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University Wellness program deadline

The deadline to earn your Wellness Program points to secure a $300 or $400 reduction of your 2015 medical program rates is August 31.

UPlan members with single coverage or dependent children coverage need to earn the full 300 points to save $300 on their 2015 yearly insurance premium while members claiming a spouse or family coverage need to earn the full 400 points to save $400 on their 2015 premiums. View your current Wellness Points balance by accessing your personal profile on the StayWell Online website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

As part of the University of Minnesota's commitment to providing relevant professional development opportunities, they are again offering University Professional (UP!) Circles, a leadership program started in 2011. This program offers an affordable professional development opportunity for faculty and staff who want to advance their professional goals, hone interpersonal communication and networking skills, and effectively bridge barriers.

UP! Circle participants need to commit to two meetings per month over seven months, from October 2014 to April 2015. The monthly large group sessions will include expert presentations on topics from communication to organizational change, while a monthly small group meeting will focus on advancing targeted goals using a professional circles model. Due to the time commitment, supervisor approval is required to participate.

Apply online by September 12. The participation fee is $50. For questions, send an email to orgeff@umn.edu.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All University P&A staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not they have any outside consulting to report. If you have not yet filed a REPA, please complete it as soon as possible.

You can complete and submit your form through the REPA website. For policy questions or other assistance, please contact Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.


Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

If you are a supervisor, now is the time to remind your staff to complete their self reviews for calendar year 2013 by January 24. Staff should complete their self review online through Ulearn.  A link to ULearn, along with user instructions and recordings from two Q&A webinars can be found on the Human Resources section of the intranet. Extension Human Resources has also compiled a list of commonly asked questions regarding performance evaluations and professional plans of work.  

Please note: the character limit of the text boxes in ULearn was recently increased to 5,000. Characters include punctuation and spaces. Keep in mind you may attach up to three documents in your self review, which could include supporting documentation for what you write in the text boxes.

Supervisors should schedule performance evaluations between mid-January and the end of March. Completed online evaluations (including electronic signatures) are due by March 31.

Direct questions about the 2013 performance evaluation and self review to your supervisor.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

As indicated in the October benefits enrollment guide, the University has made the following changes to its Life Insurance program for 2014:

  • The Basic Life Insurance benefit for full-time employees will increase from 100% to 115% of annual base salary, rounded to the next higher $1,000, to a maximum amount of $200,000.
  • The $5,000 to $25,000 extra Basic Life Insurance benefit available to faculty and P&A employees will be eliminated.
  • The Part-time Basic Life Insurance benefit will be based on an employee's part-time salary versus the full-time equivalent salary.

Most University employees will benefit from these changes. Employees who have a reduction in Basic Life coverage have been notified by email and home mail that they have an option to transfer the difference between their 2013 and 2014 Basic Life Insurance to Additional Life Insurance without providing proof of good health. Employees will pay an age-rated premium for Additional Life insurance, which includes a matching amount of accidental death coverage. Employees who will be transferring their coverage to Additional Life must do so by January 17, 2014 by using the life insurance application found on the University Human Resources website.

For questions, contact Employee Benefits Service at benefits@umn.edu or call 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363.

Leslee Mason
Director, Human Resources

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly Extension staff. For the December 16-29 pay cycle, supervisors must submit timesheets by Friday, December 27.

Turning in timesheets on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

For questions, contact Extension payroll specialists Lucy Lu, (612) 624-3030, or Nancee Easter, (612) 625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Last week, Extension staff received an email with a link to the 2013 performance evaluation.  Staff can also access the evaluation form directly through ULearn. A link to the form, along with instructions on how to use the online system can be found on the Human Resources section of the intranet. Self-reviews must be completed by January 24, 2014.

This year, Extension is using a new online tool to complete evaluations. Although the tool is different, the content of the self-review is the same as it has been in previous years. Two webinar sessions were scheduled to address user questions. The first webinar was held on December 2; the second session has been rescheduled to Friday, January 3, 9-10 a.m.

Following are answers to some commonly asked questions from the December 2 webinar:

  • Managers cannot see the review until the staff member has completed the self-review.
  • Stakeholder or peer input will need to be managed outside the online system this year.
  • We are currently not using the Development Plan function in ULearn.
  • Goals cannot be saved to work on later, but any edits or changes that are made will be submitted to the supervisor for approval. Staff are encouraged to write out their goals/professional plan of work (if applicable) in advance on a Word document, then copy and paste it into the online text box once they are ready to submit.

Listen to the full webinar recording for more Q&A. Please direct additional questions about the performance review to your supervisor.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Next week Extension staff will receive an email with a link to the 2013 performance evaluation form. As indicated in the November 7 issue of enews, Extension will use a new standardized online tool to complete performance evaluations this year. The job performance criteria on which staff will be evaluated will not change; however, the performance evaluation rating is changing to a five-point scale.

Instructions and training on how to use the online system can be found on the HR section of the intranet. For additional assistance, two webinars have been scheduled to address user questions: December 2, 9 a.m., and December 11, 1:30 p.m. Join the webinars through UMConnect.

Staff self-evaluations and draft professional plans of work (applicable to Extension educators, regional directors, 4-H program coordinators and others based on supervisor request) are due to supervisors by January 24, 2014. Supervisors will explain the evaluation process, schedule a meeting to finalize the evaluation and answer staff questions along the way. The deadline for supervisors to complete staff reviews is March 31, 2014.  

Please direct questions to your supervisor.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly Extension staff. Supervisors must submit timesheets by the following dates:

  • Friday, December 13 (for pay cycle: 12/2/2013 - 12/15/2013)
  • Friday, December 27 (for pay cycle: 12/16/2013 - 12/29/2013)

Turning in timesheets on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

If you have any questions about payroll processes and deadlines, please contact Extension payroll specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

The cycle for both the 2013 annual performance evaluation and 2014 professional plan of work (PPOW) will begin in late November. Completed forms are due to your supervisor by January 24. All staff are required to complete an annual performance evaluation (exceptions include county staff, students, temporary or casual staff); the PPOW is completed by Extension educators, regional directors, 4-H program coordinators and others based on supervisor request.

New this year: supervisors and staff will complete the necessary performance evaluation and PPOW forms through a new standardized online system. The job performance criteria on which you will be evaluated and rated will not change; however, the performance evaluation rating is changing to a five-point scale.

When the online system becomes available, staff will automatically receive an email with a link to the correct online form (scheduled for the end of November). Instructions and training on how to use the online system will be available on the intranet in late November. For additional assistance, two webinars have been scheduled: December 2, 9 a.m., and December 11, 1:30 p.m. (webinar recordings will be available).

Specific to civil service staff: civil service staff will now receive an overall performance rating, and will receive a salary increase (if applicable) based on merit rather than across-the-board.

Watch for more information in the next issue of Extension enews.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Extension staff with federal benefits
Detailed information about the upcoming 2014 Federal Benefits Open Season (November 11 through December 9) was sent via email. While you may not be planning to make changes, we strongly encourage you to review your plan's 2014 brochure to learn of any changes in coverage.  Access 2014 plan brochures, directories, compare plans, etc. on the Office of Personnel Management website.

