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
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.
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
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
[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
Here are some points we will consider as we evaluate our
(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 pleasedthe majority expressing concern and
frustration with the dwindling EPO networks and with customer
(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
(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.
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.
In this issue...
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Edited by Bob Henson,
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Apr 19 15:33:03 MDT 2001