FACULTY HANDBOOK

VI. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES


Most important personnel issues, especially those in state and federal law, are established as Human Resources Management Policies and Procedures by the Department of Human Resources Management. Those most relevant to faculty are described in this chapter. A more complete list is found at the end of the chapter. These policies may be found in the offices of department heads, deans, and directors. These policies are periodically revised; therefore, since the descriptions that follow may not accurately reflect recent revisions, current policy should be consulted when needed.

A. Administrative Leave - Jury Duty and Witness, Extreme Weather or Disaster (HRM 205)

Administrative leave is discretionary leave with pay, other than personal leave or major medical leave, which may be granted for jury or witness duty, extreme weather conditions or in the case of disaster.

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B. AIDS and Other Life-Threatening Illnesses (HRM 420)

Mississippi State University recognizes that employees who are HIV infected or who have contracted AIDS or other potentially disabling conditions such as cancer and heart disease may wish to continue their employment as long as their conditions allow. It is the policy of the University to accommodate the affected employees if they are able to meet minimum performance standards of their job and their conditions are not a threat to themselves or others within the work environment. Employees who have such life-threatening illnesses will be eligible for participation in all University sponsored benefits programs under the same terms and conditions as all other employees including, but not limited to, medical and personal leave, health insurance, life insurance, leaves of absence, performance appraisal, discipline and employment. Employees who refuse to perform job duties which require working with a co-worker or student who is known or suspected to be HIV positive or to have AIDS or other potentially infectious diseases will be counseled by professionals within the Student Health Center about the virus and its mode of transmission in order to displace any fears the employee may have. If the employee continues to refuse to perform in the required working relationship, disciplinary action, up to and including termination, may be taken.

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C. Alcohol and Controlled Substances Testing of Employees with a Commercial Driver's License (HRM 421)

Controlled substances testing shall be conducted on all applicants for employment in positions requiring a commercial driver's license. In addition, alcohol and controlled substances testing shall be conducted on current employees whose University employment requires them to possess a commercial driver's license. Testing will be done pre-employment, randomly, when there is reasonable suspicion, post accident, and upon return to work following misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances. Employees who test positive for prohibited alcohol levels or a controlled substance will be disciplined. Discipline shall, at a minimum, conform to those proscribed by the applicable federal regulations, but may also include other disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

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D. Conflict Of Interest/Ethics (HRM 416)

Mississippi statutory law requires state employees to abide by certain ethical standards as public employees. The law applies to all employees of Mississippi State University, as well as to all other state employees. It specifically prohibits public employees from using their official positions and/or information gained through the course of employment to obtain pecuniary benefit for themselves other than compensation provided for by law, or to obtain pecuniary benefit for any relative or any business with which they are associated. Violations of this policy include immediate discharge and possible civil penalties.

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E. Drug-Free Campus (HRM 410)

The University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on University property or as a part of any University activity. Students or employees failing to observe the drug and alcohol policy will be subject to the imposition of sanctions by the University in accordance with established disciplinary action procedures. For students, sanctions may include suspension or expulsion. For employees, sanctions may include termination of employment. Any student or employee found in violation may also be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. Employees receive an annual written statement concerning sanctions, health risks, available counseling, treatment and/or rehabilitation programs associated with illicit drug and alcohol use.

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F. Drug-Free Workforce (HRM 409)

This policy is applicable to University employees working in sensitive positions on grants and/or contracts funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and its branch agencies and that contain the provisions of the DOD's Drug-Free Workforce Rule of 1988. These persons are also covered by provisions of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. Employees in sensitive positions who are working on those Department of Defense grants and/or contracts wherein the grant/contract agreement includes the Drug-Free Workforce clause are specifically prohibited from using illegal drugs, both on and off campus. Employees who are covered by this policy are also subject to urine testing on a controlled and carefully monitored basis to identify illegal drug users.

