Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (SPAR)
Research Foundation Policy 507-E Benefits for Project Employees
This policy defines employee benefits provided by the Research Foundation's insurance programs. Eligibility for Foundation benefits is determined by employee status and by length of appointment. If an employee's work schedule changes, the employee's benefits change accordingly.
Full-Time (4 months or more):
Employees who are appointed for at least 35 hours a week for at least four complete calendar months 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 4 months):
Employees who are appointed for at least 35 hours per week for fewer than four complete calendar months are entitled to statutory benefits.
Part-Time A (4 months or more):
Employees who are appointed for more than 19 but fewer than 35 hours per week for at least four complete calendar months are entitled to statutory benefits, participation in the Research Foundation's pension plan, and individual health insurance.
Part-Time A (less than four months):
Employees who are appointed for more than 19 but less than 35 hours per week for less than four complete calendar months are entitled to statutory benefits..
Employees who are appointed for 19 hours or less per week are entitled to statutory benefits.
Effective January 1, 2005, any new appointment (or rehire after a 30 day break in service) as a Full-time or Part-time A employee will become eligible to participate in RFCUNY's health insurance program on the first day of the second full calendar month of employment. For example, those employees who start work in an eligible status on March 1, may begin participation on the first day of April. Those who start work on March 2, may begin participation on the first day of May. Those who start work on March 31, may begin participation on the first day of May.
Complete calendar month:
An appointment must begin on the first day of the month in order to be counted toward eligibility for benefits. If the first day of the calendar month is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the employee must work on that day in order for that month to be counted for eligibility for benefits.
Break in Service:
A lapse in employment by the Research Foundation lasting more than 30 days constitutes a break in service.
Statutory benefits are Workers' Compensation, Social Security, Short-Term Disability, and Unemployment 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 Office of Employment Policy and Practice.
Health insurance coverage is not automatically effective with the appointment date and requires 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 present a Statement of Dependent's Participation in Health Benefits Program Form accompanied by an original or certified document (marriage, birth, adoption or guardianship) to Client Services.
An employee seeking to enroll a spouse, domestic partner or dependant(s) after the employee's initial enrollment may do so only during the next Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance elections, unless a Qualifying Event ensues. A Qualifying Event is defined as an activity such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption. In order to participate under the Qualifying Event Election Period, the employee must submit a Statement of Dependent's Participation in Health Benefits Program Form accompanied by an original or certified document (marriage, birth, adoption or guardianship) to the Office of Client Services within 30 days from the date of the Qualifying 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 . Pension benefits for Foundation employees are provided in a defined contribution retirement plan through Teachers Insurance Annuity Association/College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA/CREF).
For employees in TIER I (employed and enrolled in TIAA/CREF before July 1, 1994 with no break in service), the Research Foundation contributes 11% of the first $16,500 earned during the calendar year and 14% of earnings over $16,500.
For employees in TIER II (employed on or after July 1, 1994 with no break in service), the Research Foundation, at the completion of the vesting period, contributes 8% for the first seven years of employment and 10% thereafter and the employee, also at the completion of the vesting period, contributes 3% each year. Participation in the Research Foundation's pension plan is mandatory.
For employees in TIER III (employed, or rehired after a break in service, on or after January 1, 2000), there is a one-year waiting period, followed by a two-year vesting period. After completion of the waiting period (i.e., you are credited with one year of service), the employer begins pension contributions equivalent to 8% of wages. This contribution is made to an institutionally-owned TIAA-CREF Annuity Contract. At the completion of the vesting period (i.e., you are credited with three years of service), the employer contributions that were made for years two and three, plus any earnings applied to the institutionally-owned annuity contract, are credited to an individually-owned annuity contract. An employee contribution of 3% of salary on a pre-tax basis will begin after three years of service (i.e., the completion of the vesting period). After the completion of seven years of continuous eligible service, the employer contribution increases to 10% of salary. Participation in the Research Foundation's pension plan is mandatory.
For purposes of determining 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 Research Foundation's pension plan will not be required to satisfy a new vesting period.
This summary is a brief overview of the Research Foundation's Defined Contribution Retirement Plan. If there is any ambiguity or inconsistency between this summary and the Retirement Plan's Plan Document, the terms of the Plan Document will govern.
Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) :
All employees may contribute to the Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) program by pre-tax payroll deductions, also provided through TIAA-CREF. SRA deductions usually commence on the first of the month following receipt at the Research Foundation of the employee's SRA application and salary reduction agreement forms. In no instance may contributions to an SRA be made retroactively.
The provisions of this policy are revised effective January 1, 2005.