Benefits & Wellness

Photo of the globe on the campus green

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, retirement plans, paid leave, tuition discounts, and more. 

Your benefit team is here to help you navigate and maximize all your benefit options, provide direct support for onboarding, life events, leaves of absence, and retirement, and offer the assistance you need to care for yourself and your family.


Meditation garden with a pathway of flowers.

At Westfield State, we prioritize your well-being with a comprehensive benefits package. From health coverage including medical, life, and Aflac's Short-Term Disability plans, to Flexible Spending Accounts, dental, and vision coverage, we've got you covered. Stay healthy and fit with our fitness programs, and access support through our Employee Assistance Program. 

Employee Benefits Overview

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 of the month following the date of hire (exceptions to those hired on the first of the month, then coverage is effective immediately).

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)

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

To learn more about these benefit options, please visit State Employee Benefits or download the GIC Benefits Guide for benefited state employees.

For detailed information:

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

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

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

Employee Assistance Program

Mass4You, the Commonwealth's Employee Assistance Program, is available at no additional cost to all active state and municipal employees and their immediate family members who are eligible for GIC coverage. Enrollment in one of the GIC’s health insurance benefit plans is not required to access Mass4You.

Fitness Benefit

All Westfield State University employees with a faculty/staff ID badge are eligible for a campus fitness center membership.

Current membership fees are $92.50 per semester and $40.00 during summer break.

  • Payment by cash or check only at Student Accounts in the Horace Mann Center.
  • 3-4 days after your payment is processed, Student Accounts will activate your campus ID card for access to both fitness centers.
  • Complete your Fitness Center Waiver Form
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 by your supervisor and HR. 

Program Announcement
Telecommuting Policy and Procedure
Telecommuting Questionnaire


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.


Available plan options:

  • Short Term Disability
  • Accident Insurance
  • Life Insurance.

Learn more: Aflac Information Flyer

Authorized local agent: Aaron Baden

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. 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.

Work & Life Transitions

Admissions staff smiling at campus move-in event.

We offer a range of services to support you through various work and life transitions. From welcoming new hires to guiding employees through annual enrollment, we provide extensive support. We also offer assistance and resources for significant life events such as births, marriages, adoptions, and retirement transitions.

Visit our Qualifying Events page to learn more.


Two employees at commencement smiling and jumping together ecstatically.

Westfield State is committed to empowering employees to secure their financial futures. From mandatory retirement plans such as MSRB/ORP to voluntary retirement savings opportunities like 403b/457 plans, we offer a variety of avenues to help you prepare for retirement. We provide guidance on programs such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) initiative, assisting in managing student loan debt. Additionally, our partnership with Metro Credit Union offers valuable banking services and financial resources to our employees. Through tuition waivers, we support your continuous learning and professional development, ensuring access to educational opportunities.

Mandatory Retirement Saving Plans


Higher education state employees are required to contribute to a mandatory retirement plan in lieu of social security. For benefited employees, the Massachusetts State Employee's Retirement System (MSERS), also known as the "pension" plan, is the default plan for all new hires. Salaried employees (non-hourly) have the option to choose between MSERS and the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP).

Comparison of Key Features between MSERS and ORP

*NEW* Retirement Planning Guide 2024-2025

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.

Mass. State Employee Retirement System (MSERS) Retirement Benefit Guide
All Forms (MSRB) 
Newsletters and Publications (MSRB) 
Pension Estimate Calculator (MSRB) 
MSRB SMART Retirement & Beyond Online Webinars 
MSRB's Educational Video Library

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

Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans (403b/457)

Did you know that you can save and invest through the Massachusetts Deferred Compensation SMART Plan (457 Plan) and your 403(b) Plan(s) at the same time, giving yourself a powerful opportunity to double your before or after-tax contributions each year?

Learn more: 
Contributing Through Two Plans - 457 and 403(b) 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

When enrolling for a 403(b) plan, you can choose up to 2 of 3 providers:

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--

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:

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

Metro Credit Union

Membership at Metro - a free Westfield State University benefit

Financially speaking, you have places you want to go. At Metro Credit Union, they have the expertise to get you there. They will help you feel informed and confident every step of the way with free financial education and guidance to the right products and services for state employees.

Savings & Club Accounts
Checking Accounts
Money Market Accounts
Retirement Accounts
Certificates of Deposit

Home Equity Lines & Loans
Auto Loans
Consumer Loans

DIGITAL BRANCH: This service provides face-to-face contact with a live Metro representative to complete almost any transaction that would be done in-person.

Visit their website:
View their flyer: General Information

Tuition Waivers for Employees

All benefited employees, including their spouse and dependent children, are eligible for tuition remission/waiver 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 may apply.

Complete your tuition waiver form online: Tuition Waiver Web Form

If you have questions or need assistance related to tuition waivers, please contact the HR Benefits team at 413-572-5274, 413-572-8476 or

Leave & Accommodations

Campus globe in the summer with blue skies behind it.

From offering Paid Time Off (PTO) and honoring Holidays to providing Family/Medical leaves and Workers' Compensation benefits, we ensure you have the resources you need to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Also, we understand the importance of empathetic support during times of bereavement. We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace environment by offering reasonable accommodations when needed.


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.

Family and Medical Leaves

For Westfield State University employees, there are multiple leave options available when you need time away from work for your own medical condition, birth/adoption, or care of a family member. Your HR Benefits team can assist you with determining the best leave option for your situation.

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 HR Benefits on the day they occur. The supervisor, first responder, or authorized individual arranges for any immediate medical attention required and provides the employee with an Injured Employee Workers Compensation Packet. The employee will provide portions of this packet to the treating medical provider.

Within 48 hours of the injury, the employee must complete the Notice of Injury Report via DocuSign which automatically routes to your supervisor, then to HR for processing.

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 Coordinator: HR Benefits, 413-572-5274

EMAIL for assistance:

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.

Bereavement Leave

Employees are eligible for paid bereavement leave up to 7 days depending on their union association and relationship to the deceased.

Bereavement Leave Grid

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
Accommodation Request Form
Service Animal Guidelines

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.

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

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General Benefit and Wellness Inquiries: