Happy New Year! Verify your benefits deductions for 2011
Whether or not you made changes during the fall benefits Open Enrollment period, the new year is a good time to review your paycheck to ensure your coverage selections are accurate. If you made any changes to the following plans during Open Enrollment, you will see them reflected beginning with the January 14 earnings statement:
- Medical/Dependent Care Reimbursement and Health Savings Accounts
- Long-Term Disability
- UF Term Life (Lincoln Financial)
Premiums and coverage for new supplemental plans requiring medical application will not begin until approved by the insurer. Employees should receive notification of approval or denial from the insurer in the upcoming months. If you have applied and do not receive a response, it is a good idea to follow up periodically on the status of your medical application.
Additionally, if you notice your paycheck does not reflect proper deductions for plans you currently have or may have elected during the last Open Enrollment period, please contact University Benefits and Retirement at (352) 392-2477 or email@example.com as soon as possible.
Regulation change enables employees to request advanced parental leave
On December 10, 2010, the Board of Trustees approved changes to the UF Regulations to include a paid parental leave program.
Faculty (non-UFF), TEAMS, and USPS employees in leave-accruing positions may request up to six weeks of advanced sick or vacation leave for the birth or adoption of a child or the initial placement of a child in the foster care of the employee. The employee will be required to repay the leave hours advanced within a three year period from the first date the leave is used.
Employees may also use their personal accrued leave, unpaid leave, or a combination of paid and unpaid leave as in the past—so long as the total parental leave period, including the paid parental leave program, does not exceed a total of six calendar months from the first date leave is used. If being used for foster care, the paid parental leave must be used within the FMLA entitlement period of 12 workweeks.
The new paid parental leave is also subject to the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and will count against the FMLA leave entitlement of 12 workweeks during the UF fiscal year.
Upon separation of employment with the university, the hours used for paid parental leave, excluding any hours that were taken as accrued personal leave, will be deducted from the total balance of accrued sick and/or vacation leave or other payment owed by the university, prior to any payment being made. If the paid parental leave taken exceeds the available balance of unused leave at the time of separation, the employee will be required to repay the cost of the difference of the hours that have not been repaid.
More information, including procedures and forms, are located on the Leave section of HRS’s web site. The new regulation may be viewed on the UF Regulations web site.
Get ready for myUFL Financial Systems Upgrade
myBeta access, training schedule now available
The upgrade of the myUFL financial systems—which include grants management, enterprise reporting, and the UF Data Warehouse—is scheduled to “go-live” on May 10. Several teams of university employees have been hard at work to ensure the financial systems continue to meet UF’s business demands both now and in the future.
The myUFL Financial Systems Upgrade go-live process will require scheduled downtime spanning several days. In determining the deployment window and go-live date, the project team considered UF’s business processes as well as the time necessary for training and security role requests. For details, please see the Upgrade web site.
Some additional items that may be of interest:
To support the upgrade effort, the myBeta test environment is now available. myBeta is a copy of the myUFL system’s production environment that currently reflects what the upgraded system will look like when it “goes live.” myBeta also reflects the “look and feel” changes throughout the system that will impact all myUFL users. myBeta provides a great opportunity to check out the new features of the upgraded myUFL system. In order for you to access it, your Department Security Administrator (DSA) must request security access on your behalf. For more information, please see the new “Roadmap to myBeta” guide.
Training that supports the financial upgrade will be released on a rolling basis. Already, a “look and feel” tutorial has been made available in addition to several other tutorials introducing the project. Starting later this month other training will be made available; for a schedule, visit the Training section of the Upgrade web site. All of the myUFL Financial Systems Upgrade training will be accessed via myUFL by navigating to My Self Service > Request Training Enrollment and searching for course numbers that begin with “PST9.” Additional details related to training requirements and the alignment between training and security roles are forthcoming.
To stay abreast of the developments of this project, be sure to visit the Upgrade web site. If you have questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online training moves to Sakai starting January 18
Beginning January 18, UF Training and Organizational Development’s (T&OD’s) e-learning courses will be housed in UF’s new course management system (CMS): E-Learning in Sakai. Participants who wish to enroll in T&OD’s online workshops will register through myUFL as they currently do by navigating to My Self Service > Request Training Enrollment, and those who had enrolled in an online course prior to January 18 will be automatically moved to this new environment. Those who currently go directly to ELS after registering for an online workshop will instead navigate to this new URL: https://elearning2.courses.ufl.edu/portal/login
A tutorial that introduces the new environment is now available on the Training section of HRS’s web site. For more information about UF’s adoption of Sakai, please visit the CMS Transition web site. If you have additional questions, please contact UF Training & Organizational Development at email@example.com or (352) 392-4626.
