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Banking Basics

By Billy Gunn, Treasurer



Have you ever dreamed of taking a relaxing sabbatical in the fall semester and then continuing your luxurious sojourn in the spring by unbanking a full 15 LHE? Imagine yourself learning French in Paris and then walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival! No emails, no committees, no program review, no traffic. Ha!


Sadly, in the more-realistic scenario, you pursue an overly ambitious sabbatical project in the fall, and then you need to unbank in the spring to recover from carpal tunnel surgery. Either case requires a little bit of long-term planning and the willingness to sacrifice payment today for time and flexibility tomorrow. In this short article I will provide some basic information about the banking and unbanking process and point you toward some resources to get you started.

 

What is banking?

The section of the District/FA Contract on Overload Banking (D.3.0) clearly states: “In lieu of payment for overload assignments, faculty members may elect to bank those LHE for future use as released time.” Rather than being paid for an overload assignment during the semester in which you do the work, you can save this LHE to reduce your workload in the future. The contract makes it clear that this can be done for both professional and personal reasons.


When can I start?

All tenured faculty are eligible to bank overload, and untenured faculty can begin banking in their third year of the tenure process -- during the two-year contract period.


In which semesters can I bank LHE?

Faculty may bank overload from the fall and spring semesters only. LHE from summer intersession may not be banked.


What are the actual procedures for banking and unbanking?

To get started banking overload or to indicate your intention to unbank in a future semester, you just need to submit the appropriate forms found on the MCC Payroll webpage.


Some additional things to keep in mind:

  • You may unbank any amount of LHE, from 1 to 15, in a given semester.

  • Unbanking a full semester (15 LHE) can only be done every 3 years.

  • You can’t work overload and unbank LHE in the same semester.

  • You can’t bank and unbank in the same semester.

  • You may not accrue more than 21 total LHE.

  • If you hold on to banked LHE for more than 10 years, you will be paid out at the compensation rate from the time you banked the LHE (35 hours per LHE).

 

From my own personal experience, I can share that the ability to unbank LHE has been a helpful tool in balancing my professional and personal obligations. For example, I was able to use banked LHE to extend my parental leave when my son was born. Last year, I used banked LHE to give me some extra time to complete a kitchen remodel, and this year, I am unbanking a small amount so that I can help coach my son’s baseball team. Maybe someday I’ll unbank a full semester and finally make it to Cannes, but for now, unbanking is allowing me to find some much needed balance.

 

For more in-depth information and education regarding banking and unbanking, I recommend you attend one of Scott Fallstrom’s workshops during Flex Week, or see his FA Newsletter article from December 2019.

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