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Transcript | July 23, 2021

[Linc Butler, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources]

0:02 | We’ll go ahead and jump in, I’ll pitch it over to Becci to kick us off.

[Becci Menghin, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance]

0:08 | Hello, everyone. Happy Friday. It’s good to see all of you or at least view on Zoom. I expect many of you are back in the office, so it’s sort of hard to tell. I’m seeing lots of Zoom backgrounds that look like you’re in exotic places as opposed to in the office.

But as it’s our first week back, I hope that you all are doing well in the office and that you’ve managed well in bringing other members of your team back.

I promised Linc I would be brief today, and I will do so. I don’t have a whole lot of news. Admittedly, the system office canceled their HR Council update yesterday, so we don’t have as much news from the system as we might get.
But legislatively, if you all have been tracking the news, you know that the Senate has already put forward its budget proposal. The House is now back in—the General Assembly is back in session. The House is working on theirs. We expect the version, their version of the budget to be released the first week of August. They are saying that they intend to pass whatever they put out from their own—from the House.

The House intends to pass their version within a week’s time. Then the House and the Senate will fight over their various versions, probably go into conference committee and have something in front of the governor. The goal is to have something in front of the governor by Labor Day.

So we’re expecting—fingers crossed—a budget by September. That would mean that should there be legislative increases for University employees, we would hear about them likely in September. Generally, the system office then gives us rules. We would probably be looking at in October or November payroll at that point in time, just depending on the timeline of the, of when we get the news.

That’s sort of what we’re hearing right now in terms of timeline, probably most importantly, because we don’t yet have a budget, you’ve heard me say in these meetings before that we really thought we were going to have a budget by June and then hopefully we would be talking about a July one—or information on a legislative increase in July or August and at least having retro to July.

But we would be much further along than we are right now. We’re not there. And what that means is because we don’t have an approved budget for the next year at this time, as of July 1, we rolled into the new fiscal, and state law says that we’re required to maintain the budget of the previous year or the previous year that we had a budget passed, in our case.

And so the Office of State Budget Management sent us a memo earlier in the week outlining further limitations to our hiring authority and expenditures. You all received an update about that. Linc’s going to spend a lot more time talking about it because I imagine many of you have questions about what this means and how it matters to you and your employees in the coming days. He’ll talk about that. I give him the hard stuff. I just talk about the big picture stuff.

Other news legislatively: Bill 2021-80 did pass. You’ll recall this was the bill that outlined the system office’s legislative priorities. A number of things fell off that bill as it made its way through both houses.
Importantly, there were some significant changes, significant changes to the RIF policy. That will mean that the system office will assume far greater levels of authority in approving things and as opposed to having things have to go all the way to OSHR. There still are some requirements for some portions to go to ISBM for some types of reductions in force. Noreen and her team continue to be the experts on that, and they can help you navigate it.

But the idea behind this was that it often took longer. And Noreen, correct me if I’m misstating this, but it often took longer to execute RIF because of the levels of approval than the benefits you’d make, you’d get out of doing it. And it caused all sorts of tension in the back and forth.

So the hope was by creating a little bit more authority of the system office to affirm that what we were saying we’re doing was legit and appropriate and in line with the rules and requirements would give us a little bit more flexibility.

Of course, always our hope is not to have to put RIFs in play, and we hope that this new flexibility granted to the system office is not something we need to use a great deal. But nonetheless, we hope should we have to, it will be a little easier, not just on those of you who have to put one in play, but also for the employees impacted. Is that an accurate assessment, Noreen?

[Noreen Montgomery, Senior Director of Employment and Staffing]

5:00 | That is completely accurate. It used to take a matter of weeks and then it went to a matter of taking months, and so we’re super-excited the systems office has been really good about turning things around rather quickly. So thank you very much, Becci.


5:14 | Perfect. The other part of that bill, the one that we’re probably most interested in, is that it did grant some limited authority for early retirement. Really, what we anticipate being “Early Retirement Lite” in that these are not early retirement programs tied to the TSERS or the ORP programs but rather will require expenditures on behalf of the units to help people exit a little bit earlier.

I think we’re looking at a six-month to a one-year timeframe though the system office is working out the details and is going to provide guidance. So we’re not in a position to, to give the details to anybody who’s seeking an early retirement at this moment, but we hope to have the guidance here shortly.

Those are the big things in terms of legislative increases. We’ve got lots of questions about things happening on campus related to community standards.

The fact that Healthcare announced yesterday that they are requiring the vaccine raises questions locally about whether the University campus will require the vaccine either for students or for employees. That continues to not be something that’s allowable by the UNC system.

