Kent State offers a comprehensive and competitive program of benefits and services to help meet employee needs throughout the various stages of their lives. Your benefits provide real value to you and your family and this section can help guide you to complete details of all benefits found in booklets and other documents issued by the university or its insurance carriers. This information is also available online (see the Web Resources box).
Medical, dental, prescription, vision, long-term and short-term disability and life insurance coverage are available to both employees and eligible family members. An important feature to note with all the medical plan choices is simplified access to quality healthcare. Referrals for specialist care are not required. This gives you much more flexibility in selecting the doctors, hospitals and other providers of your choice. Employees may, however, opt-out of university-provided benefits by completing the Opt-Out Affidavit and certifying that they have comparable medical coverage through another source. There is a $100 incentive for every full month that an employee participates in the opt-out option. The Opt-Out Affidavit is available in the Medical section of the HR Forms Library at www.kent.edu/forms/benefits.
Flexible spending accounts (FSA)s allow employees to reduce their taxable income by placing monies into a pretax account for health care and dependent day care expenses not covered by the university's benefit plan.
College Advantage Ohio 529 Savings Plan provides employees with a tax-free way to save for college. Funds can be used at any college in the country for tuition, room and board or books. College Advantage Ohio 529 Savings Plan is offered and administered by the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, a state agency.
Planning for retirement is very important. Current state law, under the State Retirement System, gives a choice of retirement plans to full-time classified and unclassified employees and faculty; Ohio Public Employees Retirement Savings (OPERS), State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) and the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP). Tax deferred annuity accounts, available through payroll deduction, provide employees with the opportunity to set aside income on a pre-tax basis for additional retirement income. More information is online for OPERS at www.opers.org or STRS at www.strsoh.org.
Employee Assistance Program
Kent State offers an employee assistance program to university employees and their family members. IMPACT can assist with a variety of issues including stress, anxiety, depression, child management, marital concerns, substance abuse, child care and elder care. Employees and their family members can receive up to six confidential counseling sessions per issue at no cost. If treatment continues beyond the six sessions, IMPACT will make every effort to transition the client with a provider that participates in the subscriber's insurance plan. IMPACT resources are available 24/7, 365 days a year, by calling 1-800-227-6007. You can also find resources on the IMPACT website at www.impactemployeeassistance.com.The login to access this site is "kent".
Domestic Partner Benefits
The university offers domestic partner benefits to benefit-eligible employees (effective Jan. 1, 2009). The benefits extend to both same gender and opposite gender partners of university faculty, unclassified employees and classified employees. The benefits offered to eligible domestic partners are:
- Medical, prescription, vision and dental insurance;
- Dependent life insurance;
- Voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance;and
- Tuition fee waiver
More information, including a copy of the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership form and a list of required supporting documents is available at www.kent.edu/about/administration/hr/benefits/domestic-partners.cfm.
Benefits Orientation sessions are conducted bi-weekly by HR for all new hires; workshops are offered periodically for specific benefits.
In the fall of each year, the university holds an Open Enrollment period, where eligible employees can review, enroll in or change their benefit options. Employee rights and obligations, and those of the university, are governed by the terms of each benefit plan and, in some cases, by contracts with insurance companies. Benefits may be modified from time to time by the university at its discretion, or as negotiated by contract or applicable law.
Since many of the university’s benefits are governed by IRS code, there are rules that govern when employees may change a benefit election throughout the year. Generally, employees must have a life status change or life event (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child), in order to make a change during the calendar year. An employee must notify the Benefits office within 31 days of the life event; otherwise, they may have to wait until the next open enrollment to make a benefit change selection. Additional information can be found under the Benefits website.
The university currently offers a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan with several levels of coverage availability. The level of benefits coverage will vary based on an employee’s choices. Additional information can be found by clicking on the Medical Insurance link in Web Resources box to the right.
The university offers dental coverage through a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Dental Maintenance Organization (DMO) plans. The level of benefits coverage will vary based on an employee’s choices. Additional information can be found at www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/Dental-Insurance.cfm.
All medical plan options include vision coverage. Under the plan, employees can receive bi-annual benefits for an eye exam, lenses, frames and contact lenses. Additional information can be found at www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/Vision-Insurance.cfm.
All of the medical plan options include prescription drug coverage. The prescription drug benefit allows you to obtain covered prescription drugs at a local retail pharmacy for periodic medications. Mail service is required after two retail refills for all maintenance medications. Additional information can be found at www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/caremark-prescription.cfm.
Continuation of Coverage
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan. These benefits may continue for limited periods of time under certain circumstances; such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce and other life events. Qualified individuals are required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102 percent of the cost of the plan. Contact the Benefits office for more information.
Life Insurance Coverage
The university provides employer-paid term life insurance for full-time employees equal to three times the base salary up to $200,000 for full-time employees; this coverage includes AD&D coverage. A travel accident policy provides employees traveling on university business an additional $100,000 in coverage. Employees must designate beneficiaries for these coverages, and they apply to both the Group Term Life and Travel accident coverage.
Leave Donation to employees that may need additional leave time after exhausting all paid time.
Classified employees should use Kronos to report leave time. The Kronos channel is located in the My HR tab in FlashLine or at kronos.kent.edu.
Unclassified employees should report leave through FlashLine. Once you sign into FlashLine, follow these steps:
- Select the My HR tab.
- In the Time Reporting in Banner channel, select the link to the appropriate pay period in which you wish to report leave. If you do not see the appropriate pay period, click the More link in the bottom corner of the channel.
- Once you are in the report, click the Enter Hours link for the reason (sick, vacation, personal) and the date you wish to report. If you do not see the appropriate pay period, click the More link in the bottom corner of the channel.
