Staff Handbook - Chapter 3

Benefits

Index

This chapter is a summary only. Pamphlets containing detailed information are published for the use of University staff and are available from University Benefits located in the University Services Building.

Starting and Ending Dates

Insurance benefits for P&S and Merit Supervisory Exempt staff start the first of the month following the hire date.  Insurance benefits for Merit staff start the first of the month following 30 days after the hire date.  Retirement benefits for newly employed staff start the first of the month following the hire date.

Insurance benefits end the last day of the month of the termination.  Retirement contributions continue until all worked time is paid off.  Retirement contributions are not paid on any vacation/sick leave paid at time of termination.

Compensation

The annual salaries of staff members are paid in 12 equal installments on the first workday of each month.  Hourly employees are paid bi-weekly.  Payroll checks must be deposited directly to any financial institution within the United States. 

Group Life and Supplemental Life Insurance

The University provides staff members with term life insurance equal to 2.0 times annual budgeted salary. Coverage automatically adjusts to any change in the annual budgeted salary beginning with the January following the change.

Participation in the program is required for anyone with a regular appointment of 50% time or greater. 

Supplemental life insurance is also available to staff holding regular appointments of 50% time or greater, in amounts of one-half to three-and-one-half times the annual budgeted salary.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

The University’s 60% long-term disability insurance plan provides coverage for staff who become disabled.  Insurance benefits are based on the individual’s salary.  This coverage is for all regular staff holding appointments of 50% time or greater.

Health and Dental Insurance

Insurance coverage is available on a voluntary basis to all staff paid on a monthly basis.  Regular staff with appointments of 50% or greater receive a contribution towards the cost of the health and dental insurance programs.

Accidental Insurance Program

This insurance program provides life insurance coverage for most types of accidents.  Coverage may be purchased in increments of $100,000 up to a maximum of $1 million.  Coverage also is available for family members.

Spending Accounts for Dependent Care and Medical Expenses

The University offers staff the option to have their taxable salary reduced for the purposes of paying dependent care and medical expenses as covered by the Internal Revenue Service Code.  These programs allow individuals to set aside funds on a pre-tax basis.  These funds then can be used to pay general medical expenses or to pay the expenses involved in dependent care.

Waiver of Premiums

A staff member who becomes disabled may be entitled to continuation of retirement contributions based on salary and length of service.  The University provides this coverage after one year of continuous service to all regular staff who hold appointments of 50% time or greater and participate in the TIAA/CREF retirement plan.

Liability Protection

University staff members are provided liability protection under the Iowa Tort Claims Act (Chapter 25A, Code of Iowa).  This act provides that claims may be filed against the State of Iowa on account of damage to or loss of property or on account of personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the state while acting within the scope of their employment.  This provision applies to all employees of the state working in a temporary or regular capacity on behalf of the University.  For further information, contact the University Risk Manager.

Holidays

University staff members receive 9 scheduled paid holidays and 2 personal holidays each year:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday following Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • One additional day near Christmas as designated by the University
  • Two personal holidays are to be taken as vacation days

Vacation

Full-time P&S staff members on 12-month appointments receive 22 working days of vacation with pay per year, plus two paid personal holidays as mentioned above.  Vacations and personal holidays are cumulative and accrue to an amount not to exceed twice the staff member’s annual entitlement.  Vacation time (including personal holidays) is earned at the rate of 16 hours per month worked and can be used anytime after it has been earned, providing departmental approval is received.  Part-time staff members accrue vacation at their fractional equivalent of full-time employment.  Individuals covered by the AFSCME or the SEIU bargaining agreement receive vacation based upon their particular contract.  Merit supervisory exempt/confidential Merit staff receive vacation based upon the Code of Iowa.

Sick Leave

Full-time staff members accumulate sick leave at the rate of 18 working days per year (12 hours per month worked).  Part-time staff members earn sick leave at their fractional equivalent of full-time employment.  There is no maximum limit of accrual.  A staff member is entitled to take sick leave necessitated by a medically related incident at his or her normal rate of pay, to the extent that the individual has accumulated sick leave credits to cover the period of absence.

Once an individual has accumulated 240 hours of sick leave, additional monthly sick leave accumulations may be transferred to vacation at the rate of 12 hours of sick leave to four hours of vacation in any month in which no sick leave is taken.  This may not be done retroactively and must be specifically requested in advance.

A maximum of 5 days per calendar year, with some carryover provisions for some employee groups, may be designated as family caregiving leave for the care and necessary attention of ill or injured members of the employee’s immediate family and be charged to accrued sick leave credits.  An individual may accrue up to 80 hours.

Catastrophic Illness Policy

Staff may donate vacation time to be used by colleagues who have exhausted their own sick leave and vacation accumulations because of a catastrophic illness.  A catastrophic illness is defined as an illness or injury, to either the staff member or to a member of the immediate family, resulting in a medical condition for which a physician has certified that it is likely to result in a loss of 30 or more work days.

Family and Medical Leave Policy

The University of Iowa will grant each FMLA-eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks (up to 480 hours prorated to the percent of employment for intermittent leave) during the calendar year for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
  • for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition;
  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition; or
  • to take leave related to the needs of a spouse, son, daughter or parent who has been notified of an impending call to active duty or is on active duty.

