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New summer hours benefit employees, environment

May 20, 2011
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is introducing a new operating schedule that will give employees Fridays off during the summer months.

The Seminary will move to a four-day work week, beginning Friday, May 27, and running through Friday, August 12. During this period, the Seminary’s work week will be defined as Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Essentially, Louisville Seminary will be “closed” on Fridays, with some exceptions for already-scheduled classes in June and events at Laws Lodge, the on-campus Conference Center, which will operate as normal, Monday through Friday.

The alternative schedule is being offered as a way to recognize the dedication and hard work of the Seminary’s employees at a time when economic conditions will not allow direct monetary compensation or cost of living increases for a third year. Employees will be compensated for an entire week (5 days) at their normal pay rate.

“We hope this benefit communicates our sincere appreciation for your efforts and your sacrifice, while also helping us to hold financially steady as we continue to work through the impact of the on-going financial crisis,” said President Michael Jinkins in his announcement to employees.

While the alternative summer plan was developed by Jinkins and the senior administration and affirmed by the Board of Trustees as a benefit for the employees, “in a small way, this program also helps us, as a community, to contribute to the environment as our work force will have one less day of commuting, thus saving gasoline and reducing the related carbon foot print,” said Jinkins.

Already, as campus buildings are being programmed for automatic shut down for the extra day, the Facilities Department is anticipating significant savings in energy costs for the summer months, said Facilities Director Tim Williams.

“While this will certainly reduce our draw on energy resources and help our expenses during our continuing financial recovery since the economic downturn of 2008, we anticipate that this will be most beneficial to the Seminary’s greatest resource, its people,” said Patrick Cecil, Vice President and CFO and member of the senior administration.

Wes Durham, who commutes 31 miles (one way) for his position as the Seminary’s Mail Center Coordinator, said the benefit offers a value that goes well beyond monetary compensation.

“Not only will it relieve some of the financial burden that the sluggish economy and rising gasoline, food, and commodity prices have placed on us all, it will give me added time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the summer months in a more relaxed manner than I’ve ever been able to experience in my entire work life,” said Durham, a Seminary employee since 2000.

One group of employees anticipating the new schedule most includes parents of young children, like Assistant to the Registrar April Stepney, who said she is very appreciative of the “thoughtfulness and foresight in creating an unconventional opportunity to compensate employees during a time when monetary compensation is not possible. It truly is a gift, worth more to me than monetary gain.”

And, Leah Bradley’s perspective hits really close to home.

“Because I work at a school my youngest son sometimes asks, ‘When do you get out for summer, mom?’ When I told my family I'd be home every Friday this summer, I think they were even happier than I was! They've been counting the days, and I'm counting my blessings,” said the Director of Alum and Church Relations.

“You just can't find an employer more family friendly than LPTS.”

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