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Proposed Classified Civil Service Modernization

Overview

As we are all aware, there are a number of factors continually shaping our university and the world around us. As labor markets change, we must act with speed and agility to recruit and retain the most talented and diverse talent and, as the state of higher education continues to evolve, so too has the nature of the work across our campus shifted to take on new, innovative functions and structures. To ensure that our workforce may adjust to meet modern needs, University Human Resources has outlined proposed classified civil service modernization efforts as allowed by House Bill 187 and resolution 2007-3017 approved by Ohio University Board of Trustees.

Review of Proposed Policy Changes

As part of the classified civil service modernization, a number of policy revisions are being proposed and are summarized on this page. The summary includes references to existing rules in Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code as well as a summary of proposed policy changes to reflect the newly proposed classified civil service rules for Ohio University.

In addition to the information presented on this page, all classified employees received an invitation to attend a presentation forum with Colleen Bendl during which these proposed changes will be reviewed. All are welcome to view the slide deck presented during the information sessions: Proposed Classified Civil Service Modernization Presentation Slides (PDF)

For your convenience, acronyms referenced in the above presentation slides are defined here:

  • CCS: Classified Civil Service
  • CHRO: Chief Human Resources Officer
  • HB: House Bill
  • FLSA: Fair Labor Standards Act
  • IUC: Inter-University Council of Ohio
  • OAC: Ohio Administrative Code
  • ORC: Ohio Revised Code
  • UHR: University Human Resources

Furthermore, the presentation and the below summaries make reference to a state program known as SharedWork Ohio. SharedWork Ohio is a voluntary layoff aversion program sponsored by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). Additional information is available on the ODJFS SharedWork Ohio website: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SharedWorkOhio/.

PERFORMANCE, DISCIPLINE, AND TERMINATION PROCESS

Existing Rules in ORC/OAC:

Ohio Revised Code § 124.321:  Reductions in work force – layoffs- job abolishment

Ohio Administrative Code  § 123:1-31-01: General Procedure for Removals, Reductions, Suspension, or Fines

Summary of Proposed New Rules:

Proposing a reduction of hours worked per week or number of months worked per year that does not result in a change in current benefits eligibility, or participation in the Ohio Shared Work program or future program of similar nature, will not be considered a reduction in force, layoff or job abolishment and will not entitle employee to exercise displacement rights.

Related Policies:

  • 40.041: Change of Classified Position Status
  • 40.046: Layoff and Position Abolishment for Classified Civil Service Employees

Existing Rules in ORC/OAC:

Ohio Revised Code § 124.34:  Reduction in Pay or Position –Suspension – Removal

Ohio Administrative Code § 123:1-29:  Performance Evaluation System

Summary of Proposed New Rules:

Proposing classified civil service employees’ pay may be reduced to achieve budgetary savings, permit the institution to implement a furlough, permit the institution to participate in the Shared Work Ohio program or other similar program, or to achieve other cost saving measures.

 

Proposing classified non-bargaining unit employees receive an annual performance evaluation in accordance with Ohio University’s performance management schedule.   Employee receiving a rating of less than “effective” on their annual evaluation will lose their displacement rights until such time as they receive an “effective” rating. 

Related Policies:

  • 41.016: Employee Furloughs
  • 40.045: Separations and Reinstatements of Classified Employees
  • 40.042: Performance Evaluation for Classified Employees 

APPOINTMENTS

Existing Rule in ORC/OAC:

Ohio Revised Code § 124.271:  Provisional Employees

Summary of Proposed New Rules:

Proposing provisional employee status be extended from 120 days to 180 days. 

Related Policies:

  • 40.042: Performance Evaluation for Classified Employees 

EMPLOYEE LEAVE

Existing Rules in ORC/OAC:

Ohio Revised Code § 125.385: Disability Leave Benefits

Ohio Administrative Code § 123:1-30:  Disability Separations – Reinstatement

Summary of Proposed New Rules:

Proposing to place employee on disability separation after the employee has exhausted all approved FMLA time and/or exhaustion of paid sick leave. We are also proposing a classified civil service non-bargaining unit employee may be granted unpaid leave for medical reasons during 12 weeks of FMLA eligibility only. 

