Benefits

Benefit Eligibility

For the purposes of determining benefits eligibility, a salaried or hourly employee working in a regular position and approved to work at least 25 hours per week (or .625 FTE) is entitled to receive the University's full benefits package. An employee working in a regular position is eligible to receive a more restricted number of benefits if he or she works at least a .50 FTE.  Refer to the description  below regarding part-time salaried and hourly employees benefits.

Those employees covered under union contracts are entitled only to those benefits described in the collective bargaining agreements. Please refer to those agreements for benefit details.

Priests and other religious order employees receive benefits based on arrangements made with the Archdiocesan Office or their specific religious order and the university. University benefits are provided on the same basis as to other employees, if benefits are not provided by the employee's religious order.

Employees in an approved Job Share position should refer to that policy for eligibility details.

Regular part-time salaried and hourly employees, who are approved to work fewer than 25 hours per week but at least 20 hours per week, may be eligible to receive the following benefits:

  • Pension;
  • Holidays;
  • Vacation, if a salaried employee;
  • Paid Leave Time, if an hourly employee;
  • Funeral leave.

NOTE: Almost all regular employees are eligible to participate in the Voluntary Arrangement retirement account. Please refer to the Summary Plan Description for details.

Payment for holiday, vacation, (or paid leave time) and funeral leave is based on the actual number of hours a regular employee is approved to work, which is the FTE or full-time equivalency.

Salaried and hourly employees, working in regular positions that are approved to work less than 20 hours per week, are eligible for the following benefits:

  • Holidays;
  • Vacation (or paid leave time for hourly employees);
  • Funeral leave.

Payment for these benefits is based on the actual number of hours approved to work.

Salaried and hourly employees hired to work in full or part-time positions for less than one year will be considered temporary employees. At one year, a position must be approved to continue as a regular position or a different person must be hired to complete the temporary assignment. Temporary employees are not eligible for any of the university-provided benefits.

Most benefits are effective the first of the month following the employees hire date, or immediately if the hire date is the first of the month. Exceptions to this are noted in the benefits summary material below and in the official Plan Documents. Many of the benefit summaries are posted on the Department of Human Resources website located at  http://www.stthomas.edu/hr/rewardsandrecognition/benefits/.

The university uses the Defense of Marriage Act to identify legal spouses that are eligible for coverage. Dependent eligibility varies by benefit plan.

Detailed benefit materials are provided at the time of hire. Updates are distributed as necessary. These materials are also available through the Department of Human Resources at any time.

The following benefit information is provided as a brief outline and is not intended to replace the official Plan Documents or the Summary Plan Descriptions received by the employee. Benefits are described in official documents that are kept on file in Human Resources and are available for examination by any plan participant or beneficiary. These official documents are the only binding documents concerning the university's benefits. In case of a discrepancy, the official documents will govern. The university always has the right to modify, amend or terminate any benefits offered to employees.

Cafeteria Plan

The university’s employee benefits program provides employees with the opportunity to select benefits that meet their individual and family needs. Currently, employees may choose from any of the following benefit areas: medical coverage, dental coverage, vision coverage, health care reimbursement account, and dependent care reimbursement account. This plan allows employees to fund their portion of these benefits with pre-tax dollars. This means that the employee share of the medical, dental and vision insurance premiums, and the amounts elected to be set aside by the employee for health care and/or dependent care spending are not subject to Federal, State or Social Security taxes.

The plan year for the University’s employee benefits program is January 1 through December 31. If eligible, employees must complete an election form at the time they first become eligible to participate or enroll in one or more aspects of the program.  Annual Enrollment occurs in November of each year during which time employees may change their election(s).  All benefits changes are effective the following January 1.  Spending account elections must be made each year during the Annual Enrollment period.  If an employee does not complete an election form each year, the opportunity to participate in the spending accounts is lost.

Benefit information and Annual Enrollment notices are provided annually, and outline changes to the flexible compensation package.

The tax advantages of the University’s employee benefits program are based on current state and federal tax laws which are subject to change at any time.

College Savings Plan

The university has a program in place that allows employees to participate in a Section 529 College Savings Plan through payroll deduction. The state of Minnesota selected TIAA-CREF as their vendor of choice and offers an annual matching contribution, if income limits are not exceeded. Visit www.mnsaves.org for complete details.

