Employees at Southern State enjoy a variety of excellent benefits! If you have questions about any of the benefits, please contact the Human Resources Department.
As part of the workplace wellness program at Southern State, employees who elect the college’s medical coverage effective July 1, 2015 and wish to receive the college’s HSA contribution ($2500, single or $5000, family) must complete the following components by June 30, 2015:
- Care24® Services Guide
- Health Discount Program Guide
- Health Savings Accounts & Other Tax-Favored Health Plans
- Health4MeSM Application Information
- Healthcare Cost Estimator
- IRS Information about HSA’s, MSA’s, FSA’s & HRA’s
- OPTUMHealth Bank HSA User Guide
- Preventive Care Guide
- Contact Fill Brochure
- EyeEssentialSM Plan Information
- NVA Lasik Benefit Guide
- NVA Smart Buyer®: Consumer’s Guide to Vision Benefits
- NVA Summary of Benefits
- NVA Vision Benefits Brochure
Purpose of the Plan
The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is designed to cover specific out-of-pocket health and dependent care expenses you anticipate during the course of the Plan Year. The FSA allows you to use pretax dollars to pay for health expenses not covered by insurance. Expenses payable through the FSA include charges for contact lenses, eyeglasses, dental expenses, plus any deductibles and co-payments. In fact, any medical, dental, hearing or vision expenses that would otherwise qualify as a deduction on your income tax return will qualify for reimbursement as long as the expense is not paid by another benefit plan. You may also pay for dependent care expenses.
A Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) is a health care plan paid for by an employer to reimburse the medical expenses of its employees.
How to Participate
In order to participate in the plan, you must file a FSA Enrollment Form each year with the Compensation and Benefits Administrator during the open enrollment period. This form will be distributed to each eligible employee with their open enrollment packet. If you do not complete the form and return it to the Compensation and Benefits Administrator prior to the date required, you will not be eligible to become a participant again until January 1st of the next Plan Year unless there is a change of family status during the year that qualifies you to participate.
The time between classes serves as vacation for full-time faculty.
Full-time staff shall receive annual vacations with full pay.
|Years of Service||0–7||8–14||15–24||25+|
|Nonexempt||10 days||15 days||20 days||25 days|
|Exempt||20 days||20 days||20 days||25 days|
Employees may accrue unused vacation up to a maximum of 60 days or the vacation hours accrued in the last three years, whichever is less.
Upon retirement or termination, a full-time employee shall receive a pay-out of accumulated vacation days equal to the total accumulation times the current daily rate.
Full-time employees receive three paid personal days per year. These days shall be credited to the employee’s account at the beginning of each fiscal year and shall not be accumulative. Upon retirement or termination, a personal time payout will be equal to the total days accumulated paid out at the employee’s current daily wage rate.
Each full-time employee who is employed to work at least 40 hours per week earns sick leave at a rate of 1.25 days per month for a maximum of 15 days of sick leave per contract year.
Part-time employees who have earned sick leave prior to the publishing of the college’s Policy & Information Manual are grandfathered at their current rate.
Unused sick leave entitlement is cumulative to a maximum of 260 days. The Payroll Department shall be responsible for the establishment of accrued sick leave balances for employees and for the maintenance of sick leave records.
Upon retirement under either the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System or State Teachers Retirement System, the employee shall receive payment of 1/4 of the number of unused sick days to the credit of the employee at the employee’s rate of pay at time of retirement up to a maximum of 38 days. Payment shall be made to an employee only once during his/her lifetime.
An employee may use sick leave, with the approval of their supervisor, for any of the following reasons:
- 1. Personal illness, accident, injury or surgical procedure
- 2. Pregnancy and/or childbirth and related conditions
- 3. Maternity/paternity leave
- 4. Medical, dental or optical examination or treatment of the employee or a member of the immediate family
- 5. Exposure to communicable disease that could infect others
- 6. Illness, injury, accident or death of a member of the employee’s immediate family
An employee may use an additional five days of sick leave (above and beyond the three paid bereavement days) given the definition below.
Definition of immediate family member — an employee’s grandparents, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, spouse, child, grandchild, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, legal guardian or other person who stands in the place of a parent.
Employees may be required to furnish a written, signed statement justifying the use of sick leave. Falsification of such a statement is grounds for disciplinary action including dismissal.
When an employee is hired by Southern State, they are automatically enrolled in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) if they are considered staff or the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) if they are considered faculty. If hired as a student worker, you are eligible for exemption from OPERS. If you are enrolled in the OPERS plan and are planning to retire in the near future, please visit OPERS’ Ready to Retire.
