HR News 2017

Stay informed by reviewing all HR news releases for 2017 here! 

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HR News

The University of Arkansas Staff Senate, in collaboration with the Human Resources department conducted a confidential online Staff Campus Climate Survey in May 2017.

In order to save energy and reduce heating and other costs, the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas will be closed, except for essential operations, beginning Friday, December 22, 2017.  The campus will re-open on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.   

Some of the days during this period are official state holidays, which will be recognized as follows:  Christmas Eve (December 22), Christmas Day (December 25), in lieu of Veteran’s Day (December 26), In lieu of employee’s birthday (December 27), and New Year's Day (January 1).  Two days, December 28 and 29 would ordinarily be charged to employees' annual leave.  However, Governor Hutchinson has granted the University permission to allow 12 month UA employees, who do not have enough accumulated time or do not wish to use their annual leave on those days to work extra hours, as needed, during the earlier part of December 2017, to avoid being charged annual leave for December 28 and 29. 

The number of extra hours employees will need to work will depend on whether they are exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

  • Employees who are exempt under the FLSA (that is, not entitled to compensatory time off or overtime pay for hours over 40 worked in any work week) may work an extra 16 hours earlier in December, at their department's convenience to avoid using annual leave. 
  • Employees who are not exempt under the FLSA (that is, who are entitled to compensatory time off or overtime pay for hours over 40 worked in any work week, at a rate of one-and-one-half hours for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours) may accumulate an additional 16 hours of compensatory time by working a total of 10 hours and 40 minutes that would qualify as compensatory time earlier in December, at their department's convenience, to avoid using annual leave. 
  • Employees who do not wish to work extra hours earlier in December may use annual leave (for both exempt and non-exempt employees) or regular compensatory time off (for non-exempt employees).

Employees are responsible for arranging their schedules with their supervisor prior to December to work the extra hours.  Departments are asked to accommodate employees who wish to work extra hours in order to avoid using annual leave. Employees who have 256 vacation hours or more, should not work the extra time, due to losing vacation hours going into 2018.  Deans and directors must demonstrate to the appropriate vice chancellor why accommodations are not feasible where they are requested and denied. 

If there are questions about whether an employee is exempt under the FLSA, they may be directed to Human Resources by calling 575-7618 or 575-4824 or by e-mailing  or

Your 2017 W2 will be mailed to your home address.  Please check your address in webBASIS to ensure that you will receive your 2017 W2 in the mail by January 31, 2018.

Sign in to the Employee/Affiliate Access using your UARK (email) ID and Password.

Click on “My Personal Data”

Click on “Addresses, etc.”

Enter any changes to your information.

Scroll to bottom of page and click on “Validate”

If no errors, click on “Save”

IRS Encourages Taxpayers to Check Their Withholding;

Checking Now Helps Avoid Surprises at Tax Time


IRS YouTube Video:

IRS Withholding Calculator: English | Spanish


IR-2017-181, Oct. 30, 2017


WASHINGTON — As the end of 2017 approaches, the Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to consider a tax withholding checkup. Taking a closer look at the taxes being withheld now can help ensure the right amount is withheld, either for tax refund purposes or to avoid an unexpected tax bill next year.


The withholding review takes on even more importance given a tax law change that started last year. This change requires the IRS to hold refunds a few weeks for some early filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. In addition, the IRS and state tax administrators continue to strengthen identity theft and refund fraud protections, which means some tax returns could require additional review time next year to protect against fraud.


"With only a few months left in the year, this is a good time to check on your withholding," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "How much you choose to withhold is a personal choice, but checking now can reduce the chance for a surprise tax bill when you file in 2018."


By adjusting the Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, taxpayers can ensure that the right amount is taken out of their pay throughout the year. Having the correct amount withheld from paychecks helps to ensure that taxpayers don’t pay too much tax during the year – and it also means taxpayers have money upfront rather than waiting for a bigger refund after filing their tax return.


The IRS also cautions people to be careful and check to make sure they have enough withheld from their paychecks. Under-withholding can lead to a tax bill as well as an additional penalty. The IRS especially encourages people with a second job, such as those in the sharing economy, or with a major life change to check whether they are having enough withheld or if they are making the appropriate estimated tax payments.


