HR Update April 2020

Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts, and Aflac

May 1 – May 15, 2020

The 2020 Open Enrollment period will present monthly premium changes and an increase in health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) contributions to $2,750.

The Spring 2020 Spotlight on Your Benefits will be mailed to home addresses, along with a paper enrollment form. You may also access Open Enrollment information through the Department of Human Resource Management web page.

Enroll in Health Benefits Online this year! Due to the unique circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and limited Benefits Staff on campus, you are encouraged to log into EmployeeDirect. Select Health Benefits record and review your current health benefits record, update your personal information, and enroll or make changes to your health plan and/or membership. You may also enroll in one or both FSAs. A step-by-step guide is provided to help you navigate EmployeeDirect. Enroll online beginning May 1 but no later than May 15 at 11:59 p.m.

If you do not have online access, then complete the fillable health coverage form and return to the Benefits Team no later than the close of business on May 15. The Enrollment Form for Employees may be sent through campus mail to MSC 7009, by fax to 540-568-7916, or by email to benefits@jmu.edu.

Ask ALEX for Advice

Evaluate and compare health plan options with ALEX, your online benefits counselor! ALEX will use your input to let you know how the different health insurance plans work for you. Visit ALEX at www.myalex.com/cova/2020.

Earn Premium Rewards to Reduce Your Monthly Premiums!

Premium rewards are reductions in health plan premiums for participants in the COVA Care and COVA HealthAware plans who complete a health assessment. An employee or their enrolled spouse can reduce the premium by $204 annual ($17/month) or $408 annually ($34/month) for both employee and enrolled spouse if they fulfill the requirements to earn a premium reward. Visit your plan’s website or mobile app to access your health assessment. A step-by-step guide is provided to assist in completing your health assessment. Complete or update your health assessment between May 1 and May 15. Health assessments submitted before May 1 will NOT count for the new plan year. Please keep a copy of your confirmation.

Flexible Spending Accounts

As a reminder, you must re-enroll each year to continue participating in flexible spending accounts. The maximum Health FSA contribution is increasing to $2,750/plan year. The maximum Dependent Care FSA remains up to $5,000/plan year, depending on your tax filing status.

New ID Cards for COVA HealthAware Members

COVA HealthAware members will receive a new plan ID card for the plan year effective July 1. You should receive your new card in the mail after mid-June. Discontinue the use of your old ID card once the new ID card arrives.


Michael Glover, JMU's Aflac representative, will be available through webinars and individual phone conferences. You may also email him directly at michael_glover@us.aflac.com.

Please be aware that Human Resources will be observing the recently implemented modified business schedule, Monday -Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Fridays 8:00 a.m. – Noon. The majority of HR’s staff continues to work remotely. You may contact Human Resources at 540-568-3593 or email benefits@jmu.edu with any questions concerning Open Enrollment.

Want to stay up-to-date on your benefits? Text HRBenefits to 81437 and receive important benefits information via text!

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Provisions Regarding Health Flexible Spending Accounts

Due to COVID-19, there have been some additional provisions for covered items. Expenses incurred after December 31, 2019 for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines may be submitted for reimbursement from Health Care FSA funds without requiring a prescription from a physician. This includes drugs and medicines needed in quarantine and social distancing, and also adds feminine hygiene products to the list of eligible OTC items. Keep in mind some vendor locations or online sources may not be updated to recognize these items in their Inventory Information Approval System. If the PayFlex card does not work at the point of sale, participants may pay upfront and submit the receipt for reimbursement.

This new provision currently does not have an expiration date.

Benefits Broadcast

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

Your State Health Insurance Plans and COVID-19

To address COVID-19-specific concerns, the following provisions have been put in place for the State Health Insurance Plans:

COVID-19 Testing and Related Office Visits

Out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing, as well as the associated office visit, if applicable, will be waived. Testing must be ordered by your health care provider based on medical necessity (e.g., exhibiting symptoms or having contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19). Contact your provider regarding availability of testing.

Virtual Office Visits

In an effort to avoid in-person office visits and possible exposure to COVID-19, the out-of-pocket cost for any virtual visit under the COVA Care and COVA HealthAware Plans will be waived. This will include not only LiveHealth Online and Teladoc providers but other primary care providers delivering virtual care. However, under the COVA HDHP, the $0 cost will apply only to COVID-19-related virtual visits. Out-of-pocket costs for virtual/telephonic visits for physical, occupational, and speech therapy will not be waived. Contact your plan’s Customer Service to determine if other virtual specialty care will be covered.

Early Prescription Drug Refills

o Early 30-day refills of maintenance medications will be available. (Prescriptions with no available refills must be authorized by the treating provider.) You may wish to arrange with your prescriber to change to 90-day prescriptions through the mail service pharmacy. Note that some restrictions may apply to use of mail service.

