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Frequently Asked Questions

For answers to additional questions, please visit AskDrexel.

Benefits Enrollment

How do faculty and professional staff enroll for benefits?

Drexel University faculty and professional staff enroll for benefits via the My Drexel Benefits portal. You can log in to My Drexel Benefits through DrexelOne

by selecting the Employees tab and then the My Drexel Benefits link under the My Benefits heading. Most elections are annual elections and cannot be changed during the year unless you experience a qualified life event. Open Enrollment is held during the month of November for the following year's benefits.

What is a qualified life event?

Medical, prescription drug, dental, vision and health and dependent care spending account contributions are made on a pre-tax basis. This reduces your taxable income, therefore reducing the taxes you owe. However, this also means that once selected, you generally cannot change your coverage until the next open enrollment period. The exception to this rule is if you have a qualified life event. The change to your benefits must correlate directly with the qualified life event. Appropriate qualified events include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Death of a spouse, same-sex domestic partner, or dependent child
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Spouse’s termination of employment or new job
  • Change of employment status from full-time to part-time or vice versa
  • Taking an unpaid leave of absence
  • Returning to work after a leave of absence
  • Open enrollment of spouse’s plans

See the Qualified Life Event page for more information.

What can I expect to receive after I enroll?

After you have completed your benefits enrollment you can expect to receive insurance cards for plans you enrolled in, a medical spending account MasterCard if enrolled in the medical spending FSA, and a notice of your COBRA rights. Employees enrolled in the High Deductible plan will receive a Visa card for their Health Savings Account. Please note you will not receive a dental card from Cigna.

When do my new elections become effective?

If you are enrolling for the upcoming plan year during open enrollment, your benefit elections go into effect on January 1. If you are newly hired or newly eligible, your benefit elections go into effect the first of the month following your date of hire.

Domestic Partnerships

Are there any implications for enrolling a domestic partner or domestic partner's child/children?

Since domestic partners and their children cannot be considered dependents for the purposes of the employee’s tax return, payments for premiums on the behalf of the partner and non-dependent children must be paid in post-tax dollars. Further, the employee should be aware that contributions made by the University on behalf of the domestic partner and non-dependent children may result in imputed income to the employee. You are required to register your partner for him or her to be considered eligible for benefits. To do so, you must complete and return the Domestic Partner Affidavit for Drexel Employees [PDF].

What is the imputed income for domestic partner coverage?

Currently the IRS says that if an employee receives employer-paid benefits for anyone who is not the employee’s tax dependent, the value of the coverage is “imputed income” and is taxable. The additional coverage for your domestic partner and/or your partner’s children becomes a taxable benefit, unlike medical coverage for other enrolled family members. Imputed income is separate from, and in addition to, your payroll deduction. The amount of your imputed income depends on the plan(s) you choose and the level of your coverage. Imputed income is taxable. It increases your taxable gross income as well as your FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes withheld from your paycheck. Imputed income is reported on your annual W-2 that you file with the IRS each year.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

What is a health care spending account?

A health care spending account permits employees to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified uninsured health-related expenses. By setting aside the money on a pre-tax basis you are reducing your taxable income and the taxes you would pay on that money. The funds cannot be used to pay for insurance premiums. The maximum contribution is $2,750 per calendar year. The funds can be used to pay for medical and dental plan deductibles and co-payments, certain uninsured medical expenses, and other eligible expenses such as contact lenses or eyeglasses for you or your family. Health care spending accounts can also reimburse expenses for nonprescription or over-the-counter medications and other items such as Claritin, Tylenol, Motrin, band-aids, antacids and cough medications. Expenses that are not covered include items that are beneficial to your general health such as vitamins and herbal supplements.

Are reimbursements based on when I had the service or when I paid for the service?

Reimbursement for health care expenses is based on when you had the service (incurred the expense), not on when you paid the bill.  Per IRS regulations, all expenses must be incurred before the end of the calendar year and submitted no later than three months after.

What is a dependent care spending account?

Under IRS regulations, a married employee with a working spouse or a single parent may allocate up to $5,000 in pre-tax dollars to a dependent care account.  Expenses payable through the account are those incurred in order to permit the individual (and if married, the spouse) to work, rather than caring for their dependent full-time.

What dependents qualify under the dependent care spending account?

Dependents who qualify include children up to age 13 and any other dependent (such as a disabled spouse or elderly parent) who is physically or mentally incapable of self-support and who is claimed as a dependent on the employee's federal tax return. Reimbursable expenses include care provided inside or outside the home, day care centers that meet state licensing requirements, and preschool tuition. This covers custodial care only and does not cover overnight expenses, such as some camps.

