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2021

October Q & A:

Question:

Two questions have arisen concerning the recent adjustment of the staff pay scale for HR.

1. When Phase II is implemented to adjust individuals, will the new adjustments be retroactive to Sept. 1st?

2. When the individual adjustments begin, will folks nearing retirement be given priority?

Answer:

No decisions have been finalized on how the subsequent phases will be administered.  At this point, we are working to prioritize funding to have the necessary resources to continue to adjust staff wages.    


 

2020

December Q&A

Question:

We received an email that after thanksgiving all of NKU will be going virtual. I work
in the facility’s/operations and management department. No one has told us anything about scheduling or covid protocols. There have been positive covid tests in our department and no supervisor says anything just leaving space for speculation and resentment. From the top, Zaiedi, new director Jon Prabell to all other management we haven’t been informed on anything.

Answer:

At this time there are no plans to reduce any of our on-campus staff’s hours or weekly shifts. We will continue to follow all current scheduling and Covid protocols such as the Healthy at NKU daily check-in for those working on campus and the Employee Covid-19 Flowchart attached below.The Operations and Maintenance department along with several other departments have a number of jobs that cannot be completed remotely.The University has  asked for anyone that can work remotely, to do so for the time being to de-densify the on campus population. This reduces the number of people that those working on campus may come in contact with. Considerations to work remotely must be sent through your immediate supervisor and approved by the Director of O&M. If O&M employees would like to take vacation time because they feel unsafe being on campus, please follow NKU’s process and request through your immediate supervisor. As of right now, no buildings are being closed. O&M staffing support continues to be needed and critical throughout our entire campus.

Employee Covid Flowchart

 

March Q&A

Question:

 Where is any information about work for staff in facilities regarding covid-19? I’ve never heard a word from my boss. I’ve chatted casually with the heads of other departments and no ones heard anything. Who’s the boss of this department, Paul hundimer, bob fox, saied zaiedi?  

Answer:

Thank you for sending in your question.  As we all are in a situation we’ve not been in before and it has continued to change on a daily basis, sometimes hourly basis.  I’m sorry if you have missed communication.  First, let me share with you the most current information. I met with my team yesterday morning to share our staffing plan from now through this week and how we are planning to continually reduce staffing through the next several weeks.  Additionally I did send out an email last
Friday about this week’s staffing which was passed down to supervisors and we asked them to share with their teams, unfortunately it may not have made it to all employees. I have attached it to this email.

To answer your question regarding “who’s the boss” I am the new Director of Operations and Maintenance (O&M), my direct staff includes Bill Moulton, Tom Nusekabel, Paul Hundemer and Robert Fox.  My supervisor is Syed Zaidi, Assistant Vice President for Facilities.

Any individual member of the Facilities staff who is unsure about altered work schedules should primarily contact his or her supervisor and in case they still need guidance, they may reach out to myself or Zaidi, if they are not getting the information they need.  I can be reached at prabellj@nku.edu or Zaidi can be reached at zaidi@nku.edu.

I know it has been a crazy time with a missed communication and every changing plans. I can’t express my appreciation enough for our team and the flexibility you all have shown through this time. I look forward to getting out and meeting all you once we all return to campus. Please take care of yourselves and your families
Jon Prabell
Director of Operations & Maintenance

 
 

 

 

 

 

January Q&A

Question:

  NKU, along with EKU and WKU, have hired the Segal Group to analyze our options regarding the financial impact of the pension crisis. The Segal Group appears to not have an office in Kentucky. Why did we not choose a company in Kentucky and keep our tax payer dollars in our own state instead of sending them to somewhere else?

Answer:

 We went through a full RFP process along EKU & WKU and reviewed 8 proposals.  After reviewing the proposals, it was obvious that Segal had the combination of the actuarial resources, experience with higher education institutions (including KY institutions), and understanding of the legislation to put us in the best position to have the data and advise to make a decision on the pension options.   
 

Question:

Why are some departments/offices permitted to purchase refreshments (food and beverages) for faculty/staff/student meetings, but other departments/offices have been told to no longer offer refreshments at meetings?

   Reason given by the supervisor was that some offices within the group did not all have an equitable budget for refreshments, and thus it was "unfair" to those other groups.

