4 Benefits

In this chapter:

4.1 Medical Insurance

 Regular employees, .5FTE and above, are eligible to participate in the medical insurance or trust plan offered by the university. Eligibility for coverage begins on the first of the month following or coinciding with the employee’s hire date and continues through the end of the calendar month in which employment terminates. Employees .75FTE and above and their eligible dependents are required to be covered through one of the university’s medical plans unless they have medical coverage provided under another plan. Eligible dependent is defined in each plan’s summary plan document. 

The university pays a portion of the premium cost and employees pay the remaining portion through (pretax) payroll reductions. Premiums paid by the university for regular employees whose FTE is less than .75 FTE are prorated.

There is an annual open-enrollment period, during which employees are allowed to make changes in their insurance coverage without a change in status. Employees may drop coverage, add dependents, change plans, etc. generally only during open enrollment, with coverage becoming effective the following plan year. An exception to this restriction is a “change in status” as defined by the IRS. “Change in status” includes events such as birth or adoption of a child, marriage, a child’s loss of dependent status, divorce, death of the employee or dependent, or a change in the employment status of the employee or spouse that affects benefits eligibility. An employee may change coverage within 31 calendar days of a “change in status” as long as the change is consistent with the “change in status.”

Employees who have medical coverage under another plan may choose “cash in lieu” of medical insurance and receive a taxable cash benefit with their pay each month.

4.1.1 Continuation of Medical Coverage

Through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986 medical coverage, dental coverage, and, in some cases, flexible-spending accounts may be continued for up to 18 months following termination for an employee and covered dependents. Coverage may be continued for up to 36 months for dependents who lose coverage due to the employee’s death, the employee’s eligibility for Medicare, or divorce; or due to loss of dependent child status. This coverage requires the premium to be paid entirely by the terminated employee or dependent. An administrative fee of 2% of premiums is charged to COBRA participants.

Employees or dependents that become ineligible for group coverage are notified of their eligibility for COBRA. An employee or dependent has 60 days from the date of eligibility or the date of notification, whichever occurs later, in which to elect COBRA coverage. If coverage is elected, it must begin retroactively to the first day of eligibility with any back premiums due immediately. Employees who retire may be eligible for coverage through a Medicare supplement plan. See Section 6.3.2 Medicare Supplement HMO Plan.

4.2 Life Insurance

Beginning on the first of the month following or coinciding with one year of employment at .75 FTE or above, the university provides term life insurance for its regular employees, .75 FTE or above, to protect family members from economic hardship in the event of an employee’s death. Employment credit for life insurance eligibility may be earned through previous benefits-eligible, full-time employment at any educational institution immediately prior to employment with George Fox.

At the time an employee becomes eligible for life-insurance coverage, he or she is required to provide beneficiary information, which is then kept in the employee’s personnel file. It is an employee’s responsibility to notify the Office of Employee Empowerment of any changes in beneficiaries by completing new forms with current information.

Upon termination of employment, life-insurance coverage under the university’s group plan ceases. Employees may apply to convert to an individual policy at that time.

The university is required to withhold federal income tax from employees’ pay on the premiums paid by the university for life-insurance coverage valued in excess of $50,000.

4.3 Disability Assistance

4.3.1 Short-Term Disability Salary Continuation

Beginning on the first of the month following or coinciding with one year of employment at .75 FTE or above, regular employees, .75 FTE or above are eligible for salary continuation benefits to protect their income in the event of long-term illness or other disability during which they are not able to work. Employment credit for disability salary continuation eligibility may be earned through previous benefits-eligible, full-time employment at any educational institution immediately prior to employment with George Fox.

The university provides assistance directly to an eligible employee during the first six months of a qualifying disability. After earned sick leave and vacation are exhausted, the university continues 60 percent of the employee’s monthly salary (up to a maximum of $6,000 per month less any other applicable income) until the “elimination period” for long-term-disability coverage is satisfied (180 days) or until the employee returns to work, whichever occurs first. An employee must have an illness or injury of greater than five consecutive days in length and must provide doctor’s certification to the Office of Employee Empowerment to receive salary continuation. If no vacation or sick leave is available, short-term disability pay begins on the sixth work day of the disability. If an employee has a recurrence of a previous illness after having returned to work, the five day wait period must be satisfied again and doctor’s certification is also required again before salary continuation begins. If the illness recurs within a month of the original disability, the five-day waiting period will be waived.

The university will continue to pay its share of the employee’s medical and/or dental premiums that it was paying at the onset of total disability for up to six months. After six months, the employee has the option of continuing coverage through COBRA at his or her own expense.

4.3.2 Long-Term Disability Insurance

Beginning on the first of the month following or coinciding with one year of employment at .75 FTE or above, the university provides insurance for its regular employees, .75 FTE or above to protect their income in the event of long-term illness or other disability during which they are not able to work. Employment credit for disability insurance eligibility may be earned through previous benefits-eligible, full-time employment at any educational institution immediately prior to employment with George Fox.

