Policy Manual

University System of Georgia Benefits

Retirement Plan Participation

Retirement Plan Participation

It is the policy of the University System of Georgia to provide for the retirement of all regular, benefits eligible employees either through the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia or the Optional Retirement Plan. Employees eligible for the Optional Retirement Plan shall be those employees whose positions are eligible for participation in the Optional Retirement Plan pursuant to the authority granted to the Board of Regents under O.C.G.A Section 47-21-7 and whose positions have specifically been identified as meeting the criteria under this law. State employees, who are vested under the State Employee Retirement System, and subsequently transfer to the University System of Georgia, may elect to continue to participate in the State plan. Temporary employees are required to participate in the Georgia Defined Contribution Program, which serves as an alternative retirement savings plan for State of Georgia employees who are not eligible for benefits with their employing agency.

Definitions

  1. Teachers Retirement System of Georgia: The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRSGA) was established in 1943 by an act of the State Legislature to provide retirement security to individuals employed by the state’s public educational entities. Specifically, all employees who are employed one-half time or more in covered positions of the state’s public schools systems, regional libraries, county libraries, and regional educational service agencies are required to be members of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRSGA) as a condition of employment. Employees in covered positions of the University System of Georgia are required to be members of TRSGA unless eligible for participation in an optional retirement plan administered by the University System’s Board of Regents. The TRSGA is a defined benefit plan.
  2. Optional Retirement Plan: The Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) is a defined contribution plan established in 1990 as an alternative retirement plan for designated employees of the University System of Georgia. Employees eligible for ORP shall be those employees whose positions are eligible for participation in ORP pursuant to the authority granted to the Board of Regents under O.C.G.A Section 47-21-7 and whose positions have specifically been identified by the USG institutions or the University System Office as meeting the criteria under this law.
  3. Employees Retirement System (ERS): Any vested member of ERS who becomes an employee of the University System of Georgia may elect to remain a member of ERS, provided that such election must be made to the Board of Trustees of TRSGA within sixty (60) days of such employment and is irrevocable once the election is made. This retirement option is not open to other employees of the University System of Georgia.
  4. Georgia Defined Contribution Program: A retirement system for temporary, seasonal, and part-time employees of the State of Georgia who were not eligible for membership in the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) or the Teachers Retirement System (TRS)

Related Links:

Group Health Insurance

Hospitalization, surgical, medical and major medical benefits shall be made available to regular employees of the University System, working three-quarters time (30 hours per week) or more. These benefits shall also be made available to dependents of the same employees. The University System shall pay that portion of the cost of such insurance as shall be designated from time to time by the Board.

Related Links:

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance, with accidental death and dismemberment coverage, shall be made available to regular employees of the University System who work one-half time or more. The University System, as employer, shall pay the premium on the basic amount of life insurance, which shall be $25,000. This amount of insurance is designated “basic life insurance” and the maximum premium therefore shall be established by the Board. In addition, “supplemental life insurance” may be offered to these same employees with no employer participation in the premiums. Group life insurance for dependents of these employees shall be made available to them in amounts which shall be established from time to time by the Board. There shall be no employer contribution to the dependent life insurance premiums.

Related Links:

Retiree

Benefits Continuing Into Retirement

A University System of Georgia retiree or career employee who upon separation of employment from the University System of Georgia meets the criteria for retirement as set forth in Section 802.08.02 Definition of a Retiree/Eligibility for Retirement or Section 802.08.04 Career Employee (BOR Policy Manual) shall remain eligible to continue as a member of the basic and dependent group life insurance and health benefits plans. The University System shall continue to pay the employer's portion of the cost for such benefits.

Related Links:

Employment Beyond Retirement

This policy establishes parameters within which a retiree of the University System of Georgia may return to work within the University System of Georgia, including limitations that may be necessary for compliance with the policies of the Teacher’s Retirement System of Georgia.

