Policy Details


Date of Last Update
10/2/2017

Approved By
  • Board of Trustees

Responsible Office
Legal, Compliance & Risk Management

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Benefits - Faculty

BOT 4.2.30

  1. Policy Statement

Policy Statement

4.2.30 Benefits

1. Holidays. For faculty the following days are University holidays: (usually including the Friday preceding any such holiday which falls on Saturday and the Monday following any such holiday which falls on Sunday)

New Year's Day Thanksgiving
Memorial Day day following Thanksgiving Day
Independence Day day preceding Christmas Day
Labor Day Christmas Day
day preceding New Year's Day  


Two (2) floating holidays scheduled during the Christmas break; plus up to two (2) additional floating holidays scheduled during the Christmas - New Year's break, if the university is officially closed.

A faculty member is not eligible for holiday pay if the holiday occurs during an unpaid leave of absence, or if the holiday falls during a suspension without pay, or the holiday occurs during a time when he/she is not on pay status.

2. Vacation. Vacation for faculty members on academic year appointments is limited by the academic calendar and is not accrued. Vacation for faculty members on 12-month appointments is limited by the academic calendar and not accrued if the primary role of the unit is teaching scheduled courses.  For units other than those whose primary role is teaching scheduled courses, faculty on 12-month appointments accrue vacation at the rate of five days per calendar quarter of completed service. In this case, a prorated number of days for a partial quarter of service will be computed when necessary. Approval of the use of accrued vacation is the responsibility of the appropriate unit head. Vacation time may not be charged until it is earned. Faculty members with accrued vacation terminating their employment will be eligible for their accrued vacation, not to exceed 20 days, provided at least four weeks' notice of their intent to leave is received. Up to 20 days of accrued vacation may be carried from one calendar year into the next.

If the primary role of the unit is teaching scheduled courses, then unit heads that have 12-month faculty should work with each faculty member to assure that the faculty member has the opportunity to take at least twenty days off per calendar year, in addition to holidays as provided in Section 4.2.30.1, and that, as far as reasonably possible, the schedule allows two or more weeks of consecutive days off.  In the event a 12-month faculty member desires to take days off when classes are in session, then prior to the beginning of each academic year, the faculty member shall submit to the unit head a proposal for the use of twenty days off over the following 12-month period.

3. Salary Continuation. The University will provide, to the extent described below, a salary continuation program for full-time faculty members which is designed to provide salary protection in the event of personal circumstances which do not allow a faculty member to continue work. This program is intended only as a form of insurance and is subject to careful scrutiny of each appointing officer. The appointing officer may require proof that any absence at any time is appropriate. Salary continuation may be approved only for the following reasons:

A. Faculty member's childbirth, illness, injury, hospitalization, and appointments pertaining to health. In cases of injuries compensable under worker's compensation or no fault auto insurance, salary continuation may be used to the extent that the payments fail to equal the faculty member's regular base earnings.

B. Faculty member's child, step child, foster child, spouse, parent, or household member's illness, injury, hospitalization and appointments pertaining to health (limited to a reasonable amount).

C. The death of a faculty member's child, stepchild, foster child, spouse, brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, parent or parent-in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, or household member.

D. Attendance at a funeral other than above (maximum one day).

E. Inclement weather causing unusually hazardous conditions which necessitates the closing of the university.

All full-time faculty members will be allowed compensation at their regular base rate of pay for an absence that falls under paragraph "A" above for the entire absence period not to exceed six months from the date of illness, injury or hospitalization. No salary continuation as such will be accrued or reported although each appointing officer will be responsible for the equitable application of the policy.

4. Leaves of Absence with Partial Pay. 

A. Jury Duty. A faculty member who loses time from his/her assigned responsibilities because of jury duty will receive the difference between his/her pay for jury duty and his/her regular base pay if such service occurs at a time when the faculty member is on pay status.

B. Military Duty. A faculty member who loses time from his/her assigned responsibilities because of military training as a reservist or National Guardsman or due to a civil disturbance, not exceeding four weeks per year, will receive the difference between his/her military base pay and his/her regular pay if such service occurs while the faculty member is on pay status.

