SICK TIME, SHORT TERM DISABILITY & SALARY CONTINUANCE
For up to the first seven days of an extended, medically certified illness of injury which is not work related, the faculty member or administrative salaried employee's regular salary is covered in full. This is a sick day benefit. Sick days do not vest and are not paid out at the time of termination.
Short Term Disability
The Colleges' short term disability policy covers periods of medically certified illness or injury when the illness or injury is non-work related. The Colleges provide coverage that is consistent with, but exceeds the requirements of New York State Disability Law. Generally, coverage is provided for any certified non-work related illness or injury lasting more than seven calendar days. Payment of benefits begins on the eighth calendar day of medically certified illness or injury and runs for up to a maximum of 26 weeks. An individual may have multiple periods of disability in a 12-month period, subject to certain restrictions, though the sum total of the periods of disability may not exceed 26 weeks in any 12-month period. Payment is 70% of average weekly wages up to a maximum benefit of $800 per week. For more information and/or disability claim forms, please contact the Office of Human Resources.
Salary Continuance for periods of Short Term Disability
The Colleges also have a salary continuance benefit policy which is comprised of two parts. The first part is a salary makeup benefit to cover the gap between an employee's regular salary and the insured benefits. The second part is a salary continuance benefit to cover certain disability periods which fall outside the maximum periods of short-term disability under New York State regulations. In both cases the eligibility for salary continuance ends when the administrative employee becomes eligible for long-term disability benefits.
(1) For periods of extended, medically certified illness or injury which is not work related, beginning with day eight, the Colleges provide all benefits-eligible administrative employees with the equivalent of full pay. The Colleges do this by making up the difference between the short-term disability payment (described above), part-time salary within the Colleges (if any), and the administrative employee's regular salary for as long as the administrative employee is disabled. The maximum benefit period under the salary continuance policy is 26 weeks in any rolling 12-month period. All periods of extended, medically certified illness or injury within the rolling 12-month period will be applied toward the 26 week maximum.
(2) Additionally, an administrative employee may have (a) multiple periods of disability caused by different illnesses and injuries exceeding the 26-week maximum benefit period in any 12-month period or (b) recurring periods of disability from the same or related illness or injury where the periods of disability are separated by more than three months and the total of the multiple periods of disability exceed the 26-week maximum benefit period in any 12-month period. In both of these two instances, the Colleges will provide salary continuance equal to the administrative employee's regular full salary or the gap between the administrative employees' regular full salary and the part-time salary earned during a period of disability, for the period of short-term disability in excess of the 26-week maximum.
(3) Upon return to work following the disability period, the employee must provided their supervisor with a written statement from their attending physician which may also include any limitations.
Though the paragraphs above are focused on full-time disability, there are also provisions for partial disability. The employee must first exhaust seven consecutive sick days and establish a potential long-term disability date in order to be eligible for the benefit. The Office of Human Resources would be glad to meet with anyone concerned with issues of disability to review how disability and salary continuance benefits work.
For the eligible employees not working during the non-academic months, the sick day, disability, and salary continuance policies continue across periods of time when classes are not in session. Under New York law, periods during which no work is performed but which are contiguous to a period of active employment and following which there is a presumption of the continuation of active employment, are deemed to be periods of employment for determining periods of disability.
In order to be eligible for any of the above benefits, an individual must file a disability claim with the Office of Human Resources before the scheduled procedure begins (where advance knowledge is reasonable) or as soon after the injury or onslaught of illness as possible. If claim forms are not received in a timely fashion, there may be a lag in time between the end of regular salary payments and the start of disability and salary continuance benefit payments. Further, some or all of the benefits described above may be forfeited if the claim form is delayed for too long.
Long-term disability coverage is effective on the first of the month following the faculty member's date of hire with the Colleges. The Colleges pay the full premium cost of this benefit.
Benefits start the first of the month following a six-month elimination period and continue while the administrative employee is disabled, up to age 65, or, depending on age at inception of disability, until age 70. The elimination period is a period of continuous disability, though limited periods of work are allowable within the context of the definition of continuous disability. A period of trial return to work, of less than three months, is not considered a break in a period of continuous disability.
Once an administrative employee is on long-term disability, the benefits available under the long-term disability policy are provided to the exclusions of any other compensation or other payments from the Colleges (unless the administrative employee is due some compensation for working on a limited basis while receiving long-term disability benefits). See, however, the premium waiver provision of the Colleges' life insurance program which provides for a continuation of insurance coverage during periods of long-term disability.
Partial coverage under long-term disability is provided if administrative employees are able to return to the workforce on a part-time basis and are earning less than 80% of their regular salaries.
The benefit amount is 60% of monthly wages up to a maximum benefit of $7,000 per month. Benefits are reduced by payments received from other sources (Social Security, other Colleges' sponsored disability payments, workers' compensation).
Because the Colleges pay the premiums for the long-term disability, the benefits are taxable to the recipient (under the current tax code). However, social security benefits are not. The combination of the untaxed social security benefits and the after-tax disability benefits begins to approximate the after-tax salary before long-term disability. Employees should be aware that this tax information is illustrative only and may not reflect an administrative employee's specific circumstances or the status of the tax code at the point in time that benefits are received. Person-specific tax advice needs to come from an appropriate professional and cannot come from the Colleges.
While a administrative employee is disabled, the long-term disability plan provides a 10% contribution to the administrative employee's TIAA/CREF account.
The Colleges provide this benefit through coverage under a group insurance policy. For further details of this coverage, refer to the Summary Plan Description or to the Office of Human Resources.
For more information about any of these policies, please contact The Office of Human Resources.