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Merit Communications

Overview

This page contains all of the email messages regarding the Merit System Changes.

Merit Rule information | 07-01-2017 Email Message

Hello AFSCME-covered staff,

New information has been added to the FAQ regarding pay codes that may impact some of you. First, in addition to actual hours worked, call-back pay will continue to be counted as hours worked for the purpose of calculating overtime. FAQ question D.5. has been added to reflect this information. In addition, university policy 4.15 FLSA, Overtime and Compensatory Time will reflect this clarification when the July 1, 2017 version is posted to the policy web site.

Next, holiday premium pay will continue to be afforded to those who work on a designated university holiday. The "Holiday Premium" time card code pays actual hours worked on a designated university holiday at a rate of 1.5 times the regular rate. FAQ questions E.2 through E.8 address this subject.

During yesterday's Board of Regents meeting, two Regents Merit Rule changes were approved and are effective July 1, 2017. The first change applies to both rule 3.39(3) Pay on Promotion (when a merit employee is promoted to a classification with a higher pay grade) and rule 3.39(12) Pay for Lead Worker Status (when a merit employee is designated as a lead worker). Both of these rules now allow for an increase in pay of at least one step, but not to exceed 5% for merit employees who are promoted or have lead worker status. The exact percentage is at the discretion of the institution and UNI has determined it will maintain the current rate of 4.5% for fiscal year 2018. FAQ question F.4. reflects this updated information for pay on promotion and question F.5. has been added to address lead worker pay.

The second rule change applies to Regents Merit System Rule 3.129(8A) Grievances. Instead of a written grievance first being filed with the merit employee's immediate supervisor, it will be filed with the department head or designee. This effectively streamlines the process from 5 steps to 4 steps. FAQ question I.1. addresses this change.

Finally, the Iowa Code has historically allowed for public employees to earn compensatory time in lieu of a cash payment of overtime hours. As before, the decision whether to receive overtime pay or compensatory time will continue to rest with the employee. While the employing department may require that overtime be paid in cash, they cannot require that compensatory time be earned in lieu of a cash overtime payment. Because compensatory time is no longer part of the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement, it is important to note that an employee's election of "Comp Time Earned" within a qualifying time card signifies the employee's agreement to earn compensatory time instead of a cash payment for overtime for that workweek. Section C of the FAQ addresses overtime and compensatory time.

Be sure to continue accessing the Merit System Updates web page for regular updates we'll make as additional topics are confirmed.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July holiday!

Regards,
Michelle

Merit Rule information | 07-01-2017 Email Message

Hello Merit Supervisory & Confidential staff,

New information has been added to the FAQ regarding pay codes that may impact some of you. First, in addition to actual hours worked, call-back pay will continue to be counted as hours worked for the purpose of calculating overtime. FAQ question D.5. has been added to reflect this information. In addition, university policy 4.15 FLSA, Overtime and Compensatory Time will reflect this clarification when the July 1, 2017 version is posted to the policy web site.

Next, holiday premium pay will continue to be afforded to those who work on a designated university holiday. The "Holiday Premium" time card code pays actual hours worked on a designated university holiday at a rate of 1.5 times the regular rate. FAQ questions E.2 through E.8 address this subject.

During the June 28 Board of Regents meeting, two Regents Merit Rule changes were approved and are effective July 1, 2017. The first change applies to both rule 3.39(3) Pay on Promotion (when a merit employee is promoted to a classification with a higher pay grade) and rule 3.39(12) Pay for Lead Worker Status (when a merit employee is designated as a lead worker). Both of these rules now allow for an increase in pay of at least one step, but not to exceed 5% for merit employees who are promoted or have lead worker status. The exact percentage is at the discretion of the institution and UNI has determined it will maintain the current rate of 4.5% for fiscal year 2018. FAQ question F.4. reflects this updated information for pay on promotion and question F.5. has been added to address lead worker pay.

The second rule change applies to Regents Merit System Rule 3.129(8A) Grievances. Instead of a written grievance first being filed with the merit employee's immediate supervisor, it will be filed with the department head or designee. This effectively streamlines the process from 5 steps to 4 steps. FAQ question I.1. addresses this change.