C. Fulbright or Comparable Competitive Scholarly Awards. To assist faculty members who are recipients of one semester Fulbright and other comparable competitive scholarly grants, the University will pay the difference between any salary grant amount and the faculty member's full base salary for the leave period, minus adjunct faculty replacement costs as determined by the dean. Eligibility is subject to the provisions of Section 2.25.  

5. Leaves of Absence without Pay from the University. A faculty member may request a leave of absence without pay for educational, medical, or personal reasons for a period of one to twelve months. Such request shall be approved by the appointing officer. Any accrued benefits will be protected during the leave although additional benefits will not accrue. The faculty member may continue existing group benefits with the appropriate university's contribution. Contribution to the retirement plan will not accrue during the leave period. In case of medical leave the university may require a physician's statement concerning the faculty member's ability to perform his/her assigned responsibilities either before departure or just prior to returning to active employment.

Absences without pay for a period of less than one month will be considered as lost time and are subject to the approval of the appointing officer.

6. Alternate Service. Faculty on academic year appointments may fulfill their full academic year responsibilities on the basis of working any two of the three academic semesters without loss of base academic year salary with the balance of the year considered vacation. A faculty member who serves in a full time capacity for an additional (third) academic semester, without additional compensation, shall be entitled to a compensatory equivalent semester of vacation during the subsequent academic year at the compensation level in effect when the vacation was earned, if all arrangements are approved by the appointing officer, the provost, and the president in advance. Should, due to a change of circumstances, a faculty member who has fulfilled the prior service obligation be allowed to work during the semester he/she expected to be on vacation, all such work shall be at a rate and under the conditions described in Section 4.2.20.3.

7. Group Life, Medical and Dental Insurance. The university will provide coverage for all faculty appointed one-half time or more and their dependents and household members (as defined in plan documents) to the extent of the group insurance policies in effect providing the faculty member's appropriate payments are maintained. The schedule of benefits provided and their cost are described in materials available through the Human Resources Office.

8. Group Disability. All full-time faculty are eligible to participate in the total disability benefits program subject to the provisions of the master contract. The benefits provided are described in materials available through the Human Resources Office.

9. Retirement.

A. University Base Plan. Effective July 1, 1996, regular faculty and executive, administrative and professional staff with appointments of one-half time or more will be eligible to participate in the base retirement plan comprised of three investment alternatives:

1) Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA),

2) College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF),

3) Fidelity Investments - institutional retirement plan

Eligible faculty and staff will begin participation immediately upon employment. Participants are fully vested after completion of two years of employment.

The University will make a contribution equal to 12% of the participant's base salary. No contribution is required from the faculty or staff member.

Participants may elect an allocation of their university contribution among the three investment alternatives once a year. Allocation changes within those alternatives will be allowed as frequently as permitted by that carrier.

The normal retirement age used as a basis for calculating a full benefit is age 65. There is no mandatory retirement age.

A more detailed description of the base retirement plan related to pay out options, availability of funds and allocation changes and transfers within funds is contained in materials available in the Human Resources Office.

B. Supplemental Retirement Accounts. All regular faculty and staff may elect to have the university provide payment for tax deferred saving plans which qualify for IRS Code Section 403(b) and beginning July, 1, 2002 section 457(b) status through companies approved by the university. Faculty and staff can defer in such amounts as permitted by IRS Code Section 403(b) and 457(b). The election of such a benefit in no way affects the faculty or staff member's mandatory participation in the university's retirement program. The university retains the right to modify or terminate this optional deferral program upon reasonable notice to faculty and staff.

C. Medical Insurance for Retirees. The university will provide a medical insurance plan for official retirees hired before January 1, 2014. An official retiree (including early retirees) for purposes of this benefit, will be defined as any regular university faculty or staff member who is employed by the university at the time of retirement, who is vested in a university sponsored retirement plan and whose years of university service and age total a minimum of 75.

Official retirees will be reimbursed for participation in the plan based on years of service.

