News & Events

Updated Adverse Weather Policy and Guidance

Updated October 19, 2016

As we approach the increasing potential for adverse winter weather conditions in our region, this communication serves as a reminder and summary of current Adverse Weather Policy including operating conditions, employee designations and guidance for accounting for time during adverse weather events.

Our campus Adverse Weather and Emergency Closing Policy has recently been updated to be fully compliant with current state policies and related rules issued by the UNC President. The updated policy can be viewed at: http://policy.appstate.edu/Adverse_Weather_and_Emergency_Closing.

Under current policy, campus chancellors have discretion to determine the operational status appropriate to maintain essential operations and provide for employee safety, based on winter weather conditions. These options include:

  1. Condition 1 (Reduced Operations): The University remains open, but certain non-mandatory operations may be reduced due to more limited staffing. Mandatory employees must report to or remain at work. All other employees have the option to report late, leave early, or not work at all; however, the employee is responsible for informing his/her supervisory chain in a timely manner of all such decisions. Employees must code available leave or may be allowed to make up any work time missed during a Condition 1 event, unless the supervisor authorized off-site work arrangements or the Governor issues an Executive Order permitting leave with pay for any missed work time.
  2. Condition 2 (Suspended Operations): The University remains open on a very limited basis, but has formally suspended all but mandatory operations due to minimal staffing levels. Employees designated or temporarily assigned as mandatory must report to work as directed; all other employees may not report to work or must leave the workplace when this status takes effect. Employees must code available leave or may be allowed to make up any work time missed during a Condition 2 event, unless the supervisor authorized off-site work arrangements or the Governor issues an Executive Order permitting leave with pay for any missed work time. 
  1. Condition 3 (Closure): Due to significant and sustained emergency conditions, University facilities are closed; this can apply to the entirety of the University or one or more specific buildings based on the type of incident involved. All or only a limited number of mandatory employees may be directed to remain at or report to work under this condition. This is intended to assure an orderly shutdown of campus facilities and to sustain only the most critical campus utilities and services. All other employees, including those who are otherwise designated as mandatory but not needed for the particular event, are not permitted to report to or remain at work. Employees shall not be required to charge leave or make-up any work time missed during a Condition 3 event, unless the duration of the event necessitates a differing decision by direction of the President or by Executive Order of the Governor.  

    Note that campus chancellors may not declare Condition 3 at the time of an adverse weather event.  If an adverse weather event actually results in sufficiently severe conditions, we may appeal to UNC General Administration to apply the paid leave provisions applicable to Condition 3 after the fact.

Our updated policy includes a list of operations designated as “mandatory operations” to be maintained during adverse weather events.  Generally, employees whose work is necessary to maintain these mandatory operations are designated as “mandatory employees.”  Current Adverse Weather and Emergency Events Policy requires that each employee be informed of her/his mandatory or non-mandatory status for purposes of adverse weather events.  With assistance from departments across campus, we have added this status to each employee job description and, with assistance from Business Systems, employees may now review their designations through Banner Employee Self Service. We ask that all employees please log into Employee Self Service and click the Adverse Weather Mandatory/Non-Mandatory link to review their designations and guidance on accounting for time missed due to adverse weather. Please visit this tutorial for detailed instructions on navigating to the Adverse Weather Mandatory/Non-Mandatory link in Employee Self Service. 

Guidance for coding time missed due to adverse weather is posted on the Human Resources website at: Adverse Weather Guidance.  Along with this guidance, we will post the date, time, duration and operational level of all adverse weather events at this location for reference in completing payroll time sheets.

All changes in campus operational status due to adverse weather events will be communicated with as much notice to the campus community as possible.  Changes in campus operational status affecting the start of any workday will be communicated not later than 5:30 a.m. on the affected day. All weather-related communications will be made via university email, Twitter at @appstateclosing, the University homepage, recorded messages at 828-262-SNOW and, if appropriate, through media such as WASU and Booneweather.com. 

Please take time to review our updated campus policy and related time-recording guidance.  If you have questions regarding any guidance we have provided please contact the Office of Human Resources at 828-262-3187.

