The Resource

2015 Benefit Open Enrollment Recap

The HR Team wants to say “Thank You” to everyone who participated in our inaugural electronic benefit open enrollment process. We are pleased to report that the new process went smoothly and was very successful.

The planning for this conversion took place over the past year, and it required a dedicated focus for the project implementation team in HR. The new electronic process is streamlined, efficient, and not only beneficial to the human resources department, but to the Faculty and Staff who are covered under the College employee benefits plan. 

This enhanced features of ADP have reduced administrative costs by eliminating a repetitive data entry process, given employees full access to their current and past benefit coverages with a simple  click, allowed for an electronic direct file feed to the insurance carriers for a more efficient benefit change process, and significantly reduced the use of “paper”.  

Our goal with the annual renewal of the employee benefits package was to control costs, offer competitive and convenient benefits options at affordable premium costs, and provide consistency of coverage. By staying with CIGNA, we consolidated our Health, Dental, Life & AD&D, and Long Term Disability insurances to one insurance carrier which afforded us attractive health insurance rates. Additionally, the Dental rates remained constant, and the ancillary benefits realized a decrease in the premiums. Finally, the Wellness Incentive Program was also improved.

One very positive change to the 2015 benefit offerings was the addition of a four (4) tier premium cost structure.  The term “Family” was split to add two (2) additional cost level options for the Employee + Spouse tier, and Employee + Children tier. Overall 46 employees took advantage of that new option.  That particular change resulted in an average of a 20% reduction of the “Family” tier for both medical and dental insurances, and those who elected the new dependent tier options realized an average 15% reduction in the premium cost.  These statistics further support that the decision to implement a four (4) tier dependent structure was beneficial to the employees.    

Don’t hesitate to contact Heidi Jacques at x7756 or hjacques@sjcme.edu if you have any benefit related questions.  Best wishes for a safe and happy Holiday Season from your Human Resources team!

Be Well

The 7th year of the Positive Pounds kick off will be on Wednesday, January 14th!  Start looking for your team members now!  Don’t have a team – no problem, we can assign you to a team.  Last year SJC lost 647 pounds together as a community.  This could be your year to lose a few pounds, get in shape and feel more confident about yourself!  CIGNA members can earn 25 points.  If you have questions or would like to sign up for this program please email jchase@sjcme.edu

Have you filled out the Culture Audit yet?  If not, there is still time!  Whether you have CIGNA or not we ask you to please fill out the Culture Audit to give us your opinion and feedback about the wellness programs. Click here to take the survey.

Notice of the Opportunity to Make Elective Deferrals to the Saint Joseph's College Retirement Annuity Plan:

A 403(b) plan allows you to contribute a portion of your compensation on a pre-tax basis in order to save for your retirement.  You have the right to elect to defer a portion of your compensation and contribute the amount to the Saint Joseph's College Retirement Annuity Plan.  These contributions are known as “elective deferrals” and will help ensure that you will have funds to provide yourself with an income during retirement.  Contributions are made to the plan by payroll deduction.  If you are already contributing to the 403(b) Plan, you may want to increase your deduction.

What do I need to do in order to start making elective deferrals?

You will need to make an election regarding how much of your compensation you wish to defer to the 403(b) plan. You will also need to determine where you want to invest your contributions. To obtain the forms needed to enroll in the plan for the first time, please contact your human resource, benefits or payroll departments to obtain copies of the Enrollment/Change Investment Election Form and the Beneficiary Designation Form.   Once you have completed this paperwork, you will need to return the completed copies to your human resource, benefits or payroll departments.  You can make this election at any time during the plan year.

What are the benefits of contributing to a 403(b) plan?

•     The pre-tax elective deferrals that you make to the plan now are not taxed until you withdraw them.  This means you are lowering your taxable income now, and will potentially lower the amount of income tax you will pay on those funds at the time of withdrawal when you may be in a lower tax bracket.

•     Both your pre-tax elective deferrals and earnings grow tax-free until they are withdrawn.


What do I need to do in order to change the amount of my elective deferral?

To obtain the forms needed to change the amount of your elective deferral, please contact your human resource, benefits or payroll departments to obtain a copy of the Enrollment/Change Investment Election Form.  Once you have completed this paperwork, you will need to return the completed copies to your human resource, benefits or payroll departments.  You can make the election to change the amount of your elective deferral at any time during the plan year.

