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HR update July, 22, 2020

To keep communication as clear as possible, and archive it for later use, the Office of Human Resources will be sending out updates using this format.

If you have information that you would like to disseminate to all employees, please send that to brittnidegreve@augustana.edu and we will coordinate adding the information to a future HR update.

For now, we would ask that you limit any mass communications to avoid confusion.

Commencement news

President Bahls notified the Class of 2020 and their parents yesterday that the college has decided to postpone commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020. In the spring, we had the ceremony scheduled for Oct. 11, 2020.

While we had hoped that the state of the pandemic would allow for large-scale gatherings this October, it is highly likely that the State of Illinois prohibition on gatherings of more than 50 people in any one place will still be in effect.

We have made the decision to host commencement for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on the same day – Sunday, May 23, 2021. 

Although we were able to honor our graduates in a virtual ceremony on May 23, we look forward to providing them with the festive, traditional celebration they deserve. 

Changes to Time Off Benefits

As shared earlier, the college is changing time off benefits, effective September 1, 2020, as part of an overall cost savings initiative approved by the Board of Trustees and the Cabinet. 

We anticipate the changes described below will result in $200,000 of savings each year while maintaining ample time off for employees to get away from work, as well as take care of family, personal sickness or emergencies. By making these changes, it is hoped all will share in a bit of sacrifice to avoid deeper cuts elsewhere. 

There are many details yet to work out, and additional communication will be forthcoming between now and September 1, the effective date. In addition, we hope this Paid Time Off FAQ will provide insight into what is ahead.  

Finally, the Office of Human Resources will hold virtual meetings with departments and other groups to dive deeper and answer questions. Please watch for meeting invitations and join as your schedule allows.

Paid Time Off Bank

All employees who currently earn both vacation and sick time will transition to paid time off (PTO). This will effectively combine sick and vacation time into one accrual that is available for both discretionary time off and time off for family or personal sickness or emergencies. 

Employees will accrue PTO throughout the year. There will be no rollover of PTO, and each employee’s PTO bank will reset to zero on July 1 of each year. Unused time will be forfeited on June 30, 2021, and every following year on June 30. 

Many employees may choose to “borrow” time as necessary or carefully monitor usage to avoid losing time that has been accrued.

Employees will be able to “borrow” time from future accruals up to 40 hours on a routine basis and larger amounts with additional approvals. Accruals will happen each pay period following a similar schedule as our current vacation policy.

  • 0-5 years of employment: full time accrual of 153 hours (19 days per year)
  • 6-10 year of employment: full time accrual 194 hours (24 days per year)
  • 11 or more years of employment: full time accrual 233 hours (29 days per year)

Given the varied concerns and life events for employees, the paid time off concept will provide greater flexibility in using time for whatever purpose is needed. This time can also be used for the waiting period or to supplement partial pay for short-term disability benefit described below.

Vacation Time

Employees’ current vacation accruals will end on August 31, 2020. Vacation balances as of that date will remain in each employee’s vacation bank, but no new “vacation” hours will be added because those will now be included in paid time off hours. 

Vacation hours previously earned are available to be used in addition to paid time off (that begins accruing on September 1, 2020) through June 30, 2021. In the next two years, the amount of prior earned vacation hours that can be carried over will be reduced. By July 1, 2023, any remaining vacation balances will be forfeited. A schedule for these carry over reductions will be shared in the near future.

Life Event Pay

Life Event Pay replaces and enhances our former parental leave policy. This pay is available for approved leaves that would otherwise be unpaid. This pay will be available for qualified medical events for employees and family members as defined in the Family Medical Leave Act. Employees must have one year of service to qualify for this paid leave.

  • 10 days of Life Event Pay for those employees who earn PTO
  • 20 days of Life Event Pay for those employees who do not earn PTO

Common uses for Life Event Pay will likely be the waiting period for the short-term disability leave described below, parent-child bonding leave, and leave to provide care for family members with serious health conditions. This leave can be used to supplement less-than-full-pay situations covered by short-term disability.

A detailed policy covering waiting periods, limits on usage, and details on applying for this leave will be shared in the near future. Faculty members may request a course credit release equivalent to this policy.

Short-term Disability

Employees who experience a significant health issue may be eligible for a short-term disability benefit. The college has engaged Symetra, a vendor that will assist the college by evaluating and processing requests for short-term disability benefits based on medical necessity. Approved time off will be subject to a 14-calendar day waiting period and once approved will be paid at 60% of the normal wage. Employees can use available Life Event Pay and/or PTO leave to supplement the 60% pay and achieve full pay.

Short-term disability will be available for pregnancy and other health issues where an employee is unable to complete regular duties. This benefit is available only for the employee’s health issue. PTO and/or Life Event Pay is available for health issues of family members. A transition plan for those who have current issues will be developed and communicated individually.

Faculty members with an event that qualifies for short-term disability may request a course credit reduction equivalent to what has been described.

