Cultural, Religious, & Spiritual Observances

The college’s policy on cultural, religious, and spiritual observances is intended to allow staff more flexibility to take time off in accordance with their cultural and spiritual beliefs and to reaffirm the college’s commitment to a multicultural and inclusive environment.

Discussions about Juneteenth in 2020 and 2021 made clear that the college needed to offer flexibility beyond our college-wide holidays. This policy was created by the Human Resources Policy Strategists and Advisors (Staff Advisory Council at the time) and piloted through the 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years as the Cultural and Religious Observances policy. It became a formal college policy in March 2024.

Who Can Use

Staff in regular or term positions working at least half-time are eligible for paid holidays and can utilize this policy.

When to Use

This policy is circumscribed on the definition of cultural and spiritual observances, where ‘cultural’ applies to the ideas, customs, and social behaviors of an individual or society, and ‘spiritual’ applies to the human spirit and/or faith. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • common religious and spiritual observances not recognized by the college-wide holiday calendar, such as Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, Epiphany/Three Kings Day, Kwanzaa, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur (as a few examples),
  • volunteering in the community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Earth Day,
  • attending events and sessions on Indigenous Peoples’ Day,
  • participating in an identity-affirming event like Pride or a women’s conference.

There is no list of days this policy can be used for because it would be impossible to name and list every important day for every staff member. However, the Chaplains’ Multifaith Religious Calendar does include many recognized cultural and spiritual observances.

This policy is not intended to be used for days when the college is open, but children or dependents are off from local schools unless staff are participating in activities, services, or celebrations in honor of that day.

How to Use

This policy is not restricted to a certain number of days and is different from the floating holiday. However, due to the varying structures, needs, and constraints in different divisions, it is up to the managers and departments to approve a certain number of employees or days on specific holidays

This policy does not currently limit how frequently an employee can use it since that would not align with the spirit of why the policy was created. To utilize this policy, staff members should:

  • identify days that they would like to utilize the policy as far in advance as possible,
  • request their desired days with their manager as far in advance as possible,
  • plan ahead to limit as many disruptions to ongoing projects as possible and communicate with their manager and relevant team members as appropriate,
  • correctly log this time off in PeopleSoft (CSROAD or CRO for administrative and hourly staff, respectively).

Staff should always follow specific departmental protocols for time off requests.

Managers: If requests from multiple staff create challenges for filling essential functions, you should take the matter to your supervisor to see if the issue can be resolved in a way that allows everyone the needed time off.

Please note

Utilization of this policy does not affect accrual of vacation or sick leave. This policy remains subject to change, modification, amendment, or termination at the sole discretion of the college. Abuse of the policy and its flexibility may result in future restrictions.

If staff feel they are experiencing discrimination in relation to this policy and cannot resolve the matter with their supervisor, they should reach out to a member of OIDEI or their HR Business Partner.

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