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As departments begin to resume on-campus operations and prepare for the return of employees to the workplace, we expect that some individuals will have requests for leave or other needs related to COVID-19, and particularly those who are considered high risk as defined by the CDC.

All requests for temporary work environment or job modifications for employees in a high risk category as defined by the CDC must be facilitated through Human Resources. Employees with a modification request due to their own high risk status should submit the work modification request form to the appropriate Campus HR office. Those requests related to an underlying medical condition will also need to furnish the completed medical certification form for high risk employees to the Campus HR office. Upon receipt of the required forms, Human Resources will facilitate the request with the employee and supervisor to determine appropriate temporary modifications to enable the employee to complete the essential functions of the job while also minimizing the direct threat of contracting the COVID-19 virus in the workplace.

Please note, this process excludes those employees who are seeking reasonable accommodations due to a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All disability accommodation requests will continue to follow the normal procedures. Please contact your Campus HR office with any questions related to employee leave, the high risk temporary modification request or disability accommodation processes.

Need vs Want and the 50/30/20 Budget Method

Is that case of craft brew a necessity, or a luxury?  What about that additional streaming channel, those designer mud flaps, and that second set of socket wrenches? When making financial decisions and formulating a financial plan, it’s important to know the difference between what we need and what we want.  When developing a budget, focus first on the needs – those things you have to have – while allowing for “wants” as well. Necessities should be 50% of your budget, according to the “50 (needs)/30 (wants)/20 (savings)” method – but you can still have that craft brew and fishing channel – just maybe not the mud flaps.

Advice from Nerdwallet on defining needs and wants

About that 50/30/20 budget method… from The Balance and also check out:

Wants-vs-needs

as well as…

Needs-vs-wants from Smart Asset

Help your kids learn this, too –  like Elmo did on Sesame Street.

Make Dad Proud

With exclusive savings on Father's Day gifts from your UNT System Discount Program, buy him something great and make him proud of how much you save!  Find a gift for every Dad with over thousands of discounts from your favorite brands.

For the Sports Fan:  Buy him a new bike, a set of clubs, or tickets to a game.  There are hundreds of gifts for the sports Dad. 

For the Stylish Dad:  Get exclusive discounts on apparel from Brooks Brothers, Ray-Ban, Oakley, Columbia, and others!

For the Techie:  Help Dad stay connected with discounts on tablets, laptops and other devices from Dell, Lenovo, HP and more.

Check it out today at PerkSpot!

University of North Texas System Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness and Chief Human Capital Officer Barbara Abercrombie announced Wanda Boyd, UNT System Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, will additionally serve as Interim Director of Human Resources for UNT Dallas and UNT System Administration, effective immediately.

“Wanda is an experienced and trusted human resources leader who can be counted on to provide steady guidance as we navigate the many challenges of COVID-19,” Abercrombie said. “Wanda will serve as the lead HR contact for UNT Dallas and UNT System Administration on an interim basis, while continuing her important work as our lead for Title IX initiatives and Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.”

Boyd joined the UNT System Human Resources team in 2019, following 3+ years at Texas A&M University. The University of Houston graduate has worked in HR and employment relations for 25+ years, gaining rich experience in both the public and private sector that spans the full spectrum of HR and ER, with an emphasis in equity compliance.

Please note that TRS (Teacher Retirement System) will not call or email you to schedule an appointment or send you emails about scheduling appointments to “learn more about your TRS benefits.” There are scammers impersonating TRS.  If you receive such a call, notify TRS at 1.800.223.8778.  If you receive an email, report it to ITCompliance@untsystem.edu.

To learn more about your TRS benefits, here are helpful links:

TRS Benefits on the HR Benefits page

TRS Handbook at TRS.texas.gov

Or contact HRBenefits@untsystem.edu to schedule a retirement planning video meeting. Ready to retire? Email us to get that ball rolling. You do not have to go to Austin or meet with TRS – we will help you with your retirement and are hosting Retirement Meetings by videoconference. 

