Policies and Regulations
Policies and Regulations
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POL 05.05.01 - Employee Emergency Relief Fund

Authority: Chancellor 

History:

  • First Issued: December 8, 2016 

Related Policies:

Additional References:

Contact Information: Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, 910.521.6279

1. PURPOSE

1.1 The purpose of the Employee Emergency Relief Fund is to provide appropriate relief to eligible faculty and staff of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) who experience a qualifying hardship, event or emergency.  The intent is to provide direct financial assistance in a time of need and the commitment to help employees rebuild their lives and return to work with a sense of normalcy addressing the personal needs of the employee and its families.  The fund shall strive to accomplish that purpose by encouraging support of the university to voluntarily support the fund, providing a mechanism for such support, and providing aid and support to the university’s faculty and staff.

2. COMMITTEE

2.1. The Fund shall be directed by a Committee consisting of a diverse group of faculty and staff representation. Three (3) individuals will be recommended by the appointing official(s) (as indicated below). The Committee will consist of seven (7) members as follows:

2.1.a. A representative of the Faculty Senate recommended by the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the Faculty Senate Chair;

2.1.b. A representative of the Staff Council recommended by the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and the Staff Council Chair;

2.1.c A representative of the members of the alumni recommended by the Vice Chancellor for Advancement;

2.1.d. A representative of the faculty or staff recommended by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs;

2.1.e. A representative of the staff recommended by the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration;

2.1.f. A representative from athletics recommended by the Athletic Director; and

2.1.g. A representative, who will serve as Chair of the Committee, appointed by the Chancellor.

2.1.1 A representative of the Office of General Counsel may provide confidential and privileged legal advice as an ex officio non-voting member of any duly constituted committee.

2.2 Terms of Office. Representatives of the Committee may serve a five (5) year appointment at the pleasure of the appointing official(s).

2.3 Attendance.  Committee members must attend at least half of the Committee meetings in the fiscal year and may not miss more than three (3) consecutive meetings.  Those members who have not met the attendance requirements will be terminated from the Committee by a vote of the other six (6) members, or by decision of the appointing official(s). Exceptions may be made based on extenuating circumstances as determined by the appointing official(s).

2.4 Meetings. Meetings shall be scheduled by the Chair, or by a majority of the Fund Committee members, but shall be held no less frequently than quarterly.  Minutes and records of attendance shall be maintained for all meetings.  A quorum of the Committee shall be four· (4) appointed members.   An affirmative vote of four (4) appointed members of the Committee shall be required to approve any application considered at any meeting at which a quorum is present.   In general, meetings should not occur without at least twenty-four (24) hours’ notice.

2.5 Parliamentary Authority. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Committee in all cases in which they are applicable and consistent with these Rules and Procedures.

2.6 Conflict of Interest. Any member of the Committee who has applied for financial assistance or who otherwise knows he/she has a conflict of interest due to family or business associations shall refrain from voting on such matters.  In the event that the chair becomes aware of a conflict of interest, the chair shall communicate the same to the member without violating the anonymity of the process, to the extent possible or practical.

3. OFFICERS, ADMINISTRATION AND RECORDS

3.1 Officers - Committee Chair: The Chancellor, or his designee, shall appoint a Chair to serve on the committee. It shall be the duty of the Chair to preside at meetings and oversee Fund activities. The Chair shall also conduct the regular meetings of the Fund Committee and shall undertake such other duties as may be assigned by the appointing official(s).  The Committee may elect such other officers as it may desire.  Officers of the Committee may serve indefinitely, during the five (5) year term, at the pleasure of the Committee and appointing official(s).  Notice will be given to the chair when new or replacement officers are appointed.

3.2 Administration-Accounting: The accounts and records of the Fund shall be kept by the Associate Director of Human Resources of the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and/or the Human Resources Consultant (Benefits department), and the budget shall be reviewed and evaluated by the Vice Chancellor for Advancement or his/her designee (hereinafter "Fund Manager").  The Fund Manager shall be entitled to attend all meetings of the Committee, but will be non-voting members. The Fund Manager will assist in preparing the preliminary and final budgets for approval of the Committee.

