The University of Missouri board of trustees unanimously approved a new paid vacation policy for system staff members, which an employee union and faculty members opposed, The Missourian Columbia reported.

Labor Local 955, the union representing service and maintenance workers at two of the system’s campuses and the University of Missouri Hospital, staged two protests against the policy ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

Starting January 2024, university staff will move to a bank of paid time off rather than having separate vacation, personal days and sick days, and they will be paid for compassionate care leave as well as short-term disability. System officials said the changes were aimed at modernizing leave policy, boosting recruitment and retention and saving money.

However, the union said the plan would mean reduced benefits for employees, which would hamper recruitment and retention efforts. Under the new policy, hourly workers would get 31 paid days off a year, including holidays and winter breaks, 10 less than the current system.

“We remain opposed to all wage and benefit cuts,” Andrew Hutchinson, a union representative, said in a press release. “This is a significant loss, not just for our union members, but for 13,000 workers across the state.”

The new plan is the result of years of discussions.

“We took it very seriously,” curator Keith Holloway said. “I wanted employees, staff and the public to know that there is a lot of work and a lot of attention has been paid to these changes.”