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The University of Houston-Downtown employees take great pride in the important mission they uphold – providing strong academic and career preparation as well as life-long learning opportunities. The University appreciates the ongoing commitment of its faculty and staff and is pleased to offer a benefits program as part of an employee’s total compensation.
As an employee, you select benefits that may be individualized to meet your needs and those of your dependents. Automatic state benefits include vacation, sick leave, paid holidays as approved by the President, leave with or without pay, a retirement program, and longevity pay. Optional benefits that you may select include health and dental insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, a cafeteria plan, and a supplemental retirement program.
To be eligible for full benefits, including paid leaves, retirement, and cafeteria plan participation, an employee must:
Specific programs may have additional eligibility requirements as explained in the following sections.
The university provides paid vacation for benefits-eligible employees, excluding faculty members on an appointment of less than twelve months. Full-time (100 percent FTE) employees earn vacation hours according to the following schedule:
|Employees with Total State Employment of...||Hours Accrued||Maximum Hours Carried Forward to Next Fiscal Year|
|...less than 2 years|
|...at least 2 but less than 5 years|
|...at least 5 but less than 10 years|
|...at least 10 but less than 15 years|
|...at least 15 but less than 20 years|
|...at least 20 but less than 25 years|
|...at least 25 but less than 30 years|
|...at least 30 but less than 35 years|
|...35 or more years of service|
Part-time employees (less than 100 percent FTE) earn pro-rated vacation hours.
Although vacation hours are earned during the first six months of employment, employees are not eligible to take vacation until they have completed six months of continuous employment with the State of Texas. Employees are encouraged to select the dates they wish to take vacation as far in advance as possible and to submit their request for appropriate supervisory approval. Every effort will be made to grant vacation as requested, providing the work schedule of the department permits.
Employees terminating state employment after six months of continuous employment will be paid for their accrued vacation hours.
Employees transferring between state agencies will have their vacation balance transferred to the new agency. Vacation leave transferred may not exceed the university maximums previously specified.
NOTE: Employees are responsible for providing the Employment Services and Operations Department with written verification of other state employment to receive credit for such employment to increase the accrual rate and to have transferable hours added to the vacation balance.
State law sets the amount of annual holidays available to benefits-eligible staff employees. The University of Houston System Board of Regents approves the holiday calendar annually. The university observes holidays that include most national holidays and an extended Winter holiday break.
Employees required to work on a scheduled holiday are entitled to equivalent time off with pay to be taken within the 12-month period following the work week in which the holiday occurred. The employee and the supervisor will mutually agree upon the date(s) of such equivalent time off in advance. Unless an employee actually works on a scheduled holiday, holiday hours are not considered "hours worked" for the purpose of computing weekly overtime of non-exempt employees.
Eligible employees beginning work on the first workday of the month are entitled to be paid for a university designated holiday that occurred before the first workday if the holiday occurred during the same month and did not fall on a Saturday or a Sunday. Eligible employees terminating employment on the last workday of the month are entitled to be paid for a university designated holiday occurring after the last workday if the holiday falls within that month and does not fall on a Saturday or a Sunday.
|Labor Day||September 1, 2014|
|Thanksgiving||November 27, 2014 - November 28, 2014|
|Winter Holiday||December 24, 2014 - January 2, 2015|
|Martin Luther King||January 19, 2015|
|Spring Break||March 20, 2015|
|Memorial Day||May 25, 2015|
|Independence Day||July 3, 2015|
A UHD employee is entitled to observe Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Good Friday and/or Cesar Chavez Day using accrued vacation or leave without pay if all accrued vacation leave has been exhausted, or by working on a holiday in which a skeleton workforce is required by the University. An employee who wishes to observe these optional holidays must provide reasonable advance written notice to his or her supervisor.
Full -time employees of the university earn eight hours of sick leave per month of employment. Part-time employees earn pro-rated sick leave hours based on their percentage time worked. There is no maximum sick leave accrual.
