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March 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.

New Mediation Leadership & Logo

Mediation logo

Cathy Thomas, Employee Ombudsperson, now coordinates Employee Mediation Services for JMU. 

Mediation benefits groups as well as individuals. Common issues to mediate include:

  • work style differences
  • supervisory style differences
  • issues surrounding a grievance
  • a conflict affecting a working relationship between co-workers that cannot be resolved on their own or with a supervisor

Volunteer Firefighter/Rescue Services Leave (VFRS)

During the 2009 session, the General Assembly passed a change to leave for volunteer fire and rescue service. State employees serving as a volunteer firefighter and/or rescue services member will be allowed eight hours paid leave to serve in that capacity.

The number of hours an employee may use for school assistance or other types of volunteer service is not being increased. Employees may still use 16 hours of paid leave for those purposes as per DHRM Policy 4.40 School Assistance and Volunteer Service Leave (Community Service).

As with most other leave types, VFRS leave can be used in increments of 15 minutes, with proper documentation required at the time VFRS leave is taken.

PAR Questions for HR?

One vital step in the PAR process is the review by HR representatives before the forms are sent to Payroll. The PAR reviewing responsiblity is currently divided and based on the first letter of the last name of the employee listed on the PAR form. Until further notice, please direct questions regarding PARs to the following individuals:

PARs with employee last names beginning with A – M:  Michelle Chase, 83825, chasepm@jmu.edu
PARs with employee last names beginning with N – Z:  Amber Lam, 82296, lamar@jmu.edu

Upcoming Training Opportunities

In March and April, the Training & Development Department is offering several sessions that will be especially helpful to anyone who supervises employees. Below are the links to detailed descriptions of each of the training sessions:

Promoting Positivity

During these uncertain economic times, a positive approach is one way to reduce workplace stress and improve employee morale.

A few simple ideas for promoting positivity:

  • Openly acknowledge effort
  • Ask questions
  • Seek help or guidance
  • Provide honest answers
  • Offer assistance or insight
  • Acknowledge conflict – don’t ignore it