbitration, which can be a lengthy process. BFT advises teachers to be conservative about the reduced FTE in planning an RWL. Section 17.3.7 of the current contract reads: "Any change in the percent of teaching time may be requested by either party but granted only by mutual consent."
Q: How can I get more information about the impact of a RWL on my STRS retirement?
A: BFT encourages you to talk with a STRS counselor. You can talk to a counselor by telephone by calling 800-228-5453 and choosing the “telephone counseling” option, or by making an appointment to meet in person with a STRS counselor. To make an in person appointment call the STRS office in Santa Clara.
Q: What do I do if I want to request a RWL?
A: We advise you to write a hard copy letter to Samantha Tobias-Espinosa, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources requesting a Reduced Workload and specifying the amount of FTE you wish to work. Be sure to keep a copy of your letter for your own records. You should request your reduced workload prior to April 15th.