If you wish to enroll in the University dental and/or flexible spending accounts benefits for 2014, you must complete the online form through University benefits enrollment by December 2 (changes are effective January 1).

Extension staff with University benefits
Open enrollment for University benefits is November 1 through December 2. This is the one time each year when you can make changes to your University health plan coverage.

  • Unless you decide to choose a different plan, your medical and dental plans will stay the same for 2014.
  • A new election is required if you want to participate in the flexible spending accounts for 2014.
  • You can add or increase the amount of long-term disability if you are a civil service or union-represented staff employee.

Even if you do not have changes to your plans, it is recommended that you confirm that your provider(s) remain in your network coverage for 2014 because several things have changed, such as life insurance plans, co-pays and new accountable care organizations for the Twin Cities. For more information on coverage and rate changes, please view the open enrollment website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Same-sex domestic partner benefits will be offered again for 2014, phased out in 2015. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Minnesota on August 1, and the University is now offering benefits-eligible employees coverage of their same-sex spouse under the UPlan. Same-sex domestic partner medical, dental, and life insurance coverage will not be offered after Dec. 31, 2014, since coverage for same-sex spouses is now available. For more information, call 4-UOHR (612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363).

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director
(from University Brief, October 30, 2013)

This year, the University is offering two ways for staff to reduce the cost of their UPlan medical program coverage.

1: Wellness Program for 2014 (savings of $300-400 annual premium reduction)
Similarly to 2013, you have the opportunity to earn points toward a premium reduction from October 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014 on your annual medical premiums for 2015. For more information visit the Wellness Plan website.

2: Medical Cost Relief Program for 2014 (savings of $100-500, paid as a medical cost credit)
This grant is prorated and payable over 26 pay periods as a medical cost credit beginning with the first full pay period of 2014. Employees qualify for the program based on their tier of UPlan Medical coverage and their household income from the 2012 federal tax form. The application deadline for the program is December 17, 2013. Applications received after the deadline cannot be processed. Eligibility and acceptance for past medical relief programs do not automatically qualify an employee for this new program. To apply, visit the Medical Cost Relief Program website.

Deb Page
Assistant Human Resources Director

An employee engagement survey was sent to benefits-eligible faculty and staff via email on Monday, October 14. Completion of the survey will help Extension and the University of Minnesota continue to improve our work environment.

Complete the Employee Engagement (E2) Survey by November 1. Results will be shared in early 2014 and will guide action plans developed by campus leaders.

People with multiple appointments will complete one survey based on their experience in their primary appointment. Language is included in the survey to clarify this. Graduate and undergraduate student employees and county employed staff will not be surveyed.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The University's academic staff employee assistance counselor has recently retired.  For employees seeking assistance, contact The Sand Creek Group, the University's employee assistance provider, at 612-625-2820 or 800-632-7643, or eap@umn.edu. This employee assistance program is available to all academic professionals, faculty and staff. Alternatively, employees may seek mental health services from their respective health plan provider. For information about your coverage, visit the Office of Human Resources Medical Benefits website or call 4-UOHR (612-624-8647).

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The 2014 fiscal year compensation plan for faculty, P&A and civil service employees has been released. Salary increases for employee groups are effective June 17, 2013 and will appear on paychecks received on July 10.

Faculty and P&A

The Extension academic salary increase process will be managed by center associate deans and administrative unit directors who will receive tools and instructions to manage the merit salary decision process. This decision process will occur in time for the final budgeting process. Promotions in the Extension academic rank system will be processed separately.

Civil Service

Extension civil service employees are not currently in a merit system, so the increase for this group is distributed across the board (see related "Civil Service Salary Increases" article in this issue of enews).

Bargaining Unit

AFSCME Clerical Unit 6 and AFSCME Technical Unit 7 salary increase information will be available in these respective contracts as soon as contract negotiations are finalized. Each unit typically negotiates a slightly different salary increase agreement.

For more information, visit the 2014 fiscal year compensation plan website, or contact Leslee Mason with questions, 612-624-4205 or lam@umn.edu

David Werner
Chief Operating Officer
and
Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

For July 2013

Assuming the University's compensation pool is approved by the legislature and the Board of Regents, the annual pay increase for Extension Civil Service employees beginning July 2013 will be 2.5% across the board. More complete information is available in the Civil Service Rules and the Compensation Plan.

Beginning July 2014: Merit-based Salary Increases for Civil Service* Positions

In Spring 2014, assuming there are salary increases, the current across-the-board salary increase process for Civil Service employees will change to an annual salary increase based on merit (performance). Examples of Extension Civil Service employees include: 4-H program coordinators, community program specialists, accountant IIs, etc.  

The next performance evaluation cycle--based on performance in the calendar year 2013--will include an overall performance evaluation rating. Each unit head will then distribute salary increase dollars to civil service employees based on merit. Instructions about the civil service performance evaluation process will be available later in the fall. Instructions about the civil service salary increase process will be available next spring.  

For questions, contact your supervisor or Extension Human Resources: Leslee Mason, 612-624-4205, lam@umn.edu; or Deb Page, 612-626-8709, brick007@umn.edu.

*This information does not apply to AFSCME represented positions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Employees with a remaining balance in their 2012 health care and/or dependent daycare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) must send claims for expenses incurred through March 15, 2013 to Employee Benefits (via campus or U.S. mail) by March 31 for payment. Pursuant to IRS regulations, any funds remaining in accounts after March 31 will be forfeited. You can view your account through the Employee Self-Service website. For questions, call Employee Benefits at 612-624-UOHR (612-624-8647) or 800-756-2363.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

AFSCME "Day on the Hill"

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AFSCME's Annual "Day on the Hill" will take place on Tuesday, February 26. This is an event in which AFSCME members visit the legislature in order to advocate for more support, or fewer budget cuts, for the University of Minnesota.

The University supports AFSCME in this effort of emphasizing the University's importance to the state of Minnesota. Therefore, the University has agreed to allow AFSCME Union members to participate in the "Day on the Hill" activities without loss of pay.

Supervisors of AFSCME employees are encouraged to work with their interested AFSCME employees to arrange for maximum participation in this day's events. Participating AFSCME employees shall be allowed time off with pay that is not subtracted from vacation, sick leave or compensatory time balances. The expectation is that employees interested in attending the event contact their supervisors ahead of time so the appropriate staffing arrangement can be made in the department.

For questions contact Extension Human Resources.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All University professional and academic staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not you have any outside consulting to report. If you have not yet filed a REPA, complete it as soon as possible.

You can complete and submit your form through the REPA website. For policy questions or other assistance, please contact Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Ongoing Payroll Deadlines

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Now that the University's official winter holidays have passed, supervisors should resume regular submission deadlines when submitting timesheets for Extension hourly staff.    

