• U.S. Department of Energy
  • Fermilab

Contact

Section Head:
Kay Van Vreede x3396

Deputy Head
Barbara Brooks x5021

Administrative Support Assistant:
Christine Johnson x3381

Facsimile 630-840-6654
Section Office WH15SW

Senior Safety Officer:
Dave Esterquest x4604

WDRS - FAQs


Section Office

I've started a job outside of Fermilab? What do I need to do?

Complete an Outside Employment/Consulting form. The information and form are located at:
/section/out_employ_form.pdf

I'm acting as a consultant for another organization but I am not being compensated. Do I still have to fill out an Outside Employment/Consulting form?

Yes

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Human Resources

Having trouble finding how to contact?

Please see Who Does What in HR for more information.

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Employee Benefits

When can I make changes to my benefit elections?

You may make changes to your medical, dental and/or flexible spending account elections during annual enrollment or when you experience a qualified status change. Changes to life insurance elections may be made any time, but are subject to special rules. For additional information, please review the Life Status Change Process on the Employee Benefits website at http://wdrs.fnal.gov/benefits/LifeStatus.html

In which benefit plans am I enrolled?

You may view your benefit enrollment using FermiWorks.

Where can I find benefits plan details?

The Benefits Office has several documents that can be useful in understanding your benefit plans, including Summary Plan Descriptions for each plan. You will find these documents on our web site at: http://wdrs.fnal.gov/benefits/index.html.

When am I eligible to enroll in the Fermilab Supplemental Retirement Plan (403(b))?

If you meet the eligibility requirements you may begin participation in the Supplemental Retirement Plan (403(b)) on your first day of employment. For additional information regarding plan enrollment, review the 403(b) enrollment process at http://wdrs.fnal.gov/benefits/403b.html.

When am I eligible to participant in the 401(a) Retirement Plan for Employees of FRA?

Each eligible employee may participate in the plan on the first of the month after completing two years of service. For additional information about Retirement Plan Savings Accounts, visit the Employee Benefits website at http://wdrs.fnal.gov/benefits/retirement_savings.html

What is the difference between the two retirement plans?

The Supplemental Retirement Plan allows you to make your own contributions up to the IRS maximums. You may make your contributions on a pre-tax or post-tax basis. FRA contributes 10% of your base pay to the 401(a) plan on your behalf.

How do I verify who I chose as my beneficiaries for my life insurance and/or retirement plans?

Life Insurance Beneficiaries
Life Insurance beneficiary information can be viewed or changed through FermiWorks.

Retirement Savings Plan Beneficiaries
Beneficiary information for the retirement plans is maintained by the Investment Managers. If you want to confirm or change your 401(a) beneficiary, contact TIAA-CREF directly at 1-800-842-2273 or www.tiaa-cref.org. If you want to confirm or change your 403(b) beneficiary, contact your 403(b) administrator. The contact information is below.

TIAA-CREF

1-800-842-2273

www.tiaa-cref.org

Fidelity

1-800-343-0860

www.fidelity.com

Dreyfus

1-800-358-0910

www.dreyfus.com

T. Rowe Price

1-800-492-7670

www.troweprice.com

I am thinking about retiring. What should I do?

You will find resources about retirement and phased retirement on the Benefits web site at: http://wdrs.fnal.gov/benefits/retirement_planning.html.

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Systems and Records

How do I get a Self Service account?

The Self Service function will allow you to view a significant portion of your electronic employment and payroll record.
Go to: https://hrweb.fnal.gov:8021/psp/FermiSelfServicePRD click on the "Employee Self Service" site link and then click on "forgot your password" to open an account.

How do I review my Personnel File?

Call the Records Office at ex 3324 to make an appointment, or view your FermiWorks profile.

How do I change my home address, mail station, or phone extension?

Log-in to FermiWorks.

Who should my mortgage company contact for employment verification? Who should I contact for employment verification letters?

Call the Records Office. Phone 630-840-3324 or fax request to 630-840-2306.

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Users Office

What is administrative processing? Can you do anything to speed up the processing time?

"Administrative processing" is a term used for a series of security checks that might be required when a person applies for a U.S. visa. Please see the "Visa Processing and Security Clearances" section of the Visa Office page at /visas/visa_apps.html and /users/consular_clear.html.