Full-time employees are eligible to opt out of OPERS and instead participate in the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP). Employees eligible for the ARP must make an irrevocable decision of which plan they choose to participate in within 120 days of their hire date. If they do not indicate a decision within this 120 day period, they are automatically and irrevocably enrolled in OPERS or STRS.
Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS)
Full and part-time staff is enrolled in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) upon hire. Each pay period, employees contribute 10% of their wages into their OPERS account and Southern State contributes another 14%. Newly hired full-time employees may choose an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) within 120 days of their first day of paid service. This election is irrevocable and applies to all employment with the current employer.
OPERS offer three retirement plan options for eligible staff who elect participation in OPERS. The options include:
- 1. Traditional Pension Plan — The Traditional Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan under which a member’s retirement benefit is based on a formula. The formula is determined by years of contributing service and the average of the 3 highest years of earnable salary (or "final average salary").
- OPERS investment professionals manage the investment of employee and employer contributions to ensure that funds are available to pay the formula benefit.
- 2. Member-Directed Plan — The Member-Directed Plan is a defined contribution plan under which employee and a portion of employer contributions are deposited into a member’s individual OPERS account. The member directs the investment by selecting from the professionally managed OPERS investment options.
- The retirement benefit is based on member and employer contributions and the gains and losses on those contributions.
- A portion of employer contributions is credited to an individual Retiree Medical Account (RMA) to pay for qualified health care expenses.
- 3. Combined Plan — The Combined Plan is a retirement plan with both a defined benefit and a defined contribution component. Under the defined benefit portion of the Combined Plan, the member’s retirement benefit is determined by a reduced formula (similar to the Traditional Pension Plan).
- OPERS investment professionals manage the investment of employer contributions to ensure that funds are available to pay the reduced formula benefit.
- Under the defined contribution portion of the Combined Plan, employee contributions are deposited into the member’s individual account and invested as directed by the member according to their selection from the nine OPERS Investment Options.
- The member’s retirement benefit under this portion of the Combined Plan is based on member contributions and the gains and losses on those contributions.
For staff who elect to participate in OPERS, the deadline to select from among the three plan options listed above is 180 days from the first day of paid service.
Note: Eligible members will have three opportunities to change their retirement plan based on the following guidelines:
- Prior to attaining five years of total service credit
- Once after attaining five years, but no more than 10 years of total service credit
- Once at any point after attaining 10 years of total service credit
For more information on changing your retirement plan, contact OPERS at 1.800.222.PERS (7377) or visit opers.org.
State Teachers Retirement System (STRS)
Full and part-time faculty are enrolled in the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) upon hire. Each pay period, employees contribute 10% of their wages into their STRS account and Southern State contributes another 14%. Newly hired full-time employees may choose an Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) within 120 days of their first day of paid service. This election is irrevocable and applies to all employment with the current employer.
In addition to a defined benefit plan, STRS offers defined contribution retirement plan options for eligible faculty who elect participation in STRS. The options include:
- 1. STRS Ohio Defined Benefit Plan — As its name implies, your retirement income is "defined" in advance so that you know what you will receive when you retire. Your income is determined by a calculation that uses your age, your years of service and your final average salary. You also have survivor and disability protection while you teach. Access to optional health care coverage is provided to retirees who meet the necessary qualifications (currently 15 years of service credit).
- 2. STRS Ohio Defined Contribution Plan — In this plan, your retirement income is based on the performance of investment choices you select for the contributions made by you and your employer. You may allocate your contributions among various investment options managed by STRS Ohio. Retirement, survivor and disability benefits are limited to the value of your account. Access to STRS Ohio optional health care coverage upon retirement is not provided.
- 3. STRS Ohio Combined Plan — This plan allows you to create a portion of your retirement income through the performance of investment choices you select for your contributions while contributions from your employer pay for a combination of service retirement, disability and survivor benefits. Access to optional health care coverage is provided to retirees who meet the necessary qualifications (currently 15 years of service credit).
Detailed information about your options is available on the STRS Ohio site.
Note: New members who choose the STRS Defined Contribution Plan or the Combined Plan will have another opportunity to reselect a permanent plan during their fifth year of membership. This "switch" option may be particularly beneficial to you if you are unsure about the amount of time you will teach in Ohio. If you choose an ARP now, your decision will be final unless you change employers.
For faculty who elect to participate in STRS, the deadline to select from among the three plan options listed above is 180 days from the first day of paid service. For complete information regarding STRS, go to strsoh.org.
Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP)
Southern State’ Approved Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) provider is ING Life Insurance & Annuity Co.
For more information, visit:
Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans
403(b) Supplemental Retirement Plan
457 Supplemental Retirement Plan
For Social Security information on applying for benefits, qualifying for benefits, estimating future benefits or changing personal information, visit:
You can also estimate your retirement benefits through the Retirement Estimator service provided by U.S. Social Security Administration.