Late and inaccurate submission of timesheets may require staff to wait until the next pay cycle to receive pay for the hours worked. In some cases, this also means that staff are taxed at a higher percentage rate. Our goal is to eliminate those situations, so please follow these two rules when submitting timesheets:

  1. The supervisor must review and update the employee's timesheet for accuracy and completeness (be sure to review every field on the timesheet). Ink must be used for all timesheets.
  2. Submit timesheets by the deadline (generally the Monday following the pay cycle). Print out the PDF of the timesheet submission deadlines and add the deadlines to your work calendar as a reminder.
If you have questions about payroll processes and deadlines, or if you have a special circumstance that prohibits you from submitting staff timesheets on time, contact Extension Payroll Specialists Lucy Lu or Nancee Easter.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

All Extension educators, professional program staff members, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2013 professional plan of work to their supervisor by January 4. The plan of work submission templates can be found on the Human Resources section of the Extension intranet. Please contact your supervisor with questions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All Extension educators, professional program staff members, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2013 professional plan of work to their supervisor by January 4. The plan of work submission templates are available on the Extension intranet. Please contact your supervisor with questions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

If you are a supervisor, now is the time to direct your staff members to complete their self evaluations for calendar year 2012. They should return the completed forms to you by January 25 so you can prepare and schedule annual performance evaluations from late January through February. Completing a performance evaluation for each of your staff members is required by University employment contracts and the Board of Regents.

After conducting the performance evaluation, send the completed form to Extension Human Resources by March 31 for the personnel file. Find the correct performance evaluation form and instructions on the Extension intranet. Contact Leslee Mason with additional questions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The University has extended the Medical Premium Relief (MPR) grant program through June 30, 2013. This grant program was established last year to help offset increased medical premiums in 2012.

The deadline for submitting an application for the 2013 MPR program is December 17, 2012. Eligibility and application details are on the Medical Premium Relief web page.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Relations

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly staff. Supervisors must submit timesheets by the following dates:

  • Friday, December 14 (for pay cycle: 12/3 - 12/16, 2012)
  • Friday, December 30 (for pay cycle: 12/17 - 12/30, 2012)

The payroll system has a window for processing each pay cycle. Having timesheets in on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

For questions about payroll processes and deadlines, visit the Human Resources section of the Extension intranet or contact Extension Payroll Specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Relations

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly Extension staff. Supervisors must submit timesheets by the following dates:

  • Friday, November 16 (for pay cycle: 11/5/2012 - 11/18/2012)
  • Friday, December 14 (for pay cycle:  12/3/2012 - 12/16/2012)
  • Friday, December 28 (for pay cycle:  12/17/2012 - 12/30/2012)

The payroll system has a window for processing and corrections each pay cycle. Having timesheets in on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

If you have any questions about payroll processes and deadlines, please contact Extension payroll specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Due to positive feedback from participants, the University's wellness program is back for a second year. The program offers several opportunities to help you feel better, live longer and earn wellness points. The wellness points you earn between October 1, 2012 and August 31, 2013 can be used to reduce (by $300 or $400) the price you pay for UPlan Medical Program coverage in 2014.

Visit the University's Human Resources website to learn more about the program and to view a full list of activities and their assigned wellness point values.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

The 2012 United States general election is scheduled for November 6 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the University of Minnesota encourages students, faculty and staff to vote and participate in the democratic process. See the University's online voter guide to find your polling place and policies regarding voting during work time.  

While all members of the University community are free to express their political opinions and engage in political activities, it is very important that they do so only in their individual capacities and avoid the appearance that they are speaking or acting for the University in political matters. Federal and state laws prohibit the use of University resources to support or oppose a specific candidate, ballot initiative or referendum. View the guidelines for acceptable political and campaign activities for more information.

Minnesota polls are open from early in the morning into the evening to accommodate a variety of work and meeting schedules, and there are no policies currently in place prohibiting meetings or classes on Election Day.

Sarah Greening
Chief of Staff
and
Gwen Gmeinder
Government Relations Associate

Extension staff with federal benefits
Detailed information about the upcoming 2013 Federal Benefits Open Season (November 12 through December 10) will be sent via email. While you may not be planning to make any changes, we strongly encourage you to review your plan's 2013 brochure to learn of any changes in coverage.

If you wish to enroll in the University dental and/or flexible spending accounts benefits for 2013, you must complete the online form through University benefits enrollment by November 30.

Extension staff with University benefits
Open enrollment for University benefits is November 1 through November 30. This is the one time each year when you can make changes to your University health plan coverage.

  • Unless you decide to choose a different plan, your medical and dental plans will stay the same for 2013.
  • A new election is required if you want to participate in the flexible spending accounts for 2013.
  • You can add or increase the amount of long-term disability if you are a civil service or union-represented staff employee.

Even if you do not have changes to your plans, it is recommended that you confirm that your provider(s) remain in your network coverage for 2013. For more information on coverage and rate changes, please view the open enrollment website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Encore Transitions: Preparing for Post-Career Life, the University of Minnesota's pioneering retirement preparation course, will be offered again this fall beginning October 19. This groundbreaking four-day course (October 19, November 2, November 16, November 30) is designed to help employees create pathways through encore transitions and prepare for a successful post-career life by focusing on personal, professional and social satisfaction, as well as timely financial questions. It emphasizes post-career engagement -- whether through continuing work, service, learning or other personally meaningful activities -- as a foundation for vitality, happiness and healthy longevity.

The course is open to both University employees and their non-University spouses and partners. For complete information about Encore Transitions, including the course schedule, a link to the registration form, and comments from Fall 2011 course participants, visit the Encore Transitions website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Get medical care or advice for a variety of non-emergency medical concerns from a Consult A Doctor physician. This convenient option is available to all UPlan members in any of the Medica plan options. Activate your account by calling a care coordinator, or visit the Consult a Doctor website and click on "Activate Account." To learn more about the conditions that can be treated and the five easy ways to connect, refer to Consult a Doctor.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The University policy on cell phone and PDA augmentation will be changing as of July 1, 2012. Extension follows the University policy and therefore will be implementing the changes. Next week, all faculty and staff who currently receive a cell phone or PDA augmentation will receive an email outlining the specific changes. If you receive an augmentation, please watch for that email. Contact David Werner at werne012@umn.edu  with any questions.

David Werner
Chief Operating Officer

Starting on July 1, Professional and Administrative (P&A) staff on the Twin Cities campus, Rochester campus, and non-campus based regional and county offices can take a personal holiday any time during Fiscal Year 2013 between the dates of July 1 and June 30. The timing of the holiday is to be mutually agreed upon by the employee and the responsible administrator/supervisor using the same procedure as for requesting vacation leave. Approval and tracking of this holiday is the responsibility of the local unit and will be entered in the Human Resources Management system by Lisa Brownstein per usual. The personal holiday cannot be banked or used outside the fiscal year period.

Please use the Faculty/P&A Vacation Leave Reporting form to submit for your personal holiday and note it accordingly.

P&A staff associated with the Crookston, Duluth and Morris campuses will continue to follow "floating holidays" as set by administrators each year. Because the entire campus closes on these designated days, you do not need to submit a vacation form.

For more information, visit the University personal holiday website.

Lisa Brownstein
Human Resources

All University federal employees will soon have the opportunity to elect Roth (after-tax) contributions, in addition to, or in lieu of, traditional (pre-tax or tax deferred) Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions.

The pay period of May 7, 2012, is the first cycle in which employees will have the ability to elect Roth TSP contributions from their paychecks. Extension Human Resources will send an email to federal employees on May 7 with detailed information about how to elect Roth TSP contributions, rules on contributions and deferral limits.

