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Productivity Enhancement Program (UUP)

Overview

Deadline to enroll is November 28, 2014

The Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP) allows eligible SUNY UUP employees to exchange previously accrued annual leave (vacation) in return for a credit to be applied toward their employee share NYSHIP premiums on a biweekly basis. In no case can the credit available under the program be applied to the employer share of NYSHIP premiums. As detailed below, the program will be administered on a NYSHIP plan year (hereafter “plan year”) basis.

Effective January 1, 2015, eligible full-time employees with an annual salary at $62,998 or below who enroll in PEP for the remainder of 2015 will forfeit annual leave totaling 3 days in exchange for a credit of up to $500 to be applied toward the employee share of their NYSHIP premiums.  Eligible full-time employees with an annual salary of above $62,998 and below $90,022 who enroll in PEP for 2015 will forfeit annual leave totaling 2 days in exchange for a credit of up to $500 to be applied toward the employee share of their NYSHIP premiums.  All eligible part-time employees who enroll in PEP will forfeit annual leave on a prorated basis in accordance with their payroll/employment percentage in return for a prorated credit. Additional hours that these employees work beyond their payroll percentage are not counted for this purpose.  In cases where the payroll percentage of these employees results in a leave forfeiture that is not a quarter-hour increment, the leave forfeiture should be rounded to the nearest quarter-hour (rounding up when the resulting figure is exactly between two quarter-hour increments).

The credit will be divided evenly among pay periods beginning on or after January 1, 2015, and applied toward the biweekly premium payments required for coverage under NYSHIP in that plan year.


Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS)

Employees on VRWS agreements who elect to participate in the program do so as full-time employees.  If eligible, they exchange the appropriate number of full time days of annual leave for the health insurance premium contribution credit allowable under the program.

Once enrolled for a given plan year, employees continue to participate for the duration of that plan year unless they separate from State service or cease to be NYSHIP contract holders. Leave forfeited in association with this program will not be returned, in whole or in part, to employees who cease to be eligible for participation in the program.


Enrollment

The enrollment period for the 2015 plan year will be from October 21, 2014 through November 28, 2014. Employees are required to submit a separate enrollment form for each year in which they wish to participate.

Eligibility

Employees are eligible to participate if the following criteria are met:
  • Employed on a Calendar Year or College Year basis;
  • A full time employee with an annualized salary below $90,022 or part-time employee with an annual full-time equivalent salary below $90,022;
  • An employee covered by the 2011-2016 New York State/UUP Collective bargaining agreement;
  • A full-time employee within the applicable salary range at the time of enrollment, for each calendar year of the program OR a part-time employee whose bi-weekly salary is within the salary range at the time of enrollment for each calendar year of the program;
  • NYSHIP enrollee (contract holder) in either the Empire Plan or an HMO.  All employees must be eligible to receive an employer contribution toward NYSHIP premiums (or must be on leave without pay from a position in which the employee is normally eligible for an employer contribution toward NYSHIP premiums);
  • Have a minimum balance of annual leave after making the forfeiture of at least 8 days for full-time employees or a prorated balance for part-time employees, respectively 
To enroll in the program for the 2015 plan year, employees must meet the above eligibility criteria. Additionally, they must meet all eligibility criteria at the time of enrollment. To enroll for other plan years, employees must meet all enrollment criteria as of the date of enrollment.

Leaves of Absence

PEP enrollees who go on leave without pay (LWOP) and do not receive a waiver of premium continue to participate in the program, paying the employee share of the NYSHIP health insurance premium at the reduced rate. Additionally, they pay the employer share of the health insurance premium where required. No portion of the health insurance premium credit available under the program can be applied toward the employer share of the health insurance premium. Leave forfeited in association with the program will not be returned, in whole or in part, to employees who receive a waiver of premium.

Insurance Issues

An employee enrolled in PEP who moves between individual and family coverage under NYSHIP will have his/her health insurance contribution credit adjusted upward or downward as appropriate.

If both spouses are State employees covered under a single family contract, only the contract holder who carries the family coverage can participate in PEP. If both spouses are enrolled contract holders, both may participate in PEP if otherwise eligible.

The Employee Benefits Division of the Department of Civil Service will issue guidelines for agency Health Benefits Administrators concerning the processing of enrollment and status changes for PEP participants.


Taxability

By electing to participate in PEP, an employee reduces the amount deducted from biweekly paychecks to pay the employee share of NYSHIP premiums. If the employee currently has that amount deducted on a pretax basis, the PEP health insurance premium credit reduces that pretax deduction. The net effect is that the amount of income the employee pays taxes on increases by the amount of the health insurance premium credit. While employees will realize net savings because of the PEP credit, the amount of that savings will be less than the full amount of the PEP credit for anyone currently paying NYSHIP premiums on a pretax basis. Furthermore, for each program year of participation in PEP, employees who participate in the pre-tax premium contribution program may only make changes to health insurance in accordance with pre-tax premium contribution program rules regarding qualifying events, even though the PEP credit eliminates all or part of the health insurance premium deduction.

Employees should be referred to their income tax preparer for questions regarding the tax implications of participation in the PEP.

To Enroll

  • Please complete the Enrollment Form located under helpful documents in the upper right of the page (make a copy for yourself and for your supervisor)
  • Return the Enrollment Form, along with a signed copy (signed by yourself and your supervisor) of either your October or November 2014 monthly time sheet showing at least the required minimum balance of vacation accruals to University Human Resources, Rm. 120 Crofts Hall, North Campus no later than close of business on November 28, 2014, or via fax at 645-3830, or electronically to nmburns@buffalo.edu


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