Purpose

This policy defines employee benefits provided by the Research Foundation's insurance programs. Eligibility for Foundation benefits is determined by employee status, by length of appointment, and visa exchange status where applicable. When there is a change in an employee's work schedule affecting the employee’s status, the employee's benefits eligibility will change accordingly.

Benefits Eligibility

Full-Time (90 days or more)

Employees who are appointed for at least 35 hours a week for at least 90 days are entitled to statutory benefits and are eligible for participation in the Research Foundation's pension, health insurance, life insurance, and long-term disability plans.

Full-Time (Less than 90 days)

Employees who are appointed for at least 35 hours per week for fewer than 90 days are entitled to statutory benefits.

Part-Time A (90 days or more)

Employees who are appointed for more than 19 but fewer than 35 hours per week for at least 90 days are entitled to statutory benefits, participation in the Research Foundation's pension plan, and individual health insurance.

Part-Time A (Less than 90 days)

Employees who are appointed for more than 19 but less than 35 hours per week for less than 90 days are entitled to statutory benefits.

Part-Time B

Employees who are appointed for 19 hours or less per week regardless of length of appointment are entitled to statutory benefits.

Benefits Enrollment

Any new appointment (or rehire after a 30 day break in service) as a Full-time or Part-time A employee who is eligible to participate in RFCUNY's health insurance program must enroll on the first day of the month following the completion of a 30 day waiting period from the start date of employment. For example, employees in an eligible status with a start date of March 1, begin participation on April 1. Employees with a start date of March 2, begin participation on May 1. Employees with a start date of March 31, begin participation on May 1.

*Effective July 1, 2018, there is no waiting period for J-1 exchange visitors hired in a benefits eligible status. A J-1 exchange visitor with a new appointment (or rehire after a 30 day break in service) as Full-time or Part-time A who is eligible to participate in RFCUNY’s health insurance program must enroll as of the first day of employment. For example, the J-1 exchange visitor with a start date of March 1, will begin participation on March 1. All plan rules, otherwise, will apply.

Complete Calendar Month

An appointment must begin on the first business day of the month in order to be counted toward benefits eligibility. If the first day of the calendar month is a non-business day (i.e., Saturday, Sunday, or holiday), the employee must work on the first business day of that month if that month is to be counted toward benefits eligibility.

Break in Service

A lapse in employment by the Research Foundation lasting more than 30 days constitutes a break in service. Employees rehired after a break in service will be treated as a new hire with respect to benefits enrollment.

Statutory Benefits

Federal, state, and city mandated benefits for all employees regardless of employment status are referred to as statutory benefits. Statutory benefits are workers' compensation, social security, short-term disability, and unemployment insurance.

Health Insurance

The Research Foundation offers at least two types of health plans, both of which provide hospital, medical, prescription drug, and vision coverage. Dental insurance is available to full-time employees who are enrolled in a health insurance plan. Employees are required to pay a percentage of the health insurance premium as set by the Research Foundation's Board of Directors. The categories of coverage are: individual; employee and spouse or domestic partner; parent and child(ren); and family. Specifics of each plan are contained in benefits booklets issued by the Research Foundation's Department of Human Resources.

Health insurance coverage is not automatically effective with the appointment date and requires a formal application. There is an annual open enrollment period during which employees may change health insurance plans. Health insurance coverage ends on the last day of the month following the final month of employment. Employees who are eligible for only individual coverage may purchase coverage for spouses, domestic partners, and dependents under the Research Foundation's health insurance plan.

To enroll a spouse, domestic partner or dependent(s) in his/her health plan, the employee must add the eligible dependent in My Payroll and Benefits. The employee must submit official and/ or certified document (marriage, birth, adoption or guardianship) to the Department of Human Resources.

An employee seeking to enroll a spouse, domestic partner or dependent(s) after the employee's initial enrollment may do so only during the next Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance elections, unless a Qualifying Life Event ensues. A Qualifying Life Event is defined as an activity such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption. In order to participate under the Qualifying Life Event Election Period, the employee must add the eligible dependent in My Payroll and Benefits and submit an official or certified document (marriage, birth, adoption or guardianship) to the Department of Human Resources within 30 days from the date of the Qualifying Life Event, or s/he forfeits his/her right to participate until the next scheduled Open Enrollment Period.

