501.01 Sick Leave
Full-time faculty members accumulate sick leave at the rate of one day (equivalent to eight hours) per calendar month of service. Faculty with academic-year appointments accrue one day of sick leave per month during the academic year (September through May) for a total of nine days (72 hours) per year. Faculty members working half time or more accumulate sick leave proportionate to their percentage of fulltime equivalence. Faculty with appointments of less than half-time do not accrue paid time off.
An academic-year faculty member who teaches or who conducts compensated research during the summer may earn up to 3 additional days (24 hours) of sick leave. The additional benefit is computed as eight hours of sick time accrual for each 10 percent additional compensation (maximum additional compensation is 30 percent, and maximum additional sick leave is 24 hours for summer).
For uneven percentages, a proportional formula applies. For example, an individual who has summer commitments totaling to 23 percent additional compensation would earn 23/30ths of 24 hours, or 18.4 hours, of additional accumulated sick leave.
Note: Only faculty members who are actually being compensated during the summer are eligible to accrue and utilize sick-leave benefits during the summer. Academic faculty who are ill during the summer but who are not in pay status for summer employment may not claim sick leave during that time.
Sick leave may be granted for an absence at the discretion of the institution for any of the following reasons:
Sick leave is reported on a Report of Absence Form. The form should be signed by the department head and submitted to the Human Resources-Payroll Office no later than two weeks following the absence. Report of Absence Forms are available in most departments as well as from Human Resource Services and on the HR website. Sick leave of greater than one week requires documentation from a healthcare provider. Absences for a serious health condition of the individual or an immediate family member may be covered under provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA; see Section 501.03).
Terminating employees shall not accumulate sick leave or be entitled to receive sick pay after the last working day of their employment (BOR Policy, Section 802.0801). Accumulated unused sick leave may be credited under certain conditions toward retirement benefits from the Georgia Teachers Retirement System (TRS).
501.02 Leave of Absence
In addition to the information provided below on leaves, information regarding leaves is also provided in the University Statutes (Article XI, Sec 20) and in Board of Regents policy (Sec 802.08).
501.02.01 Leaves Without Pay
Subject to approval by the Chancellor and the Board of Regents, the President of the University may grant leaves without pay to members of the institution's faculty or administrative staff. The Board of Regents may approve recommendations for leave of absence without pay as long as the granting of such leaves will not be prejudicial to the interests of the institution.
The effect that the granting of the leave will have on the institution or the particular department will be taken into consideration. For example, if an individual's work cannot be handled by other faculty members and/or if resources are not available for the employment of a substitute, the University is justified in refusing to recommend that the leave be granted or in deferring action upon the request for a leave.
Application for a leave of absence is made first by notifying the departmental chairperson and the dean of the college. The dean may then submit the request to the President through the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost.
Employees retain benefits eligibility during unpaid leave, assuming they continue to pay the employee portion of the benefit costs. Employees do not earn paid time off (e.g., sick leave) during unpaid leave status.
501.02.02 Professional Leaves
Definition and Purpose: Professional leaves are leaves with full or partial pay for faculty members for the purpose of providing opportunities for scholarly and professional growth that will increase the value of the recipients' contributions to the University. These professional leaves may be granted, upon application, for research, study, field projects, or other similar purposes. During professional leaves, faculty members will be free from on-going institutional service responsibilities such as committee assignments and faculty meetings.
The policies for professional leaves do not apply to faculty requests for a semester free from one or more classroom teaching responsibilities. This released time must have the approval of the department chair and the dean of the academic unit and is done at their discretion within college guidelines. If a faculty member requests a semester free from teaching and other responsibilities, the procedures to be followed for professional leaves apply.
Eligibility: Professional leaves may be granted to persons employed by the University on a full-time basis as members of the faculty (including eligible counselors and librarians), whose duties include teaching, research, administration, or the performance of professional services. Because many faculty members are interested, preference is given to tenured professors or associate professors who have at least six years of full-time service. Specific questions concerning eligibility for professional leaves should be referred to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Impact on Faculty Responsibilities: The granting of a professional leave depends on the unit's capacity to maintain necessary teaching schedules and advising responsibilities either by reallocation of work among other faculty members or, in some cases with justification, through temporary replacements. The granting of a professional leave should not create undue hardship for other faculty members and should not unduly limit course offerings. Endorsement by the department chair and dean should be taken to mean that this criterion is being met.