In many cases, a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, is all that is needed to make an adjustment. Taxpayers submit it to their employer, and the employer uses the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to be withheld from pay. But remember – it takes time for employers to process these payroll changes, so any adjustments should be made quickly so it can take affect during the final pay periods of 2017.


The IRS offers several online resources to help taxpayers bring taxes paid closer to what is owed. They are available anytime on They include:


Self-employed taxpayers, including those involved in the sharing or gig economy, can use the Form 1040-ES worksheet to correctly figure their estimated tax payments. If they also work for an employer, they can often forgo making these quarterly payments by instead having more tax taken out of their pay.


People Working in the Sharing Economy


The IRS encourages people in the sharing or ‘gig’ economy who also have a job with an employer to take a close look at their withholding. Doing so can help avoid unexpected tax issues.


Some Refunds Delayed in 2018


The IRS wants taxpayers to be aware of several factors that could affect the timing of their tax refunds next year. Due to a December 2015 law, the IRS cannot issue refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund – even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC.


This law change, which went into effect in 2017, helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.


Stronger Security Filters and Tax Refund Processing


As the IRS steps up its efforts to combat identity theft and tax refund fraud through its many processing filters, legitimate refund returns sometimes get delayed. While the IRS is working diligently to stop fraudulent refunds from being issued, it is also focused on releasing legitimate refunds as quickly as possible.


The IRS, state tax agencies and the private sector tax industry continue to work together to fight fraud through their Security Summit partnership. Additional safeguards will be set in place for the 2018 filing season.

HR is holding the annual Health and Benefits Fair on November 8th from 10:00-2:00 in the Arkansas Union – Verizon Ballroom. Join us for free T-Shirts for the first 300 attendees, Flu shots provided by Pat Walker Health Center (Remember your insurance card!), Wellness Activities provided in partnership with UREC and Pat Walker Health Center, and many vendors including Abbott Diabetes Care, The Breast Center, Mercy, Washington Regional Medical Center, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, and many more!

The Governor has proclaimed November 24, 2017 a Holiday.

Open Enrollment for the University of Arkansas benefits plans will begin November 1, 2017, and will end November 30, 2017.  No enrollments or changes after November 30, 2017, will be accepted.  Open Enrollment changes are effective 1/1/2018. 

 Human Resources is hosting a series of insurance presentations to allow faculty and staff the opportunity to hear about the changes, discuss anticipated changes, and to ask questions.  The schedule for these sessions is:

Or you can join the GoTo meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.
          United States: +1 (646) 749-3122
          Access Code: 209-695-093
Joining from a video-conferencing room or system?
          Cisco devices: 209695093@
Or you can join the GoTo meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.
          United States: +1 (646) 749-3131
          Access Code: 582-213-653
Joining from a video-conferencing room or system?
          Cisco devices: 582213653@
Or you can join the GoTo meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.
          United States: +1 (646) 749-3131
          Access Code: 413-690-757
Joining from a video-conferencing room or system?
          Cisco devices: 413690757@

We anticipate each session lasting about an hour, depending on questions.   There is no need to attend multiple sessions – the same information will be presented each time. 

Human Resources has partnered with the experts from Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA) to offer a workshop discussing steps you can take to keep your identity safe. Topics will include problems that occur with identity theft, what to do if it happens, and how to protect yourself in the future. The workshop will take place September 7th, 2017, 2p.m. – 3:30p.m., Arkansas Union Room 504. Please register for this training through the EDP Training Calendar. We will also broadcast online via GoToMeeting. See instructions below. Any questions can be addressed with Valerie Casey at 575-5351.

Log in to the GoTo Meeting broadcast from your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

Audio can be accessed through your computer speakers, or you can dial in using your phone. * United States: +1 (312) 757-3117

Access Code: 981-268-981

*Please note, the dial in option is a long-distance phone number. To avoid charges, please use your computer audio.

Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 402.1, Background Checks and Substance Abuse has been expanded to support the University of Arkansas’ efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for the University community.  This update aligns our campus with recent updates to the UA System background check policy, and is consistent with best practices in higher education and among major employers.  The policy changes apply to new faculty, staff, volunteer, graduate assistant and applicable student hourly positions posted on or after September 1, 2017.  At a minimum, persons hired into these positions must submit to a criminal background and registered sex offender check.  Depending on the nature of the position, substance abuse testing and/or financial history checks may also be required.  For complete details on Background Checks and a listing, by position title, of required checks, please visit our background checks page. 

Benefits-eligible employees can now enroll in Identity Theft Protection and Legal Protection. Identity Theft Protection through ID Watchdog provides a 24/7 Customer Care Center and fully managed resolution services and will guarantee security and peace of mind for you and your family. Legal Protection through LegalShield will provide you with personal advice from a lawyer without the worry of expensive hourly rates. You can enroll at any time and will enroll and pay your premium directly through ID Watchdog and LegalShield.

Employees enrolled in UA health coverage have until 9/30/2017 to complete the wellness requirements (completing the on-line health assessment, including agreeing to the tobacco pledge, and completing the biometric screenings). Employees who successfully complete these requirements no later than 9/30/2017 will receive a $1,400 reduction in their 2018 health plan out-of-pocket maximum. The out-of-pocket maximum is the combined copayment, deductible, and coinsurance participants pay during the calendar year.  For more information about the 2018 Wellness period, see the announcements sent to employees home address by Onlife and the email notice sent by Human Resources

Access to Equifax, our third-party vendor for electronic versions of employee W-2 forms, has been permanently shut down.  Employees who need copies of their W-2 should contact Human Resources at (479) 575-5351.

The University of Arkansas System announces changes to the 403(b)/457(b) Retirement Plan. New funds are available 5/10/2017 and existing funds not available in the new tiered line up will be remapped 10/2/2017. Click here for additional information and for copies of information distributed to participants. Spanish translation of the Transition Brochure is also available. El Folleto de Transición está disponible en Español.

Access to electronic versions of employee W-2 forms has been temporarily disabled while the university works with its third-party vendor, Equifax, to enhance security features related to accessing these forms from the vendor’s site.

We apologize for the inconvenience and are working closely with the vendor to once again provide online access to these forms for employees who have elected to use this service as soon as possible.

If you have questions regarding your W-2 form, please contact Jacque Linebarger, University of Arkansas Director of Human Resources Administration: (479) 575-6209 or

Effective February 6, 2017, new employees can enroll in benefits online through webBASIS! Once an employee receives their UARK credentials, you may log on to webBASIS to complete the process. Click here for instructions. Reminder: you have 31 days from your appointment date to enroll in benefits. Existing employees can change or enroll in Optional & Dependent Life Insurance (underwriting required), disability insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance and may designate their beneficiaries for life and AD&D insurance.  

Any questions can be addressed to Human Resources at 575-5351 or

Beginning with the November 2016 Open Enrollment period, dependent documentation must be provided by UA employees who wish to add a spouse or dependent children to their health, dental or vision coverages.   Enrollments will not be processed until documentation is received in Human Resources.

Bariatric Surgery will be covered for members meeting medical and prior authorization guidelines.  See the 2017 Medical Plan Summary Plan Description (pages 8, 18, 73, 94, 138 & 160) for details.

Effective 1/1/2017 the Baptist Health Care facilities in Central Arkansas, which include the Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway, and the Arkansas Heart Hospital will be participating providers in the UA health plan.

In compliance with the Affordable Care Act Section 1557 regulations which were issued mid-year in 2016, the University’s health plan scheduled Gender Dysphoria coverage for implementation on January 1, 2017.  On December 31, 2016, the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on the Affordable Care Act regulations covering gender identity.   More specifically the injunction prohibits Health and Human Services from enforcing regulations addressing gender identity and the coverage of treatment for gender dysphoria.   

The frequent changes and uncertainty of the ACA regulations are challenging for both health plans and for plan participants, particularly when dealing with coverage issues such as gender dysphoria which involve a long-term plan of treatment.   Given the most current court ruling, the University of Arkansas System will suspend gender dysphoria coverage pending the final legal outcome of the injunction or further clarification of the ACA coverage guidelines.  However, in accordance with the requirements of the ACA, the plan will cover services received on or before March 6, 2017