Empowering a Community of Excellence

October 2020

October, 2020
Staff Fellows Program

University Staff have the unique opportunity to build their capacity as leaders, gain experience to grow their careers, and simultaneously work together on a campus project.

The Staff Fellows Program is for individuals interested in growing their familiarity with campus, engaging University senior leaders, and exploring leadership through mentoring, assigned readings, and project work.

If you are interested in broadening your perspectives of the university and building capacity in leadership, apply to be a 2020-2021 Staff Fellow at https://humanresources.ku.edu/staff-fellows-program.

Tuition Assistance Deadlines

KU provides eligible employees with assistance to cover tuition for one class (up to 5 hours) per semester.  For more information about the program to include eligibility, and courses that qualify, please visit the Human Resource Tuition Assistance for Employees webpage

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

Spring 2021 Semester: Online Tuition Assistance Application was made available on October 1, 2020, and the deadline is November 6, 2020

Summer 2021 Semester: Online Tuition Assistance Application will be made available March 1, 2021, and the deadline is April 2, 2021

Fall 2021 Semester: Online Tuition Assistance Application will be made available June 1, 2021, and the deadline is July 2, 2021

Reminder to Update Personal Information in HR/Pay

All KU employees are invited to self-identify or update previous disclosures in the Personal Information section after logging into HR/Pay. Your participation and information will remain confidential. Neither your supervisor nor your department have access to this confidential information.  As a state university and federal contractor, KU is required to annually report race, ethnicity, disability and veteran data of our workforce and employee searches.


This also is a good time to review your other personal information — such as address and contact information.  Individuals reviewing the KU Directory panel should confirm that their primary work location is their non-COVID-19 designated work location (generally your KU office).  Temporary work assignments can be added as a secondary work location if working out of state (search for states by entering OTH in building code field); no changes are made if you are temporarily working from home.  Updates may be completed by logging into the HR/Pay system and navigating to Self Service – Personal Information.

Nominate Exceptional Staff for Employee of the Month! – Nomination Deadline: December 1, 2020

The next deadline for Employee of the Month nominations is December 1, 2020.  This is a great way to recognize exceptional University staff members and show your appreciation for their contributions.  Winners receive a $750 award, a surprise visit from a member of the Provost’s Office, and they become a candidate for the 2021 Employee of the Year Award.


Nominations need not come from an individual’s manager or 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.

To access the nomination form go to Employee of the Month Webpage there, a paper nomination form can be completed or the online nomination form can be completed. 

Nominate Exceptional Teams for Special Recognition - Nomination Deadline: December 31, 2020

Any group consisting of three or more members is eligible for consideration for the Exceptional Team award. The nomination should be based on a project or assignment that is above and beyond the team’s normal course of duties.  Project participants may also be drawn from a cross section of University departments. This year’s nomination deadline is December 31, 2020, and the winning team will be recognized at the Employee Recognition Ceremony. To nominate a team for Team of the Year please complete the Team of the Year Nomination form

FMLA 101: Who is eligible and what are supervisor responsibilities?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles an eligible employee to take job-protected leave due to the birth or placement of a child, care for a family member with a serious health condition or due to an employee’s own serious health condition (as defined by the FMLA).  The protections provided by the FMLA include:

  • The University will pay its portion of your health care benefits throughout the FMLA approved absences under the same conditions as if you continued to work.
  •  You will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, terms and conditions of employment on your return from leave if you return to work within the 12 weeks eligible to you under the FMLA.
  • Any absences designated as FMLA qualifying cannot be considered as attendance issues for disciplinary action purposes.

The FMLA, on its own is an unpaid leave, but is to be used concurrently with accrued sick or vacation time.


As a supervisor, if you are ever made aware that an employee you supervise has taken at least three consecutive absences due to their own illness or a family member’s, or has taken intermittent absences attributed to what could be a serious health condition, you have an obligation to alert Human Resources, so preliminary communication about FMLA can be shared with the employee. KU’s Human Resource Management will determine an employee’s eligibility based on the requirements set forth in the law.


More specifics here, along with FMLA-related FAQs and video explanation. As always, inquire with hrdept@ku.edu


Workstation Ergonomics

A well-configured workspace is more than just comfort, it can also help protect against injury. If you had ergonomic equipment (e.g., keyboard, wrist rests, etc.) at work that you aren’t using at home, we encourage you to talk with your department about making arrangements to take them home. A remote workspace may also necessitate different ergonomic equipment. Visit the Workstation Ergonomics page or contact hrdept@ku.edu for an ergonomic consultation assessment with a HRM representative.