Winter Break Closing

Winter Break Closure

Announcement to Campus, November 22, 2016

This communication serves as a reminder that winter break closure is approaching. Winter Break is implemented for the purpose of reducing our campus fuel consumption and supporting our strong commitment to sustainability. Last year, the closure resulted in $519,237 in energy cost avoidance for our campus.

This year, our winter break closure will begin on Monday, December 26 and the University will re-open on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Just one weekday during the closure, December 30, is not a university holiday and employees must either apply accrued leave or perform alternate work to be compensated for the non-holiday closure day. To maximize energy and cost savings, we must work to limit on-campus activity during the closure period to essential operations, to the extent possible. At the same time, we are committed to minimizing the impact on employees who may not have sufficient vacation or bonus leave to cover the non-holiday closure day, or those who may prefer to conserve their available leave for other purposes. The three options available to help employees manage the non-holiday closure day – community service, telecommuting and professional development.

For more detailed guidance regarding the 2016-2017 holiday and winter break closures including leave and alternative work options please visit the Winter Break Closure page on Human Resources website or contact Human Resources at 262-3187.

Community Service Leave

As we did last year, we encourage employees to consider utilizing community service leave as a way to manage the winter break closure and also support our community.  To facilitate this, the ASU Staff Senate has again done outstanding work to identify a list of community organizations which may be able to support volunteers during the winter break period.  A flier detailing these volunteer opportunities can be found on the Staff Senate website.

Telecommuting

Where productive work that can be performed remotely is available, employees may seek approval of their supervisors to work from home to offset non-holiday closure hours.  To utilize this option:

The supervisor and employee must agree on the work to be performed and it must be documented.

Work to be completed must be measurable and completion must be verified by the supervisor.

Hours spent performing work must be documented by the employee and provided to the supervisor for approval.

Any university work materials (hard copy or electronic) that would be removed from campus must be documented with the supervisor and their return must be documented.

Anyone needing assistance accessing university computer systems remotely should contact IT Support Services (http://support.appstate.edu/contact).

Professional Development Opportunities (Lynda.com)

Lynda.com is a web-based archive of professional development videos.  It is a service to which Appalachian State University ITS subscribes, offering over 4,000. It is an exceptional professional development resource to help employees advance their knowledge and skills in areas ranging from technology and computer software to business, personal and professional skills.  The winter break closure provides employees with an excellent opportunity to engage in some of these learning opportunities, to offset non-holiday closure hours.  To utilize this option:

Employees must obtain approval from their supervisors.

Employees must work with their supervisors to identify offerings appropriate to their work, professional and personal development goals.

Employees and supervisors must agree upon and document offerings to be completed.

Completion of offerings must be documented by printing the Certificate of Completion at the end of each video.  If the employee does not have printing capabilities, completion can be documented through ITS system tracking upon return to work after the holiday break.  For this confirmation, please contact Kevin Snook in ITS at: snookkd@appstate.edu.

Hours spent engaged in these professional development opportunities must be tracked by employees and submitted to their supervisors for approval.

Lynda.com offerings can be accessed at www.lynda.com.  From that site, click "log in" and choose the "log in through your organization or school" option.  This will redirect you to the ASU Shibboleth sign-in page where you will enter your ASU ID and password.  You will then be directed back to Lynda.com where you can browse and view offerings.  The first time you log in through the Lynda.com site, you may be prompted to enter your organization’s URL.  If you are, enter appstate.edu in the box provided.

Employees who do not have internet access at home may be able to check out a Faculty/Staff PC laptop with the Lynda.com application already installed by contacting the Tech Desk Manager, Michael O’Hara, at (828) 262-2270 by December 22, 2016. Please note, anyone who checks out a computer will need to log into the computers on campus before taking them off campus. Employees can download videos directly to the laptop so they can be completed later offline.  Available laptops may be checked out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Anyone needing assistance in identifying a targeted selection of Lynda.com offerings is encouraged to contact Emily Wilson in Human Resources at 262-6486 prior to winter break. 