What do I need to do to be authorized to attend a workshop/conference/presentation onsite?

You must register with the organizing committee (see registration details in event announcement) both for site access and event attendance purposes. In most cases, you do not need a formal Fermilab ID Badge. If you need to obtain or renew a Fermilab ID Badge for reasons other than the conference or workshop, then we recommend that you do this as much before your event as possible, as our office will be extremely busy during that time. See /users/fermi_badges.html for more information.

My affiliation has changed. Do I have to do something to update my Badge?

If you have changed institutions, Fermilab collaboration, or visa status, you must contact the Users Office (usersoffice@fnal.gov) to report the change. The Users Office staff will advise you whether you will need a new ID Badge.

I lost my ID badge. What do I do?

First, tell your supervisor (if you have one onsite) of the loss. Then, contact the Key & ID Office (x 4506) to report the loss and obtain further information/instructions.

Is there a map of Fermilab? How do I get around?

A map of Fermilab is at http://www.fnal.gov/pub/visiting/map/site.html. You can get around the Fermilab site by car, bicycle, or an onsite taxi service that runs during normal business hours. Please note that the Illinois "Rules of the Road" are strictly enforced on site plus some peculiar to Fermilab. See Traffic Safety (FESHM Chapter 9010): http://esh-docdb.fnal.gov/cgi-bin/ShowDocument?docid=432

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Visa Office

What is administrative processing? Can you do anything to speed up the processing time?

"Administrative processing" is a term used for a series of security checks that might be required when a person applies for a U.S. visa. Please see Visa Processing and Security Clearances. /visas/visa_apps.html and /users/consular_clear.html .

Fermilab is sponsoring my (J-1/H-1B/other) visa. When should I expect to hear about this?

Fermilab's Visa Office processes all visa-related paperwork both for Fermilab's employees and users. We prioritize our workload based on the needs of the department/experiment, and relevant deadlines. Our first notice of an individual's need for visa-related paperwork is our receipt of the invitation/offer letter for that person. We also must receive a copy of the individual's acceptance of the offer or invitation (such as by cc on the email). Our first step to begin processing the paperwork is to issue a login and password to the individual. These come via two emails from "donotreply@welcomeclient.com". The first email is entitled "Welcome [individual's name]". The second email is entitled "Information You Requested." Some spam and other filters move these emails to Spam folders, so this would be the first place to check if you feel too much time has passed without contact from the Visa Office. Fermilab's Visa Office uses an online case management system to securely collect all the information and documentation we need. When you log into the online system, you will see a menu to the left that lists "Questionnaires" and "Required Documents". Please complete all the questionnaires (we really do need answers to all questions) and scan and upload all required documents. You must not email the documents to the Visa Office as this violated Department of Energy rules about the transmission of Personally Identifying Information. If you do not have access to a scanner, please fax the documents to 630-840-3688. Once the Visa Office collects all necessary information and documents, we finalize the visa-related paperwork. How long this takes depends, in part, on how quickly the questionnaires are answered and documents provided.

How long does it take to receive my paperwork so that I can apply for my visa at the U.S. Consulate?

H-1B/O-1 Requires Form I-797A Notice of Approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). USCIS takes either 15 days (if expedited processing is requested) or roughly 4 months (under normal processing) to issue such approvals. Preparation of the petition for filing with the USCIS can take between 2 and 6 weeks, depending on the hiring manager and new employee.
J-1 Form DS-2019, issued by the Visa Office
Form DS-7002, also, if coming as a J-1 Intern
Regulations set out the required documentation and information needed before the Visa Office may issue the DS-2019 (and DS-7002, when applicable). Answering ALL the questionnaires online is critical. Our processing of the paperwork depends in part on our overall workload, but usually is done within 2 weeks.
TN Adjudication of TN status is done by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at a port-of-entry (airport or land border) during admission. Preparation of the petition by the Visa Office can take between 2 and 6 weeks, depending on the hiring manager and new employee.

I am in F-1 OPT status. My visa has expired. What do I need to do if I travel outside of the country?

