Payroll and Benefits Information for Employees on Unpaid Leave

Introduction

UCSF's Payroll Office is providing this information to help you manage your health and welfare benefits while you are on unpaid leave and after your return to work.  More comprehensive information about leave including types of leave and applying for leave is available on UCSF Human Resources’ PeopleConnect site and the UC systemwide UCNet site.  Links to sites and documents that may be helpful are listed below.

The Payroll Office cannot advise you on the specifics of your leave or your disability claim status.  Contact your Human Resources representative for information about your leave or your disability claim status. HR Leave Management or Find Your HR Representative.

UCSF Human Resources sites

UCNet sites

Your Pay Status and Benefits Eligibility

Impacts of calendar dates on benefits

Benefits premiums, whether deducted from your pay or paid by check during leave, are paid in advance. For example, if you are paid monthly, your check for March earnings will include deductions for April benefits. If you are paid biweekly, in 2018 your March 21 check included deductions for the first half of April. To determine which month’s benefits are being deducted for each pay period, refer to the Biweekly Benefits Deduction Schedule.

Depending on the timing of your leave, if you are paid biweekly you may have paid for benefits coverage for only the first half of a month through payroll deduction, and you will need to pay for benefits coverage for the balance of that month.

Use of accrued sick and vacation hours

Your time spent on leave may include use of accrued sick leave and/or vacation, depending on your needs and eligibility. Work with your HR representative to best address your individual requirements during leave.

Maintaining Your Benefits While on Leave

The Personal Payment Letter

After HR approves your leave without pay, they will notify the Payroll Office who will send you a Personal Payment Letter by USPS mail.  Review your Personal Payment Letter immediately and retain the Letter for future reference.  This letter serves as an invoice for the payments you must make to maintain your benefits while on leave; it is your responsibility to make payments on time to continue your benefits coverage (you will not receive additional notification or monthly reminders). You can choose to continue some or all of your benefits enrollments; those that you do not continue can be reinstated once you return from your unpaid leave. If you have questions after you have received your letter, call the Controller's Office Solution Center or email Payroll Benefits for assistance.

The Personal Payment Letter itemizes the benefits you were enrolled in at the time of your leave, and provides a breakdown of the premiums you must pay to maintain those benefits.

This letter is the official communication from the Payroll Office regarding your premium payment responsibilities. If you have not received your letter within 2 weeks of the commencement of your leave, contact the Controller's Office Solution Center to verify that we have your correct mailing address on file. We can send a duplicate Personal Payment Letter to you, if necessary.

If your leave is extended after you receive your Personal Payment Letter, you should receive a new Personal Payment Letter.  If you have questions contact the Controller's Office Solution Center or email Payroll Benefits.

Benefit costs and coverage based on leave type

Benefit premiums are generally split into employee-paid and employer-paid portions, and the costs you are responsible for while on leave will depend on your Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) coverage, your disability claim status, and the length of time you are on leave. (For information about your specific circumstances, contact your HR representative or refer to HR web resources such as Non-Occupational Leave of Absence and Leave Without Pay Fact Sheet.)

  1. If a portion of your leave is covered by FMLA/CFRA (Family Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act) and you have opened a disability claim:
    • During the FMLA/CFRA coverage period, you are only responsible for the employee-paid portion of your medical premiums. The employer-paid portion of medical, dental and vision premiums are paid for by UC.
    • After the FMLA/CFRA coverage period ends and while your disability claim is still open, you are responsible for paying the employee costs for medical coverage and the employer costs for dental and vision coverage. UC will pay the employer costs for medical coverage only.
    • After your disablity claim has closed and/or 6 months have passed, whichever occurs first, you are responsible for paying both the employee and employer costs for medical, dental and vision coverage for the remaining month(s) of your leave. For example, if your disability claim closes in December, and you do not return to work in January, you are responsible for the full cost of your February benefits coverage.
  2. If your leave is not covered by FMLA/CFRA (Family Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act) but you have an open disability claim:
    • While the disability  claim is still open, you are responsible for paying the employee costs for medical coverage and the employer costs for dental and vision coverage. UC pays the employer costs for your medical coverage only.
    • After the disability claim has closed and/or 6 months have passed, whichever occurs first, you are responsible for paying both the employee and employer costs for medical, dental and vision coverage for the remaining month(s) of your leave. For example, if your disability claim closes in December, and you do not return to work in January, you are responsible for the full cost of your February benefits coverage.
  3. If your leave is not covered by FMLA/CFRA (Family Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act) and you will not be opening a disability claim:
    • You will be responsible for both the employee and employer portions of all of your benefit premiums.

Timing of your benefits payments

After you receive your Personal Payment Letter you must make your first payment by the date included on the first page of the letter to maintain uninterrupted benefits coverage. Subsequent payments will be due each month on the date indicated in your Personal Payment Letter (you will not receive monthly reminders or invoices). You will be automatically de-enrolled from your benefits after two payments are missed. To ensure that you do not experience any break in coverage, it is important that you continue to make payments on time. Contact the UCSF Payroll Office or Payroll Benefits if you have any issues or questions about your payments.

How to pay for your benefits while on leave

Method 1: Personal check, cashier's check or money order

  • Make check payable to UC Regents
  • Mail check to:
    UCSF Payroll Office, Box 0815
    1855 Folsom St, Suite 425
    San Francisco, CA 94143
  • It can take up to 21 days from the date you mailed your check to our office for it to clear your bank account.

Method 2: Credit Card

  • Make a one-time payment in full or installment payments by credit card.
  • When making an installment payment, please indicate the payment coverage month(s) using the Additional Payment Details field.