Benefits will also be provided to the spouse, dependents, and household member of the retiree based on the same formula, less the dependent charge. The materials describing the program are available through the Human Resources Office. The university retains the right to modify or terminate this plan upon reasonable notice to faculty, staff and retirees.

10. Tuition Reduction Programs

A. Academic Participation for Faculty, Staff and Retirees. Effective fall semester, 1988, a regular faculty or staff member may with approval of his/her supervisor, enroll in Grand Valley State University courses tuition free, one of which may be taken during working hours each fiscal year. Retirees may enroll with the approval of the Human Resources Office. The materials describing the program are available through the Human Resources Office.

B. Reduced Tuition for Spouses, Eligible Dependents and Household Members of Faculty, Staff and Retirees. Effective fall semester, 1988, spouses, eligible dependents, and household members of regular faculty, staff and retirees are eligible for a 50 percent reduction of their tuition costs for all Grand Valley State University courses. Spouses, eligible dependents, and household members of regular faculty, staff and retirees who use this benefit are subject to the admission and academic requirements of the university. The materials describing the program are available through the Human Resources Office.

11. Flexible Spending Accounts. Faculty may elect once a year to participate in the Flexible Spending Accounts pursuant to the plan established under IRS Code Section 125. The materials describing the program and its options are available through the Human Resources Office. The university retains the right to modify or terminate this program upon reasonable notice to the faculty members.

12. Adoption Assistance. Effective January 1, 2001 all regular full-time and part-time faculty members and staff are eligible for adoption assistance. The benefits provided are described in materials available through the Human Resources Office.

13. Maternity and Other Temporary Medical Leave Policies. Section 4.2.30.3 provides for Salary Continuation for faculty members subject to the terms of that section. The Maternity and Other Temporary Medical Leave Policies are intended to supplement and not substitute for Salary Continuation.

A. Maternity Leave Policy
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), a pregnancy will be treated the same as any other "disability." The standard medical disability leave for childbirth is six weeks for a regular birth and eight weeks for a Caesarean. Depending on the timing of the standard medical disability leave, this faculty absence can cause significant interruption in students' learning. Therefore, to ensure continuity in students' learning, a faculty member will, with full pay, be released from responsibilities for student learning except when, for example, the birth date occurs in the late spring or early summer, in which case, no release time may be needed for faculty on an academic-year appointment. A release from "responsibilities for student learning" means a release from teaching as a principal instructor of a regularly scheduled, semester-long course.

A written maternity leave plan signed by the faculty member, the unit head, and the dean should be submitted to the Work Life Consultant in the Human Resources Office prior to the beginning of the faculty member's absence. This plan should note the medical disability leave dates, whether additional paid maternity release is being granted under the above policy, and if so, describe what duties will be resumed and what other assigned responsibilities will be completed after the standard medical disability leave has expired. Finally, the anticipated date of complete return should be included in the plan. The plan can be amended if unanticipated medical issues occur.

Additional information about the Maternity Leave Policy and possible leave arrangements can be found on the Human Resources website.

B. Other Temporary Medical Leave Policy
Temporary disability leave due to illness, surgery, or recovery from injury of a faculty member can also cause disruptions to student learning in that faculty member's class(es). If a temporary disability leave will exceed six weeks, to ensure continuity in students' learning, a faculty member will, with full pay, be released from responsibilities for student learning, except when, for example, the temporary disability occurs in the late spring or early summer, in which case, no release time may be needed for faculty on an academic-year appointment. A release from "responsibilities for student learning" means a release from teaching as a principal instructor of a regularly scheduled, semester-long course.

A written medical leave plan signed by the faculty member, the unit head, and the dean should be submitted to the Work Life Consultant in the Human Resources Office prior to the beginning of a faculty member's absence. This plan should note the disability leave dates, whether additional paid medical release is being granted under the above policy, and if so, describe what duties will be resumed and what other assigned responsibilities will be completed after the standard medical disability leave has expired. Finally, the anticipated date of complete return should be included in the plan. The plan can be amended if unanticipated medical issues occur. If the disability leave is an emergency, a plan should be submitted when there is enough information to do so.