Next Steps

Please keep an eye out for a meeting request to learn more about these changes. This Paid Time Off FAQ document is designed to answer some questions, and we hope that the virtual meetings will answer specific questions as well.

Updated policies that contain detailed information and procedures will also be distributed prior to the September 1, 2020, effective date. 
 

Return to Work Modification Requests

As previously communicated, our staggered return to on-campus work continues.  On July 15th, our guidelines allow for offices to have up to 50% of employees working on-campus at any given time.  We are relying on individual supervisors and managers to make decisions on the best way to comply with this guideline.  On August 1st this will move to up to 75% of employees working on campus with the expectation that most employees will return to campus work by August 15th.

The college has adopted a temporary work modification program for those who may have increased risk based on CDC guidelines or have a family member residing in the home who may have increased risk.  Those non-faculty employees who are interested in pursuing a workplace modification should complete the temporary workplace request.

Faculty employees have a separate form that was distributed through Academic Affairs.  The college will evaluate requests and make modifications as possible while planning for a robust on-campus experience for our students with services not impacted to a significant degree.

Guidelines for Mask Wearing at Augustana

We’ve had several questions about when and where masks are required on campus as well as concerns from employees about colleagues and visitors who are not wearing masks.  As we all adjust to a return to campus work, we hope this guidance from the Augie Strong Task Force will be helpful.

Face masks are required

All employees at Augustana are expected to wear a face covering when on campus as well as to complete a daily screening when working on campus. As we prepare for the return of students to campus, the role modeling of employees will be crucial to our success.

Working alone

When working alone, without others around, facemasks can be removed. This includes private work areas both inside and outside. When moving from an individual work area on campus, employees should wear a face mask given the likelihood of encountering others or using shared spaces. For example, walking from a workstation to a copy machine or restroom is a time when a face covering should be worn.

Working with others

If you are indoors, we require face mask usage anytime you are meeting with others even if you are able to be more than six feet apart. For this reason, virtual meetings may be more effective. If you are outdoors and can maintain a distance of greater than 6 feet, masks may not be needed. 

Walking alone outdoors

A face mask is not required to be worn but should be available should you come into contact with others. When classes resume or during particularly busy times on campus, it will be nearly impossible to walk outside in some areas without encountering others.

Walking with others outdoors

A face mask should be worn whenever you are within six feet of another person, even if you are outdoors, so in most every case, walking outdoors with a colleague, visitor or vendor would require face mask usage.  In short, those giving tours to prospective students, student-athletes, vendors, donors or others should be wearing a mask as should the campus visitors.

Visitors

Those visiting campus should follow the same requirements as employee, including going through a quick screening and using a face mask. Disposable masks are available at public safety and have been provided to those areas with frequent visitors, along with no contact thermometers. We encourage you to let visitors know they will be required to wear a face mask and remind them of this upon arrival. Screening of visitors is available at public safety, if you do not have the necessary equipment available

Hold each other accountable

It is the responsibility of each and every employee to take seriously the actions that will help keep campus as safe as possible. If you see someone not wearing a mask, we encourage you to provide a reminder of the requirement. If this is a frequent occurrence reach out to the Office of Human Resources, and we can ask the manager/supervisor to provide additional guidance. Like any rule violation, those who continue to not follow college policies, corrective action will occur.

These guidelines apply to all employees, visitors, vendors or others on campus this summer. If you have any questions, please send those to the Office of Human Resources. 

 

 

Labor Day Holiday Changes

As you may be aware, our Academic Calendar has changed for the fall semester and this fall we will have classes on Monday, September 7 which is Labor Day.  As a result, Labor Day has been removed as a holiday and instead, all eligible employees will have a floating holiday to use (with supervisory approval) any time during the 20-21 academic year.  This floating holiday CAN be used on Labor Day if the office has adequate staffing.  Those working on Labor Day will receive regular pay for that day.  
 
We will re-evaluate this policy as the 21-22 calendar is finalized.  Questions?  Please reach out to any member of the Office of Human Resources.
 

TIAA Resources for Employees

Remote Online Notary 

TIAA has partnered with Notarize.com to offer a secure way to digitally fulfill the notarization requirement for forms. Participants will be able to complete their notary transaction remotely and online; then upload notarized forms through the TIAA mobile app or secure website.

New CARES Act FAQs on the participant account website help participants understand the CARES Act options potentially available to them to help determine their best option when needing money.

 

 

Survey for Potential Y Program

The Two Rivers YMCA located in Moline is exploring the possibility of offering a "School Time Club" at a location TBD in Rock Island.  Augustana has agreed to assist the YMCA by conducting an employee survey to see who might be interested in their services.  If you have an interest, you can complete the survey

Office of Human Resources
639 38th St.
Rock Island, Ill., 61201

humanresources@augustana.edu

Phone: 309-794-7352

Fax: 309-794-8962