Visit the TSP website to watch a video about Roth contributions and to view a comparison of Roth vs. Tradition Contributions. For questions, contact Deb Page at brick007@umn.edu.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

The 2013 fiscal year compensation plan for faculty, P&A and civil service employees has been released. 

Salary increases for employee groups are effective June 18, 2012 and will appear on paychecks received on July 11.

Faculty and P&A
The Extension academic salary increase process will be managed by Extension associate deans and unit heads who will receive tools and instructions to manage the merit salary decision process.  This decision process will occur in time for the final budgeting process.

Any promotions in the Extension academic rank system will be processed separately.

Civil Service
Extension civil service employees are not currently in a merit system, so the increase for this group is distributed across the board.

Bargaining Unit
AFSCME Clerical Unit 6 and AFSCME Technical Unit 7 salary increase information will be available in these respective contracts once they are available online in the near future.  Each unit negotiated a slightly different salary increase agreement.

For more information, visit the 2013 fiscal year compensation plan website, or contact Leslee Mason with questions, 612-624-4205 or lam@umn.edu

David Werner
Chief Operating Officer
and
Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All University professional and academic staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not you have any outside consulting to report.  If you have not yet filed a REPA, complete it as soon as possible.

You can complete and submit your form through the REPA website.  Please review the REPA information page on the Extension intranet to determine exactly where to route the form for review and approval within Extension.  If you route the form to the wrong person it will need to be rerouted, causing a delay in processing.

For policy questions or other assistance, please contact Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Employees with a remaining balance in their health care and/or dependent daycare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for plan year 2011 must send claims for expenses incurred through March 15, 2012 to Employee Benefits (via campus or U.S. mail) by March 31 for payment. Pursuant to IRS regulations, any funds remaining in accounts after March 31, 2012 will be forfeited. To view your account balance, see FSA balance. For more information, call Employee Benefits at 612-624-9090 or 1-800-756-2363, option 3.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director
(from U of M Brief, March 7 issue)

Beginning in January 2012, employees who receive University health care benefits can earn wellness points by participating in the wellness program (not available to staff who receive federal benefits).  Points are accumulated by completing an annual wellness assessment and additional wellness activities.  A total of 300-400 points can be earned in 2012 that can be used in 2013 to reduce the cost of UPlan Medical Program coverage for you and your spouse/same-sex domestic partner.

The deadline to complete the wellness assessment is March 31, 2012.  The deadline to earn additional wellness points is August 31, 2012.  Visit the wellness points bank website for more information about the wellness program and how to earn points.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

AFSCME "Day on the Hill"

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AFSCME's Annual "Day on the Hill" will take place on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.  This is an event where AFSCME members jointly visit the legislature in order to lobby for more money, or fewer budget cuts, for the University of Minnesota.

The University supports AFSCME in this effort of emphasizing the University's importance to the state of Minnesota. Therefore, the University has agreed to allow AFSCME Union members to participate in the "Day on the Hill" activities without loss of pay.

Supervisors of AFSCME employees are encouraged to work with their interested AFSCME employees to arrange for maximum participation in this day's events.  Participating AFSCME employees shall be allowed time off with pay that is not subtracted from vacation, sick leave or compensatory time balances.  The expectation is that employees interested in attending the event contact their supervisors ahead of time so the appropriate staffing arrangement can be made in the department.

For questions contact Extension HR.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Ongoing Payroll Deadlines

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Now that the holidays are over, supervisors should resume regular submission deadlines when submitting timesheets for Extension hourly staff.    

Late and inaccurate submission of timesheets may require staff to wait until the next pay cycle to receive pay for the hours worked. In some cases, this also means that staff are taxed at a higher percentage rate.  Our goal is to eliminate those situations, so please follow these two rules when submitting timesheets:

  1. The supervisor must review and update the employee's timesheet for accuracy and completeness (be sure to review every field on the timesheet).  Ink must be used for all timesheets.
  2. Submit timesheets by the deadline (generally the Monday following the pay cycle). Print out the PDF of the timesheet submission deadlines and add the deadlines to your work calendar as a reminder.

If you have questions about payroll processes and deadlines, or if you have a special circumstance that prohibits you from submitting staff timesheets on time, contact Extension Payroll Specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, luxxx027@umn.edu or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174, nah@umn.edu.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Four candidates have been selected to interview for the position of Associate Dean, Center for Youth Development.  The candidate seminars will be presented on the St. Paul campus, Room 401, Coffey Hall. All Extension staff are invited to attend via UMConnect.

During the seminars, each candidate will be requested to respond to the following:  "The Extension Center for Youth Development plays an important role in youth programming, teaching, research, scholarship and partnership building.  As we move further into the second decade of the 21st century, many youth serving organizations are facing unprecedented funding challenges while at the same time being required to show their effectiveness.  What is your vision for the Extension Center for Youth Development for the next five years given the constraints we are facing?"

Seminar candidates, dates and times:

  • Jill A. Pinkney Pastrana, current department chair and associate professor, Department of Education Studies, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. (Read more: U of WI staff profile)
    Seminar:  Wednesday, January 25, 9:00 a.m.
  • Angela M. Eilers, current vice president of Academic Outcomes, Sophia Learning.  (Read more: online bio)
    Seminar:  Wednesday, January 25, 2:45 p.m.
  • Willie B. Dean, current president/CEO, YMCA, Arlington, Texas.  (Read more: YMCA staff profile)
    Seminar:  Thursday, January 26, 11:15 a.m.
  • Dorothy McCargo Freeman, current state 4-H leader & assistant director, Extension Center for Youth Development.   (Read more: ESP National bio)
    Seminar:  Friday, January 27, 11:15 a.m.

You may provide feedback to the search committee no later than January 27 by requesting a feedback form from Naaz Babvani, babva001@umn.edu, Extension Human Resources. 

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The 2012 Summary of Benefits for both the UPlan Medical Program and UPlan Dental Program are available online. Use them as your reference guides to review a specific coverage or eligibility situation in the University of Minnesota UPlan.

You will receive a letter with this information at your home mailing address in January to let your covered family members know that the Summary of Benefits is available online. A limited number of print copies are available by request.  If you need a paper copy, wait for the request form in the forthcoming letter and return it to University Employee Benefits.

Extension staff covered by federal health and dental benefits can review coverage and eligibility information on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

To help offset increased medical premiums for 2012, the University has established a one-year Medical Premium Relief grant program for qualified employees.  Qualification for the grant program is based on the employee's tier of UPlan medical coverage and total household income from his/her 2010 federal tax form.  The one-time grant ranges from $200 to $450, and will be prorated and payable over 25 pay periods in 2012 as a medical premium credit.

Eligible employees must apply by December 15 to get the full premium credit amount in 2012.  To apply for the grant, visit the 2012 Medical Relief Program webpage.  Employees who apply after December 15, 2011, will start receiving payments as soon as administratively possible, but payments will not be retroactive to the first pay period in 2012.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly staff.  Supervisors must submit timesheets by the following dates:

  • Friday, December 16, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/5/2011 - 12/18/2011)
  • Friday, December 30, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/19/2011 - 1/1/2012)

The payroll system has a window for processing each pay cycle.  Having timesheets in on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

For questions about payroll processes and deadlines, visit the Human Resources section of the Extension intranet or contact Extension Payroll Specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174. 