Do I need to enroll in the Pre-Tax Parking Program if I park in a Drexel/American Academic Health System facility?

No. Since your monthly cost is already being deducted from your pay on a pre-tax basis, you do not need to enroll in the Pre-tax Parking Program.

Life, Long-Term Care, and Disability Insurance

What is the difference between life insurance and personal accident insurance?

Both life insurance and personal accident insurance protect your family’s financial security in the event of death.  However, there are some basic differences between the plans.  Both pay a benefit if you die; however personal accident only pays if the cause of death was accidental.  Personal accident also pays benefits when an accident results in the loss of a limb or sight.

How do I designate a beneficiary for my life insurance?

Beneficiaries should be designated by visiting EnrollOnline.  It is important to periodically review your beneficiary designations to ensure they are up-to-date.

What is long-term care?

Long-term care is the type of care received either at home or in a facility when someone needs assistance with the activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, continence, or eating).

Who can I cover with LTC insurance?

You can buy policies that will cover yourself, your spouse, parents, grandparents or siblings.  Depending on the type of coverage and when purchased, a completed medical questionnaire may be required.

Who pays for the Long Term Disability Plan?

Drexel does. Drexel adds an amount equal to the cost of Long Term Disability to your regular base pay, and then a corresponding amount for this premium is deducted from your pay.

Why is John Hancock closing down enrollments under our group long term care policy?

According to John Hancock, this decision was prompted by the historically low interest rate environment that is expected to continue for an extended period of time.

Will employees who are newly eligible be able to enroll after December 31, 2011?

No.  The decision to cease new enrollments applies to all applicants.

For applicants who need to go through underwriting, does the underwriting need to be completed by December 31, 2011?

No.  The enrollment application must be postmarked by December 31, 2011, but underwriting activities may take place in early 2012.

Will insureds be able to purchase optional inflation additions or other coverage increases after December 31, 2011?

No.  The enrollment application must be postmarked by December 31, 2011, but underwriting activities may take place in early 2012.

Does this impact John Hancock's ability to pay claims?

No.  John Hancock will continue to service all current insureds and any current or future claims will not be affected by this action.  John Hancock continues to be highly rated by the five rating agencies and ratings are a comprehensive measure of the financial strength of an insurance company.

Who should I contact if I have further questions?

Please call your John Hancock customer service line at 1-800-200-3334.

Medical Plans

Do I have to participate in Drexel's medical and prescription drug plans?

All Full Time faculty and professional staff are required to have medical and prescription coverage either with the University or must provide proof of other coverage. Full-time faculty and professional staff who do not enroll and fail to provide proof of other coverage will be defaulted into single coverage under the Keystone POS and prescription drug plan with the appropriate payroll deductions. Full Time faculty and professional staff who decline medical and prescription drug coverage and provide the required proof of other coverage will receive a monthly waiver bonus.

What is a Point-of-Servce (POS) Plan?

In order to receive the highest level of coverage, POS plans require the use of specific plan providers and require the election of a primary care physician (PCP).  This physician serves as the “gatekeeper” for medical services, meaning that you need to consult with your PCP prior to receiving services from most specialist physicians or other providers.  In addition, a POS permits you to seek care outside the network and see an in-network specialist without having to see your PCP, but at a lower level of coverage.

What is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)?

A PPO is a group of hospitals and physicians under contract to an insurance company.  Health care providers in the PPO provide care to members for negotiated fees and co-payments.

What does "out-of-network" mean?

When you see a provider who is not part of the POS or PPO network, you are responsible for a greater portion of the cost of your care, and you may also be subject to deductibles and coinsurance.  In addition, you might be subject to “reasonable and customary” limits, which means that you might be responsible for any amount the provider charges above the insurance company’s payment.

Do Drexel's medical plans have a pre-existing conditions clause?

A pre-existing condition is an illness for which treatment has been rendered within 12 months preceding the date of enrollment into an insurance plan.  The university’s medical plans do not have a pre-existing conditions clause.

How do I get medical care if I am away from home?

To locate a provider when away from home visit Blue Cross Blue Shield's website or call 1-800-810-Blue.

What types of expenses might my family or I incur?

There are several ways in which you might incur medical or dental expenses, some of which can be avoided. Below are definitions of common benefits terms as well as explanations of how they might impact your expenses.

