Go to navigation Go to content
opener

Total Rewards frequently asked questions

Browse FAQs or filter by topic, audience, or program.

Audience
Program
Topic
 
How can personal days be used?

Personal days are paid days off to be used at an employee's discretion, and they can be taken in hourly increments. These days are subject to supervisory approval. Personal days cannot be used on the last day of duty unless the employee is to be placed on a layoff leave of absence.

Link to this FAQ

How do personal days accrue, and can they expire?

All regular administrative, service, and support staff are granted four personal days each year (upon their hire date and thereafter credited on the yearly anniversary of hire).

Your unused personal days are lost at the end of the anniversary year, even if you are on leave. Payment for unused personal days upon termination or retirement is not permitted.

Link to this FAQ

Who is eligible to receive personal days?

All regular administrative, service, and support staff are granted four personal days each year. Regular employees who are 75-99% FTE are granted personal days on a prorata basis. Employees with primary titles that are administrative, service and support who are exempt from classification because their positions are primarily directing instructional or research activities are not subject to this policy.

Link to this FAQ

Can I use personal days if I am on probation?

Yes. If you are in your initial probationary period, you may use two of the four personal days granted. If your probation period is extended, you may use the remaining two personal days.

Link to this FAQ

What happens to my personal days if I am on layoff?

If you are on layoff, you may retain personal days during the layoff leave of absence; you may also use your personal days immediately prior to the layoff. However, personal days must be taken within the anniversary year.

Link to this FAQ

What if I am required to work on a day I had previously scheduled as a personal day?

If you are required to work on a previously scheduled personal day, you will receive 1 1/2 times your regular straight-time wage rate for the hours worked. You may also retain the personal day or choose to receive your regular pay for the personal day. Time reporting for employees who elect to receive their regular pay for the personal day should be treated as if they had worked a holiday.

Link to this FAQ

What’s the penalty if the university doesn’t comply with Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requirements?

To comply with Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the UM System must offer medical coverage to at least 95% of employees that average 30 hours per week or more. Not meeting this requirement will incur a penalty based on all benefit-eligible employees, which could be as much as $39,000,000 for UM.

Visit the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) page for more information.

Link to this FAQ

Are employees required to use vacation or leave when meeting with an EAP practitioner?

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a benefit provided to all employees at no cost. Employees are not required to utilize any of their leave when meeting with a practitioner in the EAP. Visit the Employee Assistance Program webpage for more information.

Link to this FAQ

What HR policies have changed as a result of the PPACA?

Link to this FAQ

What Is Step Therapy through Express Scripts?

Step therapy is a program for people who take prescription drugs regularly to treat a medical condition, such as arthritis, asthma or high blood pressure. It allows you and your family to receive the affordable treatment you need and helps your organization continue with prescription-drug coverage.

In step therapy, drugs are grouped in categories, based on treatment and cost:

Front-line drugs — the first step — are generic and sometimes lower-cost brand drugs proven to be safe, effective and affordable. In most cases, you should try these drugs first because they usually provide the same health benefit as a more expensive drug, at a lower cost.
Back-up drugs — Step 2 and step 3 drugs — are brand-name drugs that generally are necessary for only a small number of patients. Back-up drugs are the most expensive option.

If you have more questions, you can go to StepTherapyFacts.com to watch informative videos or call the Express Scripts Pharmacy at the number on your ID card. (This FAQ answer provided by ExpressScripts.)

Link to this FAQ

When can sick leave be used?

Sick leave can be used in the event of:

  • Inability to work (for any hours scheduled during the first 40 hours of the workweek) due to an illness or injury.
  • Disability due to pregnancy.
  • Medical and dental appointments that cannot be scheduled during non-working hours.
  • Inability to work due to an illness in an employee's immediate family* (up to 12 days annually).
  • Inability to work because of an illness or injury compensable under Workers' Compensation.

*Immediate family includes parents, spouses, children, stepchildren, foster children, and siblings (no matter where they might live). Other related persons or Sponsored Adult Dependents living in the employee's immediate household also fall under this policy. This time may also be used for placing an adoptive child in the employee’s home or care of that child immediately after placement.

Link to this FAQ

Who is eligible to accrue sick days, and how is it accrued?

All regular administrative, service, and support staff at 100% FTE accrue one sick day per month of continuous employment. 75-99% FTE will accrue sick leave on a prorata basis. Employees with primary titles that are administrative, service, and support who are exempt from classification because their positions are primarily directing instructional or research activities are not subject to this policy.

