Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee Meeting
October 16, 2000


Present: Sid Carroll, Roland Roberts, Sara Williams, Ron Yoder, Bryant Creel, Neal Wormsley, Connie Baskette, Carl Jost, David Anderson

Minutes of April 11, 2000 meeting were approved.

The Faculty Senate, Budget and Benefits Committee at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has contacted us with information about legislation to increase the current 10% limit on cashability to 50%. The information from Pamala Reed, chair of the Faculty Senate, Budget and Benefits Committee at the University of Tennessee Health Science, is that Mr. Ed Hennessee, Director of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, has agreed to help write legislation increasing the limit to 50% and will support the legislation (if we agree to drop the issue). After discussion and some background information from Baskette and Jost it was decided that Yoder will check with Chuck Thompson for additional background information and will draft a resolution to be presented to the Faculty Senate. The draft will be circulated among the Committee for comment before the final version is presented to the Faculty Senate. Wormsley suggested that the resolution state that we still support 100% cashability but are willing to accept 50%. Yoder will also contact Pamala Reed to coordinate the effort between the two committees.
Contingent Employment Task Force
The Committee has been asked to provide a representative to the Task Force. Roberts attended the first meeting and gave a brief report. The Task Force is charged with studying the practice of hiring non-tenure track instructors to teach courses and to determine the extent and impact of this practice. The Benefits Committee is asked to provide the Task Force with information about the impact on benefits when contingency employees are hired. Wormsley noted that by state law employees must work 30 hours per week (75% time) to be eligible for any insurance programs and that even at 100% time employment, term employees are not eligible for any benefits for the first six months, and the only benefit for which they are eligible after six months is retirement.

The Committee will wait until the Task Force provides more concrete information about the extent (and in which Colleges) the practice exists before proceeding with a study of the impact on benefits. At Roberts' request a replacement was named to the Task Force; Creel will serve on the Task Force.
Biweekly Conversion
Wormsley spoke to the issues related to biweekly conversion of the payroll. The new information system software (SAP America) requires that we go to one payroll system; this is also desirable to reduce cost because the university currently runs as many as 100 payrolls each year (including supplemental payrolls). The payroll schedule choices that were considered were monthly (12/year), semi-monthly (24/yr), and biweekly (26/yr). The primary reason for selecting biweekly is because the Fair Labor Standards Act has requirements for non-exempt employees that are most easily met by using a biweekly pay schedule. With a biweekly payroll, the pay period will end at midnight on Saturday and the employees' checks will be issued ten days later on Tuesday; it is this lag that will occur in the schedule that has led to the concern over "not being paid for eight days" which has been stated by many. Wormsley's suggestion that this issue will be under continued discussion by the administration and that the Committee should wait until the next faculty senate year to pursue this was generally accepted by the Committee.
Living Wage
Les Essif, a member of the steering committee for the group working to establish a living wage at UT, gave a brief outline of the issues. A number of UT employees are not making a living wage, which is defined as approximately $11/hr without benefits and approximately $9/hr with benefits. The Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee will discuss this issue further at a later meeting.
Issues for Future Meetings
Issues that were raised for discussion at future meetings were: 1) the university paying for long-term disability, and 2) how annual reviews were tied to merit salary increases (and the suspicion that quotas were imposed).
Next Meeting: November 27, 1:30 - 3:00 PM, 203 of the University Center

Increased Cash Withdrawal at Retirement

Whereas the issue of lump sum withdrawal of retirement funds affects all University employees with retirement accounts, it is resolved that the Faculty Senate at The University of Tennessee:
  1. Support the current proposal by the Faculty Senate, Budget and Benefits Committee at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to work with Mr. Hennessee of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System to pass legislation to increase the allowable amount of lump sum cash withdrawal at retirement from the current level of 10% up to a maximum of 50%, and

  2. Work with faculty and staff representative groups at other institutions of higher education in Tennessee to coordinate support of the legislation to increase the level of cash withdrawal at retirement, and

  3. Continue to work for approval of an allowable lump sum withdrawal of up to 100%.
A Resolution submitted to the University of Tennessee Faculty Senate from the Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee.

Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee Meeting
November 27, 2000


Present: Roland Roberts, Sara Williams, Alan Chesney, Bryant Creel, Connie Baskette, David Anderson, Harold Roth, Bill Fisher (ETSU), Steve Patrick (ETSU), Chuck Thompson, Henry Fribourg, Ron Yoder

Minutes of October 16, 2000 meeting were approved.

Old Business
The legislation to raise the percentage of cashability at retirement from 10% to 50% is being monitored by the UT administration. Tom Ballard is working with Steve Adams the State Treasurer and Connie Baskette will keep us updated.
Contingent Employment Task Force
Creel briefed the Committee on the activities of the Contingent Employee Task Force at the November 9 meeting. The Task Force is trying to decide how to get statistical information to assist in conducting a successful study. The Task Force will meet again on November 30. Chesney noted that the definition of contingent is one of the key issues and it is important to recognize that it is not the same as term, full-time employment. We will ask Sam Wallace for an updated version of the letter that was sent out asking for information.
Biweekly Conversion
A brief discussion of the conversion to biweekly paychecks centered on the fact that the 'eight-day lag' at the time of conversion is still a concern that the committee should pursue.
Living Wage
In a brief discussion it was decided that Yoder would check with Beauvais Lyons, chair of the Faculty Senate Budget Committee, to determine if that committee is pursuing the issue.
New Business
Long-term Disability
It was noted that some universities pay the premium for long-term disability. Fribourg briefly outlined the history of how the option for long-term disability payments through the payroll office was originally obtained. Baskette stated that if UT were to pay the premium, any payment to holder will be taxable income. Chesney suggested that he will put a discussion of long-term disability issues in the staff newsletter.
Travel Discounts (or rebates to the University)
Fribourg discussed examples of excessively high airline fares when flights have been booked through the sole source for the University. Baskette suggested that we collect examples and supply them to Eli Fly. The Committee will work on this.
Annual Performance Reviews
A brief discussion of the issues related to annual performance reviews and the possibility that quotas are used led to a decision to renew the discussion at the next meeting.
Next Meeting: January 29, 1:30 - 3:00 PM, 203 in the University Center

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