  • Deductible: The dollar amount you must pay each year before your medical and/or dental plan begin to pay benefits for certain covered expenses.
  • Coinsurance: After you meet the deductible (if applicable), your health plan pays a specified percentage of the charges for covered services. You pay the remaining expenses, and this is called co-insurance. For example, if the plan pays for 90 percent of a covered expense, the other 10 percent, for which you are responsible, is the coinsurance.
  • UCR or R&C: Refers to the “Usual, Customary and Reasonable” or “Reasonable and Customary” fees, which physicians, health care facilities, or other health care providers in the same geographic area charge for similar services. Plans that pay 100 percent of UCR or R&C pay 100 percent of the usual, customary, and reasonable fees for that service. If providers have an affiliation with the plan, they are obligated to accept the plan’s UCR or R&C as payment in full. If providers are not affiliated with the plan, they are not obligated to accept the UCR or R&C and you may have to pay charges in excess of the payment made by the plan even if the plan usually covers the service at 100 percent.
  • Co-payment or Co-pay: A flat per-service charge that you pay for services such as doctor's visits or prescriptions.
  • Out-of-pocket Maximum: The most you have to pay out of your own pocket during the plan year in co-insurance after you meet your deductible, as long as your providers accept your plan's UCR or R&C. Once you reach this limit, the plan pays 100 percent of UCR or R&C.
  • Lifetime Maximum: The greatest amount payable by the plan in a subscriber's lifetime.
  • Benefit Maximum: The greatest amount payable by the plan for a specific covered service.
  • Prior Authorization: Before receiving certain medical procedures or prescription drugs, insurance companies require that you obtain prior authorization or you may be responsible for full payment. Consult your plan’s summary plan description or call the carrier for details.
  • Pre-certification: A program that requires a medical review before hospital admissions and surgical procedures are approved. If a procedure requires pre-certification and you do not obtain it, you may be responsible for full payment. Consult your plan’s summary plan description or call the carrier for details.

Retirement Plans

When can I participate in the 403(b) retirement plan?

If you are an eligible employee, you may begin participating in the plan to make employee pre-tax contributions or after-tax (Roth) contributions as soon as practicable after your date of hire. You may begin this participation by completing an online salary deferral to make pre-tax or after-tax (Roth) contributions on TIAA's website. Your contributions to the plan will begin as early as the first payroll period after the receipt and processing of your salary deferral agreement by TIAA and submitted to the University unless you specify a later date. Please allow at least one to two payroll cycles for the deductions to begin.

How do I know if I am an eligible employee?

You are eligible to make pretax and/or Roth contributions to the plan if you are an employee of the University, or Drexel University Online, LLC. You are not eligible to participate if you are:

  • A student performing services as described in IRS code section 3121(b)(10)
  • A leased employee as defined in IRS code section 414(n)
  • An independent contractor (even if you are later reclassified as an employee)

What is automatic enrollment, and who is eligible to be automatically enrolled?

All eligible employees (full-time, part-time, adjunct, per diem, casual, temporary, co-op) will be auto enrolled.

If you do not make an election to participate in the plan or affirmatively elect not to participate in the plan within 31 days of hire, you will be automatically enrolled in the plan to make employee pretax contributions at the rate of 2 percent per pay.

If you do become automatically enrolled in the plan, you may elect to stop future contributions at any time. Any elections to participate, to not participate, or to change your contribution rate can be made through your TIAA retirement account, accessible through DrexelOne.

Automatic enrollment does not apply to certain collectively bargain employees.

What if I get automatically enrolled and deductions were taken from my check?

Once contributions have been deducted from your check and deposited into your TIAA account, they are not immediately accessible to withdraw. Those funds must follow the rules of the plan for withdrawal which state that you must terminate all employment with the University or retire from all service with the University before you can elect to receive a distribution of your account. Review page 12 in the Summary Plan Description [PDF] for more information.

Who is eligible for a Drexel contribution?

Full-time and part-time employees are eligible on a payroll basis and employees classified as adjunct, casual, temporary, per diem or co-op are eligible on a plan year basis if employee had at least 1,000 hours of service and was an eligible employee on the last day of the plan year. Union employees are eligible to make employee contributions only. Student employees are not eligible to participate.

Does Drexel contribute to my retirement plan?

Yes, if eligible for a university contribution, the university will match any percent that you contribute, up to a maximum of 6% per pay. PLUS, the university will make an additional contribution based on age. If you are under 50, you will receive an additional 3% from the university. If you are over 50 you will receive an additional 5%.

How much must I contribute to the plan in order for Drexel to contribute?

Drexel University contributions begin when an employee commits to at least a 1% contribution.

