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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.

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