Sick leave with pay may be taken when sickness, injury, or pregnancy and confinement prevent the employee's performance of duty or when the employee is needed to care for and assist a member of his or her immediate family who is ill. For purposes relating to regular sick leave, "immediate family" is defined as those individuals who reside in the same household and are related by kinship, adoption, or marriage, as well as foster children certified by the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. Minor children of the employee, whether or not living in the same household, are considered immediate family for purposes of regular sick leave.
An employee's use of sick leave for family members not residing in that employee's household is strictly limited to the time necessary to provide care and assistance to a spouse, child, or parent of the employee who needs such care and assistance as a direct result of a documented medical condition. An employee who must be absent from duty because of illness shall notify his/her supervisor or have the supervisor notified of that fact at the earliest practicable time. When an employee returns to work after taking sick leave, he or she is required to complete a sick leave application, which is submitted to the appropriate approving authority.
After a period of more than three consecutive days of sick leave, a doctor's release to return to regular duty must be submitted by the employee to the supervisor before the employee may return to work and to be eligible for accumulated sick leave with pay.
Supervisors who suspect abuse of sick leave privileges may require a doctor's statement before approving payment for sick leave. A pattern of sick leave usage over a period of time such as the day before or after a holiday, or on Mondays and Fridays to extend the weekend may be indications of sick leave abuse. If a doctor's statement is requested by the supervisor and not submitted on a timely basis, the employee is subject to disciplinary actions, including possible termination, in addition to denial of sick pay.
In the event of death the employee’s estate will be paid for one-half of any unused sick leave, not to exceed 336 hours of sick leave, which ever is less, provided that the employee had continuous state employment for at least six months at the time of death. There is no payment for unused sick leave upon termination of employment.
Employees separated from employment with the state under a formal reduction-in-force policy shall have their sick leave balance restored if re-employed by the state within twelve months of their termination. In addition, employees are allowed to have their sick leave balance restored if they are separated from their employment for other reasons and are re-employed by the state within twelve months of their termination, provided that these employees have had a break in service of at least one month since their date of termination. An employee moving from one state agency to another will have their sick leave balance transferred to the new agency provided there is no break in service.
All benefits eligible employees may apply for benefits from the sick leave pool in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury to the employee or the employee's immediate family.
Hours in the sick leave pool come from donations made by employees from their own personal sick leave balance.
Extended sick leave is available to employees who have become disabled to provide continued income during the waiting period before long-term disability benefits begin. An employee is eligible to apply for extended sick leave even if they are not enrolled in the group long-term disability program. However, under no circumstance will the extended sick leave exceed 90 calendar days. In addition to being totally disabled, the employee must be a long-term employee in good standing with the university to be eligible for extended sick leave with pay.
Extended sick leave is subject to approval by the Administrative Head of the University.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires an employer to grant up to 12 weeks (26 weeks for military caregiver leave) of job protected leave to eligible employees for certain qualified medical conditions. The amount of leave granted is based on what is certified as medically necessary on the required physician statement. During an approved family and medical leave the employee receives the state contribution toward the cost of medical insurance.
An eligible employee may take family and medical leave for:
To be eligible to apply for family and medical leave an employee must have 12 cumulative months of state employment and have worked at least 1250 hours in the year immediately prior to the first day off from work due to one of these qualifying conditions.
Family and medical leave must be taken concurrently with any other form of medical leave, including medical leave during which the employee receives vacation pay. If no paid leave is available, then the family and medical leave will be designated as unpaid leave. Employees receiving workers compensation due to an on the job injury are not required to exhaust their accumulated sick leave and vacation as a part of the family and medical leave.
Employees may be granted leave without pay for sufficient reason and with their supervisor's approval.
A request for leave without pay must be submitted in writing to the immediate supervisor and must have a specified return date.
During a period of leave without pay the employee’s benefits are affected.
University employees are entitled to leave with pay for jury duty. The employee retains any jury fees received. The supervisor may request a copy of the jury summons to verify jury duty. No adverse action may be taken against an employee for jury service or for leave taken.
Employees who report to jury duty and are dismissed are expected to report to work for the balance of the workday.
The university provides emergency leave with pay in the event of a death within the immediate family. "Immediate family" is defined as spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, or grandchildren, including in-laws. Emergency leave cannot be accumulated.