3.3 Records: The Committee, through OHR, must maintain adequate records to report that payments further the fund's charitable purposes and that the persons served are needy or distressed in the manner described in these Rules and Procedures. Generally, documentation should include: a complete description of the assistance provided, costs associated with providing the assistance, if any, the purpose for which the financial assistance was given, the objective criteria for disbursing financial assistance to each recipient, the name, address, and amount distributed to each recipient, any conflict of interest or relationship between a recipient and committee members.

4. CONTRIBUTIONS

4.1 Contributions by check, transfer of securities, cash, or by voluntarily payroll deduction may be made by faculty, staff, and students of UNCP. Contributions from non-employees also may be accepted. Contributions will be used to support the purposes of the fund. Contributors may not earmark funds for the benefit of a particular individual or family, or a particular division, department or college.

5. ELIGIBILITY FOR, AND EXPENDITURE OF, FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

5.1 The Committee is authorized to expend resources of the Fund based on the following criteria.

5.1.1 Eligibility: Persons eligible for financial assistance shall be active, permanent employees of the University, either faculty or staff, who are classified as regular full-time or regular part-time, benefits eligible, with one (1) year of continuous university service. Persons who are not eligible to participate include temporary or irregular employees, those employees who do not receive benefits, students, work-study students, temporary employees employed by temporary staffing agency and employees of contractors.

5.1.2 Applications Requests for Information

5.1.2.1 Confidential applications shall be submitted to the Office of Human Resources, Associate Director of Human Resources.

5.1.2.2 Employees seeking assistance have a responsibility to demonstrate that they are taking reasonable actions and attempting to use prudence in resolving their crisis. All decisions made by the Fund's Committee will be determined based only on the information submitted by the applicant.

5.1.2.3 The Committee may request additional information or documentation from the applicant before making a decision. To maintain anonymity, such requests may be communicated by the Office of Human Resources Representative or his/her designee.  When the committee requests information in addition to what an applicant has provided, the applicant has two (2) weeks from the date of the request to provide the requested information or to explain why it cannot be provided. If the applicant does not provide the requested information in the two-week time period, then the application will be denied.

5.1.2.4 Recommended documentation may include: income available to the applicant, expenses of the applicant, evidence of insurance {related to the hardship, emergency or event}, and how the hardship has impacted the household finances. Additional information may be requested based on the circumstances described in the application.

5.1.3 Qualifying Event or Emergency

5.1.3.1 Applicants to the Fund program must have a documented hardship, event or emergency situation that has caused a financial hardship.  This event or emergency must be an occurrence of any event or combination of circumstances or events that call for immediate action or any pressing need following a sudden and unexpected happening, the occurrence of which was wholly unforeseen by the applicant and beyond the employee's control.  The event or emergency must directly impact the applicant.  Events or emergencies directly affecting family members of applicants, with only an indirect effect on the applicant, are not qualifying events for which an award from the Fund will be issued.

5.1.3.2 Examples of emergency situations that could be considered as a basis for assistance, include but are not limited to: natural disaster such as hurricane, flood, tornado, etc. resulting in destruction of the primary residence (rental properties are excluded) or displacement of primary residence; death in immediate family (spouse, parent, child) if accompanied by other hardships; or life-altering accidents.

5.1.3.3 Other qualifying events include time-limited, specific events that place an applicant who otherwise was not experiencing financial distress in a position of temporary financial hardship. Temporary means that with the assistance of this Fund, the applicant could regain financial stability within a relatively short period of time.  Long standing financial problems not related to the time-limited, specific event do not meet the temporary hardship requirement and are not qualifying events for which an award from the Fund willbe issued.

