Boston College provides a broad and competitive range of benefits in order to promote the health and general well-being of its workforce. In addition to comprehensive health and dental insurance plans, the University offers many other benefits, including various types of insurance coverage, tuition remission opportunities, and a generous number of paid holidays and vacation days. The following pages outline and detail the University's benefits program. Further information is available from the Benefits Office at 129 Lake Street on the Brighton Campus.
The Benefits Director in the Department of Human Resources is responsible for the administration of the benefits programs described in this Handbook. Requests for materials, or questions on specific matters, should be directed to the Benefits Office at 129 Lake Street. The Benefits Office telephone number is (617)552-3329. A Benefits Provider Contact List is also available and includes telephone numbers, group policy numbers, and other contact information for some of the companies listed below.
The material that follows is in summary form and is not intended to be all-encompassing. Details of coverage under the various insurance plans, for example, are contained in the documents pertaining to those plans. The University reserves the right to make changes to the policies described below, and any future changes or amendments will supersede the information in this handbook.
(This section last updated online: July 1, 2013)
Full-time regular employees (including full-time faculty) are eligible for the benefits programs, provided they have an appointment for at least a six-month period. Generally, part-time, regular employees who work at least 20 hours per week and whose positions extend for at least 36 weeks (for example, academic-year positions) are also eligible for benefits, although there are some limitations and certain benefits are offered on a pro-rated basis.
If a benefits-eligible employee (excluding faculty) changes from full-time to part-time status, or from part-time to full-time status, certain benefits will be affected. Click on the appropriate link for more information.
(This section last updated online: December 20, 2011)
The Department of Human Resources is responsible for verifying benefits eligibility and for scheduling a benefits orientation meeting for newly hired employees. It is also important that new employees report to the Human Resources Service Center (129 Lake Street) as soon as possible in order to complete appropriate payroll and tax forms. New faculty will receive guidance from the Provost's office.
(This section last updated online: October 3, 2014)
Boston College offers two comprehensive medical insurance options from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC): the Harvard Pilgrim HMO plan and the Harvard Pilgrim PPO plan.
The HMO is a Health Maintenance Organization that requires participants to utilize physicians and services within HPHC's extensive network. Each member chooses a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who coordinates the member’s care and provides referrals when specialty services are needed. Harvard Pilgrim’s network includes thousands of PCPs in a variety of settings — from small private practices to large multi-specialty groups. Members must reside within the HPHC service area for at least nine months per year.
The PPO is a Preferred Provider Organization with a full level of benefits when services are obtained from participating hospitals, physicians, and other providers (in-network) and a lesser level of benefits involving deductibles and co-payments when non-participating providers are used (out-of-network). The PPO and the HMO provider networks are identical, but PPO members are not required to choose a PCP nor obtain referrals for specialty care. Information about the benefits and provisions of each medical plan is available from the Benefits Office.
New employees may enroll in either medical plan within 60 days of their hire date and may select an individual or a family membership. Under both the PPO and the HMO, dependent children can normally be covered under a family membership up to age 26.
Note: Anyone requesting family coverage under a medical plan must submit a copy of a marriage certificate, a copy of a signed tax form, or other documentation, satisfactory to the Benefits Office, that confirms spouse status. Generally, documentation will not be required for children to be covered under a family membership, although there are some exceptions — for example, in the case of a new adoption.
When two spouses both work at Boston College in benefits-eligible positions, they may have two individual medical plan memberships or one family membership. They may not have an individual and a family membership or two family memberships.
Medical coverage may begin as early as the first day of work if the enrollment form is completed by then. Pre-existing conditions are not excluded from immediate coverage. If a plan is not selected within 60 days of hire, enrollment will normally be permitted only on January 1 each year, the open enrollment date. Also, once enrolled, an employee may transfer from one plan to another only on January 1. Enrollment or membership changes at other times of the year will not be permitted unless certain conditions set by IRS regulations are met for qualifying events (e.g., a spouse's loss of coverage due to termination of employment, marriage, birth or adoption of a child, divorce or legal separation, or death of a spouse or dependent). The Benefits Office must be notified within 30 days of the qualifying event in order to allow the change.
Both employees and Boston College contribute toward the cost of medical coverage. A current schedule of medical premiums is available on the HR web site or in the Benefits Office. Employee contributions are deducted on a pre-tax basis and are not subject to federal, state, and FICA (Social Security) taxes.
For a description of the coverage offered under the Harvard Pilgrim plans, you may refer to the "Summary of Benefits and Coverage" for the PPO plan and the HMO plan. You may also access the "Benefit Handbook, Schedule of Benefits, and Prescription Drug Brochure" documents for the PPO plan and the HMO plan. You should note the list of Exclusions in the Benefit Handbook section of these documents.
Important: Boston College, as a religious-affiliated institution, qualifies for an accommodation with respect to the federal requirement to cover certain FDA-approved contraceptive services for women, without member cost sharing. This accommodation means that Boston College will not pay for services involving voluntary sterilizations, such as tubal ligation and prescription drug coverage for emergency contraceptives, such as morning-after pills. Instead, because of the Affordable Care Act, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care will arrange separate payments for these contraceptive services, without cost sharing and at no other cost to the member. These payments will not be funded by Boston College. [Note, however, that the Boston College plans will provide coverage for standard oral contraceptives under the plans’ regular prescription drug benefit. Also note that because the federal Affordable Care Act does not require coverage of vasectomies, they still are not covered by the Boston College plans, nor are they covered separately by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.]
Upon termination of employment, under provisions of a law commonly referred to as COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), an employee may continue his/her medical coverage, normally for a period up to eighteen months. The terminating employee is responsible for paying the normal employee share of the premium for the first month and for paying the full premium cost for subsequent months. Arrangements for continuation of coverage are made through the Benefits Office.
Also, under the COBRA law a participant who becomes ineligible for coverage due to a loss of dependent status (a divorced spouse, for example, or a child reaching the maximum age) can continue coverage, normally for a period up to 36 months, but the participant must notify the Benefits Office within 30 days of the qualifying event.
A terminated employee or a dependent who is eligible for COBRA may also seek coverage through the Commonwealth Connector health insurance exchange, where an adequate plan might be found at a lower cost than Boston College's COBRA option. Information can be found at www.mahealthconnector.org.
(This section last updated online: July 3, 2013)
Boston College offers a choice of two Delta Dental plans: DeltaPremier and DeltaCare. The DeltaPremier plan provides benefits under three main categories of dental services: (I) diagnostic and preventive services, covered at 100%; (II) restorative and other basic services, covered at 80%; and (III) prosthodontic and major restorative services, covered at 50%. There is a $1,500 calendar year maximum benefit. Additionally, orthodontic services and surgical implants are covered at 50%, each with a separate $1,000 lifetime maximum. Approximately 95% of Massachusetts dentists participate in the DeltaPremier plan.
DeltaCare is a managed-care dental plan, which means that each participant chooses a Primary Care Dentist from the DeltaCare network who will coordinate all dental care. The plan has affordable premiums and low out-of-pocket costs. Most preventive and diagnostic services are covered at 100%; other services are subject to a co-payment schedule. The DeltaCare plan has a much smaller network of providers than DeltaPremier.
More detailed information about both plans may be obtained from the Benefits Office. To participate in either plan, complete the Enrollment Form and send it to the Benefits Office, 129 Lake Street.
As with the medical plans, new employees may enroll in either plan within 60 days after their hire date and may choose an individual or a family membership.
Note: Anyone requesting family coverage under a dental plan must submit a copy of a marriage certificate, a copy of a signed tax form, or other documentation, satisfactory to the Benefits Office, that confirms spouse status. Generally, documentation will not be required for children to be covered under a family membership, although there are some exceptions — for example, in the case of a new adoption or to clarify certain tax implications.
When a husband and wife both work at Boston College in benefits-eligible positions, they may have two individual dental plan memberships or one family membership. They may not have an individual and a family membership or two family memberships.
Dental coverage may begin as early as the first day of work if the enrollment form is completed by then. There is no waiting period for benefits once coverage is effective. After 60 days, enrollment is available on the anniversary date, June 1, each year. Employees may also switch from one plan to the other on June 1. Enrollment or membership changes at other times of the year will not be permitted unless certain conditions set by IRS regulations are met (e.g., a spouse's loss of coverage due to termination of employment, marriage, birth or adoption of a child, divorce or legal separation, or death of a spouse or dependent). The Benefits Office must be notified within 30 days of the qualifying event in order to allow the change.
