The latest work-life information at IU
           
   


No. 34
March 2005


University Human Resource Services
www.indiana.edu/~uhrs

Inside this Issue:

Checklist for the Year

Conclusion of FLSA Review

Tobacco Use and Health

Military Duty

COBRA Rights

Highlights of Changes in 2005 Benefit Plans

2004 TSB Reimbursement
Deadline

Performance Management

Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act

2005 Open Enrollment Results

2005 Holidays

Investment Performance

 

The Informed Employee is published 2-3 times a year by University Human Resource Services for approximately 16,000 full-time appointed staff and academic employees across the eight Indiana University campuses.

University
Human Resource
Services
Indiana University
Poplars E165
400 E. 7th Street
Bloomington, IN 
47405-3085

 

Checklist for the New Year
Three Important Things to Do:

Update Beneficiaries, Review Investments, and Make Voluntary Contributions

1. Update Beneficiaries
Many benefit plans sponsored by Indiana University require the participant to name a person or entity as a beneficiary of the plan benefit. A beneficiary may become entitled to benefits under a plan because of the death of the participant. Once designated, the beneficiary will remain in effect until the participant updates it.

If a participant has experienced a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or death of a beneficiary, the participant should review the beneficiary designations under his or her benefit plans. A participant does not need to experience a life-altering event to make this change. A participant may change the beneficiary at any time.

Changing the beneficiary under one plan will not change it under any other plan. Therefore, a participant must request a beneficiary change for each separate plan.

Benefit plans with beneficiary designations include:

  • Basic life
  • Supplemental life
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • IU Retirement Plan
  • IU Tax Deferred Annuity Plan
  • IU Retirement Savings Plan
  • IUSERP
  • PERF

Participants should contact a campus Human Resources office to review and change beneficiary designations of the plans listed above.

2. Review of Retirement Investment Choices
Most IU-sponsored retirement plans, including the PERF annuity savings benefit, are participant-directed plans. This means that each employee is responsible for directing the investment of his or her plan accounts.
Studies have shown that many employees in participant-directed plans never review or change asset allocation and investment choices after initial enrollment. This means that whatever asset allocation and investment choices they made on the date of enrollment in the plan remain in place year after year.

Asset allocation and investment performance directly impact the value of a participant’s plan account. Participants who have not reviewed their investment choices recently can do so by (1) reviewing printed quarterly statements, (2) accessing account information online, or (3) contacting the investment company directly.

3. Start or Increase Voluntary Salary Deferral Contributions
Indiana University sponsors two voluntary salary deferral plans for eligible employees, the IU Tax Deferred Annuity Plan and the IU Retirement Savings Plan. To be eligible to participate in the plans, an employee must be:

  • An academic or staff employee appointed at 50 percent or more full-time equivalent (FTE); or
  • An hourly employee who is expected to work at least 1000 hours
    of service or more in a 12-month period and is appointed as “PERF Hourly.”

Each plan allows the participant to save money for retirement by deferring compensation on a pre-tax basis to the plan. The participant’s taxable salary is reduced by the amount of the deferral, which reduces the income tax owed in the year the deferral is made. No taxes are paid on account contributions and earnings until the participant withdraws them from the plan. This means that the money can grow more quickly than it would in a taxable account. Deferring even one percent of compensation to a voluntary salary deferral plan each year can dramatically increase the amount of assets an employee will have for retirement.

To start or increase voluntary salary deferral contributions:

  1. Complete a Salary Reduction/Deferral Agreement form.
  2. Establish a plan account at an authorized investment company (or have previously established an account).
  3. Return the completed agreement and account application to a campus Human Resources office no later than 30 days before the next pay date for processing.

Conclusion of FLSA Compliance Review

Decisions regarding the analysis of FLSA exempt status for Professional Staff positions were communicated to Responsibility Centers in January 2005. The university is pleased that it was able to ensure the preservation of personnel policies, benefits, and the monthly payroll cycle for all Professional Staff employees.

Approximately 2,030 PA Staff positions across the university were reviewed for FLSA exemption status in response to recent changes in U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. The review resulted in the changes shown in the chart on the right. The changes in positions to PAO or PAU will become effective April 1, 2005.

Departments were asked to pay and process any retroactive overtime that affected employees may have worked since August 22, 2004 (when the new FLSA regulations become effective) during February 2005. Overtime between January 1, 2005, and March 31, 2005, is being paid on a monthly basis.

Visit www.indiana.edu/~uhrs/flsa/index.html for an index of communications, tools, and resources about FLSA regulations and the compliance review initiative at Indiana University.

Professional Staff positions remaining exempt from FLSA (PAE)
1,066*
Professional Staff positions covered by FLSA, with overtime eligibility (PAO)
890
Professional Staff positions covered by FLSA, with overtime eligibility for part-time exempt work (PAU)
39
* An additional 3,000 Professional Staff positions, exempt from FLSA, were not reviewed.

 

Tobacco Use and Health

The U.S. Surgeon General concluded that secondhand smoke is a key health risk to nonsmokers, especially children. Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, coughs, ear infections and pneumonia are just a few of the health risks facing children exposed to secondhand smoke.

What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is the mixture between the smoke that trails off the end of a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe, and the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. Some of the deadly gases present in secondhand smoke are invisible and can linger in the air for hours after the cigarette, cigar or pipe has been extinguished.

Not only does secondhand smoke contain these deadly gases, they can also be found in:

  • Carbon monoxide from car exhaust fumes;
  • Hydrogen cyanide used in rat poison;
  • Hydrazine, a chemical that kills bugs in pesticides;
  • Formaldehyde used in mortuaries as embalming fluid;
  • N-Nitrosodimethylamine which was formerly used in rocket fuel; and
  • Benzine which is a gasoline additive.

Gases from secondhand smoke are deadly, especially to children while their bodies are developing. Children need a smoke-free environment to grow up healthy and strong.

Source: The American Legacy Foundation

Next article: Military Duty


UNIVERSITY HUMAN RESOURCE SERVICES
Last updated: 14 March 2005
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~uhrs/
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