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Employee Handbook 2011

Worcester State University Employee Handbook

Revised May, 2013

 

 

 

Section 1: Welcome

Message from President Maloney

Purpose of the Handbook

 

Section 2: University Structure

Table of Organization

 

Section 3: Federal and State and University Policies, Rules and Guidelines

Acceptable Use Policy

Age Discrimination

Affirmative Action, Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Campaign and Political Activity

Children in the Workplace

Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure Policy

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Policy

Drug Free Workplace Policy

Pets in the Workplace

Religious Observances

Right to Know

Sexual Harassment Policy

Smoking Policy

Sunshine Policy (Full Disclosure of Relatives Working for the Commonwealth)

Workplace Emergency Policy

Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

 

Section 4: Employee Responsibilities

Appearance

Attendance

Code of conduct

Expectation of Privacy

Flexible Work Arrangements

Performance Appraisals

Personnel Files

Probationary Period

Work Week and Schedules

 

Section 5: Benefits and Compensation

Bi-weekly Pay

Contract Provisions

Deferred Compensation / 457b, 403b

Dental Insurance

Dependent Care Assistance program (DCAP)

Employee Assistance Plan (EAP)

Extended Sick Leave/Sick leave Banks

Health Insurance

Holidays

Long Term Disability Insurance

Military Pay Provision

Payroll Deductions/Mandatory and Optional

Salary Increases

Same Sex Marriage Benefits

Tuition Remission

U Fund College Savings Plan

Use of University Facilities

 

Section 6: Leaves

Absent without pay

Bereavement Leave

Blood Donation Leave

Contract Positions

Court/Jury Duty Leave

Domestic Violence Leave

Family and Medical Leave Act

Personal Leave

Sick Leave

Small Necessities Leave

Volunteer Leave

Voting Leave

Workers’ Compensation Leave

 

 

 

 

 

Section 7: Employee Categories

Union Dues or Agency Service Fees Deductions

Collective Bargaining Employees

Contract Employees

Non-Unit Classified Employees

Non-Unit Professionals

 

 

Section 8: Leaving University Service

Resignations

Retirement

Reductions in Force (Retrenchment)

Involuntary Separation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 1

 

 

Message from the University President

 

 

Purpose of the Handbook

 

This handbook is intended only as a general summary of rights, responsibilities, benefits and information for employees of Worcester State University.  The contents of this handbook are considered guidelines.  The handbook’s provisions are not conditions of employment; they may be changed from time to time at the discretion of the president of the University.  Employees will receive notice of the changes through email or hard copy distribution.  THIS HANDBOOK IS NOT INTENDED TO CREATE, AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED TO CONSTITUTE OR CREATE, A CONTRACT BETWEEN WORCESTER STATE UNIVERSITY AND ITS EMPLOYEES.

 

This handbook contains brief statements of policies.  More complete details of policies may be obtained from human resources, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Affirmative Action, the applicable collective bargaining agreements, or in other official University policies and procedures.  The collective bargaining agreements contain the official conditions of employment for bargaining unit members.  This handbook does not supersede the collective bargaining agreements.  A copy of the collection bargaining agreement (union contract) that governs your conditions of employment may be obtained through your union representative.  This handbook is not intended to substitute, replace, overrule, or modify any existing federal and state laws, agency rules, regulations or policies, or terms of a collective bargaining agreement (if relevant) nor be inclusive of every policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 2

 

University Structure

 

Table of Organization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 3

 

Acceptable Use Policy

The Information Technologies Department supports computing, networking and information resources for the students, faculty and staff of Worcester State University. Access to the University’s computer systems and networks owned and operated by WSU imposes certain responsibilities upon users, in accordance with existing WSU policies and local, state and federal law. Users accept the responsibility for utilizing services in ways that are ethical, that demonstrate academic integrity and respect for others who share this resource. This policy is the purview of the Information Technologies Department and may be changed periodically to reflect the changing needs of the University. To view the policy in its entirety, please go to http://sharepoint.worcester.edu/external/it/policies/default.aspx

 

Age Discrimination

In recognition of the current problems which exist in society today with respect to discrimination against persons over 40,and in accordance with federal and state law, Worcester State University has adopted a policy prohibiting discrimination based on age in the working, living and learning environment of our University campus. This policy specifically prohibits the use of age as a factor where prohibited by law, in decisions affecting the employment or educational status of a member of the University community or of an applicant for admission or employment. Any individual who feels he/she has been a victim of age discrimination or harassment should contact the Affirmative Action Office for guidelines and policy information or for processing a complaint

 

Affirmative Action, Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity

Worcester State University is dedicated to maintaining a non-discrimination policy for all of its employment practices and administration of employment opportunities. All employees will be given employment opportunities based on their education, training, experience, and qualifications. All employees will be treated equally and will not be discriminated against based on race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, or any other basis protected by law. This applies to all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment including, but not limited to hiring, placement, promotion, demotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leave of absence, compensation, training, and referrals for employment.

 

As part of the Massachusetts Public Higher Education System, Worcester State University is committed to a policy of non-discrimination and affirmative action in its educational programs, activities and employment practices. It is the policy of the University not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, color, national origin, age, religion, or disability in fulfillment of the requirements of Federal Executive Orders 11246 and 11375 as amended; the

Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended; the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988; the Civil Rights Act of 1991; Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 as amended; Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and pertinent Laws, Regulations and Executive Orders; directives of the Board of Higher Education , the Boards of Trustees of the State University and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other applicable local, state and federal statutes. Inquiries concerning the University’s compliance with affirmative action programs may be addressed to the Affirmative Action Officer, X 8784.