Note: If a subscriber voluntarily chooses to terminate dental coverage, either (a) at the Open Enrollment period, or (b) for a leave-of-absence period when payment of only the normal employee portion of the premium is required to maintain coverage (e.g., a summer leave), he or she will not be permitted to re-enroll in a dental plan until the second June 1 Open Enrollment date following the termination of coverage.
Both employees and Boston College contribute toward the cost of dental coverage. A current schedule of dental premiums is available on the HR web site or from the Benefits Office. Employee contributions are deducted on a pre-tax basis and are not subject to federal, state, and FICA (Social Security) taxes.
Note: In certain circumstances, due to federal regulations, the tax treatment may be different. Contact the Benefits Office for details.
When employment at Boston College terminates, an employee may continue dental plan coverage under provisions of COBRA, normally for a period up to eighteen months, by paying the employee share of the premium for one month and the full cost for additional months.
Also, under the COBRA law a participant who becomes ineligible for coverage due to a loss of dependent status (a divorced spouse, for example, or a child reaching the maximum age) can continue coverage, normally for a period up to thirty-six months, but the participant must notify the Benefits Office within 30 days of the qualifying event.
Under both DeltaPremier and DeltaCare, unmarried dependent children can normally be covered up to age 26.
Employees who continue working beyond age 65 are entitled to the same medical coverage they had before age 65. However, employees and their spouses should contact the Social Security Administration about three months before turning 65 in order to enroll in Part A of the Medicare program (and also to inquire about beginning or deferring Social Security income payments). Part A Medicare enrollment, although not required, could facilitate future interactions with the Social Security Administration. Enrollment in Part A of Medicare can be done online at www.socialsecurity.gov . It is not necessary to sign up for Part B of Medicare (for which there is a cost) as long as coverage continues under an employer's medical plan.
(This section last updated online: August 8, 2012)
Full-time employees who retire from Boston College, as well as their spouses, are eligible for medical coverage in accordance with the following policies. Effective January 1, 2012, Boston College adopted a dual approach toward offering medical coverage for its retirees, one for a group of so-called "grandfathered" employees, and a separate approach for "non-grandfathered" employees.
In March 2005 all full-time employees were notified that the University was changing its contribution policy for retiree medical coverage from 100% (fully funded) to a 50-50 cost-sharing approach. However, in order to protect those employees with longer service and those who were generally older, employees were advised of their "points" (age plus years of service as of January 1, 2006) and those with 55 or more "points" were considered to be "grandfathered." For those grandfathered employees, a sliding scale (see below) was established for retiree medical contributions that ranged from a 90% Boston College contribution (for employees with 90 or more "points") to a 55% Boston College contribution (for those with at least 55 "points").
Employees hired on or after January 1, 2006, or who were hired before that date but did not have age plus years of eligible full-time service totaling at least 55 "points" on January 1, 2006, are considered to be "non-grandfathered."
Retiree Medical Coverage for "Grandfathered" Employees
By current policy, a "grandfathered" retiree must have 15 years of continuous full-time service after age 47 (i.e., retirement at age 62 or older) in order to be eligible for post-retirement medical coverage.
An eligible retiree age 65 or older may enroll in one of the University’s retiree medical plans (currently the Tufts Health Medicare Preferred Supplement/PDP and the Tufts Health Medicare Preferred HMO). Information about the plans is available from the Benefits Office. To join either plan, a person must be enrolled in both Parts A and B of the Social Security Medicare program.
Since Medicare is not available until age 65, an eligible retiree age 62–64 may continue regular PPO or HMO medical coverage (individual or family membership) until age 65 by paying the normal active employee portion of the monthly premium. At age 65 the retiree will be eligible to enroll in one of the retiree medical plans available at that time.
Contribution Policy for Post-65 Retiree Coverage
For eligible retirements on and after January 1, 2006, a "grandfathering formula" is used to determine the contribution percent that will apply at retirement. The formula calculates the number of "points" an employee had as of January 1, 2006, by adding the employee's age on that date to the years of eligible service as of that date. The total "points" determine the percent of the post-65 medical premium to be paid by the retiree. The "Grandfather" Policy applies to employees with 55 or more "points," and their contribution will range from 10% to 45% (see below).
# of Points as of January 1, 2006 % Paid by Retiree 90 +
[Note: The percent determined as of 01/01/06 will apply regardless of when the employee actually retires.]
At retirement, a "grandfathered" retiree’s spouse age 65 or older is eligible to enroll in one of the University’s retiree medical plans (currently the Tufts Health Medicare Preferred Supplement/PDP and the Tufts Health Medicare Preferred HMO). Under current policy, the spouse is responsible for paying 50% of the monthly premium.
A retiree’s spouse, who is under age 65, but at least age 55, will be eligible for up to 3 years of medical coverage with University contributions. If the retiree is also under age 65, the spouse will stay on the retiree’s family membership, and they will pay the normal family deduction rate for up to 3 years, or until either party turns 65. At that point the under-65 party will switch to an individual membership and the over-65 party will enroll in one of the retiree medical plans. If the retiree is over 65 at retirement, or turns 65 during the initial 3-year period, the spouse will pay 50% of an individual premium until the end of the 3-year period or until the spouse turns 65, if earlier.
After 3 years, the spouse will be eligible for coverage to age 65 by paying 100% of the individual premium. At age 65, the spouse will be eligible to enroll in one of the retiree medical plans and will be responsible for paying 50% of the premium.
A retiree’s spouse who is under age 55 at retirement will be eligible only for the 3 years of coverage with University contributions as outlined above. He/she will not be eligible for post-65 coverage in the retiree medical plans.
If a retiree is not married at the time of retirement, any future spouse will not be eligible for coverage under a Boston College group plan.
[Note: Boston College reserves the right to amend or terminate these policies at any time, with reasonable notice to participants.]
Retiree Medical Coverage for "Non-Grandfathered" Employees
Beginning in 2012 "non-grandfathered" employees age 50 and over will be covered by a new type of retiree medical program called a Retiree Medical Savings Account, or RMSA. This plan applies to all full-time employees hired on or after January 1, 2006, and those hired before that date whose age plus service totaled less than 55 "points" (see above). The RMSA is a record-keeping account that can be used during retirement to reimburse a retiree and eligible spouse for certain qualified health care expenses, including most medical plan premiums. As of the date of this Handbook update, details of the plan are still being finalized, but some of the key features of the RMSA are:
- When an eligible employee attains age 50, Boston College will begin accruing an annual allocation of $2,580 ($215 monthly) to a notional account for that employee. (The allocation will be the same for single and married employees.)
- Boston College will accrue annual allocations to the RMSA for up to 20 years, provided the employee remains active and full-time.
- Interest will be credited to the account balance. For 2012 and 2013, interest will be credited at 4.5% per annum. Future rates will be set in accordance with a benchmark to be determined.
- An employee will need to complete at least 12 years of full-time service after attainment of age 50 to be eligible to utilize the RMSA at retirement (i.e., to be "vested"). If that requirement is not met, the RMSA balance will be forfeited when employment terminates.
- At retirement, a vested employee who is eligible for Medicare (generally age 65 or older) will have access to the RMSA to offset the cost of retiree medical coverage that is purchased to supplement Medicare. An employee who retires and is not yet eligible for Medicare, but otherwise qualifies for the RMSA (i.e., is at least age 62 with 12 years of service), may remain in the medical plan for active employees, at the active employee contribution rate, until Medicare eligibility is attained (age 65).
- For employees who were age 50 or over on January 1, 2012, the RMSA will be "seeded" with an initial allocation, or opening account balance, based on eligible service after age 50. The initial allocation will be calculated using the numer of months of full-time service since attainment of age 50 multiplied by $215 (1/12th of $2,580), adjusted for interest at 4.5 % per annum.
Additional details regarding the RMSA (for example, with respect to paid and unpaid leaves, survivor benefits, and eligible vs ineligible expenses) will be published once they are finalized.
