(aka Five Tips to Maximize Your Faculty Benefits)
(aka Five Easy Ways to Put Money in Your Pocket)
Whether you’re new to MiraCosta, or you're a veteran faculty member, here are five things you should know that can increase your professional development, give a little boost to your retirement, and put some money back in your pocket.
1. Get pay distributed over 12 months and make an extra $250-700
Many faculty like to get a paycheck every month instead of just ten (or eleven) of the twelve months each year. While the district will kindly split it for you, once you sign-up for the 12-month pay option, it’s irreversible until the next year and your money is tied up (even if you need it!).
A better option is to set up a free Paycheck Planner account or Summer Saver account with Schools First Federal Credit Union. The Paycheck Planner will require that you deposit your full paycheck while the Summer Saver does not. For the Paycheck Planner, 10 month faculty have ⅙ of each check put away into the account and 11-month faculty have half of this amount put away. Summer saver is up to $2,000 per month and can be combined with the Paycheck Planner for additional savings. Then, when summer rolls around, you’ll have put away enough to cover the one or two months when you’re not on contract and earned 4% interest! Plus, should an emergency arise and you decide you need the money early, there’s no penalty to withdraw it!
Open an account with Schools First Federal Credit Union online or in person (3430 Marron Rd., Oceanside - across from Walmart; next to Kohl’s).
Complete a Direct Deposit Authorization Form and submit it to HR. There is often a one month delay between filling out the forms and the deposit information being updated. (This will deposit at Schools First and once completed, you can have Schools First set up automatic transfers for Paycheck Planner or Summer Saver)
Sit back and collect an extra $250-700! (Exact amount depends on your annual salary and monthly contributions.)
2. Transfer in sick leave from previous employers
Many of us worked in other school districts before joining the hallowed ranks of MiraCosta College faculty. If that’s you, then make sure you transfer over your accumulated sick leave! Sick leave is a benefit you earned and having extra is always nice should you need it. Plus, any unused sick leave at retirement will be converted to service credit which can increase your defined benefit (pension) for all of retirement! But you have to transfer it during your first three years of full-time employment or it’s lost forever!
Complete the Transfer of Accumulated Sick Leave Form and submit to Payroll.
Tip: Ask the transferring institution to separate out non-contractual (overload or associate faculty) hours from contractual (full-time) hours. This will ensure you earn the most service credit at retirement.
The goal is to make sure you have an equivalent amount of sick leave transferred in. If the other school has 6 hour days for non-contractual work, this matches our contract. However, if the other school has 7 hour days for non-contractual work, it would be best to have those reported as “days” so that you’ll have the correct amount of days transferred in.
3. Get reimbursed for professional dues
Many faculty are members of professional organizations that provide ongoing professional development through publications, conferences, networking with peers, etc. Thanks to our latest Faculty Assembly negotiations, full-time faculty can now be reimbursed 50% of their dues, up to $250! For example, if your annual dues are $400 then you can be reimbursed $200.
4. Absence reporting
Another benefit negotiated by your Faculty Assembly is the option to report absences as either a full-day or half-day. This means if you miss any portion of workload measures (plain-speak: contractual duties) but are able to complete the remainder of that day's workload measures on or off campus, you only need to use a half-day of sick leave rather than a full day. For example, suppose you’re under the weather and have to miss a class or two but are still able to respond to email, grade some papers, and prep a lecture from home. You would only need to report this absence as missing a half day as opposed to a full day. Remember, unused sick leave at retirement increases your service credit! To see what technically falls under "workload measures" in the contract, please refer to section C.1.1 on page 13 of our 2018-2021 contract.
5. Professional development funds, including travel
MiraCosta College is a strong supporter of professional development. Did you know you can get up to $1,850 every year in professional development funds towards conferences, workshops, and tuition, including travel to these events? There are two avenues for funding.
The District sets aside $1,200 per full-time faculty member every year. The caveat is, if you don’t use it during the year, you lose it - no rollover!
The Professional Development Program (PDP) offers up to $650 per faculty. The caveat here is that you must first exhaust your District funds and the funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
District funds: Complete the Travel Request/Claim Form (available from your Dean’s office).
PDP funds: Visit the PDP Travel Funds page on Canvas and follow the instructions. (Remember, these are only available after exhausting any District or Department funds you have available.)
Spread the word to your faculty colleagues! As for me, I just remembered an important conference in Hawaii I need to register for…