Armstrong Atlantic University Georgia

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Employee Handbook

 

Affirmative Action Issuance of Keys
Americans with Disabilities Act Long Term Disability
Appearance Mail Services
Athletic Facilities and Dining Services Military Leave With Pay
Attendance Military Leave Without Pay
Automobile Registration and Parking Miscellaneous Leave
Breaks Orientation
Changes in Status Other Leave
Children in the Workplace Pay Plan
Conditions of Employment Paydays
Confidential Information Performance Evaluations
Conflicts of Interest Personal Leave of Absence
Courtesy Political Activities
Credit Union Membership Promotions
Deductions from Salary Provisional/Probationary Appointments
Dental Insurance Random Drug Testing
Direct Deposit Resignations
Dismissal, Demotion, or Suspension Retirement Benefits
Disruptive Behavior Safety
Drug Free Schools & Communities Act Selective Serv. & Military Physical Exams
Economy Service Awards
Educational Leave Without Pay Sick Leave With Pay
Employee, The Sick Leave Without Pay
Employee Development and Continuing Ed Social Life
Employee Travel Social Security
Employment of Relatives Tax-Sheltered Annuities
Exit Interview Teachers Retirement System of Georgia
Fair Labor Standards Acts Telephone, Equipment & Software
Family Medical Leave Act Time Records
Garnishments or Legally required deductions Transfers
Georgia's Open Records Act Tuition Remission and Reimbursement
Gifts and Gratuities Types of Employment
Grievance Procedure Unemployment Compensation
Group Life Insurance University Property, Use of
Harassment University System Health Benefits Plan
Hazardous Chemical and Right to Know Vacation Leave
Holidays Voting
Identification Cards Workers' Compensation
Internal Investigations Working Conditions
  Workweek
   


Mail Services


The university mail room is for the incoming and outgoing correspondence of the institution and is not to be used for personal mail delivery in lieu of a home address. Any personal mail sent through the university facilities must have a postage stamp attached. Personal packages are not to be routinely routed through central stores either for delivery or mailing.

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Military Leave With Pay


Ordered Military Duty: Ordered military duty shall mean any military duty performed in the service of the state or the United States, including but not limited to service schools conducted by the armed forces of the United States. Such duty, performed for a period or periods not exceeding a total of 30 days in any one calendar year, shall be deemed ordered military duty regardless of whether the orders are issued with the consent of the employee.

Leave of Absence: An employee who receives orders for active military duty shall be entitled to absent himself or herself from duties and shall be deemed to have a leave of absence with pay for the period of such ordered military duty, and while going to and returning from such duty, not to exceed a total of 18 work days in any one calendar year and not exceeding 18 work days in any one continuous period of absence (as authorized by Georgia Law O.C.G.A. 382-279[e]). At the expiration of the maximum paid leave time, continued absence by the employee shall be considered as military leave without pay. The employee shall be required to submit a copy of orders to active duty.

Emergency Leave of Absence: Notwithstanding the foregoing leave limitation of 18 days, in the event the governor declares an emergency and orders an employee to state active duty as a member of the National Guard, such employee while performing such duty shall be paid his or her salary or other compensation as an employee for a period not exceeding 30 days in any one calendar year and not exceeding 30 days in any one continuous period of such state active duty service.

Payment of Annual Leave: After an employee has exhausted his or her paid military leave, an institution may pay the employee for his or her accumulated vacation leave.

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Military Leave Without Pay


Periods of absence for military duty in the service of the state or the United States of America for 30days or more, but not exceeding 6 calendar months, shall be treated as leave without pay. No employee shall be entitled to absent himself or herself in excess of a total of 6 months during any 4-year period, except in the case of declared emergency.

Military leave without pay shall be granted when a regular employee voluntarily enlists, or is ordered to active service with any branch of the armed forces of the United States for the initial period of such service. Upon completion of active service, such employees shall be restored to their former position upon request, or, at the discretion of the university, to one of similar status with all privileges of accumulated seniority, salary increase, etc., provided:

  • Discharge is under conditions other than dishonorable
  • Reinstatement is requested within 90 days after discharge or separation from active duty


If as a result of military service, employees are not physically or mentally qualified to perform the duties of their former position or one of like status, the university shall offer employment in a position at a level which their physical or mental condition will permit them to perform at the established rate of compensation for that position.

