If attendance and audience engagement are reliable metrics, then the 2nd DSC Town Hall on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 was a great success. A crowd of more than 300 Danforth staff filled the Clark-Fox Forum in Hillman Hall to learn about a number of important topics/initiatives, including
- The Office of the Staff Ombuds
- The ambitious East End construction project and its impact on parking
- New developments in Human Resources policies and procedures.
The event was moderated by DSC Chair Trevor Bilhorn and DSC Co-Chair Betha Whitlow. Speakers included Jessica Kuchta-Miller (Staff Ombuds); Legail Chandler (Vice Chancellor for Human Resources); James Kolker (University Architect & Assoc. Vice Chancellor, Facilities Planning-Capital Projects & Records); Ellen Rostand (Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Public Affairs); and Tara Bone (former Assistant Vice Chancellor for Operations).
Many questions were answered during a lively Q & A session following the presentations. Here is a summary of the responses to HR-related questions submitted via the DSC website:
Closing during inclement weather
With the University focusing on both academics and patient care, the decision to close the entire university has many implications. Administrators work with leadership from several areas, including Emergency Management, Facilities and WUPD in order to make these decisions. The weather policy is currently under review but if an employee ever feels traveling in certain weather conditions is unsafe, vacation time is an option.
Flex time and telecommuting
Due to the varying jobs across campus, the decision on flex time and telecommuting is largely a Department decision. HR can assist departments as they evaluate these options. However, there is no “one size fits all” framework for this decision. Managers are better able to determine what the needs of their Department are and can plan accordingly with their staff.
Parental leave is a topic that consistently pulls in numerous inquiries during our Town Halls and WU community conversations. The Staff Council is conducting research and preparing a report for Administration as a conversation starter on this topic. This is an issue that HR, as well as university leadership is aware of and is researching and evaluating. Currently, employees have access to multiple types of leave that can be used for parental leave. Specific information about these policies can be found on the HR website.
The WU Back-up Care program is available to employees for children as well as elder care. If an employee ever experiences issues with this program, you are encouraged to contact Human Resources (Employee Relations). HR will work with our vendor in order to try and resolve the situation quickly. The University is committed to ensuring our staff receives quality service through this program.
Transfers / Promotions
If an employee would like to know the pay grade for a particular job posting, they may contact the HR Recruiter for that information. As employees are looking to broaden their career opportunities within the University, please note that salaries contained within pay grades can overlap from one level to the next. A higher pay grade may not necessarily equate to a higher salary. However, the salary offered in a posting must be within the paygrade offered for that position. If there is ever a question on salaries and postings, please contact Human Resources for guidance. HR does have an employee, Norma Brown, dedicated to assisting those seeking internal transfers. She can be reached at 935-2701 or via email at email@example.com.
Vacation and sick leave
Currently, employees are provided with 22 days of vacation and 12 sick days, annually. Human Resources implemented updates to the sick leave policy in order to provide additional flexibility to employees. The new policy has removed the verified/unverified aspect and afforded employees the opportunity to use this time for wellness check-ups and to take care of family members. HR continues to review all leave policies for areas of improvement.