UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > April 2001 Search

April 2001

Delphi Questions: Daycare, educational time, PacifiCare

Happy Spring! (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Question #470 (received 20 February):

In the past, UCAR has considered and rejected the idea of a corporate sponsored daycare center. Reasons given for this rejection ranged from liability to space concerns. Now that UCAR is looking into building a new space on the FL campus, I was wondering if the issue of a daycare center could be revisited. We have a unique opportunity to build a space specifically designed for childcare, should UCAR decide to pursue this.

Response (29 March):

The question about daycare facilities has been asked many times over the years (Delphi questions in 1981, 1987, 1988, 2000) as well as reviewed by the President's Council in more recent years. Significant costs, legal liabilities, and lack of available space have kept UCAR from pursuing the development of a daycare facility.

However, the results of the recent American Physical Society (APS) site visit indicate continued interest in an on-site daycare center. Human Resources has contracted a local consultant who has more than a dozen years of experience conducting work/life balance needs assessments and daycare center feasibility studies for companies in Boulder and surrounding communities. HR is currently working with the consultant to develop a Web-based Work/Life Balance Needs Assessment, which employees will be asked to complete in May. The assessment survey covers a wide range of work/life balance issues, including adult and elder care, general family and childcare, as well as daycare. All employees will be encouraged to complete the survey, whether or not they have children and/or childcare issues.

Based on the results of the survey, UCAR management will be better able to assess the work/life needs of the organization, and will consider again options related to a daycare center.

— Laurie Carr
benefits/compensation manager
Human Resources

Question #471 (received 5 March):

I am enrolled at Regis University, working toward my undergraduate degree. In the past, I have taken classes at Front Range Community College during the day so that I could take advantage of the time- allowance part of the educational benefits. It makes a big difference in having adequate time to study and complete assignments. I have asked before if the time allowance can be used for homework/study time and have been told no (although there is no such specification in the guideline itself).

I think the time allowance should be extended to include homework/study time and not just class time for people like me who take classes at night to complete their degree program. Please let me know if the time allowance can be used for this purpose.

Response (19 March):

The intent of the educational assistance time allowance of 5 hours per week (not to exceed 156 hours per year) is solely for attending a class during work hours. As the policy indicates, any hours in excess of the 5-hour allowance are subject to your supervisor's approval, and must be made up either before or after regular working hours. Though the policy does not specifically address the issue of evening classes or homework/study time, any after-hours time for attending class and/or studying is the employee's responsibility and the 5-hour per week allowance does not apply.

As an additional clarification, please note that taking a class during work hours (whether it's 1, 5, or 10 hours a week) is part of the approval process between the supervisor and the employee. Oftentimes, the classes are only offered during the day. There should be a valid business reason for not allowing an employee to take advantage of this benefit especially if the employee is willing to arrange with the supervisor to make up the time.

—Laurie Carr
benefits/compensation manager
Human Resources

[Note: Information on UCAR educational benefits can be found On the Web.—Ed.]

Question #472 (received 9 March):

Almost weekly I've noticed a serious article in the newspaper regarding PacifiCare. In almost every case the information includes some large medical organization dropping PacifiCare from its list of insurance providers. The service that PacifiCare provides to patients seems to be going downhill as well. My question, Has the UCAR benefits administrator started looking at replacing PacifiCare as our primary insurer? If the answer is no, then may I suggest it's time we did.

Response (19 March):

The past year has been a rocky one for PacifiCare, especially in the area of EPO/HMO [Exclusive Provider Organization/Health Maintenance Organization] networks and service. In particular, the unexpected loss of the Boulder Medical Center in November threw us all for a loop. The PPO [Preferred Provider Option] still remains strong with its network affiliations.

We have heard your concerns from others over the past couple of years and will review our course of action for the plan year 2002.

Here are some points we will consider as we evaluate our options:

(1) Though not all employees are unhappy with the current PacifiCare EPO or PPO products, we have heard from those of you who are not pleased—the majority expressing concern and frustration with the dwindling EPO networks and with customer service.

(2) Changing medical plans for 1,100 active participants (not including dependents) while continuing to meet everyone's needs is a serious move that involves a great deal of planning and about six months of behind-the-scenes preparation and roll-out.

If a move is made to another insurance company, HR's job is to ensure a smooth transition and implement a slate of coverage similar to the current design so as not to reduce or interfere with current treatment plans for short- or long-term medical conditions.

(3) HR's review will include a comparison of PacifiCare's current network providers (EPO and PPO) with a potential new carrier's network providers. We want to ensure that the physicians available through another medical carrier are the same as, if not better than, PacifiCare's current EPO/HMO network.

As we begin this review for 2002, we invite staff to continue to tell us your comments and suggestions. Please contact Cyd Perrone, ext. 8710, or Laurie Carr, ext. 8702.

—Laurie Carr
benefits/compensation manager
Human Resources

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the coordinator, Janet Evans (ext. 1114, ML room 517). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential; they must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2. Questions and answers of general interest to staff are submitted to Staff Notes Monthly by Janet. They may be edited for publication. For more information, including links to questions and answers published in Staff Notes Monthly and a log of all questions submitted since 1995, see the Delphi Service Web page.

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UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > April 2001 Search

Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Apr 19 15:33:03 MDT 2001