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Miscellaneous Leave


Court duty leave with pay shall be granted regular employees for the purpose of serving on a jury or as a witness. Such leave shall be granted upon presentation of official orders from the appropriate court.

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Orientation


A major responsibility of the supervisor is to provide orientation of the job to each new employee. This means explaining the nature of the job to be done and the usual work methods. New employees shall be responsible for reading and familiarizing themselves with the contents of this handbook.

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Other Leave


In the event of inclement weather or any emergency, the president of the university may declare leave with or without pay. Each office will have a posted listing of persons to be contacted in the event of a natural disaster and activity disruption.

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Pay Plan


Armstrong Atlantic State University has adopted a formal pay plan to provide fair and equitable compensation for its staff employees on the basis of the prevailing job specifications set by the University System of Georgia and the pay ranges presently in force throughout the university. The primary aim of this program is to attract and retain a high level of qualified employees and remain competitive with pay practices in the community.

The plan pertains to those staff positions not exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is administered by the director of human resources in accordance with FLSA, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and the affirmative action policies. This plan includes classification titles, a specified pay grade, and a minimum, midpoint, and maximum pay level for each classification.

Pay rates depend upon many factors, including: knowledge, training, special skills, and the responsibilities of the job. Constant effort is made to maintain a fair wage or salary range for each job and an equitable relationship between the ranges of the job. Wage and salary adjustments are made annually based on performance and the availability of funds for the university.

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Paydays


Paychecks (or pay advices) for exempt personnel are issued on the last working day of each month. Non-exempt personnel are paid every other Friday. Any alterations to this schedule that may be required due to holidays or shutdown periods will be communicated by the Human Resources Department or the Payroll/Business Office. Checks are to be picked up in the Business Office. Upon receipt, please review the information to make sure the proper deductions have been made. If an error is found or there are questions, notify the Human Resources Department immediately.

Units of the university system are authorized to withhold paychecks or deduct from paychecks amounts owed by employees for any fine, penalty, or other financial obligation to the institution.

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Performance Evaluations


The University System of Georgia requires that each employee be evaluated on total performance at least once every 12 months. The evaluation is completed by the employee's immediate supervisor, and the employee is provided with a copy. The evaluation will include results achieved in the job as well as performance of specific job duties and responsibilities. The performance evaluation is one of the factors in the pay for performance plan utilized in determining annual salary increases.

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Personal Leave of Absence


Upon the recommendation of the supervisor and at the discretion of the president, the employee may be granted a personal leave of absence without pay for periods not to exceed one year. Such approved personal leave shall allow the employee the right to elect to continue group insurance benefits.

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Political Activities

As an individual, each employee of Armstrong Atlantic State University retains all rights and obligations of citizenship provided in the Constitution and Laws of the United States. However, no employee of Armstrong Atlantic State University shall hold or be a candidate for public or political elective office at the state or federal level while in the employ of Armstrong Atlantic State University, or take an active part in a political campaign while on duty to perform services for which he or she receives compensation from Armstrong Atlantic State University.

State law also requires employees and family members to report any business transactions with the state each calendar year. Business transactions do not have to be reported when the amount of each transaction is less than $250 and the aggregate of all such transactions does not exceed $9,000 for the calendar year. This includes consulting or other services provided to state agencies for which an employee is compensated through the AASU payroll.

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Promotions


Regular employees, after completing the provisional period of employment, will be eligible for promotion to a higher position within the university. Salary advancements and promotions are based on merit. Whenever practical, vacancies are filled by the promotion of present employees. A promotion is the shift of an employee from one position to another having more responsible duties or involving more skill (higher classification). To be promoted, an employee must meet the qualifications required by the new position. The Human Resources Department will provide information concerning available openings to all eligible employees. Notices of vacancies will be mailed individually or announced in the campus newsletter, whichever is most expeditious.

