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Benefits Bulletin Board

Updates Description Issue Date
SUNY 403(b) Deferral Election Window

As you may be aware, deferred raises for various employee groups will be paid according to a schedule below in the coming weeks and months. The schedule allows employees the ability to defer compensation to the SUNY 403(b) program and/or the NYS Deferred Compensation Program (NYSDCP), ahead of the payment dates. Below is the schedule of upcoming raise payments, along with the respective deferral election windows for the SUNY 403(b) program.

Bargaining Unit Check Dates SUNY 403(b) Deferral Election Window
PBANYS APSU BU31 2015-18 Salary and other Increases 7/7/2021 (Admin.) 6/10/21 to 6/23/21
M/C BU 06, 13 (SUNY) 2020 Salary Increase 7/21/2021 (Admin.)
7/29/2021 (Inst.)
6/24/21 to 7/7/21
M/C BU 06, 2020 Performance Advance/Longevity 7/21/2021 (Admin.)
7/29/2021 (Inst.)
6/24/21 to 7/7/21
M/C BU 06, 2021 Performance Advance/Longevity 8/4/2021 (Admin.)
8/12/2021 (Inst.)
7/8/21 to 7/21/21
UUP BU08 2020 Salary Increase 8/4/2021 (Admin.) 7/8/21 to 7/21/21
UUP BU08 2021 Salary Increase 8/18/2021 (Admin.)
9/15/2021 (Admin.)
9/29/2021 (Admin.)
7/22/21 to 8/4/21
8/19/21 to 9/1/21
9/2/21 to 9/15/21
SUNY Discounts*

Members of the SUNY family may be eligible for group discounts and offers from a variety of vendors, merchants, and providers. The following information outlines a few of these discount programs. https://www.suny.edu/benefits/discounts/

* Please note that SUNY does not endorse, support, or benefit from any of the programs or offers listed, and that this information is provided strictly for your information and further exploration. You should carefully review and research any programs or offers before enrolling or providing any personal information. Only representatives from each program, vendor, or merchant are knowledgeable and experienced enough to address your questions or to assist you with their respective programs.

NYS Deferred Compensation Plan

The Deferred Compensation Plan is a voluntary retirement savings program, created by Federal and state law, enabling public employees to defer a portion of their gross pay. The following provides an overview of the plan: NYS Deferred Compensation Plan. For greater detail on the Plan and its benefits, visit the Plan Website at www.nysdcp.com or call the Plan HELPLINE at 1-800-422-8463.

Pre-Retirement Planning

For Pre-Retirement Planning check out the following link: Pre-Retirement Planning. Also, when you are ready to retire, contact Ellen Brown in Human Resources.

2021 Waiver of Holiday Compensation Election for UUP

The collective bargaining agreement between the State and UUP, allows employees to waive holiday compensation for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. To elect to make a change to your current election (waive holiday pay or receive compensatory time off for holidays worked), please fill out the UUP Waiver of Compensatory Time for Holiday Work form and return this waiver to the Payroll office at statepayroll@esf.edu, no later than May 17, 2021. The waiver will remain in effect until at least April 2, 2022.

2021 UUP Waiver of Compensatory Time for Holiday Work


2021 Waiver of Holiday Compensation Election for CSEA, NYSCOBA, PBANYS

The collective bargaining agreements between the State and CSEA,NYSCOPBA, and PBANYS, allow employee waiver of holiday compensation. Consequently, between April 2 and May 17, 2021, employees should notify payroll office in writing, using the attached form, if they elect to waive holiday compensation and choose to receive instead compensatory time off for holidays worked. The waiver will remain in effect until at least April 1, 2022. Employees may also elect to revoke any waiver of holiday compensation now in effect by filing the attached form with the payroll office by May 17, 2022.

Waiver of Holiday Compensation Election Form (PDF)

NY State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS)

Members can now have video consultations with a NYSTRS representative using their own personal electronic device: personal computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. The choice is yours!

Book your appointment today through your MYNYSTRES account at NSTRS.org or by calling 800 -348- 7298 EXT 6100.

"Flex Spending Account" 2020 Claims

NYS employees who contributed to a "Flex Spending Account" (FSA) in 2019, that you must submit all unpaid claims on or by March 31, 2021 for all qualifying expenses incurred by December 31, 2020. If you fail to submit appropriate receipts for any unused funds, by the March deadline date, you will forfeit such contributions and will not receive reimbursement or credit.

To avoid the rush for reimbursement, please mail your 2020 FSA claims along with your receipts to:

WageWorks, PO BOX 14766, Lexington, KY 40512-4766 or Fax: (800) 743-3271 Submit Online: www.myFBMC.com

To download claim forms or other documents, please go to https://goer.ny.gov/program-information#claims-process (for Health Care Spending and Dependent Care).

Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Expanded Family and Medical Leave

As a result of recently enacted federal law, beginning April 1, 2020, every New York State employee, regardless of Attendance Rules coverage and bargaining unit, will be eligible for up to two weeks of paid sick leave if unable to work or work from home because the employee:

Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (FEPSLA)

  1. Is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19;
  3. Is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. Is caring for an individual subject to either an order, as described above in (1), or self-quarantine, as described above in (2);
  5. Is caring for the employee's child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19; or
  6. Is experiencing any other condition specified by the federal government; however, the federal government has not yet identified anything in this category.


  • Leave for numbers 1, 2, and 3 above will be paid at 100% of an employee's regular rate of pay, up to $511.00 daily, capped at $5,110.00 for the two-week period. Leave for numbers 4, 5, and 6 above will be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200.00 daily, capped at $2,000.00 for each two-week period.

FEPSLA leave does not carry over and expires on December 31, 2020.

Federal Emergency Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA)

In addition to the leave described above, New York State employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their request for leave may be eligible for EFMLA. Eligible employees are entitled to 12 work weeks of public health emergency leave from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

For more information please contact Ellen Brown at 315-470-6613 or at ebrown@esf.edu.

The 2021 NYSHIP Option Transfer Period 11/3-/2020 - 12/31/2020

During this period, employees enrolled in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) may change their NYSHIP coverage status and/or NYSHIP plan option for the 2021 plan year, change participation status in the Pre-Tax Contribution Program (without a qualifying event), and enroll in Young Adult Option (YAO) coverage for children up to age 30 who no longer qualify for dependent-status NYSHIP coverage. Please see the links below for NYSHIP information, plan options, and employee share premium rates for 2021:

The Opt-out Program allows eligible employees who have other employer-sponsored group health insurance, to opt out of their NYSHIP coverage in exchange for an annual incentive payment of $1,000 for waiving individual coverage, or $3,000 for waiving family coverage. For eligibility and additional program information, see the 2021 NYSHIP Choices booklet. To enroll in the Opt-out Program, complete and submit the following forms to HR/Benefits office by Thursday, December 31, 2020:

The Pre-Tax Contribution Program (PTCP) allows enrollees to have their health insurance premium deducted from wages before taxes are withheld, which may lower their taxes. Enrollment also restricts changes that can be made to the NYSHIP coverage (e.g., cancelling or switching to individual coverage) to situations in which a qualifying event takes place. Not enrolling in PTCP offers no tax benefit, but allows greater flexibility to make changes to NYSHIP coverage through the plan year. For additional information, see the 2021 NYSHIP Choices booklet.

Option Transfer and PTCP changes can be requested either online or via a completed NYS Health Insurance Transaction Form (PS-404) submitted to HR/Benefits office, no later than Thursday, December 31, 2020.

11/30 -12/31

The 2021 Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP) CSEA/MC/DC37/ Classified Employees

The Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP) for 2021 allows eligible CSEA-represented, DC37-represented, and Management/Confidential (M/C) employees in the Executive branch to exchange previously accrued annual leave (vacation) and/or personal leave in return for a credit to be applied toward their employee share of NYSHIP premiums on a biweekly basis.

The enrollment period for the 202 PEP program runs from Monday, November 2, 2020 through Monday, November 30, 2020.

The completed election form must be filed with Human Resource's Office by the close of business on November 30, 2020.

The PEP summary here and Classified Enrollment form here.


The 2021 Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP) UUP/MC Employees

PEP allows eligible employees to exchange previously accrued annual leave (vacation) for a credit to be applied toward their employee share of NYSHIP premiums on a biweekly basis. Eligible full-time employees who enroll in PEP for 2021 will forfeit annual leave at the time of enrollment in return for a credit to be applied toward the employee-share of their NYSHIP premiums, in accordance with PEP guidelines for their employment group (e.g., MC, UUP). Eligible part-time employees who enroll in PEP will forfeit annual leave in accordance with PEP guidelines for their employment group. In no case can the credit available under the program be applied to the employer share of NYSHIP premiums.

The enrollment period for the 2021 PEP program runs from Monday, November 2, 2020 through Monday, November 30, 2020.


The State University of New York Voluntary Savings Plan 2021 UNIVERSAL AVAILABILITY NOTICE

The State University of New York ("SUNY") provides employees with the opportunity to save for their retirement through the SUNY Voluntary 403(b) Savings Plan (the "Plan"). Participation in the SUNY Voluntary Savings Plan is a great way to build your retirement savings through pre-tax and/or post-tax payroll deduction contributions.


Flex Spending Account (FSA)

FSA is a state employee benefit that saves you money by allowing you to pay for certain expenses with pre-tax dollars. Open enrollment begins 11/2/2020 and will end on 11/30/2020. In addition to the informational flyer, a more detailed brochure and the 2021 FSA enrollment book will be available on the GOER website.