- Once you are in the report, click the box that pops up, enter the number of hours used and click Save.
- Unclassified staff must report absences through Banner Leave Report. It is recommended that the employee save time as it is taken, but wait to submit for approval until the pay period is over. Pay periods are available for the employee and approver for one month following the end of the pay period.
- The hours will be deducted as soon as the approver clicks the approve button.
For more information about leave reporting, call the Records Office at 330-672-2901 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.University policy permits classified and unclassified employees to contribute earned sick and vacation leave to other employees who are without sufficient paid leave to provide continued income during employee's medically-documented serious health condition. (Policy 3342-6-11.4)
Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track faculty should consult Section 5 of their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements for more details on Leave Donation and Donated Sick Leave Pool. Faculty agreements can be found at www.kent.edu/provost/facultyaffairs.cfm.
Family Medical Leave Act
In compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the university will grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave to eligible employees per rolling 12 month period.
Military Family Leave entitles eligible employees a combined total of 26 weeks of FMLA leave per rolling 12 month period. Employees must use any accrued comp time first before exhausting other forms of leave with their designated FMLA leave (Policy 3342-6-11.11). FMLA runs concurrently with other paid or unpaid leaves for the following qualifying events:
- A serious health condition that prevents an employee from performing his or her job;
- Care for a child during the first year following birth, adoption or foster care placement;
- Care for a family member who has a serious health condition;
- Qualifying exigency leave for active duty of a family member on active duty; and
- Care for injured or ill service member.
Unpaid Leaves of Absence
Leave of absence without pay may be granted upon written request for a period not to exceed six months following expiration of accumulated sick leave benefits, when an employee is on extended absence due to illness, pregnancy or temporary disability. The employee must furnish satisfactory medical proof of such illness, pregnancy or temporary disability. (Policy 3342-6-11.3, Policy 3342-6-11.10)
A full-time employee who has completed the probationary period (where applicable) or after one year of service with the university, or a part-time employee who has worked 1,250 hours the previous 12 months, may apply for a leave of absence without pay for the following purposes:
- Educational leave;
- Child care;
- Personal leave to care for an immediate family member
Paid Leaves of Absence
All full-time and part-time unrepresented classified and unclassified employees that hold a 12-month continuous appointment are eligible to accrue vacation under Policy 3342-6-11.7. Staff members are expected to take vacation time during the year in which the vacation is earned. Employees are expected to request vacation leave in advance. The employee should submit a leave form to their immediate supervisor indicating the dates for which leave is requested. Supervisors are expected to accommodate reasonable requests for vacation leave.
All vacation time taken should be recorded in Kronos (classified employees) or reported in the My HR tab of FlashLine (unclassified employees).
Employees can review vacation balances in FlashLine, by going to My HR, Employment Details and Leave Balances. Vacation is earned based on employee class and years of service. The vacation leave accrual schedule is available on the Vacation website.
Effective January, 2012, a change in the vacation leave policy for nonteaching unclassified and classified personnel affected employees who previously retired from the university, or other Ohio state service, and have been re-hired. The amendment limits the maximum number of vacation hours a retired/rehired employee is eligible to earn up to 80 hours (10 days) annually. Retired/rehired employees will not be eligible to carry over unused vacation from year to year. That means that 80 hours of vacation leave must be used during the year it is earned; any unused hours will be forfeited. Upon leaving the university, employees in this group will not be eligible to receive payment for any unused vacation time. This does not apply to disability retirement, as provided for in the ORC.(Policy 3342-5-11.7)
Paid sick leave is provided to full-time employees in accordance with Ohio Revised Code (Policy 3342-6-11.10). Sick leave will be granted to employees, upon approval of the appointing authority,for the following reasons:
- Illness or injury of employee or employee’s immediate family;
- Death of a member of the employee’s immediate family;
- Medical, dental, optical, or psychological appointments for employee or employee’s immediate family;
- Exposure to a contagious disease by employee;
- Pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Conversion of Sick Leave
All sick time taken must be recorded in Kronos (classified employees) or reported in the My HR tab in FlashLine (unclassified and faculty employees). (Policy 3342-6-11.1)
The university recognizes that employees may need to be absent from work for a variety of circumstances not covered under the policy governing paid sick leave. For these circumstances, eligible classified and unclassified employees have the option to convert sick leave to either vacation or paid personal leave (or a combination of the two). (Policy 3342-6-11.2)
The university shall grant leave with full pay to an employee summoned for jury duty by a court of competent jurisdiction or is subpoenaed to appear before any court, commission, board or other legally constituted body authorized by law to compel the attendance of witnesses, where the employee is not a party to the action. (Policy 3342-6-11.5)
It is a university priority that reasonable effort will be made to ensure that faculty and staff called to serve in military duty will be treated fairly regarding arrangements for leaves of absence. University policy ensures smooth transitions for employees called to assume active military responsibilities. (Policy 3342-6-11.6)
Poll Worker Leave
The university recognizes that there is a need for a pool of available individuals to serve as poll workers during an election. Guidelines have been established in accordance with ORC 3501.22 - 3501.28. Under the guidelines, eligible employees who volunteer as poll workers can take advantage of paid leave during a general, primary, or special election in Ohio. More information is available at www.kent.edu/hr/benefits/leave/poll-worker.cfm.
In addition to the leaves mentioned above, there are several other leaves that apply only to faculty, including research leaves, leave of absence without pay and faculty professional improvement. Please refer to the leave section in Chapter 6 of the policy register for details. (Policy 3343-6-11.8, Policy 3342-6-11.9, Policy 3342-6-12, Policy 3342-6-12.101)