Benefits-eligible employees who are members of the state or federal military forces or reserve units are entitled to military leave with pay for the days on which they are ordered to active duty for training or field exercises, for a period not to exceed 15 days within a federal fiscal year.
Requests for military leave must be submitted in advance in writing to the employee's supervisor for approval, along with a copy of the official military orders. A leave of absence with full pay will be provided to university employees called to active duty with the National Guard by the Governor of Texas.
University employees who are volunteer fire fighters are entitled to a leave of absence with pay to attend training schools conducted by state agencies, provided the leave does not exceed five working days in any one fiscal year.
In accordance with State of Texas law, all benefits-eligible employees are required to participate in one of two retirement programs offered by the University of Houston-Downtown. The programs are the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and the Optional Retirement Program (ORP). Participation begins on the first day of employment in a benefits eligible position. ORP eligible employees will be enrolled in TRS and have 90 days to enroll in an ORP by submitting a properly executed salary reduction agreement to the Employment Services and Operations Department.
Contributions to the retirement programs by the employee and employer are a percentage of the gross salary as specified by the state legislature. All retirement program contributions are tax deferred and become taxable income to the employee at the time of distribution to the employee. Employees may not borrow against nor withdraw funds from their retirement account while still employed and making contributions. Upon termination of employment employees may apply for a refund of their retirement account balance or transfer the balance to an individual retirement program. The terminating employee should contact the Benefits Office to apply for a refund of retirement contributions.
Participation in the Teacher Retirement System is open to all benefits-eligible employees of the university.
Other benefits included in the TRS program for the active member is life insurance equal to twice an employee's salary to a maximum of $ 80,000 and disability income benefits. The amount of disability benefit is based on the number of years of membership in TRS prior to disability.
TRS provisions for the purchase of additional service credit include time served in the military, employment in public education in another state, the purchase of withdrawn TRS accounts, and service credit earned in several Texas retirement systems.
Further information on the TRS program is available in the Benefits Section of Employment Services & Operations webpage or on the TRS web site at www.trs.state.tx.us.
Optional retirement plans are available to full-time (100 percent FTE) benefits-eligible faculty members and certain professional/administrative staff under the provisions of State law.
The employees contribute 6.65% of their gross salary monthly and the State contributes 6.6% of the employee's gross salary to the ORP account.
Participation in ORP is a one-time election and must be made in writing within 90 days of the date an employee becomes eligible.
Retirement benefits under the ORP are based on the account value and the age of the participant at the time of retirement. Several distribution options are available to the employee at the time of retirement. Employees are required to have the minimum age and service requirement as established under the TRS law to be considered a retiree. Employees should consult the Benefits Office of the Employment Services and Operations for eligibility requirements and additional information on the ORP program.
The tax deferred annuity program is offered to all employees. Investments are through life insurance companies and mutual fund companies licensed to do business in the State of Texas.
Employees may enroll in a TDA at any time, but may change carriers only twice per year.
The Roth 403 (b) allows faculty and staff to defer some of their income on an after-tax basis with earnings growing tax free.
Employees may participate in both traditional 403 (b) TDA pre-tax and Roth 403 (b) post-tax. However, 403 (b) voluntary saving plans contribution may not exceed the maximum annual deferral limit of $17,500.
Employees may enroll in a deferred compensation plan that allows the employee to defer a portion of their income and deposit it with a company approved by the State of Texas.
All regular full time non-academic employees who have a minimum of two years of service with the State of Texas are entitled to longevity pay at a rate of $20.00 for every two years of service up to and including 42 years of service. Longevity pay commences the month following the third year of service anniversary date unless the anniversary date is the first day of the month. If the anniversary date occurs on the first day of the month, then longevity pay commences that month.
State service refers to all employment of the state, including temporary, part-time, student employment, and legislative service. Not included is employment at a public school district or junior college. Length of service for longevity gives a month’s credit for each full month or fraction of a month of state service. State service is the cumulative total months of state employment. The present schedule for longevity pay is shown in the table below.
Employees should inform Employment Services & Operations of any prior state service. No credit will be given until the written verification of employment is received from the agency.
