President-elect Erik Oliver, chair of the Special Issues Committee, reported on the issues of: staff satisfaction with the health insurance program; the possibility of providing full-day summer camp programs for employees' children; and concerns about the fairness of the Parental Leave Policy toward couples who both work at Emory.
In a letter of response to Oliver, Associate Vice President for Human Resources Alice Miller said that the PruCare HMO will continue to conduct the routine employee surveys of its health plan that it currently conducts. She said the EmoryCare Oversight Committee is in the process of designing a survey for EmoryCare, and the survey should be sent to EmoryCare participants in late 1997.
Oliver reported that a Child Care Committee led by Vice President and Dean for Campus Life Frances Lucas-Tauchar is considering the possibility of full-day summer camp programs for employees' children as part of a new daycare facility the committee is planning.
Concerns about the Parental Leave Policy center around the policy's provision that married couples who are both employed at Emory may take only 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave between the two of them, while single employees and those whose spouses do not work at Emory may take the entire 12 weeks just for themselves. In her response, Miller said the double absence of both parents for a 12-week period would unduly disadvantage the University.
The 1993 federal law upon which the Parental Leave Policy is based makes no provision for allowing 12 weeks per parent for couples who work for the same employer. Miller said no such requests have been made at Emory since the law took effect. Human Resources Director of Services Pat Douglass said a bill being considered by President Bill Clinton would provide 24 hours of leave per year for employees to attend their children's activities, such as school- and sports-related functions and parent-teacher meetings.
Douglass also announced several forthcoming changes to the life and health insurance plans. She said the pre-existing condition clause in the EmoryCare plan will be eliminated as of Jan. 1. The annual Benefits Election Period, also known as open enrollment, will be held Oct. 14-Nov. 15.
In addition, Douglass said new vendors have been selected for the life insurance plans as of Jan. 1. She said the changes will allow employees to purchase more life insurance for their spouses, domestic partners and dependents. Benefits under the Personal Accident Insurance program are set to double, while premium costs will be cut in half, Douglass said. She said that extensive campus-wide information sessions are planned for September.
The revised University Policies and Procedures manual will be available the week of Sept. 9. Douglass said Human Resources will distribute the manual campus-wide during September.
In other business, Council President Joy Burnette announced that after extensive discussions with Human Resources and Crawford Long Hospital, four new Council representatives from Crawford Long have been added to the Council, bringing Crawford Long's total to five representatives. Burnette said the additions are crucial to providing adequate Council representation for Crawford Long employees.
Following the business portion of the meeting, Associate Vice President and Director of Equal Opportunity Programs Bob Ethridge updated the Council on campus disability services and Affirmative Action issues.
Ethridge said that three years ago, before his office initiated the Office of Disability Services and Compliance, he knew of 60 to 70 students with disabilities. Today, more than 251 students have identified themselves as having a disability. While he believes the presence of the new office has encouraged students with disabilities to self-identify, Ethridge pointed out that students must provide medical documentation of their disability before they can receive services from the office.
On the topic of Affirmative Action, Ethridge said that regardless of political attempts to eliminate Affirmative Action programs, Emory has no plans to change the way its programs are structured. Ethridge said claims that Affirmative Action has outlived its usefulness are groundless because the demographics of those in leadership positions in American institutions have not changed significantly since Affirmative Action laws took effect. He said that if Affirmative Action has not been as effective as it should have been, the nation should respond by working harder to ensure its effectiveness, rather than eliminate Affirmative Action altogether.