FAQs

General

Q: Why are there two staff systems at the University?

A: In 2004, in a move designed to reduce pressure on the state budget and to support continued excellence in higher education in Virginia, three of the state’s leading universities – Virginia Tech, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia – developed a proposal to establish a new relationship with the state. Referred to as “restructuring,” the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act gives Virginia’s public colleges and universities greater flexibility and internal control of each institution’s administrative operations, including the creation of a new HR system that would be more flexible, dynamic, and responsive to the needs of the University workplace and its employees. You can read more about how the University Staff HR Plan was developed in our history. All new salaried staff, non-faculty, hired on or after July 1, 2006 are hired as “University Staff” and are covered under University Staff policies.


Q: Can I remain a Classified Staff employee?

A: All those hired before July 1, 2006 have a choice. You may remain Classified Staff. However, you will be given the opportunity to change to University Staff if you wish.


Q: How often will the opportunity be provided to convert / open election periods?

A: Under state law, open election must be offered at least every two years. Beginning August 13, 2012, the University has implemented open enrollment. Classified Staff and A&P faculty wishing to convert may do so during any pay period, with effective dates as detailed on our Enrollment Calendar. In addition, employees have the opportunity to convert to the University Staff HR Plan when accepting a new position within the University.


Q: Will there be an easy way /succinct summary to compare what is the best HR Plan for each employee?

A: All employees can review a side-by-side comparison of their current status and their status under the University Staff HR Plan.


Q: Where can I go to get more detailed information about the history of Restructuring?

A: Information regarding the Higher Education Restructuring Act can be found on the U.Va. Higher Education Restructuring web site. Information specifically about HR Restructuring can be found on our History page.


Q: Who can I contact if I have questions?

A: Please contact the HR Service Center at 982.0123 or AskHR@virginia.edu.


Q: Will University Staff salaries be published, like A&P are now?

A: Neither University Staff nor A&P salaries will be published by the University. All salaries are subject to release if requested under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


Q: Currently, certain schools have financial autonomy (Darden, Law, etc.). Will that continue in the future with the University Staff HR Plan with regard to pay increases?

A: The schools’ financial autonomy is not changed by restructuring or the existence of the University Staff HR Plan.


Q: If someone does not complete the election process will they automatically remain in the “old” system?

A: Yes. Nobody’s status will change unless they elect to switch.


Q: How do employees make the switch this year?

A: University Staff election is made through Benefits@UVa. Employees must have a registered email address to use the system. Take a look at our resources for more information.


Q: What University Staff policies can change in the future if not mandated by State law?

A: Under the authority granted to the University by the Restructuring Legislation and the Management Agreement, the University has the right to change any of the University Staff policies that are developed now or in the future. The legislation does mandate that certain employee rights and privileges remain the same for both University Staff and Classified Staff. This includes the state’s Standards of Conduct and the right to pursue grievance procedures; leave types other than annual; access to the short term disability benefit through VSDP; retirement options; and recognition of years of service for leave accrual, probationary periods, transfers to other state agencies, layoffs, seniority, and service awards.


Employee Status

Q: What if I am a current Classified U.Va. employee but I’m applying for a different job at U.Va.?

A: Classified Staff will be given the opportunity to convert to University Staff if they take a new job within U.Va. and, as of Sept. 13, 2012, any other time during the year. You do not have to switch unless you are taking a position normally covered by a contract (Executive & Senior Administrative positions). However, choosing to remain Classified means you are subject to state regulations on salary increases and may limit the amount of salary increase you will be eligible to get in your new position.


Q: What impact will Restructuring have on me if I am a current employee at another state agency but I’m applying for a job at U.Va.?

A: Any current state Classified Staff or covered university employee (University Staff) at another state agency who chooses to transfer to a covered school on or after July 1, 2006 will be University Staff. The only effect on the state transfer will be if you are a participant in the Personal or “Traditional” Sick Leave Plan (old sick leave plan). The transferring agency will be responsible for paying out leave (maximum up to $5,000) upon transfer. At U.Va., you will be enrolled in the Sickness and Disability Program associated with your retirement plan (VRS/VSDP or the ORP).


Q: If I change from Classified Staff to University Staff, can I decide later to change back to Classified Staff?

A: Once you have elected to become University Staff, your election is permanent.


Q: Do Administrative & Professional (A&P) faculty with academic support positions know they do not have the choice of University Staff?

