College employees paid through the state payroll are eligible for insurance if they are considered full-time, or if they regularly work at least 18.75 hours per week in a position for which the regular work week is 37.50 hours, or at least 20 hours per week in a position for which the regular work week is 40 hours.
A new employee must return completed GIC enrollment forms to HRD within 10 business days of hire date to activate coverage. After a new new employee's original enrollment period:
Insurance premiums are paid in advance. Current employee premium rates and details on all insurance plans may be found in the applicable brochures available in HRD.
If you enroll in health insurance, your coverage will begin on the first of the month that follows 60 days of continuous employment.
You may select from a variety of health insurance plans including an indemnity plan (GIC Indemnity Plan), a preferred provider organization (Commonwealth PPO), and many regional health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The indemnity plan allows you freedom of choice in selecting providers of health services. The PPO combines the flexibility of a traditional medical plan and the benefits of an HMO. HMOs require that you utilize participating physicians and health facilities, but they may offer lower premiums and pay higher percentages of some services.
If you elect family coverage, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) requires certified documents for dependents covered under the plan, such as a copy of a marriage certificate for a spouse and a copy of a birth certificate/hospital statement/adoption paper/appointment as legal guardian for a dependent child. (Specific documentation is also required when employees with family coverage want to switch to individual coverage because of a change in personal circumstances).
Your unmarried dependent children will be covered until they reach age 19.
Unmarried dependent children over age 19 may continue to be covered until age 24 if they are full-time students. When a dependent's coverage ends, the dependent may elect to continue individual health coverage for a limited time under COBRA at 102% of the applicable premium.
Unmarried dependent disabled children over age 19 may be eligible to continue coverage under the parent's health plan. The employee must submit a letter to the GIC requesting coverage. The letter must be accompanied by a physician's statement.
If employees meet the State Retirement Board's requirements as a state retiree, they are eligible to continue insurance through the GIC. Retirement arrangements should be made by scheduling an appointment with HRD several months before the planned retirement date. Employees with health insurance coverage who discontinue employment at the college may continue that coverage for a period of time under the COBRA law.
Dental insurance coverage for non-unit employees begins the first of the month that follows 60 days of continuous employment. Coverage for faculty, unit professionals, and AFSCME unit classified employees begins the first of the month that follows 6 months of employment. (For AFSCME employees, vision care coverage is also included in their Health & Welfare plan).
You may elect either individual or family dental insurance coverage. Dental insurance may also be continued for a period of time after state employment ends, under the provisions of the COBRA law.
If you enroll in life insurance, your coverage will begin on the first of the month that follows 60 days of continuous employment.
You may elect $5,000 in basic life insurance for a nominal portion of the monthly premium. You may also elect additional optional life insurance in $1,000 increments up to $1,000 less than your annual salary or in multiples of annual salary up to eight times your annual salary. You pay the full premium for optional life insurance. Cost is based on age and the amount of insurance. Employees who become state retirees may continue life insurance coverage.
Long Term Disability Insurance
If you enroll in long term disability (LTD) insurance, your coverage will begin on the first of the month that follows 60 days of continuous employment. If you are absent due to a personal illness or injury on the date that LTD insurance would otherwise have become effective, the effective date is deferred until you are actively at work for one day.
LTD coverage provides income protection when you are disabled by a non-job-related illness or injury. The coverage replaces a percentage of regular pay after you have been totally disabled for 90 consecutive days. You pay the full premium for LTD insurance. The cost is based on your age and annual salary.
RETIREMENT AND SAVINGS PLANS
State Retirement Plan
College employees paid through the state payroll system are required to become members of the State Retirement Plan (with the exception of new, non-vested, full-time faculty and certain senior administrators who may elect the Optional Retirement Plan). Employees are vested (entitled to a pension at some point in time if contributions are not withdrawn) after 10 years of full-time state service and are eligible for retirement with 20 years of service, or at age 55 with 10 years of service.
For employees hired on or after July 1, 1996, the basic contribution rate is 9% of regular salary. Employees who earn over $30,000 per year must pay an additional 2% for all earnings over the $30,000 level (a total contribution of 11% for earnings over $30,000). The additional 2% is assessed on all regular earnings that exceed $576.92 per week.
Your retirement contribution is deducted from your paycheck before your federal taxes are compiled. In other words, you do not pay taxes on that part of your income until you withdraw your contributions or collect a pension.
The State Retirement Plan is a defined benefit plan. Your retirement benefit will be calculated with a benefit formula rather than on the amount of money earned on the investment of your contributions.
