New Benefited Faculty & Staff Human Resources IntroductionNew Benefited Faculty & Staff Human Resources Introduction
Welcome to UMass Amherst, a diverse, inclusive community of dreamers, innovators, creators, and doers!
UMass Amherst is:
- #26 in the U.S. News & World Report ranking among national public universities
- 29 academic disciplines ranked among the top 200 programs worldwide
- Top 20 coolest schools, Sierra Club sustainability rankings
- Top 50 in the Princeton Review best value public colleges
- #1 Princeton Review best campus food
- Where we hope to grow and thrive with you!
Overview of UMass AmherstOverview of UMass Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a large and dynamic organization. As a new employee there are many resources that may be helpful when navigating our organization.
The University Organizational Chart provides context for our campus structure.
Maps are available to help you navigate our campuses:
- Take a virtual campus tour online from anywhere at any time!
- The (free) My UMass app will help you navigate the University of Massachusetts Amherst , providing a campus map (and directions), events, calendars and notifications.
- Maps are also available online:
- Amherst campus buildings map
- Amherst campus parking map
If working on the Amherst campus you may be working with Parking Services to purchase an on-campus parking permit. The Parking Services website provides on-campus parking permit fees and options. Alternatively you may be walking or bicycling to campus, or taking advantage of local bus service.
- Mt. Ida campus map
We operate on a number of different calendars. The:
- Academic calendar provides structure for our students and all faculty & staff supporting our students.
- Holidays and Campus Closure calendar provides dates on which holidays are observed by the Amherst Campus.
- Payroll Calendar reflects our bi-weekly pay schedule. Insurance premiums are payroll-deducted twice monthly, leaving two paydates each year with no insurance premiums deducted. Those dates are highlighted on the payroll calendar.
- Our fiscal (financial) calendar is defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and runs July 1 - June 30.
The UMass Amherst Alerts system keeps students and employees informed about situations or conditions that could disrupt campus activities. Alerts are sent via text messaging (if you subscribe via SPIRE), e-mail, social media and more. The UMass Campus Closure website is also a resource for similar information.Kelly Pleasant
Key Policies and Guidelines for EmployeesKey Policies and Guidelines for Employees
Key Policies and Guidelines for employees
There are many guidelines and policies that define our relationship to the University and our obligations to one another as part of the campus community. All employees are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these. The website linked above provides you access to these policies including, but not limited to, information about minimum wage, leave entitlements, non-discrimination and accessible workplace/accommodations information and principles of employee conduct.Kelly Pleasant
New Benefited Employee OrientationNew Benefited Employee Orientation
As a new, benefited University employee your employing department will schedule you to attend a payroll & benefits orientation. You will receive an e-mail from Human Resources providing the date, time and location of orientation.
In orientation we will discuss:
- Forms required to initiate payment of University wages and benefits. Please note, as some benefits differ based on position and collective bargaining agreement, required forms may be attached to your orientation e-mail that are not linked on this webpage.
- Benefits available to you (which may differ based on your University position), the effective date of your insurance coverages and how to enroll for coverages.
UMass ID Card, Systems Access and Payroll SystemUMass ID Card, Systems Access and Payroll System
You may use a number of different software systems and/or databases when performing your job at UMass. The systems used differ based the job we perform. Some systems, however, apply to all employees:
UMass Amherst Information Technologies (IT) will generate a UMass e-mail address for you, which you will access using your UMass NetID. IT will notify you of your UMass e-mail address and NetID via e-mail using the e-mail address on record in your job application.
You will use your UMass NetID and password to access many systems on campus, not just your UMass e-mail. These include:
- SPIRE, the University's student and employee information system
- HR Direct, the University's payroll system
The University uses a two-step authentication process to ensure your accounts and personal information remain secure. Be certain to enroll in Two-Step Authentication to secure full access to your HR Direct payroll information.Kelly Pleasant
HR DirectHR Direct
Once you have received your first salary payment you will be able to log into HR Direct, the University's payroll system, using two-step authentication. In HR Direct you will be able to
- View and download your bi-weekly pay statements and, eventually, your W-2 and other tax documents
- Change your address for payroll purposes
- Change your direct deposit and tax withholdings
When you view your pay statement it will open in a new window as a PDF. Please ensure you "allow" your internet browser to open pop-ups from the HR Direct website:
- Remove Pop-Up Blocker in Safari on an i-Phone
- How to disable pop-up blockers and more help aids
If you encounter challenges please contact the Administration & Finance Technology Department (telephone 413-545-1956).Kelly Pleasant
Employees can obtain their "UCard" after receiving their first University salary payment or if/when an employing department has sponsored a Non-Student, Non-Employee ("NENS") account.*
The UCard is your University of Massachusetts Amherst ID card. Your UCard can be used as confirmation of identity on campus, as a PVTA bus pass and as your library card.
In some circumstances the UCard provides building access, may be used for "swiping in and out" as you arrive at & leave work for time and labor purposes, and you may elect to use your UCard as a debit card on campus.
