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Business Procedures Manual

5.1 Benefits

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5.1.1 Reports and Reconciliation

Before beginning the process at the end of the month for health care and life insurance reporting and premium remittance, each institution should run the following reports and perform the following reconciliation to facilitate the process.

Comprehensive Benefits Report

Each institution must generate a comprehensive benefits report using the payroll system that is in operation at the institution. This report must provide:

  • Detail by employee and benefit plan
  • Total premiums by employee share and employer share for each USG benefit plan
  • Appropriate totals

Payroll Deduction Register

Each institution must generate a payroll deduction register using the payroll system that is in operation at the institution. This report must provide:

  • All deductions taken sorted by deduction name, deduction category, or deduction code
  • Detail by employee and deduction
  • Appropriate totals

Reconciliation

Each institution must reconcile the comprehensive benefits report with the payroll deduction register. This reconciliation must:

  • Verify that employees have a deduction on the payroll deduction register for all benefits in which the employee is enrolled per the comprehensive benefits report.
  • Verify that the deduction has been calculated correctly.
  • Produce reconciling items using any discrepancies between the two reports.

Institutions must notify Payroll Operations of any one-time deductions or refunds discovered during the reconciliation.

Note: These same reconciliations will be used in the next month’s reconciliation but with the opposite “sign”.

Accelerated Deduction Schedule

A reconciling factor for some deductions will be the accelerated deduction schedule for some employees. As discussed in Section 5.1.4, Withholding Schedules for 10 Month Contract Employees, the January through May deductions for 10 month faculty are increased to include the benefit premiums for June and July.

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5.1.2 Health Care Reporting and Premium Remittance

The University System Office (USO) will send each institution a Health Insurance Transmittal spreadsheet, shown on the following page, detailing the various benefit plans and enrollment options. Each institution should verify the entries on the spreadsheet and correct these entries as required, in order to obtain the correct premium billing information. In addition to the entries by benefit plan for employee share and employer share, there is an Adjustment column that provides a method of correcting errors from prior periods. Institutions should return the corrected spreadsheet to the USO via fax or email. Institutions should remit the appropriate premium amount to the USO via ACH wire transfer by the 5th calendar day of the month.

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5.1.3 Life Insurance Reporting and Premium Remittance

The life insurance provider sends invoices to the institutions monthly. This invoice provides a starting point, but does not actually determine the amount owed to the provider. Using the information from the comprehensive benefits report, the payroll deduction register, and the reconciliation discussed in Section 5.1.1, institutions should:

  • Reconcile the invoice from the insurance provider to the amounts produced in the comparison of the comprehensive benefits report to the payroll deduction register.
  • Adjust the invoice from the insurance provider as required. If no invoice is received, proceed without the invoice using the adjusted comprehensive benefits report as an invoice.
  • Using the adjusted invoice, prepare a payment check to the life insurance provider for the reconciled premium amount.
  • Mail the check to the insurance provider, including a copy of the reconciled invoice and the summary pages from the comprehensive benefits report. The summary pages should identify each employee covered and the amount being remitted.
  • The life insurance premiums and edited invoice should be submitted by the 15th calendar day following the end of the month.

Note: Payment may also be made by ACH wire transfer, using the Wire Transfer Procedures form.

Life Insurance Wire Transfer Procedures Form

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5.1.4 Withholding Schedule for 10 Month Contract Employees

Ten (10) month contract employees are considered full-time employees, and they receive benefits for twelve (12) months, based upon the assumption that their contract will be renewed for the next academic year. Payroll deductions for fringe benefits must aggregate 12 months of deductions within a 10 month salary delivery period. Normally, a contract begins in August and ends in May, with benefits continuing during June and July if the contract is renewed.

If a 10 month contract employee terminates employment at the end of the academic year (May), benefit deductions for the months of June and July should be refunded to the employee. Health and dental benefits would then be available under COBRA. Only when their contract is scheduled for renewal for the next academic year is the employee allowed to continue benefits during the months of June and July.

A consistent schedule for benefit deductions to be utilized by all institutions is desirable so that all 10 month contract employees are treated equally. This deduction schedule should also allow for ease of calculations in the case of faculty members who teach one semester and do not return for the second semester, and allow for an annual increase in costs that normally occurs at the beginning of the calendar year.

