Q: How can we make benefits/policy implementation more fair/standardized? (ex: SEB usage, telecommuting)
A: This is a long-term issue, and requires an annual committee to make progress on.
Q: Why do staff pay for parking and Rec Sports?
A: These are Auxiliary Units; rather than getting a budget allocation from the state of Texas or from tuition, they have to earn their own money to pay their staff, utility bills, equipment, etc. For Rec Sports, student memberships are automatically added as a fee to their tuition.
Q: Why are staff facilities at Rec Sports not the same standard as student facilities?
A: There are 50,950 Rec Sports memberships from students. There are about 1,500 staff/faculty memberships.
Q: Are there plans for free admission for staff at UT Rec Sports/Gregory Gym?
A: Gregory gym is funded through student fees and therefore, membership for staff cannot be paid for out of university monies, however...
- If an employee has PayFlex and a letter of medical necessity, they can request reimbursement through PayFlex for the membership to RecSports. This cannot be used for pre-payment and reimbursement is not guaranteed. This does not apply to other gyms. More info: https://www.utrecsports.org/memberships/ut-affiliates#UT%20Faculty/Staff
- UT Select BCBSTX offers a Member Discount Program; however, the number of gyms in the program are limited to some locations of Anytime and Curves and a few others. They sometimes have special offers that include things like waiving the enrollment fee, etc. More info: http://www.bcbstx.com/fitness_program/
- Through LifeMart, our employee discount program, there are also other gym discounts available. More info: https://hr.utexas.edu/employee-discount-program
Q: Faculty can enter the Blanton and bring a guest for free. Can staff?
A: Yes, as of September 2014, the Blanton has a new benefit for staff – free admission for you and a guest when you show your UT ID. Go to http://blantonmuseum.org/ to learn more about the museum.
Q: I'd like to have a more flexible work schedule. How do I do this?
A: HRS's HealthPoint EAP provides consultation for employees about proposing and evaluating flexible work arrangements. Call 512-471-3366 if you would like to meet with a counselor about how to propose a flexible work arrangement to your supervisor or manager. See Tips for Employees: Building your case for a Flexible Work Arrangement – FAQ (PDF) for tips on bringing this up to your manager. Give the Flexible Work Arrangement form (PDF) to your manager to make a request. See https://hr.utexas.edu/current/services/healthpoint-work-life-services for more info.
Q: Does UT offer adequate child care for staff?
A: Yes. The University of Texas at Austin Child Development Centers provides renowned child care services to university students, faculty, and staff. The centers are accredited by NAC, the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs.
There are two locations to choose from. The San Jacinto Child Development Center is located on the main campus in the SSW building and the Comal Child Development Center is located east of IH35, one block off Manor Road.
For more information about eligibility, rates & how to apply, please visit https://childcenter.utexas.edu
Q: Can I donate my excess sick time to a specific person?
A: You may donate sick leave to another leave eligible employee working at UT Austin if the recipient has exhausted their own sick leave accrual, including any time the employee may be eligible to withdraw from the Sick Leave Pool (SLP) program. The recipient may use the donated sick leave for permitted uses found in HOP 5-4120, Sick Leave. FMLA will run concurrently with donated sick leave as applicable.
To donate sick leave to an individual, submit a Sick Leave Pool Transfer Form to Human Resources. Note different from donating to the Sick Leave Pool. You can find the full HR policy on Sick Leave here.
Q: How is the university’s annual holiday calendar determined?
A: The university sets the holiday calendar according to guidelines set by the state legislature (Chapter 662 of the Texas Government Code: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/). The state code provides for 17 holidays each calendar year. The list of holidays can be viewed here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.662.htm#662.003
Institutions of higher education are allowed to take these 17 holidays at the time of their choosing. Rather than spread these holidays out through the year, the university has historically chosen to cluster them around Christmas and New Year’s. If the stars align this can create a full two-week vacation.
However, as required by the state legislature, if any of those 17 holidays fall on a weekend, or fall on the same day as another holiday, we lose that holiday. This means that, as required by state law, our holiday calendar varies from year-to-year, with some years having fewer holidays than others. Also, skeleton crews are required when the university closes on days which are not federal holidays, although skeleton crews are not required December 24, December 26, and the Friday after Thanksgiving.
In 2015, July 4 is a Saturday. Therefore, instead of 17 holidays, we have only 16. Further, in 2015, December 26 also falls on a Saturday, so we are down to 15 holidays. Finally, in 2015, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Confederate Heroes Day both fall on January 19, so we lose another holiday. As a result, in 2015, instead of 17 holidays we have only 14.
Occasionally the university decides to reserve one of these holidays as a floating holiday, which gives employees the flexibility, given supervisor approval, to observe one of the holidays at the time of their choosing.
Q: How can UTSC help staff during intersession? Shuttles, campus food options, etc.
A: This is something a UTSC committee could look into, particularly staff demand vs. revenue needs of services/venues. They would have to find solutions to meet the needs of both sides.
Staff Educational Benefit (SEB)
Q: Can staff use the Staff Educational Benefit (SEB) for family members?
A: No. The Staff Educational Benefit (SEB) is for active university employees that are appointed full-time (40 hours a week). The SEB isn't available to faculty or to students employed in positions that require student status as a condition of employment. However, If you're in a regular position that doesn't continue for 12 months you may be eligible on an exception basis (e.g. elementary teacher, University Health Services). If you're in such a position you can contact the Human Resource Service Center at 471-HRSC (4772) to request an exception.
Q: Can staff use SEB for other courses – extension courses, PDC, etc.?
A: No. Staff Educational Benefit does not cover:
- Dissertation courses with numbers ending in 99
- Courses through the Division of Continuing Education (including Extension Credit Courses)
- Courses through Executive Education
- Courses offered through Option III programs
- Your admissions application fee. (You must pay the application fee when you apply for admission. Fee waivers are available in certain circumstances. If an employee applies for admission and is not accepted, the fee will be refunded. For information call the Office of Admissions at 512-475-7325.)
- Online courses
- Optional fees such as Longhorn Sports and Cactus yearbook
- Auditing courses
- Reimbursement for previous semester's courses
- Courses at any other college or university
- Student services, such as the Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, excluding the Forty Acres Pharmacy
- Costs associated with required vaccines for entering students are not covered by the SEB. Please see Required Vaccinations for more information.
- Recreational Sports membership - You must purchase a RecSports membership to access classes that meet at a RecSports facility (Gregory Gym and Aquatic Complex, Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field, Whitaker Fields and Tennis Complex and the Recreational Sports Center).
Q: What statute allows us to provide the SEB?
A: The State Employees Training Act in the Texas Government Code allows the university to provide a benefit such as the Staff Educational Benefit. Subsections C and D specifically talk about the requirements and restrictions of the benefit.
Q: Does the course have to be related to my job?
A: As of February 2019, the coursework does not have to be related to your job, but that will change soon. The State Employees Training Act section 656.044 specifically says "The training or education must be related to the duties or prospective duties of the administrator or employee." HR is currently working on creating an HOP that will address some of the discrepancies between the way we administer the program and the way the State says it must be administered.
Q: I'm interested in professional development. What are my options?
A: There are several options available to you at no charge:
- HRS's CareerSmart program offers the Management Essentials and Managing Beyond the Basics certifications. For those not interested in management, it offers the Essentials for Developmental Excellence certification.
- University Operations offers Professional Development for its employees including a Reading Group, a Breakthrough Workshop, and an extensive Leadership Growth Program for those who have completed the Breakthrough Workshop and met other criteria.
- UT Austin has a campus-wide subscription to Lynda.com, the #1 online training site. If you can think of it, Lynda probably has a course for it. You can log in here.
- There's also the Staff Education Benefit (SEB), which covers the cost of in-state tuition for staff.
Q: How do we address lack of computer skills with staff?*
A: UT Compliance is working on a computer literacy course, open to all staff. Talk to Jaime Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more info.
Q: Where can I find more information about Shared Services?
A: The best place for the most up-to-date information on Shared Services is at http://www.utexas.edu/transforming-ut/shared-services.
- You can also sign up for updates via email at https://utlists.utexas.edu/sympa/subscribe/transformingutupdate
- Per CFO Darrel Bazzell’s email on 8/17/2016, ATS is continuing as-is, while CBO is being phased out beginning this month. CBO members will be moved into business units where possible. Up to 30 positions may be phased out.
Q: Who are my HR Reps (at department level in particular)?
A: You can find this via the HR website: http://hr.utexas.edu/hrpro/lookup/
Q: How do I get management to listen?
A: There are classes on communication and conflict resolution via UTLearn, Center for Professional Education, and Lynda.com. This is also something a committee could look into: guest speakers on modern management practices.
Q: How to navigate complaints/issues/compliance reporting? What resources are available?
A: See the following:
If you are concerned with the immediate safety of yourself or others, please dial 911.
Compliance and Ethics:
- Hotline: 1-877-507-7321
- Online reporting tool:www.reportlineweb.com/utaustin
- E-mail: email@example.com
Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL): (512) 232-5050
Environmental Health & Safety: (512) 471-3511
Fraud Hotline: (512) 471-7117
University Police (UTPD): (512) 471-4441
State Auditor’s Hotline: 1-800-TX-AUDIT (1-800-892-8348)
- Designated Officials for UT Austin: https://compliance.utexas.edu/designated-officials
- Other University Officials: https://compliance.utexas.edu/other-university-officials
Dispute Resolution Office - https://hr.utexas.edu/current/services/dispute/
Staff Ombuds - https://ombuds.utexas.edu/staff
Q: What’s going on around campus?