A: University Human Resources worked directly with deans and directors in the schools and units to review Administrative and Professional Faculty and determine eligibility for the University Staff HR Plan. Certain positions were determined to be substantively academic in nature, and therefore will remain A&P faculty positions. They will not receive communications and enrollment packages during election periods.


Q: How do A&P Faculty request academic status? Should they send a request?

A: All requests for academic status, as well as the terms and conditions of a faculty appointment, are dictated by the school or department of appointment in accordance with University Faculty Policy.


Q: The provost office currently provides oversight for A&P faculty. Will that change with University Staff?

A: Yes. A&P who elect to become University Staff (Managerial and Professional) will not be aligned with the provost’s office, but will fall under central UHR.


Q: If Administrative & Professional (A&P) faculty move to a University Staff position can they retain A&P status?

A: As with Classified Staff, A&P faculty will have the option to elect University Staff or not, when moving to a new position.


Q: Please explain the current status of Professional Research Staff (PRS) and explain how the status of these positions will change.

A: The University of Virginia currently has several types of employees, including Professional Research Staff. PRS employees do not have the option to become University Staff at this time. The goal is to design a University Staff HR Plan that can accommodate certain Professional Research Staff in the future.


Q: If a Professional Research Staff employee takes a new non-research job, are they given a choice of Classified or University staff?

A: No. They will become University Staff.


Q: Are all foundation employees ineligible to enroll or just some?

A: Those individuals employed directly by the foundations are not eligible to enroll.


Q: If a Medical Center employee transfers to U.Va., will they automatically be hired as University Staff?

A: Yes, unless they are hired as Teaching & Research (T&R) Faculty, Professional Research Staff (PRS), or some other employment classification that does not fall under the University Staff HR Plan.


Q: If an Administrative & Professional (A&P) contract ends and the candidate wants to keep their job, can they?

A: As always, A&P contracts are renewed at the department’s discretion.


Q: Regarding Classified Staff who has an offer to move to a new position: If they opt to stay as Classified Staff, will there still be a salary cap? What if the classified employee wants to move to University Staff at the time they accept a new position? Will they not be subject to a cap (since University Staff starting salaries are not capped)?

A: Yes, state limits (15%) would apply if they remain Classified. If they elect to move to University Staff, the state caps would not apply.


Q: I transferred from Classified Staff to Administrative & Professional (A&P) Faculty. The HR personnel system currently lists my faculty position as “Tenure ineligible with expectation of continued employment possible.” If I elect to become University Staff, does my “expectation of continued employment” status transfer with me?

A: While your position is eligible for ECE (ECE is “possible”), you have not earned ECE at this time. If you make the switch to University Staff you will be covered by the Terms and Conditions of Employment and will no longer be eligible to earn ECE. A&P faculty electing to participate in the University Staff System who have already earned the Expectation of Continued Employment (ECE) will retain ECE status after becoming University Staff. As University Staff, these employees retain ECE status, so long as the services to the University continue to be of the type and scope requiring the University Staff employee’s high level of professional skills, and the employee maintains a level of productivity and effectiveness expected of such position. (See Employment of Non-Tenure Track Faculty Policy, Section VI.)


Q: Can a supervisor/hiring personnel request that the position be posted only for those that want to remain CS? Posted only for US? (perhaps due to budgetary concerns?)

A: No. All staff positions are posted as University Staff. However, employees who are chosen for those positions and wish to remain Classified Staff may do so.


Q: Are non-Medical Center health professionals eligible to change to the University Staff HR Plan?

A: Yes. All eligible (non-T&R faculty) employees, including those in the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and elsewhere, may elect to become University Staff.


Compensation

Q: How will the University allocate the state funding for cost of living increases? Will there be any guidelines? When the state provides the monies to fund the legislated increase, will that money be allocated to cost of living increases for University Staff or might it be pooled and used for pay for performance with none of it going to across the board increases?

A: The monies provided by the state for annual increases are not cost of living increases. The funds will continue to be provided to the University when available and will be allocated to the schools/units for merit increases for University Staff and across-the-board increases for Classified Staff. The University will provide guidelines to the schools/units for merit increases based on performance ratings. There will be ranges provided for each performance rating, and the schools/units will determine the amount of the increases.


Q: Will departments be able to set the differential pay amount for University Staff?

A: No, departments will not be able to set this amount.


Q: Will merit increases be centralized (i.e. 3’s get 2% and 4’s and 5’s get 5%) or will they be at the department’s discretion?