 

Americans with Disabilities Act

The University will examine all existing employment policies, practices and facilities to assure that they do not disparately treat or impact otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. Where such disparity is found, it will be corrected as quickly and completely as is reasonable under existing financial constraints. The University will make every effort to employ and advance in employment otherwise qualified persons and will take measures to advocate for equal opportunity in all areas of employment, including recruitment, selection, upgrading, training, compensation, benefits and all other terms and conditions of employment. Such measures shall include but not be limited to vigorous identification of competitive persons with disabilities for selection, promotion and training.

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In accordance with law, the University will afford reasonable accommodations to any otherwise qualified employee with a disability to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations will also be afforded to applicants for employment who have a disability to enable them to adequately pursue a candidacy for any available position. If you have a disability and are in need of a reasonable accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of your job or to pursue candidacy for a job, please contact the Director of Human Resources for more information. Complete copies of the University’s Equal Employment Opportunities/Affirmative Action Policies and Policies for Individuals with Disabilities are available in the Diversity Office, A302.

 

Campaign and Political Activities

The Campaign Finance Law (MGL 55) does not prohibit public employees from engaging in political activity, as long as such activity: 1.) is not undertaken during work hours or otherwise using public resources, and 2.) does not include soliciting or receiving political contributions.

 

No person employed for compensation for the Commonwealth, its cities, towns and counties, and public agencies, other than an elected official, may directly or indirectly solicit or receive a contribution or anything of value for any political purpose. Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 55, the Campaign Finance Law regulates political activity by public employees and the use of public buildings and resources in campaigns

 

Campaign finance law prohibits the use of public resources for political campaign purposes, such as influencing the nomination or election of a candidate, or the passage or defeat of a ballot in question, “Public Resources” encompass just about anything that is paid for by taxpayers, such as vehicles, office equipment and supplies, buildings and the paid time of public employees. For more information or a copy of the complete policy, please contact the Human Resources Office. For additional detail and guidelines about Use of Public Resources see this link: www.state.ma.us/ocpf

 

Children in the Workplace

The University supports employees in balancing work lives and family lives. Employees are expected find appropriate childcare arrangements rather than bringing children to work. A list of daycare centers and providers is available through Human Resources.

 

Occasionally, there may be a situation where you do not have daycare and you cannot be absent from work. On these rare occasions, speak with your Chief Administrative Officer to obtain permission to bring your child to the workplace.

 

Conflict of Interest and Financial Disclosure Policy

As public employees, University employees are subject to the provisions of the conflict of interest law. The law (MGL 268A) requires that state employees give undivided loyalty to the state and act in the public interest rather than for private gain  the law sets forth a minimum standard of ethical conduct for all state employees and officials..

 

The purpose of the conflict law is to ensure that public employee’s private financial interests and personal relationships do not conflict with their public obligations. The law is broadly written to prevent a public employee from becoming involved in a situation which could result in a conflict or give the appearance of a conflict.  The law governs what you may do on the job, what you may do after hours or “on the side”, and what you may do after you leave public service.

 

All employees are required to successfully complete an on-line State Ethics Training and Quiz when first employed and every two years thereafter.  The training and quiz are found at: http://db.state.ma.us/ethics/quiz_MEthics/index.asp.

 

Some employees may be required to file annual financial disclosure forms with the State Ethics Commission.  You will be notified by the University President if you are subject to this requirement. For additional detail and guidelines about the conflict law see this link: www.mass.gov/ethics.

 

The state ethics statute prohibits employees from divulging confidential information they happen to see or acquire in the course of their employment. Divulging such information not only violates the state ethics rules but also may violate a person’ personal right to privacy in which case the employee divulging the information would not be protected from personal liability or suit. Therefore, it is unlawful to make disclosures of confidential information.

 

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Policy

The University has a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence, sexual assault and staling occurring within or outside the workplace.  MGL 209A defines domestic violence as a form of abuse among former or present household members, former or current spouses, individuals in substantive dating relationships, individuals who share a biological child and biological relatives of current employees.

 

Drug Free Workplace Policy

Federal Law specifies that Universities who are the recipients of federal funds must meet the requirements of the drug free workplace act of 1988. In order to meet these requirements in compliance with this act, the state and the University has adopted the following policy: Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 Policy

 

In order to comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-690, 5151-5160 applicants for federally funded grants and contracts are required to certify that they have made a good faith effort to maintain a drug free workplace in accordance with the following policy. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94 C, establishes five “classes” of drugs as controlled substances. These classes include, but are not limited to such substances as heroin, cocaine, LSD, marijuana and opium based drugs. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance by Worcester State University employees is prohibited on any premises occupied or controlled by the University. No employee will report to work while under the influence of illegal drugs. Any employee determined to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including removal.

 

In order to comply with the federal law, Worcester State University requires that an employee notify the employer of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after such conviction. Notice shall go to the Human Resources Department. Worcester State University will notify any federal contracting agency within ten (10) days of having received notice that an employee engaged in the performance of such contract has had any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace. Worcester State University

will impose assistance or a rehabilitation program on any employee who is so convicted within thirty days of receiving notice of such conviction.

 

Each employee is notified that, as a condition of employment, he/she must abide by the policy and notify the employer of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five (5) days after such convictions. Failure to abide by the policy may result in disciplinary action, which may include but is not limited to warnings, suspensions, participation in a drug assistant rehabilitation program, or termination. Worcester State University will assist with confidential referrals to substance abuse, assistance or rehabilitation programs as well as sponsor on-campus educational and training programs in order to insure that all employees of

the University are aware of the issues regarding drug use/abuse in the workplace. Contact the Human Resources Department for more information.

Worcester State University shall provide every employee with the information listed above.