[Note: Boston College reserves the right to amend or terminate these policies at any time, with reasonable notice to participants.]
(This section last updated online: January 5, 2012)
Through the Boston College Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Plan, employees may save taxes on the money they spend for uncovered medical/dental and dependent care expenses. Participants in the calendar year FSA plan elect to set aside money through payroll deductions during the calendar year to pay for certain predictable expenses. The amounts are then deducted before federal, state, and Social Security taxes are withheld.
The Medical/Dental Account may be used to pay for such expenses as deductibles and co-payments under health insurance and dental plans, orthodontic care, chiropractic care, eyeglasses, contact lenses, and many over-the-counter medications and products. The maximum annual contribution is $5,000 (under federal health reform the maximum is due to decrease to $2,500 in 2013).
The Dependent Care Account is used to pay for certain dependent care expenses. Eligible expenses include charges for the care of dependent children age 12 and under or for elderly or disabled family members. The maximum annual contribution is $5,000 and may be less under certain circumstances.
Employees may elect to participate in either or both accounts, but funds may not be transferred between accounts. Deductions may not be changed or stopped during the year unless there is a specific change in family status (marriage or birth of a child, for example).
Claims for eligible expenses are submitted to a third-party administrator and reimbursements are paid directly to the employee or, in some cases, to the provider. Accounts stay open through March 15 after the end of the calendar year, but any unused funds remaining in the accounts at that time must, by law, be forfeited.
Contact the Benefits Office for more detailed information about the FSA plan, eligibility, and enrollment requirements.
Basic Life Insurance
(This section last updated online: August 27, 2013)
Boston College provides Group Life Insurance coverage to full-time regular employees and to part-time regular employees who work at least 20 hours per week. The policy is underwritten by Aetna Life Insurance Company, and premiums are paid in full by the University. Coverage for an eligible employee begins within a month after the employee's hire date.
The amount of insurance is based on an employee's age and salary in accordance with the following schedule:
Age Insurance Amount under 55 2.00 × annual salary 55–64 1.50 × annual salary 65–69 1.00 × annual salary 70 and over .67 × annual salary
If the insurance amount is not an even multiple of $1,000, it is rounded to the next higher multiple. The maximum benefit is $500,000. A beneficiary is designated when an employee enrolls in the plan. In the event of an insured employee's death, an application for benefits is processed through the Benefits Office.
There is an option under which a person with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of 12 months or less may collect up to 75% of his/her Group Life benefit while still living. The purpose of this "accelerated death benefit" is to provide relief from the financial pressure and anxiety that may occur during a situation involving a terminal illness. Contact the Benefits Office for more information.
(This section last updated online: August 27, 2013)
Through the Contributory Group Life Insurance plan, eligible employees may buy term insurance at group rates and pay for it through the convenience of payroll deductions. The plan is insured by Aetna Life Insurance Company. There are two options:
New employees may purchase insurance in $1,000 increments, up to a maximum of one times annual base salary, within 60 days of their hire date. This is the "Guaranteed Issue Amount," and no health information is required. (The Guaranteed Issue Amount is capped at $300,000.)
Important: New employees who do not elect to participate during the initial 60-day period will lose the Guaranteed Issue opportunity and will be required to submit an Evidence of Insurability Statement that is acceptable to Aetna in order to participate at any time in the future. Exception: A new enrollment will be permitted in connection with certain "family status changes," such as marriage or birth of a child.
Once participating, employees may purchase additional insurance up to one times annual salary during each annual Open Enrollment period without submitting health information (subject to the Guaranteed Issue cap of $300,000). Employees may request an "Additional Amount" of insurance at other times, also in $1,000 increments, but must complete an Evidence of Insurability Statement to be reviewed by Aetna. The total contributory insurance amount cannot exceed the lesser of four times salary or $900,000.
Dependent Life Insurance
Employees may purchase up to three "Units" of Dependent Life Insurance. A Unit of insurance covers the employee's spouse for $10,000 and each eligible child for $5,000. New employees may buy one Unit within 60 days of their hire date without submitting any health information. A second or third unit may be requested, but an Evidence of Insurability Statement will be required for each covered dependent.
Important: New employees who do not elect to participate during the initial 60-day period will lose the Guaranteed Issue opportunity and will be required to submit evidence of good health that is acceptable to Aetna in order to participate at any time in the future.
Once participating, employees may purchase an additional Unit of insurance during each Open Enrollment Period with no Health Statement (maximum three units). Exception: A new enrollment will be permitted in connection with certain "family status changes," such as marriage or birth of a child.
For more detailed information, please refer to Contributory Group Life Insurance Plan: Questions and Answers, Contributory Group Life Insurance Monthly Premium Rates, Supplemental Life Enrollment Form, and Dependent Life Enrollment Form.
Insurance Portability at Termination
(This section last updated online: August 27, 2013)
Coverage under the Basic, Supplemental, and Dependent plans ends 31 days after termination of employment. During that period, under Aetna's "portability" option, a person normally can elect to continue the coverage at special group insurance rates. The portable coverage amount for the employee is limited to a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of the employee's current coverage or $500,000, whichever is less (including Basic and Supplemental Life coverage combined). For Dependent Insurance, the portable amount for a spouse is limited to a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $25,000; for a child the minimum is $1,000 and the maximum is $5,000. Portability is available through age 98 (to age 64 for a spouse and age 22 for a child). Portability does not apply if termination was due to illness or injury. If portability is not available, there is still a "conversion" option under which a person can convert the coverage to an individual "whole life" policy without a medical examination. Contact the Benefits Office for further information.
(This section last updated online January 4, 2012)
If a deceased staff member had been employed full time at Boston College for more than five years, but less than ten years, the beneficiary will receive from Boston College a death benefit equal to one-fourth of the employee's current annual salary. If the staff member had been employed full time for ten or more years, the death benefit will be one-half the employee's annual salary. In paying this benefit, the beneficiary will be the same as designated under the Group Life Insurance Plan.
Furthermore, if a deceased employee had a family membership in one of the University's medical insurance plans at the time of death, the covered dependents will normally be able to continue their coverage, under the COBRA law, for up to three years. Boston College will pay the full cost of the coverage for the first year; the subscriber(s) will be responsible for the cost during the remaining period.
(This section last updated online January 4, 2012)
All full-time faculty, professional/administrative staff, and office/clerical staff members are covered by a Travel Accident Insurance policy, which is paid for in full by Boston College. This coverage is automatic and provides a benefit payment for accidental death or dismemberment if it occurs while a covered employee is traveling on University business. In case of death, the benefit amount would be $100,000; in case of dismemberment, the benefit amount would depend on the injury.
The term "on University business" means any trip authorized by or at the direction of the University for the purpose of furthering the business of Boston College, excluding everyday travel to and from work, bona fide vacations, or leaves of absence. (Attendance at professional meetings, for example, would be considered University business.)
The beneficiary of the death benefit under this policy will be the same as the beneficiary designated under the University's Group Life Insurance Plan, unless other prior written instructions were given to the Benefits Office by the employee.
(This section last updated online: January 4, 2012)
Under a program called MetPay, employees may purchase automobile and homeowner's insurance at discounted rates and pay the premiums through the convenience of payroll deductions over the course of the year. There are no finance charges and no down payment is required.
The MetPay program is administered by Metropolitan Property and Casualty Company, a subsidiary of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. By insuring through MetPay, employees are eligible for group discounts off Massachusetts automobile rates and Metropolitan's homeowner's rates. MetPay also offers policies for renter's insurance, vacation homes, residential income property, and boats.
For further information, employees may call MetPay at 1-800-438-6388 or may call or visit the MetPay account representative during normal on-campus service hours (Mondays 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.), near the Benefits Office at 129 Lake Street. The MetPay representative's on-campus extension is 2-4300. For additional contact information see the Benefits Providers Contact List.
(This section last updated online October 3, 2014)
Sick Leave (Weekly Payroll)
Full-time regular employees on the weekly payroll earn one sick day per month of service. Employees who begin employment on or before the 15th of the month, or who terminate on or after the 16th of the month, will receive credit for that first, or last, month.
