If these APs are converted to Civil Service, should they retain all seniority accrued in all their previous AP positions? The University Senate recently approved a letter to be sent to Board Chair Christopher Kennedy and University President Michael Hogan asking for retention of all seniority for APs converted to Civil Service. (Photo courtesy AADE.)By Monica M. Walk
QUESTIONS FROM employees are percolating across the Chicago campus as the Human Resources Office continues to analyze and categorize jobs as Academic Professional or Civil Service as required to resolve State University Civil Service System (SUCSS) audit findings that UIC had misclassified some jobs.
THE JOB analysis process is close to complete in the Medical Center and May 1, 2011, was the first date that Medical Center employees could choose to convert from AP to CS. Jobs in the East Side colleges, West Side colleges, and UA positions will be analyzed in the coming months.
“WE WANT our employees to remain our employees,” stressed Executive Director and Associate Vice President for Human Resources Maureen Parks, noting that the University is working hard to personalize the process through both group and individual meetings and ongoing communication.
REPRESENTATIVES FROM the State’s Civil Service Office and Human Resources participated in a Town Hall meeting sponsored by APAC at UIC for Academic Professionals on April 19. At that time employees received information about the audit, the job analysis process, the conversion process, and its implications for the employee. The information shared can be found on the Human Resources website, along with additional campus communication reports, FAQs, and related University resources. Visit UIC's Civil Service Audit and Job Analysis to view these specifics. Additional website updates are expected soon.
"THE CIVIL Service office and the executive director are working closely with us to resolve problems,” Parks said. “I am grateful for the way they have partnered with us to work through issues. Civil Service is not trying to do anything bad to the University of Illinois; they are trying to apply the law fairly. The problem is these are old rules—from 1954—and not always a good fit. So, we are working closely to figure out how a rule or statute affects us today. We will work through the issues to explain them. We don’t want anyone to leave because they don’t understand what is happening.”
AP POSITIONS currently funded by grants, or “soft money,” are among the situations still being clarified in the reclassification from AP to CS. “The position being Civil Service is separate from funding,” Parks said. “The University is concerned about what happens if the money [for a position] runs out. We don’t have an answer right now, but we are working on it with Civil Service. Our goal is to have something in place so it’s not an issue. We want to have a proposal to the Civil Service office and merit board to review by August, so we can set aside the issue and not have it be a problem.”
It’s the Law
CURRENT EMPLOYEES in AP jobs that have substantially similar duties as the jobs in the Civil Service class plan must be converted to Civil Service. Because it’s the law, departments not have an option on whether or not to convert. “We do not want to lose our good and valuable employees,” Parks said. “This is not so we can eradicate positions or dismiss people.”
THERE ARE several aspects of employment that will change as a result of conversion. For example, Civil Service jobs have either six-month or 12-month probationary periods attached to them. AP employees who are converted must satisfy the applicable probationary period for the new “converted to” Civil Service position. However, time in the “converted from” position will be counted toward satisfying the probationary periods. Additionally, employees will begin to earn seniority in the new Civil Service job classes. Seniority accrued in a visiting position also will count when that position is converted to Civil Service.
OTHER ASPECTS of employment will not change. For example, pay rates (with the possible exception of those covered by collective bargaining agreements), health benefits, and paid time off banks to name a few.
FOR A full description of the implications of converting from AP to Civil Service, visit the HR website UIC's Civil Service Audit and Job Analysis.
EVENTUALLY ALL Academic Professional positions will have been analyzed via this process. However, jobs posted since January 2011 should be classified correctly, as new positions are required to go through job analysis before being posted. So, individuals considering employment with the university or considering a change in employment within the University can expect a job posted as Academic Professional to remain in this category.
IF AN internal applicant in the interview process is concerned, particularly about seniority, Parks urges the job candidate to ask the hiring manager if the job has been through the analysis process. “They will not be offended if asked,” Parks said. “People expect the question. This is a hot topic on the Chicago campus. If the job has been though the analysis process it is fine. If it hasn’t been through the process, ask why and how confident the hiring manager is that it will remain AP.”