Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 28, 2005
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Check statement to discover your hidden paycheck

How much do you make?

Online resources

Independence Blue Cross: www.ibx.com

TIAA-CREF: www.tiaa-cref.org

Fidelity: www.fidelity.com

LifeWorks at www.lifeworks.com

Commuter benefits, healthcare and dependent-care accounts: www.wageworks.com

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau
of Labor Statistics: www.bls.gov

If you’re like most people, the first answer that pops into mind is the amount of your paycheck.
We’re so programmed to zero in on that number, we often completely overlook the value of benefits and programs for employees at Temple — your “hidden” paycheck. It’s understandable: We don’t use all of our benefits every day, and even when we use them, the monetary value often isn’t readily apparent.

The University is changing all that with its new Total Compensation Statements. These personalized statements, which will be sent in late April to full-time employees and faculty, will report clearly how much your benefits are worth.

Total compensation
Your total compensation is made up of both your pay and benefits. It’s used by the University to measure competitiveness against other employers to ensure that the overall package can attract and retain employees whose individual performance and team efforts help support the University’s success.

Benefit value
Pay is easy to understand — it’s your salary. You see it in every paycheck. What you don’t see is the total value of benefits, usually considered to be the cost paid by you and the University.
On average, benefits add another 30 percent to 40 percent to pay. So, for a person whose annual pay is $40,000, the value of benefits is between $12,000 and $16,000. For that person, the total of pay and benefits — or total compensation — is up to $56,000.
Let’s take a look at the price of several of the University’s benefits:

• Medical and dental insurance is pegged at the premium for you and your family members. Premiums reflect the level of benefits — the lower the deductible and co-pay, the higher the premiums.
• Life insurance and long-term disability insurance costs are the premiums the University pays for coverage.
• The value of pension plan benefits includes the University’s contribution to your retirement plan, in addition to the contributions you may be making.
• Tuition remission is the tuition you don’t have to pay.
Added to these is the cost of benefits that are required by state and federal governments. They include Social Security and Medicare wage taxes. Yes, not only do you contribute to the cost, but the University also matches your contributions. Add in unemployment and worker’s compensation, too.

Cost isn’t only measure
It would be a mistake to look only at the price of benefits to measure value. Consider what they pay when you suffer a loss or a disability. That value doesn’t appear on your Total Compensation Statement.

If you or a family member were stricken with a catastrophic illness, Temple’s medical insurance plan could provide millions of dollars in benefit payments for covered expenses.
If an employee became totally disabled for the rest of their life, the long-term disability plan would continue 60 percent of pay, up to the maximum benefit. For a 30-year-old person who earned $35,000 a year and became disabled for 25 years, that would work out to $21,000 for each year of disability. That means he or she could receive $525,000 in disability income.

And there’s more:

Access. Talk to a person who is self-employed or unemployed, and they’ll probably tell you that before anything, simple access to reasonably priced insurance coverage is invaluable. A slight health problem can push the price up and the coverage level down. Dental coverage is virtually unavailable outside of a work setting, and long-term disability insurance can be bought on an individual basis only when you have steady employment.
Convenience. The University’s benefit program saves you the time and hassle involved in finding, comparing and purchasing insurance out in the marketplace. What could be easier than completing an enrollment form?
Tax savings. With programs such as the healthcare and dependent-care accounts, you avoid paying federal income tax on your contributions. The expense reimbursements you receive are tax-free. The net result is that you lower your healthcare or dependent-care expenses by 25 percent to 36 percent when you participate in those accounts. Through WageWorks, you can pay for part or all of your commuter costs tax-free. And axes are deferred on contributions to the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan and to a TSA, and your investments grow tax-free until you withdraw them.

Now, you may be thinking this sounds like a plug for Temple’s benefits. It is! Temple’s benefits are highly competitive. Take a few minutes and dig deeper into your personalized Total Compensation Statement to discover the hidden value. See how the program enhances your financial security.

Frequently asked questions

Who will receive Total Compensation Statements?
Personalized statements will be sent in late April to the home addresses of full-time faculty and administration who were active employees on Dec. 31, 2004.

What date is the information based on?
The statements are a picture of the value of total compensation on Dec. 31, 2004.

Where did the cost information come from?
The Benefits Office collected data that was available internally at the University, such as pay and benefit costs, along with information that was available from outside record-keepers, such as TIAA-CREF and Fidelity.

What should I do if there’s a mistake?
The University’s Benefits Office spent considerable time ensuring that the data presented to employees was as accurate as possible. Contact the Benefits Office at 204-1321 with any questions you have about your statement.