Office of Human Resources                                                            December 2011



 Your Source for University Human Resources News and Information

Upcoming Workshops


Employee of the Year 2012 Nominations Brown Bag

HRD545: Writing Compelling Employee of the Year Nominations


Is there someone in your department who goes above and beyond his or her normal duties, is dedicated and effective, and deserves to be recognized? Has he or she worked full time at Northwestern for three or more continuous years? If you've answered yes to both those questions, then this class is for you. In one lunch-time session, you will learn how to write an Employee of the Year Nomination Form that is both specific and meaningful. 

Registration starts November 1st.  For more information.
Inside This Issue
Upcoming Workshops
Benefits Briefs
HR Services
Work/Life Resources
FASIS Updates
Learning and Organization Development
Quick Links
Perspectives FSAP - New and improved! 


Employee of the Year 2012

Nominations are being accepted for Employee of the Year 2012.  To nominate a staff member for Employee of the Year, download a nomination form and email it to

Employer Assisted Housing Program

Northwestern University is offering an Employer Assisted Housing pilot program to help eligible faculty and staff take advantage of Live Evanston, a City of Evanston initiative that makes attractive, high quality homes and condos affordable for moderate income families. For more information.


Help the NU Cares Program Grow!

NU Cares offers faculty and staff an opportunity to make contributions to assist fellow employees who may be experiencing a crisis. Thanks to the many generous contributions received to date, we have met our initial goal, and are accepting applications. For more information.

Benefits Briefs


Learn About Northwestern University Employee Tuition Benefits


Please join us for two informative seminars explaining the Northwestern University Tuition Benefit plans available to Northwestern faculty and staff.  We will provide information and answer your questions regarding the four tuition assistance plans:

  • Educational Assistance - undergraduate and graduate courses at NU schools taken by NU employees
  • Employee Portable Tuition - undergraduate and graduate courses at schools other than NU taken by NU employees
  • Dependent Portable Tuition - undergraduate courses at schools other than NU taken by dependent children
  • Reduced Tuition - undergraduate courses at NU schools taken by spouse or dependent children

Come and find out about these great opportunities to help with college costs for yourself, your spouse, and your college-aged children. 


Chicago Campus

Tuesday, December 6

Noon - 1 pm

FSM Lurie - Hughes Auditorium


Evanston Campus

Thursday, December 8

Noon - 1 pm

Norris University Center - Northwestern Room



Your Benefits for 2012


The Benefits Division is happy to announce that Open Enrollment has successfully come to a close!  If you would like to print a copy of your confirmation statement for your records, please follow these instructions:



  1. Log on to Self Service 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.

Insurance Cards:


Insurance cards will be mailed out to your home address to arrive by January 2012. If you receive new cards, please destroy your old cards as the information may have changed.


Additional cards may be ordered by contacting the insurance provider directly or by requesting them online through the carrier website. Contact information can be found on the Benefits Division website.

  • 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   
  • All members previously enrolled in the BlueCross PPO Dental program will receive a new card for Dearborn National Dental PPO.

Please contact the Benefits Division at or 1-7513 if you have any questions.



Family Medical Leave: Responsibilities of Managers and Employees at Northwestern University


The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), that falls under a division of the US Department of Labor, was enacted to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of job protection while caring for their own serious health condition, care for a family member's serious health condition, and military leave. Supervisors and managers need to document this time for the protection of their employees.


Proper compliance is essential since FMLA regulations hold the employer responsible for ensuring that employees are aware of their FMLA rights. Northwestern University, as a covered employer under this federally mandated program, must ensure that managers are aware of our compliance responsibilities.


Managers have certain responsibilities on behalf of Northwestern University, which include:

  • Report extended absences of over 5 days to the Benefits Division. The Benefits Division will follow up with the employee to see if a Leave of Absence is needed.
  • Do not request medical information from the employee. The employee will communicate any needed medical information directly to the Leave Administrator in the Benefits Division.
  • Do not discuss Leave details with other employees.
  • Do not allow employees to return to work after a medical leave without a release to work from the Benefits Division.

Extended Sick Leave Procedures:

  • The department pays for the employee's salary during the leave.
  • The department can ask Payroll to journal the payroll expense incurred during the leave, to the Extended Sick Leave account.
  • The department submits the following documents to Payroll, to move a salary expense from a departmental expense to extended sick leave.
    • Copy of Northwestern University's letter of approval for the leave
    • Paycheck stubs (from FASIS) which reflect the dates of the leave which were paid by the department with actual pay distribution
HR Services


Prohibited Use of Electronic Resources


The Prohibited Use of Electronic Resources for Threats, Harassment, and Pornography Policy expressly bars all faculty, staff, and students from using University electronic resources to send or view content that may violate the Policy on Harassment and Discrimination or the Policy on Sexual Harassment. This includes content that could create a hostile working environment for others, such as insults, epithets, pictures, or jokes based on any protected classification, or sexual material. Using the University's electronic resources to threaten others also violates this policy.
Under this policy, faculty, staff, and student employees may not use University resources to download, view or send content that is pornographic or obscene.  (There is a very narrow exception for legitimate academic or medical purposes).  Any use of the University's electronic resources for child pornography is illegal.  Viewing or sending pornography may also create a hostile environment for colleagues in violation of the University's Policy on Sexual Harassment.
The Prohibited Use policy provides that communications and data on the University's computers and network are not private, and users of the University's electronic resources have no expectation of privacy in their use of these resources.  Northwestern has the right to examine any communications or data on its networks or equipment.
This policy is posted on the University Policies
website.  If you believe one of your colleagues is violating this policy, please report the situation to the Office of Human Resources, University Police, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, or the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention.



Timesheet Q&A


Q: You are an hourly (non-exempt) staff employee at the University.  Your department has decided to close the office early and you are wondering how you should complete your time sheet.


A:  When your office closes due to extraordinary circumstances, there are a number of ways your department may decide to handle this.  Your manager may permit you to use vacation (VAC) or personal floating holiday (PFH) time, if you have it available to cover this time off.  Alternatively, your manager may permit you to take this as unpaid, excused time off (EXA).  Finally, your manager may permit you to "flex" your time to make up the hours that you will miss on another day.  If you are "flexing" your time, this must be done within the same work week (Sunday through Saturday).


Keep in mind, you should not code any time as work time if you are not actually working.  To be in compliance with the law and NU policy, you want to be sure that your time sheet accurately reflects the time that you have worked.


For general questions regarding this topic, please contact your HR Consultant.  For specific questions regarding time keeping, please contact the Kronos Helpdesk .



Planning Ahead for a Key Vacancy


What will happen when your top performer leaves your department?   Do you have a key role that, if vacant, would make it difficult to get work done in your area?  Having a plan for this ahead of time can avoid confusion during a time of change and preserve knowledge and skills that are often lost when key employees leave.


Planning for these vacancies doesn't need to be a formal or elaborate process.  Rather, keep these following simple points in mind as you think about your department and possible vacancies:

  • What key roles do you have in your department that would significantly disrupt productivity if vacant? 
  • Think about the top performers you have had in these key roles.  What skills or competencies did they possess?  What made them so successful?
  • Consider the individuals you have on your team.  What are their strengths?  What skills and competencies do they possess?  Are there skills required for your key roles that need to be developed on the team?
  • Create opportunities to develop these skills and competencies on your team.  Are there ways to augment current roles to provide exposure to different projects?  Are there additional training opportunities?

In planning for key vacancies, it's important not only to consider the needs of the department, but also to consider employees' own career development plans to ensure long-term success.


You'll find that giving a little thought to this now can save a lot of heartache down the road when a key role is vacated.  For any questions or for assistance in developing a staffing strategy for your department, please contact your Staffing Consultant.


Work/Life Resources 


Striving for a Healthy Balance:

The Northwestern University Office of Work/Life Resources provides programs, services and consultation to enable staff and faculty to effectively balance the competing demands of work and home. 


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 programs and activities: the McGaw YMCA,  the 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: 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: or 7-1460.


Weight Watchers @ Work

For more information, contact Tamara Rosner at or 1-2209.

FASIS Updates 


Update Your Address for W2 Mailing


Please take a moment to log into Self-Service and ensure that your Home and Department mailing addresses are correct.  These addresses will be used for delivery of printed 2011 W2 Forms.  If you manage temps or work-study students, ensure 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 the Home Address.


To review/update address information, log in to Self Service and navigate to: Self Service > Online Directory > Online Directory.  The "Home and Off Campus Addresses" section displays your Home Address and contains a link to update it.  The "Job Information and Location Address" contains your department Location; if this is incorrect, follow the on-screen instructions to change your Location.


New this year, employees will have the option to receive and/or reprint their 2011 W2 Form electronically. Additional information and instructions on how to make this choice will be shared with all employees later this month.



E-Verify Reminder for Administrators


It has been two years since the E-Verify Program was launched at Northwestern in compliance with the federal contractor regulations issued in September 2009. 


At the outset, all employees were required to verify their eligibility to work in the new E-Verify system.  Since that time, all new hires have been required to be processed through E-Verify within 72 hours of hire.  If this timeframe is not met, the University must upload an explanation to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) with a reason for the delay in completing the E-Verify process.  Continuous late reporting in E-Verify may result in penalties/fines of $1,000 per individual. Further, as a research university, non-compliance with this program may result in suspending or debarring of federal contracts which jeopardizes the University's ability to continue receiving federal funds.


Each school and administrative unit should have a process in place to ensure that all new hires are processed through the E-Verify Program no later than 72 hours of their hire date.  All hiring paperwork for the individual should then be forwarded to Payroll to be paid in the applicable pay period.   In addition to the E-Verify requirements, the Department of Labor requires the University to process payments to employees within 13 days of the end of the pay period.  NO HIRING PAPERWORK SHOULD BE HELD PENDING COMPLETION OF THE E-VERIFY PROCESS.  


The Payroll Office will continue to email the employee, department manager, and the HR Consultant when paperwork is received in Payroll without E-Verify being complete.  These delays in processing, however, are very problematic from both a payroll and compliance standpoint.


We appreciate your cooperation to ensure that new hires are added to the Payroll and the E-Verify process is complete to meet our compliance obligations.  If you have any questions regarding the E-Verify process, please contact Angie Gwinn in the Payroll Office at 1-7362.



FASIS History Pages Coming Soon for Administrators


The appointment and salary history pages are scheduled to go live within the next month or two. These history pages complement the current appointment and salary pages that were rolled out to the FASIS administrators over the summer. The history pages take specific action/action reasons from Job Data and combine them in an easy to read format.


The new history pages will be found in the 'Faculty and Staff Information' folder in the main menu of FASIS. All existing FASIS administrators will have access to these pages.


As part of the implementation of the history pages, our team is reviewing and validating all active faculty and staff appointment history profiles. Terminated employees will not be validated and will appear 'as is' on the history pages. We will be doing this validation process in phases, beginning with recent hires and working backward. Only those profiles that have been reviewed and validated will appear in the appointment history pages; thus these pages will be updated in sync with the validation process. Administrative users will be informed regarding the review/validation schedule.


There will be several opportunities for training on the new history pages. When a more definite go live date is scheduled, we will notify you of the training schedule via the FASIS listserv, the FASIS web pages, and the FASIS administrative sign-in page.


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.


Registration Open for Winter Workshops

Registration is now open for workshops offered in December, January and February. Check your mailbox for our winter catalogue or look online to see what's coming up.

We offer a variety of workshops and opportunities to help improve workplace performance.  Check them out! Questions? Comments? or 7-5081.