SYS Policy Approval Notification

On October 3rd, President Rothman approved two new policies: SYS 635, Return to Work: Worker’s Compensation and SYS 335, Deaccessioning of Works of Art and Historical Treasures.

On October 13th, President Rothman approved revisions to both SYS 1210, Vacation, Paid Leave Banks, and Vacation Cash Payouts and SYS 1212, Sick Leave.

See below for a brief summary of the policy approvals and revisions.


SYS 335, Deaccessioning of Works of Art and Historical Treasures

This policy became effective upon approval.

This new SYS policy is designed to replace Regent Policy Document 22-2, Disposal of Works of Art, which was rescinded on September 29, 2022. It was redistributed to the institutions for comments simultaneously with the proposal for the RPD 22-2 rescission and went through the Board of Regents (BOR) feedback process. It outlines the expectations of UW System Administration related to the deaccessioning and disposal of works of art and historical treasures owned by UW System institutions.

  • The new policy addresses all the components of the deaccessioning of works of art that are included in RPD-22, with the exception that reporting on decommissioned works of art will occur to the UW System Vice President for Finance and Administration instead of the Board of Regents.
  • It also provides a definition for “works of art and historical treasures” and provides additional information on the process to be followed if a donor agreement for the sale proceeds of donated items to be used for alternative purposes.

During the review period, the following recommendations were made:

  • UW-Milwaukee requested that a definition be added for works of art and historical treasures. This definition was added.
  • UW-Milwaukee also requested a change to the definition of works of art and historical treasures, which included the following sentence: General library holdings are typically not considered works of art or historical treasures. This was revised to “Library collections are not governed by this policy.”
  • UW-Milwaukee suggested that a statement be added to say that the policy is subject to controlling donor agreements. This feedback was not incorporated because this is not allowed by GASB (the governmental standards accounting board), FASB (the private sector accounting board) or AAM (American Association of Museums). Language was added allowing for the sale of assets prior to being put into a collection (accessioned) but the policy does not address accessioned works of art or historical treasures. If a campus chooses to sell assets after being accessioned, this will be a compliance decision/risk they need to make/take.
  • UW-Eau Claire suggested replacing “his/her” with “their” in section 6.C of the policy. This change was made.
  • UW-Platteville was supportive of removing the requirement for institutions to have a disposal of works of art committee.
  • UW-Madison found a typographical error in section 6.C of the policy. This was corrected.

UW-Madison suggested adding language regarding the direct care of collections in section 6.C. This language was not added because including that phrase would jeopardize the ability to exclude these assets’ “value” from financial statements. GASB specifically looked at adding this language and decided not to do so. If a campus chooses to use proceeds for that purpose, that would again be a compliance decision/risk they would need to make/take.


SYS 635, Return to Work: Worker’s Compensation

This policy became effective upon approval.

This policy has been developed to ensure institutions make reasonable efforts to accommodate transitional modified work assignments within the limits of an injured employee’s capabilities when the employee has been involved in a work-related incident. It outlines provisions related to:

  • Institutions make reasonable efforts to make temporary transitional modified work assignments.
  • The need for notice in writing from a healthcare provider outlining the employee’s functional limitations.
  • The role of the employer’s department in covering wage and benefit costs (regardless of placement).
  • The preference to place employees in their department and modification or reassignment of tasks to accommodate a modified duty assignment.

During the review period, the following recommendations were made to the policy:

  • In Section 1, included “the longer an employee is away from work the less likely they are to have a successful return to work.”
  • In Section 3, paragraph 1, replaced “accommodate” with “make.”
  • In Section 5:
    • Included additional information to “Transitional Modified Work Assignment.”
    • Replaced “physician” with “healthcare provider.”
    • Included “cognitive and/or mental health” to the definition of Employee Capabilities.
    • Included information regarding long-term or permanent accommodations to the definition of Employee Capabilities.
  • In Section 6:
    • In paragraph 1, clarified language and moved information regarding long-term or permanent accommodations to the definition of Employee Capabilities.
    • In paragraph 4, clarified language to better reflect the possibility that some tasks may have to be temporarily modified.
    • In paragraph 5, replaced the “Chief Business Officer” with “institution’s administration” to better reflect more individuals on a campus can approve this.

