Benefits and Retirement
University of Houston faculty and staff benefit from a comprehensive choice of insurance plans including medical, vision, dental, life, accident, short-term disability, long-term disability, and short-term disability, and flexible spending accounts. Medical coverage is provided through Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) at no cost to full-time benefits eligible faculty and staff. Dependent medical coverage and other insurance coverage is available at attractive rates. Dependent eligibility is subject to an audit by ERS or their designee.
Link to ERS: http://www.ers.state.tx.us/
Faculty and staff who work 20 hours or more per week for a period of 4.5 months or longer in a fiscal year (September through August) are eligible for some benefits, while other benefits are available to employees with 12 month appointments or who work an average of at least 30 hours per week.
After meeting with the Benefits/HRMS Manager (located in the Human Resources office) to review the benefits package, an employee has 30 days from the date of hire/benefits eligibility to elect optional benefits such as dental, vision, or life insurance. An employee has 60 days to select a medical insurance plan and add dependents, otherwise their medical benefits will default to Health Select insurance for self only. These election windows are regardless of any state or university holidays, or university closures. It is the employee's responsibility to learn about their benefits options and make elections in a timely manner.
Changes to benefits can be made outside the 30-day window during annual summer enrollment, which is typically in late July. One can also make benefits changes if one experiences a qualifying life event (QLE). A QLE can be marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or a married partner gaining or losing insurance through their own employer. Please contact the Benefits/HRMS Manager if you have questions about what types of events are considered a QLE for benefits purposes.
All regular, benefits-eligible employees are required by state law to participate in one of two retirement programs offered by the university: Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) or Optional Retirement Program (ORP). In addition to these two programs, all benefits-eligible employees may participate in one or both of our voluntary savings options: Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) and Deferred Compensation.
Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)
Participation in the Teacher Retirement System is open to all benefits-eligible employees of the university. Rights to benefits are vested upon completion of 5 years of creditable service. Currently employees contribute 7.7% of their gross salary monthly and the state contributes 6.8% of the employee's gross salary to a state account to pay retirement benefits. Employees earn interest at a rate of 2% annually on their account balance.
The Optional Retirement Program (ORP)
Optional retirement plans are available to full-time (100 percent FTE) benefits-eligible faculty members and certain professional administrative staff under the provisions of State law. Employees may obtain a list of approved companies and their representatives from the Human Resources Department. It is the employee's responsibility to select a company in which to invest their retirement contributions. All benefits eligible employees will automatically be enrolled in the TRS plan and have 90 days from his/her official hire date to elect the ORP plan in lieu of TRS.
Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) or Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA)
The tax deferred annuity program or supplemental retirement annuity is offered to all benefits eligible employees. Investments are through life insurance companies and mutual fund companies licensed to do business in the State of Texas. All contributions are excluded from taxable income until distributed from the account to the employee.