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October 2021 Newsletter

October, 2021
Expanded Parental Leave Policy

In July, Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order authorizing an expansion of paid parental leave for state employees. At its September meeting, the Kansas Board of Regents approved a similar expanded paid parental leave policy for state higher ed institutions.

The University of Kansas and the State of Kansas recognize the importance of parental bonding and nurturing following the birth or adoption of a child. The previous KBOR and KU policy provided faculty and staff members up to six weeks of paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. The expanded policy, effective for qualifying events on or after Sept. 19, provides up to eight weeks of paid parental leave for qualifying faculty and staff.

Details can be found in the Policy Library, but key changes with the expanded policy include:

  • If both parents work for KU or the State of Kansas, the primary caregiver will receive up to eight weeks of paid leave (previously six) and the secondary caregiver will receive up to four weeks of paid leave (previously three).
  • Placement of a child through foster care is now eligible for paid parental leave.
  • Employees can request paid parental leave due to related Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) qualifying events up to 30 days in advance of the birth/placement.

The Human Resource Management website offers information about requesting parental leave as well as an FAQ page.

Paid parental leave has health benefits for children, and work benefits for parents and their employers. We share the belief stated in the executive order that the expansion of the paid parental leave policy will help us retain and recruit faculty and staff, while also leading to stronger families and communities. As part of this commitment, the university has a family friendly working group focused on supporting better work-life integration.

Nominate Exceptional Staff for Employee of the Month!

Thank you to all who took the time to nominate individuals for Employees of the Month this year, 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 2022 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.

July 2021- Current Winners:

Dana Goble, July
Louis Antoine Sr., July
Kevin Fullerton, August
Carla Swoyer, August
Katie Varner, September
Kim O’Bryon, September

Validating and updating your Personal Details in HR/Pay

All KU employees are invited to self-identify or update previous disclosures in the Personal Details Tile after logging into HR/Pay. Your participation and information will remain confidential. 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 your primary address, phone number, and emergency contact information making updates as needed.  In addition, please take a moment to review the KU Directory tile to confirm that your primary work location accurately reflects your designated work location (generally your KU office for on-campus and hybrid locations) or if remote, the state and county (if in Kansas).  If a change needs to be made to your designated work location, please review the Remote Work policy for guidance and instruction.

Aspiring Leaders

Applications for the 2022 Aspiring Leaders Program are now being accepted. Over the course of eight in-person sessions, participants will clarify their strengths, develop their ability to manage self, and engage in the practice of leadership through reflective and intentional pursuit. This program is open to all KU staff members who:

  • have at least one year of employment at KU
  • do not currently have a formal title of leadership
  • are recommended by their supervisor and have permission to use work time for program activities and assignments
  • commit to attend all sessions and complete all assigned activities
  • demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to their work and aspire to build their capacity as a leader

Please visit Aspiring Leaders Program webpage to view the course dates and to access the application form. (Note: there is a materials fee of $150 to participate in the program.)

Project Leader Certificate Program

Enrollment is now open for the fall offering of the Project Leader Certificate Program. This program prepares unofficial project managers to lead themselves and others. Participants should bring a project to work on throughout the program, preferably an initiative relevant to their work, e.g., planning an event; implementing a new software solution; or improving a process. Participants are required to complete assigned readings and to attend six class days with two synchronous online sessions per day. Each session highlights a project management topic and includes experiential learning with practical strategies to apply to your own project. Please visit the Project Leader Certificate Program webpage to view the course dates and to enroll via MyTalent. (Note: there is a materials fee of $170 to participate in the program.)

Time and Absence

Late or inaccurate paychecks have a negative impact on our employees and overall workforce. Delayed reporting and approval of time and absence incurs additional cost, increases staff workloads, and may cause funding issues. We want to remind employees and supervisors of their responsibilities.

Accountability and Audit

  • There should be rare circumstances in which Time (hours worked), or Absences (leave taken) are not entered by the employee.
    • For employees reporting clock times, if changes or corrections are required, the employee is responsible for notifying their supervisor or designated contact immediately in email with the correction. 
    • For those making the employee requested change:  The employee’s email should be copied into the HR/Pay system (call outs/comments) as documentation.
  • The operator/user ID and time stamps are stored in HR/Pay when data is saved to meet the needs of various agreements and audits (including local, state, and federal).
  • It is both the employee’s and supervisor’s responsibility to be sure all hours worked, and absences taken are reported timely and accurately and have adhered to the deadlines.  It is the supervisor’s responsibility to approve by the deadline.


  • Hourly employees must report time worked by the end of each work week or clock in and out accurately.
    • All time worked is required to be reported in the HR/Pay system (no exceptions).
    • Employees are not to submit work hours in advance.  When signing into HR/Pay and submitting data you are agreeing it is actual.
  • Report Absences taken by the end of each work week.
    • HR/Pay now allows employees or supervisors to submit an absence cancel for an approved absence, which then allows the absence to be edited.
  • Time and absences submitted after the deadline do not qualify for KUEA loans when pay is delayed.

