University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources
http://www.umn.edu/ohr
612-625-2016

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Date: Thursday, January 29, 2009 Twin Cities: 210/215 Donhowe
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Crookston: 105 Kiehle
  Duluth: Not Available
  Morris: HFA 7
Facilitator: Nan Wilhelmson, Director Rochester: Room #321

Agenda and Handouts

Time Item
2:00 – 2:05 Welcome & Introductions
Nan Wilhelmson – Office of Human Resources
2:05 – 2:15

Upper Midwest Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (UMWHERC)
Mary Everley – Office of Human Resources

2:15 – 3:00

HR Legal Update
Shelley Carthen Watson – Office of the General Counsel

3:00 – 3:15

MTM (Medication Therapy Management) Program and Wellness Program Update
Karen Chapin – Office of Human Resources

3:15 – 4:00 Employee Relations & Compensation Update
Patti Dion – Office of Human Resources

Minutes

Note: The next HR Pros Meeting will be Thursday, April 23, 2009, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Welcome and Announcements – Nan Wilhelmson, Office of Human Resources

Nan welcomed all Twin Cities HR Pros and those from the coordinate campuses to the meeting. 

The meeting utilized new technology called UMConnect.  

Most of the handouts during the presentation will be posted on the OHR website,
http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/hrpros/meetings/2009jan29/index.html

Announcement from Susan Rafferty – New federal regulations went into effect on January 16 regarding the FMLA Act.  Our current university policies, procedures, and forms are appropriate for use right now.  As a reminder, Military Family Leaves are not included in our current FMLA policy but instead are part of the Administrative Policy:  Military, Court Appearance, or Civic Duty Leaves.  Changes to the policies, procedures, and forms for FMLA policy are proceeding through the university’s standard review process and will be available over the next few weeks.  There will be communication when the new forms are available.  Any additional training from Susan Rafferty regarding the new regulations in FMLA will also be communicated to HR Directors.

Upper Midwest Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (UMWHERC) – Mary Everley, Office of Human Resources

Mary started with contextual information regarding UMWHREC.  She then posed the question, “How much would it cost to do a search for a new faculty member?”  The answer is 1 ½ times a person’s salary.  A visual representation of this can be seen in the COACHE Estimated New Faculty Hire Costs handout. 

The second update about UMWHERC was in regards to bringing value back to the institution and how the numbers were improving over time.  The website has now been posted on the state employment website and it is a start of a great partnership.  Since the UMWHERC was launched online in October, there were 25,000 initial visitors.  In the month of January, there were 80,000 visits.  Mary has seen great responses about positions in Rochester, which were routinely getting 200 site visits. 

Another example of value being brought back to the institution includes the discounts for the Minority Media Coalition Newspapers.  If a unit decides to advertise a position in any of the following newspapers, just mention that you are part of a HERC institution and the discount should kick in.  The newspapers include the Asian Pages, The African News Journal, The Circle News, Hmong Times, Insights News, La Prensa, and the MN Spokesman-Recorder.  The national HERC is now working on partnership with The Chronicle, Inside Higher Ed, etc.

Finally, in June there will be a 2nd All HERC conference.  Everyone is invited to attend and it will be free.  The conference will be held at the University of St. Thomas.

Mary is soliciting responses from departments/units about the advertising media used for searches.  She is working on trying to get partnerships/discounts with them.   Knowing where the primary places where units are advertising and any disciplinary journals and websites would be helpful.  She asked that suggestions be emailed to her.  Additionally, Mary is targeting additional institutions to join the HERC like the UW schools and additional Minnesota colleges and universities.  If you know anyone within the institutions, it would be very helpful to shared information with them.  Please contact her with your suggestions as well.

For questions, assistance, and feedback with UMWHERC, please contact Mary Everley at everl001@umn.edu, 612-626-0775 or Jennifer Arntzen at arntz007@umn.edu, 612-626-0385.

HR Legal Update – Shelley Carthen Watson, Office of the General Counsel

There have been additional legal developments and amendments regarding the following: FMLA, the ADA, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and retaliation for employees who offer information and participate in an investigation.  Also included is an overview of future legislation that might be on the horizon during the tenure of the Obama administration.

