Renee Binder, M.D.
During the 1999-00 academic year the Committee on Faculty Welfare enjoyed a productive year during which it met five times, with a quorum present at each meeting. The Committee’s work was augmented by the use of electronic communications, surveys and polls to gather data and facilitate communication amongst Committee members in order to finalize Committee actions.
Issues reviewed and acted on by the Committee included:
- System-wide faculty welfare and health care issues
- Faculty Housing Programs /Real estate loan funding
- Sick leave policy for UCSF Faculty
- Conducting two surveys – one regarding salary continuation policies for faculty and the other regarding faculty experiences with existing disability benefits
- Continued its review of the Health Sciences Compensation Plan
- Health benefits for UCSF faculty
- UC fee waiver proposal for dependents, spouses and domestic partners of UC employees
- Restoration of UC retirement plan members’ retirement benefits
- Drug Coverage for Medical Insurance Plans
- Long Term Nursing Home Care for retired UCSF faculty
- Term Life Insurance
- Corporate Compliance Plan
During the academic year, various system-wide issues were discussed at the University-wide Committee on Faculty Welfare (UCFW) meetings which took place during the months of October through June. These topics were then reported to the membership:
Salary Increases for Faculty
Salary increases for faculty was a main topic of discussion at the university-wide committee level. The salary structure for UC faculty is calculated using the Comparison 8 Institutions formula that includes both private and public institutions. The question is being seriously considered whether there should be a change in the particular Institutions utilized for this comparison. The benefits plus retirement package offered by UC is considered superior to other institutions and this also needs to be included in the calculations.
There will be an increase of three percent (3%) in faculty salaries for academic year 2000-01. A decision was made to focus the increase on assistant professors rather than full professors. The argument for focusing on assistant professors is the recruitment problem related to attracting new faculty.
Educational Fee waiver for UC Faculty and Staff
An educational fee waiver for children, spouses and domestic partners of faculty and staff who are students in the UC system has been approved by the Academic Council and by the Office of the President (in principle). The estimated cost to the UC system based on prior years’ enrollments for this fee waiver for both faculty and staff is 4.5 million per year to support the program. The current proposal will provide a 100% waiver for educational fees to dependents, spouses, and domestic partners of faculty or staff who are vested, i.e., 5 years of service. The specifics of implementation are still being worked out. Additional information is being gathered by Lubbe Levin in the Office of the President about actual (not just estimated) costs of this proposal and consultation is being obtained by legal counsel to ensure that this benefit is structured in a way that is most advantageous from a tax viewpoint, i.e., not taxable. The hope is that the proposal will be presented to the Board of Regents in the fall for final approval, with implementation next year.
Retirement Dental Benefits
Retirement Dental Benefits provided by Delta Dental will no longer be limited to 2 cleanings per year if increased frequency is requested in writing by the treating dentist. A question was raised as to how this benefit can best be communicated to the entire faculty. Faculty can access the appropriate web sites and often receive mailings with updates about their benefits.
Drug Coverage for Medical Insurance Plans
The Committee discussed the current and future plans for medication coverage and suggested that changes to medication coverage need to be made known to the proper faculty committees for review or notification. The issue had been brought to the systemwide level at a UCFW meeting with discussion centered on how the decision is made to include or exclude specific types of drugs, e.g., Viagra, for coverage based on particular circumstances or situations. The decisions about drug coverage are based on cost effectiveness, not a lifestyle decision. UCFW Health Sub-Committee is aware of the most current coverage. An individual faculty member had specific questions about medication coverage and was given contact information for the UCFW Health Sub-Committee.
Outside Professional Income in the Health Sciences Compensation Plan
The Committee reviewed and discussed an e-mail message sent by the UCSF Faculty Association, which included an outline and summary of the revised changes to the University Guidelines on Outside Professional Income in the Health Sciences Compensation Plan. The Committee briefly discussed the agreed upon deletion of the section which stated that the individual could retain outside income from consulting or testifying as an expert witness based on record review but not on the evaluation or examination of a litigant. The issue of the 20,000 or 20% base salary being used as the guideline for retention of outside income was also discussed. The plan will have oversight at the departmental level and will be reviewed in 3 years.
Corporate Compliance Plan
The Committee briefly discussed the corporate compliance plan and felt that no payments for overcharges should be taken from the faculty’s compensation plan and agrees that this issue needs further review.
Long Term Nursing Home Care for Retired UCSF Faculty
Mary Kahn, UC Health Benefits, spoke on the topic of long term care insurance and its historical ramifications for the University. UC does not have a long term care insurance policy due to the lack of good products or providers in the past. Currently, there is no University-sponsored plan but faculty can get CALPERS or TIAA-CREF. The Committee discussed the requirements for some of the plans, which may affect choices for one plan over another. Faculty needs to be reminded to inform themselves about their choices.
Real Estate Loan Funding
The Chair of the Academic Senate requested that this Committee review the various real estate loan funding programs available for faculty. The request was made to investigate whether faculty was knowledgeable of these services and if the programs were being fully utilized on this campus. Mary Kahn, UC Health Benefits briefly described the three available home loan programs as follows: 1) Mortgage Origination Program (MOP), 2) Supplemental Housing Loan Program (SHLP), and 3) UC Salary Differential Housing Allowance (UCSDHA). The MOP funds are specifically for Academic Senate faculty housing and SHLP funds are specifically geared for faculty recruitment purposes within the UC system. The UCSDHA loan program gears its funding toward newly recruited faculty within UCSF but not necessarily for housing purchases.
