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Working at UC:  Rules of the road--many rules, many roads

Depending on your payroll title, the terms and conditions of your University employment may be primarily governed either by UC personnel policies or by a collective bargaining agreement (checked below as appropriate), as well as by federal and state law. Even if you’re union-represented, in matters reserved to management or “passed through” to union members University policies and procedures may still apply.

There’s ample room for confusion! If you’re unsure of the rules and regs, your options or obligations at any point, please contact LHRD or your union representative.

UC Systemwide Personnel Policies & Contracts:

including UC policies for:

Academic Personnel:
 (see also Berkeley Campus Academic Personnel Office:)

Professional & Support Staff:

Senior Management:

Everyone:  Berkeley campus HR website/campus guidelines & procedures

Unions online:
Depending on your payroll title you may be represented by a union or not, without choice. If represented, you’re free to join the union or not: but if you don’t California law directs that an ‘agency fee’, approximating union dues, be deducted from your wages each month, to compensate the union for its services on your behalf.  If you join the union, you may pay regular dues by payroll deduction, instead of the agency fee.

A union representative should contact you in the near future about union membership and activities; or you may contact your union directly.

Directory of union contacts: 

Contract websites: 

AFT/University Council:   Librarians

CUE (Clerical & Allied Services Unit) 
CUE homepage:

UPTE (Technical Unit) 
UPTE Directory:

AFSCME (Service Unit)

New Employee Orientation & on-the-job Training

Campus HR manages a one-stop orientation website for New Faculty & Staff, from which you can cut right to many of the nuts & bolts concerns associated with starting (and staying at) work at Cal:

In addition to your LHRD orientation and Library in-service training programs, the campus offers scores of workshops and classes year-round (most free of charge) to help you further your personal health, financial, and career goals. Start with a half-day overview of worklife at Cal, offered biweekly for all new employees:


and continue throughout your career to avail yourself of programs variously sponsored by the HR/Bene-fits and Employee Development & Training Units, University Health Services, and other campus agencies:


Benefits enrollment & help!

UC Benefits’ bencom website where you’ll conduct your online enrollment
is a crossroads of information and links to many insurance and financial information resources:  try to explore it as you go along, and accustom yourself to its ever-expanding menu of self-service, online action options:

When choosing your medical insurance plan, for instance, here’s where you’ll find online “Evidence of Coverage” booklets (details of medical plans’ benefits and procedures)

If the plan you’re interested in isn’t represented, or you find you still have questions the “General Information/ Health & Welfare” menu (yellow “i” button, bencom homepage), opens a directory of insurance plan website links & phone #s:

If you need help finding a Primary Care Physician for yourself or a family member, for one of the HMO medical plans (other than Kaiser) or for UC Care/Tier I, there’s an excellent doctor search tool also an online directory of medical plans’ “formularies” of covered medications as well as general health information at the UC Health Pages, which is linked to bencom’s homepage:

Enrolling in benefits & accessing personal information 

Regardless of collective bargaining status, all UC employees initially exercise their benefits options within the 31-day Period of Initial Eligibility (PIE) in one of two ways.  If you’re new to UC employment (or have been away for a number of years), you’ll enroll via the 24-hour, 7-day automated bencom system, either online at:

or by touch-tone telephone:  1 800 888-8267  (press 1 at the greeting).

You won’t be able to access bencom, however, until your eligible appointment has been registered on the campus’s Employee Database. Please contact LHRD if, after a week or so from your first day of employment, you find that you still cannot access bencom.

Continuing and rehired UC employees (all campuses and labs) choose insurance options by filing paper forms instead, at the campus Payroll Office, 171 University Hall:  MC 1104.  You may turn in your enrollment form at LHRD, if you allow us a few days for transmittal to Payroll; but if you wait till the last minute you should carry your form directly to the Payroll Office, to assure timely enrollment.

You may exercise retirement plan options anytime, once registered on the campus payroll, either by paper form or via the bencom system (above). Before you can begin voluntary contributions to the Tax-Deferred 403(b) payroll savings plan, however, the campus Benefits Office must calculate and post online an initial maximum annual contribution (MAC) limit:  so when you’re ready to start 403(b) contributions the earlier the better! please ask your benefits representative to request a start-up MAC.

Ongoing benefits actions are subject to monthly payroll deadlines (about one week before payday) and to monthly UC Benefits accounting deadlines.

See your Beyond the Fringe Benefits pamphlet, or ask your HR representative, about UC

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