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January 2021 Newsletter

January, 2021
Federal COVID Leave Expiration

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on Dec. 31, 2020, and Congress did not extend or reauthorize the Act. While Governor Kelly announced plans to provide additional COVID-related leave to agencies under her jurisdiction, by Kansas statute, Regent institutions are generally not subject to state of Kansas leave regulations, including temporary policies issued by the governor’s office. COVID-19 leave provisions not extended by Congress require approval by the KS Board of Regents in order to be adopted.

KU leadership appreciates your efforts to manage both the personal and work challenges during this pandemic, and we have asked supervisors and unit leaders to be as flexible as possible when you need time away from work. Although FFCRA leave is no longer available, eligible KU employees can use their KU-provided leave. Regular staff may accrue up to 176 hours of vacation leave each fiscal year with a maximum balance of 304 hours. They also earn a discretionary holiday each calendar year. Regular staff and faculty may also receive up to 96.20 hours of sick leave each year with no maximum balance. Based on eligibility, shared leave also may be available to employees with at least 6 months of service who have not been able to build up leave balances due to extended illness or other extenuating circumstances.

Please contact KU Human Resource Management at hrdept@ku.edu for additional information and support.

Inclement Weather

Weather essential and inclement weather compensation are only applicable to positions that are required to work on campus. If you are working under a telework arrangement and inclement weather is designated, you will be required to continue to work remotely.  For more information, please review the Human Resource Management Frequently Asked Questions regarding this topic: Inclement Weather FAQ website

State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) – Plan Year 2021

Please refer to the 2021 SEHP Benefits Booklet for detailed information about plan design, premiums (page 26), and updates. Please refer to the KU Benefits – Health page for additional information.

Paycheck Deductions
SEHP elections made during Open Enrollment became effective January 1, 2021.  We encourage you to review the January 8, 2021, paycheck that will reflect the first deductions taken for premiums and contributions associated with the SEHP elections you made for calendar year 2021. (How to view paycheck guide).

The SEHP allows HealthQuest credits to be earned through 12/31 and those credits will impact the premium discount for the following CY.  If you earned credits to qualify for the HealthQuest premium discount, but those credits were awarded late, they might not be reflected on the first 2021 check.  The SEHP will process adjustments to reflect the correct premiums in future checks.

Click on this worksheet to find the semi-monthly premium rates for both no-discount and the full $20 semi-monthly HealthQuest premium discount. For employees who have spouses covered under the SEHP medical plan, both the employee and the covered spouse must have earned enough credits to qualify for the full $20 semi-monthly discount. If only one earned enough credits, then a $10 semi-monthly discount would have been earned. If you have questions about the HealthQuest premium discount, please contact the SEHP at kdhe.HealthQuest@ks.gov.

If your benefit deductions appear incorrect, please contact the Benefits Office immediately at benefits@ku.edu and be prepared to provide a copy of your Open Enrollment confirmation printout. 

Twelve-month staff will have deductions from 24 checks (the first two checks each month).  When the month has a third paycheck no deduction will be taken.

Prepaid Summer Benefits for Eligible Faculty and Staff

Employees with prepaid summer benefit coverage will prepay summer health insurance, optional group life insurance and/or The Hartford voluntary insurance premiums during the designated spring semester payroll periods. If you will not be returning to KU in the subsequent fall semester, the prepaid summer deductions will be refunded.

Academic year faculty and staff with positions designated as less than twelve-month will have Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and/or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) deductions taken from 18 checks (the first two checks of the months of January through May and September through December).  These deductions will not be taken from any other paychecks received during the year. 

A memo will be sent to academic year faculty and staff in the Spring about the prepaid deduction schedule.

Health Savings Account (Employee & Employer contributions)

The Employer HSA and HRA contributions will be deposited in four quarterly installments for active employees.  The employer contribution will be based on your enrollment on the 1st day of each quarter.  The first HSA employee contribution will be taken from the January 8, 2021, paycheck. 

1st installment

January 8, 2021

2nd installment

April 2, 2021

3rd installment

July 9, 2021

4th installment

October 1, 2021

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
FSAs for calendar year 2021 became effective January 1, 2021.  The first 2021 deduction for health and/or dependent care FSAs will be taken from the January 8, 2021, paycheck. 

  • NueSynergy will send new FSA accounts a debit card if the current card is close to expiration.  Additionally, you can choose other claim submission methods.
  • Eligible claims incurred in 2020 must be filed by April 30, 2021.
  • Health Care FSA and the Limited Purpose Health Care FSA allow up to a maximum of $500 to be rolled over into the next plan year.

For more info, watch the FSA overview video, visit the NueSynergy website or contact 1-855-750-9440 or CustomerService@nuesynergy.com

HealthQuest Rewards – Plan Year 2021

HealthQuest is a wellness rewards program that is part of the SEHP. For more information, visit the HealthQuest webpage.  

