Health and Welfare Plans

Notes based on benefits workshop

with Jim Bowers, Teresa Ilasin, and Ken Wagman (2011)


CalPERS Health Plans: 

The District will pay 100% of the premium for employees and their eligible dependents (to age 26) for the following: Kaiser HMO, Blue Shield HMO, and PERS Choice (80/20 Blue Cross PPO). PERS Care (90/10 Blue Cross PPO) is also offered, but the premium is a shared cost by Employee and Employer.

Health benefits are given to permanent faculty. Dependents up to age 26 are covered under employee’s health care  nationally though there may be changes with the new Congress. Dual coverage: if you are in CalPERS health plan and so is your spouse, you cannot have dual coverage, but if spouse or domestic partner has a different plan, you can have dual coverage. If you and spouse/domestic partner are both covered and can verify that you have health insurance through another source, the college will give you $200 per paycheck over 10 months instead of paying your health care fees for a total of $2000 a year. Interested domestic partners go to a state website registry to register as Domestic Partners—they must be gay, lesbian, or over 62 if heterosexual. There’s a Medicare supplemental plan which says if you’re already in Medicare you can pay for more coverage through Blue Cross or Kaiser. Faculty should check with their health care providers.

Dental Insurance
Delta Dental Premier:
The District offers one dental insurance plan through Delta Dental. It is an incentive plan whereby the employee’s benefit level increases from 70% to 100%. Under this plan, Delta pays 70% of the approved fees for covered diagnostic, preventive, basic, cast and crown benefits during the first year of eligibility. This percentage will increase 10% each year to a maximum of 100% for each enrollee, provided that the person visits the dentist at least once during the year.  If an enrollee does not use the plan during a calendar year, the percentage remains at the level reached the previous year. If an enrollee becomes ineligible for benefits and later regains eligibility, the percentage will drop back to 70%. There is a $3,000 annual maximum limit for dental procedures. Employees may use any dentist who will accept their insurance: there are no dentists they must see, however, a list of Delta preferred providers is provided.

Delta Dental also allows dual coverage—if your spouse/domestic partner has Delta her or she can enroll too. If you get up to 100% coverage after being in the system awhile, it covers a lot, but no orthodontia.

VSP – Vision Service Plan

VSP offers a comprehensive package of vision benefits designed to promote good eye health.

Vision services plan charges a $5 co-pay for exam every 12 months. You get a frame with $120 dollar allowance every 12 months. If frames are more, you get up to 20 percent discount on the rest. Can opt for contacts, still $120. Best to go to VSP provider. Can get reimbursed if you go elsewhere but benefit not as rich: exam reimbursed only up to $45, single lens glasses only $45, double up to $65, frames up to $47. Same eye benefits for dependents.

Life Insurance: Met Life

The District pays for a life insurance policy in the amount of $50,000 for all employees. You may choose to add your family members at your own cost.

$50,000 in life insurance accidental death and dismember is free to you, district pays. For others in your family to get  $$10,000 in life insurance, you pay—for spouses $5.78 month, for kids $1.05 month. Once you retire, this does not cover you. Suicide is generally an exception—natural or accidental death all covered. Health, dental, vision, and life insurance changes are made in October each year and are effective the following January.

Retirement Plan

The District offers 3 mandated retirement programs to all eligible employees. Depending on your past or current employment and/or membership status in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), the District will provide a qualifying retirement program.  An alternative to Social Security (APPLE) is available to all temporary employees.

Retirement plan—Most full-time faculty and part-time faculty are in STRS. You contribute 8 percent of salary, district puts in 8.25 percent, and then it takes five years of FTE teaching to become vested in system—when you join, you can take out the money you put it until vested, but once vested, you also have access to money the district put in. Five years FTE service for part timers could take 10-20 years.  Some employees have CalPERS. Part-time faculty sometimes have had Apple at Gavilan or elsewhere, but if they are hired full-time they can roll Apple into STRS. In Apple, part time faculty get 7 ¾ percent that the employee puts in, and there is no district match. To roll monies from one system into another, contact HR. Social Security does not accumulate for community college faculty, so all employees need to be put into a retirement system.

Deferred Compensation Plans

  • CalPERS 457:  Employees may elect to have pre-taxes contributions in a 457 plan. Employees contributing at least 1% will have 1% matched by the district.

457 savings plan is similar to a 401 (k)—The district matches full-timers’ contributions if faculty contribute at least 1% of gross salary excluding what’s earned in summer school, not overload, etc. You choose where to invest the money—and can change contribution amount anytime during the year. On paycheck it is listed as TSA, and district will pay 1 percent. The district will explore whether it can encourage CalPERS to expand the socially responsible funds. This is not offered to part-time faculty.

  • IRS 125 Flexible Spending Benefit:  Employees may elect to deduct up to $3,600 in eligible medical and dental expenses and up to $5,000 in child/dependent care expenses on pre-tax basis. Employees must re-enroll for each calendar year.

