HR Update January 2021

Benefits Broadcast

Our goal with the Benefits Broadcast is to feature a specific benefit each month. This month’s featured benefit is…

Supplemental Retirement Accounts

As a State of Virginia employee, you are provided a robust retirement plan through either the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) for faculty members, but will these accounts be enough to provide you with the necessary income upon retirement? Though advice varies, most experts recommend saving 10% of your salary in order to have between 70%-90% of your annual pre-retirement income, which includes your retirement accounts and Social Security. So, just as you may take preventative measures to ensure your personal health, it is also important to review your financial health. Are you setting aside the necessary funds now so that you may live comfortably in the future?

At the university, employees may take advantage of both 457 deferred compensation plans and 403(b) supplemental retirement accounts. Below is a plan comparison of the two different plans:

Never Pass Up Free Money!

The university also offers a Cash Match Plan, an employer-paid benefit for benefited, salaried faculty and staff who are making contributions to a 403(b) account or 457 deferred compensation plan. The employer match amount is 50 percent of the employee's contribution up to a maximum of $20 per pay period. The minimum an employee must contribute to their 403(b) or 457 account to participate in the Cash Match plan is $10. If you are contributing to both a 403(b) and 457 account, you are eligible for only one cash match. If you are enrolled in the VRS Hybrid Retirement plan you are not eligible for the 403(b) or 457 employer cash match unless you are contributing the additional four percent voluntary contribution to the Hybrid plan.

What Do I Do Now?

If you already contribute to a 403(b), complete this Salary Reduction Agreement to make changes to your semi-monthly deduction. To make changes or to establish a 457 account, visit the Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan to create an account, or call Investor Services at 1-877-327-5261, Option 1. If you have never established a supplemental retirement account, please contact benefits@jmu.edu or 540-568-3593, and a Benefits Specialist will walk you through the process.

Remember…take advantage of free employer money in order to secure your future!

January’s Social Security Column Newsletter


Payroll Services

Payroll Services is in the process of preparing W-2’s which will be mailed from James Madison University by January 31st. If you’ve consented to receive your W-2 electronically, you will not receive a paper copy by mail. However, you will receive an email notification once your W-2 is available in MyMadison. Below are some links to the most frequently asked questions regarding W-2’s.

Information Technology Welcomes New Director of Computing Support

Greg Hackbarth has recently joined the IT staff as Director of Computing Support. Greg is an experienced and collaborative IT leader with a wide variety of technical skills and years of higher education experience.

Greg will oversee all areas of IT Computing Support which includes technology support through the IT Help Desk and Desktop Services; test scoring and course evaluation services; endpoint management for security patching, software delivery and updates for JMU-owned computers; employee training for central systems and office productivity for faculty and staff; and computing labs and technology classrooms to provide reliable facilities for academic instruction and general student use.

Please welcome Greg to JMU. Greg can be reached at hackbaga@jmu.edu or (540) 568-6712.

University Policy Committee Activity for Fall 2020

Policies reviewed and re-published or newly published to the electronic Manual of Policies and Procedures:

  • 1102 Holidays
  • 1105 Prohibition of Weapons
  • 1115 Violence Prevention
  • 1205 Data Stewardship
  • 1206 Contingency Management for Technology-based Information Systems
  • 1207 Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources
  • 1305 Classified Employee Performance Evaluation
  • 1313 Classified Wage (non-student/part-time) Positions - Recruiting, Selecting and Hiring
  • 1315 Notification Regarding Death
  • 1346 Title IX Sexual Harassment - New Policy
  • 1403 Training & Development - A&P Faculty and Classified Staff
  • 1502 University Communications and Marketing
  • 1601 Auditing Program/Charter

Consider subscribing to the Policy ListServ to receive immediate notification when a policy changes or a new policy is added.

University Recreation

UREC’s Know Before You Go Guide

Visit UREC's COVID-19 plan website to learn all about what to expect at UREC this spring, how to pre-register and what to bring with you!

Small Group Training

Faculty and staff are also welcome to join our Small Group Training sessions. Here you will find Personal Training in a group setting. This spring, UREC will offer Small Group Training sessions for: Cycle and Kettlebell HIIT. All Small Group Training sessions are offered for $50 per 6-week session. Demo classes will take place January 25 - 29, 2021 for free. Learn more about Small Group Training here.

