Employees are eligible for benefits if they are employed for a minimum of half-time (18.75 hours/week for most positions – 20 hours/week for AFSCME Unit 2 positions). All Greenfield Community College employees are on the same bi-weekly payroll cycle which has a one-week delay.
Membership in the Massachusetts State Retirement Board is mandatory for AFSCME unit and non-unit classified employees. A contribution at the rate of 9% of gross salary (up to $30,000) and an additional 2% for any amount above $30,000 will begin with your first paycheck. Employees become vested in the State Retirement System after the equivalent of ten (10) years of full-time employment.
Optional Retirement Program
If you are not an AFSCME unit member, you are eligible to participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP). You must choose between the ORP and the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) within 180 days of your first eligibility. Your first contributions upon employment are typically remitted to SERS. If you elect ORP coverage, you may transfer your funds from SERS to the ORP.
The Optional Retirement Program is a portable retirement program that is funded with individual accounts for participants. Each participant selects a Provider to invest plan contributions. The current Providers are:
- Fidelity Investments
You can learn more about the ORP, and comparative information about the SERS, at: http://www.mass.edu/forfacstaff/orp/choosing.asp
Health and basic life insurance
Health insurance benefits for all eligible employees are the same for everyone, whether faculty, MCCC unit professional, non-unit professional, or AFSCME employee, Units 1 or 2. Health insurance effective dates always occur on the first of a month and a minimum of 60 days after hire. Someone hired on the first of January would have an insurance effective date of the first of March. Someone hired anytime in January other than January 1st would have an insurance effective date of April 1st. Click the link below to view the current State Employees’ Benefit Decision Guide offering an overview and comparison of what plans are available to Greenfield Community College Employees and the rates that apply.
Health Care Spending Account (HCSA)
A Health Care Spending Account allows an employee to set aside a predetermined amount of dollars on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified health care expenses, such as, but not limited to: deductibles, prescription drug co-pays, hospital co-pays, orthodontia or dental expenses not covered by your dental plan and many other medical-related expenses not covered by health insurance. The Health Care Spending Account can be used to cover some over the counter drugs such as pain relievers, cough medicine or nasal sinus sprays, provided you have a statement from your physician that you have a medical condition that requires such over the counter medication and a doctor’s prescription for the medication. Any employee eligible for health benefits is also eligible for this program although you do not have to be enrolled in a state health plan to participate in the Health Care Spending Account. You can set aside as little as $250 or as much as $2,600 annually. The rules for effective dates for this benefit and the Dependent Care Assistance Program below are the same as for health insurance.
Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP)
The Dependent Care Assistance Program allows an employee to set aside a predetermined amount of dollars on a pretax basis to pay for qualified dependent care expenses. Qualifying expenses include charges incurred for the care of a dependent under the age of 13 or a dependent or spouse who is physically and/or mentally incapable of self-care, inside or outside your home which allow you to work, look for work, or attend school on a full-time basis. If you are married, the expenses must also occur while your spouse is employed or on days your spouse attends school. Any employee eligible for health benefits is also eligible for this program. You may elect an annual payroll deduction of up to $5,000.
Optional life and long-term disability insurance
In addition to the mandatory Basic Life Insurance that is required of every state employee, you may also select optional life insurance from one (1) to eight (8) times your annual salary. Rates are available in the Benefit Decision Guide and from the Human Resources Office and are based on age and salary. Insurance premiums are taken in two (2) pay periods prior to the effective date of insurance.
Long-term disability insurance is also available for employees if they choose. Rates are also based on age and salary.
Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) Plans – 403(b)
Tax Sheltered Annuity Plans or TSAs, as these are commonly referred to, are tax-deferred retirement plans available to employees of community colleges, state colleges, universities, and other qualified individuals employed in an educational capacity. Employees can contribute a portion of their before tax salary into a TSA plan up to certain annual limits set by the IRS. All college employees, including benefited employees, adjunct instructors and part-time contract employees are eligible to participate in this program. Work study students are not eligible.
Deferred Compensation (457 Plan) – SMART Plan
A 457 deferred compensation plan is a retirement plan that allows you to make contributions into an account established on your behalf. Your contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, and all earnings are tax-deferred. The amounts accumulated on your behalf may be distributed at retirement, or due to another qualifying event, such as separation from service or death. Employees can contribute a portion of their before tax salary into a 457 deferred compensation plan up to certain annual limits set by the IRS.