Human Resources

Summary of Employee Benefits

Health and Dental Insurance
Flexible Spending Plan (The Amherst Plan)
Life Insurance
Long Term Disability Insurance
Voluntary Long Term Disability Insurance
Voluntary Long Term Care Insurance
Retirement Plan
Retiree Health Program
Leave Provisions
Professional Development
Grant-in-Aid
Employee Assistance Program
Death in Service Benefit

Health and Dental Insurance

All regular employees are eligible to elect coverage under a health plan offered by the College.

Enrollment must occur within 30 days of hire and is effective the first of the month following or coincident with the date of hire. Employees may select individual or family coverage. Employees enrolling in a health care plan will also be included in the dental plan in a corresponding individual or family contract.

Employees should review the insurance certificates issued for each plan for detailed information on covered services and other important information. To review your coverage, download a certificate or find a network doctor or dentist, please visit bluecrossma.com. You have the right to designate any primary care provider who participates in our network and who is available to accept you or your family members. For children, you may designate a pediatrician as the primary care provider. You do not need prior authorization from BCBS or from any other person (including a primary care provider) in order to obtain access to obstetrical or gynecological care from a health care professional in our network who specializes in obstetrics or gynecology. The health care professional, however, may be required to comply with certain procedures, including obtaining prior authorization for certain services, following a pre-approved treatment plan, or procedures for making referrals. For information on how to select a primary care provider, and for a list of the participating primary care providers, including participating health care professionals who specialize in obstetrics or gynecology, contact BCBS at bluecrossma.com or call the Physician Selection Service at 1-800-821-1388. 
 
Family coverage may include a legal spouse or same sex domestic partner, and dependents up to age 26 regardless of the dependent’s Internal Revenue Service tax qualification status, marital status, student status, or employment status. The Office of Human Resources will require confirmation of dependent status each year.
 
The College pays 80% of the total projected cost of the individual premiums and 70% of the total projected family premiums. The amount that the College contributes to each of the premiums is determined through the use of a weighted-average formula. The College contributes an equal dollar amount to a HMO or preferred provider plan.

 Through a program referred to as "Sliding Scale" the  College will pay 85% - 90% of the total projected individual premium and 75% - 80% of the total projected family premium through a weighted-average formula for employees at certain levels of household income. The income levels at which higher contributions are made are subject to periodic review.

Changes in plan participation, other than within 30 days following a change in family status, may be made only during the annual open enrollment period held each spring for the plan year beginning July 1. During this period, employees may change health insurance carriers and/or enroll otherwise eligible dependents.

Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

If an employee is eligible for health coverage, but unable to afford the premiums, some states have premium assistance programs that can help pay for coverage. There are special enrollment rights related to these programs as well.  Use the following links to learn more.

Health insurance for active employees over age 65 and their spouses generally remains the same as it was prior to age 65. Those employees eligible for Medicare may elect to have either Medicare or the College health insurance plan as their primary insurer. It is usually advisable to elect the College coverage as primary. The College recommends that employees contact the Office of Human Resources three months before turning 65 to discuss Medicare coverage.

In certain instances where coverage under the group health plans would otherwise end (such as death of the covered employee, termination of employment or reduction of work hours, divorce or legal separation of the employee, or loss of dependent student status), the College is required, under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), to offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage at group rates with the employee paying the full cost of coverage. The employee or family member must inform the Office of Human Resources of a divorce, legal separation or loss of child's dependent status within 60 days of the qualifying event in order to ensure continuation of coverage. Upon notification to the Office of Human Resources of the above event by the employee, or in case of other qualifying circumstances known to the employer, the Office of Human Resources will furnish notification of COBRA Continuation Rights and Responsibilities. Further information about continuation of coverage (under COBRA) is available in the Office of Human Resources.

Flexible Spending Plan (The Amherst Plan)

All regular employees are eligible to elect coverage under the flexible spending plan offered by the College.

Enrollment must occur within 30 days of hire and is effective the first of the month following or coincident with the date of hire.  Through this salary-reduction program, an employee may pay for his or her share of health premiums, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses, and dependent care expenses.

