SMU’s Department of Human Resources is undertaking an overall review of its policies in Chapter 9 of the University Policy Manual. The first major changes will allow newer employees to make immediate use of accrued sick leave and create a formal procedure for taking bereavement leave.
“While previous updates typically have been driven by regulatory changes, Human Resources felt it was time for a comprehensive review,” says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources.
As of Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the University has eliminated a rule stipulating that new hires be employed by SMU for six months before they can use accrued paid medical absence leave, says Amy Sample, assistant director of human resources for compensation and records management. “No one plans an illness, and this policy change recognizes that,” she says, adding that the update is also consistent with the University’s efforts to promote prevention and wellness in the campus community.
> See SMU Policy Number 9.21: Paid Medical Absence for Staff (log in with your e-mail address and password)
In addition, SMU has created a new procedure to account for leave taken after the death of a family member. Employees may take up to three paid days of bereavement leave during each bereavement period. After the first three days, additional paid hours will be drawn from accrued medical absence leave. If and when these hours are depleted, the hours will be drawn from accrued vacation time.
These changes reflect current best practices among the University’s peer and aspirant institutions, as well as in other industries, says Sample, who is managing the Chapter 9 update project.
> See SMU Policy Number 9.39: Staff Bereavement Policy (log in with your e-mail address and password)
The Department of Human Resources sought the advice of several campuswide stakeholder organizations to formulate the first wave of policy updates. Representatives of groups including the SMU Staff Association, the Faculty Senate, the Office of Institutional Access and Equity, the Council of Deans and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women contributed to the final changes.
“We’ll continue to reach out to these representatives as we complete our updates to Chapter 9,” Strese says.
Other updates published on July 1 include minor language changes to the following sections:
- 9.8 Pre-Employment Screenings
- 9.12 Personal Conduct
- 9.13 Corrective Action for Staff
- 9.16 Termination of Employment
- 9.28 Tuition Benefits
- 9.31 Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse
A comprehensive update to Chapter 9 of the Policy Manual should be completed by the end of the 2014-15 academic year, Sample says. The last major update took place in June 1994, when the Policy Manual was brought online.
News about future changes will be posted in the SMU Forum.
> Bookmark SMU’s online University Policy Manual: smu.edu/policy: (log in with your e-mail address and password)