Employee Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible for insurance coverage?

In order to be eligible for insurance coverage the following criteria must be met: eligible to participate in the university retirement system, paid salary through local university payroll or the state comptroller, hired to work at least half-time or 50% (18.75 hours per week).

Can an employee waive insurance coverage?

Any full-time employee eligible for insurance coverage may, with proof of other comprehensive health coverage, elect to OPT OUT of the Program. Members who opt out will not be enrolled in health, dental or vision coverage through the Department of Central Management Services. The election to opt-out is entirely voluntary and there are no financial incentives or considerations available to those who opt out.

NOTE: Any full-time new hire, currently covered under their spouse’s state insurance program, will have to be dropped as a dependent and obtain their own State Insurance coverage with SIUSOM. Only employees working less than 50% may remain covered under their spouse’s State Insurance coverage.

Any part-time employee eligible for insurance coverage may elect to WAIVE coverage and need not show proof of other comprehensive health coverage.

NOTE: Again, any part-time new hire, working 50% or more and currently covered under their spouse’s State Insurance program, will have to be dropped as a dependent and obtain their own State Insurance coverage with SIUSOM. Only employee’s hired as less than a 50% FTE may remain covered under their spouse’s State Insurance coverage. Part-time employees will be required to pay a portion of the State’s cost for health, dental and any dependent coverage. The portion the State contributes is the same percentage that the employee works. For example, for a 75% part-time employee, the State will contribute 75% of the State’s cost and the employee will be responsible for the remaining 25% of the State’s cost, in addition to the employee’s salary-based contribution.

If I am already covered under my spouse's state insurance program, can I continue as a dependent and waive coverage as an employee?

Only part-time employees may waive coverage. You can not be covered as an employee and a dependent on the state insurance program. Your spouse would need to contact their agency to terminate your coverage and should inform the employing agency that you will be covered as an employee on the state program and give your date of hire.

If I accept a position, how soon does insurance coverage begin?

New employees are covered effective the first day of employment.

Once hired, how long do I have to decide which insurance plan I want?

New employees have up to 30 calendar days from the initial employment date to make health, dental and life insurance coverage choices. If an employee fails to make the benefit elections within the 30 day period, coverage will automatically be enrolled in the Quality Care Health Plan and Quality Care Dental Plan with basic life insurance coverage. New employees may enroll eligible dependents within the 30 calendar days of employment effective date. If dependent coverage is not elected during the first 30 days, the employee must wait until the next eligibility period to request dependent coverage. Annually there is a Benefit Choice Period during which time employees may make changes to their health insurance coverage.

Is there a pre-existing condition clause on the health plans?

No. Federal Healthcare Reform has eliminated any pre-existing conditions.


What retirement plan options are available?

Employees do not contribute to FICA Social Security but rather are automatically enrolled in the State Universities Retirement System if they are employed in a position that requires work for a continuous academic term or four months, whichever is less. Three different SURS retirement plans are available to employees: the Traditional, Portable or Self-Managed plan. New employees have six months to make the choice as to which option will best suit their needs; the choice is irrevocable. If no choice is made, the employee is defaulted into the Traditional Plan.

How much do employees contribute to retirement and when will contribution begin?

Employees contribute 8% of their gross earnings, including earnings for overtime and vacation payout, at the time of employment separation, if applicable. Employee contributions begin with the first payroll upon hire into a qualifying position.

When is an employee considered to be "vested" in the retirement plan?

Employees are vested upon completion of five (5) years or ten (10) years, depending on the employee’s date of hire and Plan selection.


If I have previous service time with the State of Illinois, can I get credit for this?

Yes, prior qualifying State of Illinois employment may be verified and would then be used to determine the level at which an employee earns or is granted vacation benefits based on appointment type.

Do SIU employees receive the same holidays that State of Illinois employees receive?

No. SIU-SM employees receive thirteen paid holidays each calendar year. There are six designated holidays recognized by the University: Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Memorial Day; and seven designated holidays or administrative closures to be determined by the President of the University. View Holiday Schedule View Holiday Schedule

Where do I park at SIU-SM?

New employees may receive a free five-day parking pass from SIUSOM Security, which will allow them to park in any SIUSOM-designated parking lot while considering their parking options. Employees may either choose to purchase a parking pass for SIUSOM or may choose to find on-street parking.

SIUSOM employees that work in buildings owned by St. John’s Hospital or Memorial Medical Center may have additional parking options. Physicians with hospital staff privileges receive free parking stickers which allow them to park at no charge in the designated physician lots and parking ramps.


SIU parking stickers in Springfield are available for purchase 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Security Office, 801 N. Rutledge (first floor, north door, Room 1085). The basic fee for parking stickers is:

  • for those employees earning less than $35,000 per year and for students, the fee is $25 per year;
  • for employees making between $35,000 and $50,000 the fee will be $40;
  • and for the employees making over $50,000 the fee will be $70.

Additional stickers are available for $20 for each vehicle. All eligible SIU employees using payroll deduction may sign up at Security from July 27 through September 30th to purchase their parking sticker. Deductions from payroll will be taken in October and November.