Enhancements to Voluntary Retirement Plans

The University of Alabama System is pleased to announce enhancements to the 403(b) and 457(b) voluntary retirement plans through TIAA to help employees plan and save for the future. The changes do not require you to take any action at this time, and a detailed Transition Guide with additional information will be mailed in early March 2024 to all participants who have funds in The University of Alabama System voluntary retirement plan(s). Here are some important things to know:

  • Introducing Target Date Plus model portfolios. These new model portfolios, available through the TIAA RetirePlus Pro® service, will serve as the default investment option for the voluntary 403(b) and 457(b) plans, replacing the current age-based TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Index Institutional funds. The new Target Date Plus model service may make it easier to plan and save for retirement by providing you with a professionally managed model portfolio that will be rebalanced every 90 days. They are a convenient alternative to making and managing your own choices from the retirement plans’ investment lineups and offer an option for monthly income payments for life once you retire.
  • New TIAA accounts. As a part of the model portfolio enhancement, for those who do not already have one*, a new Retirement Choice Plus (RCP) account with TIAA will be created for you with contributions to the new account and model portfolio on your first paycheck in April. Fund balance transfers will occur in early May for eligible investments. Your TIAA portal access information will remain the same throughout this transition.
  • Share class changes. Some of the current investment options will be replaced by a lower-cost share class of the same investments.
  • Program fee reduction. As a result of implementing the RetirePlus Pro service, administrative fees are being reduced to help lower the overall cost of participating in your retirement plan.

Make the most of your retirement benefits
The upcoming enhancements provide an excellent opportunity for you to revisit your retirement plan options. No action is required to default into the new Target Date Plus model portfolio, however, you will have options to personalize or unsubscribe from the model. Please carefully review the Transition Guide that will be mailed to you in early March 2024 for more details on key dates, specific action steps, upcoming informational webinars, and resources available to you. 

You should be aware of the following key dates for anticipated changes and events: 

Expected DateChange/Event
Weeks of March 18–29One-on-one appointments available with TIAA financial consultants to discuss plan enhancements
March 21TIAA Town Halls at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m. in Gorgas Library (Camellia Room)
March 25TIAA Town Halls at 9 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. in Gorgas Library (Camellia Room)
Week of April 3Enrollment in new RCP accounts as needed* and subscription to the new Target Date Plus model service begins
April 3–May 3Window for personalization of or unsubscribing from the model service
First payroll in AprilFirst contribution into the new model portfolio on April 5th for non-exempt employees, and April 30th for exempt employees
Week of May 6Existing balances transfer to the new accounts (if applicable) and model portfolio

It’s our goal to keep you informed throughout the upcoming transition. No action is required at this time. If you have questions or need assistance, visit TIAA.org/uasystem or call TIAA at 800-842-2252. Consultants are available every weekday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CT).

* If you participate in TIAA’s 457(b) plan, you already have a Retirement Choice Plus (RCP) account.

New HR Social Media Accounts

The Department of Human Resources is excited to announce we are now on social media!

We will be sharing upcoming events, happenings, and important deadlines through Instagram and Facebook. Our Talent Acquisition team shares important recruitment updates for staff jobs on X, and our Wellness and Work-Life team curates a vibrant YouTube channel. Follow, like and share today!

Instagram: @ua_humanresources

Facebook: @BamaHR

X: @UAStaffJobs

YouTube: Wellness & Work-Life channel

HR Requests Employees Self-Identify with Disability and/or Veteran Status

As part of our Affirmative Action Program, referenced in President Stuart R. Bell’s Reaffirmation of Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, and Affirmative Action Policy Statement, the University is required to track the number of individuals with disabilities and/or protected veterans that are employed at UA. The University invites employees who fall into one or both categories to confidentially identify themselves by completing the Voluntary Self-Identification of Individuals with Disabilities and/or Voluntary Self-Identification of Protected Veterans forms that can be found on the Employee tab under Employee Services on myBama. Employees who have previously submitted this information do not have to submit it again, unless your status has changed.

Please contact the HR Service Center at (205) 348-7732 with any questions.