 

 

Pets in the Workplace

In accordance with Massachusetts Law, pets are not allowed in state buildings unless they are classified as “service animals” in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

Religious Observances

Individual employees may on occasion have personal preference with regard to their religious needs which, according to both federal and state laws, must be reasonably accommodated by an employer. "Reasonable accommodation" means such accommodation to the employee's religious needs "as shall not cause undue hardship in the conduct of the employer's business." Undue hardship includes situations where the employee's presence is necessary to the orderly transaction of the employer's business and the work cannot be performed by another employee of similar qualifications, or no such employee is available; situations where the employee's presence is required because of an emergency; and situations where such accommodation would result in significant added cost to the employer.

Leave may be granted to employees who have given reasonable notice of intention to be absent to observe, as a requirement of his or her religion, the Sabbath or any other Holy Day that falls on a workday. Employees are not paid for such absence; the absence should, wherever practical in the judgment of the supervisor, be made up by working an equivalent amount of time without incurring overtime costs. Alternatively, an employee may elect to charge such absences for religious observances to vacation or, in the case of the Support Staff, personal leave balances.

The rights of other employees may not be infringed upon in order to accommodate the religious needs of an employee.

 

 

Right to Know

The University is committed to protecting its employees from recognized hazards in the workplace. The main federal law covering issues of workplace safety is the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 [OSHA]. Massachusetts has its own law called the Right-to-Know Law.

 

It is the University’s responsibility to generally provide a workplace that is free of dangers that could physically harm an employee. Under the Massachusetts Right to Know Law and the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard you are entitled to receive information about the toxic substances that are used or stored in your workplace.

 

This information is available to you in the form of a Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) - a technical fact sheet that describes the health effects and safe uses of the toxic products on the job. The MSDS is written by the product manufacturer who must give it to the University.

 

In turn, the University must provide the MSDS to you, your union, or your doctor on request. If you feel your work area is unsafe, make your supervisor aware of the potential danger and allow him/her to correct the problem. You may also contact the University’s environmental health and safety officer, at extension 8099.

 

An employee, who believes he or she has been discharged, disciplined or discriminated against by the University for exercising rights granted under the Law, has one hundred-eighty days to file a complaint with the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industries.

A copy of the verified complaint must be sent to the University at the same time by certified mail. Employee’s rights are further defined under Chapter IIIF of the Massachusetts General Laws and the Code of Massachusetts Regulations 441 CMR 21.00.  For additional information you may call: the Emergency Response/Right-To-Know Program or the Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment at 617-624-5757.

 

Sexual Harassment Policy

Worcester State University prohibits any member of the University community, male or female, from sexually harassing another employee, student or other person having dealings with this institution. The University is committed to providing a working, living and learning environment that is free from all forms of sexually abusive, harassing or coercive conduct. This policy seeks to protect the rights of all members of the University community and other persons having dealings with the institution, and to assure that all are treated with respect and dignity.

— Worcester State University EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK —

Sexual harassment is any unwanted attention or behavior of a sexual nature from someone in the workplace or classroom that causes discomfort or interferes with work or academic performance. Unwelcome sexual advances, sexual remarks, touching and requests for sexual favors are examples of behaviors that may be considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of behavior which fundamentally undermines the integrity of academic and employment relationships.

 

It is of particular concern within educational institutions where all members of the University community are connected by strong bonds of intellectual interdependence and trust. Both the federal courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have ruled that sexual harassment constitutes sex discrimination as defined under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual Harassment has also been judged to be prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 as amended, and under Chapters 151B and 151C of the Massachusetts General Laws

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Individuals at the University who are determined to be practicing sexual harassment shall be officially reprimanded, censured, or punished more severely, as warranted by the circumstance. Moreover, the University will not tolerate reprisals against victims of sexual harassment, and any reprisal by the accused and/or others shall result in disciplinary action being taken.

 

Students, faculty, administration, and staff, are entitled by law to a workplace and learning environment that is free from unwelcome sexual behaviors. Confronting an offender is often difficult. While deciding how to best deal with the situation, individuals are encouraged to seek information and guidance at any time from the Affirmative Action Office. If it is felt that an incident of sexual harassment has occurred, the victim has the following options:

 

• If possible, resolve the issue with the individual whose action is being questioned. In

many cases, the “harasser” may not even realize that his or her actions are offensive. Be assertive and firm about your own rights. It is advisable to take a representative along as an advocate or for support. This person can be asked later to serve as a witness, if needed. Keep a careful written record of the meeting.

 

• If the offensive behavior is not corrected, the incident(s) should be reported to the Affirmative Action Office for guidelines and policy information or for processing a complaint.

 

Smoking Policy

The University promotes a healthy work environment for its employees. In compliance with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 71, Section 37H, the buildings and grounds will be designated as a smoke-free environment. Employees, students, and visitors are restricted from using any tobacco product, including smoking or chewing, within school buildings, the school facilities, or on school buses. Worcester State University accepts this law as binding upon its students and employees as well as visitors to our school and buildings. Smoking is prohibited as well in all state vehicles.

 

Sunshine Policy (Disclosure of Relatives Working for the Commonwealth)

Executive Order 444, section 1 states: “Each person applying for employment …must disclose in writing, upon such application, the names of all immediate family as well as persons related to the immediate family by marriage who serve as an employee or elected officials of the Commonwealth.”  In this policy, immediate family member is identifies as spouse, child, parent and sibling of those related to individuals by marriage (i.e. the spouse’s child, parent or sibling.)

 

The University collects this information from only the finalist for the position.

 

Workplace Emergency Policy

.The following policy has been adopted to respond to inclement weather conditions, or impending inclement weather conditions that necessitate closing of the University

In instances where the University is closed due to inclement weather or other emergency situations only “essential” personnel are required to report to work.

