Previously, we referenced how the My AmeriCorps Portal can be used as a member recruitment tool. However, the Portal primarily functions as a member management tool used throughout AmeriCorps service year. All members must be enrolled and assigned to a service location or operating site in My AmeriCorps within 5 days of signing their member agreement.
Members should have a My AmeriCorps account which will provide them with online access to a variety of features and several frequently requested documents. Member use of My AmeriCorps alleviates some of the administrative burden from the program staff and provides members with a sense of ownership over their service experience.
Note: All information entered into the My AmeriCorps Portal should match information contained within the member file. If updates or changes are made, they should be documented in both locations.
Details and instructional tutorials on how to use My AmeriCorps are available at http://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/americorps/myamericorps-support-americorps-state-commissions-and-sub-grantees-egrants-0.
During the program year there may be cause to change the status of a member’s term of service. Program Directors are responsible for notifying the Corporation’s National Service Trust via the My AmeriCorps Portal within 30 days of a member’s completion of, suspension from, or release from, a term of service per the most recently updated Terms & Conditions for AmeriCorps State and National Grants .
Here is some service status jargon with which Program Directors should become familiar:
In-Service: After enrollment is complete in My AmeriCorps, a member’s status is listed as “in-service.” This indicates that the member is actively completing their service hours as required. Members will remain in-service until an authorized party makes a change through that system.
Member Leave: Members are not employees and thus are not entitled to the traditional sense of what most would consider vacation, holiday or sick time. However, all programs should plan accordingly and design their programs to accommodate “member leave” — occasions when members must be absent from service. The number of days of leave permitted will vary with each program. Members must adhere to the policies of their specific service sites. Program Directors should establish a clear system for members to make and document a leave request and explain those procedures to members as early as possible. Members should not record zero hours of service during any allowance pay period. Note: Unless the member is suspended (see below), the member must still receive their normal living allowance. (See Living Allowance.)
Suspension: Suspension is defined as any extended period during which the member is not serving, accumulating service hours or receiving AmeriCorps benefits.
Suspension can be used as both a disciplinary action against a member who has violated the terms of their member agreement (as outlined in the grievance procedure and member contract) and a means to address extenuating circumstances in the life of member who has otherwise performed satisfactorily.
Under personal and compelling circumstances (as determined by the Program Director and/or Site Supervisor), a member may be suspended for up to two years from the date of suspension. It is advised that Program Directors document the rationale behind a member suspension, and retain it within the member’s secured file.
Exit: AmeriCorps members can be exited for two reasons: (1) they successfully completed their term of service and (2) they did/could not satisfy program requirements and were released from service. Programs must provide members with sufficient opportunity to complete their terms of service. They must also notify the National Service Trust via the My AmeriCorps Portal within 30 days of a member’s end of service. Members should be urged to complete the optional Member Exit Survey that accompanies the Member Exit Form regardless of whether they exit service at completion or before.
If a member is exited without an education award prior to completing 30% of their term, that member’s position is eligible to be refilled. Positions where a member was exited for personal and compelling circumstances may not be refilled. Also, programs may not refill the same position more than once.
To ensure that Corporation resources are available in the National Service Trust, CCCS will not permit refilling of any position if either:
- total program enrollment reaches 97% of the awarded positions; or
- the number of position refills reaches 5% of the awarded positions.
Details and instructional tutorials on how to use My AmeriCorps are available at http://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/americorps/myamericorps-support-americorps-state-commissions-and-sub-grantees-egrants-0
For further guidance on member status and refilling positions, programs should consult their CCCS Program Officer.
Circumstances may arise within a program that necessitate changing the term of service of a currently enrolled member. Note that once a member is exited with a partial education award, the remaining portion of that education award is not available for use. All position conversations must be completed via the My AmeriCorps Portal. Below you will find CNCS guidance on the topic. For further information, please contact your CCCS Program Officer.
Full-time members. State Commissions and Parent Organizations may authorize or approve occasional changes of currently enrolled full-time members to less than full-time members. Impact on program quality should be factored into approval of requests. The Corporation will not cover health care or childcare costs for less than full-time members. It is not allowable to transfer currently enrolled full-time members to a less than full-time status simply to provide a less than full-time education award.
Less than full-time members. Changing less than full-time members to full-time is discouraged, as it is very difficult to manage, unless done very early in the member’s term of service. State Commissions and Parent Organizations may authorize or approve such changes so long as their current budget can accommodate the changes. Keep in mind that a member’s minimum 1700 hours must be completed within 12 months of the member’s original start date.