For additional coverage information, contact the Customer Service number listed on your health plan ID card.

Please note, these provisions are currently in place through June 14.

Need to Talk With an Expert?

Even though our monthly in-person visits by company representatives are currently suspended, the representatives are still available to talk with you about your questions or concerns. Below is a list of our vendors and contact information:

Emergency Leave Types available during the COVID -19 Pandemic

The Commonwealth of Virginia has increased the amount of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) by 80 hours, for a total of 160 hours annually (this amount is prorated for part-time employees).

In addition to PHEL, the Federal government has added an Emergency Paid Sick Leave benefit of 80 hours, also prorated for part-time employees and available through December 31, 2020. See Table 1: Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave below.

The Federal government has also expanded Family Medical Leave for those employees who qualify. The table below includes detailed information about the program and the associated qualifying events. See Table 2: Family Medical Leave Expansion Act Benefits below.

Please review this poster provided by the Federal Government.

We understand that the expanded state and federal benefits combined with existing JMU leave types can be complicated. If you have any questions, please contact your Benefits Specialist, using the chart below, so that we can help you navigate through your situation.

Full-time employees may contact their Benefits Specialist according to their last name:

Wage employees may contact Reagan Neese, Leave Specialist, at neeserw@jmu.edu or 540-568-3974.

Table 1: Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Table 2: Family Medical Leave Expansion Act Benefits

Modified Hours of Business Operation

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university implemented a modified work schedule with the following core hours of business operation effective March 30, 2020:

  • University hours of business operation 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Thursday.
  • University hours of business operation 8:00 a.m. - noon Friday.
  • Departments and supervisors who have employees working after 12:00 noon on Fridays will determine customer service needs and expectations.
  • Any alternate or flexible work schedules that meet the 40-hour workweek are acceptable with supervisor approval. Supervisors should exercise as much flexibility as possible to ensure employee safety and accomplish critical work functions. Employee safety is the first priority.

Information for Social Security Beneficiaries with Dependents and Who Do Not File Tax Returns

See https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sP6dZhdy2orHeNn5ZDAevVAK1I7F46fF/view

Address Formatting in MyMadison

You may notice format changes recently made to your mailing address within MyMadison. This was done to align our systems with the US Postal Services’ address database.

Electronic Performance Evaluations Coming this Fall

The 2019-2020 Annual Performance Evaluation Process for non-probationary classified employees is slated to move to an electronic process this fall. The HR Consulting Services and Business Services teams are collaborating with Information Technology to move from paper to online performance evaluations. We will keep you informed when and how employees and their supervisors may utilize the new electronic evaluation process.

Tuition Waiver Requests – Temporary Signature Approval Process

We are temporarily accepting digital signatures from supervisors on your tuition waiver request form. These should be true digital signatures, either with an IP address under the signature, or a signature from a reliable source such as Adobe or DocuSign. If you do not have access to these, please have the Tuition Waiver emailed to benefits@jmu.edu by the highest signing authority (two levels above you). Please note: All deadlines are still enforced; make sure they submitted to Human Resources before the add/drop deadline.

Greetings from Talent Development!

We miss seeing all of you and look forward to being together again soon. In the meantime, to continue the growth of employees remotely, Talent Development has compiled playlists on LinkedIn Learning that connect to each of our 7 competencies. You can click on the links below or sign in and search “TD” followed by a space.

If you need help logging in to LinkedIn Learning click here.

JMU’s Professional & Continuing Education is offering 2 online versions of our College for Kids program in May!

College for Kids is an enrichment program that is typically offered twice a year and allows elementary and middle school students to work with JMU faculty and students, as well as experts from the community, to discover and explore talents they never knew they had! While this program usually takes place on campus, we are offering 2 online versions in May-

May 4th-14th (Monday-Thursday Each Week)

May 18th-28th (Monday-Thursday Each Week)

For a list of College for Kids online course offerings and registration, please visit: www.jmu.edu/pce/programs/all/collegeforkids

Professional & Continuing Education is closely monitoring COVID-19 in regard to our in-person summer camps held on campus. For the latest updates, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jmuyouthprograms and/or check out our website at www.jmu.edu/pce/youth

2020 IRS Tax Withholding

Payroll Services

The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new and improved Tax Withholding Estimator, designed to help workers target the refund they want by having the right amount of federal income tax taken out of their pay.

The Tax Withholding Estimator, now available on IRS.gov, incorporates the changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate, that employees can fill out and give to their employers this year.

The IRS urges everyone to see if they need to adjust their withholding by using the Tax Withholding Estimator to perform a Paycheck Checkup. If an adjustment is needed, the Tax Withholding Estimator gives specific recommendations on how to fill out their employer's online Form W-4 or provides the PDF form with key parts filled out.

