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June HR Update

Please take a moment to read through the information below for important HR news and information. As always, you may contact your HR Service Center Representative with questions. You may also contact your Employee Ombudsperson, Cathy Thomas, at 83967 or thomasce@jmu.edu.

Temporary Reduction in the Cash Match Program

A temporary reduction in the cash match program was adopted during the Commonwealth’s 2010 General Assembly session. Effective July 1 participants in the 403(b) or 457 plans who are eligible for a cash match will receive a maximum cash match of $10 per pay period. This temporary reduction is effective for the 2011 fiscal year (July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011). No action is required by the employee.

PAR Reviewers in HR

Questions related to PAR forms should now be directed to Michelle Chase or Brenda VanArsdale who review PARs in HR before sending them to Payroll. The division of PARs is based on the first letter of the last name of the employee listed on the PAR form.

PARs with employee last names beginning with A – M: 
Michelle Chase, 83825, chasepm@jmu.edu

PARs with employee last names beginning with N – Z: 
Brenda Vanarsdale, 82808, vanarsbl@jmu.edu

New Automated Leave Entry through J-Ess

On June 24, classified employees can access a new leave balance screen in J-Ess titled View Leave Balances and History. On June 30, classified employees will enter their leave requests through J-Ess via an option titled Add/Edit Leave Request. Supervisors of classified employees will approve or deny the leave requests using new options available in Manager Self-Service.

IMPORTANT – Employees whose leave is currently recorded in time books and sent to HR for entry will not use this system right away. HR will contact employees through their department to coordinate transition to the new leave system.

HR will accept leave cards for vacation, sick, sick family, personal day, community service, family/personal, overtime leave taken, compensatory leave taken and recognition leave taken through August 2 after which time all requests for these leave types must be entered through J-Ess. HR will continue to accept leave cards for other leave types not listed above.

HR will offer training sessions in the IT Training center in JMAC4. No registration is required; it will be an open lab environment. The training will cover entering leave requests via J-Ess (as an employee) and approving and denying leave requests (as a supervisor).

Open Lab Training Dates in JMAC 4:


June 18

 9:00 a.m. – 10:00  a.m.


June 18

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


June 23

 9:00 a.m. – 10:00  a.m.


June 23

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


June 24

 9:00 a.m. – 10:00  a.m.


June 24

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

A how-to document, FAQs, and a tutorial will be available prior to implementation if you are unable to attend training.

For more information, contact Krystal Smith smithkf@jmu.edu or 83974.

Completing and Submitting Classified Employee Performance Evaluations

Did you know annual performance evaluations for classified employees can be completed and submitted to HR anytime beginning July 1 through September 30? Ratings are contingent on continued performance at the same level rated for the duration of the performance cycle, which officially ends October 24.

To insure thorough and thoughtful evaluation of employee performance, this is an ideal time for:

  • Supervisors to make any necessary adjustments to Employee Work Profiles (EWP) (sometimes referred to as Position or Job Descriptions) through PositionLink.
  • Review/creation of the employee’s Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP).
  • Employees to communicate their perspectives on performance through self-evaluation.
  • Receiving and providing open and honest feedback on the past year’s performance.
  • Recognizing extraordinary contributions by submitting a Notification of Extraordinary Contribution form to HR.

Please refer to Performance Evaluation Process on HR’s website for links to applicable forms, policies and process details.

Training opportunities for supervisors: 

Performance Management Information Sessions for Supervisors of Classified Employees

Tuesday, July 13 or Tuesday, August 3
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, August 18 or Wednesday, September 1
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Training opportunities for employees and supervisors: 

Individual Professional Development Plan Workshop

Thursday, July 22
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Monday, August 9
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 9
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Employee Work Profile: The Primary Source Document

The Department of Human Resource Management and the Office of Agency Human Resource Services in Richmond, Virginia refers to the Employee Work Profile (EWP) as the primary source document because it is a multi-purpose tool used by employees, management and HR for a variety of functions. It is written based on what is needed to accomplish the purpose of the position and to meet the organization’s mission and goals.

The EWP is used for:

  • Position Classification: determining the role assigned to the position and the corresponding pay band/salary range.
  • Pay Actions: assessing factors describing the skills needed and the duties of the position and used to determine starting pay and pay changes.
  • Recruitment and Selection: referring to the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) and education/experience requirements when writing job announcements, developing screening criteria and interview questions, and making the hiring selection.
  • Performance Planning and Evaluation: outlining core responsibilities and measures, how the employee performs the duties and how the supervisor measures performance.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Classification: determining the employee’s status as exempt or non-exempt under the FLSA.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): stating the essential functions of the position and determining the employee’s ability to perform the job.
  • Workers Compensation/VSDP: documenting duties and physical requirements for the position and used by healthcare providers to assess an employee’s readiness to return to work.
  • Grievances: providing documentation for the grievance process.
  • Career Development (IPDP): establishing an employee development plan that identifies the skills employees need for current and future positions.

Because of its many functions, the EWP must have accurate and current information. An ideal time to review EWPs is during the performance evaluation process.

Performance Evaluations and Promoting Positivity

Whether you supervise one or ten employees…

  • Provide information in advance on the overall process: forms to be used, timelines to be followed, explain the ratings.
  • Be specific in your comments/feedback. Base these on facts.
  • Separate feelings from work facts.
  • Communicate regularly throughout the performance cycle. Nothing should come as a surprise.
  • Schedule time for this process in advance.
  • Create a private setting for discussion. Turn off cell phones, forward phones, ignore emails and discourage interruptions. Dedicate ample time.
  • Preserve the relationship. Use positive, constructive, but honest feedback.
  • Encourage the employee to self-assess. Ask the employee to think about and mention things they’ve done throughout the year that may have not been readily noticed by the supervisor. Supervisors should use this information to enhance the evaluation process.

Time and effort put towards the evaluation process will benefit both employees and their supervisors. The exchange of information during the evaluation meetings can be invaluable towards building lasting employment relationships.