The UNC Employee Forum met via Zoom conference call Wednesday to discuss the future work environment for UNC staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting was hosted by Shayna Hill, chairperson of the forum. According to its website, the forum is made up of elected non-faculty employees who connect employee and staff concerns with the UNC administration.
Human resources representatives provided clarity for UNC staff
Becci Menghini, vice chancellor for human resources and equal opportunity and compliance, led the question and answer portion of the meeting, specifically focusing on employee payroll and the logistics for remote work.
According to Menghini, prior to the month of April, mandatory employees were only provided base pay to continue working on campus. As of April 1, the plan changed to give permanent employees base pay and a half in the form of compensatory time.
“We may not be able to do it all at once, but we are making plans to pay people out for the time and a half,” said Menghini. “It's just a matter of how we make our systems work to acknowledge the work that everybody's been doing on site as a mandatory employee.”
Menghini said they hope to have more guidance by May 8 on plans for employees' return back to campus, but that the guidance may change over the coming two weeks.
Operation updates from Kevin Guskiewicz
UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz joined the call briefly to communicate the courses of action the University could take for the fall semester and answer questions related to employee-specific plans.
Guskiewicz said that updates about the fall semester for students, faculty and staff will hopefully be available by the end of May. He said currently, the University is planning to have new student convocation on campus Aug. 16, followed by the first day of classes on Aug. 18.
Guskiewicz said that could change if the curve does not flatten by August, and one possible scenario for the beginning of next semester includes delaying students’ return to campus by two weeks. Another option is that the University would have students return to campus two weeks earlier than planned, and hold final exams before Thanksgiving break to account for a second potential wave of the coronavirus in the winter months.
“We're doing this with the guidance from our public safety, public health and infectious disease experts,” said Guskiewicz. “Our campus community is first and foremost our top priority, so while we're working toward reopening, we'll make certain that we're doing it safely.”
The administration is working on creating general screening standards, such as wearing PPE and checking temperatures, for programs like the dental school that are continuing to work during the pandemic, Guskiewicz said.
“It's going to look and feel different than a typical fall semester of Carolina,” said Guskiewicz.
Employee Forum officer nominations
Several officer positions within the forum are up for reelection. The positions will be voted on at the next Employee Forum meeting in June.
During Wednesday’s meeting, standing members Chairperson Shayna Hill, Vice Chairperson Katie Musgrove, Secretary Tiffany Carver, Treasurer Ayla Ocasio and Parliamentarian Jeff McQueen announced they would be seeking reelection.
Hill said if more people are interested in running, they will be able to present their ideas at the June 10 meeting before the vote.
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