Promotional increases are contingent upon the availability of funds, and with the approval of the appropriate supervisor and the director of human resources. Promotional increases must be managed within the established salary budget. It is important to note that almost every promotion is unique and factors affecting them will vary. Common factors to consider are:

  • number of salary levels promoted
  • salaries of current employees in the same or closely related positions

When an employee's present job is reclassified to a higher grade level, the employee shall be eligible for a promotional increase at the next authorized salary adjustment date or upon special approval by the vice president. At that time, the affected employee must be brought to at least the minimum of the new range.

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Provisional/Probationary Appointments


All regular classified employees, with the exception of public safety officers pending training, are required to serve the first 6 months of employment on a provisional basis. If the work of the employee is satisfactory, employment will be continued. Should the work not be satisfactory, the employee will be notified in writing at any time prior to the completion of the 6-month provisional period and the employee may be terminated at that time without right of appeal.

Transfers to other positions are not made during the provisional period. Temporary employees hired into regular positions are considered new employees and will serve a 6-month probationary period beginning with the first work day of regular employment.

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Random Drug Testing of High-Risk Employees


Employees working in high-risk jobs on a regular basis are subject to random drug testing for evidence of illegal drug use. This includes campus law enforcement officers who regularly perform high-risk work where inattention to duty or errors in judgment while on duty will have a potential for significant risk of harm to the employee, other employees, or the general public. Random testing means a process by which the names of high-risk law enforcement officers to be tested are chosen purely by lot. Testing will be performed in accordance with the same regulations and procedures as those prescribed by the State Merit System. Such testing shall not, at any one time, be given to more than one officer of each work shift who has been previously classified as a high-risk employee.

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Resignations


Employees who resign for any reason should give their supervisor and the director of human resources as much notice as possible. Minimum notice is two weeks, but a longer or shorter period of time may be agreed upon in writing between the supervisor and the employee. An employee who resigns with proper notice is entitled to all benefits due.

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Retirement Benefits


Those employees eligible for retirement from the University System of Georgia in accordance with the set criteria will be eligible to continue their life, health, and dental insurance benefits in accordance with plan provisions. Benefit information and applications for retirement are available in the Human Resources Department.

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Safety


Employees are expected to perform their duties as safely as possible to ensure the protection of themselves, their fellow workers, and the general public, and to reduce the amount of time lost through injuries or accidents. Unsafe conditions or practices observed by an employee should be reported to the supervisor.

All personal injuries and accidents must be reported to the Human Resources Department immediately so that a First Report of Injury, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, may be completed. Employees requiring medical treatment for an injury on the job must check with the Human Resources Department for directions on where to receive treatment. Deviation from the approved Workers Compensation Panel of Physicians may result in non-payment of the claim by the Department of Administrative Services.

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Selective Service and Military Physical Examinations


Any regular employee required by federal law to take a Selective Service or military physical examination shall be paid for any time lost to take such an examination.

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Service Awards


The university will recognize the service of long-term employees annually in conjunction with the reception for the new retirees. These awards will acknowledge certain periods of service to the university for both faculty and staff.

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Sick Leave With Pay


Armstrong Atlantic State University has a sick leave policy which allows salary to be continued for all regular employees who are incapacitated by illness or injury. Employees should realize that sick leave is a privilege. It is not meant to be used simply to take additional time off the job. Abuse of this privilege is a serious offense and will be considered just grounds for termination.

Employees should notify their supervisor immediately if they are ill and unable to report to work. Employees who fail to notify their supervisor might have the absence charged against their vacation time or it might be considered as leave without pay, depending upon the supervisor's recommendation. Employees suspected of abusing the sick leave privilege may be required to support each absence by a physician's statement prior to having it charged to sick leave.

Regular employees who work one-half time or more but less than full-time shall earn and accrue sick leave in a ratio equivalent to the percentage of hours worked.

New or terminating monthly-paid (exempt) employees must be actively at work on the fifteenth calendar day of any month to accrue sick leave for that month. To accrue sick leave for any pay period, a new or terminating bi-weekly (non-exempt) employee must be actively at work for at least one full week of the pay period. There is no maximum to the amount of sick leave an employee may accumulate. Sick leave may be granted at the discretion of the university and upon approval of the employee's immediate supervisor for any of the following reasons:

  • Illness or injury of the employee
  • Medical and dental treatment or consultation
  • Quarantine due to a contagious illness in the employee's household
  • Illness, injury, or death in the employee's immediate family requiring the employee's presence. In the event of death or illness in the immediate family, sick leave with pay may not exceed three working days. Immediate family is defined as mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, in-laws of any of the foregoing, and grandparents of the employee.