Following a 180-day “elimination period” during which time an employee is continuously fully or partially disabled, the carrier pays 60 percent of an employee’s monthly base salary (up to a maximum of $6,000 per month less any other applicable income) for the duration of the disability up to age 65. Application for these benefits must be made to the insurance company. The Office of Employee Empowerment has application forms available and can assist with this process.

While an employee is receiving long-term disability benefits, the insurance company pays the employee’s and the university’s portions of the retirement-plan contributions. The amount of the disability benefit may be increased by up to 3 percent per year to allow for cost-of-living increases.

An employee that is totally disabled and applies for long-term disability benefits is also considered for waiver of premium for life insurance. If the waiver of premium is approved, life insurance coverage will continue during disability at no cost.

Eligibility for short or long term disability coverage ceases at the end of the calendar month in which an employee terminates. There is no conversion option available for disability insurance.

4.3.2 (a) Termination During Long Term Disability

If the nature of an employee’s disability indicates little likelihood of the employee being able to return to work within one year, his or her employment with the university may be terminated at the onset of long term disability coverage. Otherwise, the employee may be placed on a personal leave of absence for up to six months after which time another assessment will be made regarding the employee’s likelihood of being able to return to work within six months. If so, the personal leave of absence will continue; if not, termination will occur. A physician’s assessment should generally be used to make these determinations.

An employee’s job generally will not be held open during his or her period of long term disability. If/when an employee is able to return to work and long-term disability ends, the employee may apply for open positions and will be considered along with other applicants.

If the employee is not able to obtain a position and return to active status within three months from the end of the long term disability period, employment with the university will be terminated retroactively to the first day of long term disability.

4.4 Optional Insurance

Regular employees are eligible to purchase one or more optional insurance products at their own expense. These offerings generally include life, dental, cancer, accident, intensive care, and long term care insurance.

4.5 Paid Time Off

4.5.1 Vacation

The university provides paid vacation to regular support staff and administrators1 that are .5FTE and above.

Full-time administrators 1 earn 15 days of vacation their first year of employment and an additional day each successive year up to a maximum of 20 days per year. Senior administrators earn 20 days of vacation per year, beginning with their first year of employment.

Full-time support staff earn 10 days of vacation their first year of employment and an additional day each successive year up to a maximum of 20 days per year.

Regular employees who work fewer than 2,080 hours earn vacation according to the preceding schedule on a prorated basis.

Vacation accrual begins with the first month of employment; however, new employees are required to complete six months of employment before using vacation. If an employee terminates employment with George Fox within six months of hire, any vacation is forfeited. Thereafter, any accrued but unused vacation is paid to the terminating employee with his or her final pay. A terminating employee must work the full month in which he or she terminates in order to earn vacation for that month. Vacation may not be used to extend an employee’s period of employment.

Generally, a maximum of one year’s vacation accrual may be carried over into the next year. Any excess accrued, unused vacation is forfeited.

Employees may not use vacation that has not yet been earned. If time off that exceeds an employee’s earned vacation balance is approved, the employee may be required to take the extra time off without pay. Conversely, employees are generally required to use any earned vacation for time off unless the absence is due to illness. Time off without pay may not be used in lieu of using earned vacation unless approved by the supervisor and noted accordingly on the employee’s time sheet or time off report. Time off without pay in lieu of vacation is generally approved when a part-time employee has worked or anticipates working extra hours. Vacation may be used either in full-day or hourly increments 2 and must be approved in advance by the supervisor. Department needs, workload, and other employees’ vacation requests are taken into consideration when approving vacation requests. 

If an employee becomes ill while on vacation, the time off is generally still charged to vacation. Sick leave should not be used unless the employee’s or a qualified family member’s condition qualifies for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or Oregon Family Leave Act. (See Section 4.6 Other Time Off.)

If a paid holiday falls within an employee’s vacation, that day is paid to the employee as a holiday and is not charged against the employee’s vacation balance.

Vacation hours paid during any work week are paid at the straight time rate, and such hours are not considered in computing overtime hours worked in that work week.

4.5.2 Serve Trips

The university encourages employee participation in the annual winter and spring serve trips with students. These are volunteer opportunities for employees to minister to our students as well as to a community outside of the university. The frequency of participating in a serve trip is generally limited to once every two years.

Administrators and support staff selected by the Office of Student Life staff to participate in serve trips are granted additional vacation for the sole purpose of participating in a serve trip. They must have the approval of their supervisors, up to and including their vice president or provost.

Any time spent preparing for a serve trip is a voluntary activity outside the realm of the employee’s regular work duties, and as such should not be considered work time. The employee’s supervisor may approve flexible hours to attend meetings, etc., but any time spent during the regular workday to work on a serve trip should be recorded as vacation, time taken without pay, or made up within the work week.