IRS 125: medical OR dependent care options. Medical: you can elect to have money taken out of check for out of pocket expenses such as vision exam and pick out fancy eyeglasses—and you can get reimbursed from what you have set aside. Med max calendar year is $3600, must enroll in Dec. for effectiveness in Jan. and then you stay in all year and can’t get out. Once elect amount, have to live with it, and will lose whatever is unspent or unfiled for. You can take it all out early in the year. This works well if you are able to plan ahead for a big  expense. Can also use to pay for medical supplemental plans. American Fidelity offers this at Gavilan in return for being our only provider of optional supplemental insurance. See below.Some people have $5000 childcare expenses  and if they are willing to keep receipts, they can save some money.

Supplemental Benefits

At the employee’s expense, American Fidelity provides a variety of optional supplemental benefits: Cancer, Heart/Stroke, short- and long-term and life insurances.


If you were to become disabled for a semester, once you use up sick leave, the law only requires Gavilan to pay difference between your normal salary and your substitute’s cost. Some apply for and are approved  for catastrophic leave but there is no guarantee—disability protection a good idea. Cost of part-timer to replace you is usually 40 to 50 percent of your pay so you will lose half your pay. Counselors lose 100 percent of pay as counselors are paid hourly at same rate whether full-time or part-time. DRC, AH, librarians, and counseling department should have disability insurance –as should anyone full-time who works at lab rates. The college is investigating whether it might be able to offer these to part-time faculty, who would pay out of pocket.


Employee’s may elect to have pre-taxed contributions invested in a 403B plan. For information, contact the district’s third-party administrator: The TDS Group at 866-446-1072 or visit

403B: you may elect to have pre-tax money taken out and invested; third party administrator required by law, and you go to website and click on Gavilan. Many vendors to choose from. If decide on vendor, submit salary redirection authorization to payroll. You can and should  use both 457 and 403B to maximize retirement benefits


Workers Compensation: If hurt at work, we all qualify for state Workers Compensation. Injury should be reported right away by anyone, including part timers. Disability covers you for sixty days if hurt at work such that if you are if fulltime you get your normal salary, contract article 10.5. When filling out paperwork at beginning of employment, we are given a choice to use own physicians or ones Gavilan elects.  In any case, the college will make sure you get to appropriate care whether through an ER or occupational clinic. Anything at work hurting you, tell  supervisor right away. If at remote site or night class, tell supervisor and fill out report. If you need medical treatment on a weekend or holiday, if you are able, call your supervisor and s/he will advise—or will at least have a record of your effort to contact. If you don’t think you need medical care, or you don’t want to do anything about it, or you wait a few days, it’s hard to get a claim okayed. If all else fails, go get medical care if you need it, and tell supervisor the next day. With changes in medical practices, the system may approve workers comp for massage and acupuncture.

Your paycheck frequency: You have the right to get a 12-month paycheck but in doing so lend 1/6 of your paycheck to the college interest free. Most full-time faculty opt for the 10-month plan.

Sick leave: Full-time faculty are allowed 10 days per academic year. You can use to donate to someone else. When you retire, it gets added to service credit but can’t meet one of benchmark guidelines, such as 30 years; you have to apply it once you reach benchmark.

Family leave: Under the Family Medical Leave Act, men  and women can use sick leave for anything that is qualifying for sick leave under contract—serious health conditions for self and immediate family members. If sick leave doesn’t cover all the time you need, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for most serious health conditions for you and/or  family members. Health insurance premiums are still paid while you are off on FML leave; if and when if they run out, you can get donated catastrophic and also can have supplemental insurance for disability or long term care, though it is important to know what a good long term care program contains before you invest.

Bereavement leave: Full-time faculty  have four days paid bereavement leave; this doesn’t get taken from sick leave. If travel is more than 300 miles or outside of state, you get an extra day.

Personal business leave: Full-time faculty get three days personal business leave for anything you want; can take something for staff development if you want. This is the one time you can get “double” paid with staff development reimbursement and sick pay. This expires at the end of each year. Faculty should sign up beforehand with their supervisors. It makes sense to use this leave first if you need more time.

Personal necessity leave: Full-time faculty may use up to six days of sick leave for death or illness of family member or close friend, acts of God, accidents on your property, or anything that prevents you from reaching campus.

Jury duty: Everyone gets jury leave and gets paid for the time away, but faculty should not accept travel money. If they do, they give it to district.

Grievance: Faculty have rights to grieve an administrator if one violates the contract. Violations of the Ed Code can be handled with help from the union’s legal staff. Faculty may not file a grievance against another faculty member. If someone is mistreated by fellow faculty member they have the have right to complain in the chain of command. Something is not a grievance, however, unless it involves the union contract.