Supervisors (Managers-Approvers)

  • Review and approve accurate Time and Absences by the deadline.
    • If an employee is not reporting accurate Time or Absences by the end of the work week, the supervisor is to address promptly with the employee.
  • Delegate in advance if unable to approve by the deadline.
    • Delegation does not remove the responsibility of the supervisor for monitoring time and absences.
    • The upgraded system allows both the Supervisor and Delegate the ability to approve.

Time Reviewer (Shared Service Center/Departmental Staff)

  • Provide guidance to employees on reporting Time and Absences.
  • Provide guidance to the supervisor for monitoring unapproved or exception time.
  • Aid the supervisor for time corrections if requested.


Resource Materials for Recent Upgrade

If you have any questions, please contact the HR/Pay System Team at hrpay@ku.edu or 785-864-0600.

Verification of Employment

Buying a house or a car? The University of Kansas uses The Work Number® (TALX Corporation) to provide automated employment and income verifications for our employees. 

The Work Number is an automated service that provides you with the ability to quickly provide proof of your employment or income. You benefit from having control of the process, since you authorize access to your salary information. The Work Number provides verification services for over 50 million employees. It is widely and easily used by mortgage lenders, banks, apartment complexes and other verifiers who may need proof of employment or income.  The Work Number should be used when you need employment or salary verification when buying or renting a home, purchasing, or leasing a car or applying for any type of loan or credit. 

Please contact Human Resource Management at hrdept@ku.edu, call 785-864-4946 or visit the Employment and Salary Verification webpage for more information.

Tuition Assistance - Accepting Spring 2022 Applications

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

Spring 2022 Semester:  The application will be made available October 1, 2021, and the deadline is November 5, 2021

Please contact hrdept@ku.edu or call 785-864-4946 with any questions about the program or to schedule a program presentation for your department.

Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund

Emergencies can happen to any of us, and most often they occur when least expected.  Substantial loss of housing, food or clothing due to fire, flood or personal hardship can have devastating effects on an individual or family. The Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund (“The Fund”) exists to provide emergency assistance for KU staff members (unclassified professional staff and university support staff) who are struggling due to a natural or personal disaster that has caused financial hardship. Staff needing assistance may apply for funds online after reviewing The Fund Guidelines.  Please note that documentation of the emergency and the specific amount of the financial hardship caused by the emergency, along with the applicant’s household income, must be uploaded and submitted with the application. 

Be a HERO by donating to the Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund (“The Fund”) on the KU Endowment website, by check, or by contacting your SSC HR rep to donate pre-tax deduction via payroll deduction.  Donations made to the Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund are considered charitable contributions that are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. 

"The Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund is an easy way to make a meaningful difference to friends and colleagues when they need it most." – Mike Rounds, Vice Provost for Operations.

More information on the Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund (“The Fund”) can be found in The Fund Guidelines and on the HR website and in the policy library.

Charitable Contributions

KU employees have the opportunity to make charitable contributions through payroll deductions to support the United Way and the KU Endowment.  For more information, please visit this website.

Open Enrollment 2022 – State Employee Health Plan (SEHP)

Open Enrollment for SEHP Plan Year 2022 runs from October 1 - 31, 2021.   Information about the SEHP is available in the 2022 Enrollment Guide, the 2022 Enrollment Video, and the 2022 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 2022 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 2022.

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.

*** Updated 10/22/21*** Please remember you have multiple plan options, including different vendors, and that you can change your calendar year 2022 enrollment selections in MAP as many times as desired during the Open Enrollment period. For that reason, I encourage you to submit your selections today and then go back and make changes, if desired, before the new deadline of Friday, November 5. You may go into MAP as many times as needed during Open Enrollment to make elections. The selection saved as of midnight November 5 will become effective January 1, 2022.

Open Enrollment 2022 – 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.  

KU TEA Life Insurance

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program offers someone to talk to, and resources to consult, whenever and wherever you need them.  The EAP provides a wide array of health and well-being resources, as well as emotional support and help with issues related to work-life balance, legal, financial or physical health, or any other topic.  For more information, visit the EAP website.  EAP counselors are available 24/7 at 1-888-275-1205 (option 1) to provide immediate care and assistance.  You can also download their app (search GuidanceResources on the Apple Store or Google Play).  Register an account with Web ID:  SOKEAP. 

Pfizer Booster Shots & Free HIV Testing at Watkins Health Services

Pfizer Booster Shots

Members of the KU community who completed their initial Pfizer series by receiving their second dose at least six months ago and who meet the CDC qualifications for booster shots can receive a booster shot at Watkins Health Services. Faculty and staff may call the Immediate Care Clinic at 785-864-9565 to schedule an appointment.

Free HIV Testing

The Health Education Resource Office is sponsoring free HIV testing events during the fall semester for KU students, faculty and staff. Testing is done by a simple cheek swab. No blood or needles! Results are available in 20 minutes. Simply check in at the HIV Testing Table at any of these events to be led to a private testing area:

  • Wednesday, October 6, 11 am – 1:45 pm – Kansas Union, Ascher Plaza
  • Wednesday, November 3, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm – Anschutz Library, 3 North
  • Wednesday, December 1, 11 am – 12:45 pm – Kansas Union, 4th Floor

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