NOTE: Police Officers who are in positions that are considered hazardous duty will receive hazardous duty pay in lieu of longevity pay.
A variety of insurance programs are available to employees of the university through the State of Texas Uniform Group Insurance Program (UGIP). The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) administers all UGIP plans. Plan design and premiums are established on an annual basis by ERS in accordance with state regulations and in such a manner as to be the most cost effective to employees.
The following pages contain summaries of the ERS group insurance plans and rates for the fiscal year. Additional information and enrollment forms are available in the Benefits Office. You may also visit the ERS web site at www.ers.state.tx.us to obtain information, forms, or make summer enrollment changes on-line. To enroll in a plan, please contact the Benefits Office, room S910 to complete an enrollment form.
HealthSelect of Texas (HealthSelect) is offered through United Healthcare networks of health care providers, including primary care physicians, specialists, other health care professionals, and hospitals.
You are encouraged to choose a primary care physician from a list of doctors who have agreed to participate in Health Select. By doing so, you may receive treatment at your doctor’s office for a minimum co-payment amount or at the network level. You may select a different primary care physician for you and for each of your covered dependents. All payments made by United Healthcare at the In-area non-network and the Out-of-area level of benefits are based on reasonable and customary charges.
Health Select cannot guarantee that primary care physicians will continue participation. If your primary care physician stops participating in Health Select, for whatever reason, you must select another participating primary care physician to ensure that you receive network benefits.
You receive an annual eye exam at the cost of a specialty physician office visit (one per calendar year, per participant). Use a network optometrist or ophthalmologist.You can receive discounts on most vision products and services, including frames, lenses and contacts, by presenting your HealthSelect ID card to select providers. Visit the United Healthcare Vision website related to vision discounts.
Caremark is the prescription drug benefit manager for participants in HealthSelectSM of Texas.
The Employment Services and Operations Division is pleased to inform you about the UHD Gap Insurance Program for newly hired benefits-eligible staff employees.
Under the current ERS regulations, new employees have a 60-day waiting period before they become eligible for group health insurance coverage. As a result, employees may be without insurance coverage during the waiting period and paying very expensive premiums for individual health insurance plans.
The gap insurance program will reimburse up to $500 per month of the cost to purchase individual coverage to cover the 60-day waiting period. Coverage may be through a variety of options, such as COBRA from the previous employer, an individual plan choice, or the Assurant short-term medical plan. For additional information, click http://www.uhd.edu/about/hr/gap.html
It is the employee’s responsibility to purchase medical insurance and then submit proof of coverage directly to the UHD Benefits Office in room S-910. A written receipt or statement from the insurance company is required. The receipt or statement should include the name and address of the company, the monthly premium, the amount paid, and the period covered by the payment. Upon receipt of this documentation, ESO will process a reimbursement to the employee of the premium paid up to $500 per month.
For additional information on the UHD Gap Insurance Program and/or other employee benefits programs, please contact the Benefits Office at 713-221-8443.
You have a choice of three dental plans:
The Dental Maintenance Plan provides dental coverage to you and your covered dependents through a network of participating dentists. You MUST select a dentist and obtain services from that dentist in order to be covered for benefits. You may change dentists as often as you like. There is no deductible and your out-of-pocket expense is based upon the schedule of benefits and the services you receive. Participating dentists will file claims for you. A fee schedule and list of providers are available from the Benefits Office. You are covered for all services, including major dental procedures, as of the effective date of the plan.
The Texas Dental Choice Plan does not restrict your choice of dentists; however, using a participating dentist in network will give you higher benefits. The maximum annual benefits will be $1,500.
Dental Discount Plan This is not a dental plan it is a discount plan. The discount plan provides you with discounted prices on the usual and customary charges for dental treatment and services. You pay the pre-negotiated discounted rate at the time you receive services. The opt out credit does not apply toward this plan.
When you enroll in Health Select, you receive $5,000 in term life insurance with $5,000 in accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance. If you want additional coverage, you may purchase optional term life insurance with AD&D coverage. Your options are:
|Election I:||1 times salary (enrollment guaranteed if you apply during initial eligibility period)|
|Election II:||2 times salary (enrollment guaranteed if you apply during initial eligibility period)|
|Election III:||3 times salary (evidence of insurability required)|
|Election IV:||4 times salary (evidence of insurability required)|
Each election provides a multiple of your annual salary in term life coverage (up to a maximum of $400,000) and an equal amount of AD&D coverage. Term life provides a benefit to your beneficiary in the event of your death. AD&D provides an additional and equal benefit to your beneficiary in the event of your accidental death. It also provides a benefit to you in the event of certain accidental injuries.
The optional term life is an age rated plan under which premiums are determined by age, level of coverage, and annual salary. For term life insurance purposes, “annual salary” equals your annual salary as of the most recent September 1, rounded up to the next $1,000 increment. If you are a less-than-twelve-month employee, “annual salary” equals your contract salary divided by the number of months in the contract and multiplied by twelve, rounded to the next $1,000 increment.
For more information please click here.
Dependent term life insurance pays a benefit to you upon the death of your covered dependent. It provides $5,000 in term life and $5,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage on each of your covered dependents. Employees can enroll all eligible dependents in the dependent term life that has a flat premium rate regardless of the number of dependents during the initial eligibility period. If you apply for this coverage after your dependent’s eligibility period, evidence of insurability is required.
For more information please click here.
Voluntary AD & D insurance coverage is available to the employee and their dependents. It pays in the event death occurs as the direct result of an accident. Dismemberment benefits are paid in the event of loss of a major limb of the body. A full description of the plan is available in the Benefits office of the Employment Services and Operations. Employees under age 70 may purchase between $10,000 and $200,000 of coverage in increments of $5,000. The dependents are covered for a percentage of the employee’s amount of coverage. Employees over age 70 may purchase a lesser amount of coverage. The cost of voluntary AD&D is determined by multiplying a unit cost per thousand times the number of thousands of coverage purchased.
Short-term disability insurance provides protection from loss of income due to disability resulting from an accident or illness after a waiting period of 30 consecutive days. Short-term disability pays a monthly payment equal to 66% of your gross monthly salary up to $10,000 of salary or $6,600 in benefits for up to five months.
Long-term disability insurance provides protection from loss of income during extended absences due to total disability resulting from an accident or illness. A waiting period of 180 consecutive days must be satisfied before disability benefits become payable. Long-term disability payments are equal to 60% of your gross monthly salary up to $10,000 of salary, or $6,000 per month in benefits. LTD benefits for the first 24 months are based on disability from a specific job. After 24 months it is based on disability from any job and approval by Social Security for disability benefits.
If an employee is coverage by both short-term and long-term disability at the time they become disabled, benefits are payable at 70%. To receive a monthly benefit from either the short term or long term disability plan, you must meet the definition of total disability. Benefits will be reduced by income you receive from other sources, such as Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation, or your disability retirement plan benefits. No benefits are payable until all accumulated paid sick leave through the university is exhausted.
Pre-existing condition exclusion applies to both short-term and long-term disability.
For more information please click here.
HEALTH PLAN MONTHLY RATES FOR FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES
|Member & Spouse|
|Member & Child|
|Member & Family|
* Employees working at least 30 hours a week will be considered full time.
HEALTH PLAN MONTHLY RATES FOR PART-TIME EMPLOYEES
|Member & Spouse|
|Member & Child|
|Member & Family|
DENTAL PLAN MONTHLY RATES FOR FULL-TIME & PART-TIME EMPLOYEES
|Humana Maintenance Plan (DHMO)|
|Humana Texas Dental Choice Plan (PPO)|
|Dental Discount Plan|
OPTIONAL TERM LIFE RATES PER $1,000 OF ANNUAL SALARY
Beginning at age 70, Optional Term Life coverage is reduced to a percentage of your annual salary according to the following table:
|Employee Only||$0.02/$1,000.00 of coverage|
|Employee & Family||$0.04/$1,000.00 of coverage|
|Short-Term Disability||$0.30/$100.00 of monthly salary|
|Long-Term Disability||$0.63/$100.00 of monthly salary|
The FSA Day Care account allows employees to deduct money from their checks before taxes and put the money into an account to pay child care expenses or elderly care expenses. The expenses must be necessary for you to continue working. If married, you and your spouse must both be working, or your spouse must be a full-time student or disabled.