Impact on Promotion Eligibility: A candidate for promotion who had met the minimum number of years in rank would not be precluded from being eligible for promotion while absent from the institution on an approved leave of absence.
While Regents' Policy requires the following minimum number of years in rank to be eligible for promotion: to Assistant Professor, 3 years as Instructor; to Associate Professor, 4 years as Assistant Professor; and to Professor, 5 years as Associate Professor; there are two conditions under which exceptions have been approved. The first is promotion approval for individuals who have not met the required 3, 4, or 5 years in rank. Requests for promotion in advance of the time requirements have been approved when supported by strong justification from the candidate's dean and the promotion and tenure committee of the candidate's college. The second related exception is the granting of a one-year credit toward minimum years in rank, for the period of an approved professional leave. Leave must be for the purpose of promoting scholarly work and encouraging professional development and credit should be requested, and subsequently approved, at the time the leave is submitted to the Board of Regents.
Impact on Tenure Eligibility: As with promotion, a candidate who had completed the required probationary period for the award of tenure would be eligible for consideration for tenure while absent from the university on an approved leave of absence.
Tenure may be awarded upon completion of five years of full-time service at the rank of assistant professor or higher. Full-time denotes service on a one-hundred percent workload basis for both semesters of an academic year. A maximum two-year interruption because of a leave of absence or part-time services is permitted. However, no probationary credit for the period of an interruption is allowed.
Probationary credit of up to three years may be allowed for service in a tenure track position at another institution, or for full-time service at the rank of instructor at the same institution. Such credit must be approved by the Board at the time of the initial appointment at the rank of assistant professor or higher.
Procedure: An applicant must initiate the faculty professional leave request with the chair of the department, who will forward the application to the dean of that faculty member's academic unit for endorsement. The endorsed application will be forwarded to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for approval. If the requested leave is more than one semester, final approval must be received from the Board of Regents.
Each applicant should include a prospectus of the projected research or other scholarly activity and a statement of the requested time period of the leave.
Report Results: A summary report of the activities undertaken during the leave period must be submitted to the dean of the faculty member's academic unit and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs within three months of completion of the leave.
Compensation: Applicants who are granted professional leave at full salary should not accept employment elsewhere during the leave period. Exceptions to this policy may be made on a case-by-case basis.
Leave may be approved for one semester at full salary or for two
semesters at one-half salary.
[Replaced 20 February 1997]
A faculty member who is granted a leave of absence with pay will be required, before
beginning the leave, to sign an agreement that indicates:
If a faculty member receives a prestigious fellowship that provides salary support, but not at the level of that faculty member's base pay, the dean of his or her academic unit may agree to provide partial salary to compensate for the more limited fellowship stipend. Such support will be determined on a case-by-case basis. (University Senate Resolution, February, 28, 1991; Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, May 29, 1991.
501.01.03 Effects of Leave on Benefits
If a faculty member is granted leave without pay, insurance may be continued under the same entitlements as if the individual were in active status, so long as the employee portion of the premiums is remitted in a timely manner. Payment arrangements should be made with the Benefits Office before the leave begins. If leave is granted with pay, the premiums will be deducted from paychecks. In both cases, the University continues to pay the employer's portion of the premiums.
In the event of leave with less than one-half pay, no service toward retirement is credited. If leave is with one-half pay or more, service credit is granted, and normal retirement deductions are made from paychecks. The University continues to pay the employer contributions.
501.03 Family Leave and Personal Medical Leave under FMLA
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave in any 12-month period of requalifying situations. Individuals may utilize their accrued paid time off, as appropriate to remain in a paid status during a FMLA-qualifying leave. To be eligible, an individual must have been employed at Georgia State for at least 12 months and must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. (Special limitations may apply to highly compensated employees.) The following constitutes an overview. Please contact the Benefits Office of Human Resources Services for additional information.
Leave Entitlement under the Family and
Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993
The following are considered qualifying events under FMLA:
"Serious health condition" is defined as an illness, injury,
impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
Leave for birth, adoption, or legal foster care placement must conclude within 12 months of the date of birth or placement.