Related Policies:

  • 40.033: Leaves of Absence for Classified Employees

LAYOFF AND REDUCTION-IN-FORCE PROCESS 

Existing Rules in ORC/OAC:

Ohio Revised Code § 124.324:  Layoff and Displacement Rights

Ohio Revised Code § 124.326:  Layoff Jurisdictions

Ohio Administrative Code § 123:1-41-11:  Layoffs (Displacement and appeal rights of employees)

Summary of Proposed New Rules:

Proposing an employee who is reduced in force and declines placement into an entitled position forfeits their reinstatement rights.  

Additionally, performance ratings will be used to determine reinstatement rights. An employee who does not achieve at least an “effective” rating on their performance evaluation, will forfeit their reinstatement rights until such a time as an “effective” rating is achieved. 

Proposing displacement jurisdiction is first into any vacancies on the current campus within the current classification then in that classification within the work department based on retention points. 

Related Policies:

  • 40.045: Separations and Reinstatements of Classified Employees
  • 40.046: Layoff and Position Abolishment for Classified Civil Service Employees
  • 41.015: Reduction-in-Force Benefit Programs for Administrators and Classified Staff

Please note: Additional information including a report of employees' retention points and work department is available at the bottom of the "Separating from OHIO" website

Inquiries and Feedback

Throughout the review period, this page will be updated to reflect answers to frequently asked questions in the section below. Employees may submit additional questions via Qualtrics.

How do the proposed changes related to eliminating the six months of unpaid medical leave effect those individuals who have opted for short term and long term disability benefits?

The change does not impact eligibility for short and long term disability benefits.  Under the current short and long term disability policy, an individual on unpaid medical leave is eligible for coverage only for approved FMLA time periods.  This would remain in place if the six month unpaid medical leave is eliminated.  STRS and OPERS disability benefits eligibility is not dependent on university leave rules.

How might education benefits be affected?

Educational benefits would only be impacted if a classified employee's hours were reduced below 40-hours per week, at which point they would remain eligible for the 50% waiver (for themselves and eligible dependents) pursuant to policy 40.015.

With furlough or a reduction to .75 FTE, would full benefits continue to be available to the employee?

Yes benefits would continue to be available to the employee at 0.75 FTE level.  Pursuant to the current benefit eligibility policy, an employee with an FTE of .75 or greater continues to be eligible for benefits.

Is a change to FTE, furlough, or other position change considered a qualifying life event for purposes of employee-controlled benefits enrollment or adjustments?

A change from full-time to part-time, including an extended furlough,  is considered a life event that would allow an employee to make changes to benefit elections.

How might changes to the number of hours worked per week or number of months worked in a year affect my OPERS service credit contributions?

OPERS service credit is earned on a monthly basis, and is impacted by the amount of pay an OPERS member earns each month.  Any change in employment that impacts pay may impact the amount of service credit earned each month.  No service credit will be earned during months in which and employee is not paid due to a furlough.  Please visit https://www.opers.org/ for more information.

If an employee does have a reduction in hours that would change their maximum PTO accrual allowance, and the employee has already accrued more than the new maximum, what would happen with the "overage" of PTO?

For those who are transitioning from full-time to part-time and are over the max accrual, a payout would be processed. Their remaining time would accrue going forward as it should. The systems such as Workforce and Absence Management would appropriately handle the max accrual balances as they do today.

Will a severance package be offered if our position is eliminated?

Reduction in force benefits are available to eligible employees as outlined in Policy 41.015: Reduction-in-Force Benefit Programs for Administrators and Classified Staff.

If we experience a reduction in the number of months worked per year, example reduced to not working between Spring and Fall semesters, or are impacted by a furlough, would we be entitled to unemployment?

Unemployment benefit eligibility is managed by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. For more information, please visit https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov.

If these policy/rule changes are enacted, and an employee's position is impacted by an employment decision that falls into one of these categories, when and how will they be notified?

The proposed changes will be implemented by updating (through the existing policy revision process) the policies that govern all classified non-bargaining unit employees at Ohio University. In instances where an individual employee's position is impacted, the employee will be provided notice by both the department and University Human Resources with detailed information regarding their specific situation.

How will these changes affect the current Classified staff?

