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2015 Town Hall Meeting Q&A

Employee Questions

This is an excellent suggestion.  The university will certainly consider this particularly as we move forward with the Academical Village plans.  We will vet this suggestion through the new Student Government Association.

NSU supports career progression for employees.  That is why OHR Compensation has worked with many centers to develop career ladders and their work in this regard will continue. Each job level in a career ladder is graded higher than the previous job, the number of positions needed at each level is determined by the business needs of each Center.  Because additional education, skills and experience is a requirement for jobs higher up in the ladder, employees are encouraged to use the NSU educational benefits and employee training so that they may qualify for higher level positions.

When moving into a position in a higher grade there should be no issue with a “cap”.  And when transferring into a position that is graded the same as one’s own, as long as the hiring department has the money in their budget to pay the salary, current policy allows an employee’s salary to move with them.

NSU’s compensation policy is a market based policy.  This means that salary recommendations are made with reference to external market data and not the internal salary ranges and salary grades.  The internal salary ranges are therefore published for use by management to level positions internally at the university.  However, when considering a job transfer, the salary grade does provide a good indicator of whether the potential job pays more or less than your current job because jobs with a higher salary grade generally pay more than jobs with a lower salary grade.
National market data is used when a national search is being conducted and for jobs where NSU recruits locally, local market data is used.  Incrementally, with each vacancy or new position, salary adjustments are being made because OHR Compensation reviews every vacant and new position and looks at external market data to make their salary recommendation.  In addition to this on-going analysis, when the Compensation Department or Center Head perceives that many jobs within a Center are paid significantly below market, a salary analysis will be performed.   With approval and contingent upon available funding, salary adjustments may be made.
NSU provides great benefits such as the 401(k) match, tuition waiver, time off policies and winter break.  When the value of salaries and benefits are combined, NSU provides a total package that is competitive in the marketplace.

The Center for Psychological Services clinic cannot accept insurance and therefore could not be under the EAP. We do however, accept fee for service that could be reduced to the co-pay if approved. Advanced doctoral students provide the treatment under supervision of faculty.

Yes, the hotel will be part of the Academical Village.  Now with the positive response for the hospital, we are moving forward with the efforts to build a hotel/conference center on the University Park Plaza property.

Some centers may have need of a notary for business purposes (e.g. Enrollment and Student Services; Public Safety, etc.) but there is no policy, tracking mechanism or oversight of notary responsibilities governed by OHR.  Responsibilities for individual notaries in their respective centers are established at a departmental level.

The HCS Faculty market study has been completed by the office of Human Resources, and the results shared with the Dean.  Human Resources worked with data supplied by the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, which is well known for its comprehensive and robust compensation databases.  In general, the study indicated that HCS faculty were appropriately compensated.  A few exceptions were noted, and salary adjustments will be considered during the next fiscal year.

The department in question is the Undergraduate Admissions unit that recently transferred to Student Affairs.  This realignment is critical to achieving our ambitious Vision 2020  enrollment goals for undergraduate students. 

Before the unit transferred to Student Affairs, job duties were segmented into separate roles for recruiting, admissions, and enrollment.  The realignment included the creation of a brand new job, Assistant Director of Recruiting & Admissions, that is responsible for all 3 functions for an assigned group of prospective students.  An Assistant Director is responsible not only for recruiting students, but also for shepherding the students through the entire admissions process all the way to matriculation.  By giving the applicants just one person to guide them, it is hoped that the number and quality of undergraduate enrollments will increase dramatically.

Student Affairs worked with Human Resources to determine the appropriate titles, experience and educational requirements, and pay level for the new Assistant Director job.   The position requires a Bachelor’s degree or concurrent Bachelor’s degree enrollment and 1 year of experience, but a Master’s degree and 2 years of experience is preferred.  Because of the variety of jobs that existed before the realignment, most of the current employees are now being asked to do more than they did before, so some received salary increases to reflect the additional duties.

Human Resources works diligently to identify and correct pay and title issues on an on-going basis.  All vacated and new positions are reviewed and compared to other positions across the University.
Parking will be provided either at the HP garage or in the west garage . Assignment will be made as we identify occupants of the building.
Maintaining work-life balance is critical to the wellbeing of our employees - who are some of the most productive and hardworking people that can be found.  The university recognizes the importance of work-life balance and through its vacation policy provides faculty and staff with ample time to slow down, relax and recharge.  Employees are encouraged to use their time for this purpose whether they choose a staycation or to travel.  Understanding that there may be occasions where other obligations prevent the use of vacation time, the NSU vacation policy allows one (1) week of unused vacation time to roll over automatically, and special requests to roll additional time are also considered.  A vacation buyback program does not promote work-life balance for our employees and therefore  is not something that is under consideration.
Parking will be provided either at the HP garage or in the west garage . Parking assignments will be made as we identify the occupants of the building.
Our medical centers are training sites for residents in a number of specialties. Each resident is required to manage a minimum number of patients and must be supervised by a physician who is board certified in the specialty of the resident. Physician assistants cannot provide this supervision, and the limited clinical space is used for resident training. For these reasons, physician assistants are not utilized in the NSU Health Care Centers.

NSU provides great benefits for administrative staff such as the 10% 401(k) match, tuition waiver, time off policies and winter break.  When the value of salaries and benefits are combined, NSU provides a total package that is competitive in the marketplace.

For faculty, the Office of Human Resources is currently working on a law faculty market study to determine our competitive position.  If market adjustments are warranted, they must be supported through enrollment and budget strategies within the law school which would enable the law school to fully fund the additional expense.