In all cases, a day of sick leave will be computed for purposes of pay and time off on the basis of the employee's regular workday.

If sick leave is claimed for a continuous period in excess of one week (five actual working days), a physician's statement may be required to permit further sick leave with pay. When all accrued sick leave is exhausted, accrued vacation leave will automatically be used in a continuous absence.

A terminating employee will not accumulate sick leave or be entitled to receive paid sick leave after the last working day of employment.

For those persons employed prior to October 1, 1970, a sick leave reserve has been established by the university by computing maximum benefits under the previous university policy and under the policy stated above and crediting the employee with the benefits which work to his or her best advantage. Employees in this category should check with the Human Resources Department in the event of an extended illness.

HB 203 has provisions to allow any member of The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia who retires July 1, 1998 or after to establish unused sick leave as service credit under TRS. Retiring employees must have at least 60 days of sick leave accumulated on their retirement date. For each 40 days of sick leave accumulated and unused, a retiring employee will receive credit for one month of service under TRS. Sick leave credit can be used to qualify for retirement, but cannot be used to become vested under TRS.

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Sick Leave Without Pay


Any regular employee unable to return to work after exhausting all accumulated sick leave, vacation leave, and leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, may request an extension of sick leave without pay. Such sick leave without pay must be approved by the employee's supervisor and the director of human resources. Approval by the appropriate supervisor for such unpaid sick leave is required and would allow the employee the right to elect continuation of group insurance benefits with the institution continuing its share of the cost. All other benefits are prohibited which would otherwise accrue to the employee while on unpaid leave.

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Social Life


Social events should be planned and discussed at times other than during working hours.

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Social Security


All employees of Armstrong Atlantic State University, except those specifically excluded under an agreement with the Social Security Administration, are covered by the Federal Social Security Act. This act provides aid to dependent children, disability payments, retirement, and death benefits. Deductions are made from salary for the employee's share of the cost of providing this insurance, with the university also contributing a percentage. The deduction is split between the old age insurance and Medicare.

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Tax-Sheltered Annuities


Employees may wish to participate in various tax-deferred annuity programs wherein they invest a portion of their salary affording a current tax benefit. Income invested in such programs is not subject to federal taxes until it is withdrawn at a later date.

The university does not approve or disapprove any plan or underwriting company. Proper investigation of each program is the employee's responsibility. Further information concerning tax-sheltered annuities may be obtained by contacting an insurance representative. Choices are limited to those companies presently having contracts with the university.

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Teachers Retirement System of Georgia


Armstrong Atlantic State University staff (non-faculty) employees are required to participate in the retirement system provided for its employees by the University System of Georgia. The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia was established by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia and placed under the management of a Board of Trustees for the purpose of providing retirement allowances for teachers of Georgia.

As a condition of employment, all regular employees who work one-half time or more, and are otherwise qualified, are required to be members of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia. Membership is waived for any individual who has attained age 60 and first became a teacher on or after July 1, 1987 -- or for persons attaining age 60 who have previously withdrawn employee contributions from TRS and again entered the profession on or after July 1, 1987.

The membership contribution rate is currently five percent of gross salary paid. In addition to this contribution, the university also contributes to the system on the employee's behalf.

All employee contributions to the Teachers Retirement System are tax deferred. Employees will be responsible for full tax liability at any time the contributions are refunded due to IRS regulations.

Retirement benefits from the Teachers Retirement System become available after completion of 30 years of service, regardless of age, or after completing 10 years of creditable service and attainment of age 60. Some provisions are available for early retirement with specific penalties. Disability retirement is available in certain circumstances according to TRS policies.

Employees transferring to another institution of the university system or a public school in the state of Georgia with no break in service time will transfer their creditable service time and contributions paid to that school. Teachers Retirement System regulations and provisions are available in the Human Resources Department. Vested members of The Employees Retirement System of Georgia transferring to the university will have the option of continuing their membership and contributions to ERS.