The schedule outlined below has the correct deductions already taken if a faculty member does not return for the second semester, and has a new benefit calculation period beginning January 1st to accommodate rate increases.

Deduction Schedule

For the months of August through December, the deduction amount will be (1/12) multiplied by (5/5) multiplied by the annual deduction amount. For the months of January through May, the deduction amount will be (1/12) multiplied by (7/5) multiplied by the annual deduction amount.

If this schedule is followed, 12 months of benefit deductions will have been taken at the end of the 10 month contract.

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5.1.5 COBRA and Retiree Billing

COBRA Billing

Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), employees or dependents enrolled in a health or dental plan when they experienced a qualifying event, which subsequently results in lost coverage, will become COBRA qualified beneficiaries. The employees or dependents have the option of continuing coverage under the University System of Georgia Board of Regents plan(s). Terms, conditions, and costs for coverage must be communicated to the eligible parties via notification letters. An election of COBRA must be made within sixty (60) days of the employee’s termination, and payment must be made within forty-five (45) days of that election. Once COBRA has been elected, these premiums must be made on a monthly basis.

Institutions should bill the participants monthly *. If a participant is more than thirty (30) days delinquent, benefits should be terminated and collection procedures initiated to collect any outstanding balance.

The option of direct debit shall be offered to all University System of Georgia employees or dependents eligible to become COBRA qualified beneficiaries and who elect continuing coverage under University System of Georgia health and/or dental insurance coverage.

Retiree Billing

When an employee retires from active service with the University System of Georgia, participation in the health, dental, and supplemental life insurance plans may be continued into retirement if the member complies with the requirements as prescribed by the Board of Regents Policy Manual located at http://www.usg.edu/policymanual/.

Electronic withdrawal of funds (auto debit) is the required method of payment from retirees for benefit premiums; i.e., the payment is electronically withdrawn from an account at a depository institution that is designed by the retiree to the employer, occurring on a specified date each month, which avoids the need for a paper check. Where auto-debit is not possible, the institution can determine the appropriate alternative method of employee share of premiums collection.

If a participant is more than sixty (60) days delinquent from the date of the bill, benefits should be terminated and collection procedures initiated to collect any outstanding balance.

Current Retirees

All employees reaching retiree status prior to July 1, 2011 will be required to enroll in auto debit by completing an “Auto Debit Authorization Form,” (or similarly titled form from their institution), unless granted an exemption as provided for herein. The deadline for current retirees to enroll in or apply for an exemption is October 1, 2011. Once enrolled in auto debit, retirees are required to remain enrolled in auto debit unless their financial independence changes and an exemption is requested and granted.

Exemption Process

A retiree may be exempted from participating in auto debit if he/she does not have an account at an eligible financial institution, and/or further provides a statement of a lack of financial independence. A retiree desiring to request an exemption from the auto debit requirement should do so by completing an “Auto Debit Personal Exemption Request Form.” The Chief Business Officer (or his/her designee) has exclusive authority to grant any exemption from the requirement. An exemption may only be granted for the reasons stated above (i.e., unable to acquire an account at a financial institution and/or further provides a statement of a lack of financial independence) or other specific situations that the Chief Business Officer (or his/her designee) may deem to be an extreme hardship. For those retirees who are granted an exemption, the institution can determine the appropriate alternative method of employee share of premiums collection.

In addition, the Chief Business Officer (or his/her designee) may grant an exemption to a retiree when it is determined that an alternative method of premiums collection is more advantageous to the institution. The exemption should be documented and maintained for future review as needed for auditing purposes.

*Note: Institutions using the GeorgiaBEST (GaBEST) model of the Banner Student Information System may generate COBRA Billing Statements using the Finance Invoices or Statements Process (TFRBILL).

The option of direct debit shall be offered to all University System of Georgia retirees who elect, and are eligible, to continue coverage under University System of Georgia health and dental plans and supplemental life insurance coverage.

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5.1.6 Retirement System Reporting and Deduction Remittance

It is the policy of the Board of Regents to provide for the retirement of all eligible permanent full-time employees, either through the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRSGA) or the Regents’ Retirement Plan (ORP). Employees eligible for the Regents’ Retirement Plan shall be those employees identified in Board of Regents Policy Manual.

