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. Below is an outline of the benefits we offer.

GIC Insurance

The Group Insurance Commission (GIC) administers health insurance and other benefits for eligible state employees and retirees, and their eligible dependents and survivors.  A WSU 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 forms must be completed within 10 days of hire and submitted to Human Resources. Click here to access the new employee enrollment form.

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
GIC Specific Forms
Access MyGICLink

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

Health Insurance: https://www.mass.gov/gic-health-insurance-products
Flexible Spending Accounts: benstrat.com/gic-fsa.
Life Insurance: bit.ly/GICLifeInsuranceBooklet.
Long Term Disability Insurance: GIC LTD Information Booklet

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/.

Retirement Plans

State Retirement Plan

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

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.

 

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.

 

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.  Great-West Retirement Services is currently the third-party administrator for the SMART Plan.

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

Holidays

Benefitted employees are entitled to the following 11 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.

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.

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 can be found here.

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.

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, Human Resources can assist you.

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. Upon approval, the one day per month may be broken into increments which do not exceed the 7.5/8 hours allowed.

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.

To view the entire Westfield State University SERV brochure, click here.

To learn more about the SERV program, click here.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employees Charitable Campaign (COMECC)

What is COMECC?

The state's Employee Workplace Giving Campaign is COMECC (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employees Charitable Campaign), established in 1984, and governed by Executive Order 451.

COMECC, the only authorized payroll deduction workplace solicitation. Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) is currently serving as the Statewide Campaign Manager.

COMECC is private, voluntary and confidential. It affords state employees the opportunity to support private, non-profit health and human services and environmental organizations. State employees can share in the spirit of giving, in order to assist those who might be experiencing hardship or temporary crisis in their lives. The gift of payroll deduction can make a significant difference in the lives of children, families and communities across the state, the country and the world.

To learn more about COMECC, click here.