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G. Drug-Free Workplace (HRM 408)

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the workplace at Mississippi State University. Violations of this policy shall result in mandatory evaluation or treatment for substance use/abuse or disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. A drug-free awareness program, designed to inform employees about the dangers of drug use/abuse, the policies of the University concerning a drug-free workplace, the availability of the drug counseling and referral program, and the penalties that may be imposed for violations, is periodically conducted by the Department of Human Resources Management.

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H. Employment Authorization (HRM 104)

The selection of candidates for employment at the University shall be approved by the dean/director, president, vice president or Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, as appropriate. The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning has the sole power and authority to select the President of the University and to contract with all deans, professors, and other members of the teaching faculty, and executive, administrative, managerial, and other professional employees of the University who receive contracts. The vice presidents of the various University divisions have the sole power and authority to authorize the employment of the administrative, managerial, and other professional staff who do not receive contracts. If the salary of non-contract employees exceeds $50,000 per year, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning has the sole power and authority to authorize employment. Deans/directors of the various University divisions have the power and authority to employ non-exempt staff and graduate assistants with vice president's approval, if appropriate.

Hiring Toolkit

I. Contracts and Annual Employment Letters (HRM 112)

Employees are provided written letters of offer upon initial employment and annual pay notification letters thereafter. Any special conditions of employment must be noted in the annual pay notification letter. Annual contracts are issued, as appropriate. The Department of Human Resources Management will issue all employment contracts to the appropriate vice president each year. The vice president will distribute the contracts, as appropriate. Signed contracts will be returned to the Department of Human Resources Management. Contracts must not be altered without written approval by the president. Contractual employees will not be issued payroll checks until a properly signed contract is returned to the Department of Human Resources Management.

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J. Employment of Relatives (HRM 114)

The employment of a family member of a present employee or the appointment of a present employee to a new/different position is prohibited when such employment would create a situation where one family member would be in a supervisory position over the other family member and/or influencing progress, performance, or welfare. Family members are defined as an employee's spouse, children, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and in-laws or step-relatives of those listed above. Exceptions may be made to this policy, if approved in writing through the chain of command to the appropriate vice president, provided the subordinate employee's supervision is formally transferred to a supervisory authority one or more levels above the supervisory family member employee, and, if all matters dealing with the subordinate employee's progress, performance, welfare, assignment, salary, tenure, and promotion are in fact unaffected by the other family member's employment or position.

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K. Employment of Retirees (HRM 115)

Individuals who have retired from the University or other State of Mississippi Service, may be reemployed on an emergency basis as an employee or independent contractor, if they have been withdrawn from service a minimum of 45 calendar days, beginning with the effective date of retirement. If the individual retired as a nine-month-employee, he/she may not be re-employed in an educational institution any earlier than 45 consecutive days after the beginning of the next school year. These individuals may be re- employed to assist in meeting critical short-term staffing needs under the following conditions: a period not to exceed 120 days in a twelve month position or 89 days in a nine month position and compensated at an appropriate rate; an unspecified period during the fiscal year paid at a rate not to exceed 25% of the individual's average compensation used in calculating retirement benefits, or; an unspecified number of days at a rate not to exceed 25% of the rate normally paid for the position.

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>L. Family and Medical Leave (HRM 208)

Employees are eligible for Family and Medical Leave of up to twelve (12) weeks during the fiscal year based upon the following qualifying events: childbirth or placement of a child through adoption or foster care; due to the serious health condition of a child, spouse or parent; or, in the case of the employee's own serious health condition. Accrued personal and major medical leave and/or an unpaid leave of absence, as applicable, may be utilized for any part of the twelve week leave period. The University will continue to pay the employee only contribution to the State Employees’ Health Insurance Plan for the twelve (12) week period whether the leave is paid or unpaid. Employees considering such leave should contact the Department of Human Resources Management for complete benefit arrangements. Employees taking Family and Medical Leave are guaranteed the right to return to their previous or an equivalent position with no loss of benefits at the end of the leave.