All other employees not eligible for either TRSGA or ORP are required to participate in the Georgia Defined Contribution Plan (GDCP) administered by the Employees Retirement System. Employees of state agencies that were participating and vested in the Georgia Employees Retirement System subsequent to being employed by the University System may elect to continue their participation in the Employees Retirement System. This is facilitated by state law and reporting procedures for Employees Retirement System are included in this section also.

Teachers Retirement System Reporting and Deduction Remittance

  1. Produce a report (TRS/ORP Participant Report) and a data file to be submitted to the Teachers Retirement System, using the appropriate method from your institution’s payroll system. * This report and data file must provide:

    • Retirement Number
    • Name
    • Social Security Number (National ID)
    • Employee ID
    • Contract Months
    • Retirement Gross Salary for the month
    • Retirement Deduction for the month
    • Retirement Plan (TRS or ORP)
  2. Complete the entries as required, using the online monthly statement/billing form on the Teachers Retirement System web site: https://trsga.org/trsgassp/Employer/EmployerLogon.aspx.

  3. Submit the data file produced electronically to the Teachers Retirement System, using the web site’s upload feature. This is a secure web site requiring a user ID and password for access.

  4. Execute either a wire transfer or an ACH transfer to transfer the payment amount, using the appropriate method for your institution.

Employee’s Retirement System Reporting and Deduction Remittance

The Employees Retirement System provides ERS Form 17E, to be completed monthly.   ERS 17E Form

  1. Complete the ERS Form 17E, using the amounts produced in the comparison of the appropriate retirement report to the payroll deduction register and other appropriate payroll reports.

    Note: This form provides spaces for completing information on the two different plans that may be in use at an institution.

  2. Produce a report and a data file for electronically reporting to the Employee’s Retirement System, using the appropriate process in the institution’s payroll system.

    Verify that the totals from the data file match the adjusted invoice. The data file must contain:

    • Record Type (CD)
    • Transaction Code (Z)
    • Department Code (NSW)
    • Location Code (NSW0XXX)
    • Provider Code (ZZREGN)
    • Retirement System (ERS or GDP)
    • Social Security Number (National ID)
    • Name
    • Report Date
    • Month Base Compensation
    • Month Contribution Earnings
    • Monthly Contributions
    • Employee Percentage
    • File Date
    • Employee ID

    The report must include:

    • Record Type (PD)
    • Transaction Code (Z)
    • Provider Code (ZZREGN)
    • Retirement System (ERS or GDP)
    • Social Security Number (National ID)
    • Name
    • Address Line 1
    • Address Line 2
    • State
    • Zip Code
    • Hire Date
    • Birth Date
    • Termination Date
    • Department Code (NSW)
    • Location Code (NSW0XXX)
    • Gender
    • File Date
    • Employee ID
  3. Submit the data file produced electronically to the Employee’s Retirement System, using the File Transfer Utility through www.usg.edu/ftu/. This is a secure web site requiring a user ID and password for access.

  4. Prepare and mail a payment check to Employee’s Retirement System, using the completed ERS Form 17E as an invoice. A copy of the ERS Form 17E should be included with the check.

Georgia Defined Contribution Program Reporting and Deduction Remittance

An email notice with an attached ERS Form 17G, will be sent monthly to the institutions from the Georgia Defined Contribution Program. The ERS Form 17G will be completed and will serve as an invoice.   ERS 17G Form

  1. Complete the entries on the invoice, using the amounts from the appropriate retirement report, the payroll deduction register, and the reconciliation, as noted in Section 5.1.1, and other related reports for wage totals.

  2. Reconcile the invoice from the Georgia Defined Contribution Program to the amounts produced in the comparison of the appropriate retirement report to the payroll deduction register.

  3. Using the appropriate process from your institution’s payroll system*, produce a report and a data file for electronically reporting to the Georgia Defined Contribution Program. Verify that the totals from the data file match the adjusted invoice.

    Note: The report and data file requirements are the same as that specified for the Employee’s Retirement System above, using the Retirement System entry of “GDP”.

  4. Submit the data file electronically to the Employee’s Retirement System using the File Transfer Utility through https://www.usg.edu/ftu/usoa/. This is a secure web site requiring a user ID and password for access.