2021 HealthQuest Program - From January 1, 2021, employees and spouses enrolled in the medical portion of the SEHP have an opportunity to earn credits by participating in HealthQuest wellness activities. Those who complete a required health assessment questionnaire worth 10 credits and earn the additional 30 credits by December 31, 2021, for a total of 40 credits, will receive the $480 annual discount on the medical plan premium for Plan Year 2022.  If only one of the covered individuals completes the requirements, the premium incentive discount will be $240.

HSA or HRA participants (Plans C, N, J, and Q) can earn additional employer contributions to the employee’s HSA/HRA (up to $500 each per employee and covered spouse).  

Earning Your CreditsThe HealthQuest program is being redesigned for 2021.  It should be available in early January to start earning your credits.  The SEHP will email more information when available. 

Biometric Screening - Biometric screening events are being scheduled statewide and scheduling will begin 01/01/2021 using the HealthQuest portal or by phone at 1-888-275-1205 Option 3 (available 24/7).  Currently appointments for February and March will be viewable for scheduling, and later dates will be available soon

Sixteen biometric screening dates will be available on the Lawrence campus, from February through October 2021. Screenings are from 8 am through 11 am in the Kansas Union Devine 9 room.

Scheduled Dates





















403(b) and 457 Voluntary Retirement Plans

The University of Kansas offers two voluntary retirement savings plans that provide opportunities to make contributions on a before or after-tax basis.  While there are no University contributions made to either, the plans help employees supplement retirement income.

  • KPERS 457 deferred compensation plan (all employees may elect to participate)
  • Kansas Board of Regents 403(b) voluntary retirement plan (for benefits-eligible employees only)

For more information, please see Voluntary Retirement Plans, or email benefits@ku.edu

State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) Benefits related to COVID-19 Extended through 01/31/2021

As part of the state’s comprehensive response to COVID-19, the SEHP has extended the benefits outlined below through 1/31/2021. The SEHP will continue to consider these benefits for extension as the deadline approaches.


All members will receive a copy of the extension notice through the email they have submitted in the Member Administration Portal (MAP) during open enrollment.


Should you have any questions, please contact the SEHP at SEHPBenefits@ks.gov.

  1. The SEHP will cover medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with CDC guidance related to COVID-19 at no cost share to member, where it is not covered as part of the Public Health Service response.
  2. The SEHP will allow early refills on 30 or 90-day prescription medications and/or allow members to use their mail-order benefit.
  3. Given the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, seeking in-person medical care has the potential to further spread the virus. The SEHP partners with Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas to provide Telehealth services with a virtual doctor’s office. There is 24/7/365 access to this service. The member cost share will be waived for any Telehealth service. 
  4. The HealthQuest Health Center, operated by Marathon, is available to members and their dependents enrolled in the SEHP, and is located at 901 S. Kansas Ave., Topeka, KS.
    • SEHP Members do not have to live/work in Topeka to schedule an appointment of COVID test
    • Phone screening is recommended before going to the center: 785-783-4080
    • If a patient visits the clinic, they will need to put on a mask and clean their hands with hand sanitizer. The Health Center staff will evaluate the patient’s symptoms and recommend they isolate if the initial findings and/or symptoms present are a positive indicator for the virus.

COVID-19 testing is currently available for all state employees, and all spouses and dependents over 10 years of age covered by the SEHP at the HealthQuest Health Center.  Curbside testing is available by appointment only. https://my.marathon-health.com/#!/Home/Login

Performance Management System – Self Evaluation Due January 14, 2021

On October 30, 2020, all regular staff members due an annual evaluation received an email from the Performance Management System notifying them that the 2020 Annual Performance Evaluation had been launched and the self-evaluation was available for them to complete.  The self-evaluation is due January 14, 2021.  Once the employee completes their self-evaluation in the 2020 Annual Performance Evaluation, the employee will forward the self-evaluation to their supervisor within the Performance Management System.  The entire evaluation process is to be completed by March 1, 2021.

Human Resource Management has created a video on Best Practices in Employee Self-Evaluation.

Step-by-Step Instructions for the evaluation process as an employee can be found at: Performance Evaluation - Step-by-Step Instructions for the Employee

Step-by-Step Instructions for the evaluation process as a supervisor can be found at: Performance Evaluation - Step-by-Step Instructions for the Supervisor

Additional training for the Performance Management System, to include desk side coaching can be requested by emailing hrdept@ku.edu for more information.

2021 Goal Plan Available – begin setting 2021 goals in the Performance Management System

The 2021 Goal Plan is now available in the Performance Management System.  Staff and supervisors of staff now both have the ability to add goals to the 2021 goal plan.  The 2021 goal plan can be accessed by logging into mytalent.ku.edu

At least one goal must be established during the 2021 calendar year.  A best practice is 3-5 goals.  It is advised that goals are established as early in the 2021 review period as possible.

Step-by-step instructions on how to establish goals as an employee can be found here: Step-by-Step Instructions - Goals - Employee

Step-by-step instruction on how to establish goals as supervisor can be found here: Step-by-Step Instructions - Goals - Supervisor

Additional training for the Performance Management System, to include desk side coaching can be requested by emailing hrdept@ku.edu for more information.