Whether the Healthcare decision will change that long-term, I simply cannot say. But at this point in time, there is no indication that we intend to mandate the vaccine for either employees or for students.
Vicki’s going to talk a little bit about some of the pilot programs. Linc’s, going to talk a little bit more about the OSBM memo.

I know you all are buried in all of these things. I want to just say thank you once again for your resiliency and your commitment to this stuff. I am, for one, am thrilled to have you back on campus—or many of you back on campus—and look forward to the opportunity to see you, if not in a big meeting of all of us together.
This seems to work remarkably well. I admit this might be the forum we continue on, but I hope I can at least see you walking across the quad or out, out and about.

And I know certainly some of our other meetings, our smaller meetings, will be more in person in the coming days.
With that, I’m going to hand it over to Linc, and we’ll get you updated on the OSBM updates.


7:29 | Thanks, Becci. Any questions on any other topics? [inaudible]

I know it’s that time of year, so everyone’s interested in the legislative updates. So we sent out a notice to you yesterday and then resent it today; we heard from a few folks that didn’t actually receive it.

So hopefully everyone received the update we received from OSBM, which essentially freezes certain types of salary actions temporarily.

Quite frankly, this isn’t too uncommon. We’ve seen this before when the budget takes a little bit longer than we expect where these types of actions have been frozen.

And so what is temporarily frozen until a statewide budget is passed would include additional duties, increases, reclassifications, preemptive or speculative retentions, labor market equity, SHRA employee competency assessments. And this is also regardless of funding source.

So, you know, on the one hand, we’ve been operating under a pause for a while now, and now we have a freeze on top of the pause. So maybe we could call it a “frozen pause.” My my dear colleague Bonnie suggested “slushy.” I think I like that a little better.

But, you know, this is, this is not uncommon for this time of year, especially as the budget continues to be hashed out.

We did include some guidance that, you know, those things that can move forward include things like promotional increases for internal hires for existing budgeted positions; offers extended to candidates for existing budgeted positions, which includes contracts and grants-funded positions; critical retention increases where there’s documented recruitment effort or an off-site, an outside offer letter; increases for individuals assuming and acting or interim appointment for existing vacant positions; and increases required by contractual agreements, legal settlements, or other increases mandated by federal or state law.

So there are some avenues to move forward. The way we’re approaching it is, you know, if we do have actions that have been sent to us, we are going to evaluate those actions and see if there’s ones that are prohibited under the current criteria.

The freeze, you may have already been contacted by some folks on the OHR team about ones that probably will need to hold off until the budget is resolved.

There is some good news—some light at the end of the tunnel in that that it looks like retroactive effect dates would be contemplated for those actions that do have to be held until the budget is passed. So it looks like at least that will be something we can, we can take advantage of once the budget is passed.

So with that being said, I do have one question in the chat: How did the new guidelines impact the possibility of extending a temp position that ends on August 31?

So if I understand the question correctly, you’re looking to extend that person’s employment by an additional period of time?

I don’t think that that will be an issue. That would be something that we could still accomplish for an extension. So that wouldn’t have to be frozen. Other questions related to the OSBM memo.

[Tabitha Massey, Director of HR for UBC]

10:54 | Hi, Linc. It’s Tabitha. So should we continue to submit the actions as we normally would just so that they would be in the queue in the event that they, you know, are approved and we’re able to go back retro, they would have a date to go back to?


11:10 | That’s something we’ve been talking about internally in terms of how—what’s the best way to monitor it. And so we’ll likely need to get some additional guidance out to you on that front.

On the one hand, that makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, it makes a little more burdensome on us to then track internally. So let me and the team get together and get some additional guidance on that front out to you as soon as we can.


11:36 | Thank you.


11:40 | All right, I see in another question: What about pay rate increases for SHRA students? In the FAQ, it does address that this freeze does apply to student employees as well. So they are part of the freeze unless it’s, for example, a prevailing wage issue or something that’s mandated in that respect.

What about staff that currently have temp duties and those duties will expire fall semester? Can this be extended?
Yes, those can be extended. But again, as you’re extending those, it would still need to come through the HR essential actions process.

Other questions on OSBM?

As you think of additional questions, certainly reach out to us; we’ll do our best to answer them. If we don’t know the answer right off, we’ll research it and make sure you get the answer you need.

In the meantime, just continue to work with all the different units here in HR, whether it’s class and comp, EHRA Non-Faculty HR or employment staffing—continue to work with academic personnel office as well on any questions you may have if you’re not sure whether something falls into the freezer or not, and we’ll provide some guidance to you as best we can.