How do I enroll?

To enroll or make changes to your 403(b) contributions log in to DrexelOne and select the Employee tab. Scroll down to the My Benefits section on the left-hand side of the screen and select the link for Retirement Plan Management, which will take you to the portal.

The system will not allow me to enter in dollar amounts. Why?

Since the plan is based on a match system, only full percentages are able to be entered as elections.

Am I required to contribute six percent, or can I elect for a lower contribution?

If you are an eligible employee, the University will match your contributions dollar for dollar up to a maximum of six percent. However, you are not required to contribute that much in order to participate. You can contribute as little as one percent per pay and still receive a match and University contribution. Example: John Doe is 53, and he contributes two percent pre-tax. He will have another two-percent employer match plus five-percent basic contribution for a total of nine percent of his pay deposited into his account each payroll.

I have a dollar amount in mind that I want to contribute but I am not sure how to factor that into a percentage for my election. How can I do this?

To determine the percentage amount that is closest to your desired dollar amount, divide the amount you want to contribute by the amount of your gross salary (weekly, biweekly, or monthly depending on your pay schedule). You will then want to multiply that percentage by the gross salary. Since the desired amount may not be exact, you can increase the percentage by whole percent amounts.

For example: John wishes to contribute about $150 per pay. He is a monthly paid employee and his annual salary is $52,000.

$52,000/12 = $4,333.33 (monthly salary)

$4,333.33 x .03 = $129.99

$4,333.33 x .04 = $173.34

You must choose a whole percentage amount therefore you can choose either three percent or four percent of the salary.

May I contribute more than six percent, and, if so, how much more?

You can elect to contribute a maximum of 75 percent of your pay. However, the IRS annual compensation limit will state the maximum you can contribute each year. Drexel’s payroll system will automatically end your contributions when you reach the annual limit. This annual limit is determined by the IRS and may increase each year.

I was enrolled in a 403(b) plan with my prior employer. How does that change my 403(b) enrollment at Drexel?

If you were enrolled in a 401(k), 403(b) or another qualifying retirement plan with your previous employer in the current tax year, your total contributions to all of your plans cannot exceed the annual IRS contribution limit. This is the employee’s responsibility to monitor contributions between multiple employers.

Will my contributions ever be taxed?

Pre-tax contributions are calculated before taxes. Roth contributions are calculated after-tax. When you retire and begin to receive distributions from your account, or when you remove funds from the plan after you leave Drexel, the funds will be taxed unless they were contributed as Roth dollars. There is a penalty of 10 percent if you remove funds before age 59 ½. After you leave Drexel, you may convert your 403(b) plan to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or another employer’s 403(b) or 401(k) plan without penalties or taxes. Then, when you are ready to remove the funds, they will be taxed.

Do I own the Drexel contribution or will I lose it if I leave Drexel?

The Drexel contribution is “vested” (you own it) from the first day the contribution goes into your plan.

Where may I invest my money?

TIAA is the University’s single retirement plan recordkeeper. You can access your account on through DrexelOne.

Can I withdraw funds from my 403(b) account while I am still employed?

Hardship Withdrawals

You may be eligible to withdraw up to the full amount of Employee Pre-Tax Contributions and Roth Contributions in your account (but not earnings post 1/1/89).

To qualify you must have an Immediate and Heavy Financial need (a “hardship”). If you make a hardship withdrawal prior to your attainment of age 59½, you may be subject to a 10% excise tax on the amount of the withdrawal.

In-Service Withdrawals

You may be eligible to withdraw amounts in your account prior to your termination of employment with the University if you have reached age 59½. Subject to spousal consent you can receive the requested in-service withdrawal in a lump sum or in any other form permitted by TIAA. You may continue to make Employee Pre-Tax and Roth Contributions to the plan and be eligible for Employer Contributions even though you have elected an in-service withdrawal after age 59½.

For more detailed information on hardship and in-service withdrawals, review pages 9-10 in the Summary Plan Description [PDF].


When do my health benefits end if I terminate employment? Can I continue my benefits after I leave?

Your benefits will end on the last day of the month you are employed. Once your benefits end, you will receive information on COBRA directly from the our benefits administrator, Benefitexpress. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. It's a law that permits you and your eligible dependents to continue your health care coverage for a specific period of time after your employment ends. To continue coverage through COBRA, you are required to pay 102 percent of the actual cost of coverage. Please call Benefitexpress 1.844.690.3992 with COBRA questions.

Can I continue my life insurance and long-term disability if I leave the University?