VALIC to offer mutual fund-based program to ORP participants
The State of Florida approved a request from VALIC to offer a mutual fund-based program to its State University System Optional Retirement Program (ORP) participants. This change provides a wide array of mutual funds from well-known investment providers and may reduce administrative fees for investors, depending on the option selected. Beginning February 1, all ORP contributions through VALIC will be invested in the new mutual fund platform. Some aspects of the mutual fund option and VALIC’s services include:
For additional information on the new mutual-fund-based program please visit the VALIC web site. VALIC financial advisers will be on-site at various campus locations to answer questions about VALIC’s new investment option. Interested employees may attend one of the following group meetings to learn more about this change:
- A wide array of investments
- No sales charges applied to contributions to mutual funds
- Availability of asset management/investment advice through VALIC’s Guided Portfolio Services® (GPS)
- Personal face-to-face services
- Secure account access 24/7 through the VALIC web site and automated touch-tone telephone service including a speech recognition option
- January 18, 10 a.m., Room 120 HRS Building
- January 21, 2 p.m., Birch-Cherry Room, 1st Floor, Jacksonville Health Science Center
- January 25, 1:30 p.m., Sunshine Skyway Conference Room, Building 1603, Eastside Campus
- January 26, 11 a.m., Auditorium LG101A, Brain Institute
Register to attend a group informational meeting by visiting the VALIC web site and clicking on “Seminar Registration.” The seminar access code is SOFGAI11AA. You may also register by calling VALIC’s Gainesville office at (352) 367-2409 or Jacksonville Office at (904) 244-8160.
“Diversity at Work!” offered as part of Business Communication Week
UF Training and Organizational Development’s “Diversity at Work!” workshop urges faculty and staff to recognize “We are all diverse!” The program focuses on working in a global community and how leveraging the talents and strengths of all individuals can impact the University of Florida as it strives to achieve excellence. Participants will develop awareness and knowledge while acquiring and refreshing their skills in working with others.
The class, which counts toward a Business Communication certificate, will be offered on January 31 as part of Business Communication Week as well as on March 31. To register in myUFL, navigate to My Self Service > Training and Development > Request Training Enrollment and search for GET205.
Flex spending account grace period available through March 15
If you have not used all the money in your 2010 Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you still have time. The state’s FSAs feature a grace period that enables participants to continue to use medical and dependent care accounts for eligible expenses from January 1 through March 15. This annual grace period provides more time to use your 2010 FSA pre-tax funds for qualified expenses.
Be aware that your 2010 expenses must be incurred by the end of the grace period—March 15—or the IRS "use-it-or-lose-it" rule will apply. Additionally, all 2010 FSA claims must be submitted for reimbursement to the People First Service Center by no later than April 15 of each calendar year—no exceptions. If you have questions, please contact University Benefits and Retirement at (352) 392-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EAP offers support groups for faculty and staff
All Employee Assistance Program (EAP) support groups are supportive, confidential and non-judgmental. Among those to be offered to faculty and staff this spring are:
Smoking Cessation: A new six-week group began on January 11 on Tuesdays at 12 noon, but those interested may still call to sign up. Also, new this year, the EAP is offering a “quit coach” for individual support to those employees who cannot attend the weekly group sessions. Individual sessions can be done during regular daily appointment times.
Managing Grief: A support group designed to provide emotional support for those in mourning and a safe place to discuss thoughts and feelings as well as skills for coping with the stress and pain of living without loved ones. Day and time will be announced when enough participants have signed up.
Women’s Support Group: This group will provide a supportive environment for women to discuss issues of concern related to both professional and personal life issues. Concerns may include, but not limited to: marital and family issues, including parenting and elder care; relationships; conflict at work; depression; and personal violence or trauma. Day and time is to be announced.
Please contact the EAP at (352) 392-5787 to learn more and/or to sign up for any of the support groups as well as individual counseling sessions.
New interdisciplinary center will boost early childhood learning
In December, the University of Florida announced the creation of an interdisciplinary Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies. The campus-wide center will be a model training, demonstration, and research site where UF scholars—in diverse fields including education, medicine, law, public health, and the life sciences—will work with local, state, and national partners on issues pertaining to young children and their families.
The center is a joint effort of the College of Education, Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center, the College of Medicine, and the Office of Human Resource Services. The College of Education will initially house the center’s administrative offices in Norman Hall, with both Baby Gator facilities serving as the primary “hub” of center activities.
Future plans call for building a third, state-of-the-art Baby Gator facility with ample space for all center administration and child care activities at a site yet to be determined. To learn more about the initiative, please visit the UF News web site.
There’s still time to receive your W-2 electronically
If you have not consented to receive your W-2 electronically in the past, you can still do so. For those who have already consented, no additional action is required. Electronically distributed W-2s result in cost savings and furthers UF’s efforts to be a sustainable campus. The IRS requires employers to print W-2s for employees who do not consent, but please keep in mind electronic W-2s will be available earlier than printed W-2s as printed W-2s will be mailed on January 31. If you have not yet consented, sign up now by logging in to the myUFL system and navigating to My Self Service > W-2/W-2c Consent.
2010 Tax Relief Act may impact your paycheck
The 2010 Tax Relief Act reduces the employee-share of the Social Security (or OASDI) portion of FICA taxes from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for wages up to the taxable wage base of $106,800 paid in calendar year 2011. For most individuals, the most immediate impact of the new law will be the reduction in the payroll tax rate for employees. The employer’s share of OASDI remains at 6.2 percent.