4.5.3 Sick Leave

Regular support staff and most administrators 1  .5FTE and above earn one day per month of sick leave beginning with their first full month of employment, up to a maximum of 90 days (720 hours) for full time employees. Employees who work fewer than 2,080 hours accrue sick leave on a prorated basis, and the maximum accrual is also prorated accordingly. Employees are eligible to use sick leave after three months of service.

Full-time faculty and certain administrators 1  are provided up to four weeks of sick leave each academic year. It is prorated for those whose contracts are less than full time. Their unused sick leave does not carry forward into the next academic year. 

Sick leave may be used for one’s own illness or for the illness of a dependent child, spouse, parent, or parent-in-law who requires care or as otherwise required by law. It may also be used for doctor or dentist appointments for the employee or a dependent child or to accompany a spouse, parent, or parent-in-law to a doctor appointment if the person’s medical condition makes assistance necessary. Sick leave may also be used under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), or both to care for a family member listed above or an adult child if a serious health condition exists. (More information about FMLA/ OFLA leave is provided in Section 4.6, Other Time Off.) Sick leave may be used either in full-day increments or in hourly increments. (see footnote on page 39). Sick leave used for routine, scheduled doctor or dentist appointments or foreseeable medical procedures should be arranged in advance with the employee’s supervisor.

If an employee is sick for five consecutive days, is hospitalized, or has surgery, a doctor’s release to return to work may be required. If this necessitates an extra doctor visit, the university pays the employee’s out-of-pocket expense, usually a copay.

An employee is required to notify the supervisor no later than the beginning of the working shift that he or she (or a family member) is ill. If the supervisor is not available, the next level manager should be notified unless the supervisor has designated someone else to be notified. Generally, the supervisor must be contacted each day the employee uses sick leave unless the duration is known in advance.

If an employee is absent without notifying the university for three consecutive days, it may be assumed the employee has resigned, and he or she may be removed from the payroll except when the duration of an absence is known in advance.

Sick hours paid during any work week are paid at the straight-time rate, and such hours are not considered in computing overtime hours worked in that work week.

If a paid holiday falls within an employee’s sick leave, that day is paid to the employee as a holiday and is not charged against the employee’s sick leave balance.

Employees may not use sick leave that is not yet earned. If time off due to illness or any other qualified reason exceeds an employee’s earned sick leave balance, the employee’s earned vacation will be used. Conversely, employees are required to use any earned sick leave for time off due to a qualifying reason before taking time off without pay. If a regular employee with at least .75FTE and one year of service (also at .75FTE or above) has an illness or other disability that results in extended absence from work, he or she may be eligible for the university’s short-term disability salary continuation after the exhaustion of any earned sick leave and vacation. (See Section 4.3 Disability Assistance for further information.)

4.5.4 Sick Leave Share

Effective Date

12/1/2017

Date of Scheduled Review

12/1/2019

Objective

The intent of the sick leave share policy is to protect eligible employees who may face financial hardship because they have exhausted all of their own sick and vacation leave due to and extended serious, catastrophic or unforeseen medical condition.

Eligibility

Regular staff and administrators who are .5 FTE or greater and eligible to use GFU sick pay

  • Employees are eligible to use sick days 90 days after their employment begins.

Procedures

Donating sick leave

  • The donation of sick leave is voluntary.
  • The donating employee’s sick leave bank must remain above 240 hours after any donation.
  • Employees can designate qualified recipients to receive their sick hours.
  • Any unused donation hours will not be returned to the donor but will remain in the donation pool.
    • Unused sick hours will be given to others in need.

Using donated sick leave

  • Employees receiving donated sick time must provide medical certification that their requested leave is for their own serious medical condition as defined by Oregon Family Leave Act.
  • Employees requesting to receive donated sick time must complete a donation of sick time request form and submit it to Employee Empowerment for approval.
  • Employees who receive donated sick time may receive up to 12 weeks of 100% pay during any 12 month rolling period.
  • Employees receiving donated sick time must have exhausted their own sick and/or vacation banks.
  • Donated sick time may only be utilized for the approved request.

Other applicable resources

This benefit runs concurrently with Oregon Family Leave and Family Medical Leave and is not applicable to time off related to a workers compensation claim.

 

4.5.5 Bereavement Leave

Effective Date

12/1/2017

Date of Scheduled Review

12/1/2019

Objective

The Bereavement Leave Policy establishes uniform guidelines for providing paid time off to employees for absences related to the death of immediate and near family members and fellow employees or retirees of George Fox University.

Eligibility

All regular active employees are eligible for benefits under this policy.

Procedures

An employee who wishes to take time off due to the death of an immediate family member should notify his or her supervisor immediately.

Bereavement leave will normally be granted unless there are unusual business needs or staffing requirements. An employee may, with his or her supervisor’s approval, use any available sick and/or vacation for additional time off as necessary.