Answer:

As you are aware our university has faced financial pressure in recent years. In 2018, Interim Vice President Gerry St. Amand sent out a communication (linked here) asking all departments for help to reduce spending. Specifically, he asked departments to cut back on operating and capital expenses, including food and refreshment purchases for meetings, activities and events.  Since our university still facing fiscal uncertainty, some departments are continuing to take a conservative approach in trying to be as prudent as possible with their funding and cut costs where possible.

Funding varies by department, so it is possible some departments may have the budget to cover refreshments for certain meetings.There is not a university-wide restriction on the purchase of refreshments for meetings. However, it is possible individual departments have decided to implement restrictions based on its own unique budget circumstances. 

If you are unsure whether or not your department is permitted to purchase refreshments for certain meetings, it is recommended that you seek guidance from your chain of command.

 

 


 

November  Q&A

Question:

This concern/question deals with uniforms, finances & a level of civility.  Of the $225 uniform allowance [facilities management], we were allowed to use $50.00 towards our shoes. 

The shoes provided were Slip grip shoes (no half sizes & unable to try on prior to purchase) & that has a potential to cause cancer. (as stated on the tag)

Little did we know..till after the fact. We were told that if we had returned these shoes (due the usual reason you return shoes), we would not be refunded the $50.00 back into our uniform account. 

Our uniform allowance was originally $250.00 & provided every July, this amount reduced to 225.00 in 2018.  And now, after $50.00 nonrefundable ‘non-purchase’ we have 175 to spend on uniforms.

We were informed that this will be the last year for shoes as part of the our uniform purchases.  In earnest, when we asked about the $50.00 we faced uncivil/disrespectable/demeaning behavior when we inquired about the $50.00 allowance that we [our uniform allowance/account] did not get back. May we ask where the $50.00 goes/went….if it is not going back into our uniform account ?

 

Response:

Current uniform allowance for custodians is $239.00 per year with the option to use $50.00 of the $239.00 towards shoes.

Leigh High Outfitters was brought in to fit all interested employees. Unfortunately, they did not bring all sizes of every sample.  Employees were told they could return them within sixty (60) days no questions asked. 
If the employee returned the shoes and did not order another pair the $50.00 was put back into their clothing allowance account as long as it was within the 60 days from original purchase. We had a lot of employees that participated return shoes and order another pair. We had several employees who made several orders and returns and we did have to put an end to that process after three months.  However, up until that time they could still return them and have the $50.00 placed back in their account.

When the uniform program began, the initial amount allowed for custodians was $250. The allowance did decrease to $239 in 2018. 

Again, if someone returned a pair of the Leigh High shoes the $50.00 was put into back into their clothing allowance account. 

Due to concerns we had with the company and their process it was announced that we would no longer use this company. We are currently working on bringing in a different company. The shoe program is not going away. 

If there are specific issues that occurred where you felt someone was uncivil to you please report it to Bill Moulton, Becki Lanter or Rachel Green in Human Resources. If there were any problems with your account being incorrectly deducted please contact Karen Dawn at ext. 6107 or dawnk1@nku.edu.
 

Question:

Employees that elect to cover their spouse on their NKU health insurance plan are assessed a monthly surcharge ($35/mo for 2020), if the spouse has insurance available through their employer. 

Employees also have the option of covering their children until age 26. Are employees assessed a surcharge for covering their child, if the child has insurance available through their employer? If not, why is covering an employed, adult child not subject to the same standard as covering an employed, adult spouse?

Response:

Employee are not assessed a surcharge for covering their children.  Under the Affordable Care Act,young adults can choose to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26.  This is true whether or not:

  • Live with your parents
  • Are claimed as a dependent on your parents’ taxes
  • Have a full-time jobAre eligible to enroll in your employer’s health plan
  • Attend school
  • Are married
  • Not financially dependent on their parents
  • Eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan

We always strive to be in compliance with all federal mandates.

Spouses that have other coverage available to them at their place of employment are not mandated to be covered by the other plans coverage. The other spouse’s plan is then avoiding the claims experience of that plan and are instead exposing the experience and cost implications to our plan that could have negative effects on determining rates and stop loss insurance rates to the NKU plan. Some employers chose not to cover a spouse that has coverage available through their place of employment. It is best practice to charge a surcharge in addition to the dependent rate.  


