Benefits & Wellness

At Westfield, we offer an expansive suite of benefits to our faculty and staff.

Benefits include the choice between multiple high-quality health care plans, life and long term disability insurance, dental insurance, paid leave, tuition discounts, and more.

View our Fringe Benefits Overview or see below for more information on the benefits we offer.

Are you a new employee? Visit our New Employee Orientation page for helpful information to prepare for your employment with Westfield State University.

 

General Benefit and Wellness Inquiries:

benefits@westfield.ma.edu
Phone: (413) 572-8476 or 5274
Department Fax: (413) 572-5628

Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm

GIC: Health, Flexible Spending, Life, and Long Term Disability

The Group Insurance Commission (GIC) administers health insurance and other benefits for eligible state employees and retirees, and their eligible dependents and survivors.  A Westfield State University benefited employee, whose regular work schedule is at least 50% of full-time hours, is eligible to enroll in GIC health, life, and long-term disability insurance. GIC insurance coverage begins on the first day of the month following 60 days of employment.

For new employees, enrollment must be completed within 10 days of hire and submitted to Human Resources.

Active employees will have the opportunity to enroll, terminate, or make changes to their current plan during annual enrollment. Annual enrollment happens during the month of April for coverage to start July 1st. Additionally, active employees can make changes to their current plan anytime there is a qualifying status change. Qualifying status change includes but is not limited to marriage, divorce, birth/adoption of a child, and death of a covered member.

Group Insurance Commission (GIC)
617-727-2310

Access Your MyGICLink account online to enroll, make changes, or terminate your coverage.

To learn more about these benefit options, please see the GIC Benefit Decision Guide.

Health Insurance: GIC Non-Medicare Health Plans | Mass.gov
Flexible Spending Accounts: benstrat.com/gic-fsa.
Life Insurance: Life Insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) | Mass.gov
Long Term Disability Insurance: GIC LTD Information Booklet

Retirement and Supplemental Saving Plans

Retirement Plans

Comparison of Key Features between MSERS and ORP

 

Massachusetts State Employees' Retirement System (MSERS)

The State Retirement Board administers the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS). The MSERS is a contributory defined benefit retirement system governed by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 32. The system provides retirement, disability, survivor, and death benefits to members and their beneficiaries.

Membership in the system is mandatory for nearly all state employees who are regularly employed on a part-time (minimum of half-time) or full-time permanent basis.  If you are regularly employed in the performance of duties for the state you are considered a member-in-service.

For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-state-retirement-board

For retirement board publications and understanding your benefits, visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/publications-msrb.

For the Pension Calculator, visit https://www.mass.gov/pension-estimate-calculator-msrb

 

Optional Retirement Program (ORP)

The Optional Retirement Program (ORP) is available to APA, MSCA, and Non-Unit Professional employees. ORP is a defined contribution plan, administered by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The ORP is offered to eligible higher education employees as an alternative to the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS).

When hired, all employees are placed in the MSERS. An employee has 180 calendar days to decide in which retirement plan they would like to participate. If no choice is made during the 180-day election period, an employee would remain in MSERS. Your decision between the ORP and the MSERS is permanently irrevocable.

For more information and enrollment forms, visit https://www.mass.edu/forfacstaff/orp/enrollment.asp.

 

Supplemental Saving Plans

Comparison of Key Features between 457 and 403(b) Plans

 

403(b) Savings Plan

The Massachusetts 403(b) Elective Deferral Savings Plan gives employees the opportunity to supplement their core benefits of the state retirement plans (MSERS or ORP), and is an important component of your personal savings for retirement.

For more information, visit https://www.mass.edu/forfacstaff/otherretirement/403b_home.asp.

When enrolling for a 403(b) plan, you will need to choose from 1 of 3 providers:

  • AIG (formerly VALIC) - View their Retirement Services flyer to learn more about AIG and to schedule an appointment with a dedicated financial advisor.
    • Visit the AIG National Retirement Security Month (NRSM) microsite during October 2022 for retirement saving resources.
  • Fidelity
  • TIAA

 

457 Deferred Compensation SMART Plan

The 457 deferred compensation plan allows state employees to set aside a portion of earnings, through a payroll deduction, as an investment for retirement. The maximum contributions are defined by the IRS according to specific guidelines, including additional contributions if the individual is age 50 or older. The amounts contributed to the deferred compensation plan are not included in the employee’s income for the purposes of federal and state income tax withholding, but they are subject to Medicare taxes. 