Paid bereavement leave will be granted according to the following schedule:

  • Employees are allowed up to five working days off from regularly scheduled duty with regular pay in the event of the death of the employee’s spouse, parent, parent in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, child or spouse of a child.  Step, half and foster parent and child are included in this definition.
  • Employees are allowed one working day off from regular scheduled duty with regular pay in the event of death of the employee’s near relative defined as nephew/niece, aunt/uncle and cousin.
  • Employees are allowed up to four hours of bereavement leave to attend the funeral of a fellow regular employee or retiree of the institution, provided such absence from duty will not interfere with normal operations of the institution.

Employees should note bereavement leave in their timecard or time off report.

Other applicable resources

4.5.6 Holidays

The university provides 12 paid holidays each year. The 12 paid holidays generally include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Spring holiday (late March; often used as a floater to add to Christmas or New Year’s holiday time off)
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Mid-semester break (mid-October)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas (three days)

Generally, if a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the Friday preceding or Monday following the holiday is observed as a paid holiday for university employees. Employees who work fewer than 40 hours per week receive holiday pay on a prorated basis.

To be eligible for holiday pay, an employee must be at work the day preceding the holiday and the day after the holiday or be on approved vacation or sick leave. Employees who are on unpaid leaves or whose regular annual work schedules do not include the week in which a holiday falls are not eligible for holiday pay.

If an employee’s weekly work schedule is such that he or she is not scheduled to work on a holiday, the employee is given a different day off with holiday pay. Generally, this should be scheduled adjacent to the actual holiday or weekend for the employee’s benefit.

4.5.7 Required Work on a Holiday

See Section 3.3.4 Pay for Holidays Worked.

4.5.8 Jury Duty

Regular employees are granted paid time off for jury duty leave if they turn in any jury pay received from the court excluding mileage pay. Any time during a day when an employee is not required to actively serve, even if within the designated jury duty time frame, the employee is expected to be present at work. Support staff and administrators should designate days served on jury duty on their time sheets or time off reports.

4.5.9 Time Off Due to Storm Closure

See Section 7.1 Emergency Closures.

4.5.10 Discretionary Time Off for Administrators

While it is recognized that administrators are expected to work the necessary hours, commonly in excess of 40 hours per week, to accomplish the work of their positions, the university also recognizes that unusual circumstances may require an administrator to work hours beyond what is considered normal over an extended period of time. In these cases, a vice president or provost may approve time off beyond vacation for an administrator. These instances should be rare and should be related to a specific project or event that required the unusually excessive work hours. 

4.6 Other Time Off

4.6.1 Family and Medical Leave

University employees are covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) if they meet certain employment conditions. Employees who have worked for the institution for at least 12 months and who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the prior 12 months are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year for any of a number of specific reasons under FMLA. Employees are covered under OFLA if they have been employed for at least 180 calendar days preceding the date leave begins and, except for parental leave, if they have worked an average of at least 25 hours per week during that period.

The university uses a “rolling backward year” to track each employee’s leave. A “rolling backward year” is applied by measuring backward from the date the employee begins taking family leave.

Following is a list of reasons FMLA or OFLA leave may be granted:

  • Birth of a child of the employee
  • Placement of a child into the employee’s family by adoption or by a foster care arrangement
  • The serious health condition of the employee’s spouse, child, parent, parent-in-law, one standing in loco parentis, grandparent, grandchild, or others as provided by the law
  • The care of one’s dependent child with a nonserious health condition requiring home care
  • An employee’s own serious health condition, including pregnancy related conditions, which renders the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position
  • To provide care for a relative in the U.S. military who suffered injury or illness while on active duty and is unable to perform the duties of his/her rank or office (up to 26 weeks)
  • Active duty leave to an immediate family member of a soldier, reservist or member of the National Guard who has a “qualifying exigency”, including an overseas assignment, call to active duty, and troop mobilization

Under OFLA, a pregnant employee is entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave for pregnancyrelated disabilities, including recovery from childbirth, as well as 12 additional weeks for any family-leave purposes listed above. Also under OFLA, an employee who uses leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child is also entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave to take care of a child with a nonserious health condition.

Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced-hours basis if necessary. If intermittent or reduced-hours leave is required, the university may, with the employee’s consent, temporarily transfer the employee to another job with equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates that type of leave. 

The term “serious health condition” includes:

  • An illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential care facility or constant or continuing care by a health care provider
  • Permanent or long-term incapacity due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective, such as Alzheimer’s disease, a severe stroke, or terminal stages of a disease
  • A period of incapacity for more than three consecutive calendar days that also involves treatments by a health-care provider
  • Absences for pregnancy-related disability
  • Absences for prenatal care
  • Absences for chronic conditions
  • Multiple treatments for conditions that if not treated would likely result in incapacity of more than three days

During a family or medical leave, the university continues to pay its portion of the health insurance premium, and the employee must continue to pay his or her share of the premium. Failure of the employee to pay his or her share of the health insurance premium could result in loss of coverage. If an employee is receiving “cash in lieu” of medical coverage, it does not continue during a leave after vacation and sick leave are exhausted.

