April 2023 HRM Newsletter
Inside this Edition
Updates & Reminders
Leaves & Wellness
Training & Events
ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility
HRM Welcomes New Staff
Jeff Stolz joined the HRM team in March as Mental Health and Wellbeing Director. Jeff brings more than 10 years of experience working in the mental health field. Most recently he was a Social Worker and Program Coordinator at Van Go, Inc. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Director is a new position, created as a direct result of recommendations from employees participating in the Staff Fellows program. We are excited to have Jeff join our team!
Crystal Dippre joined the Learning and Development Unit in March as our new Organizational Design Analyst. Crystal will be supporting the Organization Development function of the unit with organizational assessments and organization design services. We are excited to have Crystal join the team!
Hourly Non-Exempt Time Reporting
Federal law requires employers to pay non-exempt (hourly) employees for actual hours worked. Supervisors that manage camps or other related activities are advised to ensure that budgetary resources are available to support the hours worked at the hourly rate required. KU is not able to compensate such employees with a flat rate and employees are required to enter hours worked accurately and timely. Discrepancies in reported work hours between an employee and supervisor will be audited by HRM upon receipt.
Academic Year Reserve
Current faculty enrolled in the Academic Year Reserve program will receive their first distribution with the paycheck dated 6/9/2023. If the faculty member is also receiving pay for work performed, the distribution check will be a separate check. The “reserve” check will not have any deductions taken as the required deductions were taken when the pay was earned. Information will be distributed later this spring for next year’s program 2023-2024.
State of Kansas Substantial Interest
Emails will be sent to those required to file the Kansas Substantial Interest form. The filing is due by April 30. This is a reminder that this state requirement is a separate process from the Kansas Board of Regents Research Conflict of Interest. The State of Kansas system is used to file and does not use the KU sign-on. The email contains the details including the link to file.
Employee of the Month Nominations
Thank you to all who took the time to nominate individuals for Employees of the Month, and we encourage others to follow their example and nominate an exceptional staff member by completing the Employee of the Month Nomination Form.
Winners receive a $750 award, a surprise visit from a member of the Provost’s Office, and they become a candidate for the 2023 Employee of the Year Award.
Nominations need not come from an individual’s supervisor; anyone can nominate staff whom they feel go out-of-their way to help others or exceed the normal requirements of their jobs. This program is open to all regular staff with half-time or greater appointment, with a year of service at the time of nomination. Employees of most affiliated corporations are also eligible for this program.
January – March 2023 Winners:
Josh Wheeler, FS Maintenance Services
Blair Whaley, Public Safety Office
Willie Justus, FS Landscaping
JD Warnock, Information Technology
Lori Hasselman, Academic Support
Amanda Contreras, History
Employee Retention Survey Is Open for Participation
One of the most pressing issues facing higher ed today is the retention of our employees. CUPA-HR is conducting a survey of higher ed employees to better understand why they may or may not be thinking of looking for employment opportunities elsewhere. We value our employees, and we would like to have this collective data to help us understand where we need to make progress in our retention efforts.
You can help CUPA-HR in this important research by participating in this survey before April 21.
The survey is intended for all higher ed employees (full-time, part-time, exempt, non-exempt) who are not faculty and who do not intend to retire within the next year. All responses are entirely confidential. Your individual responses will not be provided to KU, and the survey does not ask for your name.
Fiscal Year 2023 Staff Evaluation Dates and Process
Typically this time of year, KU staff members and their supervisors would be working to complete annual staff performance evaluations. This year is different, however, as we are completing the transition from a calendar year to a fiscal year evaluation period to align the staff evaluation and goal-setting period with our Jayhawks Rising strategic plan.
As we finish up the one-time 18-month evaluation period that covers January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, our timeline for the Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS) and University Support Staff (USS) evaluation process is:
- To do immediately — Set or update goals on the FY 23 goal plan in the MyTalent system
- May 15, 2023 — Staff members receive notice that their self-evaluation is ready for them to complete in the system
- June 30, 2023 — Staff self-evaluation due
- August 29, 2023 — Supervisor’s evaluation of staff members due
- August 31, 2023 – Employee acknowledgement due
- September 1, 2023 – Supervisor acknowledgement due
All staff evaluations must be completed by September 1, 2023.
It is getting close to that time of the year where eligible employees may have accrued their 176 vacation hours for the fiscal year (FY) 2023. With our HR/Pay updates this year, employees will be able to see how many hours they have accrued this fiscal year.
At hr.ku.edu select the Time and Absence tile, Absence Balances and select the Vacation Leave Balance. The Earned field reflects the number of vacation hours accumulated as of the last payroll period completed.
A regular full-time employee who worked all fiscal year and has accrued eight hours each payroll period will reach the 176 hours on the 22nd payroll period (8 hours X 22 payroll periods =176 hours). This means on the 23rd payroll period they will stop accumulating vacation until the first period of the new fiscal year. The 23rd payroll period dates 4/16/23-4/29/23 paid 5/12/23. The first payroll period of FY24 is 6/11/23-6/24/23 paid 7/7/23. Accruals are accumulated at the end of the payroll period.
Sick leave accrues every payroll period and does not have a maximum.
Full help document is located at Vacation Accruals.
Sick Leave Policy Revision
The Sick Leave policy has been updated in the policy library.
Faculty and staff’s mental health and wellbeing are top priorities, and there has been confusion about what constitutes sick leave. The edits made were to clarify language regarding the use of sick leave for mental health. If an employee has a mental health condition or requires time away to focus on mental health and wellness, sick leave would likely qualify.
Employees, please review the policy and communicate with your supervisor any requests or needs for sick leave, as detailed in the policy.
Supervisors, leave time is considered to be a major part of an employee’s compensation package at the University. We advise that supervisors be flexible within reason in regard to approving planned and unplanned sick leave, vacation leave, and discretionary days.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
As May approaches so too does the end of the academic year with all its events, final projects, deadlines, and transitions… as well as the added stress that accompanies. Mental Health Awareness Month offers an opportunity to pause and reflect on the state of your mental well-being. Listed below are a few resources that can provide some emergency and longer-term support.
Through the Employment Assistance Program (EAP), benefits-eligible employees, their family members living in the same household or dependent children, have confidential access to 8 free sessions of in-person or telehealth counseling by qualified mental health professionals.
Get free and confidential 24/7 local mental health support by trained counselors:
Local Crises Line – 785-841-2345
You do not need to be in crisis to call this number. Counselors are available to answer questions, chat, and provide whatever level support that you feel comfortable with.
Headquarters also provides free, in-person or telehealth, counseling options.
Get immediate free and confidential 24/7 mental health crises support by trained counselors anywhere in the country:
National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
Text: 988 or Chat Online
If you have questions/comments about these resources or need any assistance finding the support you need, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jeff Stolz, KU Mental Health and Wellbeing Director: firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-864-8003.
WHS & HERO Offerings
Watkins Memorial Health Center is no longer requiring patients to wear masks to enter. Masks will be available at all entrances for any visitor who would like one. If you are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 or other respiratory infection, including sore throat, please wear a mask while in the building. Staff members are happy to wear a mask if a patient or visitor requests it.
Watkins Health Services has expanded our offerings for faculty and staff! WHS is now offering Sports Medicine and has expanded hours for Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy is provided by LMH Health with a referral. You may schedule an appointment by calling 785-505-2725. Sports Medicine is provided by Kansas Sports Medicine, a collaboration between The University of Kansas Health System and LMH Health. Services provided include treatment for sprains, fractures, joint pain, arthritis, sports injuries, and more. Patients are seen by appointment only which can be scheduled by calling 785-312-9127.
Our Faculty & Staff Clinic is available to all employed KU faculty and staff as a convenient source for treating acute problems and illnesses. For more information about what we do and how to make an appointment, visit our Faculty & Staff Clinic page.
The Health Education Resource Office is partnering with Watkins Health Services to offer free HIV testing for KU students, faculty, and staff for the month of April. Testing is performed as a walk-in appointment. You may check in at the Registration Desk on first floor of Watkins Memorial Health Center. Testing will be available Mondays – Fridays from 9am to 4pm. The test is a simple cheek swab with results available in 20 minutes.
