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myHR: January 25, 2017

Penn Receives WorldatWork 2017 Seal of Distinction

Worldatwork 2017 Seal of Distinction

For the second year in a row, Penn has been selected to receive the WorldatWork Seal of Distinction. This mark of excellence is designed to recognize leading organizations for their successful and innovative work-life integration programs and policies. Penn is one of 160 organizations in the United States and Canada to be honored with a seal this year. Only 19 other universities are among this group of honorees.

One example of Penn’s award-winning work-life benefits and perks is our lineup of upcoming wellness and work-life programs. These workshops, along with year-round services such as, are designed to help you be your best on the job, at home, and in the community. Here’s a sample of spring term offerings.

Free YMCA Family Passes
Looking for a way to revive your New Year’s exercise resolutions? Give the Y a try with a free family pass good for one week between February 1 and February 28, 2017. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about discount YMCA memberships for faculty and staff.

To get your pass, just download this form and present it with your PennCard at any Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA location or participating Regional Y Alliances.

Healthy Meal Planning for the Busy Professional: January 31, 12-1pm
We all want to eat a healthy diet, but who has time to prepare nutritious meals? Learn time-saving tips on planning, shopping, meal preparation, and on-the-go eating, and take the stress out of the question – “What’s for dinner tonight?” Join AREUFIT Health Services’ Patti Skahan, MS, RDN, LDN for this interactive workshop. Patti is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist, with over 20 years of experience.

Choosing HS classes for next year? Navigating the Curricular Waters: February 16, 12:30-1:30pm
Join staff from Penn’s undergraduate admissions office for a discussion about the role of the high school transcript and course selection in the holistic admissions review. This may be particularly timely for parents of high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors as course selection will be happening in the spring.

Guided Meditation: Take a Breath and Relax: February 10, 12:30-1:30pm, February 21, 12-1pm; March 8, 12-1pm; March 28, 12-1pm; April 4, 12-1pm; April 25, 12-1pm, and May 9, 12-1pm
Practice mindful breathing that focuses your attention on the present moment with kindness, compassion, and awareness. Self-massage and gentle mindful movements that promote relaxation and reduce stress may also be included in the workshop. No experience necessary.

New and Expectant Parent Briefing: March 3, 12:30-1-:30pm
This is an introductory briefing designed for expectant parents and those who are new to parenting or child care. Participants will learn about local and university childcare and parenting resources, including breastfeeding support and the nursing mothers program, childcare locators, back-up care, adjusting to new schedules, and flexible work options, among other topics. The presentation will include Q&A with an FMLA Specialist, and participants will also have the opportunity to network with other expectant and new parents.

The College Search: Selecting a Potential Major and Program of Study: April 20, 12:30-1:30pm
Join staff from Penn’s Undergraduate Admissions Office for discussion and tips in working with your college-bound dependent, faced with hundreds of choices, in selecting a potential major and program of study. How might that selection of program impact their admission review?

Visit for more information about Penn’s outstanding work-life benefits. 

Free YMCA Family Passes

YMCA Y LogoLooking for a way to revive your New Year’s exercise resolutions? Give the Y a try with a free family pass good for one week between February 1 and February 28, 2017. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about discount YMCA memberships for faculty and staff.

To get your pass, just download this form and present it with your PennCard at any Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA location or Regional Y Alliances.

Now there are 44 participating Y branches in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. With dozens of locations to choose from, a free pass, and a discount, it’s easier to find Y services near you.

Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA and Regional Y Alliances offer a 10% monthly membership discount to all Penn employees with valid PennCards. There is no joiner fee for new Penn employee memberships. To receive the discount on a new membership, visit any YMCA location listed here and present your PennCard. Existing members can sign up for a discount at their home branch by showing a valid PennCard.

Penn's partnerships with the YMCA, GlobalFit, and Campus Recreation make staying in shape is more convenient than ever! 

Resolving Workplace Issues

People working together to solve puzzlePenn’s richly diverse staff and varied work environments fuel the creativity and innovation the University is known for. While different perspectives can enhance a team’s performance, it’s also normal for misunderstandings or disagreements to arise from time to time.

Most workplace conflicts can be resolved by the individuals involved. The best approach is to address the situation early on and to talk openly and with mutual respect. This helps avoid further misunderstandings and unnecessary escalation. 

Occasionally, constructively addressing a highly charged conflict may require outside assistance. In such cases, the Workplace Issue Resolution Program can be a resource. The program uses open communication and productive dialog to address conflict a staff member may have with a colleague or supervisor.

The program offers three options:

  • Open Communication – Issues are resolved most effectively when addressed in the early stages. This options encourages you to raise the issue to your supervisor, or to others in the supervisory chain of command without reprisal. The Staff & Labor Relations Department can also offer advice and assistance for your particular concern.
  • Conference/Facilitated Meetings with a University Resource Office Professional – A trained professional from a University Resource Office can facilitate a meeting between you and the management of your school or center to help resolve the problem. Resource Offices include the African-American Resource Center; Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center; Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity Programs; Penn Women’s Center; Office of the Ombudsman; and the Employee Assistance Program. This option is useful if you’ve tried open communication but haven’t reached a satisfactory outcome.
  • Mediation – Both parties agree to participate in a private, confidential meeting with a trained mediator. A mediator encourages open dialogue and can help brainstorm possible solutions. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will help develop a written agreement for all parties to sign.

Ongoing open communication in the workplace is beneficial and encouraged. The Workplace Issue Resolution Program supports such dialog in order to maintain a positive, productive work environment.

If you need help with a workplace issue, or if you want to learn if the Workplace Issue Resolution Program is right for your situation, contact Human Resources Staff & Labor Relations Department at 215-898-6093 or the University Resource Office of your choice.

Human Resources encourages staff to use these resources, and individuals may not be retaliated against for using the program.

For more information about this program and other options available to staff, visit

Healthy Meals: Buffalo Chicken Casserole

buffaloc chicken casserole

This tangy casserole will be a crowd pleaser at your next Super Bowl party!

Find the recipe here or send us your healthy recipes and tips

Did You Know? You May Be Eligible for a $1,000 Tax Credit

Here’s some good news for income tax filing season: if you put money toward a retirement plan last year, you may be able to get credit for it! (If you didn’t, now’s a good time to get started for 2017. Simply go to and click on Penn’s secure online retirement plan link.)

Thanks to the Saver’s Credit, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,000 ($2,000 for joint filers). It gives a special tax break to low- and moderate-income taxpayers who are saving for retirement. The amount of the credit depends on your adjusted gross income (AGI), tax filing status, and how much you contributed to your retirement plan in 2016. It can be 50%, 20%, or 10% of your retirement plan or IRA contributions up to $2,000 ($4,000 if married filing jointly).

Take a look at the table below to see if you’re eligible and to find your credit.

2016 Saver’s Credit

Credit Rate

Married Filing Jointly

Head of Household

All Other Filers*

50% of your contribution

AGI not more than $37,000

AGI not more than $27,750

AGI not more than $18,500

20% of your contribution

$37,001 - $40,000

$27,751 - $30,000

$18,501 - $20,000

10% of your contribution


$30,001 - $46,125

$20,001 - $30,750

0% of your contribution

more than $61,500

more than $46,125

more than $30,750