A conversion option is available for Basic Life and Long-Term Disability insurance upon termination. Supplemental voluntary life insurance is portable. Upon termination you may continue this coverage by paying the premiums directly to the insurance company, but will not be eligible for Drexel group rates.

Where can I find more information on termination of employment?

Please see the University Policy HR-48, Termination of Employment:

What happens with my benefits after my employment ends?

Please review the Guide to Benefits After Employment Ends [PDF] for details.

Tuition Exchange

What makes an employee eligible for their dependent child to apply?

An eligible employee is a current faculty or professional staff member who prior to the first day of classes for the term for which Tuition Exchange benefits are sought, is in a full-time position and has served a minimum of five years of full-time employment at Drexel.

How is "dependent" defined?

An eligible dependent child is:

  1. born to the Drexel employee,
  2. adopted by the Drexel employee, or
  3. that have the Drexel employee as legal guardian prior to the commencement of the academic year.

How many years can I receive the benefit?

The benefit is available (for undergraduate students) for a total of four years (or eight semesters). Students must meet the importing institution's published standards to continue the benefit.

Are the awards guaranteed for all four years?

The award is renewable each year provided the student remains in good academic and social standing. Both the exporting institution and Drexel must continue to participate in Tuition Exchange during the subsequent eight semesters. In addition, the family member whose employment conveyed eligibility for a scholarship must continue to meet the exporting Drexel eligibility criteria.

Is a scholarship guaranteed to all eligible applicants?

No. Family members eligible for Tuition Exchange Scholarships are not guaranteed an award.
Scholarships are not fringe benefits; they are competitive awards. Even if you and your family are eligible to apply for an award, you may not receive an award because each institution is obligated to maintain a balance between students sent on the exchange (exports) and students received on the exchange (imports).

How competitive is the admissions process?

Tuition Exchange Scholarships are competitive. In addition to meeting the admissions requirements of the receiving institution, some member institutions have established additional requirements such as higher entrance standards or limit awards to just a few new students each year.

Does being a Tuition Exchange Program recipient guarantee (or affect) my admission to the college?

The benefit should have no effect on admission to the college.

What happens to my benefit if my parent becomes ineligible for the benefit in the middle of a term?

In the event the employee loses eligibility in the middle of a term the benefit will cease at the end of the term.

Should I apply for college admission before, after, or simultaneously with applying for the Tuition Exchange Program benefit?

Students should apply for college admission simultaneously with applying for the Tuition Exchange Program benefit.

Is the Tuition Exchange Program benefit taxable?

The Tuition Exchange Program benefit itself is not taxable. However, Federal tax law requires that scholarships or grants which exceed the cost of tuition, fees, and books such as scholarship for room or board are taxable. For more information please consult your tax advisor.

What happens to the other types of financial aid that I receive?

The complex nature of financial aid programs requires that many factors be taken into consideration. If the aid program is specific to tuition, the student may not obtain additional money (since Tuition Exchange Program covers full tuition). If however, the aid can be used for other educational expenses, it is at the discretion of the college to allow the additional aid to offset the Tuition Exchange Program benefit or to be in addition to the Tuition Exchange Program benefit.

I was told I am eligible for the Tuition Exchange Program benefit. Should I expect something in writing from the host institution?

Yes, you should expect a formal letter from the "importing" institution which outlines the value of the benefit and any terms and conditions for receipt and/or continuation of the benefit.

How many awards are there?

Drexel University will award up to 12 awards to dependents of Drexel full-time employees who wish to attend institutions other than Drexel University that participate in the Tuition Exchange program. The number of awards is divided between six faculty members and six professional staff members, totaling 12 candidates for each new academic year. In addition, up to 12 awards will be offered to children of employees from Tuition Exchange Institutions wishing to attend Drexel University.

How much is the award?

Drexel offers the minimum amount set by the Tuition Exchange organization, which is the lesser of full tuition or $35,000 for the 2017-2018 academic year. The student is responsible for tuition above the $35,000 cut off.

Tuition Remission

Where can I find my University ID number?

All employees are given a University ID number when activating computer accounts. If you are unsure of your University ID, please visit the Computer Accounts Management Service.

How often do I have to submit a Tuition Remission application?

Employees applying for tuition remission for themselves must complete the online application process before every academic term for which they intend to register.

Qualified family member tuition remission applications are due annually by February 1, before the start of the academic year of the family member's enrollment.

Do I owe anything if I withdraw from a class or if my family member withdraws from a class?

