Staff Benefits Handbook

Northern Kentucky University is one of the top 10 employers in Northern Kentucky. Since its inception in 1968, the university has grown tremendously. As an employer of choice, we are proud to present the following benefits package and guidelines for staff employees.


The NKU Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual, at times referred to as the "Red Book," is the official source for all policies and procedures governing the employment of staff personnel.

Employees are encouraged to review the Policies web page. Other documents that govern the institution include: Administrative/Governing Regulations, Chair's Handbook, Faculty Handbook and Student Handbook.


Parking is available for employees on the Highland Heights campus in lots C, E and J from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lot N is restricted to reserved parking with appropriate "N" permit for additional fee.

There is an annual fee per vehicle registered with Parking Services. This fee is paid by payroll deduction on a pre-tax basis per IRC.132 (F). The fee is subject to change and may be different for employees working in off-campus locations.

Working hours

The standard work week for most full-time University employees is 37 1/2 hours. In order to comply with Kentucky state laws, all hours "actually worked" in excess of 40 hours per work week must be paid at the rate of 1 1/2 times the regular rate of pay for all employees whose positions are classified as nonexempt. Exempt employees do not receive overtime pay.

Tax-exempt benefit payments

Section 125 of the IRS code covers tax-exempt benefit payments. Premiums for health, dental, vision, flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and retirement are paid with before-tax dollars through payroll contribution. This is income earned before federal, state and social security taxes are withheld. Changes to coverage during the plan year cannot be made unless there is a qualifying event.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

Flexible Spending Accounts are IRS-approved, tax-free accounts that save you money on medical and dependent care expenses. This benefit is provided by Chard Snyder and participation begins on the first of the month after 30 days of employment.

You authorize an annual election and deposits are made to your FSA account from your before-tax salary on a per-pay-period basis. Expenses are reimbursed weekly through an electronic fund transfer (EFT) process to your savings/checking account. You can elect up to $2,500 for medical and/or $5,000 for dependent care expenses annually.

For more information, see our Flexible Spending Account webpage.  

Health Insurance

To help you evaluate costs when making a decision on your Humana Health Care needs, the Employee Benefit Bulletin is a great tool that shows different plan options with a personalized cost analysis on items such as copays, coinsurance amounts, payroll costs, deductibles and many other important variables that are all part of your decision on healthcare. 

All benefit deductions for bi-weekly employees will be taken on a 24 pay period basis. Non-active faculty and COBRA rates may be obtained by contacting Human Resources at (859) 572-5200.

Temporary employees do not receive any health insurance benefits.

For more information, see our Health Coverage webpage. 

Dental Insurance 

Dental coverage is provided and underwritten by Delta Dental. Dental benefits begin on the first of the month following 30 days of employment.

Delta Dental's website is

Temporary employees do not receive any dental insurance benefits.

For more information, see our Health Coverage webpage.  

Life Insurance  

Group term life insurance (including AD&D) is provided and underwritten by UNUM Insurance Company. The university provides for one times the employee's annual base salary (rounded up to the nearest thousand) at no cost.

Coverage begins the first of the month after 30 days of employment. Initially, optional term life insurance is available in an equal amount based on age-rated premiums at the employee's expense. To add optional life insurance after the initial eligibility period would require a statement of insurability by the employee and approval by the carrier.
IMPORTANT NOTE: All regular, part-time employees are not eligible for the life insurance plan.

Short-Term Disability

The university offers employees the ability to participate in a voluntary Short-Term Disability program provided by The Hartford.  Short-term disability benefits provide income replacement when an eligible individual has been off work more than 30 days due to illness or injury. 

Benefits are available at various levels up to 60 % of your basic weekly salary, up to the $1,000 weekly maximum.  Participating employees may receive benefits on approved claims for up to 22 weeks or until they are no longer disabled.  A pre-existing condition limitation applies for any condition that exists within three months prior to the effective date of coverage for the first 12 months that an employee is enrolled under the plan.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All regular, part-time employees are not eligible for the short-term disability plan.  

