For Your Benefit News

Take Advantage of Free, Confidential Counseling Services

Whether you may be experiencing divorce, loss of a loved one, financial crisis, or other personal issues, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you. The program provides free, confidential counseling to help employees and family members in times of need. All regular UT employees working 75 percent time or more and their spouses and dependent children are eligible to take advantage of services.

Appeal Process for Employees Enrolled in Partnership PPO Health Plan

If you are currently enrolled in the state of Tennessee’s Partnership PPO health insurance plan and received a letter explaining you will be transferred to the Standard PPO plan for 2015—but feel you were notified in error—you are encouraged to file an appeal by August 31. According to the state, some letters were sent by mistake, and correction letters will be mailed soon.

New Resources Available for Hiring Managers about Retirement Changes

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.

Changes to Retirement Plans for New Hires Take Effect July 2014

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.

Certification Allows Eligible Staff to Increase Pay and Advance Career

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.

Reminder to UT Employees Working on Graduate Degrees

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.

New Flexible Spending Program Surprises Skeptic Employees

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.