ATU to Continue COVID-19 Sick Leave for Employees

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Arkansas Tech University will extend COVID-19 sick pay coverage for its faculty and staff through Aug. 30, 2022, following action by the ATU Board of Trustees on Thursday, Sept. 23.

As result of the action, any approved sick leave related to COVID-19 will be classified as such and will not be charged to the individual’s accrued time for up to a maximum of 80 hours.

ATU’s existing COVID-19 sick pay procedure was scheduled to expire Sept. 30. The source of funding for COVID-related sick time after Sept. 30 will be from the associated education and general or auxiliary fund’s general operating budget.

In its only other agenda item on Thursday, the ATU Board of Trustees approved calendar year 2022 health insurance, dental insurance and related voluntary products for Arkansas Tech employees.

Due to a decline in claims utilization, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield offered a renewal for ATU employees that represents a 2.6 percent premium reduction.

ATU employees earning $35,000 and below per year who participate in the health savings account plan will have zero premium cost during 2022, while employees earning above $35,000 per year will experience an average premium reduction of $10 per month.

The associated reduction in ATU’s portion of employee health insurance coverage is expected to result in approximately $147,873 in savings to the university.

Dental coverage, optional vision coverage and optional flexible spending accounts for ATU employees were renewed with no coverage or rate changes.

Trustees voted to move several voluntary lines of coverage for ATU employees — including life, accidental death and dismemberment, voluntary life, voluntary accidental death and dismemberment, critical illness, accident and hospitalization — to The Standard affiliates in order to allow university employees to capitalize on bundling premium savings.

ATU employees who have those lines of coverage through USAble will be presented with options to continue that coverage.

Arkansas Tech faculty and staff seeking more information may contact the ATU Office of Human Resources at (479) 968-0396.