Long-Term Disability

The Hartford Insurance Company is the carrier for the university's long-term disability plan (LTD). The university provides for LTD coverage after one year of employment at no cost to the employee.

Disability benefits are payable (if approved) after six months of consecutive disability. Once approved, a monthly benefit is provided at 60% of the employee's covered monthly salary (1/12 of base annual salary). This benefit will not exceed $10,000 per month less the sum of benefits from other sources.
IMPORTANT NOTE: All regular, part-time employees are not eligible for the long-term disability plan.


Faculty Retirement Plan

All full-time non-temporary faculty are required to participate in the university’s 403(b) plan. Participation begins after 90 days of employment. The employee contribution is 5 percent of regular base pay on a before-tax basis.  NKU contributes 10 percent. The employee is 100 percent vested (owns) both his own and NKU contributions immediately. The 403(b) plan is offered through TIAA-CREF with a choice of 35 different investment options.

Faculty, who previously participated in a TIAA-CREF account, may begin contributions immediately by providing a copy of their current TIAA-CREF account statement to Benefits.

Staff Retirement Plan

Regular staff employees scheduled to work an average of 100 or more hours a month are required to participate in the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) upon employment. Contract employees (minimum contract 6 months or more) are required to participate after 9 months employment. The employee contribution is 6 percent (if participation begins after 9/1/2008) of regular base pay on a before-tax basis.  Five percent is for the retirement income benefit and one percent is for the retiree health benefit. NKU contributes the state legislated percentage.

Employees who separate from NKU prior to accumulating 5 years of service in KERS can receive a distribution of their contributions for the retirement income. The employee forfeits their contributions for the retiree health benefit as well as the NKU contributions made on their behalf.

Optional Retirement Plans

Eligible employees may choose to participate in several additional retirement savings plans offered through TIAA-CREF and the Kentucky Deferred Compensation Authority.


Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program is a free, confidential service that is available to all employees that are eligible for health insurance benefits.  NKU realizes that your family, job and wellness are central to your life.  Occasionally, ordinary problems seem overwhelming and being able to talk to someone, no matter what the issue, would be a helpful. 

For more information, visit the Aetna Employee Assistance Program website. The phone number is 1-888-AETNA-EAP. 

Tuition Waiver Plan

NKU provides a Tuition Waiver Plan to employees and their legal spouses and dependent(s). Employees can utilize the tuition waiver program for undergraduate, graduate or law classes. The plan allows for a maximum of six (6) credit hours per semester for full-time employees and three (3) credit hours for regular part-time employees. 
Classes may not be taken during an employee's normal working hours. Employees will not be allowed to waive tuition if they have terminated employment, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or submit written notice of intent to terminate prior to the first day of the semester or summer session for which the waiver is requested. Tuition benefits may be applied to the statewide program to attend other state universities or colleges. 
The Tuition Waiver Plan allows for the participation of an employee's spouse and eligible dependent(s). Spouses and eligible dependent(s) must meet admissions requirements to NKU and the college/program to which they are applying. They are provided a maximum of six credit hours per semester for undergraduate courses. Spouses and dependents of part-time employees are provided a maximum of three credit hours. 

For more information, see our Tuition Waiver webpage.  


Eight legal holidays are observed by the university. The Board of Regents or the president may grant special holidays in addition to those listed here:

  • New Year's Day

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  • Memorial Day

  • Independence Day

  • Labor Day

  • Presidential Election Day

  • Thanksgiving Day (and the following day)

  • Holiday break in December. 

Vacation / Annual Leave

Vacation/annual leave provides the opportunity for rest, recreation and relaxation necessary to the maintenance of effective work performance. Employees may begin to use vacation leave after successful completion of their initial probationary period; however, vacation/annual leave begins accruing on a pay-period basis from the initial date of employment.
Annual vacation/annual leave allowances (and maximum accruals) are as follows:

 - Administrative positions -- 25 days annual allowance (20 days max). 

 - Exempt professional and managerial classified positions -- 20 days/annual allowance (15 max) for the first nine years of service; increases to 25 days/annual allowance (20 max) in the 10th year of service. 