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M. Holidays (HRM 200)

The University closes its offices and functions for regular business and activities in observance of Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Winter Holidays, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and at other times approved by the President. All regular employees receive their regular pay for holidays if they are present for work or in an approved paid leave status immediately prior to and immediately following the holiday(s).

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N. Leave for Childbearing Purposes (HRM 207)

Leave is granted to regular employees for the purpose of childbearing. Upon proper request, up to twelve (12) weeks of Family and Medical Leave will be granted during the fiscal year due to childbirth. Employees are not required to be away from work for any minimum period of time prior to or following childbirth and may return at any time they are able to resume their regular duties. Employees who utilize leave for childbearing purposes are eligible to return to their former position or to an equivalent position in the department from which they were granted leave. Contact should be made with the Department of Human Resources Management for arrangements to continue existing insurance benefits during any period of unpaid absence.

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O. Leave For Death in the Immediate Family (HRM 204)

When an employee is absent from duty due to death in the immediate family (spouse, parent, step-parent, brother, sister, child, step-child, grandchild, grandparent, son- or daughter-in-law, mother- or father-in-law, or brother- or sister-in-law), up to three days of earned major medical leave per occurrence may be used. If additional time is needed for that absence, major medical leave and/or personal leave policies apply, as appropriate.

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P. Leave of Absence (HRM 210)

A leave of absence without pay for up to one (1) year may be granted for, but not limited to, medical disability of employees or their family members, enrollment in educational course work relating to an employee's position, temporary relocation of the employee's spouse, professional development beneficial to the employee and the University or for family emergency. No service time in the Public Employees' Retirement System or the Optional Retirement Plan nor personal and major medical leave are earned for any period of leave of absence without pay. Arrangements should be made with the Department of Human Resources Management for insurance coverage and payment of benefit premiums during any leave period without pay.

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Q. Major Medical Leave With Pay (HRM 202)

Major medical leave is earned by all employees who work one-half time or more, except student employees and reemployed retirees, after one month of continuous service. Accruals are based on employment status and length of annual employment periods. Major medical leave may be used for illness or injury of an employee or member of the employee's immediate family (spouse, parent, step-parent, sibling, child, step-child, grandchild, grandparent, son- or daughter-in-law, mother- or father-in-law, brother- or sister-in-law) after the employee has used one day of personal leave or leave without pay if the employee has no accrued personal leave. Nine-month faculty may use major medical leave for the first day of absence due to illness. Major medical leave may be used, without prior use of additional personal leave to cover regularly scheduled visits to a doctor's office or a hospital for the continuing treatment of a chronic disease, as certified in advance by a physician. If the original medical certification form indicates specific dates of scheduled health care, no additional medical certification is required, otherwise, a medical certification form must accompany each Application for Leave, indicating that the scheduled visit is for continuing treatment of a chronic disease or condition. For each thirty-two (32) hours or more (combined personal and major medical leave) major medical leave shall be authorized only when certified by the employee's or family member's attending physician. There is no limit to the accumulation of major medical leave and it is transferable with employees to other State of Mississippi agencies and institutions.

The following monthly and annual accrual rates are based on employment for 40 hours per week.

Employees Other Than Nine-Month Faculty

Continuous Service Monthly Accrual Annual Accrual
1 month to 3 years 8 hours 12.0 days
37 months to 8 years 7 hours 10.5 days
97 months to 15 years 6 hours 9.0 days
over 15 years 5 hours 7.5 days

Nine Month Faculty

Continuous Service Monthly Accrual Annual Accrual
1 month to 3 years 13 1/3 hours 15 days
37 months to 8 years 14 1/5 hours 16 days
97 months to 15 years 15 2/5 hours 17 days
over 15 years 16 hours 18 days

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R. Military Leave (HRM 206)

Employees who are members of the National Guard or any reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States ordered to duty for training or exercises are entitled to 15 days of paid military leave in a calendar year. Personal leave or leave without pay may be granted for any additional days of absence. Employees are entitled to reemployment upon discharge from the service, including, but not limited to, reinstatement to their former position or a similar position, protection from arbitrary discharge, and reinstatement of benefits.

