The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Reassessing Your Institution’s EAP: Steps for HR Pros to Increase Awareness and Accessibility

by Lakyn Whaley

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are nothing new. In fact, 97 percent of large employers offer an EAP as part of their benefits package. Yet, the utilization rate of these programs is abysmally low, clocking in at an average of less than 5 percent even as concerns around mental health continue to grow. EAPs should be a key resource for struggling employees, so why isn’t anybody using them? Read how HR can help remove barriers to access and improve EAP usage.

2022 Data: Changes in Higher Ed Pay and Workforce Size


CUPA-HR has released its data on overall higher ed pay increases, as well as changes in workforce size for 2021-22. The data show that higher ed pay increases have not kept pace with inflation and overall workforce size has declined in the wake of the pandemic.

DHS Extends I-9 Flexibility Guidance Through October


On April 25, the Department of Homeland Security announced another extension of the Form I-9 compliance flexibilities that was initially granted in 2020. The guidance was set to expire on April 30 but has now been extended through October 31, 2022.

Uncovering Workplace Barriers by Auditing the DEI Experience


Detecting bias can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to long-standing practices that are firmly rooted in our campus culture and systems. Left unchecked, these routine practices may create unintended barriers to inclusion and belonging. In the recent CUPA-HR virtual workshop, “Detecting Systemic Bias in Talent Practices,” presenters discussed methods higher ed HR practitioners can use to pinpoint these barriers to inclusion. One method is to audit the DEI experience at your institution by reflecting on the following questions to determine who is present, who is participating and who holds the power.

HR and the Courts


This month, CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard provides details on cases including an assistant professor awarded $3 million for past and future emotional distress resulting from her tenure denial based on her sex and pregnancies, a New York state court system terminating 103 unvaccinated employees for failure to adhere to the court system’s vaccine mandate, the dismissals of two discrimination claims brought by a student intern and a non-citizen, and more.

Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act Signed Into Law


On March 15, President Biden signed into law the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act of 2022. The legislation reauthorizes all current VAWA grant programs through 2027 and was included in the omnibus appropriations package, which provided $1.5 trillion to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2022.

President Biden Nominates Kalpana Kotagal to Serve as EEOC Commissioner


On April 1, President Biden announced his intention to nominate Kalpana Kotagal to serve as a commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If confirmed, Kotagal would give the EEOC Democratic control for the first time under the Biden administration, as she would fill the seat currently held by Janet Dhillon, a Republican appointee whose term expires on July 1.

DOL to Host Regional Listening Sessions for Proposed Overtime Rule Regulations


In the Biden administration’s fall 2021 regulatory agenda, the Department of Labor (DOL)’s Wage and Hour Division announced that it planned to release in April 2022 a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking changing criteria for the “executive, administrative and professional” exemptions from the overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In May and June, the DOL will host five regional listening sessions allowing stakeholders to discuss the anticipated proposed rule aimed at changing the exemptions to the federal overtime pay requirements.

House Passes Bipartisan Retirement Savings Bill


On March 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2954, the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 414-5. The bill includes many provisions to boost individual retirement savings and expand coverage to better access retirement savings programs.

Tools to Build a Harassment-Free Higher Ed Workplace


Sexual violence is a multi-faceted and difficult topic. Higher ed institutions either enter the conversation before an event of sexual violence has occurred or after it has occurred, leaving the institution scrambling for answers to the campus community as to why it happened in the first place. As part of upcoming Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), we’re highlighting some CUPA-HR resources that share first-hand experiences from some higher ed institutions and the strategies and trainings they’ve used to respond to and approach the topic of sexual violence on campus.


The CUPA-HR office will be closed Fridays through August 19.