    Note: Although the report is for the Georgia Defined Contribution Program, it is submitted to the Employee’s Retirement System because ERS administers the Georgia Defined Contribution Program.

  5. Prepare and mail a payment check to Employees’ Retirement System, using the adjusted invoice. A copy of the invoice should be included with the check. The invoice and check are due by the 10th of the month following the reporting month.

Optional Retirement Plan Reporting and Deduction Remittance

The following four companies manage optional Retirement Plans for the University System of Georgia. Reporting to all of these companies is the same.

  • American Century
  • Fidelity
  • TIAA/CREF
  • VALIC
  1. Produce the appropriate report(s) from the payroll system to obtain detail on monthly employee deductions and matching employer matching amounts.

  2. Reconcile the report(s) to the amounts produced in the comparison of the appropriate retirement report to the payroll deduction register. Adjust the report(s), if required.

  3. Using the reconciled report(s), prepare and mail a payment check to the appropriate company.

    Note 1: Some companies also require data on a diskette or web access reporting. Contact the company for its specific policy and requirements.
    Note 2: Submission of data via web access has been developed and is in use by some institutions for all ORP companies, along with some 403b and 457 plan companies.

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5.1.7 Discontinuing Benefits for Retired Employees

A University System of Georgia retiree or career employee who, upon his/her separation of employment from the University System of Georgia, meets the criteria for retirement as set forth in BOR policy shall remain eligible to continue as a member of the basic and dependent group life insurance and health and dental benefits plans. The University System shall continue to pay the employer’s portion of the cost for such benefits.

Coverage under the plans can be discontinued under one of three scenarios: at the request of the retiree, due to nonpayment of premiums, or at the death of the retiree.

  1. If a retiree requests to discontinue his/her coverage, the institution should ensure premiums have been paid through the agreed-upon date. Otherwise, the account should be paid in full prior to ending the relationship with the retiree. In some instances, dependents of the retiree who were also covered may be eligible to continue coverage under COBRA. In those situations, COBRA paperwork will be generated and forwarded to the dependents.

  2. A retiree whose coverage is discontinued due to nonpayment of premiums should be notified at least twice of the impending cancellation. The first notification may be either oral or written. The second notification must be in writing via certified letter. If the retiree is not responsive, the coverage should be canceled and the account referred to collections.

  3. Upon the death of a retiree, health and dental benefits should be discontinued. Additionally, life insurance benefits must be paid out. The dependents of a retiree who dies and who had retired under TRS eligibility rules may remain in the group for life and health insurance purposes with University System participation in the cost. Upon the death of a retiree (Section 8.2.9.2 of the BoR Policy Manual), his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in the group health insurance program. The University System shall continue to pay the employer portion of the cost of the group health insurance for the surviving dependents. If the deceased retiree had elected to participate in the dependent life insurance program while in active service, his/her dependents shall remain eligible to continue participating in this program. The surviving dependents will be responsible for the entire cost of the dependent life insurance.

In no event shall the spouse of the deceased continue in the group after remarriage. Dependent children may remain in the group until they reach the legal age of majority, or until they become eligible for another group benefits plan, whichever comes first.

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5.1.8 Leave Accrual for Summer Faculty

The Board of Regents Policy Manual states:

A faculty member employed on an academic year (9- to 10-month) basis does not earn vacation/annual leave. An academic year contracted faculty member who teaches during Maymester and/or summer semester will not be eligible to accrue vacation/annual leave for such service.

Although not specifically addressed in the Policy Manual, administrative policy allows academic year (9 to 10 month basis) faculty members to accrue sick leave during the period of their contract. Sick leave is accrued at the rate of 8 hours per month worked. If an academic year-contracted faculty member teaches during the summer months, then the sick leave accruals during the summer are based on the percentage of time worked by the faculty member. This amount is calculated by dividing the total credit hours the faculty member is teaching by the number of credit hours considered to be “full-time” for summer employment, which has been previously determined to be 9 credit hours.

Based upon this, a faculty member teaching 3 hours would earn 5 hours for the two month period. Faculty members teaching 6 hours would earn 11 hours and anyone teaching 9 hours would earn the full 16 hours.

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