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American Today

On Campus

HR Examining Leave Policies

By Adrienne Frank

Last month, Human Resources rolled out benefits—some new, some enhanced—that reflect faculty and staff’s needs, as gauged by a November 2008 survey.

But HR isn’t finished yet.

According to the survey, staff value leave even more than health insurance. Last month, AU unveiled a new flex work policy, and has also enlisted Mercer—a leading human resources consulting firm—to examine AU’s leave policies.

Mercer has been retained to benchmark AU’s variable holidays, paid holidays, sick time, and annual leave against public and private institutions and nonprofits across the Washington metro area, including identifying firms that consider the days between  Christmas and New Year holidays as paid holidays.

“We’re looking at all the components of paid time off . . . to ensure that we offer competitive leave benefits,” explained HR executive director Beth Muha.  “Closing between the holidays is a part of our review.”

Any recommended changes to the leave policies and holiday schedule will be reviewed by the benefits project team and will likely be announced next fiscal year.  For 2009, AU will remain open between Christmas and New Year’s.

In other HR news, AU has been named an American Heart Association Fit Friendly University. AU received the “gold” award for its efforts around employee fitness, nutrition, and wellness.

The American Heart Association praised AU’s health education classes, annual health assessments, healthy food options, fitness facilities, and incentive programs, like this summer’s popular Pedometer Challenge.