 

Those individuals who are essential will be notified that they have been so designated by their supervisors. On rare occasions, however, an emergency may arise where an employee who previously had not been designated as essential may be required to report to work. Any staff member who is required to report to work when classes have been canceled or the University has been closed will be paid overtime or be granted compensatory time (AFSCME) or flexible scheduling (APA).

 

Announcements regarding the cancellation of classes or the closing of the University are broadcast over local television and radio stations and are posted on the University home page as well as recorded on the Inclement Weather line of the telephone system.

 

Additionally, notices of this nature are sent as text messages through the University’s Emergency Notification System to those who have registered for this service.

 

During Normal Office/Class Hours

If, during normal office/class hours on a work/class day (defined as Monday-Friday after 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.), the President or his designee determines that the University should be closed due to inclement weather or other circumstances, all offices shall be notified of the time and duration of cancellation of normal activity via a phone list. Normal routine will be expected to commence on the next regular class/work day, unless notified otherwise.

 

During Other Hours

A decision to close the University or delay opening will generally be made between 5:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. by the President or the President’s designee, generally, the Provost, in consultation with other members of the University staff. If a decision is made to close for the day, or delay opening, notice will be made for broadcast to the following radio stations:

 

AM Station WTAG 580 AM

WBZ 1030 AM

WORC 1310 AM

FM Stations WSRS 96.1 FM

WXLO 104.5 FM

Television Station WBZ - Channel 4

 

Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

The University follow Executive Order 442 stating that the Commonwealth has a zero-tolerance Policy for workplace violence.  The purpose of this policy is to prevent and minimize the risks associated with workplace violence and to ensure the safety of our employees, contractors and volunteers.

 

At Worcester State University no employee is expected to tolerate violent actions from

other employees, students, faculty, administrators or any person with whom they come into contact throughout their employment. Employees should report any incident of violence to their immediate supervisor, Human Resources, or contact campus police for

immediate assistance.

 

The University will act to protect its employees from physical and/or psychological abuse [defined as the intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress]. Any employee who is threatened with harm is to notify the appropriate administrator immediately, and steps will be taken to protect the employee’s safety. A written report of any serious incidents shall be given to the President and the Vice President of the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 4: EMPLOYEE REPSONSIBILITIES

 

 

Appearance

Your clothing and appearance should be appropriate and safe for the type of work you do.  Your supervisor will let you know if there are any special clothing requirements.  In general you are expected to dress professionally in a manner not offensive to others be they co-workers, students or other members of the public and campus community.

 

Attendance

All employees are expected to report to work on a regular and punctual basis. The length of the work week is specified in collective bargaining agreements and Board handbooks.

 

For administrators, librarians and classified employees, specific work hours are determined by managers and supervisors in each department in consultation with each employee. Most administrative offices are required to be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., and work schedules should be planned accordingly. Faculty work hours are determined by class schedules and contract provisions.

 

An accurate record of time worked is a matter of law.  Administrators report their time electronically through and automated self-service time and attendance (SSTA) system.  AFSCME staff must report their time on paper time sheets requiring approval by their supervisor prior to submittal to Payroll.  Faculty time records are summarized weekly for department clerical staff and submitted to Payroll.

 

Conduct

Standards of conduct are guidelines for all employees to follow in order to help create a safe, comfortable and productive work environment that sets forth a model worthy of emulation by students. All staff members are expected to carry out their assigned responsibilities with conscientious concern. The following paragraphs describe workplace behaviors and the expectations of the Worcester State University Administration for its staff.

 

Our hope and expectation is that all employees of Worcester State University will contribute to making our working climate one that is characterized by respectful interactions, cooperation among department personnel, open and constructive communication and trust. We will speak kindly with one another and acknowledge each other’s talents and skills although we may have different ways of achieving the same goals. We will work collaboratively toward common goals, support one another and accept each other’s ideas. We will communicate openly by seeking, giving and receiving

feedback, and by sharing information necessary to successfully complete our tasks. We will be prompt in our dealings with one another and above all treat each other as we would want to be treated.

 

Worcester State University is committed to providing a work environment free from harassment of any nature including, but not limited to, racial, religious, sexual, age, national origin, ancestral veteran status, disability, or any other type of harassment.

Harassment is unwanted verbal, physical, or visual conduct relating to an individual’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran status or disability.

 

Expectations of Privacy

Any documentary materials or data made or received by an employee of the University, regardless of physical form, may be considered a public record and subject to the Public Records law.  In addition, you should be aware that the objects and areas in which you may keep personal belongings, including but not limited to desks, filing cabinets, voicemail and email messages are considered property of the Commonwealth and may be accessed by the University at any time.

 

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work schedules are governed either by the various Collective Bargaining Agreements or by the President.  Any flexible work schedule requested or agreed to must be reduced to writing with approval by the appropriate Vice President or the President.  Such requests must include justification, duration and purpose and must be kept on file in the Office of Human Resources once approved.

 

Performance Appraisals

Your job performance will be evaluated based on the various Collective Bargaining Agreements or at the President’s directive for non0union employees. 

 

Personnel Files

You have a right, upon request, to examine and receive copies of any and all materials contained in your Personnel File relating to your employment.  There may be a nominal fee charged for duplication.  Please allow a reasonable amount of time for a file to be copied.

 

Probationary Period

Probationary periods, both for newly hired employees as well as those moving from one job to another after first being employed are specified in the respective Collective Bargaining Agreements.

 

Work Week and Schedules

Most employees of the University have a standard work week of 37.5 or 40 hours.  Some may be required to work varying shifts and/or holidays.  Your breaks are covered by your collective bargaining agreement or by state law (30 minute meal break required after six hours of work per state law).