For FMLA, there is clarification in eligibility and how to calculate breaks in service.  The regulations clarify that the employed-for-12-months eligibility requirement does not require that the 12 months of employment be continuous.  The regulations now state that in determining the eligibility of an employee, the employer must consider previous employment with the company, which includes any employment up to a seven-year break. 

There were also changes in respect to time periods for serious health conditions.  The new regulations specify that the period of incapacity must be more than three full calendar days, and specify the times in which the visits to the health care provider must take place.  The first (or only) in-person visit to the health care provider must be within seven days of the first day of incapacity, and the two or more treatments must take place within thirty days of the first day of incapacity.  In addition, serious health condition purposes for FMLA also cover a chronic condition that requires periodic visits for treatment by a health care provider or other specified individual; continues over an extended period of time; and which may cause episodic incapacity. The new regulations specify that the periodic visits for treatment must be at least twice a year.

The new regulations also expanded the definition of a health care provider to include a physician’s assistant who is authorized to practice under state law and who is performing within the scope of his/her practice as defined under state law. 

There is an expanded definition of “Qualifying Exigency”.  New definitions include:  issues related to short notice deployment, attendance at military events and related activities, arranging for or addressing child care and school activities, making financial and legal arrangements, attending counseling, rest and recuperation, and attending post deployment activities.  Because this broadens the scope, diligence and consistent in its application is needed from employers.

In regards to service member leaves, military leaves have been available since January 2008 but regulations provide additional guidance. Several provisions relating to FMLA leave for individuals in this category differ from FMLA leave taken in other situations.  An employee is entitled to 26 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period for this type of leave.  The 12-month period begins on the first day of the leave and ends 12 months from that date, regardless of the method normally used by the employer to calculate FMLA leave.

There is some assistance in the new regulations in regards to the processes relative to certification.  Employers that require eligible employees to submit medical certification to confirm entitlement to FMLA leave must notify the leave-request employee of such requirement within five business days of receiving notice of the request for leave or within five business days of the leave having begun.  If a certification is incomplete or insufficient, the employer must notify the employee of such deficiencies and explain, in writing, what additional information is necessary.  FMLA leave may be denied if the employee does not provide an adequate certification after being given an opportunity to cure it. 

Another change is requiring additional fitness for duty information.  Employers that require such a fitness-for-duty certificate must inform the employee, no later than when the employer first notifies the employee that his or her leave is designated as FMLA leave, of the essential functions of the position that will have to be addressed in the certification. 

There are now higher standards needed for Intermittent Leave.  Employees who use FMLA leave on an intermittent basis must make a “reasonable effort”, a change from an “attempt”, to schedule the leave so that it is not unduly disruptive to the employer.  In addition, there is the issue of reassignment.  Reassignment is only permissible for employees who take foreseeable leave for planned medical treatment or in cases where the employer and employee agree to intermittent leave for the birth of a child or for adoption or foster case placement.  Such a transfer is not permissible in cases where an employee takes unforeseeable intermittent leave.

Finally, there is clarification of Light Duty and use of FMLA leave.  An employer does not have to offer, and an employee does not have to accept, a light duty assignment in place of taking FMLA leave.  However, if an employee does take a light duty assignment, the time spent working the light duty assignment may not be counted as FMLA leave.  At the end of the light duty assignment, or at the end of the 12-month FMLA year, the employee remains entitled to FMLA leave (if not exhausted) and/or to his or her statutory right to job restoration (unless the light duty assignment is taken after the employee’s exhaustion of FMLA leave and inability to return to his or her original position) 

The next area of change is the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) which provides clarification on the ADA.  The ADAAA, which took effect on January 1, 2009, provides the following clarifications: major life activities, episodic illnesses or in remission, and mitigating measures. The definition for major life activities has been expanded.  The amendment also includes impairments that are episodic or in remission.  An impairment that is “episodic or in remission” is a disability when inactive “if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active”.  Examples include cancer, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Another amendment is mitigating measures.  The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity must be made without regard to the use of mitigating measures such as medication, medical equipment, etc.  There is also amendment to the issue of someone who is regarded as disabled.  An individual meets the requirement of being “regarded” as disabled whether or not the actual or perceived impairment actually limits or is perceived to limit major life activity. 