OPT (Optional Practical Training) is an extension of F-1 status while within the U.S. However, the Employment Authorization Card you receive to demonstrate your work authorization during OPT cannot be used as a travel document. A valid and unexpired visa stamp is needed for re-admission. Many Consulates refuse to issue F-1 visa stamps to individuals on OPT because many of the required elements for F-1 status can no longer be proven. To be eligible for an F-1 visa stamp, the applicant must prove that s/he has a residence outside the U.S., funds for his/her support, ties to a country outside the U.S., and no intention to remain in the U.S. following the completion of the F-1 studies. Usually, a person engaged in OPT has not been to his/her home country in a very long time. The typical F-1 OPT student has strong ties to the U.S., including employment that probably is intended to continue past the end of the OPT, but few ties if any to the home country. As a result, when an OPT student applies for a F-1 visa, many (but not all) Consulates will deny the application on the basis that the person no longer can demonstrate eligibility for the F-1 classification. Fermilab recommends that OPT students who need to travel for business purposes be changed to H-1B or J-1 status (as appropriate) prior to the travel. The individual then must apply for an H-1B or J-1 visa stamp while abroad.

My visa has expired, and my passport will be expiring. I intend to renew my passport, but will that cancel out and void my visa status?

No. Your status in the U.S. is demonstrated by the I-94 Arrival/Departure Document available on CBP website. Your I-94 should be removed from your old passport before you submit your application for a new passport. When you receive your new passport, you may staple your I-94 into it.

How long will it take me for me to get the visa stamp in my passport after the visa interview?

The length of time involved in the issuance of a visa stamp depends greatly on which consulate is processing the application, the time of year, and the political environment generally. The U.S. Department of State posts the "Visa Wait Times" on its site. This is broken down into the time involved to get an interview, and the time involved for the consulate to issue the visa stamp after the interview.
Because your career involved High Energy Physics, and because you are visiting Fermilab, there is a risk that administrative processing will be ordered, which delay visa issuance. In general, visas for Fermilab users and employees, where the application is not subject to administrative processing, are issued within 1 to 4 weeks.

I would like to become a permanent resident. What do I need to do?

In the U.S., permanent residence is obtained most often through either family relationships, or employment. Fermilab sponsors qualifying employees for employment-based permanent residence. Complete explanations of the process are in the Visa Office's website.

I am in J-1 visa status. The Consulate told me that I am subject to the home residence requirement. What does that mean?

U.S. law requires certain people to return for an aggregate of 2 years to either (a) their country of nationality or, (b) the country of last residence, following the completion of a J-1 program. A detailed explanation of this, and the process by which it is "waived" if necessary, is included in the Visa Office website.

I want to come to the U.S. early. How far in advance before my planned activities may I arrive?

Individuals with J-1 visas may arrive up to 30 days before or after the start of their "programs" as indicated on their DS-2019s. Individuals with H-1B or O-1 visas may arrive in the U.S. up to 10 days before the start of their activities, as indicated on their visa stamps.

My visa stamp in my passport has expired. What should I do?

The visa stamped in your passport only needs to be valid when you apply for admission (or re-admission) to the US. If you are not planning to travel outside the U.S., you may remain here legally and "in status" even with an expired visa stamp. If you must travel outside the U.S., though, you must apply for a new visa stamp before seeking admission to the U.S. again. Before doing so, it is important to consider whether you may apply for the same visa classification, or whether a new visa classification is more appropriate. Please contact the Visa Office before making any such travel plans.

How do I keep in legal status while in the U.S.?

Maintaining lawful status in the U.S. is very important. All non-U.S. citizens at Fermilab are assigned a "host" when they first arrive. You must tell both the Visa Office and your host of any changes to your visa status or plans to travel outside the U.S. In addition:
For J-1 visa status holders: Immediately upon arrival in the U.S., you must check in with the Visa Office (Wilson Hall, 15th Floor, West). Delays in meeting with the Visa Office potentially can cause problems with you J-1 visa status or paperwork. During your orientation meeting, the Visa Office reviews Fermilab's J-1 Program rules, which include advising the Visa Office within 10 days of any residential move, of any other significant changes in your activities, and of any departures from the U.S. Compliance with our Program Rules will ensure that you remain legally in status. In addition, you must follow the local, state and federal laws of the U.S.
For H-1B, O-1 and TN visa status holders: On your first day of employment/activities at Fermilab, you must meet with the Visa Office. Delays in meeting with the Visa Office potentially can cause problems with you J-1 visa status or paperwork. You also must engage only in the activities that were initially described to the Visa Office as the purpose for your visit. These also are listed in the Form I-129 petition prepared for your case. You cannot work or engage in work-like activities for any other organization in the U.S. If significant changes in your activities, hours, or locations occur, you must tell the Visa Office so that we can ensure that these changes are authorized. You also must keep us advised of any plans to travel outside the U.S.