Although employee turnover is expected to increase as the labor market improves, NSU is not currently experiencing an exodus of talent.  We attribute this, in major part, to our compelling Vision 2020 challenges, which attracts and retains top individuals who look forward to the opportunities presented.

While NSU pegs new hire salaries at varying percentages of the market rate, it is not true that the current employees of the NSU Libraries are paid at 85% of the market value.  Many are paid above 85% as the result of advancing through career ladders that reward both experience and performance.

While many not-for-profits are unable to pay prevailing market rates, NSU provides our administrative staff with great benefits such as the 10% 401(k) match, tuition waiver, time off policies and winter break.  When the value of salaries and benefits are combined, NSU provides a total package that is competitive in the marketplace.

Our federal budgeted amount for FWS salaries for FY15 is $2,577,447.  The expended amount as of the period ending 3/13/15 is $1,719,512.  The total anticipated spending through 6/30/15 is $2,493,512 and should be sufficient to cover the salaries for FY15.

There are currently 507 FWS student employees on the payroll.  While new positions for FY15 are not being created at this time, there has not been any reduction in number of students that a department may employ if the positions were approved for FWS funding.  If a FWS student employee vacates a position, the departments may fill the vacancy with another student.

This is an important issue for employees at NSU and a subject that has been raised for discussion by your colleagues at several Town Hall meetings.  I understand the importance of affordable and comprehensive health insurance to our NSU families and taking care of our employees remains a priority for me.

The university premium contribution for single coverage in the Preferred PPO covers 85% of the premium, making the monthly employee premium contribution only $85.00 (a $3.50 increase over last year).  In 2010 the university embarked on a multi-year plan to increase employer premium contributions in the Preferred PPO plan to all family coverage tiers.  Since 2010, NSU increased the contribution to employee and spouse coverage from 43% to 50% of the total premium cost, premium contributions for employee and child(ren) coverage increased from 47.75% to 62% and contributions for family coverage increased from 30.72% to 51%.  As resources permit, we hope to continue this progress in coming years so that we can provide affordable care to our employees.

At the end of each health insurance contract year,  ICUBA and their consultants engage in a comprehensive market review and solicit input from every member institution.  A review of the medical, dental and vision plans was conducted this year and the only change to the health plan coverage for this year was an expansion of the free preventative services offered.

NSU’s plans are equivalent to a “gold” plan available on the public market place.  The physician’s network offered through Florida Blue is the most robust in Florida, and visits to providers in the Florida Blue Physician Recognition are always free.  The plan provides free generic drugs when dispensed at the NSU pharmacy.  The free wellness benefits available in our plans exceed those required under the Affordable Care Act and are not offered in other “gold” plans.  Some examples of the extra free preventive services offered in the NSU/ICUBA plan - regardless of age or gender – available as frequently as services are needed – are free lab tests, urinalysis, colorectal screenings and the resulting pathology tests, prostate cancer screenings, electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, breast ultrasounds, and prescribed diabetic supplies.

NSU and ICUBA will continue to monitor best practices in health care coverage and to conduct comprehensive reviews of our plans, making adjustments to plan design as warrented and as financial resources permit.

Several years ago, NSU introduced a “best in class” short-term disability program that is aligned with the long-term disability program. Prior to the introduction of short-term disability, employees had to wait a year from date of hire to be eligible for the sick leave donation program. New employees, who had no time to accrue much sick leave, would go unpaid because they could not obtain a sick leave “donation”. The donation policy was cumbersome in its application; it was burdensome for sick employees to find donations, and burdensome to healthy employees being solicited to donate.

With the addition of the short-term disability program, NSU discontinued the donation program. The combined disability programs provide the same benefit to all employees after 3 months of employment, and a better and more equitable safety net to all employees.

There is no consideration being given to reinstate the sick leave donation policy.

Instead of listing a set pay rate for a job, many employers, including NSU, will specify “salary commensurate with experience” or other similar wording  in order to attract as strong and diverse an applicant pool as possible.  This will inevitably lead to applications from some candidates who currently make more than the budgeted salary amount for the position.  Hiring managers typically will evaluate a candidate’s work history including the candidate’s current salary before deciding to proceed to advance a candidate through the interview  process so as to make best use of the applicant and hiring manager’s time.

This is an important issue for employees at NSU and a subject that has been raised for discussion by your colleagues at several Town Hall meetings. I understand the importance of affordable and comprehensive health insurance to our NSU families and taking care of our employees remains a priority for me.

Committed to increased affordability of health insurance for our faculty and staff, in 2010 the university embarked on a multi-year plan to increase employer premium contributions in the Preferred PPO plan to all family coverage tiers.  Since 2010, NSU increased the contribution to employee and spouse coverage from 43% to 50% of the total premium cost, premium contributions for employee and child(ren) coverage increased from 47.75% to 62% and contributions for family coverage increased from 30.72% to 51%. As resources permit, we hope to continue this progress in coming years.

Research indicates that clubs with the same high quality facilities, levels of cleanliness, programming and access charge more for memberships than it costs to join the Recplex.  Employees enjoy the same low fees that students pay through their service and activity fees.  And use of the gym has already been incorporated into the ICUBA/FloridaBlue employee wellness incentive program, BlueRewards!  The BlueRewards program is a way to help employees improve their health through a variety of activities, tools and resources - earning points as they go.  Up to 1,800 points can be earned in a plan year, 25 of those points can be earned by participating in an exercise program.  Points are redeemable on-line for a wide variety of great rewards, login to FloridaBlue.com to get started.
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