University Staff Open Enrollment Deadline is Oct. 30; Information Sessions Offered

October 14, 2009 — This year's deadline for University of Virginia employees to switch to the University staff HR plan is Oct. 30.

Eligible classified staff and administrative and professional faculty have the opportunity to consider what the plan has to offer, and change their status before the end of the month. The University staff plans features market-based pay, a focus on employee development, new ways to get pay increases and a flexible leave plan.

University Human Resources is holding three open sessions in Newcomb Hall to give employees an opportunity to view a PowerPoint presentation and ask questions.

The dates and locations are:
• Oct. 16, 9 to 11 a.m., Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room
• Oct. 19, 9 to 11 a.m., Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room
• Oct. 23, 9 to 11 a.m., Newcomb Hall Room 168

The University staff plan is designed so that performance evaluations, compensation and career development work together in a coordinated way to recognize, reward and support employees, said Susan Carkeek, vice president and chief human resources officer.

"These work together to offer an enriched working experience that encourages continuous learning and motivates employees toward excellence," she said.

Under the University staff HR plan, positions fall into one of three categories: operational and administrative (usually nonexempt), managerial and professional, or executive and senior administrative.

Additionally, each position is placed along one of more than 75 U.Va. career paths that have been defined based on skills, experience and education necessary to succeed.

Career development is the foundation of the University staff HR plan. Unlike the classified staff system, University staff employees can be promoted within their jobs without having to apply for a new position. And University staff who do take a new position within the University are not subject to the same pay-increase cap as are classified employees.

The new compensation policies use market-relevant salary ranges and pay practices to reward performance and employee development. University staff are more readily able to influence their pay based on performance and competency. Supervisors have more flexibility to reward employees than in the classified system.

Although the state's current budget and outlook aren't favorable, the Board of Visitors, through powers granted by the state under the higher education restructuring plan, has the authority to provide funding for University staff annual increases, as it does for faculty, and to boost funding for the rewards and recognition program.

Performance bonuses of up to $3,000 may still be available depending on departmental budgets, and may be used to reward University staff for acquiring new skills, for example. Bonuses for classified staff are limited to $2,000, and the acquisition of new skills is not included among the qualifying criteria.

The University staff HR plan includes a new leave plan, with a combined bank of annual, sick and family/personal leave that goes to University staff at the beginning of the year. Other features include faster accrual of days off – with increases every three years, instead of five for classified staff – and a yearly payout of 50 percent of the value of unused leave over the maximum carry-forward limit.

Holidays and other types of leave remain the same for University staff and classified staff.

"The University staff HR plan offers state-of-the-art human resources policies and programs for a vibrant, engaged workforce, while preserving the University's core values," Carkeek said.

More information on the plan, including side-by-side comparisons for all eligible staff, can be found here.