Where do I go for more information about my visa status?

The Visa Office has extensive information on the Visa Office website about J-1 and H-1B visa status, about visa processing at Consulates, and about permanent residence. We also have a glossary of immigration terms for your convenience. We encourage you to look through these online resources. If you have a question that is not answered, please contact us.

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Professional Development

How do I register for a class?

You can enroll via the Office for Professional and Organization Development website. Find the class you want to take and click on it. That will take you to a webpage with more information about the class and area where you can enroll. You can also enroll by contacting Karen Karlix at x4365.

How do I withdraw from a class?

If you enrolled via TRAIN (or the Office for Professional and Organization Development's website) you can withdraw from the class using the following link. Once you have been directed to the TRAIN Class Schedule website, go to "Select a Training Category" and choose the type of training for the class that you wish to drop (e.g., Management, Computer or Professional Development) and hit the submit button. That will direct you to a page that lists all the types of training for that training category. Look in the upper right corner of the screen for the "Drop a Class" button. Click the button and follow the instructions. If somebody else enrolled you, they can withdraw you at the link cited above. You can also contact Karen Karlix at x4365 and request to be withdrawn. Please be aware that for most classes you will be charged the full class fee if you withdraw within 10 business days of the start of class.

How do I get an advance for my courses through the Tuition Assistance Program?

You need to fill out the Degree Approval Form, have your supervisor approve it, and submit it to The Office for Professional and Organization Development at MS 124 before you enroll in any courses. After you have done so, you are eligible to register for classes.

At that point, complete a Tuition Assistance request form, have your supervisor approve it and then submit it to The Office for Professional and Organization Development at MS 124. When you have completed the course, you will also be requested to submit a "zero balance statement" and your grade as described in the Tuition Assistance Program policy.

For undergraduate courses you must earn a "C" grade or better in order to qualify for tuition assistance. All graduate level courses or higher must be completed with a grade of "B" or higher to qualify for tuition assistance.

In order to receive reimbursement for your textbooks, you must submit to MS 124 your original book receipts and a class syllabus with your name attached that states which books are required for the course.

Co-op students and employees who have been at the lab for less than six months are not eligible for tuition advances. They should follow the steps described above to qualify for reimbursement.

I'm currently enrolled in courses through the Tuition Assistance Program. How do I "withdraw," "drop" or "drop and add" a new course?

A) If you either "withdraw" or "drop a course," you are responsible for repaying the advance immediately. To do this, complete the Course Change Form and ask your supervisor or group leader to sign the form. Then contact Karen Karlix, Tuition Assistance Administrator at x4365 for specific instructions on repayment.

If you "drop and add a new course," complete the Course Change Form in the same manner and submit it to the Professional Development Office at MS 124.

What happens if I resign or the Laboratory terminates my employment before I complete the course(s) I'm enrolled in.

If you resign or are terminated, you must repay the advance together with any book and fee charges before you leave the Laboratory. Contact the Tuition Assistance Administrator, Karen Karlix at x4365 to make repayment arrangements.

What portion of the FMP series do I need to complete?

All new managers and supervisors are required to complete the six courses that comprise the Fermilab Management Practices Seminar. FMP is highly recommended for experienced managers as well.

How do I reserve a classroom at the Training Center?

To submit a request, use the MS Outlook Calendar to invite a “New Meeting” in the room or use the request form. Or, contact Karen Karlix at x4365 to make a reservation. You can view the schedule for the computer training room here. The schedule for the large training room can be viewed here.

How do I request a course that is not on the schedule?

You can request a course by completing and submitting a New Class Form.

