New Penn Service Assists Staff with Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt has increased significantly over the past decade and has climbed to more than $1.7 trillion. Penn understands that many staff and faculty have been burdened with repayment, creating strains on your mental and financial health. That’s why the University has partnered with PeopleJoy, a financial wellness benefits organization that specializes in student loan repayment and forgiveness, to help you take charge of your student loan debt and get the support you need.  

At this time, Penn is offering employees a free service administered by PeopleJoy. They will help you determine your eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, assist you with navigating the application process, and advocate on your behalf with student loan providers. Participating employees will receive: 

  • Program assessments: Get help to identify the best federal repayment programs based on your individual financial situation.
  • Program enrollment: PeopleJoy will enroll you in the repayment programs, removing confusing paperwork and worries of missing enrollment or annual recertification deadlines.
  • Goals-based coaching: Receive repayment planning advice and coaching based on your short- and long-term budget, income projections, and financial health. Regular check-in calls are also available.
  • College financial planning: This includes one-on-one time with an advisor, evaluation of best college financing options, and other resources. 

PeopleJoy has assisted thousands of employees with qualifying for PSLF and helped borrowers receive nearly $3 million in loan forgiveness in 2022.

If you have outstanding student loans and would like to use this free service, please visit the PeopleJoy platform at upenn.peoplejoy.com.You will need your work email address, Penn ID, and information about your student loans. Once you’ve filled in the required information, a member of the PeopleJoy support team will contact you via email to request additional information if needed, activate the service and identify next steps, or notify you if they are unable to assist you.

For more information, you can register for one of the following webinars:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the session.

If you have more questions about Public Student Loan Forgiveness, please review the PSLF FAQs. You can also visit the PeopleJoy webpage on the HR website.

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Whites Confronting Racism Training Oct. 12-14

Dear Colleagues, 

The WE-CARE Team is hosting a Whites Confronting Racism Training with Sarah Halley on October 12, 13, and 14  from 9-4:30 with a lunch break and short pauses each day.  This will be virtual.  This training is exceptional and really helps white people examine their own privilege, the history of white supremacy, and more.   It may seem like a big-time commitment, but it really is worth it. Many of us have taken this training and we found it to be a pivotal point in our journey to be anti-racist.

If you can try to make this work, we highly recommend.  Please share with other staff and faculty who may also be interested.   This workshop can handle 22 people.  Once it’s full, it’s full.  We are grateful to Chaz Howard and the Equity and Social Justice Center for sponsoring this for us.

To RSVP, please complete this very short form by October 4 so we can keep track of all those who wish to attend.   The sooner the better so you can receive all the training materials in a timely manner.  

https://forms.gle/HHJviktS4gfu1WpG6

Once you are confirmed, the facilitators will send you more detailed information. We plan to start confirming participation in the next week.

 
WE-CARE (White Educators Committed to Anti-Racism & Equity) is a group of white faculty and staff at the University of Pennsylvania committed to addressing racial inequities and racism in our communities. As white people, we have a responsibility to challenge white supremacy and engage in collective consciousness-raising around our privileges and biases by taking an active role in our own anti-racist education. To effectively engage in solidarity with BIPOC communities at Penn, we need to consistently study and reflect on our own identities to mobilize, without putting that labor or responsibility on our BIPOC students and colleagues. Our WECARE Discussion Groups are facilitated by trained facilitators to create opportunities for self-reflection, processing, and accountability to become better accomplices in the fight for racial justice.

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Take a class in Bioethics!

The Master of Bioethics program offers classes every fall, spring, and summer — it’s a great way to use tuition benefit. You can find a list of classes here: https://medicalethicshealthpolicy.med.upenn.edu/education-master-in-bioethics/courses. If you have questions about the courses or the Master of Bioethics program, you can call the Program Director, Dr. Autumn Fiester, during her offices hours: 7 AM-9:30 AM, seven days a week, no appointment needed, 609-865-2754.

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Be in the Know returns for wellness in 2022-2023

On-campus Biometric Screenings to Return in the Fall! Following the successful return to our vibrant campus, Penn renews its commitment to the importance of completing a biometric screening. For the 2022-2023 Be in the Know campaign year, you must complete a biometric screening to receive any of your earned rewards.

Learn more here: https://www.hr.upenn.edu/PennHR/wellness-worklife/be-in-the-know

Or, check out this recent Penn Today article about the return of biometric screenings.

