18 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
Additional information delivery models include periodic information sessions and seminars, annual mailings
and health/benefits fairs, and group or one-on-one counseling. Web content and other online tools are also
The responses about the library’s role in new employee orientation and retirement and insurance benefits
information dissemination range from no activity, to referrals to institutional offices, to more direct and active
involvement comparable to the activities described above for parent institutions. The most common response in-
dicated that library staff answer routine questions and connect the staff member with the appropriate resource.
The survey also asked about the library’s role in administering retirement benefits and insurance plans.
More than half of the respondents reported no role. Other common responses indicated that library staff
answer questions and direct employees to appropriate offices; assist with forms; advertise open enrollment,
enrollment deadlines, and benefit changes; and sponsor presentations by institutional staff.
The survey results help identify the range of retirement and insurance benefits offered to research library em-
ployees and the variety in plan designs for each benefit. They confirm that retirement, health insurance, and
life insurance are universally available and access is generally gained by employees working a .50 FTE assign-
ment. Insurance benefits are commonly available to their family members, too, often including both same-sex
and opposite-sex domestic partners.
Thirty-two of the 56 responding institutions offer employees both a defined benefit and a defined contri-
bution retirement plan. Fifteen offer only a defined contribution plan, eight offer only a defined benefit plan,
and one offers neither.
Defined benefit plans, as might be expected, rely mostly on a combination of age and years of service to
determine eligibility benefits, and the benefit amounts are usually determined by a “highest pay formula.”
Defined benefit plans often provide retirees with a health insurance subsidy.
Defined contribution plans are most often 403(b) or 457 plans. Regardless of plan type, employers usually
do not contribute to the plans, and vesting periods are uncommon or minimal, leading to the conclusion that
these plans commonly are offered as a tax-friendly and payroll-deduction-supported retirement savings ve-
hicle. Defined contribution plans most often do not provide health insurance subsidies for retirees, which is
somewhat surprising and reinforces the conclusion above regarding the purpose of these plans.
DROP and ERIP plans are somewhat uncommon. ERIP programs are offered intermittently and presum-
ably as a cost savings effort. Formal phased retirement programs are offered at about half of the responding
institutions, and most commonly take the form of a preretirement reduction in hours.
Life insurance, as mentioned above, is essentially offered universally by respondent institutions. ADD
insurance is very common, too. Life insurance benefits are usually available to family members, but ADD is
made available much less frequently.
In addition to health insurance, employee access to dental, vision, and long-term disability insurance is quite
common. Dental, health, and vision are very often extended to spouses and dependents and less frequently
extended to domestic partners. Disability insurance is infrequently available to non-employees.
The financial support for life insurance premiums for employees is very high, but falls considerably for
employee ADD and drastically for life and ADD coverage for family members. Employer contributions for
premiums for health insurance coverage are quite high as a percentage of the total cost, for both employee and
family coverage. About half of the responding institutions contribute some percentage of the premiums for
long-term disability, short-term disability, and vision; a higher percentage contribute to dental. Surprisingly
common are long-term disability, short-term disability, vision, and dental plans that are 100% employer-paid.
The typical availability of PPO plans, as compared to the less common availability of a traditional HMO
plans, was surprising. One wonders if the frequency of high-deductible options, while somewhat frequent