I have identified a vendor for a course I would like to have scheduled on-site. How can your department help me?

We can work with the vendor to arrange for the class to be taught on-site. We will handle the purchase requisition and scheduling with the vendor; work with you and the vendor to tailor the course to your needs if necessary; set up the class in the TRAIN system and create on-line registration. We will make all classroom arrangements by setting up the classroom with training materials and be available to help with issues that might arise during class. Please contact Barbara Brooks at x5021 if you would like to schedule an on-site class.

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Diversity/EEO/EAP

Are there summer internship opportunities for high school students?

Yes, there is the TARGET program. For more information see: /eeo/TargetFactSheet.pdfgov

How can I learn more about internships for undergraduates?

Go to http://sist.fnal.gov

How can I get in touch with the Employee Assistance Program?

Kathy Burke, 630-840-3591, Employee Resource Systems, Inc. 1-800-292-2780

What does it mean when I get a notice of underutilization regarding an opening?

Utilization statistics are calculated on a lab-wide basis every month. Each job opening is evaluated against the total Lab statistics and not against the individual department where the position exists. The notice encourages the hiring manager to work with the recruiter and consider minorities/women in the candidates invited for interviews.

To whom do I speak to regarding perceived discrimination or harassment?

Sandra Charles, scharles@fnal.gov, 630-840-4574

What is the Diversity Council and how can I get involved?

The structure of the Diversity Council is on WDRS website. An email to Sandra Charles, scharles@fnal.gov, can start a dialogue to determine where your talents and interests can be best utilized.

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Children's Center

Is there a waiting list?

Sometimes. It often depends on the age of the child. You can find out whether there is a space by calling the center at X3762 or e-mail daycare@fnal.gov.

Do you accept children whose parents are not affiliated with Fermilab?

No, the child must have a parent, step-parent, foster parent or grandparent who is a Fermilab employee, visitor, or contractor.

How do I enroll my child at the center?

Access the Benefits enrollment section in FermiWorks. You may also contact the center at X3762 or e-mail daycare@fnal.gov. The day care administration will set up a time for you to visit the center, meet the teachers and pick up necessary paperwork if you have not already printed it from the website.

Do you accept part-time students and if I enroll my child part-time, can I switch their days each week?

Yes, we accept part-time students. As long as we have space, we accommodate most schedules though the schedule must be consistent from week to week. We do not switch days unless the change is a permanent change. If you need an additional day, we may be able to accommodate your request though you will be charged for an additional day that week. Please talk with the Day Care administration if you need additional time.

When is payment due and what form of payment is accepted?

At the beginning of the month, a bill for the current month is sent home. If you are a Fermilab employee, you may sign up for payroll deduction and have the amount deducted from your paycheck. Visitors, contractors and Fermilab employees who do not sign up for payroll deduction pay with check or charge card by the date printed on the monthly bill.

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Wellness

How much is a gym membership?

Please review the membership form for pricing. 1 Day Free Trial Available Upon Request.

How do I register for a class?

Forms available in Wilson Hall, Wellness Office, 15th floor West, or online at: http://wdrs.fnal.gov/wellness/classes.html

How do I obtain a pool pass?

Forms available in Wilson Hall, Wellness Office, 15th floor West or online at: http://wdrs.fnal.gov/wellness/pool.html

What forms of payment do you take?

Cash, Check, VISA or MasterCard

Where do I find what's offered through the Wellness Office?

Visit the Wellness website at: http://wdrs.fnal.gov/wellness/index.html, Monthly Wellness Posters on area bulletin boards, and Wilson Hall Cafeteria Table Tents.

Where is the gym?

Located in the Village at 16 Pottawatomi.

What are the gym hours?

Gym is available via badge access 24/7 with a paid gym membership.

What kind of equipment is available at the gym?

Full size gym, exercise room, cardio equipment (treadmills, elliptical, arc trainer, steppers, bikes, versa climber, and rowing machine), free weights, strength training machines, and locker rooms complete with showers.

What kind of employee clubs are there?

Check out the website for details: http://wdrs.fnal.gov/wellness/clubs.html

What athletic leagues are available at Fermilab?

Check out the website for details: http://wdrs.fnal.gov/wellness/leagues.html

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