Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting Minutes
March 30, 2006, 9:00 – 10:30 AM, OHR
Present: Jean Hudgins, Dale Atkins, Bettina Cothran, Bill Ballard, Chuck Donbaugh, John Grovenstein, Michael Chang, and Michael Elliott
o Donbaugh met with the Provost who responded in favor of postdocs being made part of the general faculty. Next step: the Provost will discuss this with the Deans, but he would like a written recommendation from the Faculty Benefits Committee. Donbaugh to draft letter and circulate to committee. For the purposes of drafting the recommendation letter, the following lists were generated
1) they would become eligible for the Optional Retirement Plan (and no longer “required mandatory” participation in TRS for which they are unlikely to use),
2) Georgia Tech may gain a recruitment benefit (essentially postdocs would be getting a 10% increase in pay because contributions by Tech to their retirement plan would be vested), and
3) this would bring Tech inline with other peer institutions that already provide such benefits to postdocs.
None noted at the level of the Institute and below.
Rate of accrual of vacation time by postdocs would change from 10 hours per month to 14 hours per month.
o Discussion ensued over whether a change in postdoc faculty status can be done wholly administratively, or if it must require a change of the Institute bylaws and thus, General Faculty approval.
· MetLife Voluntary Benefits offering
o In March MetLife rolled out a Supplementary Life Insurance offering to Georgia Tech employees. OHR reported that several members of the faculty reported difficulty in finding the relevant information on the MetLife website and that the overall impression of the MetLife experience was unfavorable. Some concerns reported were that: a) the site was not accessible to employees located outside of the country, b) the directions required very close scrutiny, and c) information such as the “health” questions and premium rates were not readily available. A noted comment from OHR was that “MetLife misrepresented themselves,” and “[we] are not happy with a company that is not going to help us deliver their product.”
o On March 8, OHR and several Committee members met with MetLife representatives. Here MetLife provided an overview of the additional voluntary benefits that they could provide (e.g. car and home owners insurance). Overall, there was agreement that this is a good idea and OHR is encouraged to continue negotiating with the vendors (MetLife or otherwise) and demand the highest standards. Specific issues:
§ Tech has an IT backup and may not be able to setup payroll deduction right way; MetLife seemed to be very frustrated about this and unwilling to work with us on a temporary “work-around.” The big challenge here is that there are some products in the voluntary offerings with rates that can vary at frequencies more than once per year (e.g. car insurance where drivers change, vehicles change, etc…). OHR is insistent that Tech not rush through this and to implement it correctly.
§ MetLife should make improvements to their online enrollment for the Supplemental Life Insurance plan before we move forward with considering their other products. If they can’t or won’t (and even if they can and do), we should consider other vendors (e.g. Liberty Mutual) though it is noted that MetLife is the largest, and thus likely offers the most products and likely are to offer the most competitive rates.
· Wireless Phone Discounts
o Elliot mentioned that a little known benefit for all Tech employees, is that everyone is eligible to receive the same discount on wireless phone services that the Institute receives.
o Currently, employees can get a form at www.procurement.gatech.edu, go to “forms” and select “wireless contracts” (the last choice in the menu). After filling out the form, email it to the appropriate vendor with current phone number & address; vendor will then apply the discount to the service charge (i.e. not on the minutes). Elliot noted that this works, but it is difficult for employees to discover on their own.
o Elliot suggested that Techworks include a link called “Access to cellphone discounts” and make it clearly visible and informative. OHR concurred and suggested the Committee invite Judy Whitfield or Vera Tillman to a future meeting to discuss this and other ways in which Techworks can be made more useful.
· Remaining issues to be considered by this Committee in this AY
o We should conduct our annual compensation review
o Find out what happened with a previous request from the Committee that would allow 403b financial information to be downloaded directly into Quicken financial software. The Board of Regents has not yet authorized Fidelity to allow data downloading, probably out of inertia, and John was going to try to get this jumpstarted.
· April 27, 9:00 AM, OHR Conference Room