Adding a new child to your benefits coverage

If you wish to add your new child to your benefits coverage you must do it within your 31-day enrollment period, which begins on the child’s date of birth or, in the case of an adoption, the day you take physical custody of your child or the day you have the legal right to control your child's health care, whichever is later.  Complete the paper UPAY-850 form that you received with your Personal Payment letter, or download the UPAY-850 form.  Return the form by fax or email to Payroll Benefits.

If there are any benefits cost changes related to your new child, you will receive a revised Personal Payment Letter about 7-10 business days after your UPAY-850 form submission. The effective date of your child’s coverage will be their date of birth or, in the case of an adoption, the day you take physical custody of your child or the day you have the legal right to control your child's health care, whichever is later. If you wish to enroll your child in your benefits plans, do not wait until you receive a Social Security Number for your child as that can take several weeks. Once you have received your child’s Social Security Number you can contact HR or the Payroll Office to update your record.

Questions about the timing and receipt of new benefits membership cards should be directed to HR or the benefits carrier.

Opting out of benefits coverage during your leave

If you do not wish to continue some or all of your benefits coverage during your leave, you can opt out by submitting a UPAY-850 form indicating the coverage(s) that you wish to cancel. Complete the paper UPAY-850 form that you received with your Personal Payment Letter or download the form.  Return the form by fax or email to Payroll Benefits.

Failure to properly opt out of benefits may result in unexpected premiums being deducted from your earnings upon your return to work.

Benefits termination

It is important that you make your benefits payments on time each month.  Benefits de-enrollment occurs after two payments are missed. If you have any issues with or questions about your payments or your benefits, contact the UCSF Payroll Office or  Payroll Benefits to discuss your situation.

Returning to Work

Re-enrolling in benefits

If you opted out of your benefits while on leave and wish to re-enroll in your benefits when you return to work, submit another UPAY‑850 form immediately upon your return, indicating that you want to enroll in your benefits plans.

  • If you are returning within 120 days from your first day of leave, you and your eligible family members must re-enroll in the same benefits plans that you were enrolled in before you went out on leave.
  • If you were on leave without pay for longer than 120 consecutive days, you’ll be treated as a newly-eligible employee. You and your eligible family members can enroll in any benefits plans that you are eligible for, even if you were previously enrolled in different plans.

When you return to work, a new Period of Initial Eligibility (PIE) is initiated for you.  During this time you (and/or eligible family members) are allowed to enroll in UC-sponsored benefit plans. After a leave without pay, your PIE starts the first day of eligibility (for example, the day you return to work or resume pay status). It ends 31 days later, or, if the 31st day falls on a weekend, on the next working day. UC defines a working day as a normal business day (Monday through Friday, excluding holidays). Enrollments or re-enrollments must be received by the University within 31 days of your return to work (during your PIE). If you do not re-enroll within this period of eligibility, you will be considered to have opted out of these benefits and will not be able to enroll again until the next Open Enrollment period in November (with coverage effective the following January).

Return to work timing impact on payments

Since you are paying for your benefits in advance on a monthly basis while on leave, if you return to work on or after the first day of the month, you may be required to pay for benefits for that month depending on your situation. When you return to work, any outstanding premium payments will be scheduled as one-time deductions from your first paycheck in addition to the payment for benefits premiums for the subsequent month.

Suspending Voluntary Payroll Deductions

During your leave you will want to suspend certain fees that are deducted from your paycheck. These include fees for gym membership, UCSF parking permits and/or access cards, and vanpools.

403(b) and 457(b) contributions

There is no need to suspend your 403(b) or 457(b) contributions while you are on leave. If you do not have any earnings, the payroll system is programmed to not attempt to take those deductions. Once you return to paid status, your deductions should resume as they were prior to your leave.

Gym membership

To suspend payroll deductions for gym membership dues (i.e., to put your membership into hibernation status), you must make the request in person or by phone by the 15th of the month to take effect the first of the following month. Hibernation applies only to full months, not partial months. If you make your request by phone, an email will be sent to the email address on file. The Fitness Center must then receive written confirmation to complete the request.

Contact information for Member Services is available on Campus Life Services' Fitness & Recreation site.

UCSF Parking Permits

Charges are based upon your possession of a parking permit or garage access card, even if it is not being used. Refunds for parking fees can be made only from the date the garage access card and/or permit is returned to the Transportation Office in person or via postmarked mail. You may temporarily cancel your parking permit if you will be on leave for more than 30 days, not including vacation leave. Your garage access card and permit must be returned for the duration of your leave. Upon your return, your permit and/or garage access card will be reinstated.

Refund or credit cannot be given for leaves of fewer than 30 consecutive days, and cannot be authorized if the permit and/or garage access card are not returned prior to the leave.

More information is available on Campus Life Services' UCSF Transportation site.

Vanpool

UCSF employees who are on approved extended leave of absence due to medical disability or family leave status may reserve vanpool seats for a period not to exceed six months. You must submit a letter from an attending physician or department manager/supervisor indicating the duration of leave to the Parking Supervisor in Transportation Services via your Supervisor, HR representative, or Disability Management. Temporary riders may fill seats reserved in these cases for the duration of your absence.

More information is available on Campus Life Services' Vanpools site.

Fidelity General Purpose Loans

Contact Fidelity directly to confirm that your leave status has been transmitted to them. Once your leave status is entered into their system, your loan will be automatically suspended for up to 12 months. After Fidelity receives notification that you have returned to active status, they will re-amortize the loan and send new loan data to UCSF to restart your repayments. If you wish, you can elect to make payments directly to Fidelity during your leave.  Contact Fidelity Retirement Services at (866) 682-7787.

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