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Separating Employees

At separation of employment, there are many questions employees have regarding their final pay, benefits continuation, and other topics. The following information should assist in providing guidance on the most commonly asked questions. Because the University participates in benefits plans through Public Employees' Benefits Board (PEBB), Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and the Oregon Public Universities (OPU) system, there may be references in this information to one of these organizations for additional details of benefits upon separation.

Planning For Your Separation

Resignation Notice: The University prefers to receive a minimum of two weeks notice of an employee's resignation (one month for management level employees) whenever possible. Before determining your last day of work and your actual resignation (separation) date you should speak with your supervisor to coordinate how your last days in the workplace will be structured. Things to consider include: Will you be working through your last day? Will you be using vacation or other paid leave before your resignation date? Will you want to change your FTE for a period prior to your resignation date? We have found that planning your transition with your supervisor helps both the employee and the department make a successful transition.

To report your resignation you may either submit a formal letter of resignation stating your resignation effective date, your last work date, the amount and type of leave you will be using after your last work date through your resignation date, and the reason you are leaving PSU employment OR simply complete and submit the Employee Separation/Transfer form. Both the direct supervisor and Human Resources should receive notice of an employee's resignation.

PSU Computer Account (Odin) Access: The Office of Information Technologies strives to balance the need to allow access to Odin account resources after you have left the University with the need to expire accounts and delete data for those who are no longer affiliated with PSU. Currently, OIT's account expiration abides to the following guidelines.

Supervisors: As soon as you know that an employee will be leaving PSU employment or employment in your department, it is important that you coordinate with the employee and begin completing the Exit/Transfer Checklist for Supervisors. The Supervisory and Employee Exit Checklist will prompt you through the steps to coordinate the return of university property and funds. These steps include collecting keys, equipment, ID, access cards; discontinuing systems access; removing web site references; and verifying that all reimbursement funds due to the employee have been issued. Forward the completed Supervisory and Employee Exit Checklist to HRC for retention in the employees official personnel file. See the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) FAQs related to timelines to ensure compliance on employee final pay.

Your Final Pay

Time sheet or leave roster: To ensure timely final pay, a final time sheet or leave roster must be received in the Office of Human Resources no later than 5 p.m. one day prior to your last day with the University. Your final pay will be issued as a check. The check may be picked up after 4 p.m. at the Cashier's Office on your last day if sufficient notice was provided or you may request that the check be mailed to your home address on record with the HR department.

Vacation Leave: Balances paid out on vacation leave are paid according to your employment status as follows: Twelve-month faculty members are paid earned, unused vacation leave up to a maximum balance of 180 hours. Classified employees are paid earned, unused vacation leave up to a maximum balance of 250 hours. As required by the IRS, these payouts are subject to special tax withholding rates of 25 percent Federal, 9 percent State, 6.2 percent Social Security and 1.45 percent Medicare.

Compensatory Leave Accounts: If you are a classified employee and overtime eligible, you are entitled to full payment of all earned, unused compensatory time.

Other Leave Accounts: Sick Leave, Personal Leave and Exchange Time balances are not paid upon separation. Employees' sick leave balance will be reinstated if rehired within 2 years of the effective date of separation.

Twelve-Month Payroll Redistribution Account Balances: The twelve-month redistribution account balance of nine-month faculty who chose to redistribute their pay over a twelve-month period will be paid upon separation.

Student Employees: Student employees are subject to the same legal requirements for final pay as listed in the BOLI FAQs. Send an email to HR to inform us of their last day and immediately approve the final electronic timesheet so that final pay can be issued. If the student employee has other positions on campus in Banner a final paycheck will not be issued. If not, the final pay will be issued within 48 hours and you will be advised when their pay is available. Inform HR if the student needs their pay by a certain date or time due to departure from this area.

Healthcare and Other Benefits

If you work at least 80 hours of the pay period in which your employment ends, your group insurance coverage will continue until the end of the following month. If you work less than 80 hours in the pay period in which your employment ends, your group insurance coverage will stop at the end of the month in which you separate employment. An exception to that rule is as follows: If you are enrolled in a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and/or dependent care, then coverage of qualifying expenses will end at the end of the month for which payroll deducts your last contribution.

Medical, Dental, and Vision: Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) covered employees and their dependents may be eligible to continue medical and/or dental coverage generally for a period of up to 18 months at the employees own expense. You will receive information about the COBRA program by mail to the home address we have on record from BenefitHelp Solutions(BHS).

Be sure to contact Human Resources before you leave PSU employment to ensure a COBRA packet is mailed to you. If you do not inform HR when your job ends, you may lose your eligibility for COBRA benefits.

You will have 60 days from the date on the notice from BHS to enroll in COBRA coverage. You will be required to pay the premiums plus an additional 2% administrative fee during the months you continue coverage. You must maintain a consistent, timely payment of insurance premiums in order for coverage to continue. For additional information, you may contact BenefitHelp Solutions. You can also find additional information and the COBRA rates on the PEBB website. Cobra rates are on the PEBB website under Medical Premium Rates.

Life Insurance: Continuation coverage is available for life insurance through portability and conversion options. Application for the portability and conversion options must be made directly to The Standard Insurance Company within 60 days after your employment termination date. Application forms are available from the PEBB website under Life & Disability Insurance section. For information about continuation coverage, contact the Standard at 800.378.4668 Ext 6785. The portability and conversion options are summarized below.

Portability Option: If you are separating for reasons other than total disability or retirement, you may continue or “port” your optional employee and spouse/domestic partner life insurance coverage (not the basic $5,000 or dependent life policies). Porting allows you to continue the group term life coverage available through the Standard at the same group rates plus a billing fee. Premiums may be adjusted annually based on your age.

Conversion Option: If separation of employment is due to a disability, you have the right to convert your basic life, optional life, spouse/domestic partner life and dependent life insurance to whole life insurance without evidence of insurability. You may also qualify for a lifetime premium waiver.

Minnesota Mutual: Covered employees under Minnesota Mutual life insurance benefits may continue coverage at the same rates by paying the company directly within 31 calendar days of the date the coverage ends. To continue this coverage, please call 1.800.252.5152. Employees who separate employment due to disability may be eligible for a premium waiver from Minnesota Mutual.

Short Term Disability (STD), Long Term Disability (LTD), Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance and PERS Disability Benefits: These policies do not offer continuation or conversion rights to separating employees. Please note: If you are separating your employment due to disability and you are a covered through this insurance, contact PSU Human Resources. In addition, if you are a PERS member and are separating due to disability, please contact PERS at 1.888.320.7377 as you may qualify for disability benefits as well as early retirement benefits.

Long Term Care Insurance: Employees who are participating in the Unum Long Term Care Insurance plan may convert the policy to an individual plan. This means that the same coverage you had while employed can be continued on a direct billed basis. Employees who wish to continue this coverage must request converted coverage within 60 days of the date the group coverage ends and pay premiums directly to Unum. To apply and begin premium payments or to get answers to other questions contact Unum at 1.800.227.4165. For additional information, see the Summary Plan Description. Or visit the Unum website.

Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts: Monthly amounts that have been deducted to fund the Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) will stop at separation. Coverage of qualifying expenses will end at the end of the month for which payroll deducts your last contribution. You will have 90 days beyond the end of the calendar year to submit claims for reimbursement from your account. Any money left in your account(s) will be forfeited because of the IRS "Use It or Lose It" rule. If you have questions or concerns, please contact ASI Flex at asi@asiflex.com or 1-800-659-3035 or PEBB at 503-373-1102.

For information about continuing your Health Care Spending Account on an after-tax basis click here and refer to the section on COBRA or contact BenefitHelp Solutions at 1-800-822-3173.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account: Coverage of qualifying expenses for this account will be made for eligible expenses incurred in the month following termination of employment if the month is in the current plan (calendar) year and if you file a claim within 90 days after the date your employment terminates. Refer to Section 4 of the Summary Plan Description on the PEBB website for details. Or, you may contact ASI Flex at asi@asiflex.com or 1-800-659-3035.

Employee Assistance Plan: This University sponsored confidential counseling provides services in coping with this transition as well as other issues facing you, family members, and others living in your household. This program is available to benefits eligible employees while your benefits are in effect. You may contact Cascade Centers Inc. at 1-800-433-2320 or 503-639-3009. For more information please visit our Employee Assistance Program page.

Retirement Plans

If you are separating from PSU due to retirement, you may call PSU Benefits to schedule a meeting to discuss your retiree health plan options at 503.725.4926. You may also wish to refer to the Retirement Checklist.

Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS): For information about retiring as a PERS covered employee, contact PERS at 1.888.320.7377 and/or refer to the PERS web site. If planned retirement is within 90 days, an employee may sign up for a Retirement Application Assistance Session by visiting the PERS web site and scheduling an individual Retirement Application Assistance Session (RAAS) with a PERS counselor.

Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) - 401(a): Vested employees may leave employee and employer account funds in the ORP and the accounts will continue to realize investment gains or losses; or vested employees may choose to withdraw their employee and employer account balances. The Oregon Public Universities (OPU) Plan Administrator notifies the ORP companies of employees who have separated employment.

Non-vested employees forfeit the employer account, but may leave their employee account balance in the ORP, where it will continue to realize investment gains or losses; or they may withdraw the employee account balance. For more information about vesting and distributions upon termination, refer to the Oregon Public Universities (OPU) website.

Oregon Savings and Growth Plan: If you have been making payroll deductions for the Oregon Savings Growth Plan, contact the program coordinator at 1.800.365.8494. You may also find out more information about the Oregon Savings Growth Plan through the PERS website.

Tax-Deferred Investment (TDI) Plan - 403(b): Contributions to the TDI plan end when your pay ends. Contact your ORP Fund Sponsor regarding your distribution options. Before deciding whether or not to withdraw your funds from your accounts, you may wish to consult your tax adviser for information regarding tax implications and penalties.

Other Information at Separation

Unemployment Benefits: Based on the circumstances of your separation from PSU, you may be eligible to receive benefits through the State of Oregon Employment Department. You will need to apply for these benefits either online or contact the UI Center in your area to apply by phone. Another resource to assist you to understand unemployment benefits is the Claimant Handbook which is produced by the Oregon Employment Department. The Portland Metro UI Center can be reached by calling 503.451.2400 or 877.877.1781.

Note for full-time students: according to the Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 657.030 and Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 471-031-0105, student employees that are enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students) are not eligible to claim unemployment benefits from their school, college or university. You may still be eligible for these benefits through another employer. For questions on this or any other unemployment issue, contact the UI Center in your area.

Exit Interviews: You are invited to participate in an exit interview. PSU appreciates your comments about the university as a workplace. The exit interview will also be an opportunity to share your experiences as an employee of PSU. Please call the Human Resources Front Desk at 503.725.4926 for more information or to schedule an exit interview.