Spouses who are both employeed by the University are entitled to a combined total leave of 12 weeks in any 12-month period for birth/adoption/foster placement, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
Under some circumstances, employees may take FMLA leave on an intermittent basis. FMLA leave may be taken intermittently whenever it is medically necessary to care for a seriously ill family member, or becasue the employee is seriously ill and unable to work. Intermittent leave for birth, adoption, or foster care, is subject to approval by Georgia State University.
Notice and Certification
Employees seeking to use FMLA leave must provide advance notice to the department head and to the HR Benefits Office whenever practicable. Such notice must be provided at least 30 days in advance when reasonably foreseeable, and if not foreseeable, the individual must provide as much notice as possible. The employee must provide the following certification to the Benefits Office, as applicable:
A second and/or third medical opinion may be required, at Georgia State University's expense. The individual may be required to provide periodic re-certification or status reports from the healthcare provider.
Use of Paid Time Off During FMLA Leave
FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave. However, when taking FMLA leave, accumulated sick pay and/or annual leave if available is used to remain in a paid status, based on the following criteria:
During FMLA leave, an employee may retain healthcare benefits under the same conditions that would apply if they were in active status. To continue coverage, individuals must pay their share of health insurance premiums each month while on leave. Failure to pay the employee portion of the premiums may result in loss of coverage.
Upon return from FLMA leave, employees are to be restored to their original position, or to a job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other general employment terms and conditions. Georgia State University cannot guarantee that an employee will be returned to his or her original job. Use of FMLA does not result in the loss of any employment benefit that the employee earned or to which he/she was entitled before going on FMLA leave.
Return from Leave
The employee must provide advance notification to the department and the Benefits Office of the return-to-work date. Upon receipt of the statement, the individual will be reactivated on payroll if they were on leave without pay. Employees may be required to provide fitness-for-duty certification prior to being restored to active status.
Failure to return from leave for reasons other than a continued serious health condition may require the individual to repay the employer's contributions to healthcare premiums during the leave.
Extension of Leave
If an employee needs an extension of FMLA leave due to the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition, and if they have not exhaused their 12-weeks' eligibility, they must submit a written request for an extension to their department. (In no case may the maximum amount of FMLA leave exceed 12 weeks during any 12-month period.) Employees must notify their department as soon as it is determined that they will not be able to return from leave as originally planned.
For more information on FMLA, contact the Benefits Office of Human Resource Services.
501.04 Military Leave
Military leave is provided for any ordered military duty in the service of the State of Georgia or the United States, including service training/schools conducted by the armed forces of the United States. Such duty, not exceeding a total of 30 days in any calendar year, is designated as "ordered military duty," regardless of whether the orders are issued with the consent of the employee.
Regular employees are entitled to up to a maximum of 18 days (144 hours) of paid leave in a calendar year (or in any one continuous period) while engaged in the performance of military duty and while going to and from such duty during normal working hours.
In order to receive military leave with pay, the employee must submit prior to the leave a copy of his or her orders. The department must submit a payroll action form documenting the anticipated dates of absence with orders attached.
Once all paid military leave has been exhausted, paid time off is continued automatically by utilization of accrued vacation leave. If an employee does not wish to utilize accrued vacation time, they must make that request in writing in advance to the Benefits Office of Human Resources.
If a military leave is to be longer than 30 days total, individuals must request a personal leave of absence or must resign their employment with the University. Personal leave without pay may be granted for a period not to exceed one year. Under federal legislation, individuals returning from active duty may have certain reemployment rights for a period generally not to exceed five years.
Any regular faculty member required to take a Selective Service or physical examination is eligible for paid military leave according to the above provisions if the exam is scheduled during normal working hours. The employee must submit the documentation of the exam with a report of absence form.
501.05 Death in the Family
Faculty with regular appointments of half-time or more who have a death in the family may be allowed to use accrued sick leave. For circumstances involving only local travel, one day of sick leave is granted. For circumstances involving out-of-town travel, up to 3 days of sick leave may be granted. Use of sick leave in excess of three days is granted only in exceptional circumstances, for which documentation is required. Family members in this instance include the employee's spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws in the same categories, or an individual who stood in loco parentis for the employee or for whom the employee stood in loco parentis.
Faculty who work less than half time may be granted time off without pay for a death in the family as defined above.
501.05 Miscellaneous Leave
Personal Leave Without Pay
At the discretion of the individual's dean or vice president, personal leave without pay for periods up to one year may be recommended. Such personal leave allows the employee the right to elect to continue his or her group insurance benefits with institutional participation in the cost.