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

Employee Transitions

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Lisa B. Brownstein, executive office and administrative specialist, is transferring from the Extension Regional Office in St. Cloud to the Extension Human Resources Office on the St. Paul campus effective December 12.   We are pleased that Lisa's strong knowledge of and experience in Extension operations will continue to serve Human Resources and the overall Dean's Office team very well.  

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Due to system deadlines during the holidays, there are early timesheet submission dates for hourly Extension staff.  Supervisors must submit timesheets by the following dates:

  • Friday, November 18, 2011 (for pay cycle: 11/7/2011 - 11/20/2011)
  • Friday, December 16, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/5/2011 - 12/18/2011)
  • Friday, December 30, 2011 (for pay cycle:  12/19/2011 - 1/1/2012)

The payroll system has a window for processing and corrections each pay cycle. Having timesheets in on the posted deadlines is critical to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time.

If you have any questions about payroll processes and deadlines please contact Extension Payroll Specialists Lucy Lu, 612-624-3030, or Nancee Easter, 612-625-3174.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

All Extension educators, professional program staff members, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2011 professional plan of work to their supervisor by January 3. The plan of work submission templates are available on the Extension intranet. Please contact your supervisor with questions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

If you are a supervisor, now is the time to direct your staff members to complete their self evaluations for calendar year 2011. They should return the completed forms to you by January 20 so you can prepare and schedule annual performance evaluations from late January through February. Completing a performance evaluation for each of your staff members is required by University employment contracts.

After conducting the performance evaluation, send the completed form to Extension Human Resources by March 31 for the personnel file. Find the correct performance evaluation form and instructions on the Extension intranet. Contact Leslee Mason with additional questions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

A personal holiday has been added for academic employees on the Twin Cities and Rochester campuses (including all Extension regional offices except Morris and Crookston, where those campus schedules should be followed) to bring their total up to 11 holidays, consistent with other employee groups and other campuses. This personal holiday must be taken between December 23 and January13. If not used during that time period, it is lost. Approval and tracking of this holiday is the responsibility of the local unit.

Extension academic staff members situated in Extension county offices should work with their supervisor and generally follow the county holiday schedule and take no more than 11 holidays. For more information visit the University's Personal Holiday website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

University open benefits enrollment runs through November 30 for Extension staff with University benefits. If you would like to make changes to your University health plan coverage or participate in flexible spending accounts for 2012, you will need to enroll by that date.

As a reminder, the University is implementing significant changes that will impact benefits in 2012, including increasing employee premiums and copays, and selecting Medica as our sole medical plan administrator. If you have a HealthPartners medical plan in 2011, you must choose a Medica plan to have medical coverage in 2012.

For more information and to enroll online, visit the University Open Enrollment website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All Extension faculty and staff are encouraged to go to the University Human Resources Self-Service (HRSS) website to review their personal information and update it if necessary (click on the "Personal Information Update" link). Personal attributes such as home address, phone number, education level, military status, etc., as well as your preferred name and directory suppression, can be entered or changed. Please note that your home address and phone number will appear in the electronic directory and on the web list unless suppressed on the Self-Service website.

Information regarding unit name, campus addresses and office phone numbers, etc., can be viewed on the Self-Service website but cannot be changed by the employee. If this information is incorrect, report it to Extension Human Resources.

Deb Page
Assistant Director, Human Resources

As part of the Celebrate U! employee appreciation event that took place on the Twin Cities campus on August 24, University faculty and staff were offered an insulated lunch bag as an appreciation gift.  Extension Human Resources will be mailing the Celebrate U! gift to all of our off-campus employees who were unable to attend within the next few weeks. Note that Twin Cities-based staff members who were unable to attend the event should review the Celebrate U! website for instructions about the gift.  Our supply is for non-Twin Cities-based staff.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Employee Departures

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Jo Ann E. Hardy, Extension human resources manager, will be retiring on August 10, after nearly 27 years of service to Extension.  Jo Ann was exemplary in assisting administration, payroll management, employee relations, problem solving, advocacy and coaching for employees and supervisors, data management, policy advising, work team management, networking, and building relationships and trust.  She is well-known for her extremely caring personality and for going above and beyond expectations in problem solving with and assisting her clients.  Also a lover of the arts, particularly music, Jo Ann is appreciated for bringing that enjoyment into our work place and conversations.  

Leslee G. Mason
Human Resources Director

After 39 years of service, Karen Lilley, communication specialist, will be retiring on Sept. 1. 

Karen began her career in Extension in 1972 as a graphic designer, producing art for slides, overheads, posters, exhibits, flip charts, and print. She became the art service coordinator in 1977. Other titles included: consulting communicator, computer strategist, information and technology head, print and electronic publishing leader, web coordinator, and business advisor. She has been the Extension website manager since 2006. 

Karen has been involved in the communication side of Extension's information technology development since 1983, including instructional design and documentation for educational software, the national CD-ROM project of educational materials, the start-up of the Gopher site which developed into the Extension website, and several generations of website redesign.

A retirement celebration will be held on Wednesday, August 17, 3 to 6 p.m., Coffey Hall, rooms 120-125, St. Paul campus.  Submit cards and letters to Catherine Dehdashti by August 15. A long-time supporter of The Blue House, an orphanage for girls in Uganda, Karen  prefers donations to The Blue House in lieu of any gifts.

Aimee Viniard-Weideman
Assistant Dean, Communications and Public Relations

Mel Baughman, Extension educator in forestry, retired July 31 after more than 36 years with Extension, the last 29 of those at the University of Minnesota. Mel served three years as program leader in natural resources, four years as program leader in forestry, seven years as assistant dean for undergraduate programs in the former College of Natural Resources, and one year as associate dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. As an Extension educator in forestry, he offered a broad range of expertise to family forest owners, but was known recently for his expertise on income and property tax laws and recreational trail design. Mel held many national posts and received many honors during his career, including the USDA Honor Award and the SAF National Technology Transfer and Extension Award.

A retirement reception for Mel Baughman will be held on September 1 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in 110 Green Hall on the St. Paul campus, with a recognition ceremony at 4:45 p.m. Send letters for a book of remembrances and/or contributions to a gift fund to Janelle Schnadt, Department of Forest Resources, 1530 Cleveland Avenue North, St. Paul, MN 55108, jschnadt@umn.edu.

Greg Cuomo
Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach

Dear Colleagues,

As part of our ongoing effort to ensure that Extension programs achieve a level of quality and professional standards expected of a land grant university, Extension tenure/tenure-track faculty and educators with academic rank participate in promotion processes that recognize their accomplishments in teaching, research and outreach. 

In addition to these promotion processes, Extension will introduce a promotion process for Extension educators who do not have academic rank. This includes local/county educators and youth development educators with regional responsibilities. The promotion process for educators without academic rank will take effect in January, with the annual application beginning in July/August. The policies and procedures on promotion for educators without academic rank are available on the employee website.