An FMLA-eligible employee whose spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin is a veteran injured while on active military duty and is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy for serious injury or illness that occurred anytime during the five years preceding the date of treatment will receive up to 26 weeks (combined with the above 12 weeks) to provide caregiving responsibilities.  The 26 weeks of caregiving leave is in a rolling twelve month period.

Leave of Absence Without Pay

Staff members may apply for, and with approval, obtain a leave of absence without pay including a medical leave of absence.  Such leaves of absence are granted when a specific purpose has been defined and only if it is possible for the employing unit to operate effectively in the absence of the applicant.  Several of the University-sponsored insurance programs may be continued while a staff member is on leave of absence without pay.  Health and dental may be continued provided the staff member pays the full premium to the University for the coverage desired.  Special arrangements must be made in advance in order to continue any of these insurance coverages.   If a break in coverage occurs because of a leave of absence without pay in which the staff member did not arrange for continuation of benefits, the staff member must re-enroll upon returning from leave.

Social Security

The Federal Retirement and Survivors Insurance System, which is usually referred to as Social Security, covers University of Iowa staff. The University contributes an amount equal to that deducted from the monthly payroll check.

Pension Plans

All staff members except students, medical house staff, fellows, adjunct faculty and temporary staff with short-term appointments of less than 6 months are required to participate in the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS), or in a University-funded retirement plan with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA/CREF). 

Annual contributions for individuals in TIAA/CREF, with less than five years of service, are equal to 3 and 1/3% on the first $4,800 in salary and 5% above $4,800, while the University contributes 6 and 2/3% on the first $4,800 in salary and 10% above $4,800.  After five years of service, the individual contributions go to 5% and the corresponding University contribution is 10%.

Retirement Age

There is no mandatory retirement age for staff at The University of Iowa.

Phased Retirement

The University of Iowa currently offers a phased retirement program.

Faculty, professional and scientific staff, and merit system staff members employed by the Board of Regents for a period of at least 15 years and who have attained the age of 57, are eligible to negotiate with their department a schedule for phasing into retirement.

All requests for admission to the Phased Retirement Program must be made through the staff member’s department. The program does not create a right for the staff member. A request to enter the program may not be approved if it is not in the best interests of the department and University.

If approved, the staff member may elect to reduce his or her full-time appointment to 50% to 65%, provided the department involved can operate effectively with such an appointment. The phased retirement period is limited to five years; a person must retire at the end of the program period.  Salary during the first four years of phasing will be proportional to the reduced appointment but will include an additional 10% of what the fulltime budgeted salary would have been.  During the fifth year of the phasing period, an employee’s appointment can be no more than 50% and the salary will reflect the actual percentage of appointment.  During the period of phased retirement the University will provide, at the level of a full-time appointment, the institutional contributions for life, health, and disability insurance, as well as retirement contributions.  Contributions to FICA and IPERS are required by law to be based on actual salary.  Accrual of vacation and sick leave will be based on actual appointment.  Once phased retirement is begun, employees may not return to full-time employment.

Educational Assistance Opportunities

University of Iowa Tuition Assistance Program

The Tuition Assistance program allows all eligible faculty and staff to apply for financial assistance to help defray the cost of tuition (excluding other fees) for one college credit course (up to four semester hours).  This online application process is located on the Employee Self-Service site.  Listed under the Personal tab in the Learning & Development section, eligible applicants can complete and send the application through the Workflow System for approval and processing.  Eligibility requirements for the Tuition Assistance program include the following: 

Eligibility requirements for the Tuition Assistance program include the following:

  1. Position must be a "regular appointment", 50% time or greater.
  2. Applicant must be employed one continuous year by the application deadline in a regular appointment.

All eligible staff whose performance is satisfactory, may apply for University support for coursework that the employing applicant’s department certifies is work-related.  Employees currently working toward an undergraduate degree will be considered to have met the work-related eligibility requirement.

Completed applications will be prioritized as follows:

  • 1st Priority: The University of Iowa
  • 2nd Priority: Other Regent Institutions
  • 3rd Priority: Institutions of Higher Education with a partnership agreement with Regent Institutions
  • 4th Priority: External Accredited Institutions

Applications will be processed, and employees will be notified of their award status.

The UI Health Care Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program is offered for eligible hospital-funded employees. .

Mary Jo Small Staff Fellowship Award

University of Iowa staff may apply for the Mary Jo Small Staff Fellowship to help defray costs of regional, national, or international meetings or workshops, training opportunities on and off-campus, and/or work release time to prepare publications.  All Professional & Scientific and Merit staff members who hold a regular appointment of 50% time or greater and have been currently employed for two or more consecutive years at the University (with no breaks in employment) by the application deadline, are eligible for this program.  Selection for the awards will be based upon documentation of recognized contributions which support the University's mission and goals.  The electronic application is located within Employee Self-Service.

Professional Development Award

Professional Development Awards are available each spring and fall semester to attend fee-required programming offered through UI Learning & Development.  Application information is communicated by email to all UI staff who hold a 50% time or greater regular appointment.  For more information, contact UI Learning and Development.