The Campus Physical Environment Committee received several questions from staff at the three town hall meetings (May 21, 6:10 a.m., noon and 3:10 p.m.). These questions dealt with parking, transportation, and traffic safety.
For the sake of simplification, some of the questions were grouped together and addressed with one answer.
Before reviewing the questions and answers, please remember that Georgia Tech Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) must provide parking and transportation for the Institute at large, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, visitors and guests. PTS must also abide by state laws and campus administration rules and regulations.
- Where Do My Parking and Transportation Dollars Go
- This video, produced by Parking and Transportation Services, is a part of the Staff Council's response in terms of explaining "Where Do My Parking and Transportation Dollars Go.
- Why can’t Parking provide special, discounted, or free parking to staff?
- PTS is a self-sustaining organization, which means it has to provide its own funding. If PTS chooses to provide special privileges to one group on campus (such as staff), other groups on campus will have to bear the burden of this action.
- Please address discounted or free overnight parking.
- Parking after 5pm is allowed in most areas if you have an annual permit. More information on this can be found here http://pts.gatech.edu/subsite1/Documents/Benefits of Purchasing and Annual Parking Permit.pdf
- There is also an evening/weekend permit available. More details on this permit can be found here http://pts.gatech.edu/Documents/Evening-Weekend Permit.pdf
- Why do parking costs go up every year?
- Parking costs rise every year with inflation. The cost of maintaining and improving existing parking facilities, as well as adding new parking areas (e.g. SmartPark), add to the price of parking each year.
- Why is parking not allowed in certain lots during events on campus?
- Special events are usually coordinated by the groups who are having the events on campus. For example, athletic events, like football games, are handled through the Athletic Association. PTS works with all these groups to make sure adequate parking is available for the events. Sometimes, the necessary parking requires that lots be reserved for the event.
- Will there be any more SmartPark lots added to the south side of campus near Burge/North Avenue?
- PTS is looking to add additional SmartPark options and will contact campus when additional lots are available.
- Why can’t staff have parking permits that allow them to park anywhere on campus?
- Open parking is not as effective as assigned parking. Assigned parking ensures that an adequate number of spaces are available for the Georgia Tech community based on individual location preferences. There is, however, an Official Business Permit available which allows employees to park for two hours in most un-gated lots. More information can be found here http://pts.gatech.edu/Documents/Department Official Business Permit.pdf.
- Will the Foundation allow us to assist those who find parking costs a struggle?
- We have a Compensation Subcommittee. This subcommittee is researching this topic. We will contact campus when more information is available.
- There is a need for an express trolley service commute to and from Tech Square, allowing quicker travel for work and meetings from the center of campus.
- An added trolley service is being researched. PTS will contact campus on details as soon as available.
- Sometimes transportation drivers are not friendly and helpful but can be categorized as rude. What should be done when this happens?
- As with any customer service issue, if a driver is rude, please note his/her name and report him/her by calling PTS at 404-385-7433. Please call PTS when the drivers are especially friendly and helpful too. We recognize exceptional customer excellence.
- Are there any comprehensive incentive programs for alternative commute options here on campus? Does Georgia Tech offer compensation for alternative GRTA and MARTA passes?
- Yes, Georgia Tech currently provides a $10 monthly discount. More information on discounted travel passes can be found here http://pts.gatech.edu/Alternative_Transportation/Pages/Metro-Transit.aspx
- For more information on alternative commute options, please visit the PTS Alternative Transportation page here https://pts.gatech.edu/Alternative_Transportation/Pages/Alternative%20Transportation.aspx
- More details are listed for other programs such as electric vehicle charging and bike rentals.
- Other options for commuters to the Georgia Tech campus include:
- Individual permit parking and reserved spaces $1,526
- Individual permit $776
- Carpool permit $676
- Gotcha ride – Green operated transportation service that provides free rides around Georgia Tech to students, faculty, and staff
- Zimride – A service that allows students, faculty, and staff to share their cars or to catch a ride
- Zipcar – A membership-based car sharing company
- MARTA – Georgia Tech provides discounted monthly passes to staff for $73.80 ($10 discount)
- Cobb County Transit, Gwinnett County Transit, and GTRA Express – Bus service from metro counties to Midtown
- Please address trolley service, including on-time, consistent schedules.
- If there are service quality issues with the trolley system, please report them to PTS at 404-385-7433. PTS continually researches and reviews “bus bunching” and other scheduling issues. Some glitches occur because of traffic. Other complications should be reported to PTS for determination and problem-solving.
