February 1st, 2012
- Location: Alumni Guest House Meeting Room
- Time: 11:00 am
- Present: Andrea Zunkel (Ex-Officio), Austin Robinson-Coolidge, Jessica Van Zuilen, Joe Chihade, Kerstin Cardenas (Ex-Officio), Linda Mueller, Mike Tompos (Chair), Pavel Kapinos
- Absent: None
- Secretary: Andrea Zunkel
- Keywords: Benefits Committee Minutes, Benefits Committee Meetings
Employee Benefits Survey
Kerstin advised the group that Jim Fergerson, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, was originally slated to attend today’s meeting to review the benefits survey that is being prepared for distribution to all classifications of employees. However, he is now unable to participate today.
The draft questions on the benefit survey were reviewed; Kerstin noted that it is still in draft format. Once ready, the survey will be distributed to faculty, exempt staff, and bi-weekly plus union employees. The purpose is to request employees to “rate” both the value of benefits offered and to prioritize the importance of them. Since there are no new funds available for our benefits, it is important to manage employee expectations.
The final draft should be finalized by February 10, 2012; Kerstin will share the survey (through email) with this group for their review and suggestions in order to allow us the opportunity to address anything we wish included.
The current survey includes text boxes where individuals can comment on important items of concern. The survey will note that the final results of this survey will be shared with the Benefits Committee.
Discussion resulting from the draft survey review included the following:
- A suggestion that a link be provided somewhere in the survey for individuals to access compensation (median ranges), as there is perception that not all employees know specifics on their position’s median salary range.
- Kerstin is working on putting together a benefits summary page that provides both employee and employer contributions and brief information on our benefits.
- It was suggested that language be included within the survey to the different employee classifications that informs that the dependent tuition benefit is not the same for all employees so that there is good understanding of the benefit for evaluation purposes.
- It was noted that there could be disparity between employees with children to those without children. It may require future review.
- Future benefit needs may require the College to shift funds from one benefit to another benefit to provide desired results.
- This survey is simply “Step One” of moving forward; some items will likely be a topic of discussion in future, but this employee survey will hopefully provide us with the tools and information for moving forward.
Strategic Planning Update
Kerstin reviewed efforts being made by various groups on strategic planning processes. Besides this survey, town hall meetings with all classifications of employees have occurred and data is being pulled together. The groups are on track to report their outcomes by May with hopes to focus the Carleton College Board Meeting as a retreat to strategize; their focus will likely be on equalization of the dependent tuition benefit and vacation accruals. Possible review of overtime may also be discussed.
Carleton has budgeted employee benefits at approximately 28%; however, the actual current rate is approximately 36%, so efforts to review this are very timely.
Welcome to Jessica VanZuilen
Jessica was welcomed to her first meeting as a new member of the Benefits Committee; she is the SAC representative.
Mike shared an email written by a former long-term employee who shared her frustration with feeling disconnected from the College due to her retirement. She initially wished to gain access to the Alumni Directory, but also wishes to be able to access the campus directory and also to view Carleton Weekly. Without appropriate means of access, she is unable to do these things.
Austin pointed out that there are technical issues regarding providing the required authentification/access and would require work by ITS.
Following review, all committee members felt that efforts to provide this should be made and requested that Austin move forward with resolution to the technical issues.
Kerstin shared that we should only be granting this to retirees who meet the criteria of being 55 or older with 15 years of service at Carleton College.
TASC/2012 New Features
Mike requested some education on the new “MyCash” feature with TASC as he has had questions from those he works with.
This new feature provides those without direct deposit accounts on file with TASC with a second account on their TASC card. Instead of receiving reimbursement through check format, TASC places reimbursements on the card in the “MyCash” account.
The TASC card is a “smart” card; it holds the participants annual flex amount for eligible expenses and the “MyCash” account can be considered just like a debit card. If at a pharmacy to pick up prescriptions, the participant that has the “MyCash” feature on their card could purchase not only their prescriptions but also any non-flexed product wished with one swipe of the TASC card.
The “MyCash” feature will not be implemented for those participants with direct deposit accounts registered with TASC.
Medical Insurance Trend Information
Mike requested information on medical insurance utilization trends; Kerstin responded that it is too early in the year for this.
However, Andrea shared information on enrollment trends from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012. There is little movement in plans, as noted below:
Accord HRA: 69 Participants (12%) 77 Participants (13%)
Options Blue: 384 Participants (68%) 412 Participants (69%)
Aware PPO: 108 Participants (19%) 108 Participants (18%)
Kerstin shared that Human Resources was successful in obtaining signed retirement salary reduction agreement forms (terminating the additional 1% contribution to the defined contribution plan) from 550 individuals by the required effective date of January 1, 2012.
Additionally, she shared that TIAA-CREF will have updates to their site with increased functionality available in March, 2012.