Generally, employees are required to use any earned sick leave and vacation during family or medical leave and may choose whether to use accrued sick leave or vacation first. After vacation and sick leave are exhausted, the duration of an employee’s leave is unpaid unless it is for the employee’s own illness or disability and the employee is eligible for disability pay (see Section 4.3 Disability Insurance) or workers’ compensation. After the exhaustion of sick leave and vacation, an employee does not continue to earn service credit, vacation, or sick leave for the duration of the leave. Employment benefits accrued by the employee before the leave began are not lost.

An employee who returns to work from a family leave within the applicable maximum family leave period or on the business day following expiration of the family leave generally is entitled to return to his or her job or an equivalent position without loss of benefits or pay.

Applications for foreseeable family or medical leaves must be submitted in writing at least 30 days before the leave is to start or as soon as possible thereafter if 30 days’ notice is not possible. Appropriate forms must be submitted both to initiate leave and to return to work. Employees requesting family or medical leave due to a serious health condition (either their own or a family member’s) must provide the university with the appropriate medical certification within 15 days of the start of the leave.. Family and Medical Leave Request, Medical Certification, and Return to Work forms are available from the Human Resource Office.

During a family or medical leave, the employee should maintain regular contact with the supervisor consistent with the nature of the leave to update his or her status. Before returning to work from a medical leave of five days or more for an employee’s own illness, the employee must provide a doctor’s release to return to work. If obtaining the doctor’s release incurs extra expense for the employee (usually a copay), the university reimburses the employee for the out-of-pocket costs of the doctor’s visit. An employee is required to cooperate by following these procedures and by providing the necessary forms. Failure to do so may jeopardize the approval of an employee’s leave.

4.6.2 Personal Leave

On occasion, an employee may not be eligible for OFLA or FMLA, or may desire or need time off beyond earned vacation or sick leave for a reason that does not fall under the FMLA or OFLA categories. If more than three weeks of unpaid time off is requested, an employee should request a personal leave.

If the leave is requested due to the employee’s own medical condition and if other eligibility requirements are met for short-term disability salary continuation, the employee will receive short-term disability pay outlined in Section 4.3.1. Personal leave for reasons other than medical conditions is unpaid.

Only full-time employees who have completed at least one year of service are eligible to apply for a personal leave. To apply for a personal leave, the employee should make a request in writing to his or her supervisor(s), up to and including the vice president or provost, and the director of Employee Empowerment. All personal leave requests are considered and either granted or denied by the university at its sole discretion. The employee’s supervisor(s), up to and including the vice president or provost, and the director of Employee Empowerment jointly make the decision whether to grant a personal leave of absence. A personal leave must be approved in advance under the same considerations as vacation.

An employee must use all of his or her vacation (and sick leave if for a medical condition) before beginning a personal leave. During a personal leave, an employee does not accrue or receive employment benefits including vacation, sick leave, retirement plan contributions, service credit, etc. Benefits accrued by the employee before the beginning of a leave of absence are not lost. Except in the case of an employee receiving short-term disability pay, the employee is responsible for the entire cost of health-insurance premiums during a personal leave. For up to three months, the coverage continues as if the employee is in active status as long as the employee makes the entire premium payment each month; thereafter, the employee’s coverage may be continued through COBRA on the same basis as if employment had been terminated. (See Section 6 Terminations for more information about COBRA benefits.)

4.6.3 Military Leave

Except as required by law, military leave is unpaid and is granted to employees who have obligations to the National Guard or who are in the Reserves. The university requires those employees to supply the university with documentation of their duties and commitments as early as possible in advance of the service obligation.

During a military leave, an employee does not accrue or receive employment benefits including vacation, sick leave, retirement-plan contributions, service credit, etc. Employment benefits accrued before the military leave begins are not lost. Assuming the military provides medical coverage for the employee and any spouse or dependents during active duty, the university suspends coverage of the employee’s medical insurance until he or she returns from leave.

Upon return from military leave, an employee may be entitled to re-employment according to the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

4.7 Retirement Plan

The university offers a 403(b) tax-deferred retirement plan, also referred to as a Retirement Annuity (RA), to all regular employees, .5 FTE and above, after one year of employment. The one-year employment requirement is satisfied by one year of fulltime, benefits-eligible employment at any educational institution immediately prior to employment with George Fox. Once an employee begins participation, it is irrevocable and therefore becomes required. Participation is required of all employees between the ages of 30 and 62 after three years of employment. George Fox contributes 6 percent of employees’ base salaries, and employees contribute an additional 3 percent of their base salaries (pretax). This program is administered through retirement contracts with TIAACREF, providing a variety of accounts from which employees may choose to invest their contributions.

