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Stanford Report, March 8, 2000

Staffer suggests ways to make benefits more equitable

EDITOR, STANFORD REPORT:

I've worked here for over 10 years and have seen a lot of very talented people leave, especially in the last two years, for higher paying jobs. It's not a mystery that Stanford does not pay as well as companies on the "outside." Stanford's alternative to a higher salary is the benefits it provides its employees. I think Stanford could do a better job in this area. Here are my suggestions.

1. The university needs to compensate employees for sick leave. If an employee does not take any sick leave within a year's time, he or she needs to be recognized in some way. There also needs to be some sort of trade-in if an employee has reached a certain threshold in sick leave balance. You could allow extra vacation or a payout or early retirement. We all know that an employee who is here every day is an asset to any organization and should be compensated and/or rewarded in some way.

2. I suggest that those employees who have reached a minimum of 10 years of quality service get a reduced charge for their annual parking permit and/or some other form of recognition aside from a service pin.

3. I suggest that the charge for parking be based on your salary. It's far easier for a department head, dean, president, etc., to afford a parking permit than it is for a non-exempt employee.

4. The tuition benefit has always been one-sided. It is not available to those of us who either do not have any, cannot have any or do not want any children. We all know this is a huge benefit, about $10,000 per year right now, that those of us with no children will never get to use. I know this benefit was phased out last September, but that doesn't address those of us who have been here for years and basically lost out on tens of thousands of dollars of a benefit available only to those employees with eligible children. What about allowing people to make a choice? Either they get tuition reimbursement or they get a housing allowance to use toward the purchase or rent of a house/apartment/condo. We all know the cost of housing in this area is totally outrageous. I'm aware of the housing allowance program intended to address the difference in the cost of home ownership between the Stanford area and areas in proximity to other major research universities. Not only does this program provide for a housing allowance, it also provides down payment assistance loans and mortgage assistance loans that are extremely low, like 3 percent! When you look at this program further, it is only available to senior staff classified within a certain exempt pay range. Why should those in a higher classification and salary get a break? It should be the other way around.

Helen Hamlett
Building Manager
Alumni Association


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