Employee Assistance Programs

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Employee Assistance Program: May 2, 2016

 

 

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that Human Resources, Academic Affairs and Counseling for Faculty and Staff have partnered with ComPsych® GuidanceResources® to provide all Appalachian State University faculty and staff an enhanced Employee Assistance Program. GuidanceResources services will provide you and your dependents confidential support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues. These services are available to you now and are provided at no charge to you.

Your new Employee Assistance Program resources provided by GuidanceResources services include:

Supplemental, Confidential Counseling Services 
Life can be stressful, and Counseling for Faculty and staff provides critical, on-site support for Appalachian faculty and staff members. To supplement this on-site resource, GuidanceResources can provide short-term counseling services to help you and your dependents handle concerns constructively before they become major issues. Call anytime about concerns such as marital, relationship and family problems; stress, anxiety and depression; grief and loss, job pressures and substance abuse.

Work-Life Solutions 
Too much to do, and too little time to get it all done? The work-life specialists at ComPsych can do the research for you, and provide qualified referrals and customized resources for child and elder care, moving, pet care, college planning, home repair, buying a car, planning an event, selling a house and more.

Legal Support 
With GuidanceResources, you have an attorney “on call” whenever you have questions about legal matters. Speak with on-staff licensed attorneys about legal concerns such as divorce, custody, adoption, real estate, debt and bankruptcy, landlord/tenant issues, civil and criminal actions and more. If you require representation, you can be referred to a qualified attorney for a free 30-minute consultation and a 25 percent reduction in customary legal fees.

Financial Information 
Everyone has financial questions. With your GuidanceResources services, you can get answers to your questions about budgeting, debt management, tax issues and other money concerns from on-staff CPAs, Certified Financial Planners® and other financial experts, simply by calling our dedicated toll-free number.

GuidanceResources online 
Access timely, expert information online about thousands of topics, including relationships, work, school, children, wellness, legal, financial and free time. You can search for qualified child and elder care, attorneys and financial planners as well as ask questions, take self-assessments and more. GuidanceResources is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are two ways to access your GuidanceResources services:

  1. Via phone, using our dedicated assistance number: 844-449-6537. You’ll speak to a counseling professional who will listen to your concerns and can guide you to the appropriate services you require. 
  2. Online at www.guidanceresources.com. Register using our dedicated access ID: appstate 

Remember, your GuidanceResources services are strictly confidential. To view the ComPsych HIPAA privacy notice, please go to www.guidanceresources.com/privacy.

We hope you will take some time to explore all the benefits that GuidanceResources can offer to you. Please click here to view additional information, including a downloadable flyer. Please post and distribute the flyer to be certain that all faculty and staff are made aware of the new program. Additional informational materials will be distributed across campus in coming days.

Thank you for everything you do for Appalachian. Please contact Human Resources if you have any questions regarding our new ComPsych program.

Sheri N. Everts, Chancellor 
Darrell P. Kruger, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 
Mark Bachmeier, Director of Human Resources

Legislative Bonuses to be Paid in October

The Fiscal Year 2016-17 state budget included three legislative compensation-related components for state employees.  A 1.5% across-the-board salary increase for all permanent employees was applied on our campus in August payroll, retroactive to July 1.  The other two components are bonus payments to eligible employees, to be paid in our October payroll.  These payments are one-time lump-sum payments and not increases to employee salaries.  This communication describes the eligibility requirements for these bonus payments.

0.5% across-the-board bonus payment.   Eligible SHRA and EHRA employees will be awarded a bonus payment equal to 0.5% of their current annual base salaries as of September 1, 2016.  The following criteria apply to these bonus payments:

  • To be eligible, employees must be in a permanent full or part-time SHRA or EHRA position.  Permanent part-time employees will receive pro-rated bonus amounts based on their work schedules.
  • To receive this bonus, employees must have been in an active employment status as of September 1, 2016.  The bonus does not apply to employees separated from employment prior to September 1 or those hired effective September 2 or later.
  • Employees on paid or unpaid leaves of absence as of September 1, 2016 are eligible for the bonus.
  • Employees are eligible for this bonus without regard to performance ratings or disciplinary actions.