The Making Work Pay tax credit was available in 2009 and 2010. As a result, employees may see an increase in federal withholding taxes in 2011. However, for most employees that increase will be more than offset by a decrease in the employee-share of OASDI taxes.
New medical reimbursement cards issued for 2011
As a reminder, if you enrolled in a Medical Reimbursement or Limited Purpose Account for 2011, you should have received your new MyMRA Card in December. Once your card is properly activated, you can use it to pay for eligible medical expenses at the time of service instead of later having to file a claim form for reimbursement. If you have not received your card yet, contact People First at 1 (866) 663-4735 to confirm if your address on file is correct. If not, please contact your department’s identify management coordinator or UF Benefits and Retirement for assistance. For other helpful tips and FAQs on the MyMRA card,visit the state’s Mybenefits page. Questions? Call (352) 392-2477.
Florida Prepaid open enrollment runs through January 31
Open enrollment for the Florida Prepaid College Plan is still underway and runs through January 31. Both the Florida Prepaid Plan and the Florida Investment Plan (a 529 plan) offer affordable ways to save for your children’s future college expenses. Sign up by visiting the Florida Prepaid web site or call (800) 552-GRAD (4723) to request an enrollment kit and application.
After your application has been approved by Florida Prepaid, you may submit a payroll deduction form to have premiums taken from your biweekly paychecks. Payroll deduction forms can also be found on the Florida Prepaid web site at the link provided above. Questions? Call University Benefits and Retirement at (352) 392-2477 or e-mail email@example.com.
UF T&OD wants to hear from you!
If you attended a workshop sponsored by UF Training and Organizational Development (T&OD) in 2010, we would like to hear from you. Please keep an eye on your e-mail this month for a survey that asks for your opinions about T&OD’s online training options, handouts, and other related information. Your feedback is important as the team works to serve you more effectively and meet your training needs.
All myUFL system users will notice a new “look and feel” following upgrade
This spring, the myUFL system will undergo an upgrade to its financial systems. With the upgrade, the “look and feel” of the entire myUFL system will change, impacting all users of the myUFL system, even those of us who only use the system to see our paychecks! An online tutorial to introduce these changes is available on the myUFL Upgrade web site.
RSVP to volunteer for REthink kick-off by January 28!
This spring, the Office of Sustainability will host REthink—a campaign to engage, educate, and empower Gators to consider waste in its many forms and the ways they can REduce, REuse, REcycle, REpurpose, REnew, REstore and REspond in their own lives! The campaign will kick off with a campus-wide cleanup on February 5, hosted by the Office of Sustainability and the UF Clean Water Campaign. To RSVP to serve as a volunteer, contact Ashley Pennington at firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than January 28. Volunteers will be provided refreshments and snacks following the cleanup.
Leading environmental policy analyst to speak on climate change, conservation
On January 25, UF will welcome guest speaker Lynn Scarlett, a leading environmental policy analyst and former deputy secretary of the Interior under President George W. Bush. Hosted by the Office of Sustainability, the Florida Climate Institute, the Water Institute, and the Bob Graham Center, Scarlett’s speech—“Conservation in an Era of Scarcity”—will be held at 8 p.m. in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
Scarlett will share her thoughts and experience with shifting policies and implementation plans for energy and climate change in the U.S. and discuss her work on Senator Graham's Oil Spill Commission. She will also give a seminar on her work in the Everglades on January 25 at 3 p.m. in 282 Reitz and a talk on Green Careers on January 26 at 10 a.m. in the Reitz Union Rion Ballroom.
Running Medicine Conference to be held in March
The 3rd annual UF Running Medicine Conference—featuring nationally-recognized experts in running medicine presenting the latest medical treatment, rehabilitation care, and training techniques for runners—will be held on March 3 and 4 at the UF Hilton Hotel. Conference registrants will receive a 15 percent discount on one of the following services provided by the UF Sports Performance Center: body composition, exercise testing, biomechanical analyses, metabolic rate, or strength testing. For more information and to register, visit the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute web site.
Exercise research opportunities available to those 60 and older
The UF Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation has opportunities for people ages 60 to 85 who suffer from low back pain/obesity or painful knee osteoarthritis to participate in exercise research studies. Drs. Heather Vincent and Kevin Vincent recently received NIH funding for two studies designed to improve physical function and decrease joint or low back pain through resistance exercise. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in one or both of these exercise studies, please contact Kelley Lamb at (352) 273-8453.
On-campus Child Enrichment Center accepting enrollments
The Child Enrichment Center, located on campus at the corner of Museum Road and Village Drive across the street from Lake Alice, has immediate openings for enrollment in all age groups, infants through school-age. To schedule a tour, meet the teachers, and learn more about its curriculum and programs, please call (352) 336-1700.
UF Eye Specialties Clinic offers discount on iLASIK vision correction
Learn more about iLASIK and meet the surgeon by attending a free seminar on January 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Eye Specialties Clinic at Hampton Oaks (UF Ophthalmology). The clinic is currently offering discounted pricing on LASIK procedures to UF faculty, staff, and students. Seminar seating is limited, so register soon. To RSVP for the seminar, or for more information about iLASIK, please call (352) 273-8714.