Sick leave is accrued from the first day of employment and can be used on the first day of the following pay period. Administrative and professional employees accrue their sick leave on the monthly pay cycle, while office/technical and service/maintenance employees accrue sick leave on the biweekly pay schedule.

Link to this FAQ

Will the PPACA teaching equivalency adjust based on the number of students enrolled in the course?

No. The teaching equivalency for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), 3 1/3 hours worked per credit hour taught, will remain the same regardless of the number of enrolled students.

Visit the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) page for more information.

Link to this FAQ

Can I use sick leave if I am on probation?

Yes. However, sick leave must be earned before it is taken, and though you may be accruing sick leave throughout the month, it is not available until the first day of the following pay period. 

Link to this FAQ

What if I run out of sick leave?

If you exhaust your sick leave, you may take vacation, personal days, or leave without pay if you receive prior supervisory approval.

Link to this FAQ

Is vision insurance available for benefit-eligible faculty, staff, and retirees?

Yes. VSP Vision Care is the administrator for the University of Missouri System vision plan. Learn more about vision plans.

Link to this FAQ

What are leaves of absence used for?

Leaves of absence are used to help employees retain their employment rights and benefits. A leave of absence without pay may be granted when such leave is for prolonged illness or injury, or for any exceptional personal or institutional reason.

A leave of absence may be granted only after vacation and sick leave have been used. However, this policy does not require using personal days be used, except under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Link to this FAQ

What is COBRA?

COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. COBRA requires that a medical plan offer covered employees and dependents the opportunity to continue coverage when it ends for certain specified reasons. Learn more about eligibility for continued coverage.

Link to this FAQ

How long may a leave of absence last?

Leaves of absence without pay of 30 calendar days or more must be approved in accordance with the current delegation of authority. Leaves of absence of less than 30 days may be handled as excused absences. If Long-Term Disability benefits begin, a leave of absence without pay ends. Approved leaves of absence are not to exceed one year.

Link to this FAQ

How much is the tobacco-free discount?

The tobacco-free discount is $50/month on medical insurance premiums.

Link to this FAQ

Do cross-listed credit courses affect the Affordable Care Act (PPACA) teaching equivalency?

No. The teaching equivalency is 3 1/3 hours worked per credit hour taught. Since the course is a single course, the individual would receive 3 1/3 hours worked for each course credit hour.

Visit the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) page for more information.

Link to this FAQ

Do I have to use vacation if I am on leave due to temporary shutdown/my unit closing for a time?

If you are on leave due to a temporary shutdown, this leave is at the employer's request, so you do not have to exhaust vacation.

If you are employed in a unit which regularly closes down or reduces its operations for a specific time period of up to three months, you may be granted a leave of absence during these periods if it is agreed that you will return to work at the earliest date your services are required. You will not be required to exhaust your vacation or sick leave to obtain a leave of absence for this reason.

Link to this FAQ

Who is eligible for the tobacco-free discount on medical insurance premiums?

Active, benefit-eligible faculty and staff who are enrolled in a University of Missouri medical insurance plan are eligible. In addition, the employee and all family members enrolled on their plan must be either tobacco free or in a cessation program.

Link to this FAQ

Does my leave of absence count toward my length of service under the retirement plan?

Unless for extended illness or injury, military service, research or development leave, or employee Family and Medical Leave, the period of a leave of absence without pay will not be computed into the length of your service under the university retirement plan, and therefore it will not count toward vesting. However, unpaid leave is not counted as an interruption of service. Your contributions to the UM Retirement, Disability and Death Benefit or ERIP plans are not required for leave of absence periods for which no salary is paid. You will be required to contribute, however, for leave of absence periods that are recognized as service credit under the plan for which partial or full salary is paid.

Link to this FAQ

How will eligibility be confirmed for purposes of the tobacco-free discount program?

When enrolling in a University medical plan, you will be required to sign a Tobacco Attestation. In order to qualify for the Tobacco Discount, you must certify that you and all dependents covered by a University medical plan:

  • have been tobacco free at least three months prior to the effective date of coverage and will continue to be tobacco free for the plan year or
  • are enrolled in a tobacco cessation program. 

During Annual Enrollment each year, all faculty and staff will be required to submit a new Tobacco Attestation for the upcoming plan year, effective January 1. View the full Tobacco Attestation for more information.

