Managing Executive Editor
Traditionally, Keene State College has a set-in-stone holiday calendar.
However, new contract negotiations are now giving teachers the opportunity to choose which holidays they want to take off, or in other words, floating holiday hours.
The Program Manager for Diversity and Multiculturalism Initiatives/ NEASC Kimberly Schmidl-Gagne said, “It used to be depending on how the holidays fell. Staff would always have to take at least one vacation day, most years two. Part of what we were able to negotiate was that the college has 13 holidays, and the college gets to decide on a few of them. Some of them aren’t flexible, but there are a few that are. So what we negotiated was instead of the college saying, ‘these are the 13 holidays, done,’ that the college would say, ‘here’s 13 holidays, take one of them, work that day, and it can become a floating holiday for you.’”
“The reasoning/rationale behind this new negotiation was that Keene State College is trying to recruit and maintain staff,” Schmidl-Gagne said.
She added if KSC is trying to recruit a diverse group of people and staff members, then the holidays that those people celebrate are reflective in that diversity.
This keeps the option open to staff to celebrate their personal holidays, even if they are not the generalized holidays.
“Although the new staff contract has only negotiated one floating holiday, KSC hopes to change it to two holidays. You get the one floating holiday and then we go back to the negotiation table in about 18 months. We want the college and University System of New Hampshire to take a look at how they’re deciding particularly the flexible holidays and allow more choice,” she said.
Schmidl-Gagne said Jewish and Muslim holidays are two categories that often get overlooked.
She added that having the ability to celebrate those holidays will make strides towards constructive changes.
KSC’s website under Religious Diversity Guidelines states,
“Staff and faculty must contact their supervisors and make reasonable arrangements to cover their responsibilities to students and other tasks at the college. Employees could trade the holiday off for a campus ‘floating’ holiday or take personal vacation time.”
Schmidl-Gagne believes this new adjustment to staff contracts will create building blocks to a stronger, more diverse, foundation.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at