Finally, the Iowa Code has historically allowed for public employees to earn compensatory time in lieu of a cash payment of overtime hours. As before, the decision whether to receive overtime pay or compensatory time will continue to rest with the employee. While the employing department may require that overtime be paid in cash, they cannot require that compensatory time be earned in lieu of a cash overtime payment. It is important to note that an employee's election of "Comp Time Earned" within a qualifying time card signifies the employee's agreement to earn compensatory time instead of a cash payment for overtime for that workweek. Section C of the FAQ addresses overtime and compensatory time.

Be sure to continue accessing the Merit System Updates web page for regular updates we'll make as additional topics are confirmed.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July holiday!

Regards,
Michelle

AFSCME Collective Bargaining Updates | 06-13-2017 Email Message

Dear AFSCME-covered staff,

As described in the FAQ, merit/step increases will be set annually by the Board of Regents. As a result of the June 8, 2017 Board of Regents meeting, the salary policy for fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) does not include a merit/step increase. As you may already be aware, the 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement provides for a one percent (1.0%) wage increase on July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018. The July 1, 2017 wage increase will be reflected on your next regular paycheck following July 1.

This wage change also increases university contributions to retirement programs and other salary driven benefits. These changes will be reflected on your annual fringe benefit statement starting July 1, 2017. I encourage you to access your personal statement to view your total compensation package, which reflects the employer contributions made to employee benefit plans. In addition, for fiscal year 2018, the University is investing an additional $3.3 million to the employer portion of the health insurance premiums. For instructions on accessing your fringe benefit statement, go to https://hrs.uni.edu/sites/default/files/mybenefits/fbs_statements.pdf.

Unrelated to the chapter 20 changes, I'd also like to take this opportunity to make you aware of the Board's decision to extend the phased retirement program through June 30, 2022, with a few revisions that will become effective July 1, 2017. If you are interested in learning more about the revised program, watch for information coming soon on the HRS Phased Retirement web page.

Be sure to continue accessing the Merit System Updates web page for regular updates we'll make as additional topics are confirmed.

Regards,
Michelle

Merit System Changes | 06-13-2017 Email Message

Dear Merit Supervisory & Confidential Staff,

As described in the Merit System Updates FAQ, merit/step increases will be set annually by the Board of Regents. As a result of the June 8, 2017 Board of Regents meeting, the salary policy for fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) does not include a merit/step increase. The 2017-2019 AFSCME collective bargaining agreement provides for a one percent (1.0%) wage increase on July 1, 2017. As approved at the June 8, 2017 Board of Regents meeting, the July 1, 2017 one percent (1.0%) wage increase will also apply to Regent Merit System Supervisory & Confidential staff. This increase will be reflected on your next regular paycheck following July 1.

This wage change also increases university contributions to retirement programs and other salary driven benefits. These changes will be reflected on your annual fringe benefit statement starting July 1, 2017. I encourage you to access your personal statement to view your total compensation package, which reflects the employer contributions made to employee benefit plans. In addition, for fiscal year 2018, the University is investing an additional $3.3 million to the employer portion of the health insurance premiums. For instructions on accessing your fringe benefit statement, go to https://hrs.uni.edu/sites/default/files/mybenefits/fbs_statements.pdf.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to make you aware of the Board's decision to extend the phased retirement program through June 30, 2022, with a few revisions that will become effective July 1, 2017. If you are interested in learning more about the revised program, watch for information coming soon on the HRS Phased Retirement web page.

Be sure to continue accessing the Merit System Updates web page for regular updates we'll make as additional topics are confirmed.

Regards,
Michelle

AFSCME Collective Bargaining Updates | 06-01-2017 Email Message

Dear AFSCME-covered staff,

As a follow-up to the two prior emails from this past spring semester, we now have additional information to share regarding health and dental insurance as well as other employment provisions.

To ensure consistent communication, we have created a web page with resource links and an FAQ to help you navigate what changes you may experience upon the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement on June 30, 2017. As shared previously, many things will remain the same for the foreseeable future. We will continue to update this web page as additional topics are confirmed and would ask that you review this site periodically to stay informed on the latest information.