Court duty leave with pay is granted to benefits-eligible faculty for the purpose of serving on a jury or as a subpoenaed witness. Such leave is granted upon presentation of official documentation from the court. A receipt from the appropriate court stating the number of days served qualifies as documentation for serving on a jury.
Employees may retain juror or witness fees paid by the court. An employee serving as an expert witness must comply with the "Conflict of Interest" policy and other policies guiding outside activities.
Employees of the University are encouraged to exercise their constitutional right to vote in all federal, state, and local elections. Under Georgia law, if the polls aren't open at least two hours before or after the work shift, the employee is entitled to as much as two hours off work to vote in a local, state, or federal election or primary. The employee must provide the employer reasonable notice that time off is needed, and the employer may choose any two hours during which the polls are open.
In the event of inclement weather or any emergency that jeopardizes the safety of employees, the president or designee of the University may close the University or affected units, and may declare administrative leave with or without pay.
Georgia State University observes the following 12 official paid holidays each year. An exact schedule of these holidays is published each year by the university administration, but generally comprises:
Faculty with fiscal-year appointments are eligible for holiday time off as long as they are in a paid status the day before and/or the day after the holiday. Terminating or retiring faculty members may not be paid for holidays occurring after their last day of work. Faculty with academic-year appointments are eligible for holidays that fall within a designated academic session during which they are teaching or conducting compensated research.
503 Vacation/Annual Leave
Faculty members on academic year contracts do not accrue vacation/annual leave time.
Faculty members working on a fiscal-year (12-month) basis accrue 21 working days of vacation time a year (1.75 days per month). The scheduling of such time must be coordinated with the department head or other appropriate administrator. Faculty members on fiscal year appointments of less-than-full-time accrue annual leave in proportion to their fulltime equivalency. Vacation/annual leave may be accrued up to a maximum of 45 days (360 hours). On December 31st leave records are adjusted to reflect no more than 45 days of annual leave.
Faculty in positions funded by grants, sponsored projects, or other non-state sources must utilize any such accrued time within the funded period for their position. The employee should furnish to the budget unit head a written statement of understanding that vacation/annual leave time must be taken prior to the end of the contract or grant period or it will be forfeited. A statement to that effect is signed at the time of initial employment with the University.
Faculty members converting from a fiscal year appointment to an academic year appointment shall be paid out their accrued vacation time, subject to the forty-five (45) day maximum payment restriction, at the time of conversion. (BOR Policy, Section 803.16)
Faculty members on fiscal year appointments shall be paid for accumulated annual time (not to exceed 45 days) at the time of termination of employment from the University.
Annual leave time should be reported as it is taken. The "Report of Absence" form must be completed and forwarded by the individual's department to Human Resources Services. Failure to report annual leave use may result in inaccurate records and could result in overpayment that may be inconsistent with State law. Report of Absence Forms are available from Human Resources Services.
General Benefit Information
The following information is a summary of current employee insurance benefits, subject to change at any time with or without notice. Complete benefits information is available from the Benefits Office of Human Resources Services. This summary is an overview only; if any information varies from official and current plan documents, the language of the official document prevails.
Faculty members who work 1/2 time (i.e., fiscal-year faculty with an FTE of .50 or greater, or academic-year faculty with an annualized FTE of .375 or greater) or more are considered benefit-eligible. As such, they have the opportunity to purchase health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, supplemental life insurance, dependent life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, short-term and long-term disability income insurance, term life insurance. Participation in a retirement program is mandatory (see Section 505). The Benefits Office provides comprehensive descriptions of the available plans and comparisons of the benefits included in each plan along with rates.
Faculty must enroll for insured benefits during their first 31 days of employment. Individuals who do not elect benefits during the first 31 days of employment must wait until the next annual open enrollment period to enroll. Typically, open enrollment is held during November, with coverage effective January 1 of the following year. A Benefits Fair is generally held prior to the November open-enrollment period, giving employees the opportunity to gather benefits information and talk with various providers.
The Board of Regents' Dental Plan and Supplemental Life Insurance are only available if an employee enrolls within 31 days of employment (these programs are never subsequently available if not elected at the time of initial employment). Employees must also select a retirement program within their first 60 days of employment. Failure to designate a retirement option within the first 60 days will result in default assignment to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS). Once assigned, such action is irrevocable and without exception.
