CACS Question – June 2012
Responses to CACS Question – June 2012
Other than the budget, what one issue do you think, if addressed, would improve the staff quality of life at UCI?
From 143 responses by staff across campus, certain summarizing themes emerged. Questions derived from the themes then were addressed by appropriate campus experts. Those questions and answers are posted here.
1. Why do UCI employees pay for parking?
Parking is a self-supporting activity under university policy, meaning there are no funds from the state or campus to help offset costs. Parking permit rates are set to generate sufficient revenue to pay down UC Irvine's long-term debt, which was acquired to build parking structures and lots, as well as to maintain the daily operations of the department. If you would like to know where parking fees go, see: www.parking.uci.edu/parking/budget.cfm.
Transportation Services is sensitive to the costs associated with commuting and, therefore, offers a wide variety of sustainable transportation options to lessen that burden. For more information regarding sustainable transportation options, please visit: www.parking.uci.edu/AT or call 949-824-7433 (RIDE) to speak to an employee transportation coordinator.
2. Why are non-exempt employees being transitioned to a biweekly pay cycle?
UC Irvine currently pays a significant number of its employees on a biweekly pay cycle, which is 26 paychecks a year, rather than 12 paychecks. However, effective Jan. 20, 2013, non-exempt (hourly) employees throughout the University of California system who are not already paid on a biweekly cycle will be changing to this schedule. The change will not affect an employee's pay rate or gross compensation.
The biweekly pay cycle transition has been communicated to affected employees via email, and is explained in greater detail on the campus's UCPath website: www.ucpath.uci.edu/news/BiweeklyPayCycleTransition.html.
The UCPath project team scheduled four in-person information sessions for affected employees, two of which were held at the Student Center in November. The other two sessions were scheduled at the medical center. The complete schedule is located atwww.ucpath.uci.edu/news/BiweeklyPayCycleInformationSessions.html.
Information in both English and Spanish will be sent directly to affected employees' home addresses in mid-December.
The biweekly pay cycle is one of several components of the UCPath initiative, a systemwide effort to standardize common business practices in the interest of greater efficiency, better service and long-term savings for the University of California.
3. Does UCI have a policy on civility, and how does it relate to respecting staff?
Civility, or rather respect, has been identified by Chancellor Michael Drake as one of the seven core values underpinning all activities at UC Irvine. These values – respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, empathy, appreciation and fun – are delineated at www.chancellor.uci.edu/values/ and have been shared campuswide via emails and the Living Our Values awards program, launched in 2007. There is an expectation that everyone working at UC Irvine understands "that respect is the cornerstone of human interaction" and behaves accordingly. The chancellor has written and spoken frequently on the importance of campus civility, most recently in an April 27, 2012, message to the campus community. The message is posted atwww.chancellor.uci.edu/messages/2011-12/04/civility_120427.php. The university has no official policy on civility.
4. Why do some staff appear to have more flexibility in their work schedule than others?
Depending on the nature of a person's job, he or she is identified as "exempt" or "non-exempt," the latter referring to those employees who are paid hourly and whose work is covered by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments. See www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/. Exempt employees receive the same salary month to month and are expected to work as many hours as required to get their jobs done, even when that involves evenings and weekends. They do not get paid on an hourly basis and do not, therefore, qualify for overtime. It is true that exempt employees have greater flexibility in their day-to-day work schedules. If an exempt employee shows signs of underperforming, this should be addressed by the person's supervisor.
An is a variation of the standard 5-day/40-hour work schedule. Flex time allows for some daily, weekly, or monthly variation. Start and end times are flexible hours other than the standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. An alternate work schedule may allow for a better balance of work life and home life; however, it must also result in a continuation of high quality service to customers.
5. What are some strategies for improving communication between staff members and supervisors?
Communication is a two-way street, so it's incumbent upon staff to engage their supervisors on issues of importance to the employee. And both parties are encouraged to tackle difficult subjects by sticking to "issues" versus personalities.
Human Resources offers a nine-week "Effective Supervision Certificate Program," which includes a course on "Coaching and Communication Skills." See: chancellor.uci.edu/pdf/cacs/HREffectiveSupervisionCertificateSeriesPamphletWinter2011.pdf
Human Resources also offers the eight-month UCIcoach certification to help supervisors strengthen their relationships with employees. See: cast.nacs.uci.edu/ucihr01/brochures/UCIcoachCertificationPamphlet2012.pdf
Numerous communication training modules for employees and supervisors are offered through the UC Learning Center at www.uclc.uci.edu. Two that are especially recommended are: "Communication and Teamwork: Interaction Styles" and "How to Manage and Prevent Conflict." All of these are offered at no cost to UC Irvine employees. Search "communication" for more options.
6. What efforts are being made to streamline our work processes and procedures?
Several streamlining and efficiency initiatives are being undertaken UC-wide and on campus. Working Smarter is the systemwide initiative established to streamline operations, implement operational efficiencies, and build a sustainable financial model. For more information on Working Smarter, see:workingsmarter.universityofcalifornia.edu/.
With respect to local efforts, for nearly 15 years, Administrative & Business Services has surveyed its primary customers to get their ideas for streamlining procedures. The annual A&BS customer survey is used to get customer feedback on A&BS processes, forms, policies and requirements that they believe warrant simplification. This feedback is used to identify priorities for improvements. Based on feedback this year, A&BS has identified the following as top priorities for improvement in 2013:
- Accounting & Fiscal Services will provide UC Irvine customer input to a review team established by UC's Office of the President to evaluate feedback regarding the Connexxus Travel Program, one of the university's Working Smarter projects.
- Facilities Management will improve work billing, including implementing split funding and related communications.
- Materiel & Risk Management will review business contracting to improve service and streamline processes, and will follow up with educational communications.
- Human Resources will develop and communicate policy clarifications, especially regarding authorities related to personnel actions.
Results of the 2012 A&BS Customer Survey are posted at www.abs.uci.edu/2012CustomerSurveyReport_FINAL.pdf.
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