Group Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance 

Full-time project employees who earn up to and including $30,000 a year are covered for $15,000 under the Research Foundation's Group Life Insurance Plan. Employees who earn over $30,000 a year are covered for $30,000.

Long Term Disability

Full-time employees become eligible for long-term disability insurance on the first day of the thirteenth month following one year of continuous service. After coverage is in effect, benefits begin the first day of the month following six consecutive months of a certified total disability.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

An employee who has worked for the Foundation for a total of at least 12 months, and has worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, is covered under FMLA. An employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave during the FMLA designated year defined as a 12 month period measured backward from the date that any FMLA leave is requested or designated. Any accrued paid leave must be used concurrently at the start of the leave, and the remainder of the 12 weeks, if any, taken as unpaid FMLA leave.

Pension

Group Retirement Annuity (GRA)

Full-time and Part-time A employees, who are appointed for at least four complete calendar months, are eligible to participate in a defined contribution retirement plan administered by TIAA (the "pension plan"). Some of the key terms of the pension plan are summarized below. For all eligible employees, participation in the pension plan is mandatory.

For employees in TIER I (those hired and enrolled in TIAA before July 1, 1994 with no break in service*), the Foundation contributes 11% of the first $16,500 of the employee's earnings during the calendar year, and 14% of the employee's earnings over $16,500.

For employees in TIER II (those hired on or after July 1, 1994, and before January 1, 2000, with no break in service*), there is a one-year waiting period to participate in the pension plan. After the employee enrolls in the plan, the Foundation contributes 8% of the employee's earnings during the first seven years of service (as defined in the Plan), and 10% of the employee's earnings thereafter. In addition, employees must make a mandatory employee contribution of 3% of his/her earnings (on a pre-tax basis) after enrolling in the plan.

For employees in TIER III (those first hired, or rehired after a break in service,* on or after January 1, 2000 and before January 1, 2009), there is a one-year waiting period to participate in the pension plan. After the employee enrolls in the plan, the Foundation contributes 8% of the employee's earnings during the first seven years of service (as defined in the Plan), and 10% of the employee's earnings thereafter. Employees are vested in their employer contributions after three years of service. (The one-year waiting period counts toward this vesting requirement.) In addition, employees must make a mandatory employee contribution of 3% of his/her earnings after completing three years of service, which coincides with the vesting of employer contributions.

For employees in TIER IV (those first hired, or rehired after a break in service,* on or after January 1, 2009), there is a one-year waiting period to participate in the pension plan. After the employee enrolls in the plan, the Foundation contributes 8% of the employee's earnings during the first seven years of service (as defined in the Plan), and 10% of the employee's earnings thereafter. The employer contribution for each year is allocated to the plan in a lump sum as soon as practicable after the final payroll for that year. Employees are vested in their employer contributions after three years of service. (The one-year waiting period counts toward this vesting requirement.) No employee contributions are required.

*For the purpose of determining an employee's Pension Tier level, a "break in service" is defined as a lapse in employment in excess of 4 months.

Rehired employees who have previously vested in the Foundation's pension plan will not be required to satisfy a new vesting period.

This is not a complete summary of the Foundation's Defined Contribution Retirement, and you should refer to the official plan document for other important terms and conditions of the plan. If there is any ambiguity or inconsistency between this summary and the plan document, the terms of the plan document will govern.

Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA)

All Foundation employees may also participate in the Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA) program by pre-tax payroll contributions. Participation in the GSRA is voluntary and this program is also provided through TIAA. GSRA deductions usually commence on the first of the month following receipt at the Research Foundation of the employee's GSRA application and salary reduction agreement forms. In no instance may contributions to a GSRA be made retroactively.

Implementation

The provisions of this policy are revised effective October 24, 2018.

NONE OF THE BENEFITS OR POLICIES STATED HEREIN ARE INTENDED TO BE CONTRACTUAL IN NATURE. THEY DO NOT CONFER ANY RIGHT OR PRIVILEGE, BUT ARE INFORMATIONAL ONLY. THE RF RETAINS THE ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO AMEND OR TERMINATE ANY BENEFIT OR POLICY AT ANY TIME.