Council seeks answers about leave policies

The executive committee of the Professional and Scientific Council is requesting clarification from university administrators about the use of vacation/leave policies and the flex hours program during a partial campus shutdown over winter break in a motion introduced at the council's Jan. 7 meeting.

"We received several contacts just prior to winter break from employees who did not feel they were being fairly treated by their departments, their supervisors or their college or units," said council president Tera Lawson. "They were being required to take vacation as part of the university's partial close. Upon getting into that further, it appears that it is actually a conflict between these three policies, which is why we are asking for clarification on the interpretation and application of these three policies."

The committee motion asks for clarifications and, if needed, changes to the flexible hours program and two policies (flex time and vacation leave) to "provide employees and administrators with a common interpretation and acceptable applications" during partial closures. An amendment added a request to clarify the definition of "essential employee."

"The flexible hours program is the one that pertains specifically to break periods," Lawson said. "According to Warren Madden, the intention of the policy was to allow people to be gone for those several days."

Lawson said the flexible hours program doesn't work well with the vacation leave policy, which allows departments to require P&S staff to take vacation leave "whenever, in its judgment, such action will be in the interests of the department."

Council members voted in favor of fast-tracking the motion with an immediate second read. The document was approved and will be sent to university administrators.

Tuition reimbursement

Also at the council's Jan. 7 meeting, the compensation and benefits committee introduced a motion with recommended changes for the tuition reimbursement program. Currently, eligible merit and P&S employees can apply for tuition reimbursement of up to three credits per semester through the program.

The proposed changes to the program include:

  • Increasing the maximum reimbursement to the equivalent of four credits per semester
  • Using actual program cost of tuition for reimbursement of ISU coursework

No changes to eligibility requirements or program guidelines were requested. Council members will vote on the motion at the Feb. 4 meeting.

Other business

  • Provost Jonathan Wickert said the search for the next dean of the College of Human Sciences is on track, with nearly 100 nomination submissions and several applications. July 1 is the projected start date.
  • Julie Nuter, associate vice president for university human resources, highlighted upcoming financial wellness sessions available to employees. Registration is available through the Learn@ISU portal.
  • Ed Holland, benefits director in university human resources, gave council members an overview of the 1095-C tax forms for Affordable Care Act reporting that will be available to employees through AccessPlus.