Changes in plan participation, other than within 30 days following a change in family status, may be made only during the annual open enrollment period held each spring for the plan year beginning July 1. During this period, employees may change elections for eligible medical and dependent care expenses.

Amherst Plan Information and Forms

IRS Publication 502 -- Allowable Medical Expenses 
IRS Publication 503 -- Allowable Dependent Care Expenses

Life Insurance

The College pays full cost of basic coverage (up to one and a half times annual salary) for all regular employees. Additional coverage of one, two, or three times salary is available at low group rates based on age. The plan allows a maximum in total coverage of $500,000. Coverage is also available for IRS dependent children and a spouse or same-sex domestic partner. Coverage is effective the first of the month following three months of employment.

Long Term Disability Insurance

After a six-month absence, and approval by the insurance company, the benefit will pay 60% of the annual salary in effect at commencement of disability. The maximum benefit is $10,000 per month. The College pays the full cost of the insurance, no employee contribution required. Coverage for all regular employees is effective the first of the month following three months of employment.

Voluntary Long Term Disability Insurance

Regular employees may purchase additional disability coverage with simplified underwriting guidelines through a voluntary personal policy. The employee pays the full cost of coverage.

Voluntary Long Term Care Insurance

Regular full-time employees may purchase long term care insurance, in most cases with simplified underwriting, through a voluntary personal policy. The employee pays the full cost of coverage.

Retirement Plan

This is a defined contribution plan that provides for immediate and full vesting. Employees are eligible for College contributions after two years of continuous regular employment. The service requirement may be satisfied with immediate prior service at an educational  institution, or through enrollment in a retirement plan for at least two years, and within six months, immediately prior to Amherst College employment. The College contributes 6% of annual salary up to an indexed base ($50,100 for FY12/13) and 9% over the base.  The College will match up to an additional 3% of annual salary contributed by the employee.  Employees may make contributions into tax-deferred options through salary reduction at any time after employment commences.

Retiree Health Program

Through this defined contribution plan, starting at age 40 the College sets aside a percentage of the current Medicare supplement for each eligible employee. Vesting of a participant’s account occurs with retirement from the College at age 62 or older and 10 years of service. At retirement funds are contributed to a health retirement account from which a retiree may receive a reimbursement for eligible expenses.

Leave Provisions

for Staff and Trustee Appointed Staff

Vacation

Non-Exempt
1 — 5 years 12 days
5 — 10 years 15 days
10 — 20 years 20 days
20+ years 25 days

 

Exempt
1 — 10 years 20 days
10+ years 25 days

Time is available as accrued. A maximum of one year’s accrual may be carried over each year. Time off should be arranged in advance with the approval of the employee’s supervisor. Vacation time is tracked and paid out at termination of employment. Accrued time will appear on the paycheck of non-exempt employees. Exempt employees, along with their supervisor, are responsible for the tracking of vacation time.

Floating Holidays

4.5 days are available at the start of each fiscal year. These days may be used for personal, religious, or government holidays that are not observed as regular College Holidays. Floating Holidays do not roll over to subsequent years and are forfeited if unused. Use of Floating Holidays should be arranged in advance. They are not paid out at termination of employment.

Excused Time

Time equal to two workdays per year is available for personal emergencies or scheduled business such as a mortgage closing that cannot be conducted during regular business hours. If the reason is not an emergency, the employee should give the reason and advance notice for the use of excused time to his or her supervisor. Excused days are not carried over and are not paid out at termination.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12 month period for specified family and medical reasons.  The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (NDAA) provides up to 26 weeks of combined FMLA leave in a 12 month period to care for specified service members, and up to 12 weeks to attend to a qualified exigency.  Please use this link for detailed information on FMLA rights and responsibilities.