All right, so we’ll move to the next topic.

I just want to touch base. We’ve got a couple of inquiries. You may have seen the governor’s Executive Order 220 announcement, which essentially ends a lot of the restrictions that are in place throughout the state of North Carolina.

Some questions that came in were specific around what does that mean for us?

Our community standards that are currently in place remain in place. There’s been a little bit of conversation about taking a look at those in the future, but for now, they still remain in place, and so all of the requirements around where to wear a mask and when to wear a mask are in effect.

So but I’m sure you’re probably going to get some questions from folks, Hey, I saw the governor lifted all the restrictions. Why do I still have to wear a mask?

Well, because the community standards are still in effect. So should that change or should additional conversations happen? We’ll, of course, keep you informed on that.

All right, Vicki, do you want to talk a little bit about the pilot program just to provide a quick update?

[Vicki Bradley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance]

14:03 | Sure. So we’ve been told by the system office that we are going to need to report the percent on-site time.

So for the pilot groups that have been approved, we are taking the spreadsheets that were sent in and approved, and we will be loading those spreadsheets, the percent onsite time. That percent will be loaded into ConnectCarolina on July 28.

And so, going forward, when the dean’s and vice chancellors who had submitted pilot plans, they were told if things change and you need to revise your plan, here’s a template.

And that was given to them, and they were told to submit them back to the that if they have revisions. So it probably would be best if you guys bundle them and don’t send them onesie-twosie.

But just once a month, send those plans in. Figured you’re probably curious how to do that. So we were thinking if you could send those plans in by the fifteenth of the month, that would give, you know, Becci and Linc and the chancellor and everybody who looks at those plans, a couple of weeks to review them and approve them or whatever, and then we would get those files.

And then the first week of every month we would just update ConnectCarolina. So we would get into that cadence of any revisions will come in by the fifteenth, they’ll be reviewed by the end of the month, and then we’ll load them the first week of the next month.

One question that’s been given to us as well: When you say we have to submit revisions on those templates, if on the template you had somebody who worked certain days and then you just swap in the days that they’re working—their percent on time stays the same but the days are going to change—do you need to put them on the revised plan?
And the answer is no.

We only need you to put someone on the revisions template if it’s, if their percent time changes or if it’s just a new person, right, that hasn’t been on a previous plan—or if someone comes off, you know, is no longer going to be doing it. Anything like that, anything of substance. Not just day changes in there.

So any questions on that? OK.


16:21 | Thanks, Vicki. Before I put you to Tyler, I would like to turn you over to Angenette McAdoo.
We do have a new member of the E&MR team that she would like to introduce. Angenette?

[Angenette McAdoo, Senior Director for Employee & Management Relations].

16:34 | Absolutely. So on the call, I’m not sure if you’d ask see Carwin’s face, but Carwin Ling Ratliff, you’ll see, I am pleased to announce that he joined the EMR team on July the 19 as a senior HR consultant and grievance and balance in the workplace officer.

Carwin comes to us from San Jose State University. There he had experience in employee in labor relations. He also helped to develop and implement many policies and procedures, provided guidance for managers and employees on all types of EMR-related issues.

So we are pleased to have him as a part of our team, and we welcome him and we hope that you will do the same.


17:31 | Thank you, Angenette.


17:33 | Mmm-hmmm.


17:34 | All right, Tyler, you’re up.

[Tyler Enlow, Senior E&MR Consultant]

17:36 | So I’ve got a lot of questions about probationary reviews, so I wanted to kind of announce to everybody that going forward we will be using the quarterly review system as we have in the past. And that will begin in October.

So I know most people are looking at the July window because of the Go Live for EHRA Non-Faculty. The system is not set up for the probationary reviews yet. So instead of backtracking and going back to paper after we just told everybody no paper, we are going to be advising that we’ll skip the July window and begin the quarterly reviews in October.

Those will be automated. So we are what we are working through that now to get that all squared away so that the reviews will be sitting there waiting for your managers so they don’t have to find the correct form. Or is this person supposed to be eligible or not? That’ll all be done behind the scenes for your managers?

So I just want to make sure everyone knows we are not doing the July window for quarterly reviews. We are doing October. They will be due October 31. Just FYI, that’s a Friday. So the 29th is probably the easiest way to say that’s a deadline, but that will all be in the system. There’ll be no uploading of documents. It’ll all be done in Carolina Talent.

Another thing that we’ve been working on, with the assistance of Adam Back, the ECA guru, is we’ve been looking at how to put the ECAs into Carolina Talent.