A: The University’s Board of Visitors will establish salary increases as part of the budget approval process. UHR will develop annual guidelines for merit increases based on the budgeted amount. Schools and units will use these guidelines to determine individual increases. Guidelines will be provided in the form of a range for each evaluation rating rather than a specific amount. Increases above or below those ranges would require additional approval.


Q: What happens in years where no increases are funded by the state?

A: The University’s Board of Visitors has the authority to approve salary increases, as funding permits, for University Staff and faculty only. The University cannot provide salary increases for Classified Staff in years where the General Assembly has not legislated increases as part of each year’s Appropriations Act.


Q. If I switch from A&P to University Staff will I move to a biweekly payroll?

A. Yes. All University Staff use SSTL to track time and leave, including former A&P. For more on how SSTL works, visit the SSTL pages on our Web site.


Q: What are the budgeting implications of pay increases? Will the state give funds for increases based on total number of employees? Can departments add to this?

A: The state calculation for salary increases is unchanged. University Staff are still counted for salary purposes. Yes, departments can add to this, though they should observe the annual guidelines set out by the BoV (see above). In addition, the University’s Board of Visitors has the authority to approve additional salary increases, as funding permits, for University Staff and faculty only. The University cannot provide salary increases for Classified Staff in years where the General Assembly has not legislated increases as part of each year’s Appropriations Act.


Q: When someone is searching for a job on the U.Va. Web site, Jobs@UVa, how will you determine which salary to list (as current Classified Staff can opt to stay Classified)? Will it be market range?

A: All staff positions posted on the web site are posted as University Staff with a market range. If at the time of the offer, an employee chooses to remain Classified Staff, the position will be converted to a Classified position and the state limits will apply.


Q: Given how broad the basic pay bands are, how will general professional faculty be “slotted in” to the University Staff HR Plan? Do we just move over with our current salaries, or will there be adjustments imposed?

A: The University Staff HR Plan provides a market-relevant range for each position. Classified Staff and A&P faculty positions have been matched to market ranges. This will provide information on where current salaries are relative to the market for similar positions. No automatic salary adjustments will be imposed.


Q: Where is the money coming from to bring everyone to market value?

A: The process for bringing employees to market will be a gradual process. Funding for most salary adjustments will continue to come through the normal budgetary process. Classified Staff salaries are set by the state. For University Staff, annual funding for salaries is set by the Board of Visitors as part of the budget process. The University may now request funding for additional University Staff salary increases through the Board of Visitors, as has been the practice for faculty.


Q: What market are we being compared to? Industry? Other universities?

A: The University relies on a number of market survey tools covering both the higher education market as well as the private sector. We use statewide, regional and national survey sources depending on where we recruit for positions. Local market data is only used where the local market ranges are higher than state ranges.


Q: How frequently can an employee get a raise?

A: The University will establish annual guidelines for merit increases, based on employee performance and provided in the form of a range for each evaluation rating rather than a specific amount. Schools and units will use these guidelines to determine individual increases. Additional increases (both in base salary and one time bonuses) are possible during the year for a variety of reasons, including career path progression, employee development, changes in responsibilities, and others.


Q: Who gets a raise first: a Classified Staff or a University Staff?

A: No priority will be given to one group over the other when sequencing salary increases; however, for Classified Staff, annual increases will continue to occur on the timeline determined by the Commonwealth’s Budget and the state’s Department of Human Resources Management. The University need not adhere to that schedule for University Staff. University Staff salary increases are set by the Board of Visitors.


Q: As Classified Staff, will I get my state-approved raise or is it now up to the department?

A: For Classified Staff, across-the-board annual increases will continue to be determined by the Commonwealth’s budget. For University Staff, annual funding for salaries will set by the Board of Visitors as part of the budget process. The University may now request additional funding for University Staff salary increases through the Board of Visitors, as has been the practice for faculty. The University will also establish annual guidelines for merit increases, based on employee performance. Schools and units will use these guidelines to determine individual increases. Additional increases (both in base salary and one time bonuses) are possible during the year for a variety of reasons, including career path progression, employee development, changes in responsibilities, and others.


Q: It is unclear to me how a change to a market range would affect my current salary. Could it potentially drop, or will my current salary be used as the baseline?

A: Salaries will not be reduced under the University Staff HR Plan as a result of the linkage to market-relevant ranges.


Q: Will departments have to give employees at least what the Governor gives?

