The University offers the following benefits on a pre-tax basis:  

Seattle University
Human Resources Policy Manual

5. General Benefits



This section of the policy manual is a brief overview of general benefits the University provides for certain of its employees without mandate from any governmental agency. Specific provisions of each plan are governed by an official benefit plan document or insurance policy. If there is a conflict between the plan document/insurance policy and this manual, information in the official document/policy supersedes information in this manual. Plan summaries are available in the Compensation/Benefits section of the University’s Human Resources website at: Compensation and Benefits

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5.1 Eligibility for Benefits

Employees are eligible for benefits as described at Section 2.1. and below. The groups of individuals listed in Section 2.2 are not eligible.

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5.2 University Insurance Programs

   A. FlexPlan - Section 125 Plan
 The University's FlexPlan allows employees to pay for most of their dependents' health premiums on a pre-tax basis.   The FlexPlan qualifies as a Section 125 plan under federal regulations. As such, the FlexPlan is subject to restrictions on eligibility for pre-tax benefits as well as changes to benefit elections that may be made during the year. For example, eligible employees may enroll in a benefits plan on the first day of the first full month of employment or during the University's annual open enrollment period. Enrollment in the Long-Term Disability Plan occurs automatically after 12 continuous months of benefits eligible employment.

 The University offers the following benefits on a pre-tax basis: 

  1. Health Care Benefits (medical, dental, vision, prescription drug, and mental health coverage)
  2. Healthcare spending accounts, dependent care spending accounts

 The following benefits are subject to withholding of taxes on premiums:

  1. Long-Term Disability Insurance
  2. Supplemental or Dependent Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

B. Health and Dependent Care Spending Account  

 Under the healthcare and dependent care spending account programs, employees estimate the amount of eligible health care and/or dependent care expenses they will incur during a calendar year, January through December, and authorize a monthly payroll deduction to meet the estimate. The account is spread equally over the employee's pay periods and deposited into the employee's flexible spending account. Employees then submit documentation of healthcare/dependent care expenses, and the third party administrator mails or direct deposits a check directly to the employee. The maximum deferral amounts are subject to IRS regulations and, therefore, may change.

The deferral amount can be changed only if a qualifying event occurs during the plan year. Some examples of qualifying events are: birth, adoption, death, marriage, divorce, or termination of spouse's employment.

Note: Under IRS regulations, an employee must forfeit any money that remains in the flexible spending account at the end of the plan year.

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5.3 Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance

A. Coverage Commencement

For regular, benefits eligible employees (see Section 2.1) benefits begin the first (1st) day of the first (1st) full month of employment.

B. Insurance Coverage Applications

To obtain coverage under the insurance plans, an eligible employee must complete the Enrollment form and return the form to HR within thirty (30) days of the start date of regular employment. Applications by subscribers are also accepted annually during the University's benefits open enrollment period, and in the event of a qualifying status change (e.g., marriage, birth of a child). Employees who fail to submit enrollment forms within thirty (30) days of eligibility will be enrolled in default levels of coverage.

No person acquires any right to services and benefits under any group medical, dental, or vision coverage plans until the applications are accepted.

C. Dependent Coverage

A new employee may enroll any of the following persons for comprehensive health care coverage as part of the initial application during the first (1st) full month of employment:

  1. A legal spouse or Legally Domiciled Adult (LDA), and
  2. Children under the age of 26 (natural children, stepchildren, foster children, adopted children, children for whom you are the court appointed guardian, children of LDA when your LDA is also covered). Children over 26 years of age may be covered if disabled prior to reaching the limiting age.

Employees can make dependent coverage changes:

  1. annually during open enrollment; or
  2. when a qualifying status change occurs. Employees must complete a status change request within 31days. Addition of a dependent child at birth, adoption or placement for adoption must be made within 60 days. Changes due to coverage under Medicaid or a state child health plan ("CHIP") must also be made within 60 days.

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5.4 *Option to Waive Coverage

Employees covered under another medical or dental plan may waive their medical and dental benefits if they provide proof of coverage on an annual basis.

The following benefits may not be waived:

  1. Basic Life Insurance
  2. Long-Term Disability Insurance
  3. Basic Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

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5.5 *Short-Term Disability

Short-Term Disability is a benefit offered by the University to preserve partial income of those benefits eligible employees who are unable to work because of a medical condition.

A. Eligibility Requirements

An employee who has completed twelve (12) continuous months of active employment (see Section 2.3) with the University prior to the onset of the disability is eligible for this benefit. An employee must be disabled for thirty (30) consecutive calendar days to apply for this benefit.

B. Coverage

This plan takes effect on the 31st calendar day of disability. Total sick leave and Short-Term Disability payments will cease at the end of 180 days from the date of the onset of disability.

C. Benefits

As long as the employee remains in paid status, benefits and leave accrual will continue. The employee may elect to use accrued sick leave and/or vacation to supplement the partial income replacement under Short-Term Disability. A written authorization to use accrued sick leave or vacation hours during Short-Term Disability must be submitted to Human Resources.

Refer to Appendix F for more information about Short-Term Disability.

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5.6 *Long-Term Disability

Long-Term Disability (LTD) is a benefit offered by the University to preserve partial income of those benefits eligible employees who are unable to work because of a medical condition. LTD picks up when Short-Term Disability benefits have been exhausted.