Thank you for supporting the professional development of your staff by engaging actively in the Performance Management system.  

Departing Employees: Exit Survey and Resources for Supervisors

Supervisor Resources

In order to support a smooth transition, supervisors are asked to utilize the University Departure Checklist when they have an employee leaving their office or department. The checklists are designed to ensure employees share relevant information, close out projects and return KU property. A copy of the checklist can be found at http://humanresources.ku.edu/off-boarding, along with additional resources for departing employees.

Special Program Offerings

During the next few months KU Human Resource Management Learning and Development and its partners are offering special professional development programs not frequently offered. Full training details can be found when clicking the registration links. Register through KU’s Talent Development System at mytalent.ku.edu

Behavioral Strategies to Achieve EVEN Broader Success

Instructor: Jeff Chasen, AVP of Integrity & Compliance

Successful engagement is important in almost every aspect of our professional and personal lives – and even more so now, as many of us must engage “remotely” for the foreseeable future. In this two-part interactive session, we will come together for an advanced discussion of the behavioral research that reveals practical and powerful strategies to help you in meaningful and mutual ways.

Monday, March 1 | 9:30 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 2:30 p.m.


Mental Health First Aid (Virtual)

Offered through a partnership between HRM and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

Virtual Mental Health First Aid is a course designed to teach everyone how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use disorder or crisis as well as the skills to be helpful and supportive to someone that is struggling. After signing up for this class, you will receive email linking you to a 2-hour pre-work session to accomplish on your own prior to the live Zoom class at the date and time you have selected. There is a $30.00 materials fee.Contact hrdept@ku.edu with questions.

Thursday, Jan. 21 | 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 2 | 12:30 – 5 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 17 | 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.





Project Leader Certificate Program

The certificate program is an interactive curriculum designed to build capacity of professionals working in the informal role of project manager. This program provides a strong foundation in the processes, tools, and interpersonal aspects of being an effective project manager. All instructor-led sessions will be conducted online from 9 to 11 am and 1 to 3 pm on the following dates: February 23, March 2, March 16, March 23, March 30, and April 6. There is a cost of roughly $170.00 to participate. (Cost varies slightly depending on which book format is chosen.) Contact hrdept@ku.edu with questions. For more in-depth details about the program, visit its website.


Program registration



Surviving and Thriving in Times of Crisis and Other Challenges

Instructor: Jeff Chasen, AVP of Integrity & Compliance

There is no question about it – this is an unprecedented time of crisis and other challenges. This session will share opportunities for us – and for all those about whom we care – to survive and thrive, especially when times are tough.

Friday, March 26 | 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.



January Lunch-N-Learn: Hobbies for Mental & Physical Health

You are invited to a Zoom webinar at noon on Wednesday, January 20, presented by ComPsych trainers with the State of Kansas Employee Assistance Program.  Hobbies of all sorts can help us to be mentally and physically healthier people for ourselves and our loved ones. By choosing to spend time on engaging activities that we truly enjoy, we are more likely to be the best version of ourselves. Too often we end up either just passing the time or prioritizing everyone else’s needs above our own. Registration is required. Participants can earn one HealthQuest credit. Hosted by the KU Faculty/Staff Wellness Committee.

Tuition Assistance Deadlines

KU provides eligible employees with assistance to cover tuition for one class (up to 5 hours) per semester.  To access the Online Tuition Assistance Application and for information about the program, please visit the Human Resource Tuition Assistance for Employees webpage

Applications must be received on time.  Application availability and deadlines are as follows:

  • Summer 2021 Semester:  The application will be made available March 1, 2021, and the deadline is April 2, 2021
  • Fall 2021 Semester:  The application will be made available June 1, 2021, and the deadline is July 2, 2021
  • Spring 2022 Semester:  The application will be made available October 1, 2021, and the deadline is November 5, 2021
Diverse Advertising List

HRM has compiled a list of resources for Local, Regional, and National advertising. The list includes a description of the resource along with the cost to advertise. Review the list on the HRM Advertising page - https://humanresources.ku.edu/advertising

Interview Question Generator

KU Staff and Faculty can now utilize the newly created Interview Question Generator to create a PDF or print out of interview questions based on various categories/core competencies such as Adaptability, Collaboration, Diversity & Inclusion, and Leadership.

Departing Employees: Exit Survey and Resources for Supervisors

Exit Survey

We value the experiences of all KU employees, and in an effort towards workplace excellence, Human Resource Management has created a new exit survey to hear from employees (faculty, staff and students) who are either leaving KU or transferring to another unit. Information will be collected anonymously, is confidential and will be acted upon for University improvement. HRM is working to automate the delivery of the survey to all departing employees in the near future. If you have recently changed positions, know of someone who has recently shifted positions or left the University, or are a supervisor that is currently managing or will possibly manage an employee departure in the future, please refer to http://humanresources.ku.edu/off-boarding.  We appreciate the feedback contributed.

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