A: No. For Classified staff, across-the-board annual increases will continue to be determined by the Commonwealth’s Budget. The state calculation for salary increases is unchanged. University Staff are still counted for salary purposes. For University Staff, annual funding for salaries will set by the Board of Visitors as part of the budget process, taking state funding into account. The University may now request additional funding for University Staff salary increases through the Board of Visitors, as we have done for faculty. The University will establish annual guidelines for merit increases, based on employee performance and provided in the form of a range for each evaluation rating rather than a specific amount. Schools and units will use these guidelines to determine individual increases. Additional increases (both in base salary and one time bonuses) are possible during the year for a variety of reasons, including employee development, changes in responsibilities, and others.


Q: How often will market ranges get revised?

A: Market ranges are typically revised annually.


Q: Do employees keep the same salary if they change over?

A: Employees keep their current salaries unless they are switching as a result of a job offer with a new salary or as part of a move along a career path.


Q: If Administrative & Professional (A&P) faculty elects to convert to University Staff, would their fringe rate change?

A: For A&P moving to Managerial and Professional University Staff, the fringe rate changes to the staff fringe rate at the start of the next fiscal year. A&P moving to Executive & Senior Administrative retain the current faculty fringe rate.


Q: How come in-band adjustments (IBAs) are not being processed as frequently?

A: IBAs or Salary Exceptions are limited in response to the impact of the state’s budget reductions. In order to manage salary expenses, the University chose to implement a suspension on Salary Exceptions/IBAs and adopted a limited number of salary exception reasons (in addition to other cost-saving strategies) rather than implementing other budget-cutting measures, such as layoffs. Adjustments for urgent or critical Pay Exceptions/Actions (IBAs) include:

Classified Staff Salary Exceptions Practices:

  • Reallocating workload when vacant positions will not be filled, resulting in a net decrease in salary expense;
  • Countering a documented external competitive offer for an essential employee;
  • Retaining an essential employee when there is a documented clear and imminent threat to retention AND the employee’s pay level is significantly less than those in similar jobs, whether internal or external to the University;
  • Converting an expiring Temporary Pay arrangement into an employee’s base salary. In these situations, the circumstances surrounding this recommendation needs to be evaluated in light of the current budget challenges, with a case being presented as to the necessity of such an adjustment/conversion.

University Staff Salary Exception Practices:

  • To address documented salary equity issues that have arisen since the last annual review of staff salaries;
  • To retain a staff member whose accomplishments or area of expertise have, since the last annual review cycle made him/her likely to be recruited by other institutions or who has received an employment offer from other institutions. (Note: we do not require that the staff member have an “offer in hand, and encourage proactive retention efforts for our best staff; it is recognized that such retention efforts must be well documented and not apply to large numbers of staff at once.)
  • Reallocating workload when vacant positions will not be filled, resulting in a net decrease in salary expense;
  • Converting an expiring Temporary Pay arrangement into an employee’s base salary. In these situations, the circumstances surrounding this recommendation needs to be evaluated in light of the current budget challenges, with a case being presented as to the necessity of such an adjustment/conversion.

Although the number of IBAs/Salary Exceptions has significantly declined with the budget cuts over the years, U.Va. continues to consider and approve IBAs/Salary Exceptions.


Q: If a Classified Staff takes a new position and does not choose to become University Staff, can they still take advantage of the competitive pay process?

A: The compensation practices for Classified Staff remain unchanged subject to state regulations. The pay practices for University Staff are not available to Classified Staff.


Q: Can a University Staff employee be given an increase in Performance Pay and/or Promotion Pay only once annually as a result of a Performance Review, or is this option available at other times during the year?

A: Employees are eligible for annual merit increases. Additional increases (both in base salary and one-time bonuses) are possible during the year for a variety of reasons, including career path progression, employee development, changes in responsibilities, skill acquisition, and others.


Q: Will the Supplemental Benefit Credit be raised periodically per cost of living increases?

A: The University will review the ceiling annually to determine the eligible amount. In July 2011, the eligibility threshold was raised to $42,000 and the amount of the credit was raised to $450.


Q: Who decides what guidelines an individual supervisor has for offering increases?

A: The University’s Board of Visitors will establish salary increases as part of the budget approval process. UHR will develop annual guidelines for merit increases based on the budgeted amount. Schools and units will use these guidelines to determine individual increases. Guidelines will be provided in the form of a range for each evaluation rating rather than a specific amount. Increases above or below those ranges would require additional approval. Additional increases (both in base salary and one time bonuses) are possible during the year for a variety of reasons, including career path progression, employee development, changes in responsibilities, and others.