Promotion is a professional indicator of personal and organizational success. I am pleased that we will now be offering this to our educators without academic rank. Promotion systems that encourage faculty and educators to actively engage in scholarship and peer review support and enhance the quality of our educational offerings.  I am confident that our promotion systems will continue to increase the credibility of Extension's work within this research university.

I want to thank the ad hoc committee who spent many hours discussing the issues, reviewing and making recommendations, and preparing the final policies and procedures: Brad Carlson, Rebecca Harrington, Nancy Hegland, Barb Liukkonen, Jennifer Skuza, Trisha Sheehan, Betsy Wieland and Nathan Winter. Thanks also to Mike Schmitt, senior associate dean, and Leslee Mason, human resources director, for your work with this committee.

Bev Durgan

Reminder of Winter Closure

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As you know, the University will be closed the week between the Christmas and New Year holidays; regional offices will be closed along with the Twin Cities campus, December 24 to January 2; and county office hours will be determined by the counties.  

Extension civil service and bargaining unit staff:  The winter closure dates include unpaid furlough days.  You will not be paid for those dates (reflected in your January 12 paycheck) and you are expected to be out of the office on those dates.  Any exceptions due to the need to perform essential services during this time must be reviewed and approved by your supervisor and appropriate Extension dean.

Academic staff are encouraged to use their personal holiday, which can be combined with vacation time and/or voluntary furlough days, to take time off during the closure. Academic staff not using their personal holiday, taking vacation time, and/or taking voluntary furlough days are expected to work offsite December 28-30 and supervisors are responsible for documenting work plans or vacation time during the closure.  

More information can be found on the University Winter Closure website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

University open benefits enrollment runs through November 30. If you would like to make changes to your University health plan coverage or participate in flexible spending accounts for 2011, you will need to enroll by that date. For more information and to enroll online, visit the University Open Enrollment website.

A personal holiday has been added for academic employees on the Twin Cities and Rochester campuses (including all Extension regional offices except Morris and Crookston, where those campus schedules should be followed) to bring their total up to 11 holidays, consistent with other employee groups and other campuses. This personal holiday for the aforementioned staff must be taken between December 23, 2010 and January 17, 2011. If not used during that time period, it is lost. Approval and tracking of this holiday is the responsibility of the local unit.

Extension academic staff members situated in Extension county offices should work with their supervisor and generally follow the county holiday schedule and take no more than 11 holidays.  For more information visit the University's Personal Holiday website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Extension staff with federal benefits: You will receive detailed information about the upcoming 2011 Federal Benefits Open Season (November 8-December 13) via email. While you may not be planning to make any changes, we strongly encourage you to review your plan's 2011 brochure to learn of any changes in coverage.

If you wish to enroll in the University dental and/or flexible spending accounts benefits for 2011, you must complete the online form through University benefits enrollment by November 30.

Extension staff with University benefits: Open enrollment for University benefits is November 1-November 30. This is the one time each year when you can make changes to your University health plan coverage.

  • Unless you decide to choose a different plan, your medical and dental plans will stay the same for 2011.
  • A new election is required if you want to participate in the flexible spending accounts for 2011.
  • You can add or increase the amount of long-term disability if you are a civil service or represented staff employee.
  • Provider directories are available for viewing in Extension Human Resources, 260 Coffey Hall.

For more information on coverage and rate changes, please view the Open Enrollment web page.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director
and
Jo Ann Hardy
Human Resources Manager

All Extension educators, other professional program staff members, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2010 professional plan of work to their supervisor by January 3, 2011. The submission templates are available on the employee website. Please contact your supervisor with questions. 

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Over the past few months, questions have been surfacing about the mandatory furlough and office closure that is happening at the University of Minnesota this winter. The University will be closed the week between the Christmas and New Year holidays.  Extension regional offices that are located on coordinate campuses should follow their campus closure dates.  All other Extension regional offices should follow the Twin Cities campus closure dates.  

County offices will not necessarily close during the holiday closure dates; however, regardless of whether the county office is open or closed, the furlough is mandatory for CSBU staff and they should not work during the campus closure dates.

All University civil service and bargaining unit staff (CSBU) are required to take a mandatory, unpaid, three-day (twenty-four hour) furlough during the closure period.  The reduction in pay for these mandatory furlough days will be reflected on the check received January 12, 2011. Supervisors have the latitude to change the actual furlough days if absolutely necessary for program reasons. Payroll documentation is necessary; send completed forms to Leslee Mason, Extension Human Resources.

During the closure, the heating in University campus buildings will be greatly reduced to save on utilities and other costs and there will be minimal or no staff working during these days in most offices. University professional and administrative faculty and staff (P&A) are strongly discouraged from working on campus unless they are required by their supervisor or responsible administrator to report to the worksite or if their research programs require daily attention.  P&A staff should consult with their supervisor or responsible administrator regarding how to continue to fulfill job duties within the context of their appointment during the temporary holiday closure.  Or, they may elect to use vacation days if they intend to use this time for personal reasons. Supervisors are responsible for documenting work plans or vacation time during the closure. 

Extension staff may also elect to take additional, optional voluntary furlough days with supervisory approval.  For more information, read Voluntary Furlough , Extension enews, July 1, 2010.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All Extension faculty and staff are encouraged to go to the University Human Resources Self-Service (HRSS) website to review their personal information and update it if necessary.  The deadline to update your information is September 28.  After that date, University Relations will revise and publish its online directory and web list.   

Personal attributes such as home address, phone number, education level, military status, etc., as well as your preferred name and directory suppression, can be entered or changed.  Please note that your home address and phone number will appear in the electronic directory and on the web list unless suppressed on the Self-Service website.

Information regarding unit name, campus addresses and office phone numbers, etc., can be viewed on the Self-Service website but cannot be changed by the employee.  If this information is incorrect, report it to Extension Human Resources.

Jo Ann Hardy
Human Resources Manager

University of Minnesota Administration and our affiliated unions have reached agreement regarding the mandatory furlough during Fiscal Year 2011 for all University civil service and bargaining unit staff (CSBU).  CSBU employees are required to take a mandatory, unpaid, three-day (twenty-four hour) furlough during the holiday closing period between the Christmas and New Year holidays.  Part-time employees with a designated percentage appointment will be furloughed for three days at their percentage of pay.  Please see the Economy and U website for dates University campuses will be closed over the holidays.  The reduction in pay for these mandatory furlough days will be reflected on the check received January 12, 2011.

CSBU employees required to report to work during the campus closure must take the three mandatory unpaid furlough days on alternative dates. Such staff should complete and submit for approval, a Furlough Request Form (UM1750), indicating the alternate mandatory furlough days they would like to request.  The requests are to be handled in much the same way vacation days are requested and approved. The alternative furlough days must occur during Fiscal Year 2011: June 7, 2010 through June 19, 2011, and must be taken in full day increments.

Visit the Economy and U website for more information regarding mandatory and voluntary furlough or contact the University Office of Human Resources call center at 612-625-2016 with specific questions. Information specific to Extension will also continue to be available and updated on the Extension and the Economy website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Due to the current state and University budget situation, Extension applied for a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) which applies to Extension faculty and staff with federal benefits.  We were recently notified that our VERA request has been approved.