The Office of the State Treasurer manages the Commonwealth’s 457 Deferred Compensation SMART Plan.  Empower is currently the third-party administrator for the SMART Plan.

For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/smart-plan-for-public-employees

Dental & Vision Care

*Dental and vision care options vary depending on an employee’s collective bargaining unit.*

AFSCME employees and their qualified dependents are eligible for coverage under the Massachusetts Public Employees Fund Dental and Vision Care Plans beginning on the first day of the month following six months of employment. There is no employee cost for either individual or family coverage.

For more information, visit https://www.mpefund.org/.

APA and MSCA employees and their qualified dependents are eligible for coverage under the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education/Massachusetts Teacher Association Health and Welfare Trust Fund MetLife dental plan beginning 180 days from hire date. MetLife provides the Vision Access program as part of the dental plan program. There is no employee cost for the premium for either individual or family coverage. Benefits are administered by Health Plans, Inc.

For more information, visit https://bhe.healthplansinc.com/members/dental-plan-documents-mta/.

All Non-Unit employees and their qualified dependents are eligible for coverage under the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Non-Unit Employee dental plan beginning on the first day of the first month following completion of two full months of continuous employment.  Health Plans, Inc. provides the Vision Access Program as part of the dental plan program.  Dental insurance premiums (half of the monthly cost) are deducted on a post-tax basis from the first and second biweekly pay period of the month (an annual total of 24 payments). Benefits are administered by Health Plans, Inc.

For more information, visit https://bhe.healthplansinc.com/members/dental-plan-documents-non-unit/.

Employee Assistance Program

Westfield State offers employees and their household members AllOne Health – a free and confidential employee assistance and work-life program. AllOne Health can help with confidential information, resources and support whether you’re feeling stressed about work, a personal or family problem. If you have questions about the program contact Human Resources or contact AllOne Health at:

Toll-free: (800) 451-1834 
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

For access to AllOne Health Resources, please visit: https://mylifeexpert.com. Click 'sign up' and enter company code 'westfield'.

Employee assistance is also available through GIC benefits. You do not have to be enrolled in GIC insurance to access this benefit. Visit www.liveandworkwell.com or call 844-263-1982 for more information.

Tuition Remission

All benefitted employees, including their spouse and dependent children, are eligible for tuition remission at the public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth in the manner and to the extent permitted under applicable policies of the Department of Higher Education. Tuition charges are waived or reduced, while fees are incurred by the student. In most circumstances waivers are valid for all state community colleges, state colleges, and state universities. Exceptions are: University of Massachusetts Medical Center and the Massachusetts Law School at Andover.

Additional information and the request for a tuition waiver can be found here.

Hybrid Telecommuting Program

Partial telecommuting allows employees to work remotely for part of their workweek. Westfield State University considers telecommuting to be a viable, flexible work option when both the employee and the job are suited to such an arrangement. Review the Telecommuting Policy and Procedure plan document for more information, eligibility, and requirements. Use the Telecommuting questionnaire to submit for review and approval to Human Resources via email at HR@westfield.ma.edu.

Program Announcement
Telecommuting Policy and Procedure
Telecommuting Questionnaire

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program that forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
Westfield State University is a qualifying employer, however not all employees will meet the personal qualifications for loan forgiveness.

For more information and to determine your eligibility, please visit: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service

If you have determined your eligibility and are completing the PSLF Employment Certification Form, submit the form to the Payroll office at payroll@westfield.ma.edu, so they can assist you.