 

SECTION 5: BENEFITS AND COMPENSATION

 

Bi-Weekly Pay

The University uses the Commonwealth of Massachusetts bi-weekly (14 day) payroll system.  Under this system, you will receive a payroll advice on the Friday following the end of the 14 day work period.  That advice will display:

 

·         Gross bi-weekly itemized earnings

·         Year-to-date gross earnings

·         Net earnings

·         The type and amount of the deductions

·         Sick, vacation, personal leave and compensatory time balances

 

Please review your payroll advice each pay period to ensure the accuracy of the information contained therein since corrections may be prohibited after a period of time elapses.  Please immediately notify the payroll timekeeper or the payroll supervisor of any issues that you have with the accuracy of your pay advice.

 

All employees, including students with the exception of Federal Work Study Students, are required to have direct deposit for your bi-weekly pay.  Your net pay will be deposited to the checking and/or savings account of your choice at a bank or credit union from the New England Automated Clearing House (NEACH) listing.  Please remember to notify your payroll department before making changes to your bank account number or switching banks. 

 

Contract Positions

If you are employed in a contract position, you must participate in direct deposit and contribute towards the Alternate Retirement Program (OBRA).  You are not entitled to any other benefits except for the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP).

 

Deferred Compensation

As an employee of the University you may participate in supplemental retirement programs known as 457b, SMART Plan or 403b, tax deferred annuities.  Both options allow you to save and invest before tax dollars for retirement purposes through voluntary salary deferrals.  You decide, within IRS limits, how much you want to defer.  This account is solely funded by you.  There are no University matching contributions.  The payroll department will reduce your paycheck by that amount before income taxes.  Your contributions will be invested per your instructions in whatever options are available to you in either the 457b or 403b plans.

 

Dental Insurance

University employees who are represented by either MSCA or APA will receive Dental Insurance at no cost to them once they have completed 180 days of employment.  This insurance is provided by the employer through the collective bargaining process.  The dental plan is administered by a group of trustees appointed from both labor and management.

 

AFSCME Employees receive a dental benefit through their union as part ot their dues structure.

 

Non-Unit Professional and Classified employees may purchase dental insurance through the University benefits office.

 

Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP) Optional

The Dependent Care Assistance Plan, offered by the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), allows employees to pay for certain dependent care expenses such as child care, elder care and day camp with pre-tax dollars.  Participating in DCAP can significantly reduce your federal and state income taxes. An administrative fee will be charged by the third party administrator of the plan  Careful calculation of the necessary costs to fund this account is important as any balance remaining at the end of the year is lost.  It is also necessary to enroll every year.  There is no carryover of enrollment.  See your Benefits Coordinator for information and assistance in enrolling.

 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The University provides each employee and all members of their immediate family with access to an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) at no cost to the employee and with complete confidentiality.   The EAP is accessed by going to www.TheEAP.com and registering as an employee of the University.

 

Assistance is available 24/7 and covers a wide variety of life and work issues ranging from finances to eldercare and childcare to legal and interpersonal concerns.  As indicated above, the service if without cost to the employee and is completely confidential.

 

Extended Sick Leave Banks and Programs

AFSCME employees are eligible to be considered for up to 60 days of extended sick leave upon approval of the president.  Application for this leave, including medical necessity is made through the union to the Director of HR and then to the president.  Terms and conditions can be found in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

 

APA and MSCA employees may become members of their respective sick leave banks by donating a sick day during their first year of service and then as need in order to replenish the bank if necessary.  Method of application, medical documentation and terms and conditions are included in the relevant Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

 

Non-unit professionals are eligible for extended leave at the discretion and  with the approval of the president, subject to ordinary medical justification.

 

 

 

Health Care Spending Account (Optional)

The HSCA program is offered through the GIC and allows you to pay for certain health related expenses with pre-tax dollars, thus reducing your federal and state income tax.

 

As with the DCAP, you calculate the amount of funds you think you will need to cover these expenses and authorize the payroll department to defer the funds into the account each pay period on a pre-tax basis.  Also, like the DCAP, any dollars not expended within the calendar year will be subject to forfeiture within the rules of the plan.  An administrative fee will be charged by the third party administrator of the plan. 

 

Health Insurance (Optional)

The Group Insurance Commission administers health insurance coverage.  You can either elect to participate in an insurance plan that is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Point of Service Plan (POS), or an Indemnity Plan.  Please refer to the GIC’s Benefit Decision Guide for details prior to enrolling.

 

Coverage becomes effective the first day of the month after you have been on the payroll for two (2) full consecutive months or 60 calendar days, whichever comes first.  Premiums are deducted on a bi-weekly basis from your pay advice.  The percentage of the premium depends on the date of hire or annual salary and currently ranges from 20% to 25%.

 

If you do not elect to carry health insurance within 10 days of employment, you will generally not be eligible to obtain insurance until the annual enrollment period which usually occurs during the months of April and May with coverage taking effect on July 1.  Certain circumstances (i.e. loss of coverage elsewhere) may warrant a waiver of this restriction.  An change selected during the annual enrollment period is effective July 1st of that year.

 

Holidays

The University celebrates 11 paid holidays each year.  They are:

January 1                                          New Year’s Day

Third Monday in January               Martin Luther King Day

Third Monday in February              President’s Day

Third Monday in April                      Patriot’s Day

Last Monday in May                                    Memorial Day

July 4                                                 Independence Day

First Monday in September            Labor Day

Third Monday in October                Columbus Day

November 11                                    Veteran’s Day

Fourth Thursday in November      Thanksgiving Day

December 25                                    Christmas Day

 

 

 

Life Insurance

Life Insurance is offered through the Group Insurance Commission.  See your GIC Benefit Decision Guide for additional information

 

Basic Life Insurance: The Commonwealth offers $5,000 of basic life insurance as part of your health insurance plan.  You may choose to enroll in basic life insurance without enrolling in the health insurance plan.  You and the Commonwealth share the cost of this insurance.