New Employee Assistance Program Provider

The University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider transitions to GuidanceResources by ComPsych beginning Jan. 1, 2024. The GuidanceResources platform features an enhanced provider network because ComPsych is the world’s largest provider of mental health services. Your EAP will continue to offer free and confidential counseling sessions, plus complimentary legal, financial and work-life guidance, whenever and wherever you need it. Watch a brief orientation video to learn more about GuidanceResources. Additional details about the new and improved services provided by ComPsych GuidanceResources program are available on the HR website.

Eligible employees will receive a welcome packet letter from GuidanceResources by ComPsych with more detailed program information in January. The GuidanceResources program flyer has additional program details, or you may review the GuidanceResources ToolKit for an in-depth look at the expansive, new resources available to you.

ComPsych GuidanceResources will present complimentary webinars for all employees within The University of Alabama System to help you learn more about your new EAP:


EAP Transition FAQs:

Q1. Can employees continue to receive services from Uprise Health? The service contract with Uprise Health ends Dec. 31, 2023, so any new inquiries and referrals from Uprise will also end Dec. 31. Uprise notified current participants about this upcoming change and termination date. 

Q2. How can employees contact ComPsych for services? On or after Jan. 1, 2024, call the 24/7 toll-free number 1-888-283-3515 to request a new referral authorization with ComPsych. The GuidanceResources Online dashboard and GuidanceNow mobile app will also be available on or after Jan. 1 with virtual scheduling options and other resources. To register an account, use Organization Web ID: UAS.

Q3. Will participants be able to continue receiving care from the same provider? When contacting ComPsych, an employee or family member may request to be setup with their current provider, as long as the provider is credentialed with ComPsych’s network, OR a new provider.

Q4. How can a provider join the ComPsych network? Providers who wish to join ComPsych’s network may complete the Prospective Provider Interest Form available online at https://www.compsych.com/providers/login/login.xhtml or email providerrecruitment@compsych.com. Reimbursement rates vary and are negotiable for new and existing providers.

Q5. How long will it take for a new provider to join the ComPsych network? The credentialing review process varies from two (2) to six (6) weeks, depending on provider responses to documentation requests. ComPsych’s network team is proactively recruiting providers in all major markets covering The University of Alabama System, including Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Huntsville, so reviews will be expedited.

Q6. Who should employees contact with EAP questions? If an employee or family member experiences service issues or has concerns about the transition and requires additional assistance, please contact the Benefits Office at benefits@ua.edu. We will notify our dedicated ComPsych account manager for proactive outreach by ComPsych directly to the member.

2023 Drug-Free Campus and Workplace Policy Summary for Faculty and Staff

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA DRUG-FREE CAMPUS AND WORKPLACE

POLICY SUMMARY FOR FACULTY AND STAFF

All members of the University community are encouraged to pursue their individual and collective goals in a healthy work and educational environment, one that is free of the effects of alcohol and substance abuse. Such abuse adversely affects the University’s achievement of its mission and will not be condoned. As part of its effort to promote a drug-free work and educational environment, the University has issued a comprehensive Drug-Free Campus and Workplace policy. This policy can be found in its entirety on the UA Policies website and on the Higher Education Act Compliance website. Employees of the University consent, as a condition of employment, to abide by this policy. The University urges you to read this policy and become familiar with its provisions. The policy for faculty and staff can be summarized as follows:

I. Standards of Conduct: The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance by any employee, contractor, volunteer, or anyone providing services to or on behalf of The University of Alabama on university property or as part of any university activity or duty is prohibited. No employee may report to work while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs. The possession, distribution or consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted on the worksite or other University property during working hours, unless such occurs in the course of authorized business or special University function that includes alcoholic beverages or where consumption was otherwise approved by the University.

II. Self-Disclosure of Criminal Convictions: Any University employee is required to self-disclose to Human Resources post-employment criminal convictions, other than minor traffic violations and including drug and alcohol-related convictions, within five days of the conviction. Such disclosure shall be made on the Disclosure of Criminal Convictions form and returned to Human Resources at Box 870126.