Part-time regular employees who work at least 20 hours per week also earn one sick day per month of service, but the accruals are calculated in hours. One sick day equals the number of hours in an "average day," which is the number of hours worked per week divided by five. (For example, someone who works 20 hours per week earns four hours of sick leave per month, regardless of how the 20 hours are distributed during the work week.) Instructions on calculating sick time for part-time employees are available on the Human Resources web site.
Unused sick leave may be carried over from year to year with no maximum accumulation. Employees may not use sick leave as vacation days nor receive pay for unused sick leave when employment is terminated.
Exception: Non-exempt employees with 15 or more years of continuous full-time service, who retire from the University at age 62 or later, may be paid for up to 40 days of accrued sick leave at the time of retirement. The sick leave will normally be paid in a lump sum with the employee's final regular paycheck.
Sick Leave (Monthly Payroll)
Although full-time employees on the monthly payroll do not accrue a specific number of sick days per year, it is the policy of Boston College to pay professional/administrative staff members for a reasonable number of days missed due to short-term illnesses. Furthermore, full-time staff members are entitled to full salary continuation during a period of extended illness or disability in accordance with the following schedule:
Length of Service Maximum Sick Pay Duration up to 3 months 1 month 4 to 6 months 2 months 7 to 9 months 3 months 10 to 12 months 4 months over one year 6 months
Part-time monthly employees who regularly work at least 20 hours per week earn one sick day per month of service, with the accruals calculated in hours. One sick day equals the number of hours in an "average day," which is the number of hours worked per week divided by five. Instructions on calculating sick time for part-time employees are available on the Human Resources web site.
Family Sick Leave
When necessary, employees may use up to five days of sick time per year to care for ill members of their immediate family (spouse, children, and parents). This applies to both weekly- and monthly-paid employees. In extreme circumstances it might be possible to extend paid family sick leave beyond five days, but any extension would have to be approved by the department's management with the concurrence of the Benefits Director.
Whenever it is expected that a medical absence may last one month or more, the Benefits Director should be notified. In order to continue salary payments in accordance with the above provisions, Boston College may require a physician's certification that the employee is medically unable to work. At its discretion, the University may also require medical examination by one of the physicians in the Boston College Health Services Department or by a physician outside of Boston College. By the third month of a medical absence, if it is apparent that an illness or disability may extend beyond six months, a full-time employee should contact the Benefits Director to discuss procedures for applying for benefits under the University's Long-term Disability Insurance Plan, which provides for income payments after six months of disability.
(This section last updated online: December 17, 2012)
The University maintains a group Long-term Disability Insurance Plan, underwritten by the Standard Life Insurance Company, which provides each participant a portion of his/her income in the event of a long-term disability. The cost of the insurance is paid by Boston College. Under this program, disability is defined as either (1) being completely unable, due to sickness, bodily injury, or pregnancy, to perform your normal occupation, and not performing any other occupation (total disability); or (2) working, but being unable, due to sickness, bodily injury, or pregnancy, to earn more than 80% of your basic salary (partial disability).
Enrollment: Employees are enrolled in the Disability Plan on the first of the month following one year of eligible full-time employment. An individual may be eligible for immediate enrollment if he/she had similar disability coverage just prior to joining Boston College. New employees should consult with the Benefits Office if that is the case.
Benefits: Disability insurance benefits may begin as of the first of the month following six consecutive months of disability. During the initial six months, the employee will be paid in accordance with the relevant sick leave policy. (Employees on the weekly payroll may also be eligible for payments under the University's short-term disability provision outlined below.) Once approved, disability insurance benefits may continue until the employee's Social Security Normal Retirement Age. However, if disability occurs after age 60, benefits may continue for as long as the disability lasts or, if earlier, in accordance with the following schedule:
59 or younger to the Social Security Normal Retirement Age 60 through 64 the later of 5 years or the Social Security Normal Retirement Age 65 through 68 to age 70 69 or older 1 year
The plan provides an Income Benefit of 65% of base monthly salary, with a maximum benefit of $14,000 per month. The Standard's payments are reduced by the amount of any Social Security and/or Worker's Compensation benefits.
If the employee was participating in the University's 401(k) Retirement Plan when disability began, the disability insurance also provides a monthly Annuity Premium Benefit for the retirement plan contributions. This means that while income benefits are being paid, retirement plan premiums continue to be credited to TIAA-CREF annuity contracts. Note: If an employee was participating only in the Fidelity 401(k) Plan, he/she will need to complete a TIAA-CREF enrollment form in order for the premiums to be credited.) The amounts credited will vary, depending upon an individual's length of service.
An employee's Group Life Insurance coverage will be maintained during the period when disability benefits are being paid. Contributory Life Insurance may be continued for up to a year, provided premium payments are maintained by the employee, but restrictions may apply to coverage beyond the one-year period (contact the Benefits Office for details). Furthermore, if the employee was enrolled in one of the University's medical insurance plans when disability began, Boston College will continue the group coverage, and, under current policy, will pay the full premium cost.
The Benefits Office should be contacted no later than three months after a disability occurs.
Termination: This insurance coverage will end when a person terminates employment at Boston College or goes on unpaid leave of absence (see "Benefits during Leaves" section of this handbook for exceptions).
(This section last updated online: February 12, 2009)
As noted above, the Aetna Insurance Company's Disability Insurance benefits are payable only after six consecutive months of disability. The University's Short-Term Disability (STD) policy was designed to provide a bridge between the expiration of accrued sick leave and the (potential) start of Long-term Disability Insurance benefits. The STD policy guidelines apply to full-time employees on the weekly payroll who have completed one year of full-time, benefits-eligible service at Boston College. (This benefit is not available when the employee is receiving Worker's Compensation benefits for the same period.)
After six full weeks of disability, an employee may be eligible for short-term disability payments, whereby the University will pay an employee 75% of his/her regular weekly gross pay. The employee must first use his/her accrued sick leave, but will be allowed to retain twenty days, if so desired; STD payments will begin only after all sick days (less twenty) have been used. Use of accrued vacation days prior to the start of STD payments will be optional. STD payments may continue up to a maximum of 22 weeks. The actual number of payments will depend upon the amount of sick leave (and possibly vacation time) used. As in all cases of prolonged illness or disability, Boston College reserves the right to require a doctor's certificate and/or examination by a University physician.
Employees will be responsible for their normal medical contributions while they are receiving sick leave and vacation pay, but once STD payments begin the University will pay the full medical premium. Dental plan contributions will be required throughout the period of disability. 401(k) retirement plan contributions (both the employee's deduction and the University's contribution) will continue throughout the period of STD payments and will be based on the STD amount. 403(b) contributions will also continue unless the employee elects to stop them. Vacation time and sick leave are not accrued when an employee is receiving STD payments.
Arrangements for Short-Term Disability payments must be made through the Benefits Office.
(This section last updated online: January 4, 2012)
For a number of years Boston College has offered a Long-Term Care Insurance Plan underwritten by John Hancock Insurance Company. Long-Term Care Insurance provides benefits for extended care resulting from chronic illnesses or injuries that government programs and health insurance plans generally do not cover (e.g., nursing homes, alternative care facilities, home health care, hospice care, etc.). The coverage has been available to benefits-eligible employees, their spouses, and certain other family members.
Note: As of January 1, 2012, and until further notice, John Hancock is no longer accepting new enrollment applications for Long-Term Care Insurance. This action was taken due to the low interest rate environment and its impact on plan pricing.
Boston College recognizes that its employees sometimes face conflicts in meeting family obligations and work requirements. Therefore, in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, the University has established policies governing parental, family, and medical leaves. Following is a summary of the major provisions of Boston College's Family and Medical Leave Policy. The complete policy is available online and from the Benefits Office in Room 140, 129 Lake Street.
Eligibility for FMLA Leaves
An employee is eligible for family and medical leave if he/she has been employed by the University for at least 12 months and has worked at least 1,250 hours during the twelve-month period prior to the time leave would begin. Hours are calculated based on actual hours worked, including overtime. Employees will be advised when requesting leave of the amount of FMLA leave available to them.
Note: In order to qualify for paid leave, employees eligible for FMLA leave must also be eligible for the University's benefit programs. Otherwise, the entire FMLA leave will be unpaid.