Once you have received your first University salary payment*, follow the instructions on the UCard website to secure your UCard, starting with uploading a photo for use on your card.
* In some circumstances employing departments sponsor a NENS account. This typically occurs when a department needs to provide incoming teaching faculty members access to the SPIRE student system in advance of the start of a semester.Kelly Pleasant
Overview of Benefits for New, Benefited EmployeesOverview of Benefits for New, Benefited Employees
Benefited employees may enroll for coverage under a Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC) health insurance plan within the first twenty-one (21) days of benefited employment. Coverage is effective the first day of the month following sixty (60) days in a benefited position.
Employees contribute twenty-five percent (25%) of the total premium for health and basic life ($5,000 of term life) insurance coverage and may extend coverage to their spouse and child/ren under 26 years of age by providing supporting information & documentation. Plan and premium information appears in the GIC Benefit Decision Guide.
The GIC payroll-deducts health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis twice monthly. Premiums are payroll-deducted one month in advance of coverage (eg, premium for January coverage is payroll-deducted in December). The GIC invoices employees at home for any premium not payroll-deducted and requires direct payment of invoiced premium.
Employees may change health insurance plans (or add/remove dependents from their plan) during April open enrollment for a change effective the following July 1 or within sixty (60) calendar days days (and documentation) of an applicable GIC-qualifying event.
Please review the Health Insurance webpage carefully and ensure you submit your enrollment materials timely in order to secure coverage. If as a new, benefited employee you do not receive an enrollment link via e-mail within 10 days of starting benefited employment contact MyGIC [at] umass [dot] edu.
Benefited employees may enroll for coverage in a Massachusetts GIC term life insurance plan within the first twenty-one (21) days of benefited employment without proving medical evidence of insurability. Coverage is effective the first day of the month following sixty (60) days in a benefited position.
The GIC offers benefited employees two (2), term life insurance coverage options. Life insurance provides financial protection for the beneficiaries of covered employees in the case of an employee's death and can also provide an 'accelerated death benefit', resulting in partial payment of life insurance to the employee while alive.
Employees contribute twenty-five percent (25%) of the premium for basic ($5,000) life insurance and 100% of the premium for optional life insurance coverage. Plan and premium information appears in the GIC Benefit Decision Guide.
Employees may apply for (or apply to increase) GIC life insurance coverage after the initial enrollment period. The GIC's life insurance vendor reviews applications based on medical evidence of insurability and approves or denies coverage on that basis. Employees who have a qualifying family status change may enroll in, or increase, optional life insurance without medical evidence within thirty-one (31) days of a qualifying event.
The GIC payroll-deducts life insurance premium one month in advance of coverage (eg, premium for January coverage is payroll-deducted in December). The GIC invoices employees at home for any premium not payroll-deducted and requires direct payment of invoiced premium.
Please review the Life Insurance webpage carefully and ensure you submit your enrollment materials timely in order to secure coverage. If as a new, benefited employee you do not receive an enrollment link via e-mail within 10 days of starting benefited employment contact MyGIC [at] umass [dot] edu.
Employees who hold a position that is exempt from overtime and who enroll in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP, defined contribution plan) in lieu of the State Employees' Retirement System (MSERS, pension plan) are also enrolled in an ORP life insurance plan.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
Benefited employees may enroll for coverage in a Massachusetts GIC long-term disability insurance within the first twenty-one (21) days of benefited employment without proving medical evidence of insurability. Coverage is effective the first day of the month following sixty (60) days in a benefited position.
Long-term disability insurance provides income security if an employee is medically disabled from working for more than ninety (90) calendar days.
Employees contribute one-hundred percent (100%) of the premium for GIC long-term disability. Plan and premium information appears in the GIC Benefit Decision Guide.
Employees may apply for GIC long-term disability insurance coverage after the initial enrollment period. The GIC's life insurance vendor reviews applications based on medical evidence of insurability and approves or denies coverage on that basis.
The GIC payroll-deducts long-term disability insurance premium one month in advance of coverage (eg, premium for January coverage is payroll-deducted in December). The GIC invoices employees at home for any premium not payroll-deducted and requires direct payment of invoiced premium.
Please review the Long-Term Disability Insurance webpage carefully and ensure you submit your enrollment materials timely in order to secure coverage. If as a new, benefited employee you do not receive an enrollment link via e-mail within 10 days of starting benefited employment contact MyGIC [at] umass [dot] edu.
Employees who hold a position that is exempt from overtime and who enroll in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP, defined contribution plan) in lieu of the State Employees' Retirement System (MSERS, pension plan) are also enrolled in an ORP long-term disability insurance plan.
Dental insurance benefits (coverage, enrollment process and waiting period) differ based on bargaining unit. Please refer to the dental insurance webpage related to the bargaining unit that represents your position.
Paid leave time off (vacation, sick, personal time & holidays)
Paid leave accruals differ based on bargaining unit. Please refer to the paid time off webpage related to the bargaining unit that represents your position.
Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) & Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP)
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) allow employees to use pre-tax funds to pay for certain un-reimbursed health care and dependent care expenses. Within your first twenty-one (21) calendar days of employment eligible employees may enroll to participate in the pre-tax:
HCSA: for $250 - $3,050 (plan year starting July 1, 2023) of expenses incurred between the first day of the month following 60 days of benefited employment and the following September 15 (or until you leave benefited employment, whichever is earlier).
DCAP: for expenses incurred between your first day of benefited employment and the following September 15.
Your election amount will be payroll-deducted on pre-tax basis evenly from University payments made to you between your eligibility date and the following June 30. You may also enroll during April open enrollment for expenses incurred starting the following July 1.
Please refer to the Flexible Spending Account website for more detailed plan, and enrollment, information.
Earnings from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (including the University of Massachusetts) are exempt from U.S. Social Security taxes (FICA/Medicare tax is withheld).
Massachusetts State Employees' Retirement System (MSERS, defined benefit plan, pension plan)
In lieu of contributing to Social Security, benefited employees contribute nine percent (9%) of salary up to thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) and eleven percent (11%) of annual salary above thirty thousand dollars ($30,000)* to MSERS.
MSERS pensions are calculated based on the retiree's age at retirement, years of service contributing to the system and the average of the retiree's five (5) highest consecutive years of regular compensation under the plan. The Massachusetts Retirement Board provides a chart displaying the maximum average salary paid as a pension based on age and years of service. An employee must typically establish ten (10) or more full-time equivalent years of MSERS creditable service in order to vest, or eventually be eligible to draw an MSERS pension.
Optional Retirement Program (ORP, defined contribution plan)
Employees employed in a position exempt from overtime may be eligible to participate in the ORP in lieu of participating in MSERS. ORP members nine percent (9%) of salary up to thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) and eleven percent (11%) of annual salary above thirty thousand dollars ($30,000)* to the ORP. The Commonwealth contributes a 4.3% match in addition to purchasing long-term disability and life insurance for ORP members. ORP members invest funds with TIAA or Fidelity and are immediately vested in their ORP account. ORP retirement income is based on the balance of the member's ORP account upon retirement.
Enrollment in the ORP is irrevocable; ORP-eligible employees who do not enroll in the ORP within one hundred and eighty (180) days of employment in an ORP-eligible position must remain members of MSERS.
The MA Department of Higher Education provides a useful tool for comparing MSERS and the ORP benefits.
University GAP Plan (defined contribution plan)*
For employees whose initial benefited Commonwealth employment began after January 1, 2011 contributions to MSERS and the ORP are limited to sixty-four percent (64%) of the IRS salary limit or, in 2023, to the first $211,200 of regular compensation. Mandatory retirement contributions on regular compensation above that limit are made to the University GAP Plan. Participants invest their GAP contributions with TIAA or Fidelity, the University provides a five percent (5%) match and participants are immediately vested in the balance of their GAP account.
Benefited employees and their eligible dependents may receive discounted tuition for courses taken at Massachusetts public institutions of higher education. Please reference the Tuition Waiver webpage for detailed information.
The Benefits webpage provides information about additional benefits related to UMass employment and employee discounts webpage.Kelly Pleasant
Payroll Information for New EmployeesPayroll Information for New Employees
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is on a bi-weekly pay schedule, generating payments every other Friday as reflected on the payroll calendar.
Pay statements are available online in HR Direct's Employee Self Service. Employees who hold more than one job on campus, you can expect your earnings to be combined in a single payment. HR Direct Self Service allows employees to:
- View and download bi-weekly pay statements
- View and update direct deposit, federal and state tax withholdings
- View and update home and mailing addresses on record with UMass Human Resources
- View and download tax statements (annual W-2 and 1095-C forms)
Understanding your pay statement
When you view your paycheck in HR Direct, it is broken down into several sections. Here is what each one means and how it affects your pay.
- Pay Period — the time for which you are being paid (a two-week period)
- Gross Pay — your total pay before any taxes and deductions
- Taxes — depending on your employment type, several types of tax are withheld each pay period including Medicare, federal income tax, and state income tax
- Deductions — These are amounts you have chosen to have deducted from your pay for employee benefits. Examples include insurance premiums, retirement withholding, union dues and parking fees.
- Net Pay — the amount you receive after taxes and deductions have been subtracted from your gross pay.
- Paid Time Off and Sick Leave — the pay statement provides benefited employees summary of available sick, vacation and/or personal accruals.
- Direct Deposit Distribution – indicates the account(s) and amount(s) of the direct deposit.
New Employee Mandatory TrainingsNew Employee Mandatory Trainings
The University of Massachusetts Amherst deeply values its responsibility to create and ensure a respectful, safe, and inclusive campus for all members of the community.
All employees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are required to complete the Commonwealth's Conflict of Interest/Ethics Training and Additionally University employees agree to register for, and complete, inclusivity trainings including the Respectful Workplace training and Harassment Prevention & Title IX trainings.
New Employee Required TrainingsKelly Pleasant