Also available to regular, benefits-eligible employees, .5FTE and above, is the option of opening a Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA), also referred to as a Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA), with TIAA-CREF through (pretax) payroll reductions using only the employee’s contributions. There is no age or length of service requirement for this plan. The amounts contributed to a GSRA may be changed as often as an employee chooses. Total pretax contributions to the RA and GSRA are subject to IRS maximum exclusion allowances. Employees may make additional aftertax contributions.

Upon retirement, an employee may choose from a variety of annuity and cash options to receive a retirement income. Information about these options is available from TIAACREF.

4.8 Tuition Remission

The primary purpose of the university’s tuition remission benefit is to assist regular, eligible employees in meeting the educational costs of college for themselves or their immediate family members. Generally, employees working at Tilikum are not eligible for the tuition remission benefit. Primary consideration is given to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, although a more limited benefit is available for graduate programs as well. The tuition remission benefit is also intended to provide the opportunity for employees to take occasional classes for self-enrichment on a space-available basis. Educational costs covered by tuition remission include only regular tuition and audit fees. Room and board, books, and other fees are not included as part of the benefit.

Requests for tuition remission should be submitted to the Office of Employee Empowerment by the first business day in February of the preceding year. For graduate tuition remission only, if acceptance into a graduate program is not possible by this date, this deadline may be waived until acceptance has been granted.

4.8.1 Undergraduate Tuition Remission

Undergraduate tuition remission for a spouse or unmarried dependent child 3 who will be less than age 24 at the end of any calendar year in which tuition remission is requested is limited to a maximum of 140 credit hours attempted, whether completed or not, or one undergraduate degree, whichever comes first. If a spouse or dependent child already has an undergraduate degree or has completed 140 semester hours, he or she is not eligible to receive undergraduate tuition remission. The credits, degree, or both include those attempted or earned at George Fox, at other accredited institutions, or both. “Attempted” includes failed and withdrawn credits. The limitation of 140 credit hours or earning one undergraduate degree does not apply to employees. To remain eligible for tuition remission, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the institution for the particular programs in which they are enrolled. If a dependent marries during a semester or if an employee becomes legally separated or divorced during a semester, any tuition remission already granted will continue through the end of that semester.

Undergraduate tuition remission covers regular, traditional undergraduate courses for which the regular undergraduate tuition rate applies. These include undergraduate courses taken during fall and spring semesters, Juniors Abroad, and non-GFU off-campus studies. However, courses taken during May Term or the summer (including special study) are not eligible for tuition remission.

Eligibility begins with the semester (or class in the case of a cohort program) following or coinciding with an employee’s hire date. The hire date must be on or before the first day of classes to be eligible for TR that semester. Multiple family members can use the benefit simultaneously without a reduction in benefits. Regular employees, .75 FTE and above, their spouses, and their unmarried dependent children are eligible for tuition remission according to the following schedule for fall and spring semesters regardless of the number of credit hours taken:

  • During the first year of employment: 25 percent discount
  • During the second year of employment: 50 percent discount
  • During the third year of employment: 75 percent discount
  • After three years of employment: 100 percent discount

Eligibility for undergraduate tuition remission requires at least regular, half-time employment and is prorated for employees who work less than .75 FTE. For employees with at least .5FTE, after three years of employment the prorated tuition remission discount is based on the employee’s four years of highest FTE as long as it is not more than the employee’s current FTE. If an employee changes FTE status during an academic semester, (after the first day of classes) the allowable tuition discount changes at the beginning of the following academic semester. Employment credit for tuition remission may be earned through benefits-eligible, full-time employment at any educational institution immediately prior to employment with George Fox.

If an employee is taking classes during work hours, the supervisor must sign the Request for Tuition Remission form. Additionally, if an employee enrolls for more than 4 credit hours per semester during regular working hours, or is enrolled in an Adult Degree Program (ADP) or an Elementary Education Degree Completion program (El Ed), the employee’s supervisor(s) up to and including the vice president or provost, must give approval. Time spent in class during regular work hours must be made up within the same work week.

The total of all institutional financial aid awards, when combined with tuition remission, cannot exceed 100 percent of tuition. Dependents may be required to complete a Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FASFA) each year. Any external aid that is restricted to tuition only will be used to reduce the university’s tuition remission amount.

Scholarships or grants not funded by the university (such as Pell grants or state grants) may be applied to the cost of room and board. Such awards that cumulatively exceed the cost of room and board are used to subsidize tuition remission. Student Financial Services sets amounts allowed for room and board annually. Failure to apply and to report all aid to Student Financial Services jeopardizes tuition remission.