Q: Under the University Staff HR Plan, if an employee is at the top of her market salary range, and the supervisor rates her a 4 or 5 on the annual evaluation, there is a possibility that the pay increase would put the employee’s salary above the top of the range. What will happen in this case? Is it possible to increase a salary above the market range? I have an employee who tells me she has heard that any increase above the market range would be paid out in one check, like a bonus.

A: Yes, it is possible to increase a salary above the market range. The increase may be either an increase in base salary, or a one-time payment.


Q: Regarding Classified Staff who has an offer to move to a new position: If they opt to stay as Classified Staff, will there still be a salary cap? What if the Classified employee wants to move to University Staff at the time they accept a new position? Will they not be subject to a cap (since University Staff starting salaries are not capped)?

A: Yes, state limits (15%) apply if an employee chooses to remain Classified when they take a new job. If they elect to move to University Staff, the state caps do not apply.


Q: Will details (e.g., sources of data, methodology) for the market ranges be available on-line in an overview?

A: Yes, an overview of the market survey sources, the methodologies for the analysis of the data and market range development process is available on our compensation pages.


Benefits

Q: In the future, does the University have the option to offer a different health insurance plan for University Staff vs. Classified Staff?

A: The University currently manages its own health insurance plan and covers all employees who enroll in the same plan regardless of whether they are staff or faculty.


Q: Regarding “Double State” employees- If one drops to part-time does the employee still pay 50% of employer cost of health insurance?

A: No, this makes the couple ineligible. The double state benefit only applies if both employees are full time.


Q: What is the impact of the part time health insurance benefit on the fringe benefit rate for part time employees? Will it vary depending on whether they elect it or will it be one rate for every part time employee regardless of whether they elect it?

A: There will be one fringe benefit rate for part time employees, whether employees elect benefits or not.


Q: Will the $2000 Education Benefit apply to all Classified and University Staff?

A: The Education benefit applies to both Classified and University Staff.


Q: Will the Reward and Recognition program still allow the 5 days off option as well as the $3,000 in annual bonuses for University Staff ($2,000 for Classified Staff)?

A: Yes it will.


Q: Does the $3,000 limit apply to all University Staff employees (including senior management)?

A: Yes, unless they are one of the few University Staff employees who hold an individually negotiated contract (i.e., coaches).


Q: Does the child and elder care benefit apply to Classified and University Staff?

A: Yes, the child care benefit applies to all employees: both Classified and University Staff, Professional Research Staff, and all faculty.


Q: Will we still qualify for WW incentive (reimbursement) under the current and University Staff HR Plan? Will we use the same form? Is my spouse eligible for the discount also?

A: The Weight Watchers incentive will continue to apply. See our Weight Watchers pages for more information. Eligibility for the incentive is based on participation in our health plan so it doesn’t matter if you are Classified or University Staff—you will still get it as long as you are on our plan. Spouses are ineligible.


Leave

Please visit our leave pages and view the Leave Policy for more information.


Q.: How will the pro-rated leave be allotted if I switch to University Staff?

A.: All University Staff will receive a prorated allotment of University Leave based on their years of service and the remaining pay periods in the leave year. This prorated allotment, or leave earnings from that point forward until the end of the leave year, will vary depending on your University Staff election date and your years of service; the table below gives the calculation for 2012. You can find effective dates and number of remaining pay periods on the University Staff Enrollment Calendar.

Years of Service Proration Formula
< 3 176/27=6.5185 x # of remaining pay periods
3-6 192/27=7.111 x # of remaining pay periods
7-9 208/27=7.7037 x # of remaining pay periods
10-19 224/27=8.2963 x # of remaining pay periods
20+ 240/27=8.8888 x # of remaining pay periods

For example, a Classified employee with eight years of service who decides to switch to University Staff on September 13 has a University Staff effective date of Oct. 8, and six remaining pay periods left in the year once converted. They would do the following calculation:

208/27=7.7037
7.7037x6=46.2222 hours of leave that will be earned over those remaining pay periods in 2012.

Employees that convert to University Staff will be allowed to keep at conversion as University Leave any hours that would have been use or lose annual hours at leave year’s end if the employee did not switch to University Staff. No leave will be lost.

Administrative and Professional Faculty that convert to University Staff will have no accrued leave time (any of the 22 unused Annual Days are forfeited; this leave did not roll from year to year when they were A&P faculty). They will receive a pro-rated amount of leave for the remainder of the year in which they switch.