1.0% one-time merit bonus pool.  Additional one-time bonus payments will be awarded to eligible employees from an appropriated 1.0% merit bonus pool.  These bonus payments are not across-the-board payments but will be awarded based exclusively on individual employee performance.  Criteria for these merit-based bonus payments differ for SHRA and EHRA employees as described below.

  • SHRA:  As prescribed by the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources (OSHR), eligible SHRA employees will be awarded fixed-amount merit bonus payments based on their most recent performance appraisal ratings.  For our campus, this means performance ratings received for the review period ending March 31, 2016.  Employees with performance ratings of “outstanding” will receive $700 bonus payments and employees with ratings of “good” or “very good” will receive payments of $475.  Employees with ratings below “good” and employees with any active disciplinary actions as of October 1, 2016 will not receive this bonus.  The following criteria also apply to these merit bonus payments:
    • To be eligible, employees must be in a permanent full or part-time SHRA position with a hire date on or before January 1, 2016.  Permanent part-time employees will receive pro-rated bonus amounts based on their work schedules.
    • Employees separated from state service prior to the last day of the pay period in which the payments are disbursed (October 15, 2016 for our campus) will not receive this bonus payment.
    • Employees on leaves of absence during the time of the most recent performance appraisal will be rated upon their return and before June 30, 2017 to be eligible for the bonus payment.
  • EHRA:  Eligible EHRA faculty and EHRA non-faculty employees may be awarded merit-based bonuses, based exclusively on individual employee job performance considerations as determined by their direct supervisors and approved by respective departmental and divisional leadership.  Total bonuses awarded may not exceed a 1.0% total bonus pool for each university division.  Worksheets will be distributed to each division for use in reporting all awarded merit bonuses for processing.  Further instruction and reporting timelines will be provided with the worksheets.  The following criteria apply to these EHRA bonus payments:  
    • To be eligible, employees must be in a full or part-time permanent position and must have at least six (6) months of active employment with the University as of October 1, 2016.
    • Bonuses will not be awarded to employees in receipt of an end-of-appointment notice or working a final notice as of the date these merit bonuses are paid (October 31, 2016).
    • No individual merit bonus may exceed 2.0% of the employee’s base salary and no individual bonus may exceed $2,500 regardless of the percentage.

Please contact Cindy Harper (harperce@appstate.edu or 6487) or Mark Bachmeier (bachmeiermd@appstate.edu or 6482) in Human Resources with any additional questions you may have.

Emergency Loan Fund Policy (Updated November 13, 2015)

Updates to the ASU Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) Policy can be viewed in the ASU Policy.  

Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) Request Form

Probationary/Career Status (Effective October 1, 2015)

All state employees subject to the State Human Resources Act (SHRA) who are appointed to full-time, part-time, or time-limited permanent positions must serve a probationary period.  The probationary period is an extension of the selection process and allows time for the effective evaluation and adjustment for the new employee.

The length of an employee’s probationary period and the period of time to achieve Career Status is 12 months from the date of hire with continuous employment in a permanent position.

Law Enforcement Only:  If the law enforcement officer has completed the required training (BLET) before the employee is hired, that employee is subject to a 12-month probationary period; otherwise, the employee must complete a 24-month probationary period. 

For more information and frequently asked questions, please visit the Office of State Human Resources website:  http://oshr.nc.gov/state-employee-resources/employee-relations/reduction-in-force

Professional Development Survey

The Office of Human Resources recently conducted a survey to determine the professional development needs and preferences of its staff. The survey concluded in January 2015 and we are pleased to present the results of the survey to you. The ultimate goal of conducting this survey was to translate the results into a catalog of professional development training courses that can be offered to all employees. We are excited to begin laying the groundwork for these programs and appreciate all who have stepped forward to be a part of the planning process. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey.

For more information, or to get involved, please contact Emily Wilson, wilsones1@appstate.edu, 828-262-6486.

Survey Results (PDF: 296KB)


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