Kansas Board of Regents Quarterly “Retirement Readiness” Newsletter
In this second quarter edition of “Retirement Readiness learn how to enhance your fiscal wellness through the National Financial Literacy campaign during the month of April. Feel free to schedule a meeting with a TIAA or Voya representative, by using the QR code included in the newsletter.
Please visit the KBOR retirement company partner sites for additional information about this annual campaign:
All benefits-eligible employees may participate in the Voluntary Plan. The Mandatory Plan is available for eligible faculty and unclassified professional staff.
2023 Financial Planning Awareness & Pre-Retirement Seminars
Thank you to everyone that attended the 2023 Financial Planning Awareness & Pre-Retirement Seminars. The taped seminars will be available on our website by April 15th, 2023, through May 15th, 2023. The videos can be accessed on the HRM webpage.
Designated Beneficiaries for Life Insurance and Retirement Plans
The basic group life insurance and optional group life insurance programs are administered by KPERS for all eligible employees. To update a Beneficiary designation for those life insurance programs, staff with KPERS as their mandatory retirement plan can login to their KPERS account to update beneficiary designations. Faculty and staff with the Kansas Board of Regents 403(b) retirement plan as their mandatory plan, with TIAA or Voya, can update beneficiary designations for life insurance coverage by completing this Designation of Beneficiary for Life Insurance form and emailing it to Benefits@ku.edu
Unconscious Bias Training
The Influence of Unconscious Bias in Decision Making is an updated training available on MyTalent for faculty search committee members. This training is required for anyone serving on a faculty search committee and replaces the previously titled Diversity Foundations for Faculty Searches.
Best Practices in Conducting a Search
This search training provides an overview of equal opportunity principles, university hiring guidelines and best interviewing practices. Attendance is encouraged for those who plan to chair a search committee and anyone else needing a refresher on conducting staff searches. Student hourly hiring practices and these changes will be touched upon at the session as well.
Recreation Services 5K – April 23
Save the date for Movin’ with the Rec – 5K Fun run/walk on Sunday, April 23rd. The race begins at 9:00. The 5K begins and ends near Memorial Stadium and goes through the beautiful KU campus. All proceeds from the 5K will help support the funding of the event and to the Mary Chappell Scholarship fund. For more information visit the KU Recreation webpage.
Employee Recognition Ceremony – May 11th
Mark your calendar for the annual Employee Recognition Ceremony, to be held Thursday, May 11th at 1:30 PM at the Kansas Union Ballroom!
Awards and acknowledgments presented at the ceremony include:
- Recognition of Employee of the Month winners from the past year
- Announcement of two Employees of the Year
- KU Years of Service Awards
- Team of the Year Award
More information, including the list of service award honorees, to come. If you have questions about the event, please contact HRM by email at email@example.com or by phone at 785-864-4946.
KU named Disability Inclusion Leader
KU has been recognized by the Center for Disability Inclusion (“CDI”) as a partner for accessibility and inclusion in the workplace. In fact, KU is the first university ever to hold this distinction.
The CDI began working with KU’s ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility (“ADA RCEA”) last semester. KU becomes an official CDI partner on April 1.
In addition to the ADA RCEA, the CDI partners with leading companies and organizations, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Hallmark, Oracle Cerner, and the USDA. The ADA RCEA is honored to share in this important work to advance accessibility and inclusion on behalf of the KU workforce and community.
State of Kansas Enhances Equity for Business Travelers with a Disability
KU and other state employees are entitled to a per diem reimbursement for meals while on business travel (according to the terms of the state’s employee travel handbook). However, if any meals are provided at no cost to the employee (e.g., if a professional conference registration fee paid by the university includes a free breakfast or lunch), the employee’s reimbursement is reduced accordingly.
Recently, the state added a new provision to the handbook to provide greater equity for employees with a disability if a provided meal does not meet the employee’s dietary restriction as documented by an employment accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA). In this situation, the employee will receive the full per diem reimbursement for an alternative to the provided meal.
Please note that the traveler must have an ADA meal exemption accommodation on file with HRM prior to traveling. To apply for an accommodation, the required forms are available at https://accessibility.ku.edu/employment-accommodations (under the “Application Process” section).
We appreciate the state’s action to provide greater equity. If you have any questions regarding this new provision, feel free to contact the ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility at firstname.lastname@example.org.