Link to this FAQ

If I must go on a leave of absence, will I still retain my benefits?

Yes. During a leave of absence, you are eligible to continue to participate in the University of Missouri's staff benefit program (medical, dental, life, accidental death, and long-term disability).

Link to this FAQ

Will I receive holiday pay, vacation time, or sick leave while on a leave of absence?

During a leave of absence, you will not receive holiday pay unless you are on leave with partial pay of 75% FTE or greater. Additionally, you will not accumulate vacation or sick leave. You will receive personal days, but they may not be used during a leave of absence. These personal days will be lost at the end of the anniversary year if unused.

Link to this FAQ

Can I return to work earlier than the expiration date of my leave?

It is at the department's discretion whether to allow you to return to work earlier than expected (except FMLA leaves which only requires you to give two days notice of intent to return to work). Normally, your department should permit you to return to work early unless no position is available.

Link to this FAQ

What happens when I return to work from my leave of absence?

Upon expiration of a leave of absence, you are eligible for reinstatement to your former position or to one of similar requirements and compensation in the same department or division from which your leave was granted. If the same or a similar position is unavailable, the department chairperson or administrative head can request an extension for placement of up to six months.

Link to this FAQ

What is the definition of tobacco-free?

“Tobacco-free” means that the employee and all dependents covered by a university medical plan have been and will continue to be tobacco free starting at least three months prior the effective date of coverage and will not use tobacco products through December 31 of the plan year.

Link to this FAQ

How do I obtain a leave of absence?

A leave of absence without pay of 30 calendar days or more must first be requested by you, then recommended by your department chairperson or administrative head, and finally approved in accordance with the current delegation of authority. To learn about procedures for obtaining a leave of absence, visit the leave of absence page.

Link to this FAQ

What is the definition of tobacco?

Under this discount program, “tobacco” includes any form of tobacco products that are smoked (e.g., cigarettes, cigars, pipes), applied to the gums (e.g., dipping or chewing leaf tobacco), and/or inhaled (e.g., snuff or electronic cigarettes).

Link to this FAQ

Under the Affordable Care Act, how should FTE be calculated when a course is shared by professors?

To calculate the full-time equivalency (FTE) for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), follow the agreed upon methodology of 3 1/3 worked hours per each credit hour taught for the course, and prorate the worked hours among the multiple professors based on the distribution of teaching effort.

Visit the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) page for more information.

Link to this FAQ

Who is eligible for military leave?

Any University of Missouri employee who becomes a member of the armed forces will be granted a military leave of absence. This includes fully benefit-eligible academic, regular administrative, service, and support, variable hour or probationary and student employees. Service in the uniformed services means duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service, including: active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty training, full-time National Guard duty, or an absence from work for an examination to determine a person's fitness for any of these types of duty.

Link to this FAQ

Why are e-cigarettes included as part of the definition of tobacco?

We looked at similar programs offered by higher education institutions and elsewhere in the industry, and the inclusion of e-cigarettes is common. Secondly, due to lack of regulation, e-cigarette companies are not mandated to disclose product ingredients or health effects. Additional research is needed to determine what ingredients e-cigarettes contain and the health implications they have on users.

Link to this FAQ

How do I maximize my Express Scripts prescription drug benefit?

In order to make the most of your prescription drug benefit through Express Scripts, it’s a good idea to use FDA-approved generic drugs whenever possible. If you are taking a brand-name drug that is not on the plan’s preferred drug list (called a “formulary”), ask your doctor if a preferred- brand drug or a generic would be right for you.

Similarly, fill prescriptions through a retail pharmacy in the Express Scripts network, or via home delivery from the Express Scripts PharmacySM. (Filling a greater than a 32 day supply of maintenance prescriptions at a University pharmacy is the same copay as home delivery.) Of course, many local pharmacies offer other low-cost generic programs, so it’s always a good idea to compare prices at all pharmacies to ensure the best price.

(This FAQ answer provided by Express Scripts.)

Link to this FAQ

If I’m 62 or older, can I continue to work in the UM System (UM) after retirement?

If you are at least age 62 at retirement:

  • You must complete all the necessary paperwork to apply for and initiate your retirement.
  • You may return to work, but only on a part-time basis. In other words, you may work at less than 75% full-time equivalency (FTE) at the department’s and university’s discretion.
  • The “less than 75% FTE” threshold is measured by including all appointments you may hold at any given time.
  • The decision of whether you will be offered continued employment is at the department’s and the university’s discretion.