An individual, who has retired from the University System of Georgia and is receiving benefits from the Teachers Retirement System, the Employees Retirement System, or the Regent’s Retirement Plan, may be eligible for reemployment on a part-time basis, by the University System. Reemployed of USG retirees by the University System of Georgia must fall under the following conditions:

  1. The reemployment of a University System of Georgia retiree must be approved by the hiring institution’s president. Institution’s must submit a copy of their hiring and approval procedures to rehire USG retirees to the Office of Faculty Affairs;
  2. A rehired retiree must have a minimum break of at least one month between the effective date of his/her retirement and the effective date of his/her reemployment;
  3. The work commitment of a rehired retiree must be less than half-time; i.e., less than 49%;
  4. The salary that is paid to a rehired retiree must be either:
    1. No more than 49% of the annual benefit-based compensation amount that he/she was earning at the time of his/her retirement, with consideration for the average merit increase percentages that have been applied since the employee retired, or;
    2. No more than 49% of the average compensation for the position into which the retiree is being hired based on the institution’s existing compensation plan, or, if not applicable, the average compensation of existing or previous incumbents; or;
    3. No more than 49% of a reasonable market competitive rate for the position into which the retiree is being rehired as determined by the institutional chief human resources officer; and
  5. The salary that is paid to a rehired retiree must be consistent with his/her work commitment (BR Minutes, April 2002; November, 2007; October 2008).

Related Links:

Tuition Assistance Program

The USG and its institutions will encourage full-time faculty, staff, and administrators to participate in development activities and study by remitting tuition for those activities that have been authorized by the employee’s institution. Participation in the Tuition Assistance Program shall be available to full-time, benefits-eligible employees who have successfully completed at least six (6) months of employment in a benefits-eligible position as of the date of the Tuition Assistance Program application deadline for the desired academic semester.

Full-time employees (who meet the applicable admissions standards and who have received appropriate prior authorization from their institution) may enroll in up to nine (9) academic semester credit hours (BoR Minutes, August 2010) for each of the three (3) designated semester periods: fall semester, spring semester, and summer semester.

Student status will be secondary to employee status in all considerations, including student fee waivers. Tuition assistance is the waiver of tuition and the waiver of certain fees. Tuition Assistance Program participation will be granted on a space-available basis. For limited-slot enrollment programs, approval must be granted by the teaching institution. An employee must receive a grade of C or better in each approved Tuition Assistance Program academic course.

Employees may not enroll in the following professional schools:

  1. Dental
  2. Medical
  3. Pharmacy
  4. Veterinary
  5. Law
  6. Executive/premiere or comparable graduate programs

 

Employee Auditing of Courses

Employees of a USG institution may attend classes offered by the same institution without registering as “auditors” and without credit being offered for such attendance. This provision applies to non-credit courses on a space-available basis. Institutions may permit employees to attend job-related continuing education classes, as determined by appropriate supervisory authority, at a reduced rate or without payment of a fee.

Special Tuition Assistance Program for Nursing Faculty

The University System and the institutions encourage full-time faculty, staff, and administrators to participate in development activities and study by remitting tuition for those activities that have been authorized by the employee’s institution. Due to the current shortage of nursing faculty in the state of Georgia, the Tuition Assistance Program is available to Part-Time Nursing Faculty members seeking a graduate degree in Nursing. Any part-time nursing faculty member taking advantage of this program shall be required to work full time within the University System at least two (2) years following receipt of the graduate degree in Nursing (or Education, if such would allow one to teach Nursing at the University level). The utilization of this program by part-time nursing faculty shall end in 2015, unless such utilization is extended by further action of the Board.

Participation in the Tuition Assistance Program for Nursing Faculty shall be available to part-time nursing faculty who have successfully completed at least six (6) months of employment as of the date of the Tuition Assistance Program application deadline for the desired academic semester. Qualified part-time nursing faculty (who meet the applicable admissions standards and who have received appropriate prior authorization from their institution) may enroll in up to nine (9) academic semester credit hours for each of the three designated semester periods: fall semester, spring semester, and summer semester. Student status will be secondary to employee status in all considerations, including student fee waivers. Tuition assistance is the waiver of tuition and the waiver of certain fees. Tuition Assistance Program participation will be granted on a space-available basis. For limited-slot enrollment programs, approval must be granted by the teaching institution. An employee must receive a grade of B or better in each approved Tuition Assistance Program academic course.

