Finance & Administration

Non-Regular Rank and the Affordable Care Act Procedures

Overview

Effective January 1, 2015, all Non-Regular Rank (NRR) faculty members who are benefits eligible have the opportunity to qualify for benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Benefit eligibility is based on the hours worked per week, the weeks worked per year and the contract status. The hours worked per week, the weeks worked per year and the contract status should be maintained throughout the calendar year. In order to ensure that the information is accurately reported for each faculty member Arts and Sciences (A&S) has created procedures to assist in the process. See also the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Procedure

  1. In order to correctly reflect the effort for the faculty member, which determines benefit eligibility under the ACA, determine which payment option should be used:
  • If the A&S faculty member does not currently have a base pay salary then the payment should be submitted as base pay. The practice of using a 0 rate of pay for the base pay and paying by supplement each semester should be discontinued.
  • If the A&S faculty member is currently being paid a base salary then the additional payment should be submitted as a supplement. Adding supplemental pay to a faculty member’s base salary may cause a change in benefit eligibility. It is important to update the hours, weeks and contract status when adding supplemental pay to a base salary.
  • If the faculty member is outside of the A&S organizational unit then the payment should be submitted as a supplement. It is important to contact the primary department of the faculty member to ensure that the work schedule is updated to reflect the hours worked outside of their primary appointment.
  1. For ACA purposes, the hours and weeks determine a NRR faculty member's benefit eligibility and the hours, weeks and contract status must be aligned. The hours, weeks and contract status should be reviewed each August and November updated as needed. If there is a change in hours worked it is important to notify the faculty member. A&S has provided a sample template at the following link: Sample Template for NRR Faculty with Status Change due to ACA.

A change to these fields occur when:

  • New Hire is Processed
    • When a new hire is processed, the hours, weeks and contract status must be completed on the Hire iForm. The information needed can be obtained from the signed offer letter (please send the signed letter electronically, in .pdf format to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Office of Finance & Administration’s employee responsible for Non-Regular Rank Faculty) and/or the departments teaching plan. All new hires must have a signed contract and be on payroll before they start their contractual obligations. Reference the table below to determine the number of hours worked. The number of weeks worked are determined by the semester(s) paid or the offer of a full time contract (9 months paid over 12 months).
  • Change in Work Load
    • When a faculty member has an offer letter for the academic year but there is a change in the work load from one semester to the next.
  • New Offer Letter is Signed
    • When the faculty member is an active employee and receives a new offer letter a Rate and Schedule Change form will need to be submitted for the new salary. The hours, weeks and contract status are also updated using the same Rate and Schedule Change form. All new contracts must be signed and the proper paperwork submitted before they start their contractual obligations.
  • Transfer
    • When transferring a NRR faculty member the Transfer form requires the hours, weeks and contract status be entered on the form.
  • Completion of Teaching Assignment
    • When a faculty member has completed their teaching assignment a Rate and Schedule Change form will need to be submitted if they are to remain on payroll at a 0 rate. The faculty member should not be on payroll at a 0 rate if they do not have a current appointment. For example, if a faculty member has a three year appointment but only teaches one semester per academic year the faculty member can be put at a 0 rate for the semester they are not teaching. At this time their hours should be changed to 1 and their weeks to 1. A single appointment period for a NRR faculty member should not exceed 3 years. At the end of the three year appointment if they will not be reappointed they should be terminated. If they will be reappointed they can remain on payroll at a 0 rate by adjusting their hours to 1 and their weeks to 1. Salary, hours, weeks and contract status will also need to be updated in order to update their benefit eligibility under the ACA. The hours and weeks should be 1 if they are to remain on payroll.
  • Initiating Supplemental Pay
    • If a faculty member receives a supplement either within your own department or from another department, the hours, weeks and contract status should include the effort from the supplemental payment and be adjusted by the primary department accordingly.

Benefit Eligibility Standard - Tasks and Hours Per Week Baseline

Below is an outline of standard tasks and equivalent hours per week identified for non-regular rank faculty. Also included are term definitions and example appointments scenarios.

Tasks Hours per Week
1 Course 12.0
1 Course w/Discussion or Recitation or Lab 16.0
Advising 3.0
Campus Engagement 3.0
Sponsored Research *

Definitions

  • Course: One course equates to 12 hours of service per week. This represents a combination of teaching or classroom time and time performing related tasks such as class prep and grading.
  • Course with Discussion, Recitation or Lab: This includes a course plus a discussion, recitation or lab sections. One course plus a discussion, recitation or lab equates to 16 hours per week.
  • Advising: Advising 5 or more students equates to 3 hours per week.
  • Campus Engagement: Actively providing department lectures, seminars, workshops and/or speaking engagements over a semester is equivalent to 3 hours per week.
  • Sponsored Research: *Hours should be determined by the effort reported on the Effort Certification Report.

Examples

  • A Visiting Professor is hired to teach one course with discussion sessions in the fall semester. In addition, they have been asked to advise 3 students. The total hours worked would equate to 16 hours per week.
  • A Lecturing Fellow is hired to teach 4 courses for the academic year, two for fall semester and two for spring semester. They will also participate in a workshop during the fall semester. The total hours worked would be 27 hours per week for fall semester and 24 hours per week for spring semester.
  • An Instructor is hired to teach 3 classes for the fall semester of 2015 and the 2 classes for the fall semester of 2016. The total hours worked would be 36 hours per week for the fall 2015 semester and 1 hour per week for the spring 2015 semester (in order to remain on payroll at a 0 rate). The total hours worked would be 24 for fall semester 2016.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do you determine whether to pay a faculty member via base pay or supplemental pay?
  • If the A&S faculty member does not currently have a base pay salary then the payment should be submitted as base pay. The practice of using a 0 rate of pay for the base pay and paying by supplement each semester should be discontinued.
  • If the A&S faculty member is currently being paid a base salary then the additional payment should be submitted as a supplement.
  • If the faculty member is outside of the A&S organizational unit then the payment should be submitted as a supplement.
  1. If 4 courses are considered full time then is 1 course considered ¼ time?
  • No, 1 course is equal to 12 hours with a maximum of 16 hours with discussion, recitation or lab. If advising and campus engagements are added at 3 hours per week each the total is 22 hours.
  1. How do I determine the number of hours per week that a NRR faculty member will be working?
  • Use the NRR faculty member’s signed offer letter and the template to determine the hours the faculty member will be working. All contracts must be signed and the proper paperwork submitted before they start their contractual obligations.
  • The weeks as well as the hours should be adjusted to correspond with the actual weeks and hours worked. *The Sponsored Research hours should be determined by the effort reported on the Effort Certification Report.
  1. When should a NRR faculty member be kept on payroll at 52 weeks?
  • The only time a NRR faculty member should be on payroll at 52 weeks is when they have a contract to teach 9 months and are paid over 12 months.
  • If a faculty member has a multiple year appointment but only teaches one semester per academic year the faculty member can be put at a 0 rate for the semester they are not teaching. At this time their hours should be changed to 1 and their weeks to 1. A single appointment period for a NRR faculty member should not exceed 3 years.
  1. How often should the hours worked per week, the weeks worked per year and the contract status be reviewed?
  • Every August and November you should review the hours worked per week, the weeks worked per year and the contract status.
  • If a change in work status occurs the hours worked per week, the weeks worked per year and the contract status should be reviewed and updated as necessary.
  1. What qualifies the NRR faculty member to be considered benefit eligible?
  • Per the Affordable Care Act a NRR faculty member is benefit eligible if they work 30 hours or more per week.
  1. How do I notify a faculty member of a change in eligibility?