HR Update; January 26, 2007
In this Edition
- 2006 W-2 Forms will be Distributed by US Mail in Paper Format
- Annual Policy Notification
- Information For UC Employees Regarding UC’s 2007 Medical Plan Bid Process
- Application Period Soon to be Open for 2007-2008 Staff Advisor Designate to the Regents
- Course Addresses Crisis in Business Writing
- Retirement Readiness
- UC Retirement Plan and UC Retirement Savings/Readiness Education Program Workshop Schedules
2006 W-2 Forms will be Distributed by US Mail in Paper Format
The UC Office of the President is distributing 2006 W-2 forms to all employees by mail in paper format, rather than making forms available electronically as planned, because of a problem with software for the At Your Service Web site. All employees will be mailed W-2 forms, postmarked no later than Jan. 31.
We will let you know when W-2 forms are available online to employees who elected to receive them electronically from http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/.
If you have any questions, please contact your department payroll representative.
(NOTE: The W-2 forms online is a separate service from the direct deposit online statement. Beginning with paychecks issued on or after Feb.1, online earnings statements will be available from http://atyourservice.ucop.edu for those employees who have direct deposit. To access the statements, click on “Sign in to My Accounts.” For more information, see the Jan. 5 issue of Medical Center Update.)
Annual Policy Notification
Each year UCSF provides an annual notification of following important policies to the campus community. We encourage you to review the summaries for each of the policies/guidelines linked here..
Information For UC Employees Regarding UC’s 2007 Medical Plan Bid Process
Working to preserve quality health benefits while managing rising costs
Healthcare costs nationwide continue to rise and employers everywhere, including UC, continue to face significant challenges in maintaining affordable access to quality healthcare for employees. As a result, many public and private sector employers have had to cut benefits and significantly raise employee costs in order to deal with skyrocketing health insurance price increases.
Through careful management, UC has been able to avoid cuts in benefits. UC has also taken steps to help employees manage premium increases by continuing its salary-based approach to monthly premiums which, among other things, means lower-paid workers pay lower monthly premiums and continue to have access to quality health insurance for themselves and their families.
Throughout 2007, UC will be exploring a variety of options to help the university preserve quality health benefits for employees while managing rising costs, including:
- Consolidating the number of general medical plan providers, while still maintaining the benefits options available to employees. UC is committed to offering employees a choice of medical plans that meet their needs and those of their families. UC will be exploring the possibility of accomplishing this goal with a more select group of providers in order to better manage costs for both employees and the university.
- Using specialty providers for specific benefits. One of the options UC will be exploring is the possibility of using specialty providers for certain types of benefits and services, such as pharmacy benefits and behavioral health care. One of the main potential advantages of using specialty providers is that they may offer the same, if not better, products and services to employees at more favorable prices and with greater administrative ease.
- A continued focus on employee well-being. In addition to continuing its salary-based approach to monthly premiums, which means lower-paid workers pay lower monthly premiums for access to quality health insurance for themselves and their families, in 2007 UC will also be launching a new “wellness pilot program” that will provide new resources to employees to help them become more informed about and involved in managing their own health.
The goal of exploring different options is to see if UC can better utilize its purchasing power as a big consumer, to get better pricing while maintaining—if not improving—healthcare products and services for employees.
Throughout this process, UC will be guided by its core principles regarding employee health benefits: maintaining access, quality, sustainability and choice.
Starting in February, UC will be discussing these ideas with existing providers and potential new specialty providers. UC will also continue to meet with various internal stakeholders on these issues, including faculty, HR offices, the Regents, and unions. We will keep employees informed of our progress in this area.
Application Period Soon to be Open for 2007-2008 Staff Advisor Designate to the Regents
All eligible UC staff and non-Senate academic employees who are interested in serving as the 2007-2008 Staff Advisor Designate to The Regents may apply during the period beginning Monday, January 29, 2007 and ending February 28, 2007 at 5:00 p.m.
At its January 18, 2007 meeting, the UC Board of Regents approved a permanent Staff Advisor program designed to improve direct communication between UC employees and the Board and to help facilitate staff input to the Board’s deliberations and decisions. Under this program two staff or non-Senate academic employees serve as non-voting advisors to designated Regents’ committees. The Staff Advisor Designate for 2007-2008 will be selected from all eligible UC staff and non-Senate academic employees by President Dynes in consultation with the Chairman of the Board of Regents.
The term of service will be for two years beginning July 1, 2007 – the first year (2007-08) as Staff Advisor Designate, and the second year (2008-09) as Staff Advisor.
Further information about the Staff Advisor Program, the application form, a complete explanation of eligibility and the application and selection processes, and information on the role and responsibilities of the Staff Advisor can be found under “How to Apply” (beginning January 24) at: http://www.ucop.edu/staffadvisorpgm/
For employees without computer or internet access, hard copies of the application form and all relevant information on the process can be obtained from your location’s central Human Resources Office. Questions about the program should be directed to Bill Neff, Special Assistant to Associate Vice President Judy Boyette at 510-987-9996.
Course Addresses Crisis in Business Writing
Have you seen these headlines?