To be considered a "dependent," the person receiving care must be eligible to be claimed as your dependent on your federal income tax return and be either:
Employees may deposit from $180 to $5,000 annually for the full plan year.
As a new employee, you may enroll in a Dependent Care account within 31 days of your hire date in a benefits eligible position. It is irrevocable for the plan year if you remain employed unless there is a qualifying family status change which allows you to enroll, cancel, or change the amount of your reimbursement account. A change form must be submitted within 30 days of the family status change to initiate the change.
Any money not used by the end of the fiscal year is forfeited. Claims must be filed by December 31st following the end of the fiscal year.
The following type of expenses can be paid through your FSA Day Care account. Remember, these expenses must meet IRS requirements, and they must be necessary for you and, if married, your spouse to continue working.
|Do not include your dependent's health care expenses in your FSA Day Care claims. Dependent's health care expenses are to be included in your FSA Health Care account.|
The FSA Health Care account allows employees to deduct money from their checks before taxes and put the money into an account to pay medical bills that are not covered by the group insurance. Eligible health care expenses are expenses that are "medically necessary". In addition, to qualify as a reimbursable health care expense, the expense must be incurred (received) during your eligible period of coverage, and not be reimbursable from any other health insurance.
You may deposit from $180 to $2,496.00 annually into a FSA Health Care account. As a new employee you may enroll in a health care account within 31 days of your initial hire date in a benefits eligible position.
Any money not used by the end of the fiscal year is forfeited. Claims must be filed by December 31st following the end of the fiscal year.
The FSA Health Care account is irrevocable for 12 months and regulations require a terminating employee or an employee going on leave without pay to continue making contributions to the health care account for the balance of the twelve month period. Claims may continue to be filed against the account for the full 12 months.
The following are eligible expenses that can be reimbursed from the FSA Health Care account if the insurance company does not pay them.
A fee of $15 will be charged if you elect to use the TexFlex debit card.
Expenses that cannot be reimbursed are expenses that are for general health, cosmetic or personal improvement, even if prescribed or recommended by your physician.
UHD employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), provided by UT Employee Assistance and WorkLife Programs (UTEAP).
All employees and their household members may use the EAP counseling service at no cost to the employee. Confidential services include:
|Family / Parenting issues||Grief or bereavement|
|Marital / Divorce issues||Financial issues|
|Anger management||Bankruptcy / Credit advice|
|Work / Personal stress||Legal issues|
|Alcohol / Drug problems||Free Simple Wills|
Your situation is handled in complete confidence. UTEAP offices are open M – F, 8am – 5pm, or by phone, 24 hours per day, seven days a week at (713) 500-3327 or toll free (800) 346-3549. Their main office is located in the Texas Medical Center at 7000 Fannin, Suite 1670; you may also choose a location near you. You may visit the UTEAP website at www.uteap.org for more information.
Your situation is handled by skilled and licensed therapists in complete confidence. Getting help is easy, confidential and best of all free. Should you be referred for help beyond the scope of this plan and you elect to use those resources, the resulting fees would be your responsibility.
The University of Houston System (“System”) is partnering with Aflac and MetLife to sponsor several optional benefit plans for System benefits-eligible employees through payroll deduction. These supplemental benefits are in addition to the benefits currently offered by the Employee Retirement System (“ERS”); however, the cost of each product will be the employee’s sole responsibility and will not be supplemented in any way by the university or System.
The products being offered are Aflac’s Accident, Cancer, Critical Illness and Hospital Protection plans, and MetLife’s Universal Life with Long-Term Care plan.
During your first 90 days of employment, evidence of insurability (EOI) or proof of good health is not required to apply. After the 90th day, EOI is required and acceptance depends on medical condition.
You and your eligible family members can apply anytime of the year. Application and premium are handled directly by John Hancock.
Please contact John Hancock Customer Service at 800-400-9396 or visit their website at www.johnhancock.com to download an application (your username: ers and password: mybenefit).
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Last updated or reviewed on 10/30/14