A. Eligibility Requirements

An active, benefits eligible employee (see Sections 2.1 and 2.3) working at .80 FTE or more (30 hours/week) is eligible to apply for LTD Insurance. Coverage begins on the first (1st) day of the thirteenth (13th) month of active employment.

B. Coverage

LTD benefits take effect after satisfying 180 consecutive calendar days of disability. The benefit under the LTD plan is sixty percent (60%) of salary up to a maximum of $9,000 per month. The employee's LTD benefit may be reduced by the amount of other income replacement benefits (such as Social Security or workers' compensation) the employee receives for the same disability.

C. Benefits

An employee on long-term disability may continue to participate in the University's health care benefits program. Coverage cost and period of coverage are determined by the rules and regulations of the federal COBRA program.

Refer to the plan documents maintained in the HR Benefits Office for more information about the LTD plan. LTD benefits continue as long as the employee remains disabled according to the standards set forth by the insurance carrier.

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5.7 *Group Term Life Insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

All active, benefits eligible employees (see Sections 2.1 and 2.3) and Union employees are eligible to participate in the basic life and AD&D insurance programs. Employees may also purchase supplemental life, dependent life, and family AD&D insurance coverage for eligible spouses and dependents (supplemental amounts and premiums are age-based). Contact the HR Benefits Office for details.

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5.8 *Retirement Plan

A. Eligibility and Enrollment

Eligibility for the University's Defined Contribution Retirement Plan is based on twelve (12) continuous months of service at half-time or greater, unless prior service credit applies (see Section 5.10). HR notifies employees when they become eligible. To participate in the plan, employees must complete the necessary form(s) before the date of eligibility.

B. 403(b) Defined Contribution Retirement Plan

The University offers a 403(b) Defined Contribution Retirement Plan to eligible employees. Once the employee is eligible, the University contributes ten percent (10%) of base salary to an account of the employee's choice with either TIAA-CREF or Fidelity Investments. Participating employees are immediately 100% vested (i.e., retirement account is owned by the employee) at enrollment. Enrollment materials and plan documents are available in the HR Benefits Office.

Special note: An employee who fails to return the enrollment form(s) by the end of the month in which eligibility occurs will by default be enrolled in a TIAA-CREF Group Retirement Account and contributions will be deposited in the CREF Money Market Account. At any subsequent time, by contacting TIAA-CREF, the participant may transfer account accumulations to either a Fidelity Investments account or into other funds offered by TIAA-CREF.

C. Supplementary Retirement Account Plan

Eligible employees may make additional, tax-deferred contributions by salary reduction, on a monthly basis (except for months in which no salary is paid). The premiums may be applied to regular group retirement contracts or TIAA-CREF's Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA) contracts, or Fidelity Investments or both at the employee's election. Contributions are subject to the contribution limitations of Sections 402(g) and 415 of the Internal Revenue code.

Plan representatives offer limited counseling services about the options available through the University retirement plans. Plan representatives may also make referrals to investment professionals who offer in-depth planning services.

D. Plan Contributions During a Leave of Absence

Retirement contributions continue to be made based on compensation paid during a leave of absence. No contributions are made during an unpaid portion of any leave of absence.

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5.9 *Benefits on Re-employment at the University

Full-time faculty and regular staff employees who are rehired within one (1) year of separation of service from Seattle University are given recognition for prior service for the following employee benefits:

  • The rate of vacation accrual will be reinstated to the same rate in place prior to separation of employment,
  • Sick leave days accrued but unused prior to separation will be reinstated, and
  • Eligibility for tuition remission benefits will be reinstated upon reemployment if the eligibility period had been satisfied during prior service.

An employee who had previously met the Employees Retirement Plan’s eligibility requirement will be eligible to participate in the plan for the purposes of the University’s contributions as of her reemployment date provided she is an eligible employee at that time. Prior service will count toward the retirement plan’s eligibility requirement provided that the employee completed 1,000 or more hours of service within the period constituting her eligibility year of service. Refer to the official plan document for more information.

Unused sick leave hours will be reinstated under the “Sick Leave for Other Employees” arrangement described at 9.1.D. if a participant’s reemployment occurs within seven (7) months of the prior separation of employment.

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5.10 *Recognition of Prior Employment at an Accredited Institution for Some Benefits

The University recognizes qualifying former employment, as defined below, to determine eligibility for certain benefits upon employment.

A. Two (2) Years Prior Service - Retirement Benefits

If an employee has established prior employment based on the following criteria, the University will begin contributions to a retirement account the first (1st) full month of employment. Employees must:
i. Be at least 21 years of age;
ii. Have completed two (2) years of continuous full-time employment at accredited* institutions of higher education. "Continuous" is defined as two consecutive years in higher education allowing only non-working breaks of service.

B. Five (5) or More Years Prior Employment - Vacation/Tuition Benefit Programs

For employees who have completed five (5) or more years of continuous full-time employment at a single accredited* institution of higher education immediately prior to employment:
i. Initial vacation benefits upon employment will accrue based on completed years with the prior employer. The timing of subsequent adjustments to the vacation benefit will be based on accumulated service years with the university; and
ii. Eligibility requirements for tuition benefit programs are satisfied upon employment.

* Prior university must be accredited in accordance with Seattle University policy.

"Immediately prior" is defined as higher education being the last place of employment. If during the course of employment at the prior university the employee has a non-working break in service of no longer than six months, and all other criteria are met, prior service requirements will be satisfied.

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Fidelity Investments:

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Last modified on Thursday, May 22, 2014