III. Disciplinary Sanctions: Violation of the policy shall result in the prompt imposition of sanctions. These sanctions depend on the nature and severity of the offense and may range from a warning, a reprimand, required satisfactory participation in counseling or rehabilitation programs, probation, unpaid suspension, or termination of employment and/or referral to proper law enforcement authorities for prosecution. Any sanctions taken against faculty, administrators, or staff will be carried out in accordance with policies and procedures published in appropriate University personnel Handbooks and those imposed by the policy of the University’s health professional schools.

IV. Education, Counseling, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Programs: The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers assessment, short-term counseling, and referral services for faculty, staff, and their dependents. In addition, the program is intended to provide crisis intervention, as well as training or consultation services for administrators and supervisors who need to know how to identify or make referrals for individuals whose substance use disorder is affecting work performance and unit morale. Contact information for other facilities offering counseling and treatment services is available on the HR website.

V. Health Risks and Legal Sanctions: Alcohol and substance abuse can create serious health risks and result in misdemeanor or felony convictions and the imposition of a range of criminal penalties, including large fines and imprisonment. Please refer to the corresponding sections of the Drug-Free Campus and Workplace policy and the additional information found on the Alcohol and Other Drugs Prevention website for a more detailed description of these health risks, laws, and penalties.

New Student Debt Solution from Savi

Are you still paying for student loan debt? Introducing a new debt solution for employees of The University of Alabama:

The path to reducing your monthly student loan payment and working toward loan forgiveness could be getting much easier. That’s because you and your family members have access to a robust solution that helps you find the best federal repayment and forgiveness programs for your financial situation.

Through The University of Alabama’s partnership with TIAA, we are pleased to announce Savi, a service that can help you strengthen your financial footing in the short term and position you for student loan forgiveness, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). UA is a qualifying employer for PSLF as a not-for-profit public service organization that’s tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3), and Savi can help eligible employees with student debt take advantage of this money-saving program and more.

With federal student loan payments resuming in October 2023, take action now with Savi to be fully prepared before payments restart! The student loan experts at Savi can help you find the best loan repayment and forgiveness options and navigate through the complex rules and requirements. Savi‘s tool is designed to lower your student loan payments and get on track for student loan forgiveness, so you can focus on other financial goals like saving for retirement.

Visit https://www.tiaa.org/uasystem/student to calculate your savings and get started! You will be directed to Savi’s microsite to register.


Webinar Opportunities

Savi is offering exclusive, 30-minute onboarding webinars to help UA employees and their family members learn how to get on track for student loan forgiveness and get up to speed on any recent policy changes. Register for one today!

UA + Savi Workshop: Wednesday (9/13) @ 11:00 AM: Register Now!

UA + Savi Workshop: Tuesday (9/19) @ 3:00 PM: Register Now!

You may also register for recurring webinars every other Wednesday at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/savi-tiaa-27739666873


Savi offers two tiers of service, Do It Yourself (DIY) and Essential.

Service Option 1: Do It Yourself (DIY) Service.

FREE to all UA employees! Leverage Savi’s calculator and review repayment options. Manually apply for repayment and forgiveness programs through the Department of Education. Access the custom onboarding sessions referenced above and recurring, bimonthly educational webinars.

Savi DIY will help you:

  • Determine if your loan(s) qualify for forgiveness for 150+ state & federal programs,
  • Identify the best repayment method to help reduce your payment based on income & family size,
  • Estimate how much money will be forgiven and when, and
  • Consolidate your loan(s), if needed, to conform with the PSLF Limited Waiver requirements

Service Option 2: Savi Essential Service.

Savi offers an enhanced service, called Savi Essential, which can help you navigate the complex rules and procedures of the PSLF program, making it easier to stay on track for loan forgiveness. With an annual fee of just $60, the experts at Savi will support you with various PSLF tasks, handle paperwork on your behalf and remind you when it’s time to recertify for the next year for your annual fee.

Total Annual Application Cost: $60/calendar year

Benefits: All the benefits from Option 1, plus fully digitized forgiveness and savings plan forms, including employment certification and e-filing, as well as one-on-one personalized support from loan experts to help manage your student loans.