Holidays

Benefited employees are entitled to the following 12 paid holidays each year and as determined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. More information

New Year’s Day (January 1)
Martin Luther King Day (3rd Monday of January)
President’s Day (3rd Monday of February)
Patriot’s Day (3rd Monday in April)
Memorial Day (Last Monday of May)
Juneteenth (June 19)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October)
Veteran’s Day (November 11)
Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)
Christmas Day (December 25)

Sunday Holidays: In the event a legal holiday falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed on the following Monday.

Saturday Holidays: In the event a legal holiday falls on a Saturday, all offices under the jurisdiction of any department of state government shall be open to the public for business on the Friday immediately preceding any Saturday holiday.

Bargaining unit employees: See the relevant collective bargaining agreement.

Unpaid Time Off

Employees may also be eligible for unpaid time off. The amount and type of time off varies by the employee’s collective bargaining agreement. Employees should reference their collective bargaining agreement for clarification or additional leave types not referenced here.

State Employees Responding as Volunteers (SERV) Program

What is SERV?

SERV (State Employees Responding as Volunteers) is an employee benefit available as a result of Governor Patrick’s Executive Order 479 which provides an opportunity for employees to give back to their communities by volunteering at approved nonprofit organizations.

Who can volunteer?

Upon written approval, university employees with at least six months of service may volunteer for up to one day per month (7.5/8.0 hours) for approved activities; part-time employees are eligible on a pro-rated basis. Seasonal, intermittent, and contract employees are not eligible.

What types of volunteer activities are acceptable?

Volunteer activities must take place in an accredited nonprofit organization or a public entity, such as a public school. Out-of-state organizations are not included and not all nonprofit agencies are on the state approved list for a variety of reasons. SERV volunteers cannot perform services which could be considered political or partisan or a promotion of religion.

The four types of SERV activities are: Mentoring Programs, School Volunteer Programs, Foster Care Leave, and Community Service Leave.

Westfield State University SERV Brochure
SERV Leave Request Form
SERV Leave Verification Form
Learn more about the SERV program on mass.gov

Family and Medical Leaves

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
    • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

Employees wishing to apply for FMLA should complete the request form and meet with Human Resources for additional information.

Employees may also be eligible for unpaid time off. The amount and type of time off varies by the employee’s collective bargaining agreement. Employees should reference their collective bargaining agreement for clarification or additional leave types not referenced here.

 

Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML)

Paid Family and Medical Leave, is a benefit program for Massachusetts workers offered by the Commonwealth. Employees may be eligible to take up to 26 weeks per year of paid, job-protected time off from work when you need it most, so that you can focus on your health and the health of your family.

How PFML is different than FMLA

Most Massachusetts employees are eligible for up to 26 weeks of combined family and medical leave per benefit year.  You can take leave for a qualifying reason.  A qualifying reason is the cause or event that makes you unable to work and eligible for Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits.

Qualifying reasons for eligible employees are:

  • Caring for your own serious health condition as certified by a health care provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth (up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave)
  • Caring for a family member with a serious health condition as certified by a health care provider, including illness, injury, or pregnancy/childbirth (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
  • Bonding with your child during the first 12 months after birth, adoption, or placement (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)
  • Caring for a family member who was injured serving in the armed forces (up to 26 weeks of paid family leave)
  • Managing affairs while a family member is on active duty (up to 12 weeks of paid family leave)

A benefit year is 52 weeks starting on the Sunday prior to the first day of paid leave through any leave program. You can take more than one kind of leave in a benefit year, but the maximum amount of paid leave you can take in a benefit year is 26 weeks.

Employees wishing to apply for PFML should complete the request form and meet with Human Resources for additional information.

When applying for PFML, use Employer Identification Number (EIN) 04-6002284 and choose Westfield State University, a state agency, as your employer, to ensure proper routing of your claim. Your paystub shows the Commonwealth of Massachusetts because payroll is processed using the statewide payroll system.

Workers Compensation

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the worker's compensation insurer for all state employees. Workers compensation insurance pays for medical expenses associated with job-related injuries and may also provide a weekly income if you are unable to work due to such an injury for five (5) calendar days or more. 

Reporting A Work-Related Injury or Illness

All work-related injuries, serious or otherwise, must be reported to your immediate supervisor and to Human Resources on the day they occur. The supervisor, first responder, or authorized individual arranges for any immediate medical attention required.

Within 48 hours of the injury, the supervisor and employee must complete, sign, and forward to Human Resources the Notice of Injury Report with accompanied Authorization for Release of Medical Records.

EMAIL First Reports of Injury to: benefits@westfield.ma.edu

Upon receipt of the Notice of Injury Report, Human Resources will open a claim. The claim number and assigned adjuster will be provided to the injured employee as confirmation that the claim was filed and if ongoing claim administration is required. If the injury requires medical attention and/or the time away from work is five (5) or more calendar days, please review and/or download the following injury related documentation:

 

Contact Information

University Coordinators: Human Resources - Benefits Section

EMAIL for assistance: benefits@westfield.ma.edu

  • Melissa Cody, HR Benefits Administrator, 413-572-8476
  • Tina Bones, HR Benefits Manager, 413-572-5274

 

General Claims Administration:

HRD/Workers' Compensation Unit
100 Cambridge St, Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 727-3437
Fax: (617) 727-7816

Medical Providers Seeking Payment (medical bills and related records):

All bills must be received on a HICFA 1500 or UB 90 form with a detailed description of the services rendered attached.

HRD/Workers' Compensation Unit
P.O. Box 211134, Eagan, MN 55121

 

Absence from Work for Five (5) or More Calendar Days

If an employee will be absent from work for five (5) or more calendar days, the employee and his/her supervisor must notify Human Resources to begin the formal request for income replacement while the employee is out due to a work-related illness or injury.

Workers Compensation Income Benefits

If you are unable to work, and while awaiting determination on a workers’ compensation claim, a benefited employee may use his or her own accrued time (sick, vacation, personal, compensatory), if available.

The employee does not receive pay from Workers Compensation while awaiting determination on the claim. If approved, Workers Compensation income benefits begin effective the 6th calendar day of absence and replace 60% of the employee’s average earnings over the 12 months preceding the illness/injury (within certain minimum and maximum benefits).

If an employee is disabled for more than 21 days, workers’ compensation income is made retroactive to the first day of absence.

AFLAC

Why Aflac? Even with the best medical plans it may take months, even years to recover financially from a family injury or illness. AFLAC plans pay cash benefits directly to you to help with loss of income, deductibles, co-pays, unexpected medical bills and day-to-day living expenses like mortgages, car payments, childcare, groceries and more.

AFLAC provides money in a tough situation—you choose how to use it for yourself and your family. Think of Aflac as a financial safety-net.

Annual open enrollment: September 1 through October 31

Available plan options:

  • Short Term Disability
  • Accident Insurance
  • Life Insurance.

Learn more: AFLAC Information Flyer

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1) Do I need Aflac if I have a medical plan?

Major medical plans are great since they help pay for medical attention. By nature, those plans insure that doctors and hospitals get paid. Aflac ensures that you get needed money to help you meet your financial obligations. When you become injured or ill, you will typically face increased expenses coupled with loss of income.  In fact, many families have a double loss of income, as the healthy partner cares for the person in need.  Aflac is designed to help fill the “gap” between increased expenses and decrease in income.

2) Will my rates increase each year?

No. In Aflac’s 60+year history, we have never increased a premium. And, you will pay the same rate for as long as you keep your coverage, regardless of claims paid.

3) Are filing claims complicated?

No. Simply provide your medical paperwork to your agent, or for fastest claims service, file on-line or in the app, and Aflac will review, approve and pay your claim within just a few days. Regardless of what your medical plan pays, we still send full benefits directly to you. Our plans are not coordinated with your medical plan in any way. It’s your money to use as you see fit.

4) Can Aflac cancel my policy if my health changes?

Aflac plans are guaranteed renewable regardless of health and/or claim activity.

5) What happens if I change employment?

Aflac plans are portable, so you can maintain your plans at the same payroll rate regardless of employment status.

Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

In the workplace, ADA ensures people with disabilities have access to the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities. Employers must provide Reasonable Accommodations (RA) to qualified applicants or employees. A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable an applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.  

The Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Request for Reasonable Workplace Accommodation Form