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S. On-The-Job Injury Leave (HRM 203)

Employees injured in the course of their employment who are receiving worker's compensation benefits may use accrued major medical leave or personal leave to supplement payments received from Workers' Compensation insurance. Employees who have exhausted all accrued personal leave or major medical leave or who do not wish to use accrued leave may request Family and Medical Leave. If employees are not able to return to work at the end of the medical leave of absence, they may be terminated.

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T. Outside Employment (HRM 415)

In accordance with regulations of the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning, employees who desire to engage in outside employment or practice of profession (including consulting) must complete and process through administrative channels an Application for Permission to Engage in Outside Employment or Practice of Profession. This request, which covers each fiscal year, must be approved prior to engaging in outside employment or practice of profession or being connected with any public office either by election, appointment, or employment other than employment at the University.

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U. Personal Leave With Pay (HRM 201)

Personal leave with pay is earned by all employees who work one-half time or more, except nine-month faculty, student employees and reemployed retirees, after one month of continuous service. Accruals are based on employment status and length of annual employment periods. Personal leave may be taken at times agreed upon by the employee and his/her department head or supervisor. Such time away from work with pay may be used for vacation, time off to care for a family member, or any personal reason. There is no limit to the accumulation of personal leave and upon termination of employment, employees are paid for unused personal leave not to exceed 240 hours. Accrued leave is transferable with employees to other State of Mississippi agencies and institutions.

The following monthly and annual accrual rates are based on employment for 40 hours per week.

Continuous Service Monthly Accrual Annual Accrual
1 month to 3 years 12 hours 18 days
37 months to 8 years 14 hours 21 days
97 months to 15 years 16 hours 24 days
over 15 years 18 hours 27 days

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V. Professional Leave of Absence (HRM 211)

A professional leave of absence without pay may be granted for a period of up to two (2) years during any (10) year period of state service. During a professional leave, service must be performed with a public institution or public agency of the state, or another state or federal agency. Additionally, the professional leave must benefit both employees and the University. As a condition of granting such leave, employees must agree to return to University employment on a full-time basis immediately following the termination of the approved leave for a period of time equivalent to the period of the professional leave. Creditable service for retirement purposes is earned provided employees pay to the Public Employees' Retirement System the actuarial cost of such credit during the period of absence. Arrangements should be made with the Department of Human Resources Management for insurance coverage and payment of benefit premiums during any leave period without pay.

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W. Security of Records (HRM 419)

The Department of Human Resources Management is responsible for the security and proper use of employee records. Information in the human resources records system is available to employees, University officials, and external agencies on a "need-to-know" basis as appropriate. In all other cases, employment records are only released upon the receipt of a properly executed subpoena.

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X. Terminal Leave/Transferring Leave (HRM 209)

Upon termination of employment, employees are paid in a lump sum for the unused portion of their earned personal leave time, not to exceed 240 hours. This payment is made in the last salary or wage payment of the terminating employee. Any unused personal leave in excess of 240 hours will be counted as creditable service for those employees participating in the Public Employees' Retirement System, but will be forfeited for those participating in the Optional Retirement Plan. Payments will be made to designated individuals or beneficiaries the total amount of accumulated personal leave for those persons who die prior to separation from the University. Up to 960 hours of medical leave may be paid to employees who present medical evidence that their health condition is such that they can no longer work in a capacity with the University and a written letter of resignation. Employees who transfer from one unit to another within the University or to another state agency or institution retain their cumulative earned personal and major medical leave provided their employment is continuous.