Change in Family Status
If there is a qualifying change in family status, such as birth, death, marriage, or divorce, changes in certain benefits may be made if the employee notifies the Benefits Office within 31 days of the event. Failure to notify the Benefits Office within 90 days that a no-longer-qualified dependent should be removed from coverage will result in forfeited premium contributions.
Insurance Premium Payment During Non-pay Status
Insurance premiums are paid by payroll deduction. Faculty who expect to be in a non-pay status for any reason when insurance premiums are due should contact the Benefits Office to arrange for payment of insurance premiums. Non-payment of premiums may result in cancellation of benefit coverage.
Insurance Premiums for Coverage during Summer
Faculty summer insurance premiums are deducted in advance, with the costs spread out over the January through May paychecks. Because summer premiums are pre-paid, no premiums then are deducted from summer paychecks. If employment ends at the conclusion of the academic year, coverage ends at the end of the month in which employment terminates, and any withheld summer premiums will be refunded.
504.01 Health Insurance Plans
Georgia State University offers benefits-eligible faculty a choice of several health care plans, typically including one or more of the following: a traditional indemnity plan, a group health maintenance organization (HMO) plan, and individual practice health maintenance organization plans (IPO), and/or a preferred provider plan (PPO). Coverage is available for employees and dependents. The university typically has contributed the majority of the premium cost, with the employee paying the balance of the premium.
504.02 Continuation of Benefits after Termination
Terminating faculty have insurance coverage through the end of the month in which their contract ends, as long as the full premiums have been paid. Under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), terminating employees may continue their existing medical, dental, and/or vision coverage for up to 18 months following termination at their own cost by paying the total premium (employee + employer costs, plus a small administrative fee). If a qualified individual is termined to be disabled under Title II or XVI of the Social Security Act at the time employment ended, and if the plan administrator is notified within 60 days, coverage may be continued for up to 29 months. Individuals who are enrolled in a Medical Spending Account at the time of separation may also be able under certain conditions to continue participation in the plan through the end of the calendar year.
A terminating employee has 60 days following the date their coverage ends to elect continuation of benefits under COBRA; coverage is activated once the premium payment is received. It is the individual's responsibility to ensure that premiums are paid in a timely manner. If premiums are not paid timely to the univeristy, coverage will be discontinued.
In some circumstances, spouses or dependent children themselves may be able to continue their own coverage under COBRA. Qualifying events include the death of a covered employee, the termination (other than by reason of gross misconduct) of the employee, reduction of work hours of the employee resulting in the loss of benefits eligibility, the divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from their spouse, the covered employee's becoming entitled to Medicare benefits, a child ceasing to be a dependent.
For more information, faculty, spouses, or children interested in electing COBRA benefits should contact the Benefits Office. See the Board of Regents Policy Manual section 802.1005 for information about disabled employees insurance.
The University System continues to cover the employer portion of health and life insurance premiums on faculty with 10 or more years of service who terminate due to total and permanent disability. For more information, contact the Benefits Office.
504.03 Dental Insurance
Elective coverage is currently available through two dental plan options: an indemnity plan where the employee may choose any dentist, and/or a point-of-service plan where the employee may select from a list of participating dentists (or receive a slightly reduced benefit if care is provided by a non-participating dentist). The employee pays the full premium for this coverage on a pre-tax basis. Note: Employees may only enroll in the Board of Regents indemnity plan within their first 31 days of hire. The BOR plan is not available during subsequent annual open enrollment periods if not elected when first employed.
504.04 Life Insurance
504.04.01 Basic Life Insurance
Group term life insurance is provided to benefits-eligible faculty in the amount of $25,000 of term life insurance at no cost to the individual.
504.04.02 Supplemental Life Insurance
Supplemental life insurance is available in amounts equal to one, two, or three times contract salary. Changes are subject to evidence of insurability if election is not made within 31 days of hire. This insurance is optional and the cost is paid by the faculty member. The premiums are based on age and the amount of coverage selected. Individuals may elect to have premiums deducted from their earnings on a pre-tax basis. Due to IRS regulations pertaining to imputed income, this election may or may not be favorable. Contact the Benefits Office for more information.
