President Iuliano addresses employees about the strategic planning process and its impact on employee compensation, benefits, and work-related policies.
October 18, 2021
You may know that as part of our strategic planning process, the College has been engaged in a comprehensive review of our structures and resources. The goal of this work is to better align our revenues and expenses and to ultimately right-size our institutional budget in both the near- and long-term. This work is ongoing and essential in helping to ensure a sustainable path for the College. It’s also necessary by demographic and other changes that are putting significant pressure on our class sizes and tuition revenue.
To be clear, we have important and difficult judgments to make when it comes to right-sizing our budget. At the same time, we must and will continue to invest in areas of strategic importance. Today, I write to inform you of some recent decisions and investments to be made by the institution as it relates to one of our central priorities: the support of our employees.
In my letter to you in June, I committed to reviewing our employee total compensation. This note provides an update on decisions made as part of that assessment. Human Resources will follow-up with an Open Enrollment email soon. Additional details on the changes outlined below will be shared with impacted employees in the coming weeks.
- Increase in Minimum Wage for Benefits-Eligible Employees – Effective November 13, the College will increase its starting minimum wage for benefits-eligible employees from $11.00 to $13.00 per hour. These are employees who work at least 20 hours per week. As the College increases our starting minimum wage for these employees, it will also adjust wages and corresponding benefits for existing benefits-eligible employees across the College to account for wage compression. These adjustments will be applied to benefits-eligible employees earning up to and around $20.00 per hour and will be allocated progressively (with the lowest-paying jobs receiving the largest increases). This market rate adjustment will directly impact benefits-eligible members of our support staff, as well as administrators whose current salaries fall within this range.
- Increase in College’s Contribution to Defined Contribution Retirement Plan – Beginning July 1, Gettysburg College will increase its contribution to our Defined Contribution Retirement Plan for all eligible employees from 5% to 7%. While this is not a return to the 10% contribution rate we were able to offer before COVID, it is a meaningful step forward. We will continue to evaluate the College’s contribution rate as the hard work to right-size our budget moves forward.
- Highmark BlueShield – The College will retain Highmark BlueShield as its health insurance carrier for 2022. While the premiums that Highmark charges the College for health insurance will increase in 2022, we have taken steps to keep employee contributions at current year levels.
- QHDP and HSA – The College will continue to offer the Qualified High Deductible Plan (QHDP), along with the Health Savings Account (HSA), through Optum. The College will maintain the employer contribution for the HSA at the same level as 2021, which is $750 for single coverage and $1,500 for employee plus children, employee plus spouse/partner, and employee plus family coverage types.
- Telecommuting and Remote Work – Thanks to research and guidance provided by the Remote/Hybrid Work Committee, the College expects to introduce a new telecommuting and remote work policy in January, permitting approved employees to work from home or an off-site location on an occasional, part-time (hybrid), or full-time basis, as appropriate to the responsibilities of the position and the needs of the College.
- Thanksgiving Holiday – As a gesture of appreciation for all you have done, and continue to do, in service of our students and the College, we will extend the Thanksgiving holiday by an additional day to include Wednesday, November 24, as a floating holiday. Administrative and support staff who work in offices and departments that do not have the flexibility to close that Wednesday will have an extra day off to use as leave time before May 31, 2022. Please take this time to relax and recharge with your loved ones.
Together, our community is navigating one of the most defining periods in our College’s 189-year history. I am proud of how we as Gettysburgians continue to respond. The choices confronting us are complex, but these are the very choices that will position our College—and generations of Gettysburg students—to thrive in the years to come. I am honored to be shaping Gettysburg College’s bright future alongside you.