If you are an employee with federal benefits meeting the eligibility requirement for VERA, you will be individually notified via an email packet of information on or around August 13.  The timeline for submitting your intent to retire under this benefit is September 1 through December 23, 2010.  There are limited slots available, and submissions will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

You may request an estimated VERA benefit statement from Kathy Murphy, Extension Human Resources, kam@umn.edu.  After making the request, you will receive an email that will include a list of information you need to provide in order to receive the estimate.

Please note that if you are an employee with federal benefits currently eligible for immediate retirement, or if you will become eligible for immediate retirement during the VERA window, you already have the option to retire at any time.  You do not need to consider VERA and you will not receive the VERA email.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director
and
Kathy Murphy
Federal Benefits Administrator

For those interested in requesting unpaid time off, the University has now posted a voluntary furlough request form and information on the University website.

All furlough days outside of the holiday closure period must be approved by the employee's immediate supervisor and the appropriate Extension associate or assistant dean. 

With supervisory approval, furlough days may be taken at any point during the regular scheduled appointment of the employee during FY11, but employees and their supervisors must assure that there will be no disruption of classes or other time-sensitive programs or functions of the University.

Money saved through this program will remain with central Extension. 

Once approved, the number of furlough days and the dates on which they are to be taken can be changed only through mutual agreement of the employee and the others who signed off on the original request.

Days taken do not need to be taken consecutively; however, they must be taken in full day increments. Furlough days, whether voluntary or mandatory, will not constitute a break in service.

Benefits that are tied to hours of work (such as vacation and sick leave accumulation) and/or those tied to wages (retirement contributions) will be affected by the days off without pay, so employees should be fully aware of the impact of furlough days prior to making a request.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

As a reminder to all Extension staff, information about the University's new compensation plan is continually updated on the Frequently Asked Questions. Please continue to submit your questions and ideas through the website, so we can add additional FAQs as needed.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All University employees will receive the paycheck originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 30, 2010, on Thursday, July 1, 2010.  This is a one-time occurrence. You are receiving this notice so you can make accommodations for this one-day change in the pay date. In particular, if you have set up auto pay to cover any bills, we ask that you plan accordingly and make adjustments with your bank, if needed. For those with Direct Deposit, the funds for that pay period will not be available until Thursday, July 1.

In earlier communications, you learned that in fiscal year 2009-10 (FY10) there are 27 paydays instead of the usual 26. Anticipating that the budget shortfall for FY10 would be more significant than in FY11, the decision was made to move this extra pay date from Wednesday, June 30, 2010 to Thursday, July 1, 2010, thus moving the financial impact from FY10 to FY11.

University Office of Human Resources
Original message sent to all University faculty, staff and student employees on 5/25/2010

All University employees will receive the paycheck originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 30, 2010, on Thursday, July 1, 2010.  This is a one-time occurrence. You are receiving this notice so you can make accommodations for this one-day change in the pay date. In particular, if you have set up auto pay to cover any bills, we ask that you plan accordingly and make adjustments with your bank, if needed. For those with Direct Deposit, the funds for that pay period will not be available until Thursday, July 1.

In earlier communications, you learned that in fiscal year 2009-10 (FY10) there are 27 paydays instead of the usual 26. Anticipating that the budget shortfall for FY10 would be more significant than in FY11, the decision was made to move this extra pay date from Wednesday, June 30, 2010 to Thursday, July 1, 2010, thus moving the financial impact from FY10 to FY11.

University Office of Human Resources
Original message sent to all University faculty, staff and student employees on 5/25/2010

All University professional and academic staff are required to complete a REPA form annually, whether or not you have any outside consulting to report.  On or around February 1, watch for the email from University Human Resources requesting you to file your REPA.  The final deadline for filing this form is March 8.  Please review the REPA information page on the Extension employee website to determine exactly where to route the form for review and approval within Extension.  If you route the form to the wrong person it will need to be rerouted, causing a delay in processing.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

University Human Resources has started to receive REPA filings for the period August 2008 through August 2009 even though the reporting period has been moved to February 2010 (see September 17 "REPA" enews article for more information about this change).  The notice to file a REPA for the period covering September 2008 through December 2009 will be sent out in late January.  No filings should be made at this time unless you have received a specific request from, for example, the Conflict of Interest Program, SPA, IRB or IACUC.  Anyone else who files now will be required to file again in February. 

Note that the filing requirements will not include changes proposed in the Individual Conflicts of Interest Policy draft that is currently under review.  For questions contact the REPA helpline at 612-626-1462 or repamail@umn.edu.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Extension staff and supervisors exploring a flexible work arrangement should review both the Extension and University guidelines.  All flexible work arrangements need to be documented using the University forms.  Completed forms should be submitted to Bobbie Roberts in Extension Human Resources, which will then be routed for appropriate review and approval. Flexible work arrangements for NEAs are documented in a different process that can be found on the HR section of the employee website.

Leslee G. Mason
Human Resources Director

If you are a supervisor, now is the time to direct your staff members to complete their self evaluations for calendar year 2009 and return them to you by January 22 so you can prepare and schedule annual performance evaluations from late January through February.  Completing a performance evaluation for each of your staff members is required by University employment contracts.  After giving the performance evaluation, send the completed form to Extension HR by March 31 for the personnel file. Find the correct performance evaluation form and instructions online. Contact Leslee Mason with additional questions.

Leslee G. Mason
Human Resources Director

All Extension educators, 4-H program directors, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2010 professional plan of work to their supervisor by December 31. The submission templates are available on the employee website. Please contact your supervisor with questions.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

A glitch has been discovered on the University's Employee Self Service website that is causing vacation and sick leave balances to be listed incorrectly on the "Vacation and Sick Leave Balances" link. Until this glitch is fixed, you can view up-to-date vacation and sick leave information on the "Pay Statement" link.  The Office of Human Resources is investigating and working on this issue. 

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

All Extension educators, 4-H program directors, county 4-H program coordinators and regional directors must submit their 2010 professional plan of work to your supervisor by December 31. The submission templates are available on the employee website. Please contact your supervisor with questions.  

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Extension staff with federal benefits: You will receive detailed information about the upcoming 2010 Federal Benefits Open Season (November 9 through December 14) via email. While you may not be planning to make any changes, we strongly encourage you to review your plan's 2010 brochure to learn of any changes in coverage.

Employees with federal benefits may enroll in the University dental and/or flexible spending accounts benefits. A new election is required by November 30 if you want to participate in the flexible spending accounts for 2010. University Benefits Enrollment can be completed online from November 1-30. 

Extension staff with University benefits: Open enrollment for University benefits begins November 1 and continues through November 30. This is the one time each year when you can make changes to your University health plan coverage.

·         Unless you decide to choose a different plan, your medical and dental plans will stay the same for 2010.

·         A new election is required if you want to participate in the flexible spending accounts for 2010.

·         You can add or increase the amount of long-term disability if you are a civil service or represented staff employee.

·         Provider directories are available for viewing in Extension Human Resources, 260 Coffey Hall.