To help workers more effectively adjust their withholding, the improved Tax Withholding Estimator features a customized refund slider that allows users to choose the refund amount they prefer from a range of different refund amounts. The exact refund range shown is customized based on the tax information entered by that user.

Based on the refund amount selected, the Tax Withholding Estimator will give the worker specific recommendations on how to fill out their W-4. This new feature allows users who seek either larger refunds at the end of the year or more money on their paychecks throughout the year to have just the right amount withheld to meet their preference.

Starting in 2020, income tax withholding is no longer based on an employee's marital status and withholding allowances, tied to the value of the personal exemption. Instead, income tax withholding is generally based on the worker's expected filing status and standard deduction for the year. In addition, workers can choose to have itemized deductions, the Child Tax Credit and other tax benefits reflected in their withholding for the year.

It is important for people with more than one job at a time (including families in which both spouses work) to adjust their withholding to avoid having too little withheld. Using the Tax Withholding Estimator is the most accurate way to do this. As in the past, employees can also choose to have an employer withhold an additional flat-dollar amount each pay period to cover, for example, income they receive from the gig economy, self-employment, or other sources that is not subject to withholding.

For more information about the updated Tax Withholding Estimator and the redesigned 2020 Form W-4, visit Tax Withholding Estimator FAQs and the FAQs on the 2020 Form W-4.

Summer School Adjustments - NEW PROTOCOL

Summer School is quick approaching… faculty wishing to make tax withholding adjustments for their summer pay should reference Payroll Service’s summer school calendars under the “Calendars and Deadlines” link on the left sidebar of their web page @ www.jmu.edu/payroll.

There are two calendars available... a “guaranteed” course calendar and a “contingency” course calendar. Note: A contingency course that “makes” is still considered a contingency course for the purpose of determining your scheduled pay dates. In order for Payroll Services to assist with the calculations, faculty must have filed a 2020 W4 and have at least 1 paycheck confirmed on the new 2020 selections before they can advise on adjustments for future payrolls. Additionally, faculty must provide the following information…

  1. The session(s) being taught (i.e. 1st 4 wks, 2nd 6 wks, etc…)
  2. The actual pay dates the payments are schedule to pay out
  3. The exact amount expected
  4. Your PeopleSoft Employee ID Number, or the last four digits of your SSN.

For payroll assistance, please contact Chris Jones (jones5cm), Jessica Hensley (henslejg), or Sherry Willis (willissl).

In an effort to “Go Green”, all adjustments must be made electronically via MyMadison. There is a “DD and W-4/VA-4 Effective Date Table” calendar located under their “Calendars and Deadlines” link as well. This calendar will identify when changes must be made via MyMadison in order for the change to be effective for a particular pay date.

Information Technology

IT COVID-19 Communications

Information Technology has created a COVID-19 website which includes helpful guidelines for working from off campus. Basic Webex instructions for hosting and attending meetings can also be found on this site. Visit https://www.jmu.edu/computing/COVID-19/covid-19-communication.shtml.

Beware: Phishing scams

During this time of transition to new methods of working from off campus, we must all be especially vigilant for scams. “Bad actors” on the Internet will work hard during this time to gather valuable identities, data, and other personal information. They may do this by sending emails with malicious attachments and links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Especially at this time, exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19. Also be cautious to verify the validity of any spending or purchase requests prior to taking action.

Report phishing messages or other security incidents to abuse@jmu.edu using the instructions here: https://www.jmu.edu/computing/security/report-security-incidents-or-abuse.shtml.

IT Help Desk

IT Help Desk staff is now working remotely. As a result, we have transitioned to receiving requests through the IT Service Portal (its.jmu.edu), email (helpdesk@jmu.edu) and voicemail (540-568-3555) only.

IT Help Desk Modified Operating Hours

  • Mon-Thurs - 8am – 7pm
  • Fri - 8am - 5pm
  • Sat - Closed
  • Sun - 3pm - 6pm

UREC Virtual Resources

While UREC is closed, University Recreation is still providing great resources for every Duke to live a healthy lifestyle. UREC's Virtual Resources page is your hub for live Group Exercise classes, workout videos, healthy recipes, mindfulness apps, well-being resources, and tons of great information to help you stay Motivated Into Motion!

Check back often for new content and follow UREC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for updates!

Employee Appreciation Day TBD

JMU Appreciation Committee

Along with so many other JMU events, Employee Appreciation Day has been postponed. We are looking at ways to show appreciation for our awesome employees at a later date.

We Appreciate JMU's Administrative Assistants!

Check this link frequently for important updates to university operations


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, University Recreation, Professional & Continuing Education, Shakini Sachdev