Holiday, payroll, insurance changes detailed

The UCA campus will close for a holiday break at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 23 and continue through Thursday, Jan. 1, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Steve Wood told the UCA Staff Senate on Wednesday.

Wood said that while the university will be open for business on Jan. 2, supervisors are encouraged to work with employees who wish to take that day as a vacation day. Also, where possible and practical, hourly employees should be allowed to accrue eight hours of compensatory time for use in lieu of vacation hours, he continued.

Wood also announced that employees who elect to take Tuesday, Dec. 23, as a vacation day would only be charged four vacation hours.

The staff senate also received a draft of a memo that will be distributed next month to all classified staff who are paid on a monthly timetable. On April 1, those staff will be offered a one-time opportunity to convert from monthly payroll to semi-monthly payroll. Classified staff hired after April 1, will automatically be paid on a semi-monthly basis.

Also, on April 1, all classified staff will have the opportunity to elect direct-deposit of their payrolls, though it will not be required.

Wood encouraged feedback from the senators on the proposed payroll changes. Staff who have questions are concerns about the proposed changes should contact his or her staff senator before Dec. 1.

Wood also told the senate that the health insurance provider for the university will not change in 2004. QualChoice will continue to provide health insurance with a few design changes in the plan and a slight increase in premiums. ?While the news is not good, there is some comfort that the rise in health insurance premiums is not unique to UCA,? Wood said.

Staff senators also were among the first on campus to receive a pamphlet detailing the new dental insurance plan that will be provided through Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Wood told the senate that Blue Cross provides a better co-pay arrangement than the current provider. He also noted that the provider list is a little different from Delta Dental?s provider list. ?There are still about 30 providers in Conway, but that?s down by about six, so there will be someone who will have to change dentists,? he said.

Another positive change will come in the form of life insurance plans for UCA employees who make $25,000 per year or less. In the past, UCA has provided each employee with a life insurance policy equal to his or her salary (rounded up to the next $1,000). This year UCA was given the option to expand the basic life insurance plan for lower salary employees so that now all employees who make $25,000 per year or less will receive a $25,000 life insurance policy.

Wood noted that employees could expect to see changes to the wellness plan in the coming months as well. The expanded plan is expected to cover more lifestyle changes than just exercise.

-Jennifer Boyett