As was announced last month, St. Thomas plans to reduce its employer pension contribution rate and institute an eligibility period and vesting policy.

Rather than reduce the university’s contributions to benefits-eligible employees’ 403(b) plans from 10.4 percent to 9.4 percent at the beginning of the fiscal year, the university will maintain its current contribution until Sept. 1.

The date of the contribution reduction now coincides with the beginning of the academic year and the month in which the university generally awards annual pay increases and begins faculty contracts, said Dr. Mark Dienhart, executive vice president and chief operating officer. The new vesting policy and one-year eligibility period apply to all eligible new employees hired on or after July 1. This date will remain the same for these two changes.

The pension plan changes are among several steps to reduce operating expenses while holding 2010-2011 undergraduate tuition and fee increases to 3.5 percent and increasing the salary pool by 2 percent for faculty and staff.

Faculty and staff are reminded that changes to St. Thomas’ employee benefits program can occur at any time during the year and in any of the many benefits offered by the university, including but not limited to health and dental plans, short-term and long-term insurance, and contributions to the retirement plan. For example, changes can occur in the amount of the university’s contribution, health care coverage, eligibility conditions, and/or coverage exclusions. The university continually considers ways to offer the best coverage and array of benefits it feasibly can and to offer them at competitive rates. Making such changes mid-year may be necessary to achieve this objective, but employees are provided with as much notice of these changes as possible.

For further information, please contact Human Resources, (651) 962-6510.