So Adam’s been working with the Carolina Talent PM team, and we are going to be creating the 90-day ECAs for your managers automated in the system as well. So it’ll be created with a 90-day deadline. And those are going to be created every two weeks with the performance plans, so they’ll have two tasks waiting for them with every, with new hires.

Once again, remember, the performance plans are created every two weeks. So if you have somebody who was hired within that two-week period, we will be creating them on a Friday afternoon.

Just FYI as well: We ran into an issue. We ran to a reporting snafu for a second. It’s been fixed. So we will be doing all the ones for the last month, today.

So FYI, that’ll be done literally once I get off this call, and we will be creating the performance plan and 90-day ECA for those in the last month.

And I’ll be going back next week and collecting all the people who had been hired from April 1 til mid-June. I will be creating the 90-day ECA for them as well. Next week.

Any questions? Awesome.

[people talking at once]

20:23 | Actually, Tyler, question in the chat: Will the—


20:26 | Sure.


20:27 | —managers get an email notification through a probationary review if they have an employee who needs one?


20:31 | Yes. So what’s going to happen is—is that, just like the performance plan in the 90-day ECA, the manager will receive an email telling them that they have a task to do. That one has been created for them as well as it’ll also have the same rules about if something’s not been done by the deadline, they’ll have the same notifications as well.

And we’ll also-I’ll be putting together an email for the PM reps so that you will know, okay, so this is where this I find this information, this is how I find that.


21:08 | Great, thanks, Tyler. Any other questions for Tyler?


Next topic. Want to give a few APO updates. The first is based on some things we’re seeing coming in through the APO related to equity increases and promotional increases. This is, of course, for faculty.

We’re currently under the pause, of course, and now, the freeze. Equity increases are something we can’t do. Haven’t been historically able to do, but we have been seeing some increases come in where there’s an attempt to kind of wrap an equity increase along with a promotional increase.

And so we just want to make sure that you understand that the promotional increases are things that can move forward; equity will have to wait.

So if you have a situation, though, that you want to talk through, that we can maybe try and brainstorm other ways to try and address that, we’re happy to do that.

But we’re also—and again, I applaud everyone’s creativity on this—but the question back, when we give feedback to say, this is not something we can do, is, well, what if what if we say it’s for something else?

While we can’t do that, either. We want to make sure that whatever’s happening is accurately represented. So if it is for equity, it’s for equity, but the equity increase is something that we would have to wait to try and address at a later date.

So let us know. We can help on that. I just wanted to bring it up because it’s something that we’ve been seeing start to pop up a little bit.

In addition to that, we know we have some reappointments for faculty that happen well in advance of the effective date, and we do have some areas that I think—just trying to be proactive—are going ahead and submitting those reappointments. But they’re more than 90 days in advance.

Again, applaud the proactivity on that, but it could create some downstream issues by doing it that early, more than 90 days in advance. There’s a number of actions that could take place in the interim that are going to create errors in the system, so we would advise you to at least not do it any sooner than 90 days in advance.
If you have a special circumstance or something that’s truly exceptional that we need to take a look at, reach out to us. We’ll talk through it and try to figure something out.

But, you know, in talking through the with the team at APO and talking through the folks in HRAM, generally speaking, we would advise against trying to do it too far in advance and 90 days seems to be a good window.
Kristine, can I put you on the spot? And maybe talk a little bit more about what kinds of issues would be created by doing it too far in advance?

[Kristine Williams, Business Systems Manager for HR Information Management]

23:49 | Specifically, the main issue is that it causes “midstacks.”

I think most people are familiar with that term: If you put something out there in the future, then any subsequent action that you need to process—that’s with an effective date prior to that date—once it gets through that EPAR approval process at the end, it will not write into the system.

It will error out, and then the HRAM team will manually create that job data record or enter that data manually into the system.

So it’s just a pain. [laughing] It’s not great.

So that’s, that’s really the crux of it, Linc.


24:32 | Thanks, Kristine.


24:33 | Mmm-hmmm.


24:34 | You’re using that technical terminology.

[Williams, laughing | 24:36]


24:37 | But again, if you do have a situation that’s truly exceptional and you need to think through it or problem-solve through it, reach out to us in the APO and we will do our best to try and figure something out.

All right. Any questions on either of those? Before I turn it over to Jessica? All right, Jessica. It’s all yours.

[Jessica Pyjas, University Program Specialist for Work/Life and Wellness]

25:01 | Good afternoon, everyone. Great to be back in the office. I took away my background for everyone to see that I’m actually here.

So I did want to let you know and remind you that we have a “Wellness” tab on the Return to Campus website. So if you visit the Return to Campus website on HR, just scroll down to the “Helpful Resources” and click on “Wellness.”

