Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting Minutes

November 15, 2006, 10:30 – 12:00 PM


Present: Jean Hudgins, Dale Atkins, Bettina Cothran, Leanne West, Chuck Donbaugh, John Grovenstein, Michael Chang, and Blair Funderburk


Minutes from the 10/11/2006 Committee Meeting were reviewed and approved.


Old Business

·        Postdoc eligibility for ORP vs. TRS

o       Donbaugh reported that the Provost is supportive of the recommendation and that this has been added to the President’s agenda for his review. Joe Hughes of the Executive Board had some concerns over how this and a similar proposal for GTAA personnel would be considered by the faculty, but Paul Griffith of the Rules Committee did not anticipate any problems. The next step is for the Rules Committee to have two readings before the General Faculty / Academic Senate of the proposed change in faculty status after which a vote may be taken.

·        Review of draft “Maternity Leave and Paternity Tips for Georgia Tech Employees”

o       The Committee reviewed the maternity / paternity tips for employees and offered suggestions. These tips will be available from the OHR homepage (http://www.ohr.gatech.edu/) by selecting “Benefits” from the navigation bar, and then under “Additional Resources,” selecting “FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) Policies and Forms.” As this represents a navigable summary of Georgia Tech’s existing maternity benefits, discussion followed regarding potential new maternity benefits that could be pursued:

§         Grovenstein – some private universities offer special benefits for academic faculty (e.g. almost all, including Tech, will make adjustments to the tenure clock) with some granting additional time off; none give additional benefits to research or nonacademic faculty.

§         West – by employment contingent on sponsored funding and the risk of taking a leave of absence, research faculty are different and, perhaps, in greater need of flexible options regarding maternity. Can this Committee explore options for paid parental leave above and beyond the vacation / sick leave option now used?

§         Cothran – in Germany, parents are granted 4 paid weeks off before the birth of a child and 12 paid weeks after; parents also have an option of taking one year of unpaid leave.

§         Grovenstein – the U. S. is the only developed country without paid maternity / paternity leave. If we want to try to do something in this regard, it might help if we can find a policy at another university (public or private) or in the private sector that we can review. West agreed to look for possible model policies.

o       The Committee concluded by agreeing to consider forming a Maternity Policy Subcommittee, details of which will be discussed at the next meeting.

·        Consideration of Employees of the Athletic Association

o       Donbaugh reported that this action by the OHR to grant certain employees of the GTAA faculty status for the purpose of allowing them to become eligible for the Option Retirement Plan is underway and following a similar process as the plan to grant faculty status to postdocs.  

New Business

·        Report on Benefits Fair and Open Enrollment

o       Grovenstein reported that the benefits fair was very well attended with approximately 800 attending the event. He also reported that open enrollment was progressing well with 462 individuals having already logged on to Techworks and making selections compared with 216 last year at the same point in open enrollment. Lastly, he noted that 41 technical problems with the software had been corrected from the previous year, which should address most of the problems encountered last year.

·        Open discussion on special concerns for international faculty and faculty traveling abroad.

o       Due to time, this discussion was tabled to the next meeting.

Next Meeting

·        The next meeting is scheduled for 12/13/06, 10:30-noon.