It has been determined that AFSCME-covered staff at each of the Regents institutions will be moved from the state's health and dental insurance plans to join their respective institution's health and dental plans. As noted in the April email, there is no change to your coverage between now and December 31, 2017. Over the course of the next few months, we are launching a number of communications to help you become familiar with our self-insured health and dental plans and how you play a role in controlling costs associated with those plans. In addition, we will be communicating what other benefits the University offers to help offset health and dental expenses. You will be invited to enroll in the UNI health and dental plans during the fall 2017 open enrollment period. These changes will become effective January 1, 2018.

We have also been working with the Board of Regents Office Staff and the other Regents institutions to review and clarify how other employment provisions will be handled with regard to subjects that will no longer be part of the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement effective July 1, 2017. Some of these changes triggered the need to revise related University policies (which were posted for campus comment in early May), some topics will defer to the Regents Merit System Rules, and other subjects are still being evaluated. Most, if not all, of the changes related to these employment provisions will be effective July 1, 2017.

Your patience is greatly appreciated as we work through all of these important topics!

Regards,
Michelle

Merit System Changes | 06-01-2017 Email Message

Dear Merit Supervisory & Confidential Staff,

As you may be aware, changes to Iowa's collective bargaining law this past spring have prompted the need to review and clarify how various employment provisions will be handled on our campus. Many topics addressed in the current AFSCME collective bargaining agreement (contract) will no longer be part of the contract effective July 1, 2017. While you are not covered by the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement as a supervisory or confidential employee, some aspects of the contract have historically been applied to all Merit staff where the Regents Merit System Rules are silent.

We have been working with the Board of Regents Office Staff and the other Regents institutions to determine how various contract topics will be addressed. Some of these topics triggered the need to revise related University policies (which were posted for campus comment in early May) and some topics will defer to the Regents Merit System Rules, which will continue to serve as the basis for many aspects of your employment as a Merit Supervisory & Confidential staff member. While many of the subjects have been addressed, some are still being evaluated.

To ensure consistent communication, we have created a web page with resource links and an FAQ to help all Merit staff navigate what changes you may experience upon the expiration of certain contract topics on June 30, 2017. We will continue to update this web page as additional topics are determined and would ask that you review the site periodically to stay informed of the latest information.

Your patience is greatly appreciated as we work through all of these important topics!

Regards,
Michelle

AFSCME Collective Bargaining Updates | 04-28-2017 Email Message

Dear AFSCME-covered staff,

As a follow-up to my email earlier this semester, we received one important piece of information regarding health insurance after June 30th. DAS had previously communicated that no plan changes would be made through December 31, 2017. What was confirmed this week is that in addition to no plan changes, no changes will be made to health insurance premiums this calendar year. While I understand this still leaves in question what happens on January 1, 2018, I wanted to at least get this short-term information to you for your budget planning purposes.

Our office has received questions regarding other benefits such as paid leaves. Please know that UNI does not intend to make changes on July 1, 2017 (and in the foreseeable future) to the rate of vacation or sick leave accruals, the list of paid holidays, the catastrophic leave program, and employer-sponsored life insurance. For information regarding these and other benefits available to you, please visit the benefits page on the HRS web site.

Once we have additional information regarding health insurance or other benefits, rules, policies, etc. we will share this important information with you as soon as we are able.

Regards,
Michelle

AFSCME Collective Bargaining Updates | 02-28-2017 Email Message

Dear AFSCME-covered staff,

The university recognizes that recent changes to Iowa’s collective bargaining law have caused a level of uncertainty on our campus. HF291 was signed into law on Friday, February 17th, which prompted contract negotiations to be restarted. As you may know, the State is currently in negotiations at this time for the AFSCME collective bargaining agreement that will become effective July 1, 2017. The parties agreed to a continuance of the arbitration until April 6th.

While the outcome of AFSCME negotiations for the 2017-2019 contract is uncertain at this time, what we do know is that the current collective bargaining agreement will remain in effect through June 30, 2017. This means that all benefits and other employment provisions of the current agreement, including health and dental insurance, will remain as is at least through June 30, 2017. Once we know the impact of benefits, rules and procedures for July 1st and beyond, we will share this important information with you as soon as we are able.

The university intends to continue its commitment to offering competitive compensation and benefit packages to recruit and retain the high quality staff that make UNI a great place to learn, work and live. For information on current benefits and other employment-related topics, please refer to the HRS web site.

Regards,
Michelle

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