Additional Guidance for the Benefits Elections Process
It was brought to my attention that a couple of newly hired faculty members had difficulty at the time of benefits elections, specifically related to allotting “credits” for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Although most have not had an issue, I know it can be a confusing process within Workday, and it’s easy to be confused even if we’re not new! I know when I was hired, I had no existing health insurance, so choosing my plans and my “extra” coverages was a daunting experience. I asked many, many questions throughout the process, and I just might now have the hang of it. Part of the problem with the idea of “Election Credits” is that it’s just a weird term; however, it’s because we are able to allot unused benefit funds into an FSA account that we are in this predicament. If we could re-name “Election Credits,” it might make things clearer, but Workday does not allow this type of customization. But there is some help on the way.
In light of the few issues people have had, in my role as Faculty Assembly Vice President and in leading the Fringe Benefits Sub-Committee of FA, I met with Human Resources Supervisor Carolyn Sneary to inquire about how widespread this issue is (it’s not), and to find out what could be done to help clarify some steps in the process.
Help From the Pros
Carolyn and her team—Briana Schaeffer, Benefits Technician; Bonnie McFadden, HRIS Analyst; and Cherine Rossman, Senior Enterprise Applications Developer—have made the following commitments to assist us in mitigating some confusion:
“A job aid called “Understanding Benefit Credits” will be included with the initial email/orientation video notification. The job aid will provide step-by-step instructions to explain how to spend benefit credits."
"Additional instructions will be added to the benefit enrollment web page to explain benefit credits are available to pay for voluntary benefit elections and the risk of forfeiture if credits are not spent.”
“Our HRIS Analyst has a system alert set-up to send a notification to HR if a new employee submits elections but has not spent their credits. If this occurs, Briana will contact the employee to confirm their elections are as they had intended. [This happens when an employee leaves more than $3 per month in remaining credits].”
Our system for benefits elections is complex and sometimes frustrating, but there will now be a few more pieces of information to help guide us in our decision-making process.