For more information on coverage and rate changes, please view the Open Enrollment web page.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director
and
Jo Ann Hardy
Human Resources Manager

By now you should have received an email from University Vice President of Human Resources, Carol Carrier, regarding a pay date anomaly at the University of Minnesota that will impact all employees. In short, there are 27 paydays instead of the usual 26 in the current fiscal year (FY10). Anticipating that the budget shortfall for FY10 would be more significant than in FY11, a decision was made to move this extra pay date from Wednesday, June 30, 2010 to Thursday, July 1, 2010, thus moving the financial impact from FY10 to FY11. This means that every University employee will receive the paycheck scheduled for June 30, 2010, on July 1, 2010.

For more detailed information about this pay anomaly and how it will affect your paycheck schedule, please read the University's 27th Pay Period Questions and Answers web page
. Additional questions can be sent to the Office of Human Resources at ohr@umn.edu.

Leslee Mason
Human Resource Director

Changes in REPA Filing Season

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Requests to complete REPAs have historically been disseminated in September of each year to coincide with the academic year. This year, the filing season will be changed to a calendar year basis (January-December). As a result, the next REPA reporting period will begin in early 2010. This change coincides with federal income tax reporting, thereby making it easier to calculate the amount of income earned from external activities on a calendar year rather than on an academic year basis.

In February 2010, you will receive more information and instructions on how to file a REPA. The reporting period for this REPA will be longer than usual as it is a transition year. With respect to past business and financial interest, the reporting period will cover the timeframe September 2008 through December 2009. It will also cover known financial and business interests for 2010. For questions, contact Leslee Mason.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

By now you should have received two University-wide emails about the H1N1 influenza virus.   This is a unique situation for the University to manage while ensuring adherence to daily business operations, policies, consistency and safety, etc.  Managers and supervisors are expected to consult with Extension HR before making any decisions relating to this situation, including office closings or changes to tracking employee leaves of absence.  

Also, managers and supervisors should explain to other employees who have been in contact with an employee exhibiting flu symptoms that they may have been exposed and that they should monitor their health closely.  There is no need to identify the ill employee.  The reason for telling faculty and staff about possible exposure is so that those with underlying medical vulnerabilities such as pregnancy or chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma or emphysema can consult their physician.  While supervisors cannot require staff members calling in sick to disclose the nature of their illness in this situation please ask if the symptoms are flu-like.  Remember to follow appropriate FMLA and/or disability policies should the absence for illness become prolonged.

Extension HR will continue to receive instructions from central administration regarding workplace management as this situation develops.  Please contact Extension HR with questions: Leslee Mason, Jo Ann Hardy, or David Werner.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

On July 31 Carol Carrier, University vice president for Human Resources, distributed an electronic message to all University employees explaining major changes to the Regents Scholarship Program.  Economic realities make it necessary for the University to move to a cost-sharing model for this program, although it still remains a significant benefit for staff and faculty. 

Effective fall 2009, employees pursuing a first baccalaureate degree will pay 10 percent of their tuition.  Employees who are non-degree seeking students, those pursuing an additional baccalaureate, or those pursuing a graduate or professional degree will now pay 25 percent of their tuition.  Review the University Policy for these and other important changes to the program, including updated tax implications.  If you plan to apply for the Regents Scholarship, complete the new form and continue to route approved forms to Bobbie Roberts, Extension Human Resources.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Since March 2009 eligible faculty and P&A employees have been able to view vacation balances through the online pay statement on the University's employee self-service website.  If you keep track of your vacation days using a different method, remember that your vacation accrual rate (for fulltime employees) is 6.76 hours per pay period on a biweekly basis, which totals 22 days per year. More information about vacation time can be found on the University's Policy Library website.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Did you contribute any of your time toward a sponsored project during spring semester 2009 (January 5 through June 7)? If you provided effort (paid or cost-shared), you will receive an e-mail notification that will include a link to the Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) page letting you know your effort statement is ready to be certified by electronic signature. Anyone who works on a sponsored project or grant, whether paid by the grant for the work or not, is required to complete this statement. 

Please help us meet this important obligation. Make sure to click all the boxes even if the effort listed was zero for the period. Visit the Extension Finance & Planning website for more information and instructions. The deadline to complete the effort certification is Friday, August 7.

Betsy Leverty
Interim Effort Coordinator

In tough economic times, it is important to have a basic understanding of the University's complex budget process and how it impacts your paycheck.  The University has developed an online video presentation called Dollars and Sense to help all staff and faculty better understand where our money comes from, how our budgets are determined, and what that means on pay day. 

Extension and the University have many other online resources on the Extension and the Economy webpage to help staff and faculty through this economic downturn.  In addition to budget-related Extension messages and information, you will find links to University resources for topics such as personal financial management, professional development and stress management.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The University has revised the procedures for reporting work-related accidents and injuries. The supervisor and the employee each fill out a form, route it to the location listed on the top of the form, and also send a copy to Bobbie Roberts in Extension Human Resources. The University made these changes to expedite the processing of the claim and to comply with state reporting requirements.  When in doubt please report the incident and allow the insurer to determine whether this benefit applies.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Automated vacation tracking for eligible faculty and P&A employees was implemented on March 1, 2009.  Beginning March 25, your vacation balance will be available to view on your online pay statement.  You are expected to immediately report any vacation time taken so the balance showing on your paycheck and the related management report are as accurate as possible. 

Employees who are at or very near the maximum accrual (176 hours) at the end of February would need to use and report vacation used during the March 2-13, 2009 pay period to avoid having no accrual or only partial accrual (e.g., a person with a balance of 174 hours could accrue only 2 more hours of time if no vacation time is taken during this pay period).  If you are at or near the maximum vacation balance you will forfeit some or all vacation accrual if you don't use some vacation this week or next.  You should regularly monitor the vacation balance on your pay statements and use vacation when you are at or very close to the maximum.

Please review the new policy, vacation request/report form, instructions, and the Q&A section  online.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

The procedure for reporting and tracking use of academic vacation and accruals is changing as of January 23, 2009. Supervisors have been asked to submit the vacation balances of their academic employees through February 28, 2009 to Extension Human Resources, attention Bobbie Roberts. By March, academic employees will be able to review accruals (on the online paystub) and balances. Detailed procedures will follow later this month after a form is developed by Central Human Resources.

Leslee Mason
Human Resources Director

Federal Report Time Again

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Extension's Federal Report is one of the most important documents we write in Extension! It is critical to our overall financial success because it serves as the primary piece in our federal accountability report as well as the basis for a multitude of communication pieces that keep our stakeholders up-to-date on Extension's impact in Minnesota. As our federal funding continues to shift from formula funds to competitive grants, the information gathered in the federal report will be even more important for our future.

Joyce Hoelting will be leading Extension's federal report project again this year. Over the next weeks, you may receive requests for information from Joyce or others who are working with her to gather the information from Extension Centers and program teams. Please be sensitive to the upcoming deadlines for program information requests as we will be working over the next few weeks in order to meet the federal deadlines.

Thank you in advance for your program outcomes and for working with Joyce to ensure that we are able to capture that information in our accountability reports.

Mike Schmitt
Senior Associate Dean, Programs and Research