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November 22, 2016

Dear colleagues,

As America approaches the long Thanksgiving respite, we wish to express again how deeply we appreciate the hard work and dedication to excellence by each and every one of you during the challenges the U of I System has faced in the last several years.  

In recognition of your service, we have decided to provide leave benefit eligible employees with three additional paid gift days this year during our Reduced Service Days (December 28-30). For employees in union-represented bargaining units, the plan will be discussed through the required collective bargaining process.

Many university departments are closed from December 23, 2016, through January 2, 2017, and most employees do not work during this time. The practice of granting compensated gift days during this time period is prevalent at other Illinois public universities and on Big Ten campuses. 

A formal announcement from each university, hospital and clinics, and system human resource offices with details of the plan will be forthcoming, including how to report the gift days to be paid and the process for essential employees who must work on the reduced service days. This plan is a significant change from the communiques that went out earlier this month about the 2016 Reduced Service Schedule, so it is IMPORTANT to watch for the HR update from your university’s and the system HR office. The initiative is a pilot program this year, and the practice will be reviewed after the holidays.

Faculty and staff are the core of what keeps the University of Illinois System–our three universities and hospital and clinics–great and enables us to fulfill our multitude of missions for the state of Illinois, our nation and the world.

Again, we wish you a very pleasant holiday and thank you for your service. Please enjoy your time off.


Tim Killeen, President, University of Illinois System
Barb Wilson, Executive Vice President, University of Illinois System
Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Robert Jones, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Susan Koch, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Springfield