- Someone expressed the need for a traffic light at 6th and Fowler and a 4-way stop in Tech Square near Tin Drum.
- We have referred these issues to the campus safety committee for consideration and will contact campus when more information is available.
Compensation and Benefits
The Compensation and Benefits Committee worked with Georgia Tech Human Resources to get these questions and topics answered.
Open Enrollment – Why is open enrollment only once a year?
- Benefit rates and contracts through the University System of Georgia (USG) are on an annual basis; thus, employees make an annual election. This also matches the Internal Revenue Services’ rules. If there is a qualifying life event, some benefits allow changes during the year.
Wellness – Please address the summary of benefits for wellness.
- Summary plan descriptions for our benefits programs are on the USG website. The USG is currently working on system-wide wellness programs. http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits
Career opportunities – Are there opportunities for employees to advance their careers at Georgia Tech and not have to leave because opportunities don’t exist on campus?
- Georgia Tech employees should be able to get higher positions or be able to go to different shifts. There are numerous opportunities available on campus. However, keep in mind that growing your career may mean changing departments, learning a new role, and/or earning additional education or skills. Learn more about available positions at http://www.careers.gatech.edu/.
Domestic partner benefits – What is the status of expanding benefits for domestic partners through the University System of Georgia (USG)?
- We are governed by decisions made by the USG. However, conversations are ongoing with the USG, the USG Board of Regents (BOR), and the State of Georgia concerning domestic partner benefits.
Benefit policy descriptions – Georgia Tech needs an awareness and outreach of benefit policies in laymen terms for employees.
- We understand that benefits can be confusing. To that end, members of Georgia Tech Human Resources often work directly with USG Human Resources to develop employee benefits materials. To further assist, Georgia Tech Human Resources can come to your staff meetings to discuss current benefit offerings.
Compensation – Are merit raises received this past year to be an ongoing practice or is this controlled by the Governor’s Office?
- The Governor’s Office recommends merit raises and are determined year-to-year as part of the state and BOR budget processes.
Compensation – Can we get a yearly cost-of-living compensation increase?
- Current BOR policy does not permit this. http://www.usg.edu/regents/documents/board_meetings/agenda_2015_04.pdf
Compensation – Please address the Limit of 10% increase for promotions.
- This is common practice in many companies and reflects our current policy. We review policy on a regular basis, and this is an item that’s been raised in the past. On average, the typical person being promoted makes more than the external hire. We regularly review industry benchmarks and similar positions across campus to strategically identify and promote aspects including: market-competitive pay scales, reward programs, benefits packages and company benefits, and performance-based rewards for employees.
Compensation – What’s in place to ensure staff are fairly compensated and managers are held responsible for fairness?
- Guidelines are available to measure both staff and managers. Managers generally are measured and rated based on their performance in managing people. Both staff and managers are rewarded based on different performance and skill levels.
Compensation – We received several questions concerning compensation of new hires vs current employees and promotions.
- Rules for internal promotions and external hires are governed by Policy 4.1 (http://policies.gatech.edu/employment/classified-compensation-administration).
- If you bring someone in from outside the Institute who has previous experience in a given role, a variety of factors are involved in determining compensation, including years of experience, education, performance and certifications/degrees. Our data shows that generally Georgia Tech’s average new hire is brought into the range at a lower point than the average internal promotion.
Compensation – Is it possible to be paid weekly?
- The USG is currently examining a common pay calendar across the entire system. While different pay frequency options are on the table, any change will be determined at the USG level.
Insurance – Why is insurance for one individual so high?
- Given our plan design and what we cover, our premiums are in line or better than general industry norms. There are plans out there with lower premiums (and more expensive), with some covering more/less. Our costs are a combination of what we cover and how often people access and use the plan.
Leave – Can donated sick leave be given to a specific person?
- Donated Sick Leave is structured so an individual employee can donate time into a general pool of hours. Georgia Tech employees can then apply for use of leave. (Donated Sick Leave Policy)
Leave – Address the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act).
- The FMLA is a USG policy. You may review the USG website to view information on FMLA. http://www.usg.edu/hr/benefits/family_and_medical_leave_act_fmla
Leave – Please address improved bereavement and maternity leave
- The USG and BOR are currently exploring options related to both. We are governed by decisions made by the USG.
Leave – Please address adoption leave.
- The USG and BOR are currently exploring options related to this. We are governed by decisions made by the USG.
Leave – Please address paid leave, domestic partner benefits and maternity leave.
- The USG and BOR are currently exploring options related to this. We are governed by decisions made by the USG.
