Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Communication and News

HR Source Newsletter

FAQ For Employees Who Want to Help With the Budget Situation
Inclement Weather
Office of the Provost Academic Area Hiring Approval Directive
2016 Preliminary EES Results

Notice of Summer Hours
2016 Employee Engagement Survey
Implementation and Promotion of a Tobacco Free Pullman Campus


FAQ For Employees Who Want to Help With the Budget Situation

I want to help with the budget situation. What can I do?

  • Cut back on travel expenses. For example, utilize videoconferencing and telephone conferencing when available. (See BPPM 95.00 for more information on Travel)
  • Request a reduction in FTE after fully examining implications, or explore phased retirement options.

Reduction to Full Time Equivalency (FTE)

Q: Can I voluntarily request to reduce my FTE?

A: Yes. Reduced FTE decreases the number of hours an employee normally works in a given year. An employee can request the reduction in writing to their supervisor. The request will then be reviewed and a determination will be made by an appointing authority.

Q: How much can I voluntarily reduce my FTE?

A: Reduction for a benefit eligible position cannot be to less than a 50% FTE appointment.

Q: Can I voluntarily request to reduce my 12 month appointment term as an appointment reduction?

A: Yes. Employees can request to reduce the term of their appointment to not less than 6 months.

Q: Will voluntary reductions in FTE or appointment length affect my salary and benefits?

A: Yes. This will impact salary, benefits and leave accruals.

Q: If I voluntarily reduce my FTE, will I lose my benefits eligibility?

A: No. Change in FTE does not change benefits eligibility as long as an employee is appointed at least a 50% FTE.

Q: If I voluntarily reduce my appointment length, will I lose my benefits eligibility?

A: Perhaps. Appointments that are for 9 months or more, with at least a 50% FTE, will be eligible for benefits 12 months of the year, in most cases. Appointments that are for less than 9 months, will normally be eligible during the period of active employment, but lose eligibility during the breaks between active employment.

Q: Will voluntary reductions in FTE or appointment length affect my retirement service credit?

A: Perhaps. Change of FTE, provided someone is on a 9+ month appointment should not impact earning of service credit for Department of Retirement Systems (PERS, TRS, LEOFF) participants. For appointments that are less than 9 months, service credit would be accrued on a monthly basis vs an annual basis.

Service credit is not applicable for WSU Retirement Plan (WSURP) participants. Retirement Contributions to TIAA/CREF accounts will continued at the same percentage (5%, 7.5% or 10%) of the reduced earnings based on the new FTE.

Q: Can I request to return to my previous FTE or appointment length?

A: An employee can submit a written request to their supervisor to increase their FTE or appointment length. The request will then be reviewed and a determination will be made by an appointing authority.

Phased Retirement Options

Q: What is phased retirement?

A: In phased retirement the employee sets a date for retirement and reduces their FTE and/or appointment, until they fully retired. The Phased Retirement Guidelines provide information on requirements for faculty and administrative professional employees to engage in this program and contractual options for phased retirement. Under a phased retirement agreement, participants are able to access their TIAA funds to help supplement the reduced income; this is not an option under an employee requested reduction in FTE or appointment.

Q: Is Phased retirement an option for all employees?

A: No. Phased retirement is available for WSU Retirement Plan (WSURP) participants, but is not an option for Department of Retirement Systems (PERS, TRS, LEOFF) participants. Eligible WSURP participants must also be at least 55 years of age and have at least 10 years of service.

Q: What is the process?

A: Employees submit a written request for phased retirement to their appropriate Dean, Provost, Vice President, Director, or Chancellor for review and consideration. If approved, a contract is developed to memorialize the phased retirement. Employees have the opportunity to review it with their attorney, financial planner or other professional to the extent desired.

Related Resources

  • Review phased retirement processes with HRS Benefits
  • Visit with a TIAA representative or independent financial advisor to review possible sources of income available to employees while on a phased retirement.

Office of the Provost Academic Area Hiring Approval Directive

On December 6, 2016, Provost Bernardo directed academic areas to obtain specific approvals for all Faculty, Administrative Professional, and Civil Service hires.

2016 Preliminary Employee Engagement Survey Results

The biennial survey was sent on Monday, March 28, 2016 to all active faculty, administrative professional and classified staff. The survey response period was from March 28, 2016 to April 08, 2016.

Preliminary survey results: 2016 Survey Results

HRS will provide additional communication about the survey when detailed summaries (including response by area/campus) are finalized.

Notice of Summer Hours

With the academic year drawing to a close, it is time for managers to make plans for summer schedules. Washington State University’s business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. year round.

In keeping with a long-standing practice, WSU will observe a schedule known as summer hours for as many employees as possible, while still meeting the requirement to serve the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Summer hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with 30 minutes for lunch, during the period from Monday, May 08, 2017, through Friday, August 11, 2017.

It is the responsibility of the supervisors and staff of each area to provide service to the public during the noon hour and from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. during this period. Summer hours are approved at the department level.

Managers may approve an employee to work a flexible work schedule, including a 4/10s work schedule. The manager is responsible for determining the work schedule in accordance with the needs of the operations, and applicable rules or policies.

Information on flexible scheduling: Flexible Scheduling.

Employee Engagement Survey

On Monday, March 28, 2016, Human Resources Services (HRS) will invite all employees system-wide on active Faculty, Administrative, and Classified appointments to participate in the biennial Employee Engagement Survey. Employees will receive the survey at their WSU email address or, for those without a WSU email address, at their mailing address on record.

Employees are encouraged to complete the survey between Monday, March 28, 2016 and midnight of Friday, April 8, 2016. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Individual responses and specific answers will be kept confidential.

The Employee Engagement Survey is an opportunity for employees to provide feedback about working at WSU. The information gathered from this survey will be used to evaluate perceptions of the workplace and identify areas where the university exceeds or where the university could improve, as a place to work, and as an institution that sets standards of excellence in research and world-class education. Results from the survey will be used to compare past and future surveys to measure progress and determine how effective improvement efforts are in the long term.

HRS will communicate the final results to the WSU community to assist areas/colleges in developing strategies to address identified workplace engagement issues or concerns.

For questions about the Employee Engagement Survey, please visit Employee Engagement Survey, or contact Human Resource Services at 509-335-4521 or

Interim President Bernardo’s March 21, 2016 Blog Post: Your Voice Matters: Employee Engagement Survey Launching March 28th.

Implementation and Promotion of a Tobacco Free Pullman Campus

A new Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and revised policy in the Safety Policies and Procedures Manual (SPPM) for a tobacco and nicotine free WSU Pullman will take affect August 22, 2016. This WAC and policy will include noncontiguous WSU-owned property within the city of Pullman and Whitman County.

Implementation of the new WAC will focus on the promotion of tobacco and nicotine cessation programs for faculty, staff, and students.

Cessation programs and resources are available for faculty and staff at Human Resource Services – Quit Tobacco and for students at Health & Wellness Services.

WSU Pullman representatives or contacts will help to inform and assist visitors, guests, and contractors to meet the new WAC and revised safety policy.

The new WAC is being processed and will be published by the Washington State Register December 16, 2015. Until then the WAC detailing proposed rules regarding tobacco and nicotine products is available on the Washington State Legislature documents site.

The revised SPPM will be made available after May 16, 2016.

Washington State University