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Program provides worker discounts

Many Duke employees are saving money on purchases made at more than 200 businesses throughout the Triangle thanks to the PERQs program.

Established in April 2000 as a part of the compensation package available to all employees, the program facilitates discounts at various stores, restaurants, car dealerships and other businesses.

For example, employees can buy discounted Carolina Hurricanes or Durham Bulls tickets, and receive special prices at local car dealerships.

"The program was established to provide an array of comprehensive discounts to employees," said Mindy Kornberg, director of staff and labor relations. "The program has been successful because there are a large number of employees who have taken advantage of the program."

Kornberg said Staff and Family Programs contacts vendors quarterly for changes, and the program is expanding as more local businesses are becoming aware of it.

Employees are informed of the availability of PERQs through a website, a book printed twice a year and mailing lists--the most frequently updated source. The mailing list's 13,000 recipients at the University and Health System are e-mailed when there is a change or addition of vendors.

"It is probably one of the strongest benefits offered to Duke employees," said Lani Goodman, a technology partner with the learning and organization development department.

Goodman, who learned about the program during new-hire orientation, said many employees are unaware of PERQs. "If no mention is made during new-hire orientation, I'm not sure it will get out by department," she said.

Employees said they appreciated the discounts and found them convenient opportunities to save.

"I haven't used the program for anything as elaborate as a car, but it is nice to save," said Debra Ramsey, a staff specialist. "I have basically been using it with small stuff, such as discount movie tickets and tickets for the state fair."

Movie tickets appear to be the most popular item taken advantage of by employees. Employees can purchase tickets conveniently at two locations, Trent Hall and Duke Clinic.

Ramsey added that large families are likely to enjoy such discounts.

"The whole idea that a company gives you something makes you feel good about the company that you work for," Ramsey said.

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