504.04.03 Dependent Life Insurance
Dependent life insurance is also available. Individuals may enroll a spouse and unmarried dependent children to age 19 (age 25 if a full time student). Current coverage is $2,000 for children up to six months of age and $10,000 for all other eligible dependents.
504.04.04 Term Life Insurance
Optional term life insurance allows employees to choose up to $80,000 of coverage on a guaranteed-issue basis, or up to $500,000 with evidence of insurability. The amount of coverage may be changed in subsequent years during open enrollment. The premium is based on age at the time of enrollment and remains the same for the next five years. A spouse may be covered even if the faculty member is not enrolled. The employee pays the full premium for this coverage.
504.05 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
Faculty members under the age of 70 and works 1/2 time or more are eligible for accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Spouses and dependent children may also be covered. Employees pay the full premium for this coverage.
504.06 Disability Income Insurance (LTD & STD)
Regular faculty who work 1/2 time or more are eligible to purchase short-term and/or long-term disability income insurance. The long-term disability benefit provides 60% of salary (up to a maximum of $7,500 monthly benefit) and begins after 90 days of disability. The short-term disability plan pays a weekly benefit of 60% of weekly earnings up to a maximum of $600 (benefit) per week and begins after 15 days of disability. Employees pay the full premium for these programs.
504.07 Worker's Compensation Insurance
All employees of the University System of Georgia are covered by Worker's Compensation Insurance, under the State of Georgia Self Insurance Program. Any injury must be reported to the Office of Safety and Risk Management. Each department should maintain a listing of authorized physicians that may be contacted if there is an on-the-job injury.
Illness or injury that occurs while an individual is traveling may not be covered by workers' compensation if such travel has not been submitted and approved in advance as business-related. Employees should submit travel authorization paperwork any time they are traveling on University-related business.
504.08 Social Security
Terms, conditions, requirements, reservations, benefits, privileges, and other conditions of Title II of the Social Security Act, as amended, apply to all officers and employees of the university system except those specifically excluded under the agreements with the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia.
The following employees are subject to only the Medicare portion of Social Security:
Individuals not covered by the OASDI portion of Social Security must participate in the Georgia Defined Contribution plan, which requires individuals to contribute 7.5% of their post-tax earnings. Individuals can apply for a refund of Georgia Defined contributions when they terminate employment.
Social Security and Georgia Defined may not cover the following employees:
504.09 Professional Liability Insurance
The University, as a unit of the University System of Georgia, provides limited liability insurance protection to its faculty while in the conduct of the business of the university.
This insurance provides coverage for a faculty member's legal liability to others for bodily injury and property damage as a result of an act or omission of an act or caused by an employee of the University System of Georgia in the scope of his or her employment. This insurance covers only those claims for which the employee may be found to be obligated legally to pay, provided that the employee was engaged in authorized University-related business when the event occurred which caused the injury or damage. However, excluded from coverage are the following: (1) losses (bodily injury, personal injury or property damage) arising out of an employee's malfeasance in office (intentional acts) or willful or wanton neglect of duty; and, (2) a loss (injury or damage) which is intended or could reasonably be expected by the employee committing the act.
504.10 Section 125 Plan
The University has a Section 125 Plan as authorized by the Internal Revenue Code that allows employee health, vision and dental insurance premiums to be deducted on a pre-tax basis. Supplemental life insurance may also be paid with pre-tax dollars if the employee signs an election form choosing this option. Such election may be made when employed and may only be changed during open enrollment. The life insurance election will be automatically renewed each year unless the employee chooses to discontinue the pre-tax deduction (dependent life insurance is not included under Section 125.) Premiums are not subject to federal tax, state tax or FUTA and Medicare.
504.11 Flexible Spending Accounts (Dependent Care, Medical)
Individuals may elect to set aside up to $5,000 a year from pre-tax salary in an account for dependent care expenses, and up to $3,000 per tax year for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Flexible spending accounts allow employees to reimburse themselves for qualified expenses using pre-tax dollars. However, any amount in the account(s) not expended during the tax year are forfeited, so individuals are advised to plan their anticipated needs carefully. These accounts are subject to applicable IRS regulations.
504.12 Transportation Spending Accounts
A transportation spending account was inititated in 1999. This program allows payroll deduction for work-related parking, MARTA monthly passes, and qualifying vanpooling expenses. Deductions are curretnly pre-tax for federal taxes but not for Georgia state taxes.