Another interesting legal development occurred in regards to the No Retaliation for Responding to Inquiries in Internal Investigations.  Statements made in the course of the internal employee investigations can constitute protected opposition under Title VII and can therefore give rise for claim in retaliation.  Move cautiously and thoughtfully when taking adverse action like discharge, suspension, reduction in compensation, transfer, diminution in responsibility toward an employee who has participated in an internal investigation.  More specifically, when an employee who describes employment practices prohibited by Title VII in response to a company investigation or inquiry, has engaged in conduct protected by the opposition clause of Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision.  Remember that the closer in time between the protected conduct and the adverse action; the easier it will be for the employee to argue that the two events are just not coincidental, but casually related.  If an employer finds it necessary to take adverse action against someone who has opposed an employment practice proscribed by Title VII, document the decision.  Also, ensure that the company is able to articulate clearly and persuasively why it acted as it did.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed on January 29, 2009.  Under the new law, a discrete unlawful practice occurs—thus renewing the limitations period—each and every time a person is “affected by application of a discriminatory compensation decision or practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid, resulting in whole or in part from such a decision or other practice.  Therefore, under the new law, each allegedly discriminatory paycheck triggers a new 180 or 300 days status of limitations.  This would extend the employees’ opportunity to sue to the entire duration of their employment.  This Act is also retroactive, taking effect as if enacted on May 28, 2007 and applies to all claims of pay discrimination that are pending on or after that date.

The new Obama administration might change the legal landscape in employment law to be pro-labor and pro-employee.  This includes the Employment Free Choice Act which eliminates the secret ballot process of union elections and instead requires certification if a majority of employees sign authorization cards.  It would impose binding arbitration if a first collective bargaining agreement cannot be reached within 120 days.  Although MN public employees are covered by PELRA and not NLRA, a number of states have enacted similar legislation for public employees, it could happen in Minnesota.  Shelley cautions that we must be prepared for the possibility that there might legislation like this in the state.

Additionally, there is the potential for amending the federal employment statues to make it illegal for an employer to discriminate with respect to an employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.  Requiring public and private employers with more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave to both full and part time employees.  There also might be a removal of the $300,000 cap on compensatory damages and punitive damages for violations Title VII and the ADA.

If you have additional questions that haven’t been covered by this presentation, please email Shelley at carth001@umn.edu

MTM (Medication Therapy Management) Program and Wellness Program Update – Karen Chapin, Office of Human Resources

The new Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program will kick off in the Spring of 2009, sometime in the March-April timeframe.  MTM is a new service that includes: a confidential discussion with a pharmacist; a comprehensive health assessment; a detailed review of medications (prescription, over-the-counter medication, and herbal medication); and the development of a treatment plan with your physician.  Hopefully this will provide you with an increased understanding of your medications (how they work, how they interact with each other, etc.). 

Those eligible for MTM include: all UPlan members with four or more UPlan-covered prescriptions or a referral from your physician; and active employees, early retirees, and dependents.

MTM Pharmacists will be located at all major University locations in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Crookston, and Morris.  There will likely be an MTM pharmacist at Rochester as well.  MTM are not always located in a pharmacy.  They might be in a clinic at Boynton, HealthPartners, Fairview and community pharmacies like Cub.  A full list of pharmacies and locations will be available soon.  Please remember that you don’t need to change prescriptions to your MTM pharmacist location. 

The MTM program will give participants a chance to save on co-pay dollars.  There is no co-pay or other costs for MTM pharmacist appointments.  MTM participants are also eligible for a 6-month prescription copy reduction.  There is an $8 reduction in generic plus medication and an $8 co-pay reduction in formulary brand medications.  Anyone who enrolls prior to June 2009 will have co-pays reduced to the end of 2009. 

To qualify for the co-pay reduction you must: use four or more UPlan-covered medications or have a physician referral; complete an MTM participation agreement, have the MTM pharmacist sign it and fax the form to RxAmerica; co-pay reductions begin 7 business days after receipt by RxAmerica.

The guidelines for seeing an MTM pharmacist include:  meeting with the pharmacist at least three times in the first year; meeting with the pharmacist at least two times in the subsequent years; and following pharmacist and physician guidelines.

Some reasons to enroll in MTM include: published studies show very positive health results for participants; a chance to learn more about your medication, why you take them, and how they work; there was high member satisfaction for the MTM pilot at UMD this past year; and there is not cost for the pharmacist and you can save co-pay dollars.

For questions and comments, please contact Karen Chapin at chapi011@umn.edu.