Benefits Overview

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General Eligibility

Definition of Benefit Terms

Seattle Pacific University provides a comprehensive benefits package for eligible employees. This benefits package is designed to provide additional support to employees as they work toward accomplishing the University's mission. Benefits include medical, dental, vision, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, employee assistance program, Emeriti Health Solutions (retirement healthcare funding), and disability insurance coverage, along with a defined contribution retirement plan, flexible spending account options, and tuition scholarship. There are additional voluntary benefits available to employees at their own cost.  In addition, the University has generous provisions for family and medical leave, personal leave and other types of paid and unpaid leave.

This website is designed to give you the information and details you need to better understand your insurance benefits, although the actual plan documents take precedent over the information made available on this website. The plan document is the vendor contract and/or the descriptive document filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) in compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). All benefit policies printed in this Benefits Handbook supersede any and all prior benefits policy. The University reserves the right to make changes to these benefit plans at any time, at the University's sole discretion. If changes are made, the document will be updated electronically and you will be notified in writing by the Office of Human Resources. For more information, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 281-2809.

General Eligibility

All regular University employees with a Full Time Equivalent (FTE) between .5 and 1.0 are eligible to participate in the University's group medical, dental, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and flexible spending accountsAll regular University employees (regardless of FTE) are eligible to participate in the vision insurance.  Medical and dental insurance benefits are prorated for faculty with FTE between .5 and .75, and for staff with FTE between .5 and .8. Neither temporary nor short hour staff are eligible for participation in these benefit plans.

Group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and flexible spending account benefits begin on the first of the month which follows the date the employee begins eligible employment. Employees moving from ineligible to eligible status will begin benefits on the first of the month following the date the employee becomes eligible for benefits. If an employee begins eligible employment on the first day of the month, or moves from ineligible status to eligible status on the first of the month, benefits begin that day. Other benefits such as the employee assistance program and Emeriti Health Solutions begin following a pre-determined waiting or eligibility period.

Only regular employees with an FTE of .75 or above are eligible to participate in the University's long term disability insurance plan. The University's tuition scholarship program benefits regular, full time (faculty at .75+ FTE and staff at .80+ FTE) employees. Temporary and short hour staff are not eligible for participation in these plans.

Eligibility for the 401(a) University Retirement Plan is based on Years of Service and Hours of Service. Please see University Retirement Plan eligibility requirements.

Vacation and sick leave accrues on a prorated basis for regular employees with FTE between .5 and 1.0. Due to the nature of the academic calendar, faculty are not eligible for vacation or sick leave accrual. Temporary and short hour staff are not eligible for participation in these plans.

Definition of Benefit Terms

Exempt Staff

One who is exempt from the overtime and minimum wage provisions of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Washington State Minimum Wage Act. This definition is based on job responsibilities and categories defined by the FLSA.

Nonexempt Staff

One who is entitled to the protection of the FLSA and the Washington State Minimum Wage Act, including the payment of overtime for hours worked over 40 in one week. This definition is based on job responsibilities and categories defined by the FLSA.

Regular Full-time Employee

One who is regularly scheduled to work a minimum of .75 FTE as faculty, or 32 hours (.80 FTE) per week as staff, in a regularly budgeted position.

Regular Part-time Employee

One who is regularly scheduled to work less than .75 FTE as faculty, or 20 to 31 hours (.50 to .79 FTE) per week as staff, in a regularly budgeted position.

Short Hour Staff

One who is regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours (.50 FTE) per week in a regularly budgeted position.

Temporary Staff

One who is assigned to a position for a limited period of time, usually less than 6 months.

Dependent(s)

For Healthcare Benefits (effective 7/1/2011):

  • An eligible dependent child under 26 years of age. When an enrolled child turns 26, they remain eligible for insurance coverage through the end of that month.  At the end of that time, they will be eligible for COBRA. 

     

    An eligible child is one of the following:

    • A natural offspring of either or both the subscriber or spouse

    • A legally adopted child of either or both the subscriber or spouse

    • A child placed with the subscriber for the purpose of legal adoption in accordance with state law. "Placed" for adoption means assumption and retention by the subscriber of a legal obligation for total or partial support of a child in anticipation of adoption of such child.

    • A legal ward of the subscriber or spouse.  There must be a court order signed by a judge, which grants guardianship of the child to the subscriber or spouse as of a specific date.  When the court order terminates or expires, the child is no longer an eligible child.

     

    Coverage may continue beyond the limiting age (in other words, may continue beyond the month of the 26th birth day) for an unmarried dependent child who can't support himself or herself because of a developmental or physical disability.

For Tuition Discount Benefit:

Dependent child: A child of an eligible employee by birth or adoption, who is under age 24 at the start of the quarter for which the discount is to be applied and is claimed as a dependent on the employee’s tax return.

Nondependent Child: A child of an eligible employee by birth or adoption, who is under age 24 at the start of the quarter for which the discount is to be applied and is not claimed as a dependent on the employee’s tax return and is pursuing a first baccalaureate degree. Under current IRS regulations, tuition benefits for nondependent children are considered taxable income and will be shown on the employee's payroll information as such for federal tax purposes. The tuition discount benefit for non-dependent children is available only to children of employees.  It is not available under any of the tuition exchange programs.

FTE

Full time equivalent percentage. For regular employees FTE is based on a 40 hour work week.

Open Enrollment

A time during which employees may elect to make changes to their insurance coverage.  Employees may use this opportunity to change insurance plans or coverage, to add insurance, enroll or re-enroll in flexible spending accounts, and to change dependents covered.  Generally, this is the only such opportunity during the year to make such changes.

Special Enrollment and Family Status Changes

Special cases outside of Open Enrollment when employees may make changes to their benefits. 

Premium

The monthly amount charged by insurance vendors to provide insurance coverage. Sometimes referred to as premium rate or fringe benefit premiums.

Year of Service

In reference to paid leaves, the employee's anniversary will coincide with the employee's beginning date of regular employment with Seattle Pacific University. Also referred to as years of employment.