Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting

Minutes, February 14, 2005

2:30 – 4:00

 

The following committee members were present: Michael Chang, Chuck Donbaugh, Michael Elliott, Blair Funderburk, Heather Gorman, John Grovenstein, Jean Hudgins, and Gayle Warren.

ORH Strategic Plan

The OHR is developing a 2004-2008 Strategic Plan for classified employees and faculty. The major elements are as follows:

§         Making Tech a great place to work

o       accommodating an international work force

o       enhancing the self-service program

o       strengthening the work/family focus

o       building the best morale

§         Beating the competition

o       research faculty on-line employment application process

o       proactive recruiting program

o       revamping compensation strategies for more competitive market positioning

o       capturing retiree talents and availability

§         Providing personnel information, on demand and on target

o       converting record system to digital format

o       developing data/activity reporting for Tech and select constituencies

§         Creating real world job competencies

o       online testing through QWIZ

o       OOD training programs

o       succession plan model for organizations

o       evaluate job description philosophy, process and product

o       re-visiting “job exchange” program

OHR is looking for feedback from the Benefits Committee on issues associated with benefits, as well as feedback on how to best address the faculty and staff audience.

We will discuss the Strategic Plan at our March meeting.

Child Care and Quality of Life

Bright Horizons is currently under contract to run Tech’s child care center. Tech owns the building and can support 120 children. Tech splits the slots with Home Park residents on a 80-20% split.

Tech subsidized capital costs for the center, by paying for the building. Kurt Landen, a retired insurance company philanthropist, helped get the center started.

It costs $190 per month to go to the center, which is at the market rate. Given the subsidy and the fact the Bright Horizons is nonprofit, the monthly rate allows the center to provide higher quality care.

Currently, there are 179 children on the waiting list. It is hardest for infants, partly because the child-to-staffing ratio for infants is 6 to 1. At many centers, it costs $50 to put your name on the list, so parents-to-be may put their name on too few lists.

Info on the center is provided on the Bright Horizon web site. The contract is up for renewal.

In addition, the Graduate Living Center has space for a 100-child child care center.

Tech is somewhat unusual in that it has constructed its own centers. Other schools, such as Duke, UPenn and Johns Hopkins, contract out to 10 to 15 different sites. Also, Tech is trying to link the center to after school and summer programs.

OHR has organized a committee to review child care and other quality of life issues. It will have representatives of faculty, parents who uses child care, grad students, and the Benefits Committee. Heather Gorman will serve as the Benefits Committee rep on this ad hoc committee.

How might we better help Tech employees and students find child care, especially given the shortage of open slots. Emory hires a consultant to work with parents and parents-to-be find child care and explain the process.

Compensation

Classified employees compensation plan will be coming out soon. We now have had three years of no salary adjustments. Coupled with increasing health care costs, salaries have dropped. We are slipping in various markets.

The Benefits Committee will review issues of compensation at our March meeting.

Living Wage

The committee discussed concerns about offering workers a living wage. We thought it would potentially be of concern to custodians, utility workers and potentially public safety officers (although there officers has received increases over the past few years).

How should we be evaluating compensation?

§         wages compared to last year?

§         wages compared to local market?

§         wages compared to concept of Living Wage?

Problems of defining a living wage include the difficulty of specifying what such a wage might be in a locality, and the impact of benefits on the adequacy of wages.

Michael Chang offered to look into the question of how living wages are defined. He will look at the Chronicle of Higher Education and other sources. He will also talk to Jim Rolen, Director of Compensation at Tech.

Retirees

Most of the benefits received by retirees are managed by the BOR, including TRS, health care, and life insurance. Tech manages benefits associated with access to Tech, such as the BuzzCard for access to the library and recreation center.

OHR has become more interested in building a stronger relationship with retirees, both because Tech may increasingly need to tap retirees as a labor pool, and because they offer potential advantages as mentors and workers. TRS allows retirees to work at 49% of their previous salary, plus pension. Currently, most employees who continue to work at Tech are in GTRI. Approximately 300 to 400 retirees are working or have worked at Tech.

What kind of compensation would encourage retirees to work?

We noted a tension between the advantages of extending the working life of faculty and staff as teachers, mentors and consultants, and the disadvantages of letting younger workers rise in the organization.

OHR would like to conduct a survey to select academic, admin and support units about current practices for employing retirees, as well as to retirees to understand what they are doing and why. Chuck will draft a questionnaire for review by the Benefits Committee in April. For now, John will provide more details on the number of retirees currently employed by Tech, the date they retired and their job title.

Work/Life Issues

Chuck has a sub-committee looking into these issues, and trying to make sense of the whole range of issues. Chuck will email the report to me, and we will discuss this in March.

Sabbaticals

No one has conducted their interviews. We will hold this discussion over until March. Jean will conduct the Library interview.

403b

Tech is considering switching to a single administrator, whether this is required by the IRS proposed changes to 403b plans or not. Three firms have discussed serving this role with Tech: TIAA-CREF, Fidelity and Valic. We will discuss this in May.

Next Meeting

The remaining meetings will be held on Mondays, from 2:30 to 4:00, on the following dates: March 14th, April 11th, and May 9th.