Georgia Highlands College has established a variety of employee benefits programs designed to assist the employee and eligible dependents in meeting the financial burdens that can result from illness, disability, and death, and to help the employee plan for retirement, deal with job-related or personal problems, and enhance job-related skills.
An employee who is employed at least twenty (20) hours and up to thirty (30) hours in a regular position is eligible for benefits including retirement and accrued leave. Employees working thirty (30) hours or more are eligible for these benefits as well as healthcare benefits. Leave time accruals are calculated on a pro-rated basis.
Georgia Highlands College benefits include healthcare, vision, disability, life insurance, and critical illness. An overview of current plans and rates is available at the Human Resources website and details are found in summary plan descriptions. Georgia Highlands College reserves the right to change or discontinue any of these programs at any time.
The following information highlights Georgia Highlands College’s benefits programs. Group insurance plans and retirement-related programs are described more fully in specific policies or the individual summary plan. If anything described on Georgia Highlands College, Board of Regents, or University System of Georgia websites or in Georgia Highlands College handbooks or benefits summary guides differs from that set forth in the policy manual or health plan documents, the terms and provision of the policy or healthcare summary plan shall govern.
The University System of Georgia (USG) provides health care insurance coverage to employees on a cost-sharing basis. The employee’s share is approximately 25% of the total cost; the local USG School paying the remaining 75%. Georgia Highlands College has three health care options for employees: the Board or Regents (BOR) Indemnity Plan, the BOR Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, and the Blue Choice HMO. Employees may have the option of selecting single coverage, employee plus one dependent coverage or family coverage on any of the plans offered. The employee premium is tax sheltered. Employees are restricted from making changes in coverage except during Open Enrollment, with the exception of qualified family status changes. Health Insurance can be added during Open Enrollment. For detailed information, please consult your plan booklet or websites (www.usg.edu for BOR plans and www.bcbsga.com for Blue Choice HMO)
Georgia Highlands College also offers a dental plan administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Dental benefits are made available to employees employed at least one-half time or more and their dependents. The reimbursement plan is based upon the Usual, Customary and Reasonable (UCR) dental fees for the area, which allows for freedom of choice of dentists. Preventive care check-ups are provided by the plan. These are paid at 100% of UCR without the application of the deductible. There is no open enrollment period for dental coverage. Dental coverage must be acquired at the initial time of employment. For more detailed information please consult your plan booklet.
GROUP LIFE INSURANCE
Georgia Highlands College provides $25,000 of Basic Life Insurance coverage to its employees with the same amount of Accidental Death and Dismemberment at no cost to the employee. Employees have the option of purchasing additional Supplemental Life Insurance in the amount of one, two or three times their base salary. Premium rates area based on the age of the employee. Dependent Life Insurance is also available in the amount of $10,000 per dependent. For detailed information please consult you plan booklet.
Employee who serve one-half-time or more may purchase life insurance for eligible dependents. Dependents can be covered by life insurance in an amount of $10,000. For more detailed information, consult your plan booklet.
LONG-TERM DISABILITY INSURANCE
Eligible employees have a choice of tow options for disability insurance. One option has a 3-month waiting period. The other option offers a 5-month waiting period. When a covered employee is disabled, the LTD benefit provides 60% of monthly salary up to a maximum of $7,500 per month after the designated waiting period. Please consult you plan booklet for detailed information.
Participation in a retirement plan is required of all eligible employees. The two programs offered are the Georgia Teachers Retirement System and the Optional Retirement Program.
TEACHERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM
Teachers Retirement is a defined benefit program. The retirement benefit is calculated and guaranteed based on years of service and salary. Years of service is multiplied by a 2% factor, which in turn is multiplied by her average monthly salary for the member’s two highest consecutive years. (For example, a member with 20 years of service would receive 40% of the calculated highest average monthly salary as a benefit at retirement). A member is vested after 10 years of service. A member can retire at age 60 with at least 10 years of service or at any age with 30 years of service. A member of Teachers Retirement is eligible to receive disability benefit with at least 91/2 years of service.
OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM
Faculty and principal Administrators have to option of choosing to participate in either Optional Retirement Program or the Teachers Retirement System. An irrevocable choice must be made at the time of employment. Unlike Teachers Retirement, the Optional Retirement Program is a defined contribution plan, rather than a defined benefit plan. Members of this plan are offered varied investment option for their contributions and the schools contribution. Four companies provide investment vehicles for this program. The companies are TIAA-CREF, VALIC, American Century and Fidelity. Vesting is immediate with all monies going directly to the members account. The retirement benefit is determined by the amount in the account at the time of retirement, which in turn is affected by the return on the investment made by the member. Status at the time of employment determines eligibility for the Optional Retirement Program. Promotions or status changes do not affect eligibility.
GEORGIA DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN (GDCP)
The Georgia Defined Contribution Plan was created by the 1992 Georgia Laws Act 996, effective July 1, 1992. The purpose of the law is to provide a retirement plan or program for temporary, seasonal, and part-time employees of the State of Georgia who are not eligible for membership in the Employees’ Retirement System or the Teachers Retirement System. Participation in is mandatory.
CONTINUING HEALTH COVERAGE UPON RETIREMENT
A University System of Georgia career employee who meets the criteria for retirement as set forth in Section may retain health and life coverage as a retiree. Georgia Highlands College will continue to pay the employer’s portion of the cost for these benefits.
EMPLOYMENT BEYOND RETIREMENT
When an individual retires from the University System of Georgia and is receiving benefits from the Teachers Retirement System, the Employees Retirement System, or the Regent's Retirement Plan, he/she shall not be reemployed by the University System without the prior approval of the Board of Regents. When an employee has retired from the University System of Georgia, he/she may be reemployed by the University System of Georgia under the following conditions:
1. The reemployment of a University System of Georgia retiree must be approved by the Board of Regents
2. A rehired retiree must have a minimum break of 30 days between the effective date of his/her retirement and the effective date of his/her reemployment
3. The work commitment of a rehired retiree must be less than half-time; i.e.., less than 50%
4. The salary that is paid to a rehired retiree must be less than 50% of the annual benefit-base compensation amount that he/she was earning at the time of his/her retirement; and
5. The salary that is paid to a rehired retiree must be consistent with his/her work commitment (BR Minutes, April 2002).
WORKER’S COMPENSATION INSURANCE
All employees are covered by Worker’s Compensation Insurance, which entitles them to certain scheduled benefits prescribed by law in the State of Georgia. These benefits are contingent upon prompt reporting of all on-the-job accidents regardless of how minor they might seem. The immediate supervisor shall be responsible to advise employees under his or her supervision that such is the case and is further responsible to report these accidents to the Human Resources Department. Proper forms for reporting on-the-job accidents are available in the Human Resources Department. Georgia Highlands College will adhere to the doctor’s recommendation regarding the appropriate time to return to work and duties to be performed.
Panel of Physicians: If medical treatment is required, the employee must arrange for such treatment with a physician identified on the approved Panel of Physicians list. This list of approved physicians has been posted in strategic locations on all Georgia Highlands College campuses. A master list of physicians may be obtained in the Human Resources Department. The employee must use the Panel of Physicians, except in emergency situations, in order be covered by the Workers' Compensation program. In the case of an emergency, an employee may go to the closest facility but must then go to the Panel of Physicians for follow-up care. Failure to follow this procedure may jeopardize payment of medical bills under Workers' Compensation.
There are a number of rules and regulations that govern Worker’s Compensation. Please contact Human Resources for more detailed information.
Terms, conditions, requirements, reservations, benefits, privileges, and other conditions of Title II of the Social Security Act, as amended, shall apply to all officers and employees of Georgia Highlands College, except those specifically excluded.