Yes, if you are an employee using tuition remission for yourself (please see below for more info on this). If you are using tuition remission for a family member, then you will not owe if that family member withdraws from a class.

If you are an employee using remission for yourself, please be mindful of the add/drop period. If an employee withdraws AFTER the drop/add period, you lose the benefit for that class and as such will be responsible for paying the full cost of tuition, as well as any related fees, for that class. A hold will be placed on your student account, and the remission benefit suspended, until the debt is repaid. This is also noted is the official tuition remission policy for faculty and professional staff.

Can I use Social Security numbers in place of employee and student University ID numbers?

To protect your personal information, we do not accept Social Security numbers and ask that you use University ID numbers.

I am concerned about my sensitive and private tax information being submitted in the proof of dependency. Is there any way around this?

Employees are encouraged to darken out financial information and Social Security numbers, as Human Resources is only concerned with verifying dependency.

What is the IRS Form 4506-T? How do I complete this form?

As outlined in Drexel University Policy HR-23, Tuition Remission for Family Members, the tuition remission application for a dependent child must include an IRS Form 4506-T. The Drexel Human Resources (HR) Department requires a copy of the Form 4506-T on file in the event tuition benefits are audited by the IRS. The employee needs to complete sections one (1) thru five (5) of the form (Drexel University is the requesting party) and sign at the bottom. HR will complete section six (6) of the form.

Who is eligible for Graduate Tuition Remission?

Only full-time benefit eligible employees may take Graduate courses under the Tuition Remission benefit. Please view the Tuition Remission Policy for additional information.

I submitted my application but have not heard anything. Should I be worried?

Average turnaround time for tuition remission processing is one (1) week. Human Resources verifies employee eligibility and information is shared with Drexel Central where the benefit is applied to the student account. The annual electronic tuition bill can be viewed under the Student tab in DrexelOne, where you can confirm tuition remission processing.

What is and is not taxable?

Undergraduate Tuition Remission is not taxable. Graduate taxability terms [PDF] can be found in the Payroll section of Drexel's Office of the Comptroller website. Additional questions should be directed to a tax specialist. Employees can also email for questions about graduate course taxes.

Why do I have to submit so much information for Tuition Remission to verify dependency?

The University reserves the right to verify pertinent information for all benefit eligibility. This verification is needed to ensure the benefit is being used as intended.

General Family Medical Leave (FML) Questions

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain qualifying events.  Paid leave must be substituted for unpaid leave in certain cases per Drexel’s policy.

Who is eligible for Family and Medical Leave?

You are eligible for Family and Medical Leave (FML) if you have been employed by the University for at least twelve (12) months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of the leave.

How is the 12-month period determined?

The 12-month period is a rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date FML begins.

Do the 1,250 hours include paid leave or other absences from work?

No, the 1,250 hour requirement only includes time that counts towards “hours worked.”  So, for example, the 1,250 hours would not include:

  • Vacation, sick and personal holidays or
  • Previous periods of FML leave

For what reasons can I use FML?

Eligible employees can use FML for the following reasons:

  • An employee’s own chronic health condition, including disability due to pregnancy   and/or post-partum;
  • The birth and care of an employee’s newborn child;
  • The placement of an adopted son or daughter or a foster child with an employee (leave must conclude within 12 months after placement);
  • The care of an employee’s immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition;
  • An employee’s own serious health condition that makes him or her unable to work;
  • FMLA also allows up to 26 weeks of leave to employees who provide care to wounded U.S. military personnel and 12 weeks of FML to the immediate family members of soldiers, reservists and members of the National Guard who have a “qualifying exigency.”

What is a serious health condition?

Serious Health Condition is defined as an illness, injury or impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing care by a health-care provider:

  • a period of incapacity requiring absence of more than three calendar days that involves continuing treatment by a health-care provider;
  • pregnancy and time needed for prenatal visits;
  • a chronic health condition, such as asthma or diabetes;
  • a long-term condition such as Alzheimer’s; or
  • multiple treatments by a health-care provider for a condition that likely would result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated (such as physical therapy for a back injury).

I would like to take FML for an elective surgery. Is this allowed?

Some elective surgeries are allowed under the FML policy depending on the type of procedure and the employee's medical history. You should contact Lincoln Financial Group at 1.888.992.0549, or apply online by logging into DrexelOne and selecting "Leave of Absence" in the My Benefits section under the Employee Tab, and they will make the determination on whether your leave can be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Can leave for childbirth or adoption be taken at any time?

