Web feature

Staff forum on future of UC post-employment benefits set for Nov. 10

| 02 November 2009

The University of California President's Task Force on Post-Employment Benefits will hold a forum on Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Sibley Auditorium in Bechtel Engineering Center, for staff to ask questions and weigh in on the future of the university's pension and retiree health programs. The university is committed to offering competitive post-employment benefits to attract and retain faculty and staff, but fiscal pressures are making it increasingly harder to do so.

The financial picture is grim. Though UC's retirement plan is currently 95 percent funded and employee contributions will be reinstated in April 2010, funding for the pension plan is predicted to decline to 61 percent by 2013. Costs for retiree health insurance are also expected to rise. Out of its operating revenue, UC currently pays approximately $225 million each to year to provide health insurance for retired employees. Costs are projected to rise to $373 million a year by 2013, and to $610 million by 2018.

UC President Mark Yudof has charged the task force with developing a long-term, comprehensive approach to post-employment benefits. To arrive at its recommendations, the task force is holding "listening forums" at each of the 10 campuses. (A forum for Berkeley faculty is scheduled for Nov. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Sibley Auditorium.)

The forums will begin with a 30-minute presentation by the UC Office of the President's Randy Scott, executive director for policy and program design, human resources and benefits, and Gary Schlimgen, director of retirement programs and policy. A 90-minute Q&A session will follow the presentation.

"Like everything else, salary and benefit funding will be competing for resources in what we expect to be sustained difficult economic times for the state and the university," says Schlimgen. "We've got to get pension contributions restarted and take a hard look at how we can sustain these post-employment benefit programs and get adequate levels of state funding. The state supports pension costs for Cal State employees (PERS) and community college employees (PERS and STRS) but has not supported pension contributions on state-funded UC salaries for nearly 20 years."

The task force will take its findings back to Yudof before submitting proposals to the Regents.

The future of our benefits