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Top 3 Reasons to Bike Penn! New Video from Penn Sustainability

Penn’s Bicycle Commuter Reimbursement Program for eligible staff and faculty: In this video, learn how, for benefits-eligible staff and faculty, commuting by bike to Penn can benefit your health, your wallet, and the environment. On YouTube: https://youtu.be/l438Wr92qBo

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Penn’s Employee Assistance Program is here for you

[Reprinted from an email sent March 8, 2022, to all Penn faculty and staff]

News about current events can be unsettling. You may be looking for ways to work through the stress, anxiety, and concern you are feeling. Penn’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here for you and your families. We also want to share a few tips and additional resources to help you deal with the uncertainties that we face.  

  • Notice your feelings and emotions and when you are feeling uncomfortable.  Paying attention to your emotions can diffuse their intensity.
  • Limit your exposure to media coverage by staying informed but with boundaries, focusing on balanced sources of information.
  • Talk to people with whom you feel safe. This can help you feel more connected and less alone.

If you are a parent or guardian, you may be particularly sensitive to the need for resources to help you talk with your children about war. Penn’s Graduate School of Education recently published the article, Explaining war to children, with six tips for navigating this topic with kids.

Families can also contact Penn’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for help in navigating these challenging times. EAP can provide counseling and referral services to you and your loved ones, as well as connect you to resources to help you work through the grief these events can create. EAP offers materials for coping with traumatic experiences, ways to help those who struggle with feeling safe at school, home, or work, and information for quickly responding to an active shooter situation.

Penn’s EAP

Penn’s EAP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you. Please feel free to contact the EAP at any time.

Call: 1-866-799-2329
Schedule an EAP appointment through Penn Cobalt
Email: EAPinfo@healthadvocate.com
Visit:  Penn Employee Assistance Program website 

Penn’s EAP provides eligible faculty and staff and immediate family members, including your spouse, dependent children, your parents and parents-in-law, access to free, confidential, 24/7 counseling and referral services for personal and professional life issues from any location.

EAP resources for managers include coaching for team challenges, personal or professional, interpersonal issues in the office and critical incident debriefings following a traumatic incident for the organization.

EAP services are available by phone, email, webchat, and video sessions. Health Advocate EAP counselors will connect you with the right experts at the right time: masters level clinicians, work/life specialists, medical bill negotiators, and financial and legal professionals. In addition, Health Advocate offers multi-language capabilities.

Each eligible member can receive up to eight free counseling sessions per distinct problem, per year, from the time of your initial intake. If you exceed this limit, Health Advocate will make every effort to coordinate services with your existing health insurance. You may be referred to your insurance plan for services, where applicable, before your eight sessions are completed if it is determined that your clinical needs require treatment beyond the short-term scope of EAP.

EAP and other support resources are detailed in the MindWell at Penn digital guide.  

You can also visit the behavioral health coverage webpage for more information about behavioral health benefits available through Penn’s medical plans for eligible faculty and staff and enrolled dependents. 

Remember that you are never alone when coping with trauma and anxiety. 

Best, 

Division of Human Resources

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[Recording Available] PPSA presents: Making a Career at Penn

On Wednesday March 2, 2022, PPSA held a roundtable discussion about “making a career at Penn.” Nicole Torsella Harris, SPHR Director, Talent Acquisition and Executive Recruitment, discussed the process of applying for Penn jobs as an internal candidate. A representative from PSOM’s Office of Organizational Effectiveness highlighted some ways that Penn nurtures staff and resources available to Penn employees for leadership training.  Recent professional staff who have transferred roles within the past few months told their stories.

View Event Recording

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Penn GSE presents Leadership for Employee Engagement (June – December 2022)

Engaged employees are critical to the health and vitality of any organization. A Penn GSE certificate in Leadership for Employee Engagement will provide you with strategic tools and frameworks to identify problems and leverage opportunities to strengthen your team and your organization. Earn a certificate in Leadership for Employee Engagement to cultivate organizational culture and enhance employee engagement.

Managers are facing unprecedented challenges, brought about by new work modalities, changing expectations from employees, increased levels of uncertainty, and incredible churn brought on by the “great resignation.” These changes also offer remarkable potential to redefine and reshape organizational culture. In this program, you will explore how to develop and promote a sense of belonging through an engaging, inclusive, productive, and happy organizational culture within the hybrid workplace environment.  

Learn More & Apply

Please visit our Penn GSE Professional Learning website to learn more about other programs at Penn GSE. You may also complete this short signup form to receive future communications from the Penn GSE Center for Professional Learning. 