Upon the birth of a child, the mother is entitled to leave for up to twelve consecutive weeks. The first eight weeks will be considered as paid medical leave related to childbirth, and the employee will receive her regular pay for that period. The pay period is not extended by the occurrence of any holidays that fall within the first eight weeks. The remainder of the leave, including any approved extension beyond the twelve-week period, will be unpaid unless the employee is medically disabled and is due payments under the University's sick leave policy, or unless the employee has accrued vacation time, in which case the vacation time may be applied toward the leave.
Note: An employee who is not eligible for FMLA leave because she has less than one year of service will still be entitled to one week of paid medical leave for each full month of continuous service at a minimum of 20 hours per week (up to a maximum of eight weeks paid leave).
Upon the birth of a child, the father is entitled to a maximum leave of twelve consecutive weeks within the twelve-month period following birth. The first week of the leave will be paid (and not charged to sick or vacation accruals), provided it is taken within 12 weeks following the birth of the child. The remainder of the leave will be unpaid unless the employee has accrued vacation time. The employee's department may require that the accrued vacation be used as part of the FMLA leave before the unpaid portion begins.
An employee who has completed a year of service is generally entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of adoption leave. Benefits-eligible employees may be eligible for up to eight weeks of Paid Adoption Leave. See Boston College's formal Adoption Leave Policy. [Also note that there is an Adoption Assistance Plan, which can provide reimbursement for certain adoption expenses.]
Foster Care Leave
Employees will be eligible for up to twelve consecutive weeks of leave during the twelve-month period following placement of a child into their foster care. The first week will be paid (and not charged to sick or vacation accruals), provided it is taken within 12 weeks following the placement. The remainder of the leave will be unpaid unless the employee has accrued vacation time.
Employees will be eligible for up to twelve weeks of leave during a twelve-month period to care for a family member with a "serious health condition." (Refer to FMLA Policy and also see Note below.)
Military Family Leave
In 2008, the National Defense Authorization Act established two kinds of Military Family Leave. "Military Caregiver Leave" provides up to 26 weeks of leave to an employee who is the spouse, child, parent, or next-of-kin of a servicemember who is recovering from a serious illness or injury sustained on active duty. "Qualifying Exigency Leave" provides that an employee with a spouse, child, or parent in the National Guard or Reserves may use up to twelve weeks of leave for a "qualifying exigency" arising out of the fact that the military member is on active duty or is called to active duty in support of a contingency operation. (Refer to FMLA Policy and see Note below.)
Note: Family leaves and military family leaves will be unpaid, with the following exceptions:
- Under the University's sick leave policy, employees may use up to five days of sick leave per year to care for ill members of their family. Those five days, if not previously used, may be applied toward FMLA leave.
- The employee's department may require that any accrued vacation time be used as part of the FMLA leave before the unpaid leave begins.
An eligible employee will be entitled to twelve weeks of leave if a serious health condition renders him/her unable to perform his/her job functions. This leave will be coordinated with the University's sick leave and short-term disability policies. Any portion of medical leave not covered by either of these policies will be unpaid unless the employee elects to use accrued vacation time.
Employees are limited to a maximum total of twelve weeks leave for the above purposes (except for Military Caregiver Leave). For example, a person cannot take twelve weeks parental leave and twelve weeks paid sick leave during the same twelve-month period.
Procedures for Requesting Leave
Employees requesting FMLA leave (see above for Adoption Leave requests) should submit a written application to their supervisor with a copy to the Benefits Director. An "Employee Request for FMLA Leave" form may be used for this purpose. Thirty days advance notice is required when the leave is foreseeable. In the case of a medical emergency, the employee or a family member should contact the supervisor as soon as possible, submitting a written request for leave as soon as practicable thereafter. It is expected that employees make every reasonable effort to schedule planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the normal operation of the department.
For leaves involving serious health conditions, the University may require appropriate verification from a health care provider of the necessity for family or medical leave.
After receiving a request for leave, the Benefits Office will provide a notice detailing specific expectations and obligations of the employee, as well as any additional information that may be required.
Benefits During FMLA Leaves
The University will continue an employee's medical and dental coverage during both paid and unpaid FMLA leaves, provided the employee continues to pay his/her normal portion of the premiums. During the paid portion of an FMLA leave, other benefits, such as retirement contributions, will also continue.
During unpaid FMLA leaves, non-health benefits will be treated the same as they are during other, non-medical leaves without pay (see below).
A personal leave-of-absence without pay, for a period not to exceed one year, may be granted to regular employees in exceptional circumstances. When a personal leave is granted, it is understood that the employee will use all available vacation days at the beginning of the leave. With personal leaves, departments will normally agree to hold the employee's position until his/her return. However, in rare cases a leave may be granted even though the department intends to fill the position. In such cases, the University will attempt to place the employee returning from leave in another position, but there is no guarantee that a position will be available.
Employees failing to return from a personal leave on the date agreed upon will be considered to have voluntarily resigned as of that date.
The application for a personal leave-of-absence must be submitted in writing to the Benefits Director through the employee's immediate supervisor, director, or department head. The request should be made at least 30 days prior to the start of the leave (or 14 days when requesting an extension of a current maternity leave). Each application will be reviewed on its own merits after consideration of the reasons for the request and the effect on the University.
The University will grant all regular employees paid leave for up to three days upon the death of a member of their immediate family or of another close relative. In special circumstances, the paid leave may be extended to five days with the approval of the supervisor. Whenever the need arises, an employee should arrange for funeral leave with his/her supervisor as soon as possible.
The University recognizes an employee's civic duty to appear as a juror or witness in federal and state courts and will grant employees who have been summoned or subpoenaed to appear in court a temporary leave of absence for the purpose of satisfying that civic responsibility. Supervisors should inform the Benefits Director whenever one of their employees is summoned for jury duty.
During the period of leave, the University will be responsible for the difference between the employee's regular pay and the amount received for appearing in court. In effect, while on leave the employee will be issued his/her regular payroll check, and all remuneration from the courts (less any appropriate travel allowance) must then be turned over to the Benefits Director. The accrual of regular employee benefits will not be affected by the leave of absence. This policy does not apply when an individual appears in court on his/her own behalf.
Regular employees who are required to participate in annual military training duty as members of the Armed Forces Reserve or National Guard will receive the difference between their military pay and their regular University pay for a period of up to two weeks. Earned vacation and other employee benefits will not be affected by the leave. Supervisors should be notified at least 30 days prior to the time the leave is to begin and the supervisor, in turn, should inform the Benefits Director. While on leave, the employee will be issued his/her regular payroll check, and upon returning from leave each employee must turn over the military pay to the Benefits Director, along with a copy of the military pay voucher.
Benefits During Non-FMLA Leaves
During an approved leave-of-absence without pay, group medical and dental insurance coverage may be continued, but the employee will normally be responsible for paying the full cost of the premiums while on leave. However, for the first six months of leave due to medical or disability reasons, including an eight-week maternity leave, the employee will be responsible for paying the normal deduction amount for medical coverage (see Family and Medical Leave policy). It is important to make arrangements with the Benefits Office in advance to ensure uninterrupted coverage.
Group Life Insurance will continue at no cost to the employee during an approved leave. Supplemental Life Insurance can be maintained if the employee makes arrangements with the Benefits Office to continue the premium payments.
Disability Insurance will only continue in the case of a maternity leave or a leave for the purpose of engaging in full-time study for an advanced degree or for active work in the field of education or research. In order for the disability coverage to be continued, the Benefits Director will require a statement verifying the purpose of the leave. Contributions to the retirement plan will be discontinued during an unpaid leave, as will vacation and sick leave accruals.
Tuition remission benefits will remain in effect during an unpaid leave of one year or less.
(This section last updated online: August 22, 2012)
Boston College wishes to support employees in balancing their workplace demands with their personal and family needs, and thus the University provides generous sick leave, vacation, and parental leave policies. Boston College also recognizes the particular investment of time and financial resources normally necessitated by the adoption process. Therefore, the University established an Adoption Assistance Plan , under which Boston College will provide financial assistance for adoption-related expenses, along with a progressive Adoption Leave Policy.
Any questions regarding these Adoption Benefits should be directed to the Benefits Office.