Q: Will the annual leave continue to be calculated as it is now? For example, since I have been with U.Va. for 20 years, I earn 16 hours a month in annual leave. Will this remain the same or will we be given a lump sum of leave at the beginning of the year?

A: If you remain Classified Staff, nothing will change about how you accrue leave, except that with the new biweekly payroll the leave year begins in December each year, on the first day of the pay period containing Jan. 1 of the next year. If you change to University Staff, the full year’s accrual will be available at the beginning of the leave year. Some employees may actually receive a larger leave allotment when they switch, depending on years of service.


Q: Do you lose your banked annual leave if you switch to being University Staff?

A: No, you can carry over annual leave to the new leave plan up to the appropriate carry forward balances. For balances greater than the new carry-forward limits, staff will retain that leave in a special bank for use or cash out upon separation.


Q: Within the new Leave Plan, will the paid portion of FMLA be limited to 1/3 of the balance or can employees use the balance they have?

A: The current limits on the use of Family and Personal leave will not be applicable in the University Staff leave program.


Q: How can a University employee be in VRS and the University Staff leave plan when the leave plan does not include a VSDP component? If you’re in VRS then you have VSDP, but once the leave plan is effective, that plan replaces VSDP for all University employees; therefore, how can a University employee remain in VRS and in the new leave plan simultaneously?

A: Employees who become University Staff but remain in the VRS will be subject to the leave plan and will continue to participate in the VSDP. The family, personal, and sick leave currently provided under VRS/VSDP will be replaced by the accrued leave in the University Staff leave program. VSDP will remain solely to provide short term disability. Those who need to ‘trigger’ the short term disability will use five days from the new pool and will get STD benefits from day six forward.


Q: What about medical leave? The general faculty medical leave system is very different from the current Classified Staff system, and I see no mention of sick leave.

A: Please refer to the section titled “sickness and disability” in the side-by-side comparisons for details on the ORP sickness and disability plans. Look at the side-by-side comparisons for more information.


Q: I am Classified Staff still under the old sick leave plan and did not switch to VSDP. What happens to my existing leave balances if I decide to become a University Staff employee?

A: Your current sick leave balances would be banked. You would then participate in the new leave plan. Switching to University Staff does not allow you to enroll in a disability plan so any disability would continue to be covered by your banked sick leave balances.


Q: Will the University be in violation of FLSA if Classified and University Staff report leave differently? (This question refers to the policy that requires exempt Classified Staff to report leave in 15 minute increments whereas exempt University Staff only have to report leave of greater than 4 hours.)

A: In the University Staff leave plan, leave is reported based on exemption status rather than employee status (Classified vs. University). In other words, employees eligible for overtime report leave taken and time worked while employees not eligible for overtime only report leave taken. The University would like to allow all exempt staff to charge paid leave in half day increments (4 hours or more rather than the 15 minute blocks required per DHRM policy). This is not in violation of FLSA, which allows both, and is much more in keeping with expectations for exempt staff regarding their job duties, as well as standard practice in private industry and other higher education institutions. However, the state’s Department of Human Resources Management requires reporting in 15 minute increments. Because all Classified employees must be treated consistently from agency to agency, DHRM’s policy is that all Classified employees cannot not paid for time that they are not at work unless they use leave accrued under DHRM policies. Still, we wanted to offer this advantage to exempt staff where we could, so exempt University Staff enjoy the less stringent “four hours or more” reporting practice, while exempt Classified Staff must continue to track leave in 15 minute increments.


Q. Will University Staff still be able to accrue comp special time for holidays actually worked and will they still be granted the extra time the governor gives for the holidays?

A. University Staff are still able to accrue comp special time for holidays actually worked. Holidays are given at the discretion of the President of the University.


Q. If I switch from A&P to University Staff will I use the new Self Service Time & Leave (SSTL) system?

A. Yes. All University Staff use SSTL to track time and leave, including former A&P. As exempt staff, former A&P only track leave (not hours worked), and only leave taken exceeding four consecutive hours.


Career Paths

Q: How do you have career progression when you cross career paths?

A: The career paths represent guides to the 75 most common careers across the University. Individuals will be able to develop customized career paths based on their current position, their career aspirations, or both. One of the benefits of the career paths is that they identify competencies that are common across career paths. This provides employees with information to match their skills with multiple careers.


Q: How can employees connect with a career path?

A: There will be career path guides that provide information on career paths. Employees can also contact Career Development Services for advice on how to progress in their careers.


Q: Are the Career Paths only for University Staff or all employees?