Medical/Family Leave Days

Each fiscal year each employee receives one day of medical family leave for each month worked in that fiscal year. Medical/family leave days may be used for the employee’s illness, ill family member, birth or adoption of a child, or to supplement Short Term Disability (STD). For this policy, "family member" includes a spouse/same-sex domestic partner, child, parent or other family member for whom the employee is the primary caregiver. Medical/family leave days may accumulate to 130 days with no replenishment (if used, they must be re-accrued). They may accrue, with carryover to following years, to a total of 130 days. The use of medical/family leave days should be arranged in advance when possible for FMLA tracking. The balance of any unused medical/family leave days is not paid out at termination.

Short Term Disability (STD)

After one year of service working a minimum of 20 hours per week, employees are eligible for paid time off due to the employee’s own disability. Short term disability pay begins after a two-week waiting period at the following schedule:

Length of Service Percentage of Pay
1 — 3 years 70% pay
4 — 6 years 80% pay
7 — 9 years 90% pay
10+ years 100% pay

There is no accumulation of short term disability pay as the time is paid according to the schedule. Proper medical certification must accompany the request for use of STD. Payments continue until the staff member is: no longer disabled, eligible for long term disability benefits, and/or has been unable to work for six months. Health, dental and long term disability insurance continue as if the employee was receiving 100% pay but contributions to retirement and Social Security are based on actual pay. If the employee is released to return to reduced hour work, the STD will be offset by actual wages. Reserve bank (available only to staff and administrators employed before July 1, 2001) and medical/family leave days may be used to supplement wages if receiving less than full pay.

Extended Family Leave

After one consecutive year of employment, four weeks at 100% pay are available after a two-week waiting period. One extended family leave may be taken within a rolling calendar year. Extended family leave may be used when the employee is needed to provide care as the primary caregiver for more than 10 consecutive workdays. It may be used for the care of a newborn child, adoption, or serious illness of a family member. Family member includes spouse/domestic partner as defined by the College’s policies, child, parent or other family member for whom the employee is the primary caregiver. When a spouse and partner are both employed by the College, combined paid leave under this policy will not exceed 4 weeks for any one reason. If one partner for any one reason has met the two-week wait, the second partner does not need to serve the waiting period.

Professional Development

for Staff and Trustee Appointed Staff

Regular full-time, and part-time employees on a prorated basis, are eligible to receive reimbursement for tuition, registration and lab fees for approved courses, which are either job-related or non job-related, but directly related to future career opportunities at the College. The maximum reimbursement per fiscal year is $3,000 after one year of continuous employment for job-related courses, and 50% of the costs to a maximum of $1,500, for non-job-related courses after three years of continuous employment. Upon prior approval, an advance payment of 75% of eligible course costs is available. Up to $150 per fiscal year is also available for job-related training and certification courses. Courses for credit may be taken at Amherst College after one year of continuous employment.  Total reimbursements for all courses and programs may not exceed $3,000 per fiscal year.

For more information about the program, please visit the following links: 

Grant-in-Aid

After five years of employment, an employee's dependent child may receive up to $8,000 per year of tuition cost for full-time, matriculated, undergraduate study at a two or four-year institution. The benefit is also extended for attendance at accredited programs of training in a recognized occupation such as vocational or culinary schools. Employees with a full-time or part-time, regular appointment are eligible with the benefit being prorated for less than full-time appointment.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is a confidential resource and referral service that the College makes available to all Amherst College employees, their spouses and dependents. The Wellness Corporation provides a number of services including consultation, problem assessment, referral and follow-up services for a wide variety of personal and health-related problems.  Visit the Wellness Corporation  for information on a variety of topics.

Employees and their families may call (800) 828-6025 to speak with a professional counselor, or to schedule an appointment. Medical family leave days can be used by an employee for EAP appointments.

Death in Service Benefit

In case of death of a regular employee, in addition to TIAA-CREF Retirement benefits, if applicable, and life insurance benefits, the College will give to his or her spouse or partner, or if none, his or her dependent(s), a sum equal to one month's pay, if the deceased was employed by the College for less than five years; three months' pay, if employed between five and ten years; and six months' pay, if employed ten years or longer. Only time in regular employment at the College will be counted towards this benefit.

 

Useful Links

Helpful Information

Other Benefits