New Faculty Survival Guide
When you are hired as a faculty member at CSU Stanislaus, you become eligible for an array of benefits. The CSU provides comprehensive benefits including retirement, health care, including vision and dental plans, life insurance, tax-sheltered annuities, fee waivers for CSU classes, and disability benefits. These benefits, together with salary levels, are a product of collective bargaining agreements between the California Faculty Association and the CSU. Visit www.csustan.edu/HR or contact Faculty Affairs at Ext. 3028 for more information on benefits.
In order to qualify for medical, dental and vision care benefits, faculty employees, including librarians and coaches, must be appointed for at least six weighted teaching units for either semester. New faculty employees have 60 calendar days from the date of the eligible appointment to enroll without evidence of insurability, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
An annual open enrollment period for medical and dental plans allows employees the opportunity (1) to enroll in the plan if not currently enrolled, (2) to add eligible family members not previously enrolled, (3) to change plans. You will be notified of open enrollment periods, which generally run September or October.
Several medical plans are available. You may choose to enroll in one of the health maintenance organization plans (HMO) or preferred provider plans (PPO). State contributions cover most of the premium costs. Your share of cost varies depending upon the health plan you selected and the number of family members enrolled.
Two enhanced dental plans are available for eligible faculty employees: Delta Care USA or Delta Dental PPO. There is no premium charge for either of these plans for the employee or the dependents.
Faculty employees eligible for medical and dental plans will be enrolled automatically in Vision Service Plan (VSP) vision care plan. There is no premium charge for employees or dependents. Call Faculty Affairs at Ext. 3028 or visit the Employee Benefits page at www.csustan.edu/HR for plan information.
Continuation of Benefits Plans
By paying the group plan total premium, plus 2 percent, faculty employees and dependents who are enrolled in a benefit plan and lose eligibility may be eligible to continue health, dental and/or vision care coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA.
Faculty employees appointed full time for a period that exceeds six months OR part time (50 percent or more) for an academic year, OR two consecutive semesters at 50 percent or more will automatically be enrolled in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS is a defined benefit plan with retirement benefits calculated on the basis of age at retirement, years of service, and highest pay. Eligibility for retirement is age 50 with a minimum of five years of service. If you are a member of CalPERS, your pre-tax contributions are mandatory to the rate of 5 percent of monthly earnings in excess of $513. The state also contributes to CalPERS on your behalf.
All CalPERS members are automatically covered by a $5,000 death benefit.
If you separate from CalPERS employment before retirement, you may request a refund of your contributions plus interests carried, roll your contributions into a tax deferred savings plan, OR leave your contributions on deposit with CalPERS.
Part-time faculty employees who are not eligible for CalPERS membership are enrolled in the State Department of Personnel Administration retirement plan (PST.) The employee contribution is 7.5 percent of gross salary on a pre-tax basis.
Social Security and Medicare
Social Security (OASDI) deductions are coordinated with CalPERS for retirement benefits. The contribution is approximately 7.65 percent of gross monthly salary. The Medicare tax, normally incorporated in Social Security deductions, is mandatory even if an employee does not qualify for retirement or Social Security membership. Contributions enable employees to qualify for Medicare benefits when reaching age 65.
A $50,000 employer-paid life insurance plan is provided to faculty employees appointed for at least five weighted teaching units for either semester. Additional life insurances may be purchased for the employee or dependents. No medical certification is required during the first 60 days of employment.
Faculty Early Retirement Program
The Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) allows tenured faculty members, age 55 or older, who are eligible for service retirement under the CalPERS system to retire and continue teaching for a maximum time base and duration as established in the Unit 3 Faculty Collective Bargaining Agreement. More information on FERP may be obtained through the Office of Academic Resources at Ext. 3392.
Pre-Retirement Reduction in Time base
The Pre-Retirement Reduction in Time Base program (PRTB) allows faculty employees to phase into actual retirement through reduction in time base to an average of two-third, one-half, or one-third of full time while maintaining full retirement credit and other benefits for a maximum of five years.
Retired faculty employees, with approval, may be employed by the university up to 50 percent of the hours worked the year preceding retirement without loss or interruption of retirement benefits.