Personal Training

UREC Personal Training services provide you with the opportunity to work individually with a Personal Trainer to attain your personal fitness goals. Get started with a Personal Training Total Package that includes a health screening, consultation, fitness assessment, and two 1-on-1 personal training sessions for $50 to get started. Learn more about Personal Training here.

Office of Risk Management

Mark your calendars now for the week of March 15, 2021

We are offering an exciting new format, featuring a week full of mostly online programming

Registration will open in February!

Expanded WW, Weight Watchers Reimagined Offerings Now Available

Weight Watchers (WW) and the Commonwealth have a fantastic NEW partnership expanding a 50% discounted WW membership to all employees, spouses and adult dependents. Participation no longer requires enrollment in a state health plan or specific WW username.

WW’s customized program starts with a NEW personal assessment that gets to know the whole you, to give you an even more personalized weight loss plan. Plus, a holistic view of food, activity, and sleep for a plan that fits your lifestyle.

With WW, you'll gain access to the Commonwealth’s private virtual WW Workshops where you and your colleagues will get weekly weight-loss guidance and support from a WW Coach.

To sign up or learn more, visit: https://www.jmu.edu/humanresources/balanced-dukes/weight-watchers.shtml

All Commonwealth of Virginia employees, spouses, and adult dependents (18+) are eligible for an upfront 50% discounted WW membership.

The Special Monthly Pricing and The Commonwealth of Virginia discount per month is not open to retirees, their spouses and dependents, wage employees, or The Local Choice members; however, discounted pricing is available.

4th Annual Balanced Dukes Conference Spring 2021(date TBD)

Balanced Dukes is the work-life integration and wellness program for JMU with a mission of helping employees reach a blend of personal satisfaction in four core areas: Work, Family, Community, and Self, in pursuit of a meaningful quality of life.

Over the last year, we have been forced to look at our work lives and home lives through a different lens. For many of us, these worlds are overlapping in ways that we have never experienced before.

We are considering offering this conference virtually during the spring in an effort to promote and encourage well-being and balance for our faculty and staff. As in years past, we are looking for faculty and staff to present on topics related to work-life balance, integration, and wellness. If you are passionate about wellness and well-being, have innovative ideas, expert insight, or success stories related to work-life balance to share with our faculty and staff, we invite you to submit your proposal to present at this virtual conference.

Please submit your proposal by completing the form here by February 12, 2021

Click here for last year’s sessions to give you an idea for potential topics. Please reach out to Tara Roe, Work Life & Engagement Specialist, with any questions. 540-568-5533 | roetb@jmu.edu


Cultivating Competency Series

We look forward to learning Customer Service, Self-Awareness, Communication and Team Building with you most Wednesday afternoons, January through May.

JMU Talent Development

Visit Talent Development’s webpage for a listing of all they have to offer!

Winter Food Drive - Help those affected by the pandemic

Join your fellow Dukes in the fight against hunger by participating in our 13th annual food drive. This effort supports the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (BRAFB), a community organization that serves an average of 115,000 people in western and central Virginia each month. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically increased the number of our neighbors experiencing food insecurity.

  • What: Food Drive
  • When: January 25th – February 5th, 2021
  • Where: Campus and Online
  • Why: Your support makes a difference. Previous drives have generated more than 14,000 lbs. of food and $6,000 in donations. An amount equivalent to 35,640 meals.

Or drop off at one of these three campus locations:

  • Foundation Hall (lobby) - Foundation Hall is located at 1031 Harrison St., just south of the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts
  • ISAT/CS Building (1st floor lobby)
  • EnGeo Building (3rd floor CSM Dean’s Suite)

Please consider an online donation through the link above, as monies donated directly to the food bank can purchase 2x to 4x as much food compared to a grocery or convenience store. If you would like to make a physical donation, the most needed items are:

Cereal (low sugar, whole grain), Peanut/Almond Butter, Canned Tuna & Chicken, Canned Soups & Stews (low sodium), Canned Veggies, Beans, Boxed Mac & Cheese, Spaghetti Sauce, Pasta & Rice, Paper Products, Baby Food & Formula, Diapers, Soap & Feminine Products, Toothbrushes

~ Ben Delp, Office of Research & Scholarship

Human Resources is dedicated to customer service, a positive approach to change and the pursuit of excellence that promotes university and individual success.


JMU Photography Services, JMU Diversity Council, Roberta Sorge on Unsplash, Dr. Conrad Zapanta, HR Benefits