Have comments or questions?
Please contact us at ProfessionalLearning@gse.upenn.edu.
Penn Graduate School of Education
3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104© 2021
Center for Professional Learning at Penn Graduate School of Education
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Philadelphia City Wage Tax Refund Forms Now Available

Please see below for an update from Penn’s Office of Corporate Tax, Compliance, and Payroll related to Philadelphia City Wage Tax Refunds for 2021. 

Philadelphia City Wage Tax Refund forms are now available on the City of Philadelphia website. Employees claiming a Philadelphia City Wage Tax Refund should complete only one of the following forms:

  • 2021 COVID EZ Request 
  • 2021 Time Worked Outside of Philadelphia

The COVID EZ Request form covers the period from January to August 2021, when all employees were required to work remotely. Philadelphia City Wage Tax should not have been withheld from your paycheck during this time, but if it was, you can use this form to request a refund. 

The Time Worked Outside of Philadelphia form is applicable to nonresident employees who were required to work outside of Philadelphia between September and December 2021. You should also use this form if you were required to work remotely due to COVID during January to August and were required to work remotely for any bona fide business purpose at any time during September to December 2021.

To request a refund, you will need to complete the online form and submit a copy of your W-2 and an Employer Certification on University letterhead with the exact dates you were required to work outside the city. If you are submitting a Time Worked Outside of Philadelphia form, you may also be asked to include a copy of your Telework Agreement, if applicable. The Division of Finance website has guidance for supervisors who are asked to provide Employer Certification. The City has also posted additional information on its blog.

Any refund claim must be filed within three years of the date the tax was paid or due, whichever date is later.

See below for a copy of our original communication to you earlier this month, which includes additional information about the Philadelphia City Wage Tax Refund process.

————————————————————————————

Philadelphia City Wage tax refunds are available for nonresidents of Philadelphia who are required to work outside the City and had Philadelphia City Wage tax withheld from their pay for those days. Philadelphia residents are subject to City Wage tax withholding regardless of where they worked and are not eligible to request a wage tax refund.

January to August 2021 – Depopulation of Campus
If you are a nonresident of Philadelphia and worked remotely during the extended University depopulation from January through August 2021, Philadelphia City Wage tax should not have been withheld from your pay. If your pay slip indicates that Philadelphia City Wage tax was withheld during this period, you may request a refund of your City Wage tax withholding by completing the appropriate form on the City of Philadelphia website when it becomes available this year.  

September to December 2021 – Return to Campus 
Effective September 2021, the University returned to on-campus work. As of that time, remote work for nonresidents – both full and hybrid – became subject to Philadelphia City Wage tax, unless such remote work was required by the University (e.g., no space on campus to work, traveling for business, or working remotely for a bona fide business purpose).

If you are a nonresident of Philadelphia and were required to work outside of the City during September to December 2021 and had Philadelphia City Wage tax withheld, you may request a refund of City Wage tax withholding for those days worked outside of the City by completing the appropriate form on the City of Philadelphia website when it becomes available this year.

Please be aware that for any days worked outside of Philadelphia, the employee may be liable for taxes in other jurisdictions within Pennsylvania or in another state. It is the employee’s responsibility to determine whether they have any such liability, to file the appropriate tax forms, and to make any payments due to such jurisdictions.

Note that as of the time of this communication, the 2021 Wage Tax refund petitions have not yet been published on the City of Philadelphia website. We are monitoring this page and will provide an update and additional information once the forms are available.

Additional information on City Wage Tax refunds, including FAQs and Guidance for Supervisors, is available on the Corporate Tax, Compliance, and Payroll website.

If you have any questions, please contact the Employee Solution Center at solutioncenter@upenn.edu or (215) 898-7372.

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University-Affiliated Organizations and Resources

Reprinted from Penn Human Resources

Penn: A Community of Communities
Even the most independent person works best when they feel a sense of belonging. To paraphrase a famous saying, “no one is an island, entire of itself.” Each person’s identity is a combination of their individuality and their affiliation with groups. To foster that sense of belonging, members of the Penn Community have access to an array of cultural resource centers, professional organizations, and other associations for conversation, support, and activities.

The following link offers a list of University-affiliated organizations and resources. These centers offer more spaces and events for various demographic groups. They also help everyone to better understand and celebrate the different perspectives and commonalities that bring us together.

https://www.hr.upenn.edu/about-hr/news/myhr/myhr/2022/01/26/01262022#ACommunity

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