How much can I contribute to a 403(b) plan?
In 2015, you can make elective deferrals up to $18,000.  This amount is subject to cost of living increases established by the government and will increase over time.  If you will be age 50 or older sometime during the 2015 calendar year, you are eligible to contribute an additional amount that is known as an “age 50 catch-up contribution”.  The limit on the age 50 catch-up contributions is $6,000 and can be contributed on top of the deferral limit of $18,000.  Consequently, participants eligible to make the age 50 catch-up contributions can contribute up to $24,000 to the 403(b) Plan for the 2015 calendar year.

For more information on enrolling in your 403(b) Plan or making changes to your current deferral amount, please contact Heidi Jacques at hjacques@sjcme.edu or (207)893-7756.

Essential Personnel Policy Update

4.08 SEVERE WEATHER AND EMERGENCY CONDITIONS

In the event of severe weather conditions or other natural or man-made emergencies, the Vice President and Chief Learning Officer or the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer will make decisions regarding campus closings or delayed openings.

Announcement of Cancellation or Delayed Openings

Area radio and TV stations will carry announcements of cancellation or delayed openings prior to the start of the workday. Such announcements mean that the College will be closed or have a delayed opening for both faculty and non-essential staff. If a severe weather condition or other natural or man-made emergency develops during working hours, the Vice President and Chief Learning Officer (or the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer) may close campus and allow non-essential employees to leave work early. No loss of pay or utilization of earned time will occur in the event of a College closing, delayed start or early dismissal for these reasons.

Bulletin Board Line
Students, faculty and staff may also call 893-3333. This line will serve as a community bulletin board and will carry cancellations, delayed starts and will be updated regularly throughout the severe weather events.

Obligation of Non-essential Employees

If a severe weather condition or other natural or man-made emergency forces any employee to be late for work, the employee shall contact the respective supervisor, inform the supervisor of the impending lateness, and state the expected time of arrival for work. Reasonable delay in arriving at work due to poor travel conditions will not be a basis for charging earned time. If an employee decides that he/she cannot make it in when the College is not officially closed, the supervisor must be notified. When the College is not officially closed, individual supervisors may release employees who request to leave early. In both these cases, earned time will be used.

Compensation During Campus Closings of Non-essential Employees

Administrative staff scheduled to work on a day when there is a College closing will receive the normal rate of pay for that day. For example, if the College officially closes at 2:00 p.m., employees will be compensated for the remainder of their normal workday. If the College closes for a full day, employees will be compensated for that day at their normal rate of pay. Staff who were previously scheduled for sick leave, or who had pre-approved vacation time, shall report sick or vacation time for that period of time on their timecards.

4.09 ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL

An essential employee is defined as one who is indispensable to the emergency and critical service functions of the campus and is required to assist the campus in meeting its emergency and critical operational needs. Essential personnel include members of the following departments: Facilities Management, Campus Safety, Pearson’s Café, Payroll (during payroll weeks only) and Campus Life. Additionally, during the annual holiday College closing from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, there are members of the Treasurer’s Office, Campus Services, and Information Technology (equivalent to one full-time employee per department listed) required to assist with operations prior to year end.

The Crisis Response Team may change the essential personnel roster if they determine a change is necessary to carry out the emergency or critical service responsibilities of the campus; or if it is otherwise deemed necessary in the best interest of the campus. An employee whose essential/non-essential status is changed after a state of emergency is declared shall be so notified in person or by telephone by the appropriate Vice President or designee.

Regardless of weather, essential personnel will be expected to report according to inclement weather protocols in place. If an essential employee is required to work, but is specifically prevented by the police and/or other emergency personnel from traveling to his/her work site due to a severe weather condition or other natural or man-made emergency, after notifying such emergency personnel of his/her essential status, the essential employee shall immediately notify his/ her supervisor of the obstruction and shall be excused.

All essential personnel previously scheduled to work will be required to report to work during a College closing. A supervisor may ask essential personnel to work an alternative shift and/or may call emergency essential personnel to report to work. If contacted, they must abide by rules that apply to on-duty emergency essential personnel. The Director of Facilities Management or the Grounds Supervisor is responsible for determining snow emergencies.

4.10 COMPENSATION FOR ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL

In the event the College is closed for an entire day, essential personnel who normally have full-time status will be compensated at their normal rate for the day in addition to the actual hours worked during the College closing. In the event the essential personnel do not report to work for reasons other than specifically being prevented by the police and/or other emergency personnel from traveling to his/her work site, this essential pay provision will not apply. Personnel who were previously scheduled for sick leave, or who had pre-approved vacation time, shall report sick or vacation hours for that period of time on their timecard.