Upon retirement, election of Option A gives you the largest retirement allowance possible in monthly payments. Option A is based on three factors: your total years of creditable service, your age at retirement, and your highest three years' average pay. The rate for your age at retirement varies from 1.5% per year of service at age 55 to 2.5% per year of service at age 65. Under Option A, all payments stop upon your death, and no benefits will be provided to your survivors.
Election of Option B upon retirement gives you a lifetime allowance about 3% to 10% less than Option A. Option B provides a lump sum payment of any remaining deposits at your death. The longer you live, the less your beneficiary will be paid. On average, you would have to live between 12-15 years to deplete your deposits and interest.
Election of Option C when you retire gives you allowance payments that are based on an actuarial calculation derived from your life expectancy and that of your designated beneficiary, and that will be less than those you would receive under Option A or Option B. Under Option C, your beneficiary will be paid an allowance for the remainder of his or her lifetime if you pre-decease him or her. That allowance will be equal to 2/3 of the allowance paid to you at the time of your death. Under Option C, if your beneficiary dies before you, your allowance payment automatically reverts to the Option A payout plan. The only eligible beneficiaries under Option C are: your spouse, father, mother, child, unmarried ex-spouse, brother, sister. Further details on the State Retirement Plan may be found in the brochure available in HRD.
|BENEFIT RATE FACTORS FOR STATE RETIREMENT PLAN|
|65 or over||.025||52||.012|
|WORKSHEET TO ESTIMATE OPTION "A" STATE RETIREMENT
The formula for estimating your retirement benefit is:
|Years of Service||X||Rate for Age at Retirement||X||Average of Highest 3 Years Salary||=||Annual Benefit Option "A"|
The amount on line 7 is an estimate of your approximate Option "A" yearly allowance.
Optional Retirement Plan
New full-time teaching faculty (and certain senior administrators) who are not vested in the State Retirement Plan have a one-time only option to choose between two types of retirement plans: the State Retirement Plan or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). An eligible employee must decide within 90 days of his or her eligibility date. Failure to make an election within 90 days will result in automatic enrollment in the State Retirement Plan.
Both plans have the same mandatory pre-tax contribution of 9% of regular salary for employees hired on or after July 1, 1996, plus an additional 2% of regular salary in excess of $30,000. The Commonwealth's employee contribution is 5% of regular salary. Up to 1% of the employer contribution will be directed to the ORP Disability and Life Insurance Account and to the ORP Administrative Account to cover expenses.
The ORP is a defined contribution plan. Your retirement benefit would be based on the total amount contributed to your allocated investment funds and the investment experience of those funds.
An employee is vested immediately for the employee's contribution plus the Commonwealth's contribution. There are currently three ORP Providers to receive and invest ORP contributions: Lincoln National, TIAA-CREF, and VALIC.
Deferred Compensation Plan
Employees are eligible to participate in the Deferred Compensation Plan, a voluntary retirement savings plan allowed under IRC Section 457.
Federal and state income taxes on plan contributions and earnings are not payable until the employee receives the money, usually after retirement. Limits on contributions are set by the Internal Revenue Service.
Contact HRD for the name of the plan coordinator.
Employees are eligible to start a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA), a voluntary retirement savings plan allowed under IRC Section 403(b).
Federal income taxes on TSA contributions and earnings are not payable until the employee receives the money, usually after retirement. Limits on contributions are set by the Internal Revenue Service.
Employees must contact the agent or representative of a state approved company to enroll in a TSA. After enrolling in a TSA, employees must contact HRD and complete the 403(b) Salary Reduction Agreement to start TSA payroll deductions.
Credit Union and Other Payroll Deductions
An employee may elect to have payroll deductions for a credit union, bank, or insurance company on the state's approved vendor list. Details on the payroll deduction process are available in HRD.
An employee is eligible for membership and savings through local credit unions or the State Employees' Credit Union. Contact the credit unions directly for information on rates and programs. Telephone numbers are available in HRD.
An employee may elect to purchase U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds from the State Treasurer's Office through payroll deductions. Contact HRD for details.
U.Fund College Investing Plan
An employee may contribute through payroll deductions to the U.Fund College Investing Plan, a qualified state tuition plan allowed under IRC Section 529. The plan is a program of the Massachusetts Education Financing Authority with investments managed by Fidelity Investments. For more information and enrollment forms, call 1.800.544.2776 to speak with a representative at Fidelity Investments or visit the web site at www.mefa.org/savings/ufund.php.