Tax Deferred Annuity-Deferred Compensation Programs
The California State University and the state of California sponsor tax sheltered annuity and deferred compensation programs. These programs permit eligible employees to deposit an amount, through payroll deduction, to a tax-sheltered account. The tax-sheltered portion of gross income is not included as part of the gross earnings for state and federal tax purposes. Income taxes are paid at the time funds are withdrawn. Contact the Office of Faculty Affairs for more information at Ext. 3028.
Fee Waiver Program
Eligible faculty employees may request a fee waiver to attend CSU classes. Under this voluntary program, registration fees are reduced for a maximum of two approved CSU courses per semester. To be approved, classes must be job-related or part of an individual career development plan.
Eligible faculty may transfer fee waiver benefits to a dependent including spouse, domestic partner or dependent child. For dependents, CSU fees are waived for a maximum of two classes or six units, whichever is greater. Dependents taking courses in addition to these pay only the difference between the part-time CSU fee and the full-time CSU fee.
For application forms and information on eligibility, check with the Faculty Affairs at Ext. 3028.
Death of an Employee
In the event of the death of an employee, a survivor or designee should contact Human Resources at Ext. 3351, as soon as possible. Human resources will notify the appropriate departments on campus, and will be available to assist in processing the necessary paper work.
The Central Valley Credit Union and the Golden One Credit Union are nearby, and enable employees to establish checking and saving accounts, to borrow at low interest rates, and to repay loans through payroll deduction. Call Faculty Affairs at Ext. 3028, for phone numbers and addresses.
Dependent Care Reimbursement, Health Care Reimbursement and Tax Advantage Premium Plan Program
These programs allow eligible employees to pay for certain expenses on a pre-tax basis. The expenses include dependent care if required in order for employee to work, out of pocket health care expenses and the employee’s contribution towards medical coverage.
Direct Deposit is a program that allows for the automatic electronic deposit of pay warrants (paychecks) to participating banking or saving and loan institutions. The Payroll Office at Ext. 3310, can help you establish direct deposit of your paycheck.
FlexCash is an optional benefit plan that allows employees to waive CSU medical and/or dental insurance plans in exchange for cash if there is proof of other non-CSU coverage. The FlexCash payment is treated as taxable income and is subject to payroll taxes.
Home Loan Program
Active members or annuitants of CalPERS are eligible to apply for home loans sponsored by CalPERS and several lending institutions.
Employee Assistance Program
The university provides employees and their families with confidential counseling sessions for a variety of needs including personal, family, marital, legal, and substance abuse problems. Contact Faculty Affairs at Ext. 3028 for specifics.
Tips on Benefits
- Take time to read the information on benefits provided by Faculty Affairs.
- Be aware of open enrollment opportunities for health and dental plans and of enrollment deadlines.
- Check your monthly deductions to confirm that you are enrolled.
- Attend New Faculty Orientation and meet with the benefits coordinator for a full explanation of the benefits program.
- If you would like to teach a reduced load prior to full retirement, ask for information on the Pre-retirement Reduction in Time Base (PRTB.)
- Consider whether tax-deferred annuities or deferred compensation programs will be helpful to your financial situation.
- If you or your family members wish to take classes at CSU, find out about the fee waiver program.
- If you have a work-related injury, report it immediately by filling out an “Employee Claim for Worker’s Compensation Benefits” form.
- If you are in the market for insurance, find out about group rates for an array of CSU-sponsored insurance plans.
- If it would be useful for you to have your paycheck deposited directly into your checking or savings account, become informed about the direct deposit program.
- If you are on unpaid leave of absence to care for a family member, find out about your eligibility to continue health, dental and vision benefits.
- Check with CalPERS to find out when you are fully vested in the retirement system.
- If you suffer an injury or disability, check with Human Resources about the options available to you.
- Check with Human Resources if you want to know how to calculate your retirement income, or what retirement benefits you will receive.
- Know your rights and responsibilities in the event of injury or illness.
- Remember to report change of marital status or dependent status.
- Update beneficiary information annually.