Related Links:

Employment Beyond Retirement

This policy establishes parameters within which a retiree of the University System of Georgia may return to work within the University System of Georgia, including limitations that may be necessary for compliance with the policies of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia.

An individual, who has retired from the University System of Georgia and is receiving benefits from the Teachers Retirement System, the Employees Retirement System, or the Regent's Retirement Plan, may be eligible for reemployment on a part-time basis, by the University System. Reemployed of USG retirees by the University System of Georgia must fall under the following conditions:

  1. The reemployment of a USG retiree must be approved by the hiring institution's president;
  2. A rehired retiree must have a minimum break of at least one month between the effective date of his/her retirement and the effective date of his/her reemployment;
  3. The work commitment of a rehired retiree must be less than half-time; i.e., less than 49%;
  4. The salary that is paid to a rehired retiree must be either:
    1. No more than 49% of the annual benefit-base compensation amount that he/she was earning at the time of his/her retirement, with consideration for the average merit increase percentages that have been applied since the employee retired, or;
    2. No more than 49% of the average compensation for the position into which the retiree is being hired based on the institution's existing compensation plan, or, if not applicable, the average compensation of existing or previous incumbents; or;
    3. No more than 49% of a reasonable market competitive rate for the position into which the retiree is being rehired as determined by the institutional chief human resources officer; and
  5. The salary that is paid to a rehired retiree must be consistent with his/her work commitment (BR Minutes, April 2002; November, 2007; October 2008).

Related link:

Disabled Employees Insurance

Employees who become permanently and totally disabled may be allowed to continue group health & life insurance benefits under certain conditions. The time period for such continued coverage and extent to which the University System will participate in the continued cost of the coverage is dependent on the years of continuous service of the employee at the time of the disability.

Two types of Coverage shall be available:

  1. Employees who become permanently and totally disabled and who have less than 9.5 years of continuous benefited service with the University System shall remain eligible for group health and life insurance benefits for a maximum of twelve (12) consecutive months following the receipt of the required documentation of a disability. The University System shall continue to pay the employer portion of the cost of group insurance for disabled employees for this twelve (12) month period.

Participation in the group healthcare plan may continue after the 12-month period under the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (“COBRA”). University System participation in the cost shall cease. The terms and conditions of COBRA participation that are described in the University System of Georgia’s healthcare summary plan documents shall apply.

Continued participation in the group life insurance program is not covered by the provisions of COBRA. Participation in the group life insurance program may continue after the twelve (12) month period; however, University System participation in the cost shall cease.

  1. Employees who are deemed to be permanently and totally disabled following 9.5 years of continuous benefited service with the University System are considered retirees under BOR Policy Manual regarding Retirement Policy and therefore shall remain eligible for group health and life insurance benefits. The University System shall continue to pay the employer portion of the cost of group insurance for these retirees (BOR Policy Manual regarding Insurance Policy).

Eligibility in the group plans will cease for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Failure to remit premiums in a timely manner;
  • A dependent child no longer meets the definition of a “qualified dependent” under the plan’s provisions;
  • The dependent becomes covered by another group health plan; and/or
  • The plans cease to be offered to employees (BOR Minutes, August 2005).

Related Links:

Dependents

Group Health Insurance for Dependents

Hospitalization, surgical, medical and major medical benefits shall be made available to regular employees of the University System, working three-quarters time (30 hours per week) or more. These benefits shall also be made available to dependents of the same employees. The University System shall pay that portion of the cost of such insurance as shall be designated from time to time by the Board.