 

Optional Life Insurance: This term insurance covers you and pas your designated beneficiaries in the event of your death or certain other catastrophic events.  Employees pay 100% of the premium.  As a new employee you may enroll in Optional Life Insurance coverage amount up to eight times your salary without need for any medical review.  In the future you may apply to increase coverage by completing a medical application for the insurance carrier’s review and approval.

 

Long Term Disability Insurance

Long Term Disability Insurance (LTD) is an income replacement program that protects you in the event you become disabled or are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your job.  It allows you to receive a portion of your salary on a tax-free basis.

 

If you are a new full-time or half-time employee, who works at least 18.75 hours in a 37.5 hour work week or 20 hours in a 40 hour work week, you may apply to enroll in the LTD plan without providing evidence of good health within 31 days of hire.  If you do not enroll within 31 days you may still apply for the benefit but you will be required to provide evidence of insurability for the vendor’s approval.  Employees pay 100% of the premium.

 

Military Pay Provision

If you serve in the Massachusetts National Guard and participate in an Annual Tour of Military Duty, you will receive regular pay without losing any ordinary compensation that you would have received up to a maximum of 34 days per state fiscal year (July through June).

 

If you participate in an Annual Tour of Military Duty as a member oa a reserve component of the Armed forces of the united States, you will receive regular pay without losing any ordinary compensation that you would have receive, up to a maximum of 17 days per federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30).  Please notify Human Resources in advance if you will be participating in any military duty.

Payroll Deductions

 

DEDUCTIONS

DESCRIPTION

PRIORITY

FEDERAL

TAX

STATE

TAX

PAY

PERIOD

Federal

Fed Tax

1

N/A

N/A

Every

Medicare

Med Tax

2

N/A

N/A

Every

State Taxes

State Tax

3

N/A

N/A

Every

Retirement

State Ret

4

Pre

Pre (1)

Every

Adjustment to Retirement

Adj. Ret.

5

Pre

Pre (1)

Every

Alternative Retirement

Alt. Ret.

6

Pre

Pre (1)

Every

Wage Garnishment

Garnish

7

Post

Post

Every*

Makeup Retirement

Makeup Ret

8

Post

Post

Every

Basic Life Ins

Life Ins

9

Post

Post

First

Basic Health

Health Ins

10

Pre

Pre

First/second

Optional Life

Life Ins

11

Post

Post

Second

Long Term Disability

LTD Amt

12

Post

Post

First

Union Dues

Union Due

13

Post

Post

Varies

Agency Fee

Agency Fee

14

Post

Post

Varies

DCAP

Dep Care

15

Pre

Pre

Every

DCAP Fee

DCAP Fee

16

Post

Post

Every

Tax Shelter Annuity

TSA

17

Pre

Pre

Every

Deferred Compensation

Def Comp

18

Pre

Pre

Every

Savings Bond

Sav Bond

19

Post

Post

Varies

COMECC

COMECC

20

Post

Post

Every

UFUND

UFUND

21

Post

Post

First/second

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first $2,000 in the total of all Retirement contributions is not subject to MA State Tax.

*Determined by court order.

 

 

Retirement System

As a state employee, you no longer contribute to Social Security.  Instead, as a University employee you will participate in either the State Employee Retirement System (SERS) or the Option Retirement Program (ORP) if eligible.  All AFSCME or classified employees must participate in SERS, while all faculty and administrators are eligible to participate in either SERS or ORP.

 

While the employee contribution into either program is the same (9% on the first $30,000 of earnings and 11% on everything above $30,000 of regular salary) the ORP allows you to manage the investment of your retirement funds by working with one of the approved vendors for investment.  There is also a 5% match to your contribution.  The value of the funds at retirement will depend on the success of your investment strategy.

 

SERS contributions are invested by the State Treasurer who oversees the pension funds for the entire Commonwealth.  

 

You have 180 days from the first day of employment to decide on which retirement plan you want to choose.  That decision is irrevocable.

 

Salary Increases

Salary increases for members of Bargaining Units are generally governed by their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements.

 

Non-unit Professionals increases are based on performance, job content and authorization from the Commissioner of Higher Education.

 

Same Sex Marriage Benefits

Same Sex spouses of University employees are entitled to benefits such as GIC benefits (health insurance, etc.), Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), Tuition Remission for spouses and children, etc.

 

Tuition Remission

Tuition Assistance is available to benefit eligible employees once they have reached 6 months of service.  Tuition Waiver/Remission forms are available on line at the Human Resources web site or in person at the Office of Human Resources.

 

U.Fund College Savings Plan

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) established the U.Fund in 1999 in partnership with Fidelity Investments.  This fund is designed to give parents and others the opportunity to prepare for the significant costs of a college education for their children and grandchildren.

 

Use of University Facilities

 

Library

The Library is located in the Learning Resource Center. Employees may check out books and other materials from the library by presenting their University employee identification cards.

 

Bookstore

The bookstore is located on the main floor of the Student Center. Employees receive a 10% discount on textbooks and on a variety of other items. The bookstore is operated by an independent contractor.

 

Lost and Found

Items found on campus should be turned in to the Campus Police Department in Wasylean Hall. Lost items should also be reported to the Campus Police at extension 8044.