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Telephone, Equipment & Software Utilization


Prompt, courteous answers to telephone calls are very important. Telephone manners can make or lose friends on or off campus. University telephone lines must be kept clear for business use. Incoming and outgoing personal calls are discouraged, and should be limited to emergencies only. Personal long distance calls may not be charged to the university, as this constitutes a misuse of state funds. Other university equipment, such as fax machines and e-mail are also for university business only. Employees are reminded to use their university assigned electronic mail account responsibly and in compliance with state and federal laws and university policies and procedures. All employees shall use software only in accordance with AASU's license agreement. Any duplication of copyrighted software is a violation of federal law and AASU policy. Questions regarding software policies for the university may be directed to the Office of Computer and Information Services.

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Time Records


Employees subject to the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act are required to keep a time record of the hours worked. Plant operations employees will use time clock cards; other employees will prepare handwrit10 bi-weekly time reports.

The timesheet should be completed in ink and not have any strikeovers or whiteout. It should be checked for completeness and accuracy and signed by the employee and supervisor. Timesheets are due by noon on the last Friday of the pay period.

If the time sheets are not received by the stated deadline, it is not possible to verify hours worked for that period. In this case, the payroll check may be delayed until the following pay period.

Payroll records are subject to audit and will reflect actual time worked and leave taken. Any intentional falsification of time records may be grounds for termination of employment.

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Transfers


A transfer is a shift of an employee from one position to another in the university. It may be in the same classification or to one with comparable skills and in the same pay grade. It may also be a promotion based on experience, ability, or training. It is based on a mutual agreement between appropriate supervisors and staff. Transfers are not made during the provisional period of employment.

Upon movement of an employee among institutions of the university system, accumulated sick leave, retirement, and other applicable benefits and service continuity will be transferred if there is no actual break in service. Use or transfer of accrued vacation leave will be based upon mutual agreement of the institutions involved and in accordance with Board of Regents policies. Employees transferring to AASU who have more than 20 days of accrued vacation leave at another university system institution may request their departing institution to either transfer the total accrued leave not to exceed 45 days or make payment for accrued vacation leave greater than 20 days, but not exceeding 25 days.

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Tuition Remission and Reimbursement


Tuition remission and reimbursement are available to all regular (40 hours/week, non-temporary) full-time employees who have completed the 6-month probationary period to take courses at Armstrong Atlantic State University (or another University System of Georgia institution, or a private institution only if an equivalent course is not available at a USG school within 70 miles). This is based, in part, on the availability of funds, space availability in the course, and with approval of the employee's immediate supervisor that the course is job related. A copy of the complete tuition remission and reimbursement policy, as well as applicable forms, is available in the Human Resources Department.

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Types of Employment


There are two types of employment: regular and temporary. A regular employee is employed continuously for more than 6 months. A temporary employee is employed for a period no longer than 6 months under Board of Regents' policy provisions.

Temporary employees may be reappointed at the end of their period of employment for another period of not more than 6 months. Such a reappointment, however, will not automatically change the status of the employee from temporary to regular. When the status of an employee is changed from temporary to regular, the employee will be notified by the appropriate department head and the Human Resources Department. All graduate assistants, student assistants, and casual laborers shall be classified as temporary.

Certain benefits contained in this handbook are not applicable to employees classified as temporary.

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Unemployment Compensation


Employees are also covered under the Georgia Employment Security Law, commonly referred to as Unemployment Compensation. The law provides some economic security when persons become unemployed through no fault of their own.

The unemployment payments supplied by this act help the worker get through the difficult time of unemployment and maintain some degree of purchasing power. Eligibility for these benefits is determined through information requested by the Georgia Department of Labor and an employer.

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University System Health Benefits Plan


Armstrong Atlantic State University also provides its regular employees who are employed on a one-half time or more basis the opportunity for single, employee plus one, or family healthcare benefits. The coverage is optional with the employee paying a percentage of the premium cost and the university contributing a percentage of the premium cost. Upon employment, an employee may enroll within 31 days. Otherwise, an employee may enroll during the annual open enrollment period. A full explanation of benefits and booklets are available in the Human Resources Department.