Performance Management System– Self Evaluation Launch and Due Date

In mid-October all staff who are due an annual evaluation will receive an email from the Performance Management System notifying them that the 2020 Annual Performance Evaluation has been launched and the self-evaluation is available for them to complete.  Completion of the 2020 Annual Performance Evaluation will begin with the employee completing their self-evaluation.  The self-evaluation will be due in early January 2020. 

Training is available by request, please contact hrdept@ku.edu.

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

Unemployment Fraud

Some KU employees, along with thousands across the state of Kansas and more broadly nationwide, have recently been victim to unemployment fraud. Although the incidences are trending upwards, this is not connected to a known data breach at KU, instead, criminals are accessing personal data through the dark web, and are filing unemployment claims on behalf of individuals. If you receive notification from the Kansas Department of Labor, and are still an active employee for KU, please alert hrdept@ku.edu, and an Employee Relations staff member will guide you through the cancellation process. We continue to work with KU Information Technology Security and KU Global Operations & Security regarding these issues of fraudulent unemployment claims and mitigation, and are also in regular contact with KDOL.  A story was recently broadcasted on Kansas Public Radio about unemployment fraud in Kansas. Check it out here: https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article246009760.html

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Many KU employees have needed to take absences for various reasons due to the pandemic. The FFCRA provides two types of paid leave for absences related to COVID-19 through December 31, 2020- Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Emergency Family Medical Leave (EFMLA),. More information is available about these leave options on Human Resource Management’s website. In summary, EPSL is in place if you are dealing with your own or a family member’s COVID-19 health-related issues and EFMLA is in place to deal with childcare/school-closure related absences. Please note, that if your child’s school is offering an in-person-only option and you have chosen the remote or hybrid option, you are not eligible for EFMLA. EFMLA is only available when an in-person-only option is not available.  NOTE: Hybrid learning and remote learning are considered “school closure” under FFCRA. If you have any questions about FFCRA- EPSL or EFMLA eligibility, please review the FAQs online and contact hrdept@ku.edu with further questions.

Open Enrollment 2021 – State Employee Health Plan (SEHP)

Open Enrollment for SEHP Plan Year 2021 runs from October 1 - 31, 2020.   Information about the SEHP is available in the 2021 Enrollment Guide, the 2021 Enrollment Video, and the 2021 Plan Rates and Health Plan Comparison Highlights Chart that has consolidated information about premiums, coverage highlights, and HSA/HRA applicability.


The SEHP Open Enrollment website has on-demand Open Enrollment and vendor videos to provide additional information about the plans and options available.  


Open Enrollment for 2021 is an active enrollment and all eligible employees who want medical plan coverage need to make elections during Open Enrollment in the Membership Administration Portal (MAP), even if you wish to keep the same medical plan and the same insurance companyIf you are enrolled in a medical plan and do not make a medical plan election during Open Enrollment, you will be defaulted into Plan N with an HRA and with the same insurance company for PY 2021.

You are strongly encouraged to enroll early in October in case you need assistance.  You may go into MAP as many times as needed during Open Enrollment to make changes.  The selection saved as of midnight on October 31st will become effective January 1st.

Open Enrollment 2021 – Optional Group Life Insurance

Life insurance provides financial protection for you and your family.   Benefits-eligible employees have basic life insurance coverage equal to 150% of annualized salary.  During Open Enrollment, October 1-31, you can apply for additional optional group life insurance with guaranteed issue amounts for you, your spouse and/or child(ren) without answering health questions.   Approved coverage starts January 1st.   Additional information and enrollment instructions can be found here.  

Watkins Flu Shots – Available by Appointment

As a safety precaution related to the pandemic, Watkins Health Services traditional flu shot clinics will not be offered this fall. Beginning October 5, 2020, flu shots will be available Monday through Friday by appointment only and while supplies last. Faculty, staff and affiliates may schedule a flu shot appointment by calling 785-864-9507.


On the day of your appointment:

  • Wear short sleeves.
  • Bring your completed consent form (available on our website), photo ID and health insurance card.
  • Use main entrance on the south side of Watkins Memorial Health Center (1200 Schwegler Drive) where we are screening all patients for COVID-19 prior to entry.
  • Check in at the Records and Registration desk on the first floor.
  • Don’t forget your mask!


For those enrolled in the State Employee Health Plan, flu shots provided by Watkins Health Services are covered in full as a preventive care benefit. 


For those who do not participate in the State Employee Health Plan, Watkins will file to most insurance companies or you can pay at time of service by cash, check or credit card. Those with Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Supplement plans will need to pay at time of service. The cost of the flu vaccine is $35.


For additional flu shot information from the State Employee Health Plan, click here.

Flu shots are covered 100% by the SEHP for all members and dependents (and you can receive 1 HealthQuest Credit)

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