Multiple Topics Discussed at PAT Meeting
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 9, 2008
A policy change regarding military-related family leave, the new health reimbursement
accounts set to go into effect in 2009, and the possible collection of out-of-state
taxes for UNH employees were the main topics of discussion at the monthly PAT
Council meeting April 2.
Also, an announcement was made regarding a joint council forum that will take
place April 16 in the MUB, Theater I, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., where staff
members can ask questions on the unionization efforts at UNH. The chairmen
of the PAT, OS and EE councils will facilitate. Answers to the questions will
be researched and responded to at a late date.
Federal law mandates the extension of family leave up to 26 weeks for faculty
or staff caring for a relative in the military who has been hurt in the line
of duty. To be eligible, the employee must qualify for family leave, and the
injured family member must be a spouse, parent, child, or next of kin (nearest
blood relative) who is in the armed service or National Guard and Reserves.
Employees may also request leave for up to 12 weeks due to a “qualifying
exigency” that arises from a family member’s active duty status.
Qualifying employees must have been at UNH for a year and have worked at least
1,250 hours prior to taking leave. For more information go to http://www.unh.edu/hr/benefit.htm.
Details are still being worked out for the health reimbursement accounts approved
by the USNH board of trustees in February for qualifying employees. The money
is aimed at helping to offset an anticipated increase in health care premiums.
Deposits will be made in the accounts beginning Jan. 1, 2009, and will build
by the end of the year to $500. Individuals with flex savings accounts would
have to exhaust those funds before being able to tap their HRA. At the end
of 2009, unlike a flex account, the money would rollover and be available to
spend in 2010.
It was also noted at the meeting that the SPPC is still discussing the concern
out-of-state employees have about state taxes. UNH does not withhold state
taxes from employees’ paychecks; instead, the workers are responsible
for making their own quarterly payments.
The question of whether UNH could start collecting the taxes is one that has
been brought to the SPPC before without action.
The SPPC is also looking at telecommuting and has formed a committee to explore
the possibility further.