A: The career paths provide information on the 75+ most common careers across the University, and are available as information to all employees. For University Staff only, the acquisition and application of job-related skills can result in bonuses and pay increases as planned through the “career development action plan” process. University Human Resources is developing career path guides with career development information for each path that provide additional detailed information such as links to related career paths and jobs, competencies and education resources, career field information and more. Information in the guides will use U.Va. job titles and market range information as the standard (as opposed to State career groups/roles or pay bands).


Retirement

Q: Why are Operational & Administrative (O&A) Staff ineligible for the Optional Retirement Plan?

A: VRS has dictated that we must adhere to the eligibility criteria established by the State. This affects our ability to offer ORP to all employees.


Q: What is the rationale for not offering ORP to non-exempt employees?

A: VRS has dictated that we must adhere to the eligibility criteria established by the State. This affects our ability to offer ORP to all employees.


Q: Will the University contribution to the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) be at the current faculty contribution rate? Or will we have different contribution rates for different categories of employees?

A: It will be at the current rate.


Q: If you elect the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), will you keep your current balance with VRS and direct all future contributions to the ORP?

A: Yes, VRS doesn’t go away and you still have your VRS benefit upon retirement. Your VRS account balance is frozen. Future employee and employer contributions are directed to the ORP. And if you’re not yet vested in VRS, you can take your member contribution balance and roll it over to the ORP.


Q: Is the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) the same as the current flexible supplemental retirement plan and the same as the current Faculty Retirement Plan (FRP) for faculty?

A: The FRP and ORP are the same. The supplemental retirement is our tax deferred savings program (TSDP) and does not change; it is available to both faculty and staff and is not the same as FRP or ORP. The University offers a cash match with the Tax Deferred Savings Program (TDSP). Read more about the TDSP.


Q: What are the differences in the sickness and disability plans if you choose VRS or ORP?

A: Please refer to the section titled “sickness and disability” in the side-by-side comparisons that is relevant to you. If you have the option of switching, that section appears at the end.


Q: The FAQs state that if one elects the ORP, the VRS benefit is retained and all future contributions go to the ORP. How does one go about finding out what their VRS benefit would be if this is case? Current VRS statements are based upon current contributions and factored out to retirement age/years of service. Does the VRS benefit then stay at that amount or does the system allow for cost of living increases to occur?

A: Your VRS account balance is frozen. Future retirement benefits, if vested, will be based on your age at retirement, years of service you had in VRS, and final Average Final Compensation while in the VRS. You can visit www.varetire.org and click on MyVRS to obtain current balances and forecast future retirement benefits.


Employment Policies

Q: What happens when the state changes its HR policies or benefits?

A: If you are a Classified Staff employee any changes the state makes to HR policies and benefits will affect you just as they have in the past.


Q: What happens when the University changes its HR policies or benefits?

A: If you are a University Staff employee, any changes the university makes to HR policies and benefits will affect you. However, changes the state makes to retirement systems and other policies and benefits common to both types of employees will also affect you.


Q: Do University Staff layoff policies (60 day notice) apply to Professional Research Staff?

A: No. Professional Research Staff are not included in the University Staff HR Plan at this time.


Q: Could you explain the probationary period? If you are transferred from one job to another within the original probationary period would you fall under two probationary periods?

A: If an employee moves to a new position during the probationary period, the term of the probationary period may remain as the original twelve months or the term may be extended so that the new supervisor has the benefit of the full twelve month period. However, the total time served in probationary status may not exceed eighteen months.


Q: How does the University Staff Layoff Policy differ from the State Policy?

A: The Layoff Policy for Classified Staff and University Staff differs in the number of days of notice and what is considered a restricted position. Classified state employees must receive a 14-day notice whereas University Staff will receive a 60-day notice. The University Staff system adopts the State’s DHRM Policy 1.50 on severance benefits. Under the University Staff System a position is considered to be “restricted” if the position is: created to complete a specific function or project within a defined period of time, and has a required system end date established at the time of hire or as subsequently extended; or funded wholly or in part from non-continuous or non-recurring funding sources (e.g., grants, donations, contracts, etc.) and contingent on the continued availability of funding, the cessation of which for any reason results in the abolition of the position. Restricted employees are eligible for layoff benefits only if (a) the position held immediately prior to the position being discontinued was a full-time salaried non-restricted staff position; and (2) there was no break in service between the full-time non-restricted position and the restricted position. State of Virginia Layoff Policy


Q: Will we have to submit a formal request for HR approval to work an Alternate Work Schedule if we are not University Staff?