Q: What relationship does UT Austin have with other UT campuses?*
A: Ad-hoc, depending on the department.
Q: What is leadership’s take on culture/what’s their vision?
A: UTSC Officers will be discussing this with President Fenves soon.
Q: What are systemic/cross-campus issues?
A: Per the Campus Employee Engagement Surveys, the biggest ones are:
- Pay & Benefits
- Internal Communication
- External Communication
See the survey reports for more info.
Q: What are the water conservation policies/plans for campus?
A: In an upcoming meeting, we’re going to have Matt Stevens from the Energy & Water Conservation Program (https://facilitiesservices.utexas.edu/EWC/) give a talk on this.
Q: What’s the space plan for campus?
A: This is being handled by Technology Resources (TRECS), and is a topic we can have a guest speaker cover in an upcoming monthly meeting.
Q: How to handle confidential info, what is and isn’t confidential
A: This spans a few areas:
- All Title IX violations (sexual harassment) must be reported to the Title IX office (http://titleix.utexas.edu/).
- For campus security issues and crimes, see https://compliance.utexas.edu/clery
- For electronic confidential info, see http://security.utexas.edu/policies/data_classification
Q: Is there an explanation of UT merit policies and practices?
A: We'll schedule in a guest speaker from HR in an upcoming UTSC General Meeting
Q: How to budget decisions get made?
A: We'll have a guest speaker from the Budget Office at an upcoming UTSC General Meeting.
Q: Is there a way to see Departmental budget reports?
A: Yes. The Budget Office is responsible for budget operations, strategic planning, reporting, financial tables, comparisons, and impact studies on proposed and actual legislation affecting the University's budget. You can find the reports at: http://www.utexas.edu/business/budget/
Q: Could we get a big-picture perspective on campus and how it all works?
A: We'll get a guest speaker to address that in one or more upcoming UTSC General Meetings.
Q: Where can I find information about alternative transportation?
A: Parking and Transportation manages alternative transportation for the campus, including:
- BikeUT, your source for bike registration, "The Kickstand" bike hub, and maps for on-campus bike racks and pumps, as well as routes to campus.
- A car-sharing initiative with ZipCar
- UT-Austin’s relationship with Capital Metro to provide campus shuttles.
Q: Campus Carry?
A: Please see https://campuscarry.utexas.edu/ for info on, but not limited to:
- How to request specifics listed in policy (ie appropriate signage)
- Leeway at local level (office, department level)
- Boundaries and compliance
- How to answer common questions or get questions answered
Q: How is the leadership of Staff Council organized and elected?
A: Each person on Staff Council is a Representative for their district. Some people are also elected or appointed to leadership positions. There are 4 "officer" positions that are elected each year: Chair, Vice Chair, Parliamentarian, and Secretary. There are 7 "standing committees", per our bylaws, which means there are 7 people who serve as chairs of those committees who are either appointed or elected by the membership of the committee. Each year there may be additional committees formed. If an issue can't fit into one of the standing committees, "annual committees" may be created and a chair appointed or elected by the membership of the committee. There may also be short-term committees formed ("Ad-Hoc committees"). They are usually disbanded after the issue has been handled.
Each Officer and each chair of the standing or annual committees sits on the Staff Council Executive Committee. The photo below shows the make-up of the Executive Committee in 2018-2019.
Q: How do I describe the mission of UTSC? What it is, how is helps, what it has done, and what it can do.
A: Staff Council’s mission is to promote a positive, collaborative work environment via assessment, prioritization, and communication of staff needs. We believe in a set of core values that help us, as your elected representatives, decide what projects to work on, how to communicate with stakeholders, and build and maintain trust within the community.
- Serving staff by representing their best interests to the university community
- Fostering a pathway of communication between upper administration and our constituents
- Seeking diversity in membership, perspectives, and ideas when representing staff culture
- Creating a sense of community by forging effective partnerships with campus stakeholders
- Executing projects that are valuable to the organization
- Maintaining honest and transparent communications and processes
- Remaining accountable to ourselves and to our constituents by holding open meetings and publicizing our decisions
- Intentionally sharing unbiased information with our stakeholders
The purpose and goals of UTSC:
- Provide a forum to present interests, concerns, and issues affecting staff;
- Pose advisory recommendations to UT leaders as a representative advocate;
- Create a sense of community by forging effective partnerships with campus stakeholders, including selecting nominees for University standing committees;
- Maintain honest and transparent communications and processes.
Q: What are realistic expectations for UTSC accomplishments?
A: Committees are expected to provide a report for President Fenves at the end of the term year.
Committee projects should have measurable impact and benefit campus as well as staff.
The more an accomplishment benefits campus rather than just staff, the more ambitious it can be.
Q: How do we measure success of UTSC and the projects?
A: We gauge success in a few ways:
- Metrics for specific projects
- Staff awareness of UTSC and its accomplishments
- Access to/influence on Campus leadership
- Continuing funding for projects from the President’s Office
Q: What is UTSC relationship with UT Leadership?
A: The UTSC Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Parliamentarian, and Secretary) meet with the President, CFO, and AVP of HR monthly. The Officers also meet with other upper-level administration as needed. The better UTSC serves the interests of campus, the better those relationships get.
Q: How to get managers to support UTSC time?
A: Your manager must support at least 4 hours per month, per our Bylaws, HR, and the President’s Office. Beyond that, it will be up to your manager. Showing them UTSC accomplishments (https://wikis.utexas.edu/display/utsc/UTSC+Accomplishments) may help, as these accomplishments have benefited all staff and oftentimes all of campus.
Q: What do we do when we get elected? What is the welcome/onboarding process?
A: The UTSC Resources Chair hosts two orientations after each UTSC election.
Q: What are things we can change without requiring leadership support/resources—“low hanging fruit”
Q: Why is the UTSC general meeting structured the way it is?
A: Meetings are set up to give updates on UTSC business and issues important to staff. The structure of the meeting is also part of our UTSC Bylaws.
Q: Who is allowed at UTSC general meetings and who can ask questions or raise issues?
Q: When are webcast videos uploaded?
A: They're immediately available; you can find them on our website.
Q: What are the Districts/where are they?
A: Districts are a semi-arbitrary division of the UT campus. When districts were originally drawn, they were based on a combination of campus/building location, department functions, and funding source. As departments and groups have reorganized, the districts have gotten "messier" and similar groups have gotten separated from each other. Some groups have moved off-campus or to different buildings.
Some districts are small and contain fewer than 100 people, while other districts are large and contain over 400 people. In general, there is one Representative per ~100 people in a district.
There is a redistricting effort currently in place to regroup departments. (To see which districts are under each Representative, go to the List of Current Representatives page, then in the "Departments in District" column, click on "View.")
Q: Redistricting: What is it, how do we get involved?
A: This is a work-in-progress being spearheaded by Jeannie Farahnak, former UTSC Vice Chair. Jeannie has been working with the IT folks to get districts better aligned, but the project has been delayed because of the Workday implementation. Once Workday is launched, we will have new districts.
Q: Can we broaden who can serve on UTSC: student employees, temp staff, faculty?*
A: Our UTSC Bylaws, section II.B show who are constituents are. Our purpose is to serve the staff of UT Austin, as other groups often have their own governance and their own specific needs. For example, students are governed by the Student Government group and faculty are governed by the Faculty Council. UTSC meetings are open to the public and anyone who attends could be recognized by the Chair to speak their concerns.
Q: How do we get the word out in general?
A: Refer to:
- The How to Succeed as a Rep handout.
- Regroup email system: https://utexas.regroup.com/
- Regroup documentation: https://wikis.utexas.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=112330717
- Also flyers, posters, talking to constituents, and/or hosting a brown bag lunch to talk about issues.
Q: How do I engage constituents that are non-English speaking, shift workers, non-Main campus, temp employees, non-computer users, researchers, or other siloed/isolated/remote units?
A: That is something a committee could look into. The main problem to solve is tools and procedures for reps to use to effectively reach constituents in these groups. Note that per UTSC Bylaws, section II.B, temp employees are not UTSC constituents, but they can attend general meetings to be heard.
Q: How are UTSC guest speakers chosen?
A: Based on current events and constituent interest. The more your constituents tell us what they want to hear about, the better we can serve them. Generally speaking, the Executive Committee tries to choose speakers who are of interest to the staff as a whole. They try to avoid bringing in speakers whose message can easily be sent in an email or posted on our website.
Q: UTSC budget—how is it allocated/funded?
A: UTSC gets budget from HR for running UTSC itself (badges, annual retreat, etc.) and from the President’s office for funding yearly projects, such as the Professional Development Grant. The Staff Council Executive Committee decides how to spend this money each year. Approximately half of our budget is used for the professional development grant.
Q: Why does UTSC use Regroup instead of UTLists?
A: UTLists is an opt-in email system that must be maintained manually. Anyone who is part of that group can send messages to the group and could cause an increase in spam or inappropriate emails sent to campus.
Regroup is an opt-out email system that is tied to our HR system and is updated each week as employees move around the university. As new employees start, employees leave, or employees change departments, this list is updated automatically. Regroup also limits who can send messages, reducing spam or other unauthorized use.