(This section last updated online: January 25, 2012)
Employees who are injured while on the job in University service are covered under Workers' Compensation Insurance. This coverage provides partial income payments in lieu of lost wages, as well as certain injury-connected medical payments. Workers’ Compensation benefits are coordinated with the University's sick leave policies and, in case of a prolonged disability, with the Long-term Disability Insurance Plan.
Any employee injured on the job should notify his/her supervisor promptly and should seek treatment as deemed appropriate. The supervisor must complete an Accident/Injury Report and forward it to the Risk Management office within 24 hours. The Risk Management office will review the Accident/Injury Report and forward it to the Third Party Administrator who handles Workers' Compensation claims for Boston College.
More detailed information regarding Workers' Compensation Procedures is available on the Human Resources web site.
(This section last updated online: October 3, 2014)
Full-time benefits-eligible employees, their spouses, and their children are eligible for the tuition remission benefits outlined below. The benefits apply to tuition charges only; all fees must be paid by the student. The tuition benefit applies only to courses offered through Boston College undergraduate and graduate schools (excluding the Law School). Tuition remission is not allowed for courses, programs, and workshops offered by special institutes or centers, nor does the benefit apply to offerings such as "Directed Research" or "Readings and Research" which are taken during the Summer Session. Any exception to the tuition remission policies must be approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.
At the undergraduate level, full-time employees are eligible for 100% tuition remission for courses taken through the College of Advancing Studies and the evening Summer Session. (Also, one daytime course may be taken during the summer; see below.) Newly hired employees will be eligible for the full benefit for the semester, provided they begin work no later than October 15 for first-semester courses or February 25 for second-semester courses. Employees hired after those dates will not be eligible until the following semester.
At the graduate level, full-time employees are eligible for 100% tuition remission for up to six credits per semester, and six credits during the entire Summer Session (a maximum of eighteen credits per academic year). The value of graduate tuition remission may be taxable unless the courses are job-related. The taxability of tuition remission will be determined each year in accordance with applicable federal law.
The tuition benefit is granted with the understanding that class and study hours do not conflict with regular work schedules. Therefore, tuition remission normally will not be granted for undergraduate day courses except in cases where an employee regularly works an evening schedule that would preclude his or her enrolling in evening classes. In such a case, the employee must obtain a Tuition Remission Voucher from the Benefits Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. However, employees may arrange to take one daytime course in the Summer Session period with tuition remission, provided that the time missed from work is made up during the same week and the arrangement has the approval of the employee's supervisor. If an employee wishes to take a graduate course that meets during the workday, an arrangement to make up the time missed from work must be approved by the employee’s supervisor and department head. A Voucher from the Benefits Office is not required for full-time employees.
The employee benefit is available on a pro-rated basis to part-time, benefits-eligible employees who normally work at least 20 hours per week. Note: Part-time employees who have worked 20 or more hours per week for at least 36 weeks per year for ten consecutive years will be eligible for 100% tuition remission.) A Tuition Remission Voucher is required from the Benefits Office for part-time employees. To request a Voucher, email email@example.com.
At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, spouses of employees who have completed five consecutive years of full-time service as of the beginning of the semester may receive 100% tuition remission for up to six credits per semester and six credits during the entire Summer Session (a maximum of eighteen credits per year). Note: Since courses in the Woods College of Advancing Studies are often four-credit courses, two of those courses per semester are included in this benefit.
Spouses of employees with less than five consecutive years of full-time service are eligible for 50% tuition remission for the same number of courses.
The value of graduate course tuition remission for spouses must, by law, be treated as taxable income to the employee, subject to federal, state, and FICA withholding. Tuition Remission Vouchers for spouses must be obtained from the Benefits Office prior to each registration. To request a Voucher for a spouse, employees should email firstname.lastname@example.org. The first time an employee or spouse requests a spouse Voucher, a copy of a marriage certificate will need to be submitted to the Benefits Office. If a marriage certificate was provided previously for medical or dental insurance coverage and a copy is in the employee's personnel file, that copy will suffice for the tuition remission benefit.
Eligibility: An employee's child (by birth, marriage, or legal adoption) is eligible for full tuition remission when admitted to an undergraduate program at Boston College, provided the employee has completed five years of continuous full-time service as of the beginning of the semester to which the tuition remission applies. Tuition remission is not granted to children for graduate courses. Furthermore, an employee child who has received a Bachelor’s degree, whether from Boston College or from another accredited four-year institution, is no longer eligible for the Tuition Remission Benefit.
Admission: The waiver of tuition does not imply acceptance of a son or daughter into an undergraduate program, but is offered with the understanding that the child must be accepted through the normal admission process, taking note that the standards for admission to Boston College have become increasingly competitive. To apply to the College of Arts and Sciences, the Carroll School of Management, the Connell School of Nursing, or the Lynch School of Education, employee children should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission, and to apply to the Woods College of Advancing Studies, they should contact that school directly.
Employee children using the Tuition Remission Benefit who begin their studies in the Woods College of Advancing Studies, or who transfer to the Woods College, must apply to the University’s undergraduate admission office as external transfer students if they subsequently seek admission/readmission to any other Boston College undergraduate program.
Any child who is eligible for the Tuition Remission Benefit may also apply for need-based assistance through the Office of Student Services. If eligible, this assistance can include federal and state grants and loans, or federal work-study. The Boston College Tuition Remission Benefit will be incorporated into any federal and/or state aid received.
Certification of Eligibility: During the application process, the Office of Student Services will send the employee a “Preliminary Certification of Tuition Remission Eligibility” form, to be completed and forwarded to the Benefits Office, in order to confirm eligibility for the Tuition Remission Benefit.
Following a student’s acceptance, a Tuition Remission Voucher will need to be completed by the Benefits Office and sent to Student Services. For students accepted to one of the full-time day schools, a Voucher is normally required only once. For students in the College of Advancing Studies program, a Voucher should be requested from the Benefits Office prior to each registration.
Duration of Benefit: The Tuition Remission Benefit will apply for a maximum of eight semesters for employee children admitted to and enrolled in Boston College undergraduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Carroll School of Management, the Connell School of Nursing, or the Lynch School of Education. Any semester during which an employee child enrolls in courses will be counted toward the duration of the Benefit, regardless of the number of courses or credit hours taken or completed in that semester. This limit does not apply to the Woods College of Advancing Studies.
Age Limit: Employee children enrolled in undergraduate programs in Arts and Sciences, Management, Nursing, or Education must be age 26 or under at the beginning of any semester to be eligible for the Tuition Remission Benefit. This age limit does not apply to students enrolled in Woods College programs.
Summer Courses: Beginning with the summer term in 2010, employee children enrolled in undergraduate programs in Arts and Sciences, Management, Nursing, or Education will not be eligible to receive the Tuition Remission Benefit for summer courses. This does not apply to students enrolled in Woods College programs.
International Programs: The Tuition Remission Benefit will apply to Boston College programs sponsored during the academic year by the Office of International Programs, provided the tuition is billed through Boston College Student Services. Beginning in 2010 the benefit will not apply to international programs offered during the summer.
Academic and Judicial Standing: To be eligible for the Tuition Remission Benefit, employee children must remain in good academic standing as defined and determined by the School in which they are enrolled. Any semester during which an employee child is taking courses but fails to remain in good academic standing will nevertheless be counted toward the duration of the Benefit. The child’s parent must also remain employed full-time at Boston College.
Any semester during which an employee child is taking courses and is suspended from the University as a result of a Judicial Hearing will also be counted toward the duration of the Benefit.
FACHEX Program: Children who are eligible for the Tuition Remission Benefit may apply for transfer of the benefit to certain other Jesuit schools that participate in the Faculty and Staff Children Exchange (FACHEX) program. Twenty-seven of the 28 Jesuit colleges participate, including Boston College. The program allows undergraduate tuition remission for children of eligible faculty, administrators, and staff at participating institutions. This exchange program is governed by specific guidelines and formulas, and the number of available slots is limited. Complete information is available on the FACHEX web page or from the Office of the Dean of Enrollment Management. An employee whose child is applying to another FACHEX institution must complete a "Certification of Eligibility" form and submit it to the Boston College Benefits Office after September 1st but before December 15th.
