Faculty Senate & Governance


Faculty councils serve as deliberative and advisory bodies for all matters of University policy, and are primary forums for faculty-administrative interaction in determining that policy. Faculty Code, Sec 42-33

FCBR shall be responsible for all matters of policy relating to faculty retirement, insurance and benefits. Faculty Code, Sec 42-44.

Office of Human Resources – Benefits & Work/Life

Home page | Benefits summaries (by appointment type)

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Work & life | Wellness

For UWRP Participants: Determining Contributions to UW’s Voluntary Investment Program (VIP)

Differently from UWRP contributions, VIP contributions are not matched by UW. While UWRP contributions are mainly determined by your age and your salary, you are free to decide your VIP contributions. However, UWRP and VIP contributions are subject to various IRS limits.

In the past, UW Benefits has monitored your VIP contributions and ensured that they do not crowd out your matched UWRP contributions (this was done under the assumption that you prefer the matched UWRP contributions over the unmatched VIP contributions). However, starting in 2022 UW Benefits no longer monitors your VIP contributions. Instead, UW Benefits simply implements what you indicate as your desired VIP contribution. It is therefore possible that relatively large VIP contributions especially early in the year crowd out matched UWRP contributions later in the year. Since UW needs to respect IRS contributions limits, this can lead to lower matched UWRP contributions than those that you are entitled to.

To the best of our understanding, there are two groups of UWRP participants that should make sure they set their VIP contributions below the maximum possible VIP contribution (in 2022 USD 20,500 for those below age 50 and USD 27,000 for those 50 or older).

Group 1: Age 35 or older with annual income in 2022 of more than USD 270,000

Group 2: Age 50 or older and contributing to UWRP at the 10% level (regardless of annual income)

If you are in at least one of these groups, we strongly recommend that you meet with a Fidelity representative or a TIAA representative to determine your optimal VIP contribution for 2022.

On the FCBR website, you can also access a calculator (developed by a UW faculty) that allows you to determine your optimal VIP contributions (i.e., the maximum VIP contribution possible that does not reduce your matched UWRP contributions).

Once you have determined your maximum annual VIP contributions, compare it to your contributions so far this year to make sure you will not exceed your maximum.

Unfortunately, this is a complex topic. However, the Fidelity and TIAA representatives are available to assist you.

Finally, we are providing this information based on our understanding of the relevant rules and regulations. This information is provided by us as colleagues. FCBR does not communicate on behalf of UW HR. FCBR cannot be held liable for any mistakes or misunderstandings of the information provided here.

PS: You can find more information about the various IRS limits on the HR Benefits site. In a nutshell, Group 1 faces the risk of hitting the annual addition limit (in 2022 USD 61,000 for those below age 50 and USD 67,500 for those 50 or older) if contributing too much to VIP. Group 2 faces the (possibly additional) risk of hitting the annual elective deferral limit (in 2022 USD 20,500 for those below age 50 and USD 27,000 for those 50 or older), as the 2.5% additional contribution at age 50 and older counts as an elective deferral.

Determining VIP contributions for those 50 or older

If you are at least 50 years of age and a UWRP participant, you are eligible to contribute to the UWRP at a 10% contribution rate. Since UWRP contributions are fully matched by UW, you should consider contributing at the 10% rate if you are not already doing so. If you also contribute to the optional and unmatched VIP, you should confirm that your VIP contributions do not crowd out your (matched) UWRP contributions. You can find more information here. You may find a calculator developed by a UW faculty member helpful as well. For assistance with determining your annual VIP contributions, you can also meet with a Fidelity representative or a TIAA representative.

UW Retirement Plan Contributions – Presentations by Marshall Horwitz and Mindy Kornberg

Hosted by the Faculty Council on Benefits and Retirement on Monday, November 1, 2021 from 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm (PST) via Zoom.

In its meeting on November 1, 2021, at 2:30 pm, FCBR discussed potential problems with UWRP contributions. FCBR invited Marshall Horwitz and Mindy Kornberg (VP for Human Resources) to present to the council. Interested faculty attended both presentations (each about 15 minutes). Interested faculty were given 5 to 10 minutes for questions. The rest of the FCBR meeting was open for members and invited guests only, and others were asked to leave the Zoom meeting.

WA Cares Fund and Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

UPDATE: If you have private LTC insurance you can now opt out of the WA Cares Fund. For details, see https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/apply-for-an-exemption/ as well as these instructions

In 2019, Washington State established the WA Cares Fund. The fund will provide eligible residents with up to $100 per day, with a maximum lifetime limit of $36,500, to pay for long-term care services (see http://www.wacaresfund.wa.gov/ for details).

The WA Cares Fund is entirely funded by employees. Starting January 1, 2022, all employees in Washington State will contribute to the fund with 0.58% of their gross wages through payroll deductions. Differently from contributions to Social Security or Washington State’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program, there is no cap on the amount of wages on which the deductions apply.

Benefits are only available to those that have contributed for a certain number of years (between 3 and 10) and that reside in Washington State when they require long-term care.

Washington State allows individuals that have purchased qualifying private LTC insurance before November 1, 2021, to opt out of the WA Cares Fund. Applications for an exemption need to be filed between October 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022, with Washington State’s Employment Security Department (ESD).

In its May 24 meeting, FCBR learnt from Susan Yi, CPA and an independent insurance professional, about the private LTC insurance options in Washington State. There are generally four types of LTC insurance offered in the private market:

  • Stand Alone Policies
  • Asset Based (Hybrid) Policies
  • Indexed universal life (IUL) Policies with a LTC Rider
  • Annuities with a LTC Rider

Products vary in many ways, including the time over which premiums are paid, whether any contributions are returned, for example in the form of annuities or death benefits,  as well as with respect to their tax treatment.

As a state institution, UW is not authorized by the Health Care Authority (HCA) to offer alternative long term care insurance programs and will not be providing guidance on private long term care insurance options.

FCBR encourages all UW employees to learn about the upcoming WA Cares Fund and to decide which course of action is best for their individual circumstances. FCBR does not endorse any particular choice, product, insurance provider, or insurance agent.

Below is a list of resources to get started:

UW Supplemental Retirement Income (UWSRI)

The UW Supplemental Retirement Plan is a unique plan that is designed to protect UWRP participants against declines in U.S. stock market values and U.S. interest rates, which could adversely affect participants’ ability to retire. Faculty, academic staff, professional staff, and librarians of the University of Washington (UW), who participate in the UW Retirement Plan (UWRP) and who joined the University of Washington before March 1, 2011, may be eligible for retirement benefits under the UW Supplemental Retirement Plan (UWSRP). FCBR has compiled the following list of resources for those interested in learning more about this benefit:

Letters to external agencies

Letter to the WA Department of Retirement Systems concerning Monthly Employee Contributions for Washington State’s Deferred Compensation Program (DCP). (May 2019)

Letter to HCA concerning long term disability insurance maximum limit. (August, 2017). See response from Health Care Authority.

Letter to PEBB concerning review of the VEBA (Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association) Plan. (April, 2016)

FCBR initiatives

Benefits Review Letter to full-time UW faculty from UW Faculty Senate Chair & FCBR Chair (December, 2021)

Benefits Review Letter to full-time UW faculty from UW Faculty Senate Chair & FCBR Chair. (December, 2020)

Letter to Faculty Senate Chair concerning the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Pre-retirement Planning. (May, 2018)

Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Pre-retirement Planning. (April, 2018)

Proposal to establish an ad hoc working group to recommend improvements in faculty pre-retirement planning. (May, 2017)

Transgender healthcare

Eliminating Washington transgender healthcare exclusions. Presentation by Roberta Dalley, associate professor of radiology. (January 27, 2014)

UW Benefits studies

Benefits Comparison: UW vs. other public U.S. research institutions. Report by the Faculty Council on Benefits and Retirement. (May, 2017)

UWRP/VIP Fund Review Committee

The UWRP and VIP Fund Review Committee is a standing committee defined in each plan document and authorized by the UW Board of Regents. The Fund Review Committee is responsible for selecting and recommending the plan record keeper(s) and investment options, and for monitoring their performance. Recommendations from the Fund Review Committee go to the provost and executive vice president who has the delegated authority from the regents to act on the recommendations.

The WholeU

The WholeU fosters community, shares ways to stay healthy, and promotes the great benefits and services available to UW faculty and staff. The WholeU encompasses six pillars: staying healthy, being active, eating well, life events & changes, volunteerism, and engaging personal interests.