 

Choose to Move: Physical Activity Challenge

Through the end of the month of May, this program will include:

  • Daily physical activity recommendations and tracking
  • Weekly motivation and updates via email 
  • Snack Stretches: every Monday from 1:30 pm-1:45 pm - Learn a little about healthy snacking at home while we take a quick 15 minute afternoon stretch break together
  • Well Talk Wednesdays: every week from 11:00 am-11:30 am - Each week will focus on a new topic to help keep you and your family healthy and active while working from home
  • Family Fun Fridays: every week from 10:00 am-10:30 am - A quick 30 minute activity session that can be done with the whole family

For more information, click here.

When: UNT: June 29 – July 11

              UNT Dallas, UNTHSC, UNT System: July 6 – July 18 

What: Annual Benefits Enrollment Event--make changes to your benefit elections (health, dental, vision, life insurances; short and long term disability; TexFlex). Changes you make will be effective September 1, 2020.

Where: Online at ers.texas.gov  (watch for more info in HR Highlights, sent by email every Thursday) 

It’s time to make sure your contact information is up to date, including your address, before summer enrollment starts:

Login to your ERS account to verify your info. ERS will be mailing information out soon – make sure your address is correct!

If you have never accessed your account online, it only takes minutes to set up your login at “my account” at ers.texas.gov. 

Questions?  HRBenefits@untsystem.edu

 https://ers.texas.gov/Summer-Enrollment

MYTH 1: If I don’t have a fever, I don’t have COVID-19.

A fever is roughly 100.4° F sustained over an hour, or greater than 100.9° F. Patients who are found to have SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can have different symptoms. Some studies have shown that only 44 – 65% of patients initially have a fever, though it may develop later in the infection.

Conclusion: Busted!

MYTH 2: I should stop taking my blood pressure medication to keep from getting COVID-19?

There has been a theoretical debate about the role of a specific class of high blood pressure medication called an ACE inhibitor. There is no data indicating help or harm of this class of medication in the setting of COVID-19. However, a recent study found a possible association between patients on ACE inhibitors and a lower risk of death from COVID-19. In addition, there is clear harm possible if the medication is discontinued without physician supervision. The American Heart Association recommends that patients do NOT discontinue their chronic ACE inhibitor medication.

Conclusion: Not enough data, but don’t stop your medications! 

MYTH 3: I should avoid NSAIDS like Ibuprofen if I think I have COVID-19.

The FDA has announced they are not aware of any scientific evidence supporting the need to avoid non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. The WHO originally advised avoiding the use of NSAIDs until they could investigate. They have since reversed their decision and agree with the FDA that there is not enough scientific literature to support that NSAIDs should be avoided. If you use an NSAID, be aware that it can mask symptoms of an infection such as a fever.

Conclusion: Not enough data

MYTH 4: Everyone should take hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. What do you have to lose?

Hydroxychloroquine has a long list of possible side effects and has limited science to support that it works against SARS-CoV-2. This medication should only be taken in the setting of a clinical trial for COVID-19 to ensure appropriate monitoring for side effects such as life threatening abnormal heart rhythms and irreversible vision loss. Do not start this medication without a discussion of side effects with your healthcare provider.

Conclusion: Busted!

Download a copy of the handout here.

For references in this article, download here.

Is your address up to date in the Employees Retirement System (ERS)? Open enrollment for benefits is coming soon, and that means it's also time to verify your address. ERS sends important benefits information for fiscal year 2021 including rates, plan changes/additions and other important items. If your address is incorrect, you may miss out on this information.

Verify your address quickly online with both Employee Retirement System (ERS) and Teacher Retirement System (TRS):

•             Employees Retirement System  (Insurance) – use My Account Login

•            Teacher Retirement System (Retirement) – use the MyTRS

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! API cultures form an important part of not only our history as a country, but also who we are as a people. Understanding this part of our cultural heritage can help underline the fact that despite small differences, we are a country of immigrants bound together by the marriage of cultures.
Check out the PBS documentary series Asian Americans which premieres May 11, and explore the contributions and challenges of APIs.