In addition to the Savi DIY benefits, Savi Essential will help you:

  • Digitally generate & prefill any required forms, help complete them, validate and submit them,
  • Track applications and forms after submission,
  • Provide ongoing application monitoring and filing reminders to ensure you achieve forgiveness,
  • Track accrual of PSLF credits to prevent surprises at the end of the repayment period, and
  • Get enrollment reminders & updates on new programs or policy changes related to your loans

HR Requests Employees Self-Identify with Disability and/or Veteran Status

As part of our Affirmative Action Program, referenced in President Stuart R. Bell’s Reaffirmation of Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, and Affirmative Action Policy Statement, the University is required to track the number of individuals with disabilities and/or protected veterans that are employed at UA. The University invites employees who fall into one or both categories to confidentially identify themselves by completing the Voluntary Self-Identification of Individuals with Disabilities and/or Voluntary Self-Identification of Protected Veterans forms that can be found on the Employee tab under Employee Services on myBama. Employees who have previously submitted this information do not have to submit it again, unless your status has changed.

Please contact the HR Service Center at (205) 348-7732 with any questions.

Total Compensation Statements and W-2 Tax Forms Now Available

University employees who contribute to the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) will soon be receiving their personalized Total Compensation Statements for the 2022 fiscal year (October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022). The statement illustrates an employee’s total compensation which is comprised of salary and the value of the benefits available to the employee. The statement is also available online and can be accessed through myBama under the Employee tab.

W-2 tax documents are now available online through myBama. Log in to myBama, click on the Employee Dashboard, click on Taxes, click on W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, select 2022 from the Tax Year drop down box and click on Display. Employees who have not consented to receive their W-2 electronically will receive a copy in the mail.

If you have questions about the information contained in the Total Compensation Statement or your W-2, please contact the HR Service Center at 348-7732 or hr@ua.edu.

UA Performance Communication System (UA PCS) will be decommissioned Jan. 30, 2023

Human Resources is excited to announce new improvements to our performance review process for staff employees. These improvements will go into effect for our current performance review cycle. We undertook this effort, in part, as a response to our University’s new strategic plan that includes a refreshed objective, “Develop robust continual performance evaluation practices for all employees, tied to job responsibilities for each employee” and also in support of HReimagined. The effort was undertaken through the contributions of an ad hoc committee comprised of representatives selected by Vice Presidents, as well as members of our Human Resources team. These representatives actively contributed to the final product.

As a result, Human Resources, in conjunction with OIT, is building a new system for performance reviews. This system will take the place of the current UA Performance Communication System (UA PCS). The UA PCS will be decommissioned as of January 30, 2023:

Go to our FAQs on the HR website for more information about the following:

  • Saving a copy of your own personal performance reviews
  • Saving a copy of your employees’ performance reviews
  • Retrieval of any journal entries

Please note that a copy of the performance reviews has already been saved to your personnel file in OnBase.

If you would like to retrieve any of the above information from UA PCS, you must do so before January 30, 2023.

We are looking forward to the new system and processes as we strive to continue to make improvements that will benefit all employees. For more information about the new system, please visit our Performance Management page. We hope you’ll help to Kickstart the Conversation!

UA Improves Annual Leave Accrual for Non-Exempt Employees

As part of the University’s commitment to improving human resources systems through its HReimagined initiative, regular, benefits eligible non-exempt employees are now able to accrue more leave earlier in their service with UA and reach the maximum accrual sooner as well.

“The enhancement to accrued annual leave for our non-exempt employees was wholeheartedly endorsed by President Stuart Bell and Vice President for Finance and Operations Matt Fajack and I am grateful to them for their leadership and support,” said Susan Norton, senior associate vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer.

The enhanced annual leave accrual will take place immediately. Detailed annual leave comparison charts are available for review below:

Annual Leave Accrual for Non-Exempt Employees (based on a 38.75 hour workweek)

Length of ServiceOld Bi-weekly Accrual Rate (2022)New Bi-weekly Accrual Rate (2023)
0 - 2 Years3.58 hours3.58 hours
3 - 5 Years3.58 hours4.17 hours
6th Year3.88 hours5.07 hours
7th Year4.17 hours5.07 hours
8th Year4.47 hours5.07 hours
9th Year4.77 hours5.07 hours
10th Year5.07 hours5.07 hours
11th Year5.07 hours5.96 hours
12th Year5.37 hours5.96 hours
13th Year5.37 hours5.96 hours
14th Year5.67 hours5.96 hours
15th Year5.67 hours5.96 hours
16th Year5.96 hours6.56 hours
17th Year5.96 hours6.56 hours
18th Year6.26 hours6.56 hours
19th Year6.26 hours6.56 hours
20+ Years6.56 hours6.56 hours

