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A Message from the President: Benefits Update

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April 22, 2021

Dear Villanova Faculty and Staff:

This time last year, we were a month into the pandemic and our lives were consumed by uncertainty. When will life return to normal? How will we navigate the current challenges? Will we ever be together on campus as a community again? Fast forward to today, and life is slowly inching toward more normalcy with the arrival of vaccines. And here at Villanova, we are four weeks away from finishing this academic year on campus and celebrating the Class of 2021 in person with their families. Well done and my thanks to everyone. 

The majority of what we have accomplished over the past year is due in great part to your extraordinary efforts. You worked long hours, often taking on new tasks and responsibilities to respond to the challenges created by the pandemic, and you did so while often managing childcare, eldercare and homeschooling. You learned new technology and ways of engaging with our students and one another. Most importantly, you showed the resilience of Villanovans in the face of uncertainty and stress. For all of this and more, I am extremely grateful, and I give everyone a standing ovation!

As you well know, the pandemic created significant financial implications for the University. We put in place several mitigation measures to reduce spending and avoid furloughs, including salary reductions for our highest-compensated employees, no salary increases for FY2021, a reduced base contribution to the 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan and a hiring freeze. Today, I am pleased to provide an update on these areas and a few others as we look toward the next academic year.

Salary Increases for FY22
The University's Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which includes a salary pool for merit-based raises at 3 percent.

Base Contribution to the 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan
The University’s base contribution to the 403(b) Retirement Savings plan will be restored to the full amount effective June 1, 2021. In addition, current faculty and staff who were impacted by the reduction during FY21 will receive a catch-up contribution. Further details will be shared by the Office of Human Resources in the weeks ahead.

Hiring Freeze
The hiring freeze will be lifted as of June 1, 2021.

Summer Fridays
In previous summers, I have offered full-time staff employees the opportunity for early dismissal on designated Fridays. This year, I will not be offering early dismissal on Fridays. Instead, and with the greatest appreciation for all you have done this past year, I am pleased to announce that from Monday, May 10 through Friday, Aug. 13, Villanova University will have a four-day work week, with Fridays off. Note: If your area or department requires an on-campus presence on Fridays, the individuals who work Friday should be given another day off that week.

I hope these Summer Fridays provide the opportunity for some rest and relaxation. You have certainly earned it after the numerous sacrifices and challenges of the past year. If you have questions, I encourage you to visit the Summer Hours policy posted on the Human Resources website for additional information.

Reduced Spending
Last year, all offices and departments were asked to carefully review their operating budgets and limit non-essential expenses to the greatest extent possible. Our savings in this area were considerable, and while we do not need to be as conservative in our planning this year, I do ask that you continue to review your budgets with the same prudence as you do your personal finances.

Fall 2021 Semester
As we look ahead to the Fall 2021 semester, we are currently planning a more typical on-campus experience for our students. We will continue to offer select classes online, but I anticipate—unless we receive disparate guidance from the Commonwealth of PA—that most of our on-campus programs, events and activities will resume. That said, I expect all faculty and staff to return to campus no later than August, unless there is a documented medical reason that prevents them from doing so. Also, as vaccines become more and more accessible, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. 

The Villanova community is known for its on-campus experience. And while we were able to do some extraordinary things this past year—and will take some of the creative thinking into our planning for the future—we owe it to the students and the families whom we serve to be here on campus. Note: Some departments or offices may need faculty and staff to return to campus earlier than August. This will be determined by the supervisor in each department or area, and more specific details about returning to campus will be shared in the coming months. 

I am very pleased that we are able to restore these benefits to you. They are well deserved after the numerous sacrifices and challenges of the past year. Once again, thank you for your remarkable efforts, and I look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming months.

Sincerely, 

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Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA
President