 

October Q & A

 

Question:
Why does NKU continue to drop students for non-payment? Our state funding is now tied to retention and graduation rates and this only reduces both.

Answer:
How the institution creates, implements, and enforces its student receivables policies and procedures has a direct bearing on the priority students (and their families) place on paying for their education. Institutional policies and behavior sets student expectations.  It is critical that students who must borrow from federal or institutional student loan programs realize the seriousness of their repayment responsibilities.  Institutional credit policies and procedures must also reinforce that on-time tuition payment is a high priority.

The drop for nonpayment process is intended to encourage student to enroll and pay their tuition and fees on a timely basis.  NKU allows student with outstanding financial obligations an opportunity to resolve those weeks before the drop process occurs. 

Over the past several years, NKU has experienced an ever-growing number of registered students that do not attend and do not pay.  Failure to drop these classes within the drop/add period creates many negative results for the university and the students alike.

NKU remains committed to increasing student enrollment, implementing student success strategies and retaining those students we’ve assembled. 

Effective financial management of  student account receivables, maintaining university fiscal responsibility, meeting federal financial compliance  requirements, and cross divisional administrative support and collaboration all play a part in the existing drop for non-payment policy. 

The current practice is a collaborative effort/agreement of several campus administrators and academic department heads. 

Student Account Services does benchmark this business process annually, and it remains best practice throughout the higher education industry.

Some time ago,  NKU did temporarily suspend the drop for non-payment process and it resulted in an dramatic increase in the number of students who could not register for the upcoming term, thus decimating the retention numbers.

Rest assured, while this process is published as a best practice, the  process itself will continue to be benchmarked across many of our sister institutions and re-evaluated as time, situation, and rationales change.

Answer provided by: Student Account Services

 


 
September Q&A

Question:
Are HDHP enrollees able to participate in the same
savings from the SaveOnSP program as the POS or HMO enrollees or must they meet their deductible of $2500 first?   

Answer:
Saveon is in place from first fill, and operates outside of deductible/OOP
accumulators so HDHP members will pay $0 from the start. We are working
to have the program in place for 1/1/2020, but need Rx drug claims eligibility data from Humana. In this case, the HDHP member would have real costs for January fill.  If they are already using a copay card,the member could easily satisfy their deductible with that first fill. Patients could also fully satisfy Max Out Of Pocket with a single specialty fill in January with use of a Copay card.  We are pushing Saveon and ESI to have Saveon in place on 1/1/2020 even if they are unable to provide the 60 day notification letters to patients. I think with a 30 day notice and KYRx Coalition support before and after 1/1/2020 that we can get members enrolled and not have unnecessary delays in delivery of Specialty medications

Question:
Does one need to do anything special in order to receive the savings from Saveon SP when purchasing the drug identified as one of the 150 on the specialty list?  

Answer:
They will need to call Saveon to enroll in the program. The information to do so will be in the member letter and KYRx Coalition can provide as well. To enroll in Saveon, the member also needs to be signed up for the appropriate drug copay card and have that information to provide to Saveon at enrollment.  Most Specialty patients are already using these copay cards.  A lot of them renew on the calendar year so they might need to re-enroll in those programs anyway.

Answers provided by Human Resources Benefits

 

 

July Q & A

Question

Will NKU administrators consider altering summer hours for staff members? Specifically, closing at noon on Fridays like many other universities? The Staff Congress Roundtable answers regarding the flexible work schedule and summer hours is inaccurate/insufficient. When you click the "Alternate Hours Work Schedule" link on the HR A-Z listing, is goes to a page about employee relations but doesn't have any specific information about the alternative work schedules.

https://inside.nku.edu/hr/human-resources-a-z.html

https://inside.nku.edu/hr/employeerelations.html

Answer

Here is the link to the guidelines and procedures for flexible scheduling, https://inside.nku.edu/content/dam/humanresources/docs/Payroll/EmployeeForms/Alternate%20Hours%20Option.pdf, it can be found on the Payroll webpage under “Additional Resources”, on the Employee Relations webpage under “Related Links”  and on the HR A-Z webpage under “Alternative Work Schedules”.   These guidelines were originally drafted as an alternative to summer hours and have since been changed to address alternative scheduling at any time of the year.   

In considering any policy change or change in our procedures or operations for the future, we first will consider the needs of the students.  


 
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