A new policy will limit the number of paid holidays for community college employees to 12 a year.
The policy was approved Friday by the State Board of Community Colleges. It will take effect July 1.
It follows a state audit this year that showed 32 of the state's 58 community colleges gave their employees more paid holidays than other state and university employees, who receive 12 days.
At Central Carolina Community College, for example, employees got 23 paid holidays off, or more than a month away from work. The State Auditor's Office said that the extra days meant the school paid employees $862,424 for days they did not work in 2016.
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At schools that had more than 12 days off, the extra days were usually clustered around Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and July 4. In the Triangle, Durham Technical Community College gave workers 16 paid holidays. Wake Tech and Johnston Community College conformed to the 12-holiday standard.
After the audit, the state board promised it would address the disparity.
"Even though community colleges are managed by local boards of trustees, most employees' salaries are paid with state funds and, as such, community colleges should conform with certain expectations and norms," Scott Shook, state board chair, wrote to State Auditor Beth Wood earlier this year.
Local boards will still have some discretion over when holidays are scheduled, according to the policy.