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Office of Human Resources                                                       December 2012 

 

 HR REVIEW

 Your Source for University Human Resources News and Information
Announcements
Jannifer Crittendon has been appointed as Northwestern's new Director of Equal Opportunity and Access.

Jannifer jo
ined the Office of Human Resources on November 12 from the University of Notre Dame, where she was most recently Director of the Office of Institutional Equity and previously Director of Student Welfare and Development. Before taking on these university-wide responsibilities, Jannifer served as Director of Diversity and as Academic Advisor in the College of Business. She has also held leadership positions at Indiana University, Memorial Health System (in Indiana), and the United States Department of Defense. Jannifer earned her PhD in education administration and leadership from Andrews University and an MPA in management administration and public policy from Indiana University.
 
As a member of the Northwestern Human Resources leadership team, Jannifer (and her staff) will work with leaders and individual contributors throughout the University to 1) establish policies and practices for equal opportunity, 2) improve diversity and access, and 3) build a community free of discrimination and harassment. She will advise faculty and staff on protocols, laws and regulations while catalyzing change with internal and external stakeholders to realize Northwestern University's vision of inclusion.
Inside This Issue
Announcements
Office of Equal Opportunity and Access
Benefits
Upcoming Events
FASIS Update
Staffing
Payroll
Learning and Organization Development
Compensation
Work/Life Resources
Service Recognition
Quick Links
Office of Equal Opportunity and Access

Celebrating Diversity during the Holiday Season

 

As December begins, we are reminded of the rich diversity we experience here at Northwestern and the importance of diversity in defining who we are as a University. We see this expressed through the many holidays and traditions that are celebrated during this time of year, and it is a wonderful time to broaden our awareness of how others are celebrating during this time. Consider reading a book, searching online, or watching a program on others' celebrations or traditions. Use this as a time to learn what colleagues and friends do during this time of year that is meaningful to them and the cultures and religions that accompany these traditions. While not exhaustive, Missouri State University's list of Cultural and Religious Observances is one source that provides an overview of many events that are observed throughout the year, and there are a variety of other such calendars that can be found online. Let this be a time of celebration, learning, and respect for the many traditions, cultures, and religions comprised within our University.

 

Benefits  

Your Benefits for 2013

 

The Benefits Division is happy to announce that Open Enrollment has successfully come to a close! Print a copy of your confirmation statement for your records.

Instructions:

  1. Log on to Self Service at https://nuhr.northwestern.edu with your netid and password from any computer with internet access.
  2. Select Self Service, Benefits, Open Enrollment from the left-hand menu.
  3. Click the View or Print Confirmation Statement link and print the information for your records.
  4. Review your confirmation statement for accuracy and contact the Benefits Division with concerns.

**Important - Elections requiring evidence of insurability (EOI) including life insurance increases will NOT be reflected in the confirmation statement until the approval notice is received and processed by the Benefits Division.

Other important reminders:

  • As a reminder, your PayFlex card for your flexible spending account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) will remain active until the expiration date listed on the card. Please hold onto it for next year.
  • New enrollees in the health savings account (HSA) will NOT receive a PayFlex card until they activate their account online at www.healthhub.com
  • All members will receive a new card for Dearborn National Dental PPO. Please look to receive these cards by mid-December
  • The deadline for filing 2012 flexible spending account claims is March 31, 2013. Healthcare and limited use flexible spending account expenses must be incurred by March 15, 2013. Dependent care flexible spending account expenses must be incurred by December 31, 2012.
  • If you or your dependents are taking courses at NU, please complete the 2013 employee or dependent reduced tuition application. Please submit completed forms to the Benefits Division: http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/policies-forms/forms/tuition-benefits/index.html 
Upcoming Events

Ice Skating with the President, A Fundraising Event for NU Cares

 

The Northwestern University Staff Advisory Council (NUSAC) and the Office of Human Resources, in association with the Office of the President, are excited to announce an ice skating fundraiser to benefit the NU Cares program.  Please join fellow staff, faculty, students, and President Morty Schapiro to help open the ice skating rink at Norris in style. The event will take place on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 from 5-7pm.  Skate rentals and warm beverages will be provided at a nominal cost, with all proceeds from the event going directly to support the NU Cares program.  NU Cares is the employee-to-employee assistance fund, that provides financial grants to fellow Northwestern employees during a time of need.  To date, NU Cares has provided assistance to 15 of our colleagues who were experiencing an unexpected hardship.

 

This family friendly event will feature games and other fun activities to keep people involved and skating throughout the event.  Please mark the date on your calendars!  And look for further communication on the event via email during December and early January.  Any event related questions can be submitted to nusac@northwestern.edu.

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

FASIS Update

Update Your Address for W2 Mailing

 

Please take a moment to log into FASIS Self Service and ensure that your home and department mailing addresses are correct.  These addresses will be used for delivery of printed 2012 W2 Forms. If you have opted in to receive your W2 electronically (see below), printed copies will not be mailed.  If you manage temps or work-study students, please ensure that their addresses are reviewed as well, W2s for regular active employees will be sent to the Departmental Location Address; those for temps, work-study students, and separated employees will be sent to their last known home address on file.