The proposed classified civil service modernization efforts will impact current classified staff in so much as the proposed policy changes would apply to all classified non-bargaining unit staff. For a summary of the proposed policy changes, please review the Classified Civil Service Modernization website at https://www.ohio.edu/hr/resources/policies-and-notices/ccs-modernization.

Can you explain when the jurisdiction for displacement rights is campus-wide and when it is department-wide?

As written, the proposal regarding displacement (or "bumping") is campus-wide if there is an existing vacancy within their classification. If no such vacancy exists, then displacement or "bumping" rights will apply only within the work department. Then, if no option for displacement or "bumping" exists within the work department, reduction in force benefits will apply.

Would opting-in to displacement rights (either filling a vacancy or "bumping" into another position) have any impact on an employee's pay?

As proposed, displacement may only happen within one's own classification, therefore the change would be considered a lateral move and would result in no change to pay.

If an employee exercises displacement rights and moves into another position within the department, is the supervisor allowed to combine the duties of the employee's old and new position?

Any such change would require review by University Human Resources.

How can employees access retention point lists?

A list of retention points for general use is published each month on the University Human Resources website at https://www.ohio.edu/hr/additional-resources/separating-ohio. The list includes each employee's total retention points, as well as information regarding their work department and classification. Information is current as of the date indicated on the link to the file  and the list contains employees for all campuses. Retention points and the employees contained within the list may change on a daily basis. In the event that retention point calculations need to be utilized for a reduction in force scenario, University Human Resources will compile a list with current information for the work department being affected.

Will displacement or "bumping" rights be eliminated? If not, how will they be applied?

No, displacement or "bumping" rights are not being eliminated. Rather, displacement rights are being redefined. As written, the proposal is that an employee invoking displacement rights would first have rights to any vacancy on the current campus within the current classification, then in that classification within the work department based on retention points. Such displacement rights would only be forfeited or revoked as outlined in proposed policy, such as when the employee receives an overall rating of "inconsistent" or "does not meet expectations," or declines placement into an eligible position.

Do grant-funded positions qualify for displacement rights?

Grant-funded positions referred to as special appointments or research appointments are not considered classified positions, and therefore do not have displacement rights.

Does the proposed policy address how displacement rights are impacted if a vacancy or departmental position within the classification has additional or different qualifications than the employee's impacted position?

In such cases where position-specific qualifications apply, the employee's qualifications will be assessed to determine if the vacancy or departmental position is available as an option for the employee exercising their rights.

What is the definition of "work department" for displacement rights?

An employee's work department is defined by their assignment. For example, two employees may both work in the same planning unit (such as the College of Arts and Sciences) but two different work departments (such as Biological Sciences or English) within that unit. The retention point list published at the bottom of the "Separating from OHIO" website denotes each employees work department, as assigned by the planning unit, under the "work location" column.

Is this information available university-wide?

Information regarding the proposed classified civil service modernization effort is available to anyone and has been shared with various groups. Additionally, the forums held were for classified non-bargaining unit staff, specifically.

Have other universities implemented the same or similar changes?

Yes, various IUC schools have adopted same or similar modernization efforts.

Will these changes extended to other employee types (administrative, faculty, etc.?)

These changes specifically modify the Ohio Civil Service Rules as it pertains to classified non-bargaining unit employees.

Will leave policies for all employee types be revised or be reviewed in the same manner?

All policies relevant to employee leave are being reviewed.

Can benefits eligible employees who opt out of health insurance be given extra consideration to be protected from any reductions or furloughs that may happen?

No.

If I am furloughed before I am eligible for full retirement, what options might I have?

Questions regarding retirement eligibility must be handled on a case by base basis.  Employees should reach out to the HR Benefits team at benefits@ohio.edu  for information.

How are determinations regarding furloughs made?

Planning units determine staffing needs for their areas. Reductions in Force are reviewed by leadership, Legal Affairs and University Human Resources.

Do civil service rules outlined in Ohio Revised Code or Ohio Administrative Code still apply?

Ohio University may opt-out of certain provisions of the Ohio Revised Code.  Those sections opted-out will be identified and superseded by Ohio University policy.  If an Ohio Revised Code is not opted-out by Ohio University policy, it will remain in effect.  ​

Do these actions impede employees' abilities to collectively organize?