- What Corporate America Can’t Build—A Sentence (New York Times 12/7/04)
- Experts Blame Speed, Sparked by Instant and Text Messaging, and Lack of Proofreading for Poor Written Communication (Contra Costa Times 12/6/06)
- State of Washington Sees Results from Translating Gobbledygook—Less Eloquence Much Easier to Understand (Associated Press 12/10/06)
We have a crisis in the business writing world today. Nearly all forms of written communication are now transmitted electronically. Unfortunately, the result is more hastily written messages that confuse rather than clarify. In 2004, a study by the National Commission on Writing, commissioned by the College Board, concluded that a third of employees in the nation wrote poorly and that businesses were spending as much as $3.1 billion annually on remedial training. Today both figures are higher.
As one expert says, writers dump their thoughts on the screen in prose that “trips off the tongue like peanut butter.” And readers all too often have to request clarification—frequently in the same unclear language—setting off whole cycles of confusion.
Never have good writing skills been more important! To get your job done efficiently, you must be able to communicate in clear, understandable language—that means plain English.
Writing in plain, conversational language is a challenge for many writers who believe that to be “professional” you must change your natural communication style to one that is more formal and “educated.” They find it hard to give up “impressing” the reader in favor of getting to the point quickly and clearly—particularly if they’re writing “up the ladder.”
Yet if the glut of unclear messages clogging in-boxes today is to be reduced, writers must recognize that writing simply—in plain language—is not dumbing down. It’s being clear and effective. It’s putting yourself in the reader’s position and writing a message that will get the desired response. Key to making this shift from the writer to the reader’s perspective is
- Knowing why you’re writing
- Organizing the message for the reader
- Saying what you need to say in fewer words
- Writing at an appropriate conversational level
- Following the rules that produce clarity
Development & Training offers two courses that can help you improve your writing skills. Check out Write Right! and Get to the Point!
- Construct clear, complete sentences
- Eliminate grammar errors
- Use punctuation marks correctly
- Capitalize correctly and consistently
- Proofread effectively
Friday, March 9: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $35
Tuesday, April 3: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $35
- Determine your purpose and analyze your audience
- Write powerful openings that get to the point
- Write for high skim value
- Eliminate wordy, unclear language
Tuesday, March 29: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $35
Monday, April 16: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $35
Barbara Nelson, principal of Nelson Communications, returns to Development & Training to teach these courses. Ms. Nelson has been designing and conducting writing programs for public and private businesses and agencies for over 20 years. She works with people at all levels and has extensive experience helping writers for whom English is a second language. Recent clients include Conor Medsystems, Genentech, Microsoft, MedAmerica, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She has also worked with health care professionals at both UCSF and John Muir Health.
Given the growing crisis in business writing, we are very pleased that Barbara Nelson is returning to Development & Training to teach Write Right! and Get to the Point! Her classes fill rapidly; register now at http://training.ucsf.edu/.
Did you know that too many Americans are finding that they haven’t put enough away for their retirement years. Here are the results of a new poll of American workers (conducted by Richard Day Research, Inc., 2005):
- 55% said they had not saved enough to retire when they expected.
- 35% said they started saving for retirement too late in life.
You may have already heard the news that as of January 2007 FITSCo (Fidelity Investments Tax-exempt Services Company) became the University’s administrator for UC’s Retirement Readiness Education Program (July 2005 FITSCo became record keeper for the University’s Retirement Savings Program—providing access to personal accounts and retirement planning tools). In the latest quarterly statement (as of 12/31/2006) which everyone has just recently received, there was a flyer — Focus on Your Future — announcing the kick-off of the Retirement Readiness Education Program. In the flyer reference was made to “free seminars at your location” that will be presented by FITSCo throughout the year. Be sure to check out the schedules in the article below. These workshops are designed to increase awareness of and preparedness for your financial security during retirement years. Remember, it’s never too early to start planning for your retirement. Do yourself a favor—take some time-out and start to get your ducks all in a row. You won’t regret it.
UC Retirement Plan and UC Retirement Savings/Readiness Education Program Workshop Schedules
Please tell your colleagues, circulate invitations, post the actual schedules, or otherwise re-broadcast these weekly reminders about our valuable (FREE) education programs for faculty and staff.
- UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) Defined Benefit Plan
- “The Features of UCRP”
- Refer to this schedule for details and future workshops
UC Retirement Readiness Programs—the 403(b), 457(b) and DC Plans
- “Achieving a Sound Retirement”
- February 1, Laurel Heights, Room 376, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
“Enrolling in Your UC Retirement Savings Program”
- January 31, Mission Center, Room 126, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
- February 1, Laurel Heights, Room 376, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
“Finding the Right Investment Strategy”
- January 31, Mission Center, Room 126, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
- February 1, Laurel Heights, Room 376, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Refer to this schedule for details and future workshops
- “Achieving a Sound Retirement”
Usually there can be at least one (or more) workshop(s) per week scheduled at various UCSF locations around town. For more details and listings for upcoming scheduled presentations, please refer to our Workshops and Presentations Schedules menus found at our local UCSF HR/Benefits website.
In addition to the locations scheduled thus far, Retirement Readiness workshops at Parnassus Heights and Mission Bay locations will soon appear on the schedule (for the next quarter—if not sooner).
For other locations Department administrators will also be able to coordinate a Retirement Readiness meeting for faculty and staff in their department at their location. More details will be forthcoming regarding how this process will work. Stay tuned.
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