Retired, Deceased, Disabled Employees: Children of deceased or totally disabled* employees who had at least ten years of full-time service at Boston College, and children of retired* employees, will retain the Tuition Remission Benefit in effect at the time of the child's future enrollment. (To be eligible, a child must have been a dependent at the time of the employee's retirement, death, or disability.) Tuition remission for children of deceased or disabled employees with less than ten years' service is restricted to those students already enrolled and receiving the benefit at the time of the employee's death or disability.
Spouses of retired, deceased, or disabled employees, who are enrolled in a degree program at the time of the employee’s retirement, death, or disability, will retain the Tuition Remission Benefit until completion of their degree requirements or, in the case of a spouse of a disabled employee, until the cessation of disability benefits, if earlier.
Employees in a degree program who become disabled will continue to be eligible for the Tuition Remission Benefit until the earlier of completion of their degree requirements or the cessation of disability benefits. Employees not enrolled in a degree program who become disabled will be eligible for the Tuition Remission Benefit for a maximum of two years from the date of disability.
*For purposes of this section, "retirement" is considered to be at age 62 or later with (a) 15 or more consecutive years of full-time service immediately prior to retirement (for employees in the "grandfathered" group for retiree medical coverage), or (b) with 12 or more consecutive years of full-time service immediately prior to retirement (for employees covered by the Retiree Medical Savings Account [RMSA] plan for retiree medical coverage). "Disabled" means the employee is receiving benefits under the University’s Long-Term Disability Insurance plan.
(This section last updated online: October 4, 2012)
The Boston College Retirement Program is composed of two components: (A) the 401(k) Retirement Plan and (B) the Voluntary 403(b) Program. The following is a summary of the main features of the program; more detailed information, particularly concerning the various investment options, is available from the Benefits Office.
(A) The 401(k) Retirement Plan
Normally, employees are entitled to participate in the 401(k) Plan on the first of the month after completing one year of eligible service at Boston College at a minimum of 20 scheduled hours per week.
Note: All new employees must satisfy the one-year service requirement in order to participate in the 401(k) Plan. However, new employees with at least a year of immediate, prior, full-time service at a non-profit, tax-exempt institution of higher education may be eligible to receive a payment comparable to a first year's retirement contribution (paid weekly/monthly over the course of the first year). See the Retirement Plan Equivalency Payments web page for more information.
Participation in the 401(k) Plan is voluntary and, once notified of eligibility, an employee should contact the Benefits Office to discuss the available options and to complete the appropriate enrollment forms. Participation will generally begin as of the first of the month following receipt of completed enrollment forms.
Once enrolled, an employee is required to contribute to the plan 2% of his/her base salary. The University contributes a matching 8% of salary for a staff member with less than nine years of eligible service at Boston College, and 10% of salary for an employee with nine or more years of service at Boston College. Contributions are made on a tax-deferred basis for federal and state tax purposes.
Technically, the University operates two 401(k) plans: the Boston College 401(k) Retirement Plan I (with investment options through TIAA-CREF), and the Boston College 401(k) Retirement Plan II (with investment options through Fidelity Investments). Plan I utilizes Group Retirement Annuities (GRAs) with investment choices offered by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) and College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF). Plan II investment options include no-load mutual funds offered by Fidelity Investments, along with several non-Fidelity mutual funds offered through Fidelity's "FundsNet" program. Refer to the Investment Policy Statement for an outline of the Plan’s basic investment philosophy and fund selection guidelines.
Participants may select investment options from either TIAA-CREF or Fidelity, or may select a combination from both companies.
All contributions to 401(k) accounts are fully vested in (owned by) the participant immediately. The accumulations are not accessible to the participant while he/she is still working at Boston College. However, upon retirement or termination of employment, several distribution options will be available. The accumulation may be used to purchase a lifetime annuity or, alternatively, may be payable in a lump sum, rolled over to an Individual Retirement Account, or paid over a fixed period. Terminating employees should contact the Benefits Office for information concerning the specific procedures that apply to TIAA-CREF and to Fidelity Investments.
For more complete information, employees should refer to the Summary Plan Description, available online or from the Benefits Office.
(B) The Voluntary 403(b) Program
Employees may participate in the Voluntary 403(b) Program without having to satisfy a waiting period. The 403(b) Program is available to those not yet eligible for the 401(k) Retirement Plan, as well as to those participants in the 40l(k) Plan who wish to make additional contributions, on either a pre-tax or after-tax (Roth) basis, beyond the required 2% of pay.
Employees interested in maximizing their retirement contributions, within IRS guidelines, can contact the Benefits Office to request assistance in determining correct contribution percentages. All employee contributions, both 401(k) and 403 (b), are counted toward the maximum. University contributions to the 401(k) plan do not count toward the annual maximum.
Investment options under the Voluntary 403(b) Program include TIAA and CREF regular Retirement Annuities (RAs; not available to new participants) and Group Supplemental Retirement Annuities (GSRAs), using the TIAA-CREF accounts that are available under the 401(k) Plan I, as well as a number of additional funds. The same Fidelity mutual fund choices (including the non-Fidelity "FundsNet" options) offered in the 401(k) Plan II are also available in the 403(b) program. In addition, 403(b) participants will have access to over 100 other Fidelity funds that are made available to institutional investors.
Accumulations in the 403(b) Program are generally not accessible before age 59½ except in the case of termination of employment, death, disability, or financial hardship (as determined by IRS regulations). Certain other restrictions may also apply. Within certain parameters, loans may also be obtained based on 403(b) plan accumulations. More complete information describing the options may be obtained directly from TIAA-CREF (1-800-842-2776) or Fidelity (1-800-343-0860).
The Roth 403(b) Option With the Roth option, contributions to the 403(b) plan are made on an after-tax basis, rather than on a pre-tax or tax-deferred basis. This means that an employee’s current taxes are not lowered, as they are under the pre-tax method. However, the advantage of the Roth option is that when accumulations are withdrawn the amounts, including all earnings, are received tax free. To be tax free, the withdrawals must occur after age 59½ (unless disabled) and at least five years after the initial Roth contribution. There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating the Roth option. For example, it may be of particular interest to someone, such as a younger employee, who expects to be in a higher tax bracket during retirement. More information about the Roth option is available online or from the Benefits Office.
(C) The 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan
A 457(b) Plan is an unfunded Deferred Compensation plan that allows a select group of management or highly compensated employees, who are contributing to the 403(b) plan at a maximum rate, to set aside an additional portion of their salaries through payroll deductions, on a tax-deferred basis. For more information, eligibility requirements, and contribution limits, click here.
If a person should die before retirement, the full current value of his/her accumulation in the 401(k), the 403(b), and the 457(b) plans, including any amount attributed to the University's contributions, becomes payable to the employee's designated beneficiary(ies). Several death benefit payment options are available to a beneficiary, including a lifetime annuity and a lump sum payment.
(This section last updated online: June 7, 2013)
Nearly all employees receive Social Security tax payroll deductions in accordance with the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). The University matches employee payroll deductions with equivalent employer contributions. Social Security is a federal insurance program which provides survivor benefits, income benefits at retirement and during a period of total disability, and Medicare health benefits for people over age 65. (The Medicare component of FICA is a separate deduction.)
Applications for Social Security retirement benefits should be made by contacting the Social Security Administration about three months before the expected retirement date. Reduced benefits are payable upon retirement as early as age 62. Full benefits are payable upon attainment of Social Security’s “full retirement age” (currently age 66 or 67), even if a person continues to work.
Application for Medicare enrollment should be made about three months before an individual reaches age 65. It is suggested that employees and their spouses enroll in Part A of the Medicare program as soon as they are eligible even if they are not actually retiring until some time later. Such enrollment could facilitate future interactions with the Social Security Administration. It is not essential to enroll in Part B of Medicare until termination of employment, as long as a person continues to be covered by an employer's medical plan.
(This section last updated online: June 7, 2013)
Boston College will provide a partial subsidy for certain financial planning services obtained by eligible employees. The primary purpose of this policy is to encourage employees to seek professional assistance with retirement and estate planning decisions. Full-time employees, age forty and over, with at least one year of full-time service at Boston College are eligible to participate in this program. The University will subsidize 80% of the cost of eligible financial planning services up to a maximum contribution of $560 per person.
