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Staff and faculty are vital to our operation, president says; to keep and recruit good employees, we must demonstrate their value to the university.
COLUMBIA, Mo. – UM System President Mun Y. Choi announced the approved changes to the UM Collected Rules and Regulations (CRRs) that will provide new and improved benefits for benefit-eligible faculty and staff. He also expressed appreciation to the Board of Curators for making these important changes. The changes affect employees systemwide who are eligible to receive vacation and tuition assistance, typically staff and faculty who work more than 30 hours/week.
“We very much appreciate the excellent and hard work of our faculty and staff,” Chair of the Board of Curators Maurice Graham said. “We believe that a good work-life balance helps ensure that staff and faculty are working at their best when they are on our campuses. This change also occurs at a time of year when the university’s efficiency will not be adversely compromised.”
“They are critical to the mission of educating the next generation workforce and creating the ground-breaking research,” Chair of the Human Resources Committee of the Board Jeffrey Layman said.
The three CRRs that have been changed are:
- New CRR: Winter Break Reduced Operations: CRR 340.045 establishes an annual systemwide reduced operations period between the Christmas Day holiday (or when it is observed if on a weekend) through the day before the New Year’s Day holiday (or when it is observed if on a weekend). Please note, this CRR does not apply to University of Missouri Health Care due to the nature of its year-round work.
Employees who accrue vacation, sick leave and personal time will receive paid time off, to be used during that time period only. Employees required to work during the reduced operations period will receive equivalent time off, to be used by Nov. 30 of the following year
The operations savings for the four campuses is approximately $125,000.
- New CRR: Principles for the Establishment of a Shared Leave Program: This new rule, CRR 340.055, outlines a framework for and directs the establishment of a Shared Leave Program. The Shared Leave Program will give employees the option to donate accrued vacation to a shared pool. In turn, the pool provides paid leave for employees who are experiencing certain catastrophic events causing prolonged absence from work but have exhausted other forms of paid leave.
A committee of human resources and finance personnel from each campus, MU Health Care and the UM System will develop the Shared Leave Program. The committee has already started its work.
- Amendment: Educational Assistance: An amendment to CRR 230.070 reduces the eligibility requirement for employees to receive tuition reductions for spouses and dependents from five years to one year of continuous, full-time service with the University prior to the deadline for registration. It also allows spouses and dependents receiving tuition reduction benefits at the time of a sponsoring employee’s death to continue receiving those benefits for up to 140 credit hours.
Similarly, if a sponsoring employee chooses to retire while a spouse or dependent is receiving reduced tuition, the benefit will continue beyond the sponsoring employee’s retirement up to 140 credit hours. In the event of a sponsoring employee’s death or retirement, a spouse or dependent’s educational assistance benefits will last no longer than five years after that death or retirement.
“Our employees are the university’s most valuable assets. These changes to the CRRs accomplish improvements for our employees while also standardizing policies across our four campuses,” Layman said. “Improved benefits for our faculty and staff can assist with recruiting top talent to our institutions and demonstrate to current employees that the new administration is listening to their input.”
“Faculty and staff have been talking about these potential changes for some time, and following several administrative changes, we felt this is a great time to do this,” Choi said. “We are so grateful for all the work that our staff and faculty do; we felt this was one way we could be responsive to their requests.”
Additionally, based on a review by the University’s independent actuary, curators also approved changes to the university’s retirement program to ensure the plan’s stability. The board approved a lower investment return assumption for the retirement plan—from 7.75 percent to 7.2 percent – which results in the need for the university to invest additional resources into the retirement program. This action will help the UM System pension plan remain as one of the most stable pension plans in the nation.