You may also visit the Flex Spending Account website at www.flexspend.ny.gov to view program details online and the enrollment process. You may also call the FSA Hotline at 1-800-358-7202 for more information, where customer service representatives are ready to assist you, or you can email fsa@goer.ny.gov.


2021 Cost of Living Adjustment

On October 26, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2020-79: The 2021 dollar limits are attached.


ATTENTION ALL EMPLOYEES: Time allowed employees to vote on Election


If you do not have 4 consecutive hours to vote, either from the opening of the Polls to the beginning of your working shift, or between the end of your working shift and the closing of the polls, you may take off up to 2 hours, without loss of pay, to allow you time to vote, if you are a registered voter.

  • YOU MAY TAKE TIME OFF at the beginning or end of your working shift, as your employer may designate, unless otherwise mutually agreed.
  • YOU MUST NOTIFY your employer not less than 2 days, but not more than 10 days, before the day of the Election that you will take time off to vote.

* Employers: Not less than ten working days before any Election Day, every employer shall post conspicuously in the place of work where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work, a notice setting forth the provisions of this law. Such notice shall be kept posted until the close of the polls on Election Day. https://www.cs.ny.gov/attendance_leave/TimeOffToVoteNotice.pdf


Health Insurance Premium

Pre-Tax Contribution Program (PTCP)

Under IRS rules, health insurance changes which result in corresponding changes in pre–tax contributions may be made only under specific circumstances.

All changes made after a “change in status event” must be requested within 30 days of the event to qualify for a change in the pre–tax deduction. The only exception to this is newly hired or newly benefits–eligible employees, who have a 42– or 56–day New Hire Waiting Period to make this election. All changes made after these allowable time frames will not qualify for the PTCP and will result in a late enrollment period of five payroll periods.


Important Information & Dates

November 2–30, 2020: Productivity Enhancement Program (PEP)* For eligible New York State employees who are Management/Confidential or represented by CSEA, DC–37 or UUP; Legislature and Unified Court System (UCS)

November 2–30, 2020: Flex Spending Account (FSA) For eligible employees of the State of New York Executive Branch who are Management/Confidential or represented by CSEA, Council 82, DC-37, NYSCOPBA, PBA, PBANYS, PEF, PIA or UUP; Legislature and UCS

Reminders: The Pre–Tax Contribution Program Election Period and the Option Transfer Period now run concurrently. It is no longer necessary to reenroll in the Opt–out Program each year. The NYSHIP Rates & Deadlines for 2021 have not yet been announced.

Please watch for additional details and instructions.


TIAA Retirement Services

TIAA Retirement Services are presently offering discussions via conference calls or virtually. Darryl Fiasconaro the TIAA representative plans to offer several meetings monthly. RSVP today, as space is limited. Register by visiting www.TIAA.org/schedulenow or calling 800-732-8353, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).


AIG Retirement Services

AIG Retirement Services are presently offering discussions via phone, facetime or WebEx. Janet Lake the AIG representative plans to offer meetings, at your convenience monthly. Below are links to register for an appointment, attend webinars and instructions on how to join a WebEx meeting. You may contact Janet directly at 518-727-8538 or 518-783-6464 or janet.lake@aig.com.


The Empire Plan's new telehealth benefit to help access health care services remotely.

The Empire Plan is doing all they can to support its enrollees through this unprecedented time and has introduced a new telehealth benefit to help them access health care services remotely. LiveHealth Online lets enrollees stay home and have a video visit with a board-certified doctor or licensed therapist on their smartphone, tablet or personal computer.

If enrollees are concerned about leaving their homes to receive medical care or their ability to access care, The Empire Plan will cover telehealth visits at no cost. See the attachment for additional information and step-by-step instructions to register or enrollees who are already registered can login to www.empireblue.com/nys to get a coupon code to cover the full cost of their LiveHealth Online visit. For additional assistance, enrollees should be encouraged to call The Empire Plan at 1-877-7-NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447) and select option 2 for the Hospital Program.

Note: A postcard regarding this new benefit will also be mailed to enrollees in the coming week.


VOYA Retirement Contact:
Stephen Donella, Jr. CFP
P: (315) 682-3532

Keeping cool may be hard to do when the market goes on one of its periodic roller-coaster rides. It may be useful to have strategies in place that prepare you both financially and psychologically to handle market volatility. The links below discusses methods investors may wish to use to prevent themselves from making hasty decisions that could have a long-term impact on their ability to achieve financial goals.

Coronavirus Concern (PDF)

Stay the Course (PDF)

Weathering the Storm (PDF)

11 Ways to Keep Cool in a Crazy Market (PDF)