The Policy Review Committee met via Zoom on Thursday, October 19, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
EHRA Non-Salary and Deferred Compensation Policy
Cassidy Johnson, Human Resources Policy Specialist and Grievance Coordinator, presented updates to the EHRA Non-Salary and Deferred Compensation Policy. This Policy has three significant changes, all of which consist of linking the HR policy to the proper sources to continually provide up-to-date information instead of having text in the document that can get outdated if the source policy changes. The changes are to keep the University policy in line with the state/federal requirements and to make University actions in compliance with both University policy and state/federal requirements.
Cassidy explained that most HR policies do not have a lot of discretion in terms of contents – a lot of what is in the policies is federally and state-mandated. Additionally, many HR policy changes must be approved by the Board of Trustees. (Cassidy mentioned the Board of Trustees approved edits to this Policy at their September 2023 meeting.) However, Cassidy described a new initiative she is leading to simplify and streamline HR policy language wherever possible to ensure compliance and improved readability.
Finance Procedure 1501.4 – Procedure for Ground Transportation Expenses Including Mileage Rates
Rebecca Spanos, Travel and Payment Card Services Manager, presented the updated Finance Procedure 1501.4 – Procedure for Ground Transportation Expenses Including Mileage Rates. Rebecca reminded PRC members to calculate if renting a car through the University is more economical than driving their personal vehicle when traveling on University business. Rebecca emphasized the need to balance the employee’s ability to get the work done with the employee’s responsibility to minimize the amount the State of North Carolina spends on business-related travel.
Rebecca also explained that, before 2021, the State of North Carolina had a reduced reimbursement rate if someone traveled more than 100 miles for business-related travel by personal vehicle. As travel has rebounded after COVID, people haven’t considered all their options when traveling, especially if there’s a combination of personal and professional travel. The new procedure establishes a tiered system for pricing. Individuals can take their personal vehicle for travel of 350 miles or less and get the full IRS reimbursement rate. For destinations between 351 and 750 miles, mileage above the first 350 miles is reimbursed at fifty percent (50%) of the full rate. For trips over 750 miles, the traveler must provide a comparable round-trip, economy-class airfare ticket quote from Concur Travel or World Travel, Inc. obtained at least 21 days before the trip. If the airfare cost is more economical than the mileage reimbursement, the traveler will only be reimbursed up to the price of the airfare ticket.
Exceptions may apply, so travelers should contact the Travel and Payment Card Services Office with any questions as soon as possible before any anticipated travel.
Work Ongoing to Develop a University-Wide Faculty Workload Policy
Matthew Teal, PRC Chair and Associate Director of the Office of Ethics and Policy, informed PRC that he is part of a committee working on a new Faculty Workload Policy. The Policy is in the early stages now but is on a fast track to bring the Policy to the PRC in December 2023 with a proposed effective date of January 2024. This Policy is in response to the new UNC System Policy 400.3.4, requiring each institution in the UNC System to have a Faculty Workload Policy and a still-draft UNC System Regulation implementing UNC System Policy 400.3.4. Matthew noted that Provost Clemens had personally charged the committee and that there is significant faculty representation on the committee, including Beth Moracco, the current chair of the Faculty, and Kim Strom, the former director of the Office of Ethics and Policy. Matthew emphasized the committee is a provost/faculty-led initiative and that he is there to help with policy writing, not to dictate substance.
Scheduling 2024 PRC Meetings
PRC members discussed whether the third Thursday at 10:00 a.m. each month is still a good fit for PRC meetings in the future. Generally, everyone likes the current time and can plan around these meetings if scheduled well in advance. Given the consensus among PRC members, Matthew Teal, PRC Chair and Associate Director of the Office of Ethics and Policy, stated that PRC meetings would remain on third Thursdays at 10:00 a.m., with limited exceptions as needed for University holidays and Board of Trustee meetings.
Global Ethics Month
Finally, the Office of Ethics and Policy has one more Global Ethics Month event in October. The final event will be on October 24 at 5:00 p.m. in Greenlaw 101. Planned events are on the Office of Ethics and Policy web and Heel Life.