Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting

Minutes, November 22, 2004

2:30 – 4:00


The following committee members were present: Dale Atkins, Michael Chang, Chuck Donbaugh, Michael Elliott, Blair Funderburk, and John Grovenstein.

Open Enrollment

§         Open enrollment worked very well. Slightly more than half of employees (2,345 out of 5,615) made changes to their benefits using the TechWorks system.

§         Under 100 of these experienced a problem with the system. These usually came from employees trying to access the system from home or a secure work site. The problems were usually corrected by adjusting the security preferences within their internet explorer.

§         The TechWorks system was designed to allow 2,000 to enter at once; the peak day only saw 200 entrants.

§         150 people never finalized their selection, probably due to confusion about the review summary view. These are being manually entered by the staff.

o       Recommendation: A clearer distinction between the save and the submit button is needed.

§         Enrollees could not check their FSA changes.

o       Recommendation: Enable this function, so that all benefits can be reviewed before submission.

§         Medical spending accounts increased by 66, with 1,053 employees now using the system. Child care accounts generally remain stable over time, with between 100 and 120 employees involved. Medical and child care spending accounts help both the employee (by saving income tax and social security payments) and Georgia Tech (by saving social security payments).

§         Approximately 300 employees signed up for Vision Care.


Members discussed establishing a goal for our review of sabbaticals, as well as next steps for reaching that goal. We decided that for this year, we would seek to:

1.        Develop a clear statement of Georgia Tech’s leave without pay policy as it is practiced in the various units of the institute. What does a sabbatical mean in different departments? What are the policies and practices governing decisions about leaves?  How are these leaves funded?

2.        Quantify how many people engage in sabbatical-like leaves each year. (Anecdotal data suggests that only about 10 faculty per year are on such leaves).

3.        Explore the implications of trying to institute a broader sabbatical policy. What would be the potential financial arrangements to support expansion and how would this affect the Institute?

4.        Develop examples of significant impacts for the Institute. Is this a salable idea?

Sabbaticals, if instituted, would only affect the 1,200 academic faculty. Of note, the makeup of the Benefits Committee includes only one academic faculty member. All other members are either general faculty or administrative employees.

Next steps:

§         Pull together material from last year

§         set up a meeting with Bob McMath for insight into Academic Affairs, Personal Services Transactions, etc.

§         meet with deans or associate deans to establish current practices

Next Meeting

The spring semester meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month, from 2:30 to 4:00, on the following dates: January 10th, February 14thth, March 14th, April 11th and May 9th (if needed).

At January’s meeting, Chuck will review the OHR Strategic Plan.