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3.02 Benefits Summary

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 1/1/2000, 4/21/2005
Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, Service Professionals


The purpose of the Benefits Summary policy is to provide basic information about the benefit programs available. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive policy. For more information refer to the Human Resources Department web site at or Summary Plan Descriptions.

The university offers a wide variety of optional plans to benefit eligible employees and eligible dependents. These elections are usually made at the beginning of employment or during the annual open enrollment period. The university strives to provide competitive benefits at a reasonable cost. The employee pays a portion of the premium for certain coverage. Most benefits can be paid through payroll deduction. Following is a list of optional benefit plans the university offered eligible employees as of this policy’s posting:

Pre-Tax Benefits

Benefit Paid By
Long-term Disability University and Employee
Social Security University and Employee
Medical and Dental Insurance University and Employee
Life Insurance: Basic Life University
Life Insurance: Supplemental Life (limited amount) Employee
Flexible Spending Accounts Employee
Tax Deferred Annuities Employee
Deferred Compensation Employee

Post-Tax Benefits

Benefit Paid By
Life Insurance: Dependent Life Employee
Life Insurance: Supplemental Life (limited amount) Employee
Short Term Disability Employee
Group Auto/Home Insurance Employee
U.S. Savings Bonds Employee

Other Benefits

Benefit Paid By
Employee Assistance and Wellness University
Educational Aid University and Employee
Use of University Facilities University and Employee

Contact the Human Resources Department for details regarding the plans summarized below.


All employees who are scheduled to work at least twenty hours per week for a minimum of 20 weeks are required by state law to enroll in an approved retirement plan within 30 days of hire. Each employee is required to contribute to this plan through payroll deduction and an equal amount is contributed by the university. The contribution rates vary between plans because they are different types of plans.

An eligible member of the Campus Safety Services Department is required by state law to enroll in the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.

An eligible classified staff member is required to enroll in the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

Eligible appointed personnel may choose between ASRS and one of the Optional Retirement Plans (ORP). This is a one-time irrevocable decision between these two types of plans. However, employees may switch between the optional plans.

The Arizona State Retirement Systems and the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System are defined benefit plans and the Optional Retirement Plans are defined contribution plans. The methods of payments, formulas and provisions of the plans vary between retirement plans.

Medical Insurance

The university offers medical insurance options, which provide a combination of hospital, surgical, and major medical benefits for employees and their eligible dependents. Plans may vary based upon coverage limitations, providers available and copays or out of pocket expenses. The university and the employee share the cost of the premium for either single or family coverage.

Dental Insurance

The university offers dental insurance options, which provide coverage for many dental procedures for employees and eligible dependents. Plans may vary based upon coverage, limitations, providers available and copays or out of pocket expenses. The university and the employee share the cost of the premium for either single or family coverage.

Life Insurance

The university provides, without charge, a $15,000 term life insurance policy for each eligible employee. Additional life insurance may be purchased for the employee and eligible dependents at the employee’s expense. The first $35,000 of Supplemental Life coverage for the employee is paid on a pre-tax basis under the pre-tax program and any coverage beyond that is paid on an after tax basis.

Long-Term Disability

The long-term disability plan provides the employee with coverage for loss of income due to illness or injury. There is a six-month waiting period before benefits begin for long-term disability. The plan provides two-thirds of an employee’s base monthly earnings during the time of disability, subject to certain limitations.

Participation in the long-term disability (LTD) program is mandatory and is tied to the retirement plan.

Short-Term Disability

The short-term disability plans provide income protection during the first six months of a disability resulting
from illness or an off-the-job accident. The waiting periods vary by plan and qualifying event. Participation
is optional and is paid for by the employee.

Flexible Spending Accounts

The university offers two flexible spending accounts, which allow employees to use tax-free dollars to pay for certain medical or dependent care expenses. This program runs on a calendar year basis and an employee can enroll in one or both flexible spending accounts to have pretax dollars deducted from the paycheck.

A Medical Spending Account may be used to pay for medical, dental or vision expenses not paid by an insurance company with pre-tax dollars. A Dependent Care Account may be used to pay for childcare or other qualified dependent care expenses. Certain restrictions apply to both of these accounts.

Automobile/Home Insurance

An automobile and home insurance program is available through payroll deduction or direct payment. The employee pays the entire cost of this insurance and may enroll in this program at any time.

An employee who is participating in this program at the time of termination of employment or retirement may continue this insurance indefinitely after leaving the university.

Social Security

All employees are required to have a valid Social Security number and contribute to Social Security including OASDI - Old Age and Survivor's Disability and Health Insurance and Medicare Hospital Insurance.

Social Security contributions are deducted from each paycheck at a rate fixed by Congress. The university contributes an equal amount to each employee’s account. Both the contribution rate and the taxable wage base change periodically as specified by federal statutes.

Detailed information regarding Social Security benefits and Medicare may be secured from the local Social Security Office or their web site at

Deferred Compensation

Deferred Compensation is a supplemental retirement program that allows an employee to contribute to his/her account on a pre-tax basis. The employee pays the entire cost and can enroll in this program at any time.

This benefit falls under the laws for a section 457 plan in the IRS codes with respect to contribution limits and payout options. The funds will be taxed at the time the employee takes a distribution.

Tax Deferred Annuities

In order to be eligible to participate in a tax deferred annuity, an employee must be a contributing participant in social security (FICA) as provided for by the statutes of the State of Arizona.

A tax deferred annuity is a supplemental retirement program that allows contributions on a pre-tax basis. This benefit falls under the laws for a 403(b) plan in the IRS codes with respect to contribution limits, rollover options and distributions. The funds are taxable when withdrawn. The employee pays the entire cost and can enroll in these plans at any time.

U.S. Savings Bonds

An employee may purchase U.S. savings bonds (series EE) through payroll deduction. Contact the Payroll Department for more information.

Survivor Benefits

Beneficiaries of a deceased employee may be entitled to certain benefits available to university employees.

Unemployment Insurance

An employee who, through no fault of his/her own, is terminated from university employment may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. These benefits are paid entirely by the university and issued by the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Eligibility for benefits is determined by the Arizona Department of Economic Security. The amount of benefits for which a former employee may be eligible depends upon the employee's level of earnings and length of employment. It is the employee’s responsibility to apply for these benefits.

Workers' Compensation

All employees of the university, including student employees, are covered from their initial date of employment by workers' compensation provided through State Risk Management. The coverage includes medical expenses and, in part, loss of income. The university pays the premium for this insurance.

Direct Deposit

Direct deposit service is available to all Northern Arizona University employees. Earnings are electronically transferred to designated bank or credit union accounts automatically each pay period and guaranteed available no later than the opening of business on the payday.

Funds can be split between multiple accounts as directed in writing by the employee. For authorization forms contact the payroll department or online

Child Care Assistance

A flexible spending account program is available to allow employees to pay for dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis (refer to section above).

A child care referral service is available at no cost to the employee. The service offers care-provider referral within the Flagstaff community for obtaining child care on a temporary or permanent basis. Contact the Child Care Information Line at 523-KIDS for more information.

A Child Care Enrichment Program is available in the summer through the Recreation Center. Call 523-3111 for information about this day camp program.

Use of University Facilities

The university offers all employees the use of many campus facilities, including the following:

Benefit Program Changes

The benefits listed here are subject to change or cancellation by the university at any time. Notification of such modifications will be provided through normal university communication channels.