Full-time employees are eligible for 100% free (Day School) or 50% reduced (DGCE) tuition after six months of continuous full-time employment, as described in the Board of Higher Education Tuition Remission Policy.
Spouses and dependent children (as defined in the Board's policy memorandum) are also eligible for tuition benefits after the six month waiting period.
To utilize this benefit, employees must complete a tuition waiver form, available in HRD, for each family member who will be attending a state higher education institution. The form must be completed by the employee and signed by the immediate supervisor and the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources. It is then submitted to the appropriate college with the tuition bill. (The University of Massachusetts utilizes a different tuition waiver form than the one used for all other institutions.)
Please note that only tuition charges are waived or reduced. Fees and housing costs must be paid in full. It is necessary to complete new waiver forms every semester, since waivers are only honored for 120 days. Waivers are valid for all state colleges and universities except the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Some variations on the tuition remission policy exist for unit employees and are described in each of the respective collective bargaining agreements or Board handbooks. If you have questions on those variations, schedule an appointment with the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources. For Bridgewater State College employees only, the college also waives internal fees and provides a fifty percent discount on community service courses.
Employees may need professional counseling services if they are experiencing personal problems that affect their work performance or that prevent them from enjoying a sense of well being. Such problems can include stress, death in the family, change in living circumstances, making difficult decisions about life, or mental health/substance abuse problems.
Employees enrolled in the GIC Indemnity Plan or the Commonwealth PPO may contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at the telephone on the health plan membership card. Calls will be kept in strict confidence, as will any subsequent health care records.
Employees enrolled in an HMO should contact the HMO's Member Services Department for the procedure to access care.
Please note that personal counseling services exist for our students at the Counseling Center in Tillinghast Hall, Room 024.
In addition, all employees enrolled in GIC Basic Life Insurance may call LifeBalance at 1.800.854.1446 or visit the web site www.lifebalance.net. Unum's LifeBalance Program is a free resource to provide answers and advice on a wide range of topics.
The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows employees tax-advantaged opportunities in paying the cost of dependent care. This program gives you the opportunity to set up and use a dependent care reimbursement account to help pay for dependent care, while at the same time increasing your spendable income. The reimbursement account increases your spendable income by taxing your earnings after dependent care has been deducted. Please contact HRD if you would like more information about the program.
Mass Buying Power, Inc.
College personnel are eligible for discounted prices on items with a purchase price of $100 or more at specific vendors. Employees should contact Mass Buying Power, Inc. (MBPI), at 781.829.4900 and specify what items they wish to purchase. MBPI will mail a purchase certificate to the employee with the names of one or more vendors that will give purchase discounts on that item. You can also reach MBPI online at massbuy.com. You will need to use MBP as your sign-in name and password.
Full-time employees may obtain a 10% discount on most college bookstore purchases (including textbooks). To receive the discount, employees must show their Connect Card when making a purchase.
HRD also maintains a display of other discounts available to college and/or state employees. All employees should check this display periodically.
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS EMPLOYEE'S CHARITABLE CAMPAIGN (COMECC)
COMECC is an annual fund-raising effort that enables employees to make a one-time contribution or bi-weekly payroll deductions to a wide variety of United Way agencies and national/international service organizations. The campaign is conducted in the fall and payroll deductions begin the following January.
Generally, if a holiday falls on a Saturday, the Friday before will be a minimal staffing day and if it falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on Monday. The dates of some holidays vary from year to year.
|All full-time twelve month employees are entitled to the thirteen paid holidays listed below:|
|New Year's Day||January 1||January 1|
|Martin Luther King Day||January 17||January 16|
|President's Day||February 21||February 20|
|Evacuation Day||March 17*||March 17*|
|Patriots' Day||April 18||April 16|
|Memorial Day||May 30||May 28|
|Bunker Hill Day||June 17*||June 17*|
|Independence Day||July 4||July 4|
|Labor Day||September 5||September 3|
|Columbus Day||October 10||October 8|
|Veterans' Day||November 11||November 11|
|Thanksgiving Day||November 24||November 22|
|Christmas Day||December 25||December 25|
|*Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day are legal holidays in Suffolk County. Most college employees will have those days as paid holidays. However, the college is required to remain open on those days, and key offices and buildings will be staffed. Employees who are required to work on a Suffolk County holiday will be given an alternate day off with pay.|
Last Modified: July 2, 2012