University renews PittPerks benefit program

By Alexa Bakalarski / Staff Writer

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Pitt’s Senate Committee on Benefits and Welfare decided Tuesday to continue and improve PittPerks, the program implemented to give employees discounts at local businesses, for another year.

The free employee discount program is available to all faculty, staff, research associates and post-doctoral associates who work more than 20 hours each week at Pitt. Introduced February 2015, the program offers about 34 percent of Pitt employees discounts as well as home, automobile, pet and traveler’s insurance that employees can deduct from their paychecks. The committee approved the program’s renewal for another year at its meeting in Benedum Hall at 8:30 a.m., and agreed to begin initiatives to improve the program.

Lori Carnvale, director of benefits at the Office of Human Resources at Pitt, said the program is designed to streamline employees’ benefits and discounts through Corestream, a website that catalogues all of the PittPerks discounts.

“We wanted to make it easy for employees, like a one-stop shop,” Carnvale said.

More than 4,500 Pitt employees are registered on the PittPerks website, giving those users access to discounts at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, Avis Rent a Car System, Overstock and Best Buy.

Currently, PittPerks users can get 45 percent off movie tickets at Carmike 10 theaters, 20 percent off football season tickets, up to 25 percent off plans and accessories at T-Mobile and paycheck-deductible insurance plans through MetLife and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

John Kozar, assistant vice chancellor for university benefits, said the committee hopes to expand PittPerks in the coming months to include more local businesses, which he said will help get more employees involved in the program.

The committee agreed Tuesday to host benefit fairs at regional campuses during the last week of April and the first week of May. It will also host open enrollment sessions in the William Pitt Union and Scaife Hall, and the committee discussed opening annual three-week enrollment for Pitt employees to re-elect and change their benefit plans.

Before the committee implemented PittPerks in February 2015, employees could only access discounts on different webpages online, and an outline of all the benefits was not available as part of the program.

Sachin Velankar, an engineering professor and chair of the committee, said it’ll take time for employees to learn about the program and start using it.

“I think it will remain a minor thing until people are more aware,” Velankar said.

Kozar said adding local vendors located near campus will make the program more attractive to employees.

“It’s a matter of growing this, and it’ll take time,” Kozar said. “We want to build a solid foundation.”

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