Staff Council PAQ: Previously Asked Questions
Q Would it be possible for the Business Office to remain open during the lunch hour through the summer?
A The Business Office closes the Cashier's Window over the lunch hour when the University observes 4 o'clock hours. When 4 o'clock hours are being observed, the Cashier's window experiences a significant drop in traffic. If a situation arises where a staff member is unable to conduct business during the times the Cashier Window is open, staff members are encouraged to contact the appropriate person within the Business Office to make other arrangements.
Q Has the University explored closing during Spring Break as a cost-saving measure?
A This was considered when the decision was made in 2010 to close the University on the Monday of spring break. Analysis showed that there would be very little, if any, utility savings by closing for spring break (especially when compared to the utility savings we achieve during the winter break closing when the temperature is typically much colder). Any minor utility savings realized by closing spring break week would be more than offset by increased overtime costs for staff that would be required to work during that time (eg: security officers, etc.). The additional day off during spring break was provided in recognition of the sacrifice made by staff in foregoing raises for two years and not as a budget reduction effort.
Q Would it be possible to access work records (i.e. vacation day balance,sick day balance, benefits, etc.) through MyIWU or another online resource?
A Information Technology Services, Business Office and Human Resources Office staff have discussed the possibility of gathering this information through the Banner system. However, there are outstanding issues that need to be resolved before this information could be rolled out (e.g.; security). While this is a future desire of the above stated departments, currently it is not a viable option due to limited resources and other projects that are already in place. Given that much of this information is already on the non-exempt staff paycheck stub, there are no current plans to rearrange project priorities.
Q Why can’t staff use vacation time instead of short-term disability?
A The policy is written so that the short-term disability program starts from the 31st day after the onset of the disability. The same policy applies to faculty as staff. We have looked into a change, however a program of this nature is not feasible due to the differences in the classification of staff as exempt vs. non-exempt, the differences in pay grades and the existence of our short-term disability benefit.
Q Is flexibility of work hours allowed?
A Staff may alter their work hours pending approval from their supervisor and Human Resources. As long as the business needs of the University continue to be met and the employee continues to have a satisfactory work performance, a flexible schedule may be accommodated. The general procedure is as follows:
1. Staff and supervisor work out the proposed change in hours.
2. Supervisor sends the proposed change to HR for approval.
3. After a reasonable period, the schedule change is evaluated. As long as the business needs of the University are fulfilled and the employee continues to have satisfactory work performance, the flexible schedule arrangement may continue.
Q Can we have casual Fridays?
A As there is so much diversity in departments and responsibilities at the university, this is difficult to implement university-wide. If you would like to investigate this possibility in your office please contact HR and they will be happy to work with you, or you may contact your supervisor.
Q Would it be possible for staff members to donate unused sick time into a ‘bank’? Those who need more than the allotted 23 days could use donated time rather than go on disability if there is a major medical issue.
A A number of complications are foreseen with this plan, such as accounting for the different salaries of staff members, so not all donated time would have equal costs for the university. There is also no mechanism to track a system as recommended.
Q Why were The Gates built without handicap accessibility for those students or their visitors with a physical handicap?
A All new campus buildings, including The Gates, are built to ADA compliance, as required by Code. The accessibility requirements do not mandate that all areas must be accessible, but rather that persons with disabilities have full access to comparable facilities. Each building within the Gates has one apartment that is fully accessible including the kitchen, a bathroom, and closet storage. The Gates meets all code requirements.
Q Why is the university spending funds on the room reservation system, R25? Can’t IT create an in-house program to do the same thing?
A R25 is housed off-campus because we do not have enough IT support or the server space to house it here.
Q Can anything be done to eliminate the Sodexo delivery fees (for outside of the Memorial Center) ?
A The Sodexo delivery fee is on a sliding scale and applies to any setup that is outside of the Memorial Center (MC). There is a minimum fee of $15. The fee covers the labor of the staff delivering the order and varies depending on what is ordered and needs to be delivered to the event and retrieved afterwards. There are staffing efficiencies that can be achieved if an event is held in the MC and therefore a delivery fee is not charged for any event in the MC. If offices or department wish to avoid the delivery fee, they can either host the event in the MC or can pick up the food service items and then return them after the event to the MC. Also, if an event is held in the Hansen Center, the delivery fee can be avoided if the food service request can be handled in the Hansen Center.
Q Why is the university required to use Sodexo for catering services rather than seeking service outside the university where prices may be lower?
A The University has a ten-year agreement signed in 2006 during fiscal year with Sodexo with the stipulation that they are the sole provider on campus. In order for departments to have the option of obtaining food from outside Sodexo, the contract agreement would need to be changed. It is typical for universities to sign exclusive contracts with food providers for various reasons, (e.g., food safety).
Q Why do faculty and staff members need a parking sticker on their cars in order to park in the Hansen Student Center lot, but students can park there without a sticker? Why are students allowed to park in the visitor parking spaces in the same lot? Why are staff allowed to park in the 15-minute “circle” lot next to Holmes? Are any of these rules enforced? How?
A The Hansen lot presents unique problems, since the building has a variety of uses including Tommy’s, Hattie’s and the bookstore. Accommodations must be made for faculty, staff, and visitors, who also park at Hansen when attending open houses or other programming events. Unregistered cars are not necessarily student cars, but when they are identified as student cars they will be ticketed.
For long term parking, employees are urged to park in one of the designated lots and keep visitor spaces free for those who need short term parking.
Security normally tows 75-125 cars a year. Security takes all of their duties and responsibilities seriously, and parking is only one of these duties. The size of the university compared to the size of security makes it problematic to address all parking issues every day. Vigilance is attempted but there are instances when there is not enough time to do everything.
Q Due to low raises and increased health insurance costs, would it be possible for employees to have the option of a pay increase or an increase in retirement count (rather than the university contribution to the 403b)? Would IWU consider allowing loans against the pension contributions?
A In order to comply with federal regulations surrounding the University's pension plan, we are required to contribute the same percentages for all of our employees. A loan may be made against an employee’s 403b plan contribution. Generally, you may borrow up to 50% of the balance of your accounts. You may repay the loan through automatic deduction through TIAA-CREF or payroll. Please contact TIAA-CREF at 1-800-842-2776 for more information regarding your loan options.
Q Do you know if we will be receiving the “bonus” check that we received in 2010 and 2011?
A The bonus checks issued in 2010 were in lieu of a salary increase during that year and intended as a one time event to thank all employees for their shared sacrifice the previous two years. Bonus checks in 2011 were issued given the better than budgeted enrollment and to help offset the previous two years of no salary increases. There is no plan for bonus checks at this time.
Q Is it possible for employees to get a printed copy of the university directory?
A The university directory will no longer be printed and distributed since it is now available online. A printable version of this directory is also available. Offices are asked to keep the University's sustainability efforts in mind when determining how many hard copies, if any, they would like. At a minimum, please be sure your copy will print double-sided. If you do print one, you may want to keep it in a three-ring binder so it will last longer. Thank you for helping us reduce paper usage on campus.
Q Why doesn’t the university interview and hire from within when possible and only advertise positions to the public when there are no suitable Wesleyan candidates to fill them?
A The current policy states that the university supports hiring staff from within by:
When recruiting, vacant positions are posted internally for at least five business days so that staff has an opportunity to apply;
Positions that are being filled are posted internally as a communication tool so that staff is aware of the recruitment;
Staff who appear to possibly be a good match for the position will be contacted for an interview; and
When the staff member is the best fit for a position, he/she will be offered the job.