2004-05 Report of UT Senate Faculty Staff Benefits Committee
Committee goals and actions to date Submitted by Nancy Howell 4/18/05

  1. Request by retiree to persuade legislature to "loosen restrictions on our TIAA-CREF monies" so that retirees drawing TIAA but wanting to withdraw CREF funds for other investment may do so. This issue continues to be problematic because action was taken in recent years to change the percentage to the current 50%. No action.

  2. UTIA Advisory Council question regarding fairness of salary offset for Federal retirees re-hired at UT (UT Policy #120) Issue of parity and double jeopardy. This is a situation that impacts very few people No action.

  3. Graduate assistant insurance subsidy (from Graduate Student Association) Students must be on UT payroll to receive; also general level of insurance for graduate student employees Point of information only. No action.

  4. Issue from retiree„problems with insurance premium auto draft deduction This appeared to be a timing issue requiring coordination between the state and UT. Action will be taken by HR to improve communication with retirees regarding this potential problem.

  5. Partner benefits-the University has included sexual orientation as part of the protected status in the new faculty handbook. The UT Senate would like this committee to continue reviewing the process of adding domestic partnership benefits. Currently 360 colleges and universities nationwide offer some form of domestic partnership benefits (source: AAUP).
    The committee reviewed an approach used by the University of Wisconsin listing benefits and which were or were not available to domestic partners. The committee will pursue developing a similar chart next year. It was also suggested that those benefits under the control of UT may be offered to partners with a change of UT policy, as opposed to state law or policy.

  6. Spousal Hiring Policy
    The committee drafted Spousal Partner Recruitment and Retention Guidelines, discussed at the April Senate meeting and previously at the February and March Executive Committee meetings. The committee chair has since met with OED to further discuss the guidelines. A new draft will be available in April, based on these discussions. The committee anticipates requesting a vote of the full Senate at the May 2 meeting.

  7. Possibility of co-sponsoring informational meetings on benefits (co-sponsors may include UT Retirement Services, UT Human Resources, UT Exempt Staff Committee, UT Federal Credit Union, etc.)
    There is interest among committee members to encourage these meetings.

  8. Carry-over leave issue with grants (policy for paying leave before transferring)
    It is the understanding of the committee that an ad hoc committee is currently looking at a solution to this problem. The committee supports action that alsol safeguards long-term employees from being required to use leave time that later may impact their retirement calculations. An escrow benefits fund with individual grants approach was also discussed.

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