504.13 Vision Insurance
Vision Care offers two options. Option I provides for materials only with co-payments. Option II covers a comprehensive exam and provides materials with co-payments. Services must be currently obtained at Hunter Eyecare locations in Georgia. Employees pay the full premium for this coverage on a pre-tax basis.
505 Retirement Benefits
Georgia law requires membership in the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS, a defined benefit plan) or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP, a defined contribution plan) for all regular faculty who are under age 60 and who work half-time or more.
The employee's mandatory contribution to TRS or ORP is 5% of gross base salary, and the University also makes contributions on the employee's behalf. For employees hired after 1/1/96 who particpate in ORP, contributions are made on the first $170,000 of salary paid in a calendar year. For employees hired after 7/1/96 who participate in TRS, contributions are made up to the same $170,000 cap. Participants hired before those dates are not subject to the caps. Additional compensation beyond contracted base salary may not be eligible for retirement contributions. This contribution rate is applicable regardless of the source of salary. Employee contributions are deducted from pre-tax dollars but Social Security earnings are not reduced. Federal and State of Georgia income taxes are deferred until the account is withdrawn or retirement benefits are received.
Vesting in the Teachers Retirement System occurs at ten years of service. Vesting in the Optional Retirement Plan is immediate. Election of either TRS or the ORP must be made withing 60 days of employment. If no election is received within 60 days, TRS enrollment is mandated. This action is irrevocable.
Teachers Retirement System of Georgia
The Teachers Retirement System is a defined benefit plan. Benefits to faculty (or survivors) depends on the employee's age, length of service, and salary. Permanent disability retirement is available at any age if the member has 9.5 years of service.
Up to five years' credit may be obtained for service in the armed forces of the United States during periods of national emergency. Service may also be purchased for teaching in the public schools of Georgia, State of Georgia employment, maternity leave, and study leave. After six years of membership in TRS, credit may also be purchased in some cases for prior out-of-state teaching in public schools or colleges.
Employees who leave the university before retirement are advised to investigate their options regarding the TRS funds. All withdrawals of funds (except rollovers) that have been deducted on a pre-tax basis are subject to 20% federal income tax withholding. Tax penalties that may be imposed on certain early withdrawals. The funds available for withdrawal include the employee's contributions plus interest only.
Optional Retirement Plan
The current optional retirement plans (ORPs) are defined contribution plans. The University currently offers four plans. Several investment options are available under each plan. Contributions may be distributed among the funds. Members may change companies and/or distribution allocations once per calendar year during open enrollment. Full vesting is immediate in the Optional Retirement Plan.
In accordance with BOR Policies 802.0901 and 302.03, certain administrative officers of research universities may be designated by institutional Statute to hold ex officio faculty status for the purpose of participation in the Regents Optional Retirement Plan (ORP).
The Georgia State University Statutes designate as ORP-eligible those administrator positions listed in Appendix A of the Faculty Handbook.
To be considered a "retiree" from the University System of Georgia (and be eligible for retiree benefits), an individual must be eligible for retirement under Teachers Retirement rules either by age, disability or service. In general, individuals must be at least age 60 and must have at least 10 years of continuous service in the State system, the last two of which must be with the University System of Georgia. Individuals with at least 30 years of service may retire at any age. Individuals who qualify for disability retirement may do so with at least 9.5 years of service, regardless of age.
Employment Beyond Retirement
When an individual retires from the University System of Georgia and is receiving benefits from the Teachers Retirement System, the Employees Retirement System, or the Regents' Retirement Plan, he/she shall not be re-employed by the University System without prior approval of the Board of Regents. When an employee has retired from the University System of Georgia, he/she may be re-employed by the University System of Georgia under the following conditions:
[BR Minutes, April 2002; November, 2007]
505.02 Tax Sheltered Supplemental Retirement Accounts (403(b) Accounts)
Georgia State University allows employees to contribute to tax-sheltered supplemental retirement accounts (SRAs) as authorized under Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. Salary reduction agreements are processed through the Benefits Office of Human Resource Services. A variety of insurance and mutual fund companies are available for participants. Contact the Benefits Office for a complete list of available options.
505.03 Automatic Debit of Insurance Premiums After Retirement
Retired faculty may pay insurance premiums by automatic debit from their bank accounts, for convenience and to ensure timely payment. Contact the Benefits Office for details.