Dependents of Deceased Employees or Retirees, and Disabled Employees or Retirees

The dependents of a deceased employee, a disabled employee, or a retiree may remain in the group health and life insurance programs of the University System of Georgia consistent with the following provisions:

Dependents of Deceased Employees With Less Than 10 Years of Continuous Benefited Service

If an employee with less than ten (10) years of continuous benefited service dies while in active service with the University System, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to participate in the group health insurance program for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months following the death of the employee. The University System shall continue to pay the employer portion for the cost of the group health insurance for the surviving dependents for this period of twelve (12) consecutive months.

Participation in the group healthcare plan may continue after the twelve (12) month period under the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (“COBRA”). University System participation in the cost shall cease. The terms and conditions of COBRA participation that are described in the University System of Georgia’s healthcare plan summary documents shall apply.

If a deceased employee with less than ten (10) years of continuous benefited service had elected to participate in the dependent life insurance program prior to his/her death, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue to participate in this program for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months following the death of the employee. The surviving dependent(s) will be responsible for the entire cost of the dependent life insurance. At the conclusion of this twelve (12) month period, a dependent will have individual policy conversion privileges.

Dependents of Deceased Disabled Employees With Less than 9.5 Years of Continuous Benefited Service

Those employees who become permanently and totally disabled and who have less than 9.5 years of continuous benefited service with the University System shall remain in the group health insurance program for a maximum of twelve (12) consecutive months following the receipt of the required documentation of a disability (BOR Policy Manual regarding Insurance Policy). If a disabled employee dies during this twelve (12) month period, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to participate in the group health insurance program for the remainder of the twelve (12) month period. The University System shall continue to pay the employer portion for the cost of group health insurance for the surviving dependents for the remainder of the twelve (12) month period.

Participation in the group healthcare plan may continue after the twelve (12) month period under the provisions of COBRA. University System participation in the cost shall cease. The terms and conditions of COBRA participation that are described in the University System of Georgia’s healthcare plan summary documents shall apply.

If a permanently and totally disabled employee with less than 9.5 years of continuous benefited service had elected to participate in the group life and/or dependent life insurance programs prior to becoming disabled, plan coverage will be permitted for a maximum of twelve (12) consecutive months following the receipt of the required documentation of a disability. If a disabled employee dies during this twelve (12) month period, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to participate in the dependent life insurance program for the remainder of the twelve (12) month period. The surviving dependents will be responsible for the entire cost of the dependent life insurance. At the conclusion of this twelve (12) month period, a dependent will have individual policy conversion privileges.

Dependents of Deceased Employees With At Least 10 Years of Continuous Benefited Service

If an employee with at least ten (10) years of continuous benefited service dies while in active service with the University System of Georgia, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in the group health insurance program. The University System shall continue to pay the employer portion of the cost of group health insurance for the surviving dependents.

If a deceased employee with at least ten (10) years of continuous benefited service had elected to participate in the dependent life insurance program prior to his/her death, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in this program. The surviving dependents will be responsible for the entire cost of the dependent life insurance.

Dependents of Deceased Retirees

Upon the death of a retiree (BOR Policy Manual regarding Retirement Policy), his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in the group health insurance program. The University System shall continue to pay the employer portion of the cost of group health insurance for the surviving dependents.

If a deceased retiree had elected to participate in the dependent life insurance program while in active service, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in this program. The surviving dependents will be responsible for the entire cost of the dependent life insurance.

In no event shall the spouse of the deceased continue in the group after remarriage. Dependent children may remain in the group until they reach the legal age of majority or until they become eligible for another group benefits plan. The definition of dependent children as defined in the University System of Georgia’s healthcare summary plan documents shall apply.

Eligibility in the group plans will cease for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Failure to remit premiums in a timely manner;
  2. Remarriage of the spouse;
  3. A dependent child no longer meets the definition of “qualified dependent” under the plan’s provisions;
  4. The dependent becomes covered by another group health plan; and/or
  5. The plans are no longer offered to any employees (BOR Minutes, August 2005).

Related Links: