Welcome to Employer News, a newsletter from The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This publication highlights recent Board news and important updates and information specifically for employers. We hope you find this newsletter useful, and we welcome your feedback at any time.

Getting Ready To Select 2018 Benefits

Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing to review or update your Employer Agreement for 2018:

  • The Employer Agreement details the benefits selections for 2018 that will be available to your employees on Benefits Connect during annual enrollment in the fall.
  • Key considerations for building your Employer Agreement include who will be covered (and when); what benefits to offer; and how much you (and employees) will pay toward the cost of coverage.
  • Be certain that your benefit groups are set up correctly; read Importance of Benefit Groups below.

Key Dates

  • Late June: Web tutorials Considerations for Selecting Benefits: Building Your Employer Agreement and Creating Your Employer Agreement available
  • Early July: The launch of Selecting 2018 Benefits section, on pensions.org
  • Mid-July: Guides for selecting benefits and completing the Employer Agreement available on pensions.org
  • July 17-October 13: Employers log on to Benefits Connect to begin reviewing, modeling, and building their Employer Agreements for 2018
  • October 13: Deadline for employers to submit their final 2018 Employer Agreements on Benefits Connect
  • October 30-November 17: Annual enrollment for members to elect 2018 benefits

If you have questions about the Benefits Plan or the benefits selection process, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).

Importance of Benefit Groups

It’s important to review and refine benefit groups while updating your Employer Agreement in Benefits Connect. During annual enrollment in the fall, employees will elect 2018 benefits from the selections you make now. Assigning employees to the right benefit group affects the coverage for which employees can enroll and the cost of benefits for you and for employees.

Being thoughtful as you begin reviewing benefit groups helps avoid the unintended outcomes of groups not being set up correctly. For example, some employees may receive coverage that requires unanticipated employer contributions; or, you may unintentionally not offer a group a benefit, such as dental. Keep in mind the following:

  • If you employ teaching elders who work 20 or more hours per week and who are not installed pastors, the Board urges you to provide benefits to this group through Pastor’s Participation. If you choose Pastor’s Participation for these teaching elders, it should apply to all teaching elders working 20 or more hours per week.
  • As you work through the benefits selection process, it’s important to select benefits designed to support a position and not a specific person. Over time, the person in the position or the needs of that employee may change.

Case Studies May Assist in Benefits Selections

The Board of Pensions has developed a series of case studies to assist employers in considering benefits selections for a variety of teaching elder and other employee positions, such as interim pastors, emerging ministry leaders, and Christian educators. These case studies, introduced at the Benefits Connections events held recently around the country, illustrate the values and flexibility of the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

If you have questions about selecting benefits or about your Employer Agreement, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN). If you would like a consultation to discuss your benefits selections, contact your Church Consultant.

Salaries in the Parish Ministry 2017 Salary Study Available

The most recent Salaries in the Parish Ministry Salary Study was published June 16. View the pensions.org article and the study.

Adding an RSP Employer Match Can Increase Participation

As we approach mid-July — when employers will be reviewing and determining benefits selections for employees for 2018 — consider offering an employer matching contribution to the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP).

An employer match can encourage employees to save (or save more) in defined contribution savings plans like the RSP, according to the independent investment research firm Morningstar.

Considering a Matching Contribution

  • How a match is offered can affect how much employees contribute without affecting an employer’s budget. For example, instead of offering a 100 percent match on the first 3 percent saved, offer a 50 percent match on the first 6 percent saved. That may encourage employees to save a higher percentage of pay for retirement, at the same dollar cost to you.
  • An employer matching contribution is not considered part of effective salary, so the cost to an employer for dues-based benefits (such as medical coverage in Pastor’s Participation or Pension Plan participation) is not affected. (A fixed contribution, as a percentage of pay or dollar amount, is considered part of effective salary and included in the calculation of dues.)
  • To add or modify an employer match, you need only communicate with employees and send/update remittances to Fidelity on an employer-specific basis. You do not need to revise your Employer Agreement. When you completed your Employer Agreement through Benefits Connect (or update it for 2018), and indicated that you offer the RSP to each benefit group, you automatically adopted the RSP.

Employers can make a fixed contribution, as a percentage of pay or a dollar amount, instead of, or in addition to, a matching contribution. Employer contributions (non-matching) should be noted in the Employer Agreement; they are considered part of effective salary and included in dues calculations.

More Information for Employers

Employers with questions about the RSP may call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) or Fidelity’s treasurer and administrator assistance line at 800-917-4369.

EAP Provides Key Resource for Workplace Crises, Personnel Issues

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is not just for employees! Church leaders and other managers of church employees who need assistance with difficult management or employee performance issues — or a workplace trauma — have access to management consultation services through the EAP.

The services include information, support, counseling, and, under certain circumstances, onsite workshops. Call 866-640-2772 to be put in touch with a consultant — a licensed, master’s degree-level clinician with a background in theology — who can help you assess the situation and determine what to do. Management consultations are provided at no charge to you or your organization.

Create a Workplace Culture That Supports Health and Well-Being

The Reverend Dr. Clinton “Clint” Cottrell credits Call to Health with saving his life, and he wants others to heed the call. “I pray my story helps. A few moments can save or enhance someone’s life, help their call, help their family, and yes, help the Board of Pensions be better stewards of the Medical Plan.”

It’s possible Call to Health could “save or enhance someone’s life” in your church or other PC(USA)-affiliated institution. Make health and well-being a key part of your organization’s culture and encourage all staff who are Medical Plan members to complete Call to Health.

Remember, employees who complete Level 1 (accumulate 1,000 points) earn lower 2018 deductibles for themselves and their covered family members. Employees who complete Level 2 (accumulate 2,000 points) and spouses who reach Level 1 each receive a $100 Amazon gift card!

Let’s join together and answer the Call to Health by November 17, 2017!

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If you have questions, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and speak with a service representative.