UO to pilot a new paid floating holiday and quiet period

The University of Oregon will pilot two new holiday-related offerings in 2023-24, designed to meet employees’ unique and varied needs for time off, and to address widespread interest in a December period of reduced operations.

As President Karl Scholz announced in an email to campus on Dec. 4, eligible employees will get an extra paid holiday to observe any day of cultural, religious or other personal significance between Dec. 1 and Nov. 30, 2024. This pilot holiday is in addition to the university’s other paid leave offerings, including the Special Day of Leave.

Units are also encouraged to observe a “quiet period” between the Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 holidays, as operations allow. The university will not close, but leaders are encouraged to reduce operations as much as possible and invite employees to use their paid time off. Those who do work during the quiet period should refrain from contacting those who are off so that they can fully disconnect. 

“I’m hopeful that observing a formal quiet period will empower employees to unplug and really recharge,” said Mark Schmelz, vice president and chief human resources officer. “We value our employees not only for their work contributions, but for the unique things they do in their personal lives. The quiet period and floating holiday pilots are a way to help them do those things.”

Although this holiday guidance is intended to reduce stress and increase satisfaction, the university acknowledges that this time of year can bring up challenging emotions. Canopy, the employee assistance program, offers free and confidential counseling services and other resources. Employees may reach them at 1-800-433-2320 or via their website or app.