5.1.3.4 Common life occurrences such as routine car and home repairs, car and home maintenance, legal fees, monthly bills, animal care, and living beyond one's means are not qualifying events for which an award from the Fund will be made. Also, financial hardships caused by garnishments and loans do not qualify for assistance.

5.1.4 Standards to Provide Financial Assistance

5.1.4.1 Financial assistance is not intended to replace all losses or to reimburse the cost of nonessential, luxury, or decorative items or services.

5.1.4.2 Financial assistance should be gratuitous, measured solely by need or distress, not related to services rendered, and not necessarily designed to place the recipient in the same economic position as prior to the qualifying emergency or event.

5.1.4.3 Any benefit to the University from such financial assistance should be, at most, incidental and tenuous.

5.1.4.4 All financial assistance shall be distributed in compliance with the university’s non-discrimination policy.

5.1.5 Review/Decision by Committee

5.1.5.1 Applications will be presented for Committee review in such a manner that the identity of the applicant is not known to the Committee.   Circumstances may occur in which an anonymous review is impossible or impractical, in which case the identity of the applicant may be revealed to the Committee.  If the Committee wishes to interview an applicant to better understand the situation, the Associate Director of Human Resources will communicate this desire to the applicant, and if the applicant is agreeable, the Associate Director will set up the interview with the Committee.

5.1.5.2 The Committee will award financial assistance by a majority vote of all of the appointed members of the Committee (i.e., at least four (4) appointed members must approve in all cases). Committee decisions are final, and no appeals process is available.

5.1.5.3 Financial assistance shall be based on an objective review of the applicant's need or distress caused by the qualifying event or emergency.

5.1.5.4 The Committee and/ or the Associate Director may recommend that the applicant seek assistance from other resources before, or at the time of, providing financial assistance.

5.1.5.5 The financial assistance awarded may not exceed the following monetary limits:

a. No more than $1,250 may be awarded to an employee during any twelve (12) month period.

b. No more than $3,750 may be awarded to an employee during his/her employment at the university.

5.1.5.6 Financial assistance shall be limited to one (1) employee (recipient) or one (1) employee (person) per household.

5.1.5.7 After an employee receives notification of an award, the employee must not apply for additional assistance until after six (6) months of date of award received. After the six (6) month period has expired, the employee is eligible to apply for assistance for a qualifying event or emergency. The employee cannot resubmit an application that was previously denied.

5.1.6 Notification and Payment of Financial Assistance

5.1.6.1 The applicant will be notified of the outcome of his or her application by the Office of Human Resources.

5.1.6.2 Payment will be made through the Payroll office, during regularly scheduled payroll cycles, in accordance with the payroll procedures.

5.1.6.3 Neither the Committee, Chair, Office of Human Resources Representative, nor the Fund Manager will provide financial assistance recipients with individual tax advice.  Award recipients will be issued appropriate tax documentation, if applicable.

5.1.7 Unusual Circumstances or Events: The Chancellor may initiate additional action or suspend provisions of this policy as appropriate, when unusual circumstances arise.

6. TERMINATION OF COMMITTEE/DISSOLUTION OF FUND

6.1 Termination of Fund and/or Committee.  The Chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke may terminate the Fund or the Fund Committee.

6.2 Distribution of Fund.  In the event of the termination of the Fund by the Chancellor, the Chancellor shall apply and distribute the assets of the Fund as follows:

6.2.a. All liabilities and obligations of the Fund shall be paid, satisfied and discharged or adequate provisions shall be made therefor;

6.2.b. All of the remaining assets of the Fund shall be transferred or conveyed to The Board of Trustees of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and its successor, if said corporation, or its successor, shall qualify as a public corporation and an instrumentality of the State of North Carolina or as an exempt organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, and if said corporation as its successor shall not qualify, then to some other organization or organizations organized for charitable purposes and shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.

6.3 Amendment of Rules & Procedures.  These rules and procedures may be amended by a vote of five (5) of the seven (7) Committee members, with final approval by the Chancellor.