No, the proposed modernization efforts do not impede the classified employee unionization efforts in any way.

If an employee transfers to another state institution, will service credit and retention points transfer with them?

State service credit will continue to transfer to other Ohio state institutions. Retention points are unique to the institution and are based on continuous employment, therefore retention points do not transfer.

Will employees continue to work from home to the extent possible?

As the state public health orders are updated, Ohio University will continue to plan and react accordingly so that University services are available while ensuring the health and safety of the entire University community. At this time, University Human Resources continues to encourage the use of flextime and flexplace arrangements, where possible.

How many employees are rated less than "effective"?

This number varies year to year based on each staff member's performance.

How does the university ensure consistency among supervisors in applying overall ratings?

Classified non-bargaining unit employee performance evaluations are reviewed and signed by the supervisor as well as the supervisor's immediate supervisor. Additionally, units conduct calibration sessions in conjunction with University Human Resources specifically to ensure rating criteria is applied consistently throughout each planning unit.

Will the performance evaluation process be changing again?

No changes are proposed to the performance evaluation process with the exception of an extended probationary period for new employees. Performance evaluations should continue to follow the model adopted University-wide in recent years. Employees with concerns about the performance management cycle are encouraged to discuss their questions/concerns with their supervisor and/or HR Liaison.

How would a reduction in hours impact the Performance Management cycle for an employee?

Just as a new critical project or change in departmental priorities would constitute the need for a formal check-in and update to goals for an employee, a reduction in hours would certainly justify a review and potential change of goals. 

Do "provisional" and "probationary" mean the same thing in regards to an employee's status?

Employees are considered to be "provisional" during their probationary period, so yes, in the proposal, as written, "provisional" and "probationary" are interchangeable. The proposed new policy is that this period be extended from 120 days to 180 days.

What is the effective date regarding changes in probationary periods?

The change to the probationary period will be effective when the new modernization rules are implemented.

Will a rating of "inconsistent" or "did not meet expectations" on a single goal result in a loss of displacement and reinstatement rights for the employee, or are the rights based on the overall performance rating?

The overall performance rating of "inconsistent" or "did not meet expectations" would result in suspension of displacement and reinstatement rights.

If an employee's displacement and reinstatement rights are revoked due to their overall performance rating, can they earn them back?

Depending on the situation, an employee can have those rights reinstated. For example, if an employee receives a rating of "inconsistent" in May 2020, their rights will be suspended until their next review in May 2021. If, at that point, they receive a rating of "effective," their rights will be reinstated. If, however, the employee separates from the University prior to that, they will not have displacement or reinstatement rights.

Why are displacement or "bumping" rights limited to a jurisdiction and not open University-wide?

The proposed change to limit the jurisdiction to within the employee's work department is to retain specialized knowledge within departments and enhance workplace efficiencies. 

How do the proposed changes result in budget efficiencies?

While these are incredibly difficult decisions to make, we believe these measures will create workforce efficiencies resulting in cost savings.

How do different constituent groups, including employees, benefit from the proposed changes?

Modernization efforts are designed not only to create efficiencies in the delivery of our services, but also realize cost savings to benefit the University and its constituents as a whole. Such efforts also enhance our ability to retain strong performers who provide specialized knowledge within departments.

Will similar measures be proposed for other employment types?

The leadership of Ohio University is always planning with the needs of students, employees, the University, and other constituent groups in mind. Therefore, policies impacting all employment types are reviewed and updated as needed.

How do these proposed changes benefit our recruitment strategy?

The proposed changes allow  departments to shorten the amount of time a position must remain vacant following employee leave, allowing them to expedite the time needed to refill necessary positions. Furthermore, limitations to displacement help retain specialized knowledge within departments.

Can you explain the timing of the proposed changes?

A number of factors are taken into consideration when proposing any changes including not only local, state, and federal regulations, but also additional current and projected scenarios that could shape the University. Given the global pandemic and the financial status of the institution, the University needs to consider various options available at the given time.

Can you explain how these changes might overlap? For example, if an eligible employee's schedule is reduced and their position is later abolished, will their displacement rights reflect the current or previous schedule/working conditions?

The focus would be on the permanent position the employee is laid off from. 