And there you’ll find different pieces of information: recordings, upcoming webinars and other things that you can read to help support yourself and others as we are back on campus.

And then I wanted to let you know, through the month of July, we’ve had some additional webinars offered to support BIPOC mental health. Throughout July, we’ve had 105 employees reached so far who have participated in various stress management and mental health webinars.

We have three left. So a very busy week next week: On Monday, we have a session at noon on tools to handle stress; Wednesday we have a session also at noon on mindfulness in work and life; and then Thursday we have our special session at noon for leaders and managers, and the topic is recognizing and promoting burnout prevention with ourselves and our teams. So I encourage you to participate in any of those.

Did want to remind you that even though we are back on campus, we have many virtual offerings still happening. Gillings School of Public Health is still going to be offering their virtual yoga sessions every Monday; it’s a 30-minute class and absolutely free.

And there are still going to be brief meditation sessions offered four days out of the week. And these are only 20-25 minutes just to take that time to recenter yourself throughout the workday. They’re offered in the afternoon.
And then I’m very, very happy to announce that we do—we have two winners for the Governors Award for Excellence this year.

It’s a program that’s been in existence for many years, but since I’ve been here, this is the first time I’ve seen winners from UNC. So I’m very proud of that.

We have Katie Bolls Young from UNC Global Relations, who won the award for Outstanding Government Service for her quick action and dedication to develop the first ever collaborative online international learning courses, so that students could continue to work and study and learn from people across the entire world. And she had 450 students enrolled throughout 2020.

And then the other award goes to Dr Melissa Miller from the School of Medicine, who won the award for public service. And that is for her rapid and accurate COVID testing program that she developed within the School of Medicine that resulted in over 300,000 COVID tests being performed when this nomination was submitted earlier this spring. And in addition to her work with that, she also dedicated and volunteered her time to serve on several national advisory committees to share experience and her recommendations on supply shortages for testing equipment and infrastructure needs.

So congratulations to both those employees, and they will both be recognized in October at an awards ceremony that is to be determined whether it will be in person or virtual. But that will be with the governor himself.
And then I did want to let you know that our discounts featured this month as we move into August, our various child care resources and care—in addition—including our Kindercare discount through our Working Advantage site, which is 10 percent off of Kindercare.

And then do encourage you to check out the child care and parenting resources on the Return to Campus website, where you can get more information about child care, referrals and scholarships; the discount for the Juggle app; and then various hotline information for a parent helpline; information about Victory Village, and then also information about community YMCA support programs.

In addition to those discounts, there are many tech discounts that are available to you as an employee, and these include discounts to Lenovo products, Dell, HP and Microsoft products. And those discounts vary from as little as 5 percent, but as great as 66 percent off.

So those are my updates.

[Pyjas and Butler speak at the same time | 30:09]


30:10 | Questions?


30:13 | Any questions for Jessica?

It’s very exciting to have two winners this year. Just absolutely fantastic. So I was excited to hear that from Jessica when she shared that news.

OK, so we’re running way ahead of schedule, as you can see, and that’s not going to hurt anyone’s feelings to get some time back. But it does lead me to the next question for you.

We’re contemplating moving back to our once-a-month meeting schedule and wanted to just do a pulse-check real quick.
If I’ve been thinking ahead and better, I probably would have set up a poll for it. But if you could just pop in the chat or maybe a thumbs-up if you think that’s the right way to go.

What we were thinking is going back to our regular once-a-month schedule, beginning in August meeting. So thumbs up if you agree or in the chat. Just say yes.

That sounds great. Looks like I’m getting some votes for Zoom and looks like a lot of folks agree that once a month is good.

Angela, you don’t get to vote. I know you have to help with the agenda-setting, but no.

OK, great. So what we’ll do is for August, we will look at going back to once a month. We’ll keep it at Zoom for now and then just kind of see how things go. It likely will be a longer period of time since we may have more updates to share, more discussion to have, because we’re doing once a month.

OK, all right. And I know that makes Angela very, very happy.

All right, so I want to open it up: Is there any other topics or questions you all have or any other updates from, from my team that maybe did not make the agenda?

All right. Looks like everybody’s ready to get the weekend started. So have a great weekend.

I echo Becci’s comments earlier. Thank you so much for everything you do.

And please make sure you’re taking care of yourself, getting some rest, and we’ll talk to you soon.

[Rock music begins to play]


32:13 | Happy weekend, y’all.

[Angela Easter, Executive Assistant for the Office of Vice Chancellor]

32:21 | Oh, my goodness, Linc! You know how much I love Queen?


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