For the February 27 Meeting, Some Members' Questions on the Benefits Redesign Plan
Following are some of the questions and comments received by A-3 Assembly Chair Karen E. Wheeler in advance of the open membership meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 27, noon to 1:30 in the Bowl Room of Houston Hall. See also school and center meetings scheduled for staff. --Ed.
- How do the proposed changes in the benefits redesign plan fit into President Rodin's Agenda for Excellence plan?
- How is it that the high level of current employee benefits cost negates Penn's ability to meet such priorities as...competitive salaries for faculty/staff?
- I'm concerned about the phrase used with regard to making benefits "more cost-effective." It's used many times when referring to down-sizing/restructuring.
- The report mentions ...employee payroll contributions for all health insurance plans returning to the University's policy in effect between 1980 and 1994. Exactly what was the University's policy at that time?
- What are the "special qualifying courses" being developed regarding CGS/Wharton? And what is meant by "developed"?
- Who will mandate/oversee these special qualifying courses? The Deans of Wharton/CGS, academic advisors?
- How many courses will be required to take before acceptance into CGS or Wharton? And, will there be a required sequence of classes to take in order to meet the qualifications of acceptance into these two schools?
- Why are graduate tuition benefits for spouses and dependents being eliminated? Why not "grandfather" the benefits....? [Ed. note: This question was also among those asked at PPSA; see ppsa questions]
- On page S-3 top right, what is meant in the wording "tuition benefits should be available only to employees whose salary is subject to the University's employee benefits rate?"
- Why are "summer hours" being eliminated? The elimination of summer hours in the long run is not in the best interest of employees, but more so to the University.
- On page S-3...it is stated that "summer hours" has contributed to the costly administrative complexity of accounting for employee time off. In plain English what does this mean? Are you saying that the University is "losing" money? If so, how is that? If anything, I would think that this helped the University not lose money.
- Why are personal days and floating days being combined with regular vacation time off?
- Why has it been 15 years since the benefits package been reviewed? What is the "norm" with regard to a time frame in which the benefits package will be reviewed in a timely fashion for the future and not let another 15 years pass by?
- It's mentioned...that employee contribution [to health benefits] in the private sector ranges up to 20% or higher with limited choices. In that case, let's be mindful that private sector salaries in comparison to salaries of A-3's at Penn are higher too!
Volume 43 Number 23
February 25, 1997
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