August 11, 2011 — Eligible University of Virginia employees will have the option of converting to University staff status during an open enrollment period from Aug. 15 to Sept. 6.
Human Resources will notify about 3,500 classified employees and administrative and professional faculty members who are eligible to change their status. Information about the University Staff HR Plan and how to make the switch also will be posted online and in Benefits@UVa, where employees will log in to enroll.
Interested employees can meet with an HR professional for a one-on-one session to answer specific questions about how the switch would affect them. Contact the HR Service Center at 434-982-0123 or via email at AskHR@virginia.edu to make an appointment.
The University staff plan features merit-based pay, market-based pay ranges, a focus on employee development, and more flexible pay practices and leave plan. The Human Resources website features downloadable pdf files with side-by-side comparisons of the different employee categories.
In June, the Board of Visitors approved funding for selective "strategic salary adjustments" in order to retain the highest-performing University staff and faculty. Employees who switch to the University staff plan during this period will be eligible for these increases, based on performance.
In 2005, the state's Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act gave Virginia's public universities more autonomy and internal control of their administrative operations. The agreement also allowed the creation of a new human resources system that is more responsive to the University's working environment and the needs of its employees, which U.Va. took advantage of in creating the University Staff HR Plan.
All salaried staff – excluding teaching and research faculty – hired after July 1, 2006, are automatically designated University staff. At present, there are 2,221 University staff employees. Those hired before that date have the option of remaining in the state classified system or switching to University staff status during open enrollment periods, which are offered at least every two years.
The University designed the new University staff system in spring 2008 with input from hundreds of employees. Classified staff and administrative and professional faculty were first given the option of enrolling in the university staff program in the fall of 2008, and the new system took effect in January 2009. A second open enrollment period took place in October 2009.