Dependent Care Reimbursement Account

This account reimburses you on a pre-tax basis for eligible out-of-pocket dependent-care expenses incurred in order for you or your spouse to work.  If you are married, your spouse must be employed or attending classes as a full-time student for you to use this account.  Eligible dependents are your children who are under age 13 or your eligible dependents of any age who are mentally or physically handicapped and incapable of caring for themselves.  Care can be given in your home or in a facility outside of your home. The maximum contribution, mandated by the federal government, is the lesser of:  $5,000 per calendar year, per family (or $2,500 if married and filing taxes separately), or the lowest earned income of you or your spouse.  Federal law requires that you forfeit (give up) any money that you have contributed that is not used to reimburse eligible expenses during the prescribed period.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides cost-free professional consultation and referral services for staff and faculty members who are experiencing work and personal-related difficulties.  Immediate family members of University of St. Thomas employees also are eligible for EAP services.  This service, which is staffed by experienced clinicians with advanced degrees, is available by calling the toll-free phone line operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Visit  http://www.guidanceresources.com and enter the company ID ZB3042Q, or call (877) 327-4753 (TDD (800) 697-0353).

Health Care Reimbursement Account

This account reimburses you on a pre-tax basis for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses, including deductibles, co- pays, co-insurance  and certain other health care expenses not covered by your medical, dental and vision plan.  Expenses must be incurred by you, your spouse, or your other eligible dependents.  Contribution limits to the healthcare reimbursement account are mandated by the federal government, and federal law requires that you forfeit (give up) any money that is not used to reimburse eligible expenses during the prescribed period.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a savings vehicle that allows you to put money aside for eligible medical care expenses tax-free.  Unlike a Healthcare-Reimbursement Account, an HSA allows you to “roll over” unused dollars into the next year; there is no “use it or lose it” provision.  Furthermore, your funds can be invested and grow much like the funds in a retirement account.  Earnings are tax-free.  To be eligible to enroll in a HSA you must be enrolled in the High Deductible Medical Plan (HDHP) and cannot be enrolled in Medicare, covered by other medical insurance, or participate in a healthcare reimbursement account. Contribution limits to the HSA are mandated by the federal government.

Holidays

The university observes 13 holidays each year.  These include:

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Friday after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve Day
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year's Eve Day
  • Floating Holiday

Regular full-time and part-time employees are eligible to receive holiday pay and one Floating Holiday immediately upon employment and consistent with the provisions of this policy. Temporary, on-call, and student employees are not eligible for holiday pay or the Floating Holiday.

The Human Resources Department publishes a list of the specific holidays each year. A guiding principle of UST’s Holiday policy is no loss / no gain. This means that no regular full-time or part-time employee should suffer a loss in pay because the university closes for a holiday. Neither should they profit except in those instances when required to work on the holiday.

Salaried and hourly employees receive holiday pay when the holiday falls on their normally scheduled work day. Holiday pay for regular part-time employees is prorated based on their FTE and the number of hours they normally work each day. For example, employees who normally work 4 hours, Monday through Friday, shall receive 4 hours of holiday pay.

Employees shall not receive holiday pay when:

  • the holiday falls on a day he or she is not normally scheduled to work. For example, if the employee is not normally scheduled to work on Mondays, he or she shall not receive pay for Memorial Day or Labor Day. 
  • he or she is absent without pay the day before and the day after the holiday.
  • he or she is on short-term or long-term disability leave on the holiday.

If an employee is required to work on a holiday, he or she receives pay for the hours actually worked plus holiday pay equal to the number of hours he or she normally would have worked if not for the holiday.

With the advance approval of their supervisor, employees may use their Floating Holiday any time during the fiscal year. New employees may use their Floating Holiday after completing 90 days of employment.

Floating Holiday pay is based on an employee’s FTE level. Employees who do not use their Floating Holiday by the end of each fiscal year forfeit it. The university does not reimburse employees for an unused Floating Holiday.

Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

University-Provided Term Life and AD&D Insurance: Currently, this benefit is provided at no cost to you in the amount of two times your annual base salary, to a maximum benefit of $200,000.  Annual base salary is the fixed annual rate of pay.  It does not include, overtime, miscellaneous payments, variable/incentive payments or benefits.  Starting at age 65, this insurance benefit is reduced. The law requires employees to pay an imputed tax on employer-provided life insurance in excess of $50,000.

Life insurance coverage provides payment to your beneficiary in the event of death. In the case of a terminal illness, life insurance proceeds may be accelerated at the employee's request.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance coverage provides payment to your beneficiary in the event of an accidental death. This payment is provided in addition to the term life insurance. Benefits are also available in the event of an employee's loss of limb(s).

You may purchase voluntary term life insurance, in addition to term life coverage provided to you by the University of St. Thomas, at your own cost. If you elect voluntary term life for yourself, you also can elect it for your spouse and dependent(s). (You cannot elect coverage for your spouse and dependent(s) if you have not elected voluntary term life coverage for yourself.) Spouse insurance-coverage amounts cannot exceed 100% of the employee coverage amount. Your Voluntary Term Life and AD&D coverage options are:

  • Employee:  Up to five times your annual salary in increments of $10,000, not to exceed $500,000.  NOTE:  Coverage over $200,000 will require the employee to complete an Evidence of Insurability form.
  • Spouse:  Up to five times your annual salary in increments of $10,000, not to exceed $500,000.  NOTE:  Coverage over $50,000 will require the spouse to complete an Evidence of Insurability form.
  • Child(ren):  Benefit election can be either $5,000 or $10,000.  Dependents are covered to age 19, or 25 if full-time students.

Long Term Care

Voluntary group long-term care insurance is provided by Genworth and is designed to pay for a variety of in-home, assisted-living and nursing-home services that you might need, should you be unable to care for yourself because of an accident, illness or the effects of aging.  You and your eligible family members may enroll in this benefit.  If you wish to enroll, you are responsible for paying all premiums for this benefit.  Premiums vary based on the coverage option that you select and your age at the time of enrollment.  You pay premiums on an after-tax basis and may be eligible to receive a long-term care insurance credit on your state tax return.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

You will be automatically enrolled in the university’s long-term disability (LTD) plan, which is paid for by the university.  In the event you become disabled, upon approval from the insurance carrier and after satisfaction of the elimination period, the policy will provide a monthly benefit equal to 60% of your monthly income at the time you become disabled, up to a maximum benefit of $15,000 per month.  The LTD plan provides for income replacement of 60% of pre-disability monthly income, up to a maximum benefit of $15,000 per month, in the event you become disabled.  Because the university pays the premiums, if you become disabled, any approved benefits payable to you are considered taxable income.  You have the option of changing the taxable nature of your LTD benefit, by making an election to pay taxes on the LTD premium that is paid on your behalf by the university.  This means if you become disabled, no taxes will be payable on the LTD benefits you receive.  If you make this election, you will be taxed on the premium that the university pays for your LTD coverage.  The cost impact to you will depend on your individual income tax bracket.

Medical, Dental, and Vision Coverage

The University currently offers several medical plans to employees that are administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota. The dental plan provides coverage administrated through the Delta Dental Insurance Company.  The university pays the difference between what the carrier charges and what the employee pays for the coverage. The vision plan provides coverage through EyeMed.  The employee cost for medical, dental and vision coverage is deducted from paychecks on a pre-tax basis.

Retirement Plans

Currently, the university provides a retirement benefit program for eligible employees through the University of St. Thomas Retirement Plan and a tax-deferred 403(b) Voluntary Retirement Arrangement. Refer to the official Plan Documents and Summary Plan Descriptions for full details.

University Retirement Contributions: The university has a qualified retirement plan in place. This 403(b) plan enables the university to provide contributions for most salaried and hourly employees who hold full and part-time regular positions that are approved to work at least 1,000 hours annually.

To be eligible, an employee must be at least 21 years of age.  Employees hired on or after July 1, 2010 are eligible to participate in the retirement plan after completing one year of employment. Upon completion of three years of service at the university, these employees will be fully vested.

The university contributes 9.4% of base annual salary for all eligible employees to either a TIAA-CREF or Fidelity Investment account (employee application needed.) All university contributions are made each payday.