The following employees are not covered by Social Security: student assistants and employees working less than halftime. Non-immigrant aliens may be exempt in accordance with the provisions of their visas.
It is required by the Social Security Act that a percentage of an employee’s salary or compensation is withheld for Social Security. Salary or compensation is computed in cash, quarters, subsistence, or in kind compensation and reserved in an institutional agency account for quarterly remittance to the Internal Revenue Service.
Georgia Highlands Colleges covered under the Georgia Employee Security Act, which is commonly referred to as Unemployment Compensation. This insurance program is designed to assist eligible employees who are temporarily unemployed through no fault of their own, who are able and available for work, and who have been unsuccessful in finding work.
COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act)
Federal law requires that Georgia Highlands College offer employees and their families the opportunity for a temporary extension of health/dental coverage (called "continuation coverage") at group rates in instances where coverage under the plan would otherwise end. Complete information will be given at the time of employment, departure or by request from the Human Resources Department. All status changes must be reported immediately to Human Resources so that COBRA coverage can be offered if appropriate.
The Georgia Highlands College Open Enrollment period generally occurs during the last half of October and the first half of November. During this time the employee may make changes in sheltered insurance coverage not allowed at other times. Health coverage may be changed or acquired during open enrollment. There is no open enrollment for Dental coverage. Dental coverage must be acquired at the initial time of employment. Spending Account options do not renew themselves; employees must sign-up for Spending Accounts each year during open enrollment. Changes made during open enrollment become effective at the beginning of the coming calendar year.
OPTIONAL TAX SHELTERED ANNUITY PROGRAM
SUPPLEMENTAL RETIREMENT PROGRAMS
Employees have to option to make additional contributions to a 403b or 457 Supplemental Retirement Plan in addition to the regular retirement program. The Human Resources Department has a list of vendors who offer Tax Sheltered Annuity plans approved or payroll deduction.
FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS
Georgia Highlands College offers both Health Care and Child Care Spending Accounts. An employee participating in these plans must designate a specific amount to be withheld from each paycheck, which in turn is posted to a holding account. These funds are treated as salary reductions and are sheltered from Federal, State and Social Security taxes. When an appropriate expense is incurred, the employee requests a reimbursement from his/her account. An employee must incur expenses equal to the total contributions to the plan during the calendar year in order to receive all funds back from the holding account. Funds not covered by expenses are forfeited at calendar year end. To participate in the Flexible Spending Accounts, employees must sign-up each year during Open Enrollment. Changes cannot be made to the plan during the calendar year, with the exception of the occurrence of qualified status changes.
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP)
Georgia Highlands College recognizes that a wide range of problems, such as marital or family distress, alcoholism, drug abuse, stress and other personal factors may interfere with an individual’s ability to perform his or her job. Consequently, we believe it is in the interest of employees and Georgia Highlands College to provide an effective program to assist employees and their families in resolving problems such as these when the need arises. To this end, the Employee Assistance Program provides short-term counseling services by licensed counselors. If additional or longer-term help is needed, our EAP Counselors will coordinate referrals to local community treatment sources. All employees and their dependents are eligible to use this program at no charge and are encouraged to do so. Employee visits to the employee assistance program are held in confidence by the EAP Counselors. The College is never informed about who is using the counseling services.
Employees interested in learning more about Georgia Highlands College’s Employee Assistance Program or in discussing a personal or job-related problem should contact Magellan Behavioral Health at 1-800-523-5668.
GEORGIA HIGHER EDUCATION SAVINGS PLAN
The Georgia 529 Savings Pan is not considered an employee benefit but an employee opportunity. This plan is directed to helping Georgia residents save money for college. To learn more about the 529 College Savings Plan, go to their website at www.GAcollegesavings.com
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
Georgia Highlands Colleges interested in promoting professional development for its employees. Training and Development is administered by the Human Resources Department offers a variety of professional development and personal enrichment courses. Examples of the types of courses include seminars on financial planning, professional secretarial skills, supervisory skills, computer classes, and courses on working with College policies and procedures.