No.  This type of leave must be taken within 12 months after the birth or placement for adoption or foster care.  In some instances, the leave may start before the birth or placement for adoption, such as leave for pre-natal care or for home studies in connection with adoption.

Can leave be taken to care for children any age?

  • Non-military FML is only available to care for a child under the age of 18, or a child over the age of 18 with a disability where the child is unable to perform activities of daily living without assistance.
  • However, the FMLA regulations contain special definitions for son and daughter for both of the military leave provisions.  For qualifying exigency leave, an eligible employee may take leave for his or her son or daughter on active duty or call to active duty status which is defined as the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or child for whom the employee stood in loco parentis, who is any age.
  • Under the FMLA for military caregiver leave, a parent of a covered service member means a covered service member’s biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother, or any other individual who stood in loco parentis to the covered service member.  This term does not include parents “in law.”

How much paid time off am I entitled to for pregnancy?

Disability resulting from pregnancy is treated like other disabilities with respect to paid leave time. The normal period of disability from the date of delivery is a maximum of six (6) weeks for a normal delivery, eight (8) weeks for a Caesarean Section or the length of time stipulated to be medically necessary by the employee's physician. Prior to start of taking leave or disability, short-term disability must be elected during open enrollment, or as a new hire.

Note: If applicable, the amount of leave that will be paid depends upon the amount of sick and vacation accrued (used in that order) and the short-term disability payments.

My spouse and I are employees of the University and are expecting the birth of our child. Can both of us apply for a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Yes.  Under Drexel’s FML Policy, where both parents/domestic partners are employed by the University, they are each entitled to 12 weeks of FML for the birth and care of their newborn child, or for the care and placement of a child for adoption or foster care.  FMLA applies equally to male and female employees.

How do I add my newborn and/or newly adopted child to my health insurance?

You have 31 days from the birth, to make a change to your benefit elections due to this qualifying life event. You will be required to furnish written proof of a status change event such as a birth announcement or birth certificate. Employees do not have to wait for the birth certificate or birth announcement to arrive to begin the life event process. Employees can enroll their child as early as the birthdate. To initiate your change, please visit the online enrollment system through DrexelOne.

  1. Log in to DrexelOne.
  2. Select the Employees tab.
  3. Select the My Drexel Benefits link under the My Benefits heading.

FML Application Process

How much notice do I have to give my supervisor before I go out on FML?

Employees seeking FML are required to provide their supervisors and Lincoln Financial Group at least 30-day notice of the proposed leave. Where advance notice is not possible, such as in the event of a medical emergency, notice should be given as soon as possible. Failure to give advance notice, where foreseeable, may delay or postpone the commencement of the leave.

What proof must I submit to validate my request for Family Medical Leave?

Medical certification from a health care provider will be required if FML is based on a serious health condition of an employee or family member. The University also requires medical certification/birth certificate if the FML is due to the birth of a child. Additionally, an "Intent to Adopt" form is required if the FML is for the placement of a child for adoption. Failure to provide such certification may result in the delay or denial of the employee's leave. Please notify your supervisor and contact Lincoln Financial Group.

How long do I have to obtain the completed medical certification form from a health care provider?

The medical certification must be provided within 15 calendar days of Lincoln Financial Group's request. Employees should be aware that in certain circumstances, you may be required to submit re-certification of a medical condition. In addition, employees may be required to report when they intend to return to work. Whenever an employee learns of a change in the anticipated length of a FML, the employee must notify Lincoln Financial Group and their immediate supervisor within three business days of knowing of the change.

Coordination of FML and Sick Leave/Short-term Disability/Worker's Compensation

What happens if I am injured on the job and my doctor recommends that I stay home from work for one month? Will I utilize my accrued sick time to cover this period of recuperation? Would this job-related injury count against my FML entitlement?

In the event of a work-related injury or illness that will result in a loss of time, Worker’s Compensation payments will begin only after the 7th calendar day of absence (the waiting period).  During the waiting period, the employee’s sick leave may be used.  Employees who are out of the workplace due to a work-related injury or illness may be required to concurrently use benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Policy if the reason for the absence is due to a qualifying illness or injury. For additional information regarding Worker’s Compensation payments, please contact the Office of Risk Management.

I would prefer not to use any of my sick leave during my FML. Can I choose to be unpaid for the full 12 weeks of leave even though I have sick leave?

No.  If an employee takes FML because of their own serious health condition, the employee must substitute any unused sick leave, if applicable, for any unpaid FML. 

Under what circumstances can I use short-term disability?

Short-term disability payments may be used (if applicable) for an approved continuous leave for an employee’s own serious health condition.  Payments cannot be paid for any other reason. 

