The University is committed to an inclusive policy-making process. This quarterly communication highlights new or significantly revised administrative policies recently posted for the campus community to offer feedback.
Modifying Appointments of Academic Professionals and Administrative Employees for Financial Stringency or Financial Urgency
The current policy enables the University to take action when financial stringency is declared, which is a system-wide financial impact affecting the overall University budget. The actions currently provided under this policy allow furlough and appointment reductions for P&A employees system-wide. During the past fiscal year it has become clear that there is a need for a campus and unit approach to short-term immediate budget challenges that involve employee costs. To this point there has not been an option that allows this for P&A employment.
The addition of the circumstance, "financial urgency", to this policy will allow campus, administrative and academic units individually to request approval of short-term actions to modify P&A appointments or schedule furlough time for P&A employees when this employment is directly related to a budget issue. The policy also describes the approval process for such a request to ensure consistency of application across the University. Adding financial urgency as an option is meant to retain employees long-term and avoid more significant employment decisions and actions.
The recent information from the Office of Human Resources related to Work with Flexibility covers options for employers and employees to consider new work models. This is also the right timing to go back to the guidance and requirements provided during the past 18 months as it relates to business expenses. The language in the policy and related documents cover these specifics as well as outline a change to mileage reimbursements.
Here are some key points in this latest policy draft. Please view the policy, appendix and FAQ to see all the details.
- Whether working 100% remote or a hybrid model, individuals will be provided one package of equipment (e.g., computer) to be used either at their remote location or on campus. If an individual is no longer employed by the University or changes department, the equipment must be returned within five business days. Units will likely create common use of shared workspaces on campus for individuals to use while on campus.
- Necessary office supplies may be obtained in person from their units, when needed.
Changes to Mileage Reimbursements
The policy also includes new language related to mileage reimbursements. These reimbursement requests will still be allowed in the following situations:
- where an employee is driving to a system campus, research/outreach center, or other University location that is not their home campus;
- Example: driving from the Twin Cities Campus to the Morris Campus). Note that the Twin Cities campus includes the East Bank, West Bank, and St. Paul campus locations);
- where an employee’s job duties require them to travel to an offsite location; or
- Example: recruitment, professional development, research, development officers, Extension Statewide Programming
- when an employee is in travel status (travel status includes an overnight stay away from home).
The above situations comprise the majority of mileage reimbursements issued annually.
What is being discontinued are reimbursements for local travel, such as travel from the Minneapolis campus to the St. Paul campus, once this policy revision goes into effect. Any exceptions considered will require approval from the unit’s Chief Financial Manager as well as from the University Controller.
University Emergency Paid Leave for COVID-19
As a reminder, the University provides emergency paid leave for employees and student workers affected by COVID-19. In light of the current public health situation, the University has decided to continue this emergency paid leave for the foreseeable future. This emergency paid leave is available for employees and student workers who:
- Are unable to work or work remotely due to COVID-related illness
- Need to quarantine or isolate because of exposure to COVID-19
- Must care for someone who is ill with COVID-19
- Must care for a child whose school or childcare is closed or unavailable or help with the relocation of a college-age child due to COVID-19 (or if a student worker must take time off to relocate)
- Need time off to get a COVID-19 vaccine
- Have an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine and need time off to recover or who need to care for a family member who has a reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine