Skidmore Employee Benefits Summary
Retirement Plan Options
Basic Retirement Plan
What is the basic retirement plan?
Skidmore College's Basic Retirement Plan, a defined contribution plan as described in section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), offers a wide choice of investment alternatives for both the basic and supplemental parts of the plan. Choices are offered through two providers: TIAA-CREF and Vanguard Mutual Funds.
These plans provide individually owned retirement accounts with full and immediate vesting as well as portability/transferability to some other institutions. Employees select the way contributions are applied (subject to plan restrictions). For details, please read the Skidmore College Retirement Summary Plan Description on the yearly benefits information page.
How much does the College contribute?
For non-union faculty and staff, the College contributes an amount equal to 10% of base annual salary/wage if an employee is less than age 50, or 11% if 50 or older, into the basic retirement plan.
In addition to the above, for employees hired September 4, 2008, or after, and who are not eligible for the College’s post-retirement health care plan, the College will contribute a Basic Retirement Plan contribution equal to 1% of the employee’s base wages or salary during the plan year, effective with the date of hire.
Do I have to participate?
If eligible, participation in the basic retirement plan is mandatory.
Who is eligible?
Exempt and non-exempt employees (faculty and staff), who work at least 1,000 hours per year, or an equivalent of teaching at least 9 credit hours per year, are eligible to participate after one year of continuous employment.
A year of service shall be defined as twelve consecutive months in which the employee is credited with 1,000 hours of service or with teaching at least 9 credit hours per year. The initial computation period begins on the employee’s date of hire. Subsequent computation periods are based on the plan year (a calendar year). An employee who meets eligibility requirements after the initial computation period can participate beginning with the first payroll period following completion of the eligibility requirements and necessary enrollment forms.
Skidmore recognizes time spent previously employed at a post-secondary, degree-granting institution or a qualified research organization considered tax-exempt under code 501c(3) of the IRC, and the employee has participated in their previous employer’s 401(a), 403(a) or 403(b) basic retirement plan. The previous employer must confirm participation and certify the term of such employment.
Supplemental Retirement Account
What is a supplement retirement account (SRA)?
All employees can contribute a portion of salary/wages into the retirement plan through TIAA-CREF or Vanguard Mutual Funds via salary/wage deduction before state and federal taxes are computed. Tax liability is deferred until funds are withdrawn.
How much can an employee contribute?
The minimum employee contribution is $8.25 per pay period. The maximum is determined under IRS guidelines and is listed on the College’s Salary Reduction Agreement form. This amount may change annually. Employees have the option of electing a flat dollar amount or a percentage of total salary/wage. If a percentage of total salary/wage is chosen, the contribution will automatically increase when the employee’s salary/wage increases. Under IRS guidelines, the maximum contribution is based on a calendar year.
Who is eligible for an SRA?
All employees are eligible as of date of hire.
What is the Phased Employment Program?
The program allows employees who, through a pre-retirement reduction of their full-time working commitment, can gradually phase into retirement over a period of up to five years. The program is not an entitlement. It is voluntary for both the employee and College, and all terms or arrangements will be mutually agreed upon and documented.
Participants must be in active status or on an authorized leave of absence to apply for this benefit. The employee’s combined age and length of service must equal 70 or more, with a minimum age of 50 and a minimum of 15 years of full-time service or its equivalent during the last seven years of full-time employment at the College. All participants must retire at the completion of the period agreed upon. Further detail may be obtained in the Phased Employment Program Policy located on the HR website.
Who may apply for phased employment?
Regular full-time exempt and non-exempt employees (faculty and staff) who meet the above criteria are eligible.
What is the age and service requirement for retirement?
Full- or part-time employees who cease employment at age 55 or older and have at least 15 years of full-time service are considered retirees of the College.
Who is eligible for College benefits in retirement?
To be eligible for benefits in retirement, employees must have been full-time with at least 15 years of full- time service and have attained at least age 55 at the time of retirement. Part-time employees who were appointed to a 12-month position for at least 1,365 hours per year, have at least 15 years of service at retirement, and have attained at least age 55 are also considered benefit-eligible retirees.
What group term life insurance benefits are provided to retirees?
If an eligible employee (as noted above) retires between age 55 and 65, they are provided with $50,000 group term life insurance. This coverage is provided at no cost and will cease at age 65. The retiree has the option of purchasing this coverage directly from the insurance company within 30 days of their 65th birthday. If they were covered by supplemental life insurance as an active employee, they also have the option of purchasing the supplemental group term life insurance coverage directly from the insurance company at the time of their retirement.
Are health care benefits provided in retirement?
Eligible employees hired on or before September 3, 2008, with the above-noted minimum age and service requirements, are eligible for partial or full funding of health care benefits in retirement. Employees hired after September 3, 2008, are not eligible for health care coverage in retirement. However, the College will make an annual contribution of an amount equal to 1% of base salary to one of our tax-deferred retirement plans to defray health care costs in retirement for those employees hired after September 3, 2008.
An employee may choose to waive health care coverage until age 60 or later, at which time they may apply for coverage for themselves and eligible dependents. Upon electing coverage, the College will contribute the percentage of premiums according to their age and years of service at the time of retirement. See below for chart of contributions.
Are dependents covered in post-retirement health care benefits?
A spouse or qualified domestic partner of an eligible employee may be covered under the employee’s post-retirement health care coverage, as well as children up to age 26.
What level of health care benefits is provided to retirees?
While an employee may retire at 55, post-retirement health care benefits funded by the College will begin at age 60 for those eligible according to the following schedule for the retiree and eligible dependents:
|Years of Full-time Service||Percentage of Premium Paid by College|
Under this plan, a retiree will receive the above percentage of premium paid by the College the month following attaining age 60 and throughout his/her retirement years. For example, if an employee chose to retire at age 55, and at that time had 20 years of full-time service, the College would begin to pay 100% of cost for the College-funded health care plan or its equivalent the month following the retiree’s 60th birthday. If, on the other hand, the same employee had 18 years of full-time service at retirement, the College would begin paying 80% of cost for the College funded health care plan or its equivalent the month following the 60th birthday. The premium contribution level of 80% would continue throughout his/her retirement years.
In both instances the retiree would be eligible to continue his/her health care coverage until the College began its contribution by paying the full monthly health care premium. If an employee chooses to interrupt health care coverage until age 60 or later, that person can elect coverage upon request and also enroll eligible dependents at that time.
There is an exception to the above eligibility rules and schedule of health care contributions. Eligible employees may retire at age 55, and the College will provide 100% premium of the College-funded health care plan or its equivalent at retirement, provided that:
- The eligible employee completed at least twelve (12) years of full-time service by January 1, 1995; and
- The eligible employee meets the following "rule of 62" equation:
Rule of 62
Minimum 12 years of full-time service
Employee's age as of January 1, 1995
Additional years of full-time service (beyond twelve)