Short-Term Disability payments may be paid provided the duration of illness has exceeded the elimination period. If enrolled in the standard short-term disability plan, the benefit will commence on the 31st day after disability begins. If enrolled in the enhanced short-term disability plan, the benefit will commence on the 15th day after disability begins.

Coordination of FML and Other Benefits

If I am out on FML and have exhausted my paid time (i.e. sick and vacation days) does my health insurance coverage end?

No, during any FML, the University will maintain the employee’s medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance coverage under the same conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had been continuously employed during the entire leave period.  The University and the employee will each continue to pay their portion of the benefit costs.  The employee’s benefit deductions will build up in arrears within the payroll system.  As soon as the employee receives his/her first check the total cost will be subtracted.  An employee, who fails to return to work from FML, will be required to reimburse the University for the premiums paid to maintain health coverage.

FML Returning to Work

What is my responsibility upon returning to work from FML?

If FML is due to your own serious health condition, you must present a note from your physician stating that you are able to return to work.  The note must specify the date that you are released to return and must list any physical or other restrictions if applicable. If your physician releases you to return to work with restrictions and/or places you on restricted hours, you should contact your HR Department and manager/supervisor prior to you return date to determine the appropriate accommodation. You may not begin work until your restrictions have been discussed with and approved by your HR Department.

Is my current position within my department guaranteed to be there when I return from medical leave?

Normally, employees returning from medical leave will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.  Failure to return to work once FML have been exhausted may result in termination of employment.  However, at times, departments, schools, and/or centers may restructure due to changing business and operational needs and the need to continually enhance programs and services.  These restructuring initiatives may result in position discontinuations, even positions held by employees out on FML or other types of leaves.  If a position is discontinued during a FML, they will be given at least 30 days written notice of the position discontinuation and will be informed of any applicable benefits they may be eligible to receive under the Position Discontinuation and Severance Agreement.

FML Questions a Supervisor or Business Administrator Might Ask

What is my responsibility when an employee notifies me that they are taking a leave of absence?

The employee should be notified to contact Lincoln Financial Group to begin the application process for FML. Human Resources should also be notified when an employee begins their Family Medical Leave.

How are employees placed on leave in the system?

Lincoln Financial Group sends a daily report to Human Resources notifying them of all employees going on leave and returning from leave. Human Resources will submit all Personnel Actions Forms (PAF) to both place the employee on leave and return the employee on leave.

Am I able to hire a temporary employee while the employee is on Family Medical Leave?

Yes.  A temporary employee can be hired during this timeframe.  However, the employee’s salary is not available for use if they are being paid sick and vacation time during their leave.

How does the employee record their time off during their leave of absence?

If an employee is on a continuous leave of absence i.e. January thru March, Human Resources will submit the employees sick, vacation, and/or personal time to Payroll for processing.

If an employee is on an intermittent leave, the employee is still responsible for entering their time to Lincoln Financial Group, as well as through the DrexelOne portal each pay period. The supervisor or department administrator will then approve the timesheet/leave report as normal.

What happens to the employee’s access to e-mail accounts, building access, etc. when an employee is on FML?

If an employee is on a full leave, their access is suspended until they return from leave.  If they are on an intermittent leave, their access will remain active for the duration for their leave.  Employees should also return their office keys prior to the start of their leave.

What should happen with an employee’s P-Card while they are on leave?

If an employee is on a full leave, the P-Card should be returned to the department for the duration of the leave.  The P-Card should be returned to the employee once they are back to work.  If they are on an intermittent leave, the employee should retain the card.

Is the employee eligible for holiday pay while they are on leave?

Yes, as long as the employee has sick, vacation, personal and/or regular time in the system in the pay period that the holiday occurs.  Once they exhaust their sick and vacation time they are no longer eligible for holiday pay.

Do they get paid for a snow day?

Only if they were scheduled to return to work on that day and the doctor note states they were scheduled to return.

Can personal days be used while an employee is on FML?

Yes, so long as the employee has exhausted all sick and vacation time.

What is required from an employee who is on leave during the Merit and Compliance Process?

While an employee is on leave during this process, they are not required to complete their Performance Evaluation, Conflict of Interest or Preventing Workplace Harassment training until they return to work.  Employees should not be penalized for not completing these items by the specified due date.

What happens if my employee does not return after twelve weeks?

The department has no further obligation to hold their position and the employee may be eligible for long-term disability benefits through Lincoln Financial Group. The employee should contact Lincoln Financial Group for further details.