Human Resources Newsletter

January 2013

Newsletter Masthead


In this month’s issue, find out about PMP Mid-year Discussions workshop dates for managers and faculty who supervise staff; deadlines for 2012 Flexible Spending Account claims submissions; information requests about outside business retirement plan contributions; important changes to your benefits and payroll taxes; learn how best to use your Express Scripts plan; and make note of the annual leave usage limits. To go directly to an article, click on the Quick Links on the right.

PMP Mid-Year Discussions – Workshops for Managers

Managers and faculty who supervise staff should attend one of the PMP mid-year discussion workshops. To register, visit AsuccessfulU on the portal:

Thursday, February 7, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Butler Board Room
Thursday, February 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Butler Board Room

Mid-year discussions start on February 14 and end on March 29.

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2012 Flexible Spending Account Claims Submission Deadlines

If you had a flexible spending account in 2012, in accordance with IRS regulations, you may submit claims against your 2012 balance for any eligible expenses you incur from January 1, 2013 through March 15, 2013. The deadline for submitting claims for your 2012 flexible spending account is Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Your claims must be postmarked by the due date or received by midnight April 30 to be accepted. The deadline is governed by IRS regulations and cannot be extended. Claims received on Wednesday, May 1 or afterwards will be denied.

To submit your claims electronically, you will need an online account. To set up your online account, refer to the Health Hub Quick Reference Guide. You may submit your claims electronically on the Payflex (Health Hub) website, or you may download a claim form from the site. To submit your claims electronically, you will need an online account. For more information, refer to the Health Hub Quick Reference Guide.

If you have any questions, please contact Jerrad Carter.

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403(b) Retirement Plan Information Request - 2012 Outside Retirement Plan Contributions

In February, faculty and staff who have Fidelity and/or TIAA-CREF retirement accounts will receive a mailing from Fidelity consultants requesting information about retirement plan contributions that have been made through an outside business. The information requested is a part of the IRS regulation requiring employers who sponsor 403(b) plans to verify that contributions made by employees to retirement plans (AU's and others) do not exceed the limits set by law. If your combined retirement plan contributions exceed the legal limits, you will be contacted by HR to discuss the correction procedures and the excess contribution may be subject to additional taxes. The upcoming mailing will explain who is required to submit this information, along with a contribution form to be completed and returned to Fidelity.

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New Year Brings Important Changes To Your Benefits and Payroll Taxes

The new year brings a number of changes in the tax treatment of some of your employee benefits and payroll taxes.

The tax relief bill from 2010 included items that expired at the end of 2012. As a result of the recently-enacted American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the following changes have occurred:

  • The “payroll tax holiday,” which temporarily reduced the amount of FICA (Social Security) tax that employees and employers paid, has ended. The FICA rates now have increased by two percent, from 4.20 percent to 6.20 percent, on income up to $113,700; and
  • IRC Section 127, which provides employer assistance for both graduate and undergraduate course work and allows employees to exclude up to $5,250 a year in employer-provided tuition assistance from income, has been made permanent.

To comply with health care reform, we have lowered the medical flexible spending account limit to $2,500 for 2013. Additionally, your 2012 W-2 form will include new data in Box 12-Code DD for reporting health plan costs. There is no change in taxability, as it is a reporting requirement only.

Other changes and reminders include:

  • The elective deferral limit for the 403(b) retirement plan has increased to $17,500, and the catch-up contribution limit for those ages 50 and older remains at $5,500.
  • The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) has increased to $51,000. The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) has increased to $255,000.
  • For faculty and staff earning more than $200,000, Medicare rates have increased by 0.9 percent from 1.45 percent. The FICA Social Security taxable wage base has increased to $113,700, and there will continue to be no limit to the taxable wage base for Medicare.
  • The 2013 tax exclusion for parking has increased to $245. The tax exclusion for transit has been retroactively reinstated to $240 for 2012, and has increased to $245 for 2013.
  • Foreign-earned income tax exclusion amounts have increased to $97,600.

Information on the impact of the FICA tax change on your paycheck can be found in this excerpt from a recent RIA Payroll Guide Newsletter.

Contact Ann Joiner in Human Resources or Carol Wisniewski in Payroll if you have any questions.

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Express Scripts Mailing: KNOW How Best to Use Your Plan

If you are a CareFirst participant and had any prescription drug claims in 2012, you should have received a mailing recently to your home from Express Scripts, the pharmacy provider for CareFirst participants. The mailing includes a summary sheet listing the prescription drugs you received under the Express Scripts plan in 2012, as well as information on your overall 2012 prescription drug costs – the amount you paid and the amount that was paid by the university on your behalf. If there is a lower cost alternative for your medication(s), Express Scripts will show where there may be opportunities to save money or receive more streamlined service while continuing to receive quality prescription care. Separate letters will be sent to each family member who has used the plan. The mailing is part of our initiative to make the university’s prescription drug costs more transparent. For more information, contact Jerrad Carter.

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Express Scripts Home Delivery for Maintenance Medications Avoids Surcharge

Take advantage of the new Express Scripts' Preferred Home Delivery Program to avoid additional charges on the medications you take regularly. Currently, you can only fill your prescriptions at a retail pharmacy up to three times for the regular retail copay. Additional refills are subject to a $10 charge (above the regular retail copay). To avoid the additional charge, your doctor or pharmacist can assist you in changing to home delivery. For more information, contact Express Scripts at 877-486-5984 or through their web site at, or contact Jerrad Carter.

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Annual Leave Usage Reminder for Full-Time Staff, Managers, and Supervisors

Keep in mind that no more than fifteen days of earned annual leave may be carried beyond the end of the fiscal year, April 30, 2013.

  • If you work a 35-hour week, you may carry over 105 hours earned annual leave
  • If you work a 28-hour week, you may carry over 84 hours earned annual leave
  • If you work a 40-hour week, you may carry over 120 hours earned annual leave

Use of annual leave also must be approved in advance by your supervisor. Leave balances appear on your time sheet. For more information on leave policies, refer to the Staff Personnel Policies.

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