To be eligible for the subsidy, a participant must utilize recognized professionals in the financial planning field including, but not necessarily limited to, certified financial planners, chartered financial consultants, certified public accountants, and attorneys specializing in financial and/or estate planning.
In order to participate, an employee must complete in advance a Financial Planning Subsidy request form, available from the Benefits Office, indicating the person or company whose services are to be used and providing appropriate information about the provider's financial planning credentials. It is the University's intent to allow a participant as much flexibility as possible in selecting a financial planning advisor. Nevertheless, the University reserves the right to seek additional information about a planner's credentials and, when deemed appropriate, to decline to subsidize the planner's services.
- Full-time members of the professional/administrative staff earn 22 days of paid vacation per year of employment, which are accrued at the rate of 1 5/6 days per month of service.
- Part-time members of the professional/administrative staff who regularly work at least 20 hours per week earn vacation at the same rate listed in (1) above. However, because part-time schedules vary widely, vacation accruals are calculated in terms of hours, not days. For example, someone who works 20 hours per week over 12 months earns 88 vacation hours per year. This is the equivalent of 22 "average days" per year, where an average day is the number of hours worked per week divided by five. Instructions on calculating vacation time for part-time employees are available on the Human Resources web site.
- Full-time office/clerical and service staff members earn vacation at the rate of 5/6 day per month of service during their first year of employment. Thus at the end of the year a new employee will have earned 10 vacation days.
During the second year of employment, employees accrue vacation at the rate of 1 1/4 days per month, which will amount to 15 vacation days by the end of the second year. On an employee's ninth anniversary, the accrual rate changes to 1 2/3 days per month of service, which will amount to 20 vacation days by the end of the tenth year of service.
- Part-time members of the office/clerical and service staff who regularly work at least 20 hours per week earn vacation at the same rates listed in (3) above, thus earning two weeks after a year, three weeks after two years, and four weeks after ten years. Vacation accruals are calculated in terms of hours, not days. For example, an employee with four years of service, who works 21 hours per week over 12 months, earns 63 vacation hours per year. This is the same as three 21-hour weeks or the equivalent of 15 "average days" per year, where an average day is the number of hours worked per week divided by five. Instructions on calculating vacation time for part-time employees are available on the Human Resources web site
Office/Clerical/Service Staff Vacation Accrual Chart
Completed Service Accrual Rate Vacation Earned 1 to 12 months 5/6 day/month 10 days by end of first year 1 to 9 years 1 1/4 days/month 15 days by end of
2nd through 9th year
9 years or more 1 2/3 days/month 20 days by end of
10th and subsequent years
(This section last updated online: June 29, 2001)
Employees who begin employment on or before the 15th of the month, or who terminate on or after the 16th of the month, will receive credit for that first, or last, month.
Employees who work during the academic year but not during the summer earn vacation at the same accrual rates listed above, but only for the number of months actually worked (1 1/4 × 10 months = 12 1/2 days, for example). Generally, vacation must be taken during the period budgeted for the position, and may not be paid during the summer leave period.
As a rule, vacation time may not be taken until the days have actually been earned. However, a supervisor may permit an employee to "borrow" one or two days if particular circumstances warrant it.
Vacations are normally taken during the summer months except for academic-year positions, as noted above. However, accrued vacation days may be used at any time of year with the approval of the employee's supervisor or department head.
Vacation days that accrue during one anniversary year must be used no later than the end of the following anniversary year, or the unused days will be forfeited. Under this provision, an academic-year employee who has not used all vacation time as of the beginning of the summer leave period may carry over accrued time to be used during the next academic year.
Employees who terminate employment will be paid for unused vacation days that accrued during the 12 months prior to their termination date. Employees are expected to schedule appropriate vacation during each year; therefore, terminating employees will not be paid for more vacation time than is earned in a year. (For example, a weekly employee with five years of service will not be paid for more than 15 days upon termination.) Vacation pay due at termination will be paid in a lump sum, and will normally be included in the employee's final regular paycheck.
Each supervisor is responsible for maintaining accurate, up-to-date records of vacation time earned and taken by employees in his or her area.
Vacation for Long-Service Employees
- Employees who complete 15, 20, or 25 years of service will be granted five extra vacation days to be used during the 12-month period following those anniversary dates.
The five extra days will not be available during the years between the five-year benchmarks. The normal vacation schedule will apply during those years.
- After 25 years of service, employees will earn an additional five vacation days every year. Therefore, on the 25th anniversary of employment, a weekly employee will begin to accrue vacation at the rate of 2 1/12 days per month (2 1/12 × 12 months = 25 days/year). A monthly employee will begin to accrue vacation at the rate of 2 1/4 days per month (27 days per year).
- The five extra days described in (1) above automatically become available on the 15th, 20th, and 25th anniversary dates. If someone terminates employment during the year following one of these anniversary dates, the five days will be included in determining the amount of unused vacation to be paid at termination. If someone terminates during the year prior to the anniversary, however, the extra days are not to be included in determining the amount of accrued vacation due.
- Employees who work fewer than 12 months per year (September through June, for example) will be eligible for the full five extra days on their 15th, 20th, and 25th anniversary dates. However, when the accrual rate changes after 25 years of service, the accrual will apply only to the months actually worked. (For example: 2 1/4 × 10 months = 22 1/2 days/year.)
Regular employees on the weekly payroll are entitled to two personal days each anniversary year, to be scheduled by agreement between the employee and his/her supervisor. New employees will be entitled to use personal days after completion of their probationary period.
Personal days for part-time employees are calculated in hours. One personal day equals the number of hours in an "average day," which is the number of hours worked per week divided by five.
Personal days are provided for situations where an employee needs to have a day off for personal reasons not related to vacation or illness. They may not be accumulated from one year to the next, and employees are not compensated for unused personal days upon termination or layoff. A supervisor reserves the right to require an employee to use personal days for absences not caused by sickness.
(This section last updated online: January 3, 2013)
The Department of Human Resources distributes a holiday schedule to all departments at the beginning of each fiscal year. Following is a list of the usual holidays on which University offices are closed. The official list may vary from year to year, however, depending on the requirements of the academic schedule and the days on which particular holidays fall. Generally, if the University remains open on a holiday, an attempt will be made to compensate by adding a day at another time. Any changes will be communicated by the Department of Human Resources.
|New Year's Day
Martin Luther King Day
Day after Thanksgiving
Day before Christmas
Holidays for Part-Time Employees
In order to standardize the administration of holidays for part-time employees (as well as, full-time employees who have non-standard workweeks, that is, schedules other than Monday - Friday), beginning January 2013 the following policy applies.
In any given year, all benefits-eligible employees (both full-time and part-time, both weekly-paid and monthly-paid) will be granted the number of University-approved holidays that fall within their scheduled work year, regardless of the days of the week they are scheduled to work.
For part-time employees, the available holiday time will be stated in hours, and each approved holiday will be based on the average number of hours the employee works per week. For example, an employee who works 52 weeks at 20 hours per week will be granted the number of approved holidays for the year at 4 hours per day (20 hours divided by 5 days) – which amounts to 64 hours per year if there are 16 approved holidays in the year. See other examples.
Full-time employees who work a non-standard schedule (that is, other than Monday – Friday) will also be granted the equivalent number of approved holidays that fall within their work year. An employee who doesn’t work on Mondays, for example, will be granted a paid day off for any week in which a Monday holiday occurs.
Employees who work fewer than 52 weeks per year will be granted holiday hours for any holidays that fall within their scheduled work year, but not for any holidays that fall outside their work year (not July 4th nor possibly Memorial Day for academic-year employees, for example).
Administratively, departments will track holiday hours for part-time employees the same way they currently track vacation time – in hours, not days, since part-time employees do not always work the same number of hours each day. Departments will have some flexibility in scheduling the holiday time for part-time employees who don’t work on the day the holiday occurs, but as a general guideline the time off should be scheduled within a week of the week in which the holiday falls.
In addition to the normal holiday schedule, employees may occasionally request time off in order to celebrate their particular religious holidays. In recognition of the religious diversity of its workforce, the University encourages departments to accommodate such requests whenever possible. Time off for religious holidays will be charged to a vacation or personal day, if available, or may be unpaid. Alternately, the time taken may be made up by working additional hours, provided the arrangement is approved by the department and is completed within a reasonable period.