 

Electronic Option for 2012 W2

 

This year, you will once again have the option to view and print your W2 Form electronically within FASIS Self Service. To take advantage of this benefit, you will need to consent to receive your form electronically.  Unless you opt-in, you will continue to receive a paper W2 Form at your work address (active regular employees) or your home address (temporary and terminated employees).  Step-by-step instructions for consenting to the Electronic W2 will be sent to all employees in mid-December.

Staffing

Staffing Can Help You Build Your Team

 

It's no secret that hiring great talent is one of the most important jobs of any manager.  The Office of Human Resources Staffing Team is dedicated to providing high-quality customer service to the Northwestern community and can support you in the recruitment and selection of diverse and talented employees in a number of ways, including:

  • Partnering with you to determine what skills and competencies your position requires and then creating a targeted recruitment strategy that will help you find the best talent to fill this need.
  • Creating an interview process and questions that align to the competencies your position requires.
  • Administering software skills assessment tests.
  • Conducting phone screens to help you identify the most qualified candidates to bring onsite for interviews.
  • Participating in onsite interviews.
  • Developing a staffing plan for multiple openings.
  • Delivering customized interview training for hiring managers.
  • Supplying temporary employees for short- and longer-term assignments (via Northwestern's Temporary Staffing Center).
  • Conducting the required background, education, and reference checks and obtaining the necessary releases.
  • Assisting with extending offers and managing salary negotiations. 

To learn more about these and other services that the Staffing Team can provide, contact your department's Staffing Consultant.  For assistance in identifying your Staffing Consultant, contact the Office of Human Resources at 312-503-8481 (Chicago) or 847-491-7507 (Evanston) for assistance.

Payroll
Early Kronos Deadline for December
 
Please keep in mind that the December time entry deadlines for non-exempt and exempt staff, as well as manager approvals, will be early this month due to the holiday.  Employees and managers taking time off at the end of December are urged to complete Kronos entry/approval prior to leaving campus.  More information regarding the early deadlines will be sent to employees as the end of the month approaches.  
 
W4 Reminder
 
Remember to submit a new W4 if your marital status or allowances have changed or will change for 2013.  A new federal and/or state W4 form can be submitted at any time throughout the year to update your withholding.  Forms can be downloaded from Payroll's website and mailed to or dropped off at the Payroll Office on either campus.
 
2013 Tax Rates / Brackets
 
There is still uncertainty regarding what the final 2013 federal tax rates and brackets will be. The new rates will be communicated to employees once new tax legislation has been signed into law.
 
The 2013 FICA wage limits have been issued. The new Social Security wage base will be $113,700 (up from $110,100 in 2012). Also, under current law the 2 percent reduction that has been in place the past two years will expire at the end of 2012 and the Social Security rate is scheduled to return to 6.2 percent for 2013.
 
Although there continues to be no Medicare taxable wage limit, beginning in 2013, all taxable wages that exceed $200,000 will now be taxed at 2.35 percent (an increase of 0.9 percent over the current 1.45 percent rate).
 
Please note that this information is still subject to change based on legislative action.  We will announce any changes, along with the new 2013 tax rates, once decisions are made by the U.S. Congress.  For questions regarding your payroll taxes, or to submit a new state or federal W4 withholding form, please contact the Payroll Office at payroll@northwestern.edu.

Learning & Organization Development

The Northwestern University Learning & Organization Development (L&OD) team collaborates with faculty and staff who want to develop their talent and advance their workplace outcomes, processes and engagement. L&OD provides consulting, coaching, workshops, retreats and tools for individuals, groups and organizations.

  

Getting Things Done� in 2013

 

Are you already thinking about your resolutions for the New Year? Maybe you'd like to get your email inbox under control or learn how to get a lingering project unstuck.

 

If you're looking for an improved work-life management system that can transform uncertainty into stress-free productivity, consider enrolling in an upcoming session of our newest workshop called Getting Things Done�.

 

Workshop participants will receive a copy of David Allen's bestseller Getting Things Done and several practical resources for future success using the GTD methodology.

 

February 7 in Chicago

February 26 in Evanston

8:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

$225

Register.

 

L&OD offers a variety of workshops and additional opportunities to help improve workplace performance. Check them out!

Follow our Twitter feed to get L&OD's best picks of upcoming events and learning resources.

Compensation

Employee or Independent Contractor?


One of the most common times for employee vs. independent contractor misclassifications is when an employee leaves a position on good terms and then fills in on a temporary basis as an "independent contractor" or "consultant"  while the employer searches for a replacement.  The worker often ends up doing exactly what the person did as an employee. One month turns into two, then four, and before long the employer is not working as hard to fill the position. The question then arises whether the person is classified properly.

 

The following guidelines will help you determine the appropriate classification.   However, if you are unsure about the proper classification of a worker, contact your HR Consultant. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides guidance on the treatment of independent contractors (ICs) that help determine the employer's degree of control to effectively determine whether or not a person qualifies to be an IC.  The IRS looks at 11 factors across three areas: behavioral control; financial control; and the type of relationship of the parties. These factors are summarized below:

  1. Behavioral Control. Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her work? 

    The IC should determine when, where and how to work, and determine what apparatus is needed for an assignment. The IC must have his or her own tools, including computer, work space and administrative support. Additional staff needed to work on an assignment should be determined, hired and paid by the contractor.           
  2. Financial Control. Are the business aspects of the worker's assignment controlled by the payer?

    ICs are not paid through an organization's payroll and are not subject to FLSA minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. They are usually paid a flat fee for the job at stages or intervals of the project or upon completion of the project.

    The opportunity to make a "profit" or "loss" is an important factor in demonstrating financial control for an IC. Expenses that the organization pays should be included in a written agreement or contract as part of the cost of the entire job. ICs should not be restricted to work solely for an organization but should be able to work for other organizations while under a contract with an organization.  

  3. Type of Relationship. ICs should not complete an employment application. It is important to have a written agreement in place that specifies the nature and duration of the project, and outlines the expectations of the project and the outcome on completing the assignment.

    ICs generally are not provided with benefits such as pension plans, disability insurance, paid vacation, holiday pay, sick days or any other employee-related incentive pay. 

You must weigh all these factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. There is no "magic" or set number of factors that "makes" the worker an employee or an independent contractor, and no one factor stands alone in making this determination.  The keys are to look at the entire relationship, consider the degree or extent of the right to direct and control, and finally, to document each of the factors used in coming up with the determination

 

For assistance in making the correct classification decision, contact the Compensation Division at 847-491-4378.

 

Work/Life Resources

Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

 

The holidays are a fun and exciting time of the year. A variety of stressors also come with the many upcoming festivities. It is important to acknowledge your personal values in advance, to ensure you make the most of your holiday season. Advanced planning and realistic goals are crucial to minimize holiday stress. Here are few other ideas to keep in mind this month:

  • Set Priorities: People tend to get wrapped up in trying to create perfection at this time of year. Set reasonable goals for your celebrations. Take a step back and decide what is most important to you and your family.
  • Make A Plan: Organize your time to get the important things done in an efficient way (make detailed grocery lists; keep a calendar of upcoming commitments and events). Remember, everyone needs downtime to enjoy this special time of the year. Avoid overscheduling by carefully choosing activities that you want to do rather than what you think you must do.
  • Budget Wisely: Decide in advance what you can afford to spend this year on gifts and festivities. Remember that gifts do not need to be elaborate to be thoughtful. Consider creative, less expensive options such as a baking mix, a framed photograph, or the gift of your time.
  • Care for Yourself & Your Family: Holiday stress can take its toll; be sure to focus on your health and activities to reduce stress. Be realistic about the types and amounts of foods you choose. Stick to your exercise routine despite a busy schedule. Rest and relax; allow yourself to reflect on the true meaning of the season.

Set & Keep Realistic Expectations: Remember, holiday joy comes from within and you cannot create it for someone else! Try to remember the true spirit of the holidays to avoid the pressure of traditions. Continue the traditions you and your family truly enjoy, and allow yourself the relief of letting others go. Cherish the fun in new and different traditions!

Perspectives Faculty and Staff Assistance Program can also be a resource for managing holiday stress. For more information, contact 800-456-6327. 

  

Making Plans for Winter Break from School

 

Sittercity is here to help during the busiest season at work and home. Access your free membership to find sitters for school holidays, holiday travel, and more. For more information.

 

If you need to make plans for winter break from school, be sure to check out these School's Out/ back-up programs and activities: the McGaw YMCA, Bright Horizons at Evanstonthe City of Evanston Parks and Recreation Programs, Evanston School Days Off Program, the Lill Street Art Center, the Emerald City Theater, and Chicago Parent.

  

On-Going Programs - New Participants Are Welcome!

 

Elder Caregiving Support Group
For those who are providing caregiving for elders or who anticipate providing care.  For further information or to respond, contact Phyllis Ellis:
p-ellis@northwestern.edu or 7-1460.  

 

Work/Life Balance Support Group  

For those who are looking for balance in their work and personal lives.  For further information or to respond, contact Phyllis Ellis: p-ellis@northwestern.edu or 7-1460.

 

Weight Watchers @ Work

For more information, contact Tamara Rosner at t-rosner@northwestern.edu or 1-2209.


Service Recognition

How to Nominate a Staff Member for NU Employee of the Year Awards 

 


The Office of Human Resources is accepting nominations for the NU Employee of the Year awards. The Employee of the Year awards recognize seven staff members across the University, including Qatar, as finalists for their outstanding contributions. From the seven finalists, one will be announced as the Employee of the Year winner at the annual Staff Service Recognition Luncheon.

 

All staff members who have been employed at least three years, are in good standing, and have not previously been named Employee of the Year are eligible. Finalists from past years are eligible.

 

Nominations are due by Friday, February 15, 2013.

 

Additional information, instructions and the nomination form are available at:

 

http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/hr-services/employee-recognition/index.html

 

If you have questions, please e-mail Maudell Gaines at maudell-gaines@northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-7509.