 

 

 

Health Services

Health Services is located in the Gym Building and provides assistance in emergency situations and first response. This office can be reached at extension 8875. The Campus Police respond to emergencies by calling 8044.

 

 

Campus Mail

The Mailroom is located on the first floor of the Administration Building. The campus mail is picked up and delivered daily to administrative and academic departments. The mail service is not to be used for personal mailings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 6: LEAVES

 

 

Absence from Work Without Pay

Absence from work without pay (authorized or unauthorized) may affect leave accruals, vacation status, salary adjustments, GIC benefits and/or other benefits.  An employee on unpaid leave may need to pay insurance premiums directly to the Group Insurance Commission.

 

Bereavement Leave

Bereavement Leave is governed by the appropriate Collective Bargaining Agreement of by the Non-unit handbook.  All requests for bereavement leave are subject to providing proof of the relationship of the deceased to the employee as well as to the fact of the death.

 

Blood Donation Leave

University employees are eligible for up to two hours of paid leave to donate blood.

 

Contract Positions

Contract positions are not entitled to any paid leave time except for the first three days paid for jury duty in Massachusetts.

 

Court/Jury Duty Leave

You are entitled to leave with pay when called for jury service or when summoned as a witness on behalf of any city or town of the Commonwealth or the state or federal government.

 

If you receive jury fees for jury service and present the appropriate court certificate of service, you shall either retain such fees in lieu of pay for the period of jury service if the fees exceed your regular rate of compensation or remit to the University any fees if they are less than your regular compensation rate for the period involved.

 

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in the Workplace Leave

Executive Order 491 provides for up to 15 days of paid domestic violence leave per calendar year if you and/or your children are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking and need to go to court, attend medical appointments, etc. 

 

Family and Medical Leave Act

An eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family/medical leave within a 12-month period for certain family and medical reasons as specified under the Family and Medical Leave Act 9FMLA) OF 1993.The 12-monthperiod is measured forward from the first day FMLA leave is taken. An employee is eligible if he/she has worked for

Worcester State University for at least one year and for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. Upon return from FMLA leave employees, other than key employees, must be restored to the same or an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. FMLA leave may be used to care for a newborn,

adopted, or foster child; to care for a seriously ill parent, child, or spouse; or, because the employee is experiencing a serious medical condition.

 

FMLA leave is not an additional form of paid leave. An employee is required to substitute any accrued paid personal, vacation, and sick leave for unpaid FMLA LEAVE. An employee is not required to substitute compensatory time for unpaid FMLA leave, but he/she may request to have compensatory time substituted for unpaid FMLA leave.

 

Paid long term disability and workers’ compensation leave run concurrently with FMLA leave. The use of accrued paid leave during an FMLA leave is subject to all the usual collective bargaining agreement stipulations and to University policies that normally apply to requesting and using such leaves.

 

The substitution of accrued paid leave time for unpaid leave time does not extend the 12-week leave period. Employees who do not have appropriate accrued leave available may be granted unpaid FMLA leave.

 

Employees are required to request such leaves at least thirty days in advance if the need for the leave can be anticipated. Otherwise, they should request the leave as soon as they become aware of the need to take it. Employees should contact the Human Resources Department (HRD) to obtain an FMLA leave request form as much in advance of the requested leave period as possible.

 

Personal Leave

Personal leave accruals are governed by the respective Collective Bargaining Agreements.

 

Sick Leave

Classified Staff (AFSCME) and Administrators (APA and NUP) earn 15 sick days per year.  Faculty Librarians also earn 15 sick days per year while teaching faculty earn a total of 10 sick days per year.  Part time employees accumulate sick time on a prorated basis based on their hours worked.

 

When calling in sick, please contact your department and leave a message there as well as calling the main number and working your way through the menu options to get to the absence line.

 

Sick leave is allowed to accumulate from year to year and is paid out to employees at their retirement at the rate of 20% of the accumulated hours.

 

Small Necessities Leave

University employees are entitled to 24 hours of unpaid leave during any 12 month period, in addition to leave available under the FMLA for the following purposes:

 

·         To participate in school activities directly related to the educational advancement of your child

·         To accompany your child or elderly relative to routine medical or dental appointments or for other professional health care services. 

If you have accumulated sick, personal or vacation credits at the commencement of your Small Necessities Leave, you may use such credits for which you may be eligible under the applicable rules.  The University is not obligated to provide paid sick leave or paid medical leave in any situation where the University would not normally provide such paid leave.

 

Vacation Leave

Unit and non-unit classified personnel and professional employees (excluding faculty members) begin to accrue vacation leave with the first pay period of employment. The following are the accrual rates for each employee category.

 

MSCA Librarians

 

YEARS OF SERVICE

ACCRUAL RATE

0-8

6.346 hours per pay period or 22 days/year (165 total hours)

8-16

6.634 hours per pay period or 23 days/year (172.5 total hours)

16-25

7.211 hours per pay period or 25 days/year (187.5 total hours)

25+

8.653 hours per pay period or 30 days/year (225 total hours)

 

 

Unit and Non-Unit Classified Employees

Employees working a 37.5 hour week

 

YEARS OF SERVICE

ACCRUAL RATE

0-4.5

2.884 hours per day or 10 days/year (75 total hours)

4.5-9.5

4.326 hours per pay period or 15 days/year (112.5 total hours)

9.5 -19.5

5.769 hours per pay period or 20 days/year (150 total hours)

19.5+

7.211 hours per pay period or 25 days/year (187.5 total hours)

 

 

Classified Employees working a 40 hour week

 

YEARS OF SERVICE

ACCRUAL RATE

0-4.5

3.076 hours per pay period or 10 days/year (80 total hours)

4.5-9.5

4.615 hours per pay period or 15 days/year (120 total hours)

