UCAR Communications


staff notes monthly

March 2003

Delphi Question: PTO, health benefits, and diversity training

Delphi Question #496 (received 5 November): Regarding leave plans, what percentage of employees chose the PTO option, and what percentage chose the Traditional option? Also, is it possible to provide a breakdown of those percentages by demographics, i.e., what were the percentages for men, women, and junior and senior staff, as well as the overall total?

I have another question: How did the budget come out in the most recent year (after we had the budget with the ballooning sick leave that caused the PTO/Traditional changes)?

Response (14 January): Here is a breakdown of people who chose the PTO and Traditional options:
PTO (%)
Traditional (%)
Leave plan selected
(1,250 eligible)
Senior staff (division/program director and above)

As for the budget, the increase in sick leave occurred in FY00 and FY01. Prior to those years, sick leave averaged 2.8% of base pay. In FY00 it was 3.2%, and in FY01 it was 3.3%. Sick leave in FY02 was 3.0%.
—Laurie Carr, manager, Human Resources

Delphi Question #497 (received 19 November): Because UCAR/NCAR portrays itself as a family-oriented organization, and because it employs several foreigners, or persons of foreign origin who have made this country their new home, would it be possible to reconsider the health benefits to include not only employees’ spouses and children but also their parents? I think everyone is aware of the degrading state of health coverage in this country, and such an action by UCAR/NCAR would benefit the employees and also portray a true family-oriented image of the organization.

Obviously I don’t care to be anonymous, and I’m available to discuss this matter with anybody from UCAR, but I wouldn’t want to see my name in Staff Notes.

Response (15 January): The questioner met with HR to discuss the details of the request, and HR will be looking into the possibility of providing coverage for parents. Any other employee who has thoughts on the matter is encouraged to contact Laurie Carr so that we have an idea of the range of needs in this area.

There are other resources available to those individuals needing to find health insurance coverage for parents:

For parents over 65 who are eligible for Medicare, there are Medicare HMOs that provide enhanced coverage. The monthly cost for Medicare HMOs is between $20 and $150. There are many Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap) available with monthly costs of $35 to $250. Both of these plans require coverage under Part B Medicare, which currently costs $54 per month.

The Colorado Division of Insurance provides a wealth of information for medical coverage of senior citizens at www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/senior/senior.htm. CoverColorado, the Colorado high-risk insurance pool, provides coverage for Colorado residents who are ineligible for other medical insurance because of preexisting conditions. Additional information, including rates, can be obtained at www.covercolorado.org.

—Laurie Carr, manager, Human Resources

Delphi Question #499 (received 10 January): Why are there no equal opportunity or diversity training classes offered through the Staff Development catalog?

Response (14 February): Diversity training is very important, and it must be presented in a manner that engenders understanding and support of the issues. We know this type of training is often perceived to be “one of those classes we have to attend when I have real work to do.” Based on our experience, we believe offering a class through Staff Development in which people sign up if they want to attend would do little to advance this important topic. So Human Resources instead has been researching possibilities and talking with vendors about how to best deliver diversity and inclusion awareness. We want staff to have a dialogue on diversity and inclusion, rather than a lecture about how people should think and act. We are pleased to have found a group that we think can do this effectively, and we are strategizing on how to best integrate this training into the organization.

UCAR remains committed to equal opportunity, which includes understanding and celebrating diversity of thought, race, and gender. Each year Human Resources prepares a comprehensive Affirmative Action Plan, which provides data on our workforce and areas for which we set goals and establish plans for greater diversity. A copy of the plan can be reviewed in the Human Resources Department. A good example of planning is the hiring of about 20 new NCAR Scientist I’s over the past two years, who bring diversity into the organization.

UCAR is developing a leadership training program that will include about 13 days of training, one of which will be devoted to diversity and inclusion. We are also discussing how to provide specific training on a broader basis in the organization. If you (the writer) have ideas on how to best integrate the diversity and inclusion information into our training, we welcome your input. Or if you know of specific pockets of need on the subject, we’d like to hear that as well. And know that we’re working on it as well. Stay tuned!

—Terry Woods, manager, and Cheryl Cristanelli, staff development administrator, Human Resources

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinator. 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, and on the Delphi Web site, www.ucar.edu/delphi. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.

Also in this issue...

Archives launching instrument collection

Vin Lally wins prestigious ballooning award

A smooth ride to Juneau:
RAP maps wind shear and turbulence at isolated airport

Short takes

A special evening with an intimate of the atmosphere

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