Any employee who terminates employment, has a reduction in hours to less than one-half time, or is terminated for any reasons other than gross misconduct or for cause, is eligible to continue the healthcare coverage for a limited time under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986. Coverage under the COBRA provision is also available to dependents who lose coverage due to divorce, death of the employee, or ceases to be eligible for coverage due to attaining maximum age limitation. The employee would assume 102% of the cost of the coverage. Details are available in the Human Resources Department.

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Purchase of Goods and Services: Use of University Property


Employees of Armstrong Atlantic State University are not allowed to purchase goods or services for personal use through university channels. Nor shall any employee permit any university property to be removed from the campus for private use.

The Office of Business Services will handle all purchasing and receiving of merchandise for the university. Requisitions for supplies and equipment should be submitted well in advance of need to the director of business services. The Office of Business Services is the only authorized purchasing agent for the university. Unauthorized purchases or receipt of items for the university may result in the person making such purchases or accepting items having to pay for them. Disciplinary action may result for any employee who fails to abide by these regulations.

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Vacation Leave


Regular employees working one-half time or more earn vacation in accordance with the following schedule:

  • One and one-4th working days per month (ten hours) for one to five years of continuous employment
  • One and one-half working days per month (twelve hours) for five to ten years of continuous employment
  • One and three-4ths working days per month (fourteen hours) for ten or more years of continuous employment

In all cases, a day of vacation will be computed for purposes of pay and time off on the basis of the employee's regular workday.

Regular employees who work one-half time or more but less than full-time shall earn and accrue vacation leave in a ratio equivalent to the percentage of hours worked.

A new bi-weekly (non-exempt) or terminating employee must be physically at work for at least one full week of the pay period in order to accrue vacation leave for that pay period. A monthly (exempt) paid employee must be actively at work on the 15th calendar day of the month to accrue vacation leave for that month.

The maximum accrual of vacation time is 45 days. On December 31 of each year, each employee's leave record will be adjusted to show not more than 45 days accrual.

The university reserves the right to require that employees take vacation leave in conjunction with a holiday shutdown period or an officially declared shutdown period. Employees not having accrued vacation leave to cover such periods will be charged leave without pay.

Any vacation time taken by employees must be at times mutually acceptable to the employee and their supervisor.

All unused accrued vacation time (not to exceed 45 days) will be paid to the employee upon termination of employment. Terminating employees will not accrue vacation leave after the last day of their employment.

Temporary employees and regular employees working less than one-half time do not earn vacation or sick leave.

No employee will be allowed to take leave without pay unless all vacation leave has been exhausted.

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Voting


Employees of Armstrong Atlantic State University are encouraged to exercise their constitutional right to vote in all federal, state, and local elections. When normal working hours coincide with voting hours, employees shall be granted leave as stipulated by their immediate supervisor for the purpose of voting.

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Workers' Compensation


All employees of Armstrong Atlantic State University are covered under the provisions of the Georgia Workers' Compensation Law. This law provides protection for employees and their dependents in the event of injury or death while performing services for the university. There is no employee contribution.

In the event an employee sustains any injury, regardless of how small it may seem, it must be reported to the Human Resources Department at once. Determination will be made concerning the advisability of first aid or additional medical treatment. Failure to report an injury may result in non-payment of any medical claims.

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Working Conditions


One of the most important aspects of employment to both the employee and the employer is working conditions. The university makes every effort to provide an atmosphere that is good for individual development and job enrichment.

In general, the policy in this area is one of common courtesy and understanding. The university must always strive to understand the needs of the employees and, likewise, each employee should realize the role he or she plays in the overall goals of the university.

All policies have been established to create a cooperative working environment for both the university and the employee.

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Workweek


A minimum work week of 40 hours is observed by all full-time staff employees. The requirements of the various operations of the university are highly diverse and different work schedules may be adopted to meet these needs. The schedules for a given department are established by that department head, subject to the approval of the administrative officer. Most offices shall be open from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and, as required by some departments, in the evening and weekends. This schedule may differ in some departments, but only by mutual agreement between the employee and supervisor. Lunch periods will be 45 minutes depending on the individual department, while ensuring the 40-hour workweek.

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SEE ALSO

Employee Handbook Introduction
AASU Mission