9.5-19.5

6.153 hours per pay period or 20 days/year (160 total hours)

19.5+

7.632 hours per pay period or 25 days/year (200 total hours)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APA Unit Administrators

 

YEARS OF SERVICE

ACCRUAL RATE

0-1

5.769 hours per par period or 20 days/year (150 total hours)

1-8

4.615 hours per pay period or 22 days/year (165 total hours)

8-16

6.634 hours per pay period or 23 days/.year (172.5 total hours)

16-25

7.211 hours per pay period or 25 days/year (187.5 total hours)

25+

8.653 hours per pay period or 30 days/year (225 total hours)

 

 

Non-Unit Professional Administrators

 

YEARS OF SERVICE

ACCRUAL RATE

0-8

6.346 hours per pay period or 22 days/year (165 total hours)

9-16

6.634 hours per pay period or 23 days/year (172.5 total hours)

16-25

7.211 hours per pay period or 25 days/year (187.5 total hours)

25+

8.653 hours per pay period or 30 days/year (225 total hours)

 

 

 University employees from Unit and non-unit classified (37.5 hours per week), MSCA Librarians, APA Administrators and Non-unit Professionals may accumulate up to 480 hours of vacation time.  Unit Classified (40 hours per week) may accumulate up to 512 hours of vacation time.  Excess accruals above the limit will be converted to sick hours twice per year in April and October.

 

Volunteer Leave

Executive Order 479 established the Voluntary Services leave Program which allows eligible University employees to volunteer within a Massachusetts public or charter school or approved Massachusetts non-profit in the area of education, environment, health, human services or public safety up to one day per month without loss of salary or benefits.  You must be employed for at least six months before applying for this leave.  Additional information is available at  www.mass.gov/serv.

 

Voting Leave

University employees are eligible for up to two hours of paid leave to vote.

 

Workers’ Compensation Leave

Workers’ Compensation Insurance provides salary protection and medical coverage for injuries and illnesses occurring from work related accidents or exposures.  If you suffer an on-the-job injury or job-related illness , you must report it within 24 hours to the Office of Human Resources.  That office will file an incident report with the Human Resources Division Workers’ Compensation Unit in Boston.  They will review your claim and if approved you may receive benefits to cover medical costs and offset loss of wages during your period of disability.  Injuries or illnesses resulting from serious or willful misconduct or those occurring outside the scope of employment will not be covered. 

 

  

                                    SECTION 7: EMPLOYEE CATEGORIES

 

 

Benefit Eligible Employees

Benefit eligible employees are those that are members of the several collective bargaining units on campus; AFSCME, APA and MSCA as well as Non-unit Classified and Non-unit Professionals.

 

Contract Employees

Contract employees are not eligible for benefits.  They are, however covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

 

Student Employees

Student Employees fall into one of three categories: Federal Work Study (those who receive federal financial aid in the form of subsidized work), Institutional Work Study (those who are employed using University funds made available through the budget process) and Graduate Assistants, also funded by either the University of in some cases grants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    Section 8: Leaving University Service

 

 

 

Resignation

Employees are asked to provide the University with written notice of their intent to resign.  Customarily this notice is sent to the President with copies to the supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.  Classified employees are asked to provide a minimum of two weeks’ notice when they resign from their positions at the University. Professional administrators are asked to provide one month’s notice and faculty members are asked to give a full semester of notice, if possible.

 

An appointment with the Director of Human Resources should be arranged during

the last scheduled work week. In order to receive a refund of retirement contributions, an application for a refund must be completed upon termination

.

Under the provisions of COBRA (The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986), employees who leave their positions may continue health and dental insurance coverage at their own expense (full premium plus a small administrative fee) for a period of time. Details of this option are provided to employees by Group Insurance Commission following the termination.

 

Retirement

Employees are asked to provide the University with written notice of their intentions to retire from state employment as much in advance as possible. Customarily this notice is sent to the President with copies to the supervisor and the Office of Human Resources. Request is made because of the need to begin searches as early as possible and to plan for the substantial costs to the University that result from retirement provisions such as vacation leave payments and sick leave buy backs. (Specific notice is required under each collective bargaining agreement or Board handbook to be eligible for sick leave buy back.)

 

Retiring employees should schedule an appointment with the State Retirement Board several months before the retirement date. A retirement counselor will explain the various retirement options and provide an estimate of the retirement benefit

the employee will receive.

 

An appointment with the Supervisor of Payroll and Benefits, X8061 should also be scheduled to review plans for continuing insurance coverage, to obtain an estimate of sick leave buy back and, if applicable, vacation leave payoff, and to discuss other retirement-related issues

 

An application for retirement should be submitted to the retirement board at least three (3) months prior to retiring. Applications can be acquired from the retirement board or from their website at http://www.state.ma.us/treasury/srb.htm

 

 

 

 

Reductions in Force (Retrenchments)

If a reduction in the workforce occurs due to fiscal exigencies, reorganization or program changes, the reduction will be administered in accordance with all applicable collective bargaining agreements and Board handbooks.

 

An appointment with HR will be scheduled for each employee who is affected by a reduction-in-force.

 

Options for continuing insurance coverage under the provisions of COBRA and procedures for obtaining retirement contribution refunds will be explained at that time. Estimates of final pay may also be provided.

 

Involuntary Separations

Employees who leave University service on an involuntary basis may apply for a refund of retirement contributions and may also be eligible to continue health insurance at their own expense under the provisions of the COBRA law.

 

An appointment with the benefits administrator in HR should be scheduled as soon as notice of termination is received.

 

 

 

 

Last modified at 7/19/2013 10:47 AM  by Hoxha, Anisa