Applications for the retirement plans are handled through the department of Human Resources. Failure to complete the application on a timely basis may result in contributions being deposited to a default account. Currently, the default investment fund is TIAA-CREF's Lifecycle Fund appropriate for your age..

Voluntary Retirement Accounts: Most employees may shelter earnings in tax deferred (403(b)) voluntary retirement accounts. Voluntary retirement accounts are available to you at any time, and do not require any type of participation eligibility. These accounts involve employee contributions only; the university does not contribute money to your voluntary retirement account. The Internal Revenue Code limits the amount that can be contributed each year. At no time may you go over the elective deferral limit for the year. Employees are responsible for monitoring their contribution limit each year. The Voluntary Retirement Arrangement offers eligible employees the opportunity to direct voluntary contributions to one of several carriers.

Short Term Disability (STD)

The short-term disability plan is currently provided by the university at no cost to eligible employees. To be considered for this benefit, employees who are absent from work for eight (8) consecutive calendar days due to illness or injury must contact Sun Life and FMLASource to file a short-term disability claim.  Short-term Disability and FMLA administration are administered through Sun Life, which specializes in reviewing, approving, processing and tracking short-term disability and FMLA leave requests with the oversight of expert medical and legal staff.

You can file a claim over the phone or online.  To begin the process of filing a claim, please contact Sun Life and FMLASource in one of the ways below:

  • Phone:  877-SUN-LIFE (877-786-3652)
  • TDD:  800-697-0353
  • Fax:  877-309-0218
  • Online:  https://fmla.sunlife-usa.com  (Your Employee Number is your UST ID number)

Periodic updates from the medical provider may be required and will be followed up by Sun Life and FMLASource.

All employees eligible to participate in this plan are eligible on the first day of the month following the date of hire, or immediately if the date of hire is the first of the month.

To begin receiving STD benefits, the employee must be considered totally disabled.  Employees approved under the STD plan, will receive benefits effective on the 8th calendar day after the onset of the injury or illness that caused the total disability.  The benefit will be paid retroactively back to the first working day of the total disability. 

The decision whether STD benefits will be granted is within the sole discretion of the university. To begin receiving STD benefits, the employee must be considered totally disabled.

If the request for STD benefits is denied, employees may request to be paid by using earned vacation time or personal time off.  Employees may also request unpaid leave.

STD provides an employee with the following payment schedule for a maximum of six months:

  • 1 - 60 days - 100% of base salary
  • 61 - 120 days - 80% of base salary
  • 121 - 180 days - 60% of base salary

Short-term disability benefits will not be paid if the illness or injury is sustained as a result of employment outside the university.

Employees approved to receive short-term disability do not receive holiday pay, tuition remission for themselves, accrue vacation or paid leave time, and do not receive salary increases until they return to work. Generally, other benefits continue while an employee is on short-term disability.

Positions for employees on an approved STD leave will be held for at least twelve (12) weeks, but no longer than six (6) months. If an employee is not released by their provider to return to work during the period the position is being held, the position will be filled by another employee. When the disabled employee is released to return to work, the employee may apply for any open position for which they are qualified, but there is no guarantee of employment.

Tuition Remission and Educational Assistance Programs

Eligibility

  • Full-time salaried and hourly paid employees are eligible to receive tuition remission for themselves, spouses and eligible dependents effective the first semester following the completion of one (1) year of service. To receive this benefit, you must be eligible on the first day of class. "Full-time" for this benefit is defined as an employee who is in a position approved to work at least 40 hours per week, for 9, 10, 11, or 12 months annually.
  • Part-time salaried and hourly paid employees are eligible to receive tuition remission for themselves, their spouses and dependents following a waiting period of 3 years of employment. "Part-time" for this benefit is defined as an employee who is in a position approved to work: 1) less than 40 hours per week, 12 or fewer months per year; 2) 40 or more hours per week for fewer than 9 months per year. Part-time employees hired prior to July 1991, who had a greater benefit than provided by this policy, will retain prior benefits. Part-time employees and their eligible dependents are only eligible for tuition remission for classes held at the University of St. Thomas. The amount of this benefit is prorated, based on approved FTE.
  • Employees covered by union contracts are not eligible to receive tuition remission benefits for themselves, their spouses or dependents, unless specifically stated in their labor contract.