Annual Leave Accrual for Non-Exempt Employees (based on a 40.00 hour workweek)

Length of ServiceOld Bi-weekly Accrual Rate (2022)New Bi-weekly Accrual Rate (2023)
0 - 2 Years3.70 hours3.70 hours
3 - 5 Years3.70 hours4.30 hours
6th Year4.00 hours5.23 hours
7th Year4.30 hours5.23 hours
8th Year4.62 hours5.23 hours
9th Year4.92 hours5.23 hours
10th Year5.23 hours5.23 hours
11th Year5.23 hours6.15 hours
12th Year5.54 hours6.15 hours
13th Year5.54 hours6.15 hours
14th Year5.85 hours6.15 hours
15th Year5.85 hours6.15 hours
16th Year6.15 hours6.77 hours
17th Year6.15 hours6.77 hours
18th Year6.46 hours6.77 hours
19th Year6.46 hours6.77 hours
20+ Years6.77 hours6.77 hours

The new accrual schedule can also be found on p. 24 of the Employee Handbook. Regular, benefits eligible non-exempt employees with two or more years of service will see the change of accruals on their paychecks issued Jan. 27, 2023.

2022 Drug-Free Campus and Workplace Policy Summary for Faculty and Staff

All members of the University community are encouraged to pursue their individual and collective goals in a healthy work and educational environment, one that is free of the effects of alcohol and substance abuse.   Such abuse adversely affects the University’s achievement of its mission and will not be condoned.  As part of its effort to promote a drug-free work and educational environment, the University has issued a comprehensive Drug-Free Campus and Workplace policy.  This policy can be found in its entirety on the UA Policies website and on the Higher Education Act Compliance website. Employees of the University consent, as a condition of employment, to abide by this policy.  The University urges you to read this policy and become familiar with its provisions.  The policy for faculty and staff can be summarized as follows:


I. Standards of Conduct: The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance by any employee, contractor, volunteer, or anyone providing services to or on behalf of The University of Alabama on university property or as part of any university activity or duty is prohibited.  No employee may report to work while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs. The possession, distribution or consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted on the worksite or other University property during working hours, unless such occurs in the course of authorized business or special University function that includes alcoholic beverages or where consumption was otherwise approved by the University.

II. Self-Disclosure of Criminal Convictions: Any University employee is required to self-disclose to Human Resources post-employment criminal convictions, other than minor traffic violations and including drug and alcohol-related convictions, within five days of the conviction. Such disclosure shall be made on the Disclosure of Criminal Convictions form and returned to Human Resources at Box 870126.

III.  Disciplinary Sanctions:  Violation of the policy shall result in the prompt imposition of sanctions.  These sanctions depend on the nature and severity of the offense and may range from a warning, a reprimand, required satisfactory participation in counseling or rehabilitation programs, probation, unpaid suspension, or termination of employment and/or referral to proper law enforcement authorities for prosecution.  Any sanctions taken against faculty, administrators, or staff will be carried out in accordance with policies and procedures published in appropriate University personnel Handbooks and those imposed by the policy of the University’s health professional schools.

IV. Education, Counseling, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Programs: The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers assessment, short-term counseling, and referral services for faculty, staff, and their dependents.  In addition, the program is intended to provide crisis intervention, as well as training or consultation services for administrators and supervisors who need to know how to identify or make referrals for individuals whose substance use disorder is affecting work performance and unit morale.  Contact information for other facilities offering counseling and treatment services is available on the HR website

V.  Health Risks and Legal Sanctions:  Alcohol and substance abuse can create serious health risks and result in misdemeanor or felony convictions and the imposition of a range of criminal penalties, including large fines and imprisonment.  Please refer to the corresponding sections of the Drug-Free Campus and Workplace policy and the additional information found on the Alcohol and Other Drugs Prevention website for a more detailed description of these health risks, laws, and penalties