Link to this FAQ

Who decides what drugs are covered in the ExpressScripts Step Therapy program?

Step therapy is developed under the guidance and direction of independent, licensed doctors, pharmacists and other medical experts. Together with Express Scripts — the company chosen to manage your pharmacy benefit plan — they review the most current research on thousands of drugs tested and approved by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. Then they recommend appropriate prescription drugs for the step therapy program, and your organization’s pharmacy benefit plan chooses the drugs that will be covered. (This FAQ answer provided by ExpressScripts.)

Link to this FAQ

I have a newborn; Can/should I complete the Tobacco Attestation with the Family Status Change form?

No, the Tobacco Attestation is not required to be completed for newborn children, and adding a newborn does not allow you to change your tobacco status.

Link to this FAQ

What happens if I enter active duty?

A fully benefit-eligible academic, regular administrative, service, and support, variable hour or probationary employee entering the Armed Forces for regular active duty will be granted a military leave of absence without pay for the initial term of military service up to a period of five (5) years.

Link to this FAQ

What if I have to attend an initial period of active duty for military training?

If you are a fully benefit-eligible academic, regular administrative, service, and support, variable hour or probationary employee who enlists in the National Guard, a National Reserve or commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard, you will be granted a military leave of absence with pay if you are ordered to attend an initial period of active duty for training. Compensation for such leave shall not exceed a total of 15 scheduled working days (prorated for less than 100 percent FTE employees).

Link to this FAQ

If I go on military leave, can I continue to receive my benefits?

Yes. If you are a fully benefit-eligible employee who has completed your probationary period, you can stay enrolled in some or all of the benefits in which you are already enrolled if you pay the amount that would normally have been deducted from you paycheck for you monthly premiums*.

*Note that the university's plans have a specific war exclusion. For details, see the appropriate plan’s Summary Plan Description (SPD) under the forms and guides section of the military leave: information on university benefits page.

Link to this FAQ

Under what conditions can I change my tobacco status mid-year to earn the discount?

There are two conditions that will allow you to change your tobacco status midyear:

  • Family Status Change – If you experience a family status change, or FSC, in which you remove tobacco using dependent(s) (child or spouse/sponsored adult dependent) and you and all other covered dependents are tobacco free, then you will qualify for the discount at that time. Your contributions would change to the discounted rate on the first of the month following the family status change if you submit the required paperwork within 31 days of the event.
  • Midyear Recertification – All faculty and staff who are currently in a non-discount status and become tobacco free or enroll in a tobacco cessation program before June 30 have the opportunity to qualify for the discounted rates from July 1 – December 31 of the plan year. Complete and submit the Midyear Attestation if you qualify.

Link to this FAQ

What are the current retiree insurance plans?

UM medical insurance options are different for retirees who are enrolled in Medicare versus those who are not eligible or not enrolled. The following plans are available for 2017.

For a list of all current plans available to retirees—including dental, vision, and life—visit the retiree benefits overview on the Total Rewards website.

Link to this FAQ

What is the teaching equivalency for courses taught on less than a 16-week standard semester?

The teaching equivalency for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), 3 1/3 hours worked per credit hour taught, remains the same: 1 credit hour taught equals 3 1/3 worked hours, regardless of the time period the class covers.

Visit the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) page for more information.

Link to this FAQ

If I am currently in a tobacco cessation program, when can I recertify again?

You must recertify with the Midyear Attestation by June 30 and again during Annual Enrollment each year.

Link to this FAQ

What if I choose to suspend coverage while I’m on military leave?

If you choose to suspend coverage while on leave, you must resume your coverage within 31 days of your return to benefit-eligible university employment. If you suspend coverage, coverage is also suspended for all your dependents. Upon your return to work, the coverage for your dependents may be resumed along with your own coverage.

If you choose to suspend coverage while on military leave, coverage is also suspended for your dependents. However, you may enroll your family in a separate military health plan for dependents if you are called to active duty for more than 30 days. Immediately contact the appropriate Armed Forces personnel for information related to these plans, or visit Tricare for more information.

When you do return to benefit-eligible university employment, coverage for your dependents may be resumed along with your own coverage.

Link to this FAQ

Can dependents on active duty be covered under university benefits?

Dependents (including spouses) on active duty are not eligible for the university's medical or dental insurance coverage.

Link to this FAQ