The Committee discussed the utilization of these programs and their effectiveness as a recruitment and retention tool for faculty. It appears that the programs are currently under-utilized by faculty.
The Committee discussed the limited advantage of utilizing UC loans as a recruitment and retention tool for faculty since home prices have escalated. The issue of affordable housing in the Bay Area plays a major role in the recruitment process for potential faculty considering UCSF. Currently, UC loses faculty to many private and technical businesses due to the lack of financial resources and benefits. Chair Binder stated that the systemwide UCFW is examining the possibility of a "co-ownership" structure for a faculty housing (i.e. shared equity) proposal. This could be advantageous to both the University (as a long-term investment) as well as the faculty, and may be the only way for faculty to purchase homes. The Committee inquired whether adjunct faculty would be eligible to participate in the loan programs and noted that there is no reason to restrict usage to any specific faculty. The Committee also discussed the methods for better and more widespread dissemination of loan information to UCSF faculty.
Detailed information regarding these three loans is on the Academic Personnel’s website http://www.ucsf.edu/acpers/housing.htm
Restoration of University of California Retirement Plan Members’ Retirement Benefits
The Academic Senate Chair requested that this committee investigate a change in the UCRP members’ retirement benefits plan. Upon review of the minutes of the February 18, 1999 Regents Committee on Finance meeting, a recommendation emerged to establish a plan to "make up" to retirees what the IRS will not let the University pay. This positively impacts staff and faculty with high earnings. There was discussion with regard to the historical limitations and changes in the tax codes and how it has effected retirees of the UC system historically
Sick Leave for UCSF Faculty
Two surveys were conducted by the FWC in relation to this issue.
The FWC did the first survey to obtain information about current policies for sick leave, disability, and salary continuation to determine whether departments have written (formal or informal) faculty sick leave policies. The Committee sent a survey to all UCSF department chairs, directors, and the Deans of all four schools to inquire on the sick leave policies that exist. The survey questions were formulated by the Committee and reviewed by the Chair of the Academic Senate. The survey was sent via e-mail in January and the results were reported back to Committee in February 2000.
The findings of the survey revealed that there is tremendous variability among UCSF departments. Many of the current policies in place are not satisfactory. There is a need to establish a uniform university-wide salary continuation policy. Some departments have formal policies and some have informal policies. Many clinical departments require faculty members to make up clinical time (which discourages sick leave even when clinicians are sick and may be infecting patients if they come to work.) A copy of the full report can be obtained from the Academic Senate Office www.ucsf.edu/senate.
The Committee expressed concern for faculty who may be unaware or have no information about their department’s sick leave coverage and may be extremely vulnerable. Often times, a faculty member encounters the uncertain process of needing to obtain special approval before being granted sick leave salary coverage. The Committee also noted that the practice of faculty sick leave policies at the departmental level could potentially be discriminatory because while some departments have the financial resources to cover faculty absences, other departments do not have the funds. Faculty who are self-funded or have been granted "soft" money for their research are most at risk. The Committee discussed the inequity issue of large versus small department sizes. The ability to generate and access funding for their departments often is determined by the number of faculty in a department. Other concerns may have to do with the priorities of a department chair.
The results of the survey were presented to the Coordinating Committee on 3/7/00. The Coordinating Committee asked that a second survey be done to see if there has been a problem with current policies.
2) The Faculty Welfare Committee did a second survey to elucidate the experiences and recommendations of faculty members with respect to salary continuation and disability. 1583 surveys were e-mailed. (825 to academic senate members and 753 to clinical and adjunct faculty greater than 50% time.) There were 196 responses (12.4%). Twenty faculty members (10.2% of responses) said they had been disabled. Faculty who had been disabled have either had decreased income or have utilized a combination of other options to maintain their salaries (e.g., outside insurance, use of vacation days, departmental resources, working while sick). 48% of faculty have elected a 90-day or 180-day waiting period for their short-term disability plans.
At the Coordinating Committee Meeting of May 2, 2000, there was general agreement by the Deans about providing a minimal level of salary continuation to all benefit eligible faculty of at least six (6) weeks of "x" plus "y" compensation. Since schools and departments have different fiscal capabilities, some groups may elect to offer a higher level of coverage. Faculty in each department will have an opportunity as a department to set the amount and length of salary continuation above the six-week (x+y) minimum. Faculty will be informed of the option to purchase additional private short-term disability coverage if they do not feel that the salary continuation guaranteed by their department will enable them to meet financial obligations during the waiting period. The recommended waiting period for University short-term disability is 30 days.
The expectation is that the Deans will be responsible for ensuring that policies are discussed with faculty and developed and disseminated in each school. Each of the schools agreed to report back their progress to the Coordinating Committee in the early fall at the Coordinating Committee Meeting of 10/17/2000.
Issues for the 2000-01 Academic Year
Suggested new topics for next year include:
- The split between the needs and differing priorities of younger and longer service faculty concerning fringe benefits
- Investigating whether the overhead structure for all grants can cover disability, including replacement costs for faculty and staff. Faculty need a clearer sense of policies, decision-makers and whether suggested changes are under local control, statewide control or need to be carried to outside funding sources (Perhaps inviting Steven Barclay, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Admin to provide the Committee with an overview on how University contracts are handled)
- Obtaining information about how the University decides on investing funds and increasing the number of socially responsible funds for investing under the retirement plan.
Committee on Faculty Welfare
- Renee Binder, Chair
- Norman Oppenheimer, Vice Chair
- Charlene Harrington
- Ruth Malone
- Patricia Robertson
- Steven Silverstein
- Thomas Coates
- Arthur Ablin, Emeritus
- Prepared by
- Tamara Maimon