Periodic needs surveys are conducted to solicit input from employees on the type of training and development opportunities employees feel are needed for their position. Also, career assessment and career development resources are available through the Human Resources Department. Employees with suggestions should contact the Human Resources Department.
Announcements for training will be sent through the Campus Mail, via e-mail and posted about campus. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of the training as it is made available. Attendance at seminars is voluntary and is considered part of the regular workday, subject to the approval of the supervisor.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES ON AND OFF DUTY
Georgia Highlands College encourages both Faculty and Staff members to pursue educational opportunities. Georgia Highlands College employees may take a course during normal working hours subject to the discretion of the supervisor with approval by the President, with the assistance of the President’s Cabinet when requested. Work hours the employee missed must be worked at a time to be determined by the supervisor. Generally, courses should be taken at the very beginning or the end of the workday or during the employee’s lunch hour, with the missed time to be worked later that same day.
Tuition Remission/Reimbursement has been approved for the University System of Georgia and Georgia Highlands College employees and will become effective in September of 1997. Please contact Human Resources for more information about the program at that time.
Georgia Highlands College honors several of its employees annually with four specific awards that are traditionally tendered during graduation ceremonies at the conclusion of spring term. The standing awards given by the College are the Presidents Award, which recognizes noteworthy service and contributions to the College; the Wesley Walraven Award that recognizes contributions to instruction; the Vivian Benton Staff Award which is awarded to a Staff Member with a long history of outstanding service to the College; and the Outstanding Administrator Award which is awarded less frequently to an Administrator who significantly contributes to the development of his or her staff and improves administrative processes.
OTHER ON-CAMPUS BENEFITS
The Georgia Highlands College Bookstore carries a variety of items including personal care items and a complete line of greeting cards for the convenience of employees. Employees receive a 20% discount on everything except books. Employees can special order books through the bookstore. A complete line of school supplies, including backpacks and clothing, is also available in the bookstore. The bookstore staff takes special pride in providing individualized service to any employee who requires assistance.
The Georgia Highlands College Library provides employees with various services including GALILEO (an on-line library information resource), which allows access to the Internet and other databases. Employees also have special checkout policies. An inter-library loan system is available for borrowing books from other libraries across the U. S. Access to document delivery services such as CARL, UNCOVER, ERIC, or the British Library is provided for employees. The Library Staff can provide assistance with your reference and recreational reading needs as well.
EMPLOYEE IDENTIFICATION (Charger) CARD
The Georgia Highlands College Employee Identification (Charger) Card is a data access card that allows various uses in addition to identification. Some uses of the ID card (which is similar to an ATM Card) include storing monies that can purchase items in the bookstore, vending machines, cafeteria and other locations on campus.
CAMPUS FITNESS AND RECREATION FACILITIES
The Physical Education Department has a complete workout/fitness room that is available to Georgia Highlands College employees. Faculty in this department will assist employees by outlining individual fitness programs and monitoring progress. Special emphasis is placed on any medical restrictions an employee may have. The department also coordinates a Walk/Run Program for faculty, staff and students. Other amenities available to Georgia Highlands College employees include the gym, golf course, lake and fitness trail. Employees are also encouraged to participate in the intramural sports program as well.
Georgia Highlands College FOUNDATION
The Foundation is the primary continuing link between the College and the community it serves. In broad terms its purposes are to give community input to enable the College to better serve the community, to expand educational opportunities, and to finance projects, which are not fundable with state money. The Georgia Highlands College Foundation was chartered in 1973 as a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation to assist the College in its development program and provide a vehicle for securing funds for scholarships, special needs, and enrichment programs. The Foundation is made up of public-minded citizens who have been willing to devote time and energy to enlarge the scope and influence of the College, its personnel and programs.