Undergraduate tuition remission applies to ADP and El Ed Degree completion programs as well as to PREP classes taken to qualify for ADP as follows:

  • Tuition remission is limited to two students per cohort and is awarded only if the cohort is approved
  • Tuition remission is available for a PREP class if the class is approved
  • Requests for tuition remission are considered and awarded on a first-come, firstserved basis. Tuition remission requests are not accepted by the Office of Employee Empowerment until the employee’s supervisors and an admissions counselor have received all of the required program application materials and have signed the tuition remission request form indicating the individual has been accepted into the program
  • For purposes of tuition remission, ADP is 8.75 credits per semester

Tuition remission also applies to unmarried dependent children under the age of 24 of full-time employees who have completed at least 10 years of employment at George Fox and whose employment is terminated by death or total disability, or by retirement at or after age 62 with 15 years of service. Such dependents had to have been the employee’s dependents while he or she was employed by the university. They are entitled to one year (two academic semesters) of full tuition benefit for each year of their parent’s full-time employment in excess of three years. The benefit is available for use by dependent children of the former employee only to the extent that it was not used during employment. If two or more children of a former employee attend concurrently, the tuition benefit used is the number of persons attending multiplied by the semesters attended. 

Early-Admission Program: The Early-Admission Program allows qualified students to study at the university while completing a high-school program. Dependents are subject to eligibility requirements, program policies, and application procedures as described in the Undergraduate Catalog. The tuition remission covers 100 percent of the per-credithour fee for an early-admission student beginning with the semester following or coinciding with the parent’s hire date. The cost of converting Early-Admission Program credit to college credit is calculated at the benefit level for which the employee was eligible at the time the courses were taken. Conversion of early admission credits to undergraduate credits will be done upon request of the tuition remission recipient (employee), waiving the 64-credit-hour completion requirement.

4.8.2 Graduate Tuition Remission

4.8.2(a) Tier One

Regular employees, .75 FTE and above, and their spouses are eligible for graduate tuition remission on the same basis as undergraduate tuition remission with the following exceptions:

  • Dependent children are not eligible
  • Only two tuition remission recipients enrolled on a half time or greater basis are allowed per year in each graduate cohort
  • Tuition remission awarded to employees in excess of $5,250 constitutes taxable income to the employee for federal, state, and Social Security tax purposes (section 127 of the IRS Code). The entire tuition remission amount awarded for a spouse is taxable to the employee
  • Previous degrees do not affect eligibility

Tuition remission at the Tier One graduate level is as follows regardless of the number of credit hours taken:\

  • During the first year of employment: 12.5 percent
  • During the second year of employment: 25 percent
  • During the third year of employment: 37.5 percent
  • After three years of employment: 50 percent

Individual courses in graduate programs may be taken on a space-available basis with the permission of the program director. An employee may take a maximum of 4 credit hours per semester during regular working hours with the approval of the supervisor. The employee’s supervisor(s) up to and including the vice president or provost and the director of Employee Empowerment must approve exceptions to this policy. Time spent in class during regular working hours must be made up within the same work week.

Applications for graduate tuition remission are considered and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Tuition remission requests without admissions’ signatures will be accepted by the Office of Employee Empowerment for budgeting purposes. However, the date on which the tuition remission request is received in HR after a graduate admissions counselor has signed the form will be used to determine placement in a graduate cohort. 

4.8.2(b) Tier Two

Tier Two of graduate tuition remission differs from Tier One as follows:

  • Only administrators and support staff .75 FTE and above are eligible.
  • Benefits are limited to a maximum of 90 percent of tuition

Employees must meet the following criteria to qualify for Tier Two benefits:

  • Completion of three years of full-time employment, .75 FTE or above, at George Fox University before the beginning of the first class or the first semester of the program
  • An employee desiring to enroll in a full degree program must receive approval from his or her supervisor(s) and vice president or provost indicating their support and acknowledging the proposed program is applicable to the employee’s position at the university, will maintain or enhance the employee’s job-related skills and facilitate the person’s work, or qualify the person for another administrative job at the university that he or she could reasonably attain through promotion
  • If granted graduate tuition remission at the Tier Two level for a full degree program, an employee must agree to continue his or her employment at the university for two full years beyond completion of the program, should he or she be offered continuing employment
  • If the employee voluntarily leaves the university or is terminated before completion of the program, or before the end of the additional two years of employment following completion of the program, he or she may be required to repay part or all of the difference in tuition benefit between the Tier One and Tier Two levels (up to 40 percent, prorated based on length of extended service)

4.9 Tuition Exchange Program

Eligible dependent children may also receive tuition benefits by enrolling at any of the colleges and universities that maintain an inter-institutional faculty/staff educational scholarship exchange program with the university. Only a very limited number of scholarships are available at participating colleges each year. These may be affected by the balance of exchanges between George Fox and a particular institution. Exchange scholarships must be applied for and are awarded by the granting institution on a competitive basis using such criteria as GPA, SAT scores, and co curricular activities.

