December 6, 1999
Volume 52, No. 14
HR announces two benefit changes on the quickstep
Two new benefit changes have been announced by Human Resources, and both resulted from employee suggestions at public meetings held this fall.
First, the tuition reimbursement rate will increase from $56 per quarter-credit hour to $101 per credit hour per academic session, effective for employees currently enrolled in classes.
Several years ago, the tuition reimbursement benefit was broadened to include enrollment not only in courses directly job-related but for courses related to an Emory career path. Employees who work at least 20 hours a week are eligible for tuition reimbursement and there is no waiting period for new employees to take advantage of the benefit. Employees pay the tuition and are reimbursed at the end of the semester. Employees must receive a grade of "C" or better (or a passing grade for pass/fail courses) to receive reimbursement.
A question about the reimbursement rate was first raised by a participant at the Nov. 3 President's Commission on the Status of Women panel discussion. The issue also was brought before the Employee Council by Angela Hale, who represents The Carter Center. She was speaking on behalf of Jason Calder, senior program associate at the center's Global Development Initiative, who began working with his benefits officer in early November to see if the rate could be increased.
"I was rather surprised that they acted so quickly," said Calder, who is enrolled in the master's degree program in economics at Georgia State's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
About 300 employees a year take advantage of the tuition reimbursement benefit; another 800 employees, spouses and dependents are enrolled at Emory through courtesy scholarships.
Another benefit change is one year of unused sick leave can now be credited as a year of service toward continuing benefits into retirement. An employee can continue benefits if his or her age (minimum 55) and years of service (minimum 10) add up to 70. Under this benefit change, if an Emory employee is 59 with 10 years of service and has accrued a year of sick leave, he or she would be eligible to retire with full benefits.
"This is a reward for people who don't abuse their sick leave," said Alice Miller, vice president of Human Resources. "By the time someone is nearing retirement and they've accrued a year's worth of sick leave, they should be rewarded." Miller noted that this issue was initially raised at this fall's town hall meeting.