Benefit Amount

  • Employee: 100% tuition remission is provided for up to two (2) courses per semester for full-time employees and is pro-rated for part-time employees. The benefit is available only for courses taken at the University of St. Thomas. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses are eligible for tuition remission, as outlined in the guidelines. All undergraduate tuition remission for employees and their dependents is a non-taxable benefit. Under current IRS regulations, tuition remission for employees only, up to $5,250 per year for all graduate and doctoral courses, is non-taxable income to the employee.
  • Spouse: The definition of spouse is a legally-married person as defined by the Defense of Marriage Act. 75% tuition remission (pro-rated if the employee is part-time) is provided for up to two courses per semester for undergraduate and non-doctoral graduate courses only. Under current IRS regulations, tuition remission for graduate courses provided for an employee's spouse is taxable income to the employee.
  • Dependent children: The Internal Revenue Service's definition of dependent child will be used to determine eligibility for natural, adopted, and/or step-children. 75% tuition remission (pro-rated if the employee is part-time) is provided for undergraduate courses, with no limit on the number of courses taken each semester.

Part-time employees, as previously defined for this benefit, will receive a pro-rated benefit based on the approved hours of work, following 3 years of employment.

Application Process

  • Tuition Remission application must be made through the Department of Human Resources.
  • Applicants for tuition remission must complete the Human Resources Undergraduate/Graduate Tuition Remission Application Form.
  • Faculty, staff and spouses must submit a form each semester.
  • Dependent children may submit one form for the full academic year or submit forms each semester.
  • For undergraduate courses, the student must file for Financial Aid in addition to the tuition remission application.
  • Any federal and state grants received will be applied toward the cost of tuition first, with tuition remission applied to the balance.
  • Check the full guidelines for application deadlines.

Tuition Remission Reciprocity Plans

Tuition remission plans are also available through the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities [ACTC, including Augsburg College, College of St. Catherine (for daughters only), Hamline University, and Macalester College]. Spouses and dependent children may attend the ACTC schools. The university is also a member of the Catholic College Cooperation Tuition Exchange. Dependent children are eligible for this opportunity. Employees may only attend classes at St. Thomas.

A copy of the complete Tuition Remission and Educational Assistance guidelines and a list of all participating schools is available in the Department of Human Resources. The entire Tuition Remission and Educational Assistance Guidelines are also available online.

Vacation Time

Vacation or PLT is granted to eligible full-time and part-time employees according to the guidelines below. Taking time off for reasons other than approved absences, such as sick leave, personal leave and unpaid leave, is a violation of university policy and will be seen as a performance issue. The university does not recognize and does not permit the practice of taking "comp time" as a reward for extra hours worked.

Vacation: Exempt (Salaried) Employees

(revised 3/2008)

Vacation time is granted to eligible full and part-time exempt employees. Full-time exempt employees will be allocated paid vacation according to the following schedule:

 

Length of Service Vacation Earned
Less than 12 years 20 days per year
12 years and over 25 days per year

Eligible part-time exempt employees are allocated vacation according to the schedule above. However, vacation allocation will be based on the employee’s approved FTE, rounded up. For example, an exempt employee with less than 12 years of service at .625 FTE would receive 13 vacation days.

  • Vacation allocations are made annually on July 1 and based on the schedule above. The allocation for part-time and new employees is prorated.
  • Vacation allocations not used by June 30 are forfeited.
  • Exempt employees must electronically record vacation time taken through Employee Self Service (Murphy Online).  If you have any questions, contact the Department of Human Resources for specific instructions on how to record vacation time electronically.
  • According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempt employees may not take vacation leave in less than whole-day increments.
  • Exempt employees who terminate from the University shall receive reimbursement of up to five (5) days of earned but unused vacation.  Payment for unused vacation is processed as soon as administratively possible following the last day of employment.

All Employees

  • Employees may not use vacation time or PLT to extend their employment. Generally, an employee’s termination date is determined by the last day actually worked.
  • An employee who leaves the University but is rehired within one year may resume past service credits as if no break in service occurred.