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Y. Tuition Remission- Dependent Children of Employees (HRM 226)

The University provides a Tuition Remission Program which enables dependent children of eligible employees to enroll in courses of study at the University at reduced tuition. Dependent children are eligible to receive fifty percent tuition remission until the degree requirements for one baccalaureate degree are met as long as they maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Dependent children are responsible for required fees. Eligible dependent children may receive the reduced tuition for classes that begin subsequent to employees' date of employment provided the employment began on or before the last day to add courses. A dependent child is defined as one who is an unmarried natural child, adopted child, step-child or legal ward and is less than 25 years of age as of the first day of the semester for which application for remission is made. Dependent children of retired benefits eligible employees, deceased employees with four years of creditable service or of regular benefits eligible employees on an approved leave of absence are eligible for the Tuition Remission Program.

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Z. Tuition Remission- Employees (HRM 225)

Mississippi State University provides a Tuition Remission Program which enables eligible employees to enroll in courses of study at the University in order to enhance personal and professional development. Tuition may be remitted for six (6) undergraduate or graduate credit hours per semester (fall, spring, or summer) with a maximum of eighteen (18) credit hours per calendar year. Employees are responsible for certain required fees. Employees are eligible for this benefit on the first day of their regular employment provided the employment began on or before the last day to add courses. One course may be taken during the normal working day as approved by the unit head provided the lost time from work is made up during the same work week or compensatory or personal leave is taken. The second course must be taken during non-work hours. Employees who receive remission under this policy in any given academic semester and terminate employment during that semester, will be responsible for reimbursement to the University for a pro-rata share of tuition remitted if the individual remains in the course.

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AA. Use of Tobacco on Campus (HRM 411)

In order to provide a healthful environment, indoor smoking is limited to designated smoking areas. Approval to allow smoking in private offices is determined by each academic or administrative department. Departments may designate a "smoking permitted" area if such space is requested by smokers with consideration being given to the ratio of smokers to non-smokers, ventilation, traffic flow, and compliance with governmental regulations and laws. Areas which may not be considered as "smoking permitted" are: reception rooms or waiting rooms; restrooms; hallways; working areas which include any non-smokers; University vehicles and van pools when non-smokers are present; classrooms; auditoriums; theaters; and any other areas where smoking is prohibited by law.

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BB. Use of University Property (HRM 417)

Employees may use University property only for University purposes and in no event be used for personal profit or gain. Property includes, but is not limited to, land, buildings, facilities, equipment, supplies, or labor.

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CC. Alphabetized List of HRM Policies Most Relevant to Faculty

Subject Policy Number
Administrative Leave - Jury Duty and Witness 205
AIDS and Other Life-Threatening Illnesses 420
Alcohol and Controlled Substances Testing of Employees with a Commercial Driver’s License 421
Benefits Administration- 9-11 Month Employees 217
COBRA- Continuation of Group Health Coverage 216
Conflict of Interest/Ethics 416
Contracts and Annual Employment Letters 112
Drug-Free Campus 410
Drug-Free Workforce 409
Drug-Free Workplace 408
Employment Authorization 104
Employment of Relatives 114
Employment of Retirees 115
Extreme Weather or Disaster 205
Family and Medical Leave 208
Holidays 200
Leave of Absence 210
Leave For Childbearing Purposes 207
Leave For Death In The Immediate Family 204
Major Medical Leave With Pay 202
Military Leave/Veterans’ Reemployment Rights 206
On-The-Job Injury Leave 203
Optional Insurance Programs 214
Optional Retirement Plan 221
Outside Employment 415
Personal Leave With Pay 201
Pre-Tax Benefit Plan 215
Professional Leave of Absence (an AOP) 211
Safety 414
Security of Records 419
Sexual Harassment 402
State Employees’ Health Insurance Plan (SEHIP) 213
State Retirement- Public Employees’ Retirement System 220
Supplemental Salary Payments/Salary Adjustments 319
Termination of Employment 405
Terminal Leave/Transferring Leave 209
Tuition Remission-Dependent Children 226
Tuition Remission- Employees 225
Use of Tobacco On Campus 411
Use of University Property 417
Workers' Compensation Insurance 218