Leave –Please address a culture that is flexible and appreciative of parents, sharing best practices for parental leave, support for returning to the workplace, maternity/paternity leave and affordable child care.
- Georgia Tech leadership supports work/life balance and has driven initiatives to support a family-friendly workplace, including creation of a second, new childcare center. The USG and BOR are currently exploring additional options related to this. We are governed by decisions made by the USG and will make announcements as changes are received from the USG.
Education – Computer training for those who are computer illiterate –
- Folks interested in this type of training should contact the Workplace Learning and Professional Development team and while we don’t offer this we do have a relationship with a few companies that we refer people to based on the topic. There is also a wealth of courses that can be found at Lynda.gatech.edu
Education – Could you send more in depth information on educational benefits? Are the benefits for any additional educational endeavors covered upfront instead of waiting for the benefits to kick in after enrollment.
- The Board of Regents (BOR) Tuition Assistance Program and the Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program (STRAP) are both available to you as an employee of Georgia Tech. The reimbursement mechanism works a little differently for each program, but it’s necessary to hold reimbursement until after class completion and grades are provided to prevent abuse of the process. More info can be found on the OHR website.
Education – Will the Staff Council partner with Administration & Finance to support employees who would like to increase their skillsets through certifications/classes that are not paid for through TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) or STRAP (Staff Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program)? The Provost Office has a program called “Staff Development Grant” but it’s only offered for employees who work for the Provost Office.
- Many campus units and departments offer professional development opportunities for their staff. For options available to you, please check with your manager. Georgia Tech Human Resources also offers professional development courses for faculty/staff through http://www.trains.gatech.edu.
Mentor – Please address mentorship opportunities for newer employees.
- At this time, there is not a formal mentor program at Georgia Tech. However, we highly encourage you to discuss mentor and engagement opportunities with your supervisor to identify programs or groups with whom you'd like to work so you can meet and network with other individuals.
Mentor – GT needs a mentorship programs. Any plans of starting one again?
- Yes, Human Resources is working on this and we will find more information in the coming months.
Mentor – We are too “siloed” on campus. One solution might be a mentoring or reverse-mentoring program.
- Thank you for your suggestion! While we currently don't have a mentorship program, we are working on one and should have more information in the coming months.
*We are continually updating these sites as we get the questions answered. Please return frequently to see your question and its answer.
Camps – Cost and availability of GT’s summer camps
- Different Georgia Tech departments offer summer camps and most are popular thereby the camps fill to capacity quickly. Human Resources provides an Atlanta-area summer camp directory each year. Some of these camps have scholarship and financial assistance options, even if they are not Georgia Tech camps. Check out the Atlanta area summer camps list at http://www.ohr.gatech.edu/content/metro-atlanta-summer-camp-resource-guide-now-available
Coach – Are there opportunities to use professional coaching. I saw on the GT website there used to be coaching services. Also, are there part-time, internal coaching positions that people could partner with OHR to provide services?
- While there is currently not a coaching program for staff, the Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement (SDIE) team in Institute Diversity is committed to developing one in the near future. Initially focused on new leaders or groups, the SDIE team hopes to unveil the program in the next academic year. For more information, please contact SDIE Executive Director Pearl Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who are interested in coaching our undergraduate students, the Leadership Education and Development Office within Student Affairs offers the Leadership Fellows Program. More information regarding this unique program can be found here -http://leadership.gatech.edu/content/107/leadership-fellows.
Coach – How can a professional/executive coach partner with Staff Council and OHR to work as an internal coach?
- For those interested in partnering with Staff Council, they can reach out to Laura Pusateri (email@example.com), Employee Engagement Chair.
Health – Please address incentive programs for employee health/fitness
- The University System of Georgia (where our health care benefits rest) is working on implementation of a system-wide Wellness program. Be on the lookout in the coming year.
- An incentive program is also one of our committee's highest priorities. We are working to have planning sessions with Human Resources to determine feasibility.
Health – Is it possible to extend the lunch break to an hour in the case of an employee wanting to work out at the CRC? The extended time as a benefit, if possible, would not affect the normal work punch out time. This would give employees who so desire an opportunity to work out during the day.
- Lunch breaks can be different department to department, depending on job requirements. Some employees may receive one hour of "lunch" but are on campus for nine hours while other employees may have eight-hour shifts and are on campus for eight and a half hours. Employees and supervisors can discuss exercise opportunities based on the individual departments, shifts and job requirements.
- The committee is exploring health-related flexible time and more convenient exercise opportunities.