A: Schools/units will approve Alternate Work Schedules, and will be responsible for notifying HR when an employee is approved for an Alternate Work Schedule.


Q: Can schools exempt themselves from Alternate Work Schedules?

A: Alternate Work Schedules are always at the discretion of the school/unit.


Q: If someone is University Staff will they be easier to terminate?

A: University Staff (except for Executive & Senior Administrative Staff and those with individually negotiated employment contracts) are subject to the State Standards of Conduct, the same as Classified Staff.


Q: Do state employees still have the right to “bump” if there are layoffs? If this is true, are Classified Staff employees who switch to University Staff still eligible to use seniority?

A: Assuming that “bumping” refers to an old practice where a laid off person could “bump” another person within the agency who has less seniority, this practice became unnecessary when the severance policy (Workforce Transition ACT ) was implemented. If U.Va. has to lay off anyone, it is done on a seniority basis without regard to whether the employee was Classified or University Staff. So Classified Staff who switch to University Staff status retain their seniority for lay-off purposes. As far as laid off classified employees from other agencies applying for jobs at U.Va., these so-called “blue card” (preferential hiring card) holders have preferential hiring rights only over other applicants from outside the University but not against internal U.Va. applicants. If there are no internal candidates, the “blue card holder” has to be hired as long as they are minimally qualified.


Q: How will U.Va. view an applicant’s use of a preferential hiring card from another state agency?

A: Classified employees from other state agencies holding “blue cards” (preferential hiring cards) have preferential rights over other job applicants from outside the University but not against internal U.Va. applicants. If there are no U.Va. internal applicants, the blue card holder has to be hired as long as they are minimally qualified for the job.


Q: Does the 60-day layoff policy apply to employees funded with “soft money?”

A: The 60-day initial notice of lay-off applies to all University Staff regardless of their funding source.


Q: If you move to University Staff and then leave for another state agency, will your seniority be honored both prior to switching to University Staff and also the years of service you accrue subsequent to switching to University Staff?

A: Yes. Other agencies will recognize your years of service for leave accrual, probationary periods, transfers to state agencies, layoffs, seniority, and years of service.


Performance Management

Q: Who will convert the 5 point scale rating in the U.Va. performance evaluation system to the 3 point scale in the state performance system – supervisors, central HR or the system?

A: This is done automatically by Lead@UVa for reporting to the State. A 5 rating converts to a 3 (Extraordinary Contributor); 4, 3, and 2 convert to 2 (Contributor); and a 1 is equal to a 1 (Below Contributor).


Q: Can an employee be given an increase in Performance Pay and/or Promotion Pay only once annually as a result of a Performance Review, or is this option available at other times during the year?

A: Employees are eligible for annual merit increases. Additional increases (both in base salary and one-time bonuses) are possible during the year for a variety of reasons, including career path progression, employee development, changes in responsibilities, skill acquisition, and others.


Q: Within the University HR Plan, will a particular Performance Rating result in a specific percentage increase in salary?

A: Compensation decisions are made locally in departments by department heads with oversight by UHR. The University’s Board of Visitors will establish salary increases as part of the budget approval process. UHR will develop annual guidelines for merit increases based on the budgeted amount. Schools and units will use these guidelines to determine individual increases. Guidelines will be provided in the form of a range for each evaluation rating rather than a specific amount. Increases above or below those ranges would require additional approval.


Q: Is there a formula for salary increases based on employee performance and career development goals?

A: See above


Q: Are plans for Skills Acquisition made only during the annual Performance Review process or can they be updated throughout the year? Can bonuses be awarded throughout the year for skills acquisition?

A: Plans for skills acquisition can be made throughout the year, and employees can be rewarded for skills acquisition at any time. The planning document (Development Plan) is a living document that can be changed and edited on an ongoing basis. Supervisors are encouraged to work with employees on these plans throughout the year. Increases (both in base salary and one time bonuses) are possible throughout the year for a variety of reasons, including progression along a career path, employee development, changes in responsibility, etc.


Q: Under the University Staff HR Plan, if an employee is at the top of her market salary range, and the supervisor rates her a 4 or 5 on the annual evaluation, there is a possibility that the pay increase would put the employee’s salary above the top of the range. What will happen in this case? Is it possible to increase a salary above the market range?

A: Yes, it is possible to increase a salary above the market range. The increase may be either an increase in base salary, or a one-time payment.