If you are involved in hiring new employees, take some time to familiarize yourself with changes to the state’s retirement benefits. The changes to retirement benefits apply only to new employees hired on or after July 1. The General Assembly passed legislation in 2013 that would allow the state to offer a hybrid plan to all state employees and teachers hired on or after July 1.
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Some large-scale changes to the retirement plans administered by the State of Tennessee and offered to UT employees will take effect on July 1. The changes will not impact existing UT employees. But all faculty and staff involved in recruiting and hiring new employees should understand the changes.
The Certified Administrative Professional exam and certificate offers UT’s regular, non-exempt clerical, secretarial, or clerical management employees or any employees performing closely related duties the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of job-related skills and receive a 9 percent pay increase for earning the certification. The exam is offered twice each year. The next test will be given on May 3.
Are you using the university’s fee waiver benefit to earn a graduate degree? If so, a new fiscal policy that went into effect July 1 requires you to complete a form to avoid being taxed on a portion of the tuition the university has waived. Employees are able to receive up to $5,250 in non-taxable graduate tuition waivers in a calendar year. Tuition waivers exceeding that amount is taxable, but Fiscal Policy FI0900 allows employees to apply for a tax exemption for hours exceeding this amount as long as their program of study relates to their current job.
Last year UT Knoxville Parking and Transit Services Assistant Director Wayne Shannon was skeptical about the university’s new flexible spending account (FSA) program but decided to give it a try. Now he says he’s spent minimal time and effort setting up the account in comparison to the savings and convenience the program has offered his family.
As the deadline for insurance enrollment draws near, UT employees should familiarize themselves with Partnership Promise requirements for 2014. Eligible university employees must enroll or make changes to their state insurance benefits by Friday, November 1. The Partnership PPO and Standard PPO are the state’s two health insurance plans.
For as little as $3.27 a month, university employees can enroll in the state’s new vision insurance program. First introduced last year, the vision program provides for an annual routine exam, allowances and discounts toward eyeglass frames and lenses or contact lenses, and a discount on Lasik/refractive surgery.
Employees and covered spouses participating in the state’s Partnership PPO health insurance plan must complete one Partnership Promise wellness requirement by July 15 to remain in the plan for 2014. Participants agreed to the terms of the Partnership Promise during annual enrollment and at other times during the year, and by doing so, receive the benefits of lower monthly premiums, a lower annual deductible, lower pharmacy co-pays and coinsurance, and a lower out-of-pocket maximum.
IRIS Administrative Support, in cooperation with the university system’s Payroll and Human Resources offices, has been working for several months to develop additional employee self-services similar to the online pay statement and benefits statement. Today these new services are available. All employees, including regular, term, students, full time, and part time employees, have immediate access to this information by using your NetID and password to log in to the IRIS portal. The new services include a personal profile, leave balances, time statements, and a personalized benefits statement.
As part of the new contract between the state of Tennessee and Minnesota Life, employees are being offered a one-time open enrollment opportunity now to enroll or increase coverage in the Optional Group Term Life Insurance program. Everyone who previously had Unum coverage has been transferred to Minnesota Life and can take advantage of this opportunity to increase coverage. Online enrollment will be available between April 15 and 28.