To be eligible to apply for a tuition-exchange scholarship at another institution, a student must be eligible for 100 percent tuition remission as an undergraduate student at George Fox. The value of exchange scholarships with other institutions is established by the policy of the granting institution. The subsidy generally applies only to students enrolled at the undergraduate level and is limited to no more than 15 quarters or 10 semesters of attendance for any one individual.

The tuition exchange program is administered by the Academic Affairs Office.

4.10 Flexible Spending Accounts

The university maintains a Flexible Benefit Plan within the meaning of Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, designed to result in tax savings for employees. Regular employees, .5 FTE or above, are eligible to participate in this program. 

Upon employment or during open enrollment, an eligible employee may choose to participate in a medical flexible-spending account, a dependent care flexible-spending account, or both. A medical flexible-spending account allows an employee to set aside pretax dollars for unreimbursed medical and dental expenses. A dependent care flexiblespending account allows an employee to pay for child care (age 12 or under), care of incapacitated dependents age 13 or over, including parents, or both, with pretax dollars.

The employee elects a monthly dollar amount for pretax payroll reduction for each account, and this amount is deposited into a flexible-spending account. After the employee incurs and pays out of- pocket expenses, the employee submits a copy of the appropriate receipts and a claim form to the plan administrator for reimbursement from the account. Reimbursement checks are issued at least monthly. Expenses must be incurred during the plan year or the 2 ½ month grace period extension and submitted as claims no later than 90 days after the end of the grace period or 90 days after the end of employment, whichever comes first. In keeping with IRS regulations, any unclaimed funds are forfeited after that time.

In addition to flexible-spending accounts, the university makes it possible to pay all eligible benefit premiums with pretax dollars through the “premium-only plan.” Participation is automatic unless the employee completes a waiver form. During open enrollment employees are automatically re-enrolled in the premium-only plan, unless the employee completes a waiver at that time.

4.11 Workers’ Compensation Insurance

The university carries workers’ compensation insurance on all employees to provide reimbursement for certain medical expenses and partial continuation of salary in the event of job-related illnesses or injuries as required by law. The cost of this insurance is fully paid by the university.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides an injured employee that cannot work due to a work-related injury or illness approximately 67 percent of his or her pay. In some situations, a three-day waiting period is applied in the calculation of time-loss payments. When a regular employee is subject to the three-day waiting period, George Fox supplements the time-loss payments by providing the employee full pay during the threeday waiting period. Time-loss payments are not subject to taxes and, as a result, usually approximate an employee’s “take-home” or net pay received before the injury. Employees are not allowed to subsidize worker compensation time loss payments with the use of sick leave or vacation.

An employee should report any work-related injury or illness immediately to his or her supervisor and the Office of Employee Empowerment. The employee may be asked to complete a workers’ compensation claim form as soon as possible. (More information about this claims procedure is located in Section 7 Safety, Security, and Health.)

4.12 Benefits Eligibility for Rehires

Employees rehired by the university into regular positions receive credit for prior employment service with the university if prior employment was in a regular position of at least .5FTE. Eligibility is determined for various benefits as follows:

Medical insurance: Not affected by previous employment.

Life and long-term-disability insurance: Employee is immediately eligible upon rehire if prior service was at .75FTE or above for at least one year and if current employment is also at .75FTE or above.

Vacation: Previous service applies toward the vacation accrual schedule immediately upon rehire.

Sick leave: Any sick leave that was forfeited upon termination is reinstated upon rehire.

Retirement plan: Prior regular employment of at least .5FTE applies toward satisfying the one year waiting period. If an employee is rehired as a regular employee at .5FTE or above with at least three years of prior service, participation in the retirement plan will be mandatory beginning the first full month of employment following or coinciding with the rehire date.

Tuition remission: Prior service at the university applies toward determining tuition remission eligibility and level.

Service Awards: Prior service at the university applies toward determining service award eligibility and level.

1Certain administrator positions on less than 12-month contracts do not accrue vacation. Positions such as area coordinator, dean of student services,, nurse practitioner, nurse, and dean of learning support services have responsibilities tied directly to the academic year (and students’ presence on campus) and generally do not work during Christmas or spring break.

2An administrator’s salary is not reduced for absences of less than a full day if the administrator has no available accrued vacation or sick leave unless the administrator is on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. less than full time. Their unused sick leave does not carry forward into the next academic year.

3A dependent child is the employee’s legal child by birth or adoption that is eligible and will be claimed as a U.S. income-tax exemption for the year(s) in which tuition remission is being requested. In the case of a child of a divorced employee, the child is considered a dependent if eligible and claimed as an income-tax exemption by either parent. In the case of a stepchild of an employee, the stepchild must be a dependent of the employee and/or the employee’s spouse and must reside primarily with the employee and his or her spouse.