Do these proposed changes allow for both permanent and temporary changes to compensation and schedule?

Yes, the proposal would allow for both temporary and permanent changes.

How are position changes, such as changes in hours, determined?

Planning units make decisions based on operational needs while considering the financial resources available to them.

The proposed changes note that employee pay can be changed - in what ways might this happen?

As written, the proposed rule/policy change would allow for different changes in different circumstances. For example, an employee's gross pay could be reduced as part of a demotion, or due to a reduction in the total number of hours/months worked or due to a furlough or other salary reduction measure implemented.

Will any new early retirement incentive programs or voluntary separation programs be offered?

At this time, we are not aware of plans for additional early retirement or voluntary separation programs.

What is a disability separation?

A disability separation is a form of involuntary separation used when an employee exhausts available leaves and is unable to return to work.

What is SharedWork Ohio?

SharedWork Ohio is a voluntary layoff aversion program sponsored by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). Additional information is available on the ODJFS SharedWork Ohio website: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SharedWorkOhio/.

Do the proposed new policies impact the University's ability to participate in SharedWork Ohio?

This proposal in no way impacts the University's ability to participate in the SharedWork Ohio program.

Where can I find a copy of the presentation slides shared by Colleen Bendl in the forums?

The presentation slides used in the open forums for Classified Non-bargaining unit employees, as well as a summary of all of the proposed policy changes, are available on the Classified Civil Service Modernization website at https://www.ohio.edu/hr/resources/policies-and-notices/ccs-modernization.

Were the forums recorded?

The three forums hosted on 4/30, 5/1, and 5/4 were not recorded, but the presentation slides were uploaded to the classified civil service modernization website on 4/30.

What is the process for reviewing and approving these changes?

The proposed change follows a multi-step process. In this instance, a summary of the proposed modernization efforts has been shared both university-wide and publicly, in a number of formats to allow for questions -- such as these -- to be addressed. Based upon feedback we received following the presentations 4/30 - 5/4 the review period has been extended and we anticipate the proposed rule/policy changes to be effective sometime mid- to late-June. This represents an extension which allows for additional conversation around the proposed changes to ensure understanding and promote shared governance.

How is feedback gathered and used during the review period?

University Human Resources shares the broader university commitment to transparency. These changes were shared with a number of constituent groups in a summary format as one of many steps. Initially, gathering questions in this format allows University Human Resources not only to provide employees with written responses to their questions, but also to provide a clear and consistent message to all interested parties and to understand frequent areas of question and concern. Revisions are almost always made based on feedback submitted during the review period, prior to implementation of any new rule or policy.

Will an across-the-board reduction in hours be considered instead of a sheer reduction in wages?

For information regarding the furlough plans for fiscal year 2021, please refer to the May 15thcommunication from President Nellis and the UHR furlough website.

Can you share the results of the ERIP/VSRP that was offered to faculty/custodial staff in early 2020?

For information regarding the ERIP/VSRP offered to faculty and custodial staff earlier this year, please refer to the May 15thcommunication from President Nellis.

If there is a university-wide furlough or reduction, will all employment types be impacted?

For information regarding the furlough plans for fiscal year 2021, please refer to the May 15thcommunication from President Nellis and the UHR furlough website.”

Are the pending plans for furloughs or reductions for anyone at the University, regardless of employment type? If so, what details can you provide?

For information regarding the furlough plans for fiscal year 2021, please refer to the May 15thcommunication from President Nellis and the UHR furlough website.”

Will longevity bonuses still be given to classified non-bargaining unit employees?

The longevity bonus is governed by the pay administration guidelines, which are subject to review. 

How will a change in hours worked in a week or the number of months worked in a year affect my PTO Accruals?

The only proposed change to PTO accrual policies is to allow for PTO accrual for any classified position 9 months per year or longer. Pursuant to policy 40.030, sick leave for classified non-bargaining unit staff will continue to be earned at the rate of 4.6 hours for each 80 hours worked. Pursuant to policy 41.001, vacation leave for classified non-bargaining unit staff will continue to be earned dependent upon service date, prorated for employees working fewer than 80 hours per pay period. 

Where can I submit additional questions?

Questions may be submitted via the inquiry form link embedded on this website.