During the review period, the following recommendations were made to the manual that was developed to assist with the implementation of the policy:

  • In the Purpose section:
    • Paragraph 1, replaced “make” with “accommodation.”
    • Paragraph 2, included the phrase “cognitive, and mental capabilities.”
  • In the Receipt and Consideration of Employee’s Capabilities section:
    • Paragraph 1, provided direct guidance that the employee should provide written restrictions to the Worker’s Compensation Coordinator (WCC) and/or the Return to Work Coordinator (RTWC) and deleted the “Office of Human Resources” and “Supervisor.”
    • Paragraph 3, inserted the WCC before the employee’s supervisor.
    • Paragraph 4, replaced “employee’s department” with “WCC/RTWC.”
    • Paragraph 4, deleted “and/or DDR” and left “WCC/RTWC.”
  • In the Procedures for End of Healing with Permanent Restrictions section, removed information regarding re-training and disability retirement.
  • In Appendix B, Fitness for Duty:
    • Included examples of duration levels to a job’s workday schedule in the “Restrictions/Limitations” section.
    • Included “Patient has cognitive/mental limitations” in the “Restrictions/Limitations” section.
    • Reviewer recommended adding language relating to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). As per a discussion with a UWSA Worker’s Compensation Examiner and the Director of Risk Management, this was not included because GINA language is not typically referred to.

SYS 1210, Vacation, Paid Leave Banks, and Vacation Cash Payouts

These revisions became effective upon approval.

This policy establishes guidelines for the administration of paid vacation for UW System employees. The following revisions have been made:

  • As part of the continuing policy updates associated with the Title and Total Compensation Project, this update addresses a historic assumption that all University Staff were hourly, FLSA non-exempt employees and that all Academic Staff were salaried, FLSA exempt employees. The recent system-wide title and job description review determined that this was not the case. This policy, among others, allocated certain benefits based on employee classification that were originally intended to be based on FLSA status. These updates correct this issue for new employees hired after July 31, 2022.
  • Existing employees who are FLSA exempt University Staff or FLSA non-exempt Academic Staff will be grandfathered under this policy and will have no changes made to their respective vacation entitlements.
  • In accordance with this revision above the following updates were made:
    • In Section 6.B.I.1, amended language for FLSA nonexempt supervisors so that only those hired before July 31, 2022 earn vacation at the same rate as FLSA exempt university staff.
    • In section 6.B.I.1, added “hired before 7/31/22” in accompanying table.
    • In Section 6.E.I.1, added “hired before 7/31/22” in accompanying table.
    • In Section 6.F.IV and 6.F.V, eliminated sections a. and b. and updated reference to calculations of leave benefits in Section 6.L. of SYS 230, Salary & Fringe Benefit Calculations.
    • In Section 6.H.II, added “and FLSA nonexempt Academic Staff hired after 7/31/22” to title.
    • In Section 6.H.III.4, updated the title of the designated signatory for the System President’s biweekly leave report to “Executive Director and Corporate Secretary of the Office of the Board of Regents.”
    • Updated the numbering scheme and subsection number references throughout Section 6 to align with the standard SYS policy template.

During the review period, the following recommendations were made to the policy:

  • UW Milwaukee indicated concern about language changes that were not part of the corrected policy proposal. This was based on an outdated version of the policy update being initially posted on the feedback site. The concerns raised by UW-Milwaukee were addressed in the corrected policy proposal.
  • There was a question raised about the vacation carryover language. This language was not updated in this policy proposal so the language questioned was part of the existing policy. The request to limit the discretion of the institutions regarding institution-level policies restricting the amount of vacation time that could be carried over was outside the scope of this policy revision.
  • UW River Falls requested an update to a table related to non-exempt vacation accrual to include a reference to “Academic Staff non-exempt hired after 7/31/22”. This revision was declined. The requested language appeared in an earlier draft of the policy revision and was specifically removed as inconsistent with planned future practices by UW System leadership

SYS 1212, Sick Leave

These revisions became effective upon approval.

This policy establishes parameters for the administration of sick leave for all UW System employees. The following revisions have been made:

  • Added Section 6.C.VII. This revision was initially introduced as an interim policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The change specifically allows employees to use sick leave for time off required to care for a minor child whose school or day care has been closed due to a disease that has been declared to be a public health emergency.
  • Added Section 2, Responsible Officer; Section 3, Scope and Institutional Responsibilities; and Section 9, Scheduled Review to align with the current UW System Administrative Policies template.
  • Re-formatted subsection numbers to align with the current UW System Administrative Policies template.

During the review period, the following recommendation was made to the policy:

  • UW-Madison requested that language be added to the policy to clarify that this policy does not apply to employees at UW-Madison, as they have their own policies governing this area. This language was added in Section 3, Scope and Institutional Responsibilities.