 - Non-exempt office, clerical, technical & scientific and service & maintenance -- 17 days/annual allowance (12 max) for the first four years of service; increases to 20 days/annual allowance (15 max) for years five through nine and 25 days/annual allowance (20 max) in the 10th year of service.

Once the maximum accrual has been reached, no additional accruals will be made until leave is utilized and the leave balance is brought below the maximum allowed. After four years of employment at NKU, an employee has the option to transfer unused vacation leave to sick leave. A maximum of five vacation days may be converted to sick leave on an annual basis.

Twelve-month grant/contract employees accrue full, normal vacation based on their employment categorizations.  If the grant/contract is renewed, unused vacation (not to exceed what can be accrued in 18 months) may be carried over into the new contract period. Employees do not accrue vacation for a period of less than 12 months.

Temporary Medical Disability Leave 

Sick leave is designed to cover employees during a time of an extended illness or incapacitation. Sick leave allowance accumulates but is not available for use until the initial 90-day probationary period is completed. Unused sick leave will not be paid upon separation from the university.

Sick leave may be accumulated without limitation on days. Full-time staff members accrue one day of sick leave for each calendar month of employment, part-time staff members accrue 1/2 day of sick leave for each calendar month and Grant/Contract accrue at the rate of one day per month for each month of the grant/contract.

University Identification Card (All Card)

NKU All Cards (IDs) are available for all new employees. Cards can be obtained in the All Card Office (Student Union 120) 24 hours after the first day of employment providing all paperwork has been completed and submitted to Human Resources.

Once an All Card is made, it is activated the following business day. The All Card allows access to the university libraries, Albright Health Center, discounts for dining, vending and for employee purchases at the university bookstore. During this automated process, an e-mail account is also set up for the employee.
If necessary, manual entry of employee information can be arranged in advance (at least five working days) of employee's first day by contacting the All Card office. For information regarding the NKU All Card, please access the website: All Card

Campus Recreation Center

This program provides all university employees and retirees free access to the Campus Recreation Center (CRC). Employees must show an NKU All Card to enter the building. Employees' spouses and/or dependent children may purchase memberships.

The CRC offers a wide variety of amenities for employees to access including fitness room, basketball courts, indoor running track, racquetball courts, pool, locker room, sauna and equipment rentals.  For more information regarding activities and services, please access the CRC website:

Credit Union  

Northern Kentucky University is affiliated with two credit unions for employees to join.  No membership fees are required in either of the credit unions.  

For details on the different programs available please refer to the following links: 


Payday for bi-weekly paid staff (non-exempt) is every other Friday. Generally, it is four weeks before an employee receives his/her first paycheck, since checks are issued two weeks after the end of each pay period. Time cards must be in Payroll by noon on the Monday following the end of each pay period. Payday for monthly paid employees (exempt) is the last working day of the month. Absence record cards are due in Payroll on payday. 
Payroll deductions are as follows: Federal income and FICA taxes; state income taxes; City of Cincinnati tax (if desired, a form must be completed); City of Highland Heights; county tax (TANK); retirement; and benefits: credit union, health insurance dependent coverage, court-ordered garnishments, etc.

Direct Deposit of Paychecks  

University employees may deposit their paychecks directly into a bank, savings and loan, credit union or other financial institution. Direct depositing gives you the following benefits: 

  • Convenience: Your net pay is available to you the first thing on the morning of payday. If payday occurs while you are on vacation or sick, your pay is waiting for you in your account. 

  • Safety: Direct Deposit eliminates the possibility of a lost or stolen paycheck.

Drug-Free Work Place Statement 

Northern Kentucky University abides by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Campus Act of 1989. All employees receive a copy of Northern Kentucky University's Drug-Free Workplace statement during the benefits orientation program.

Safety and Security

NKU's Department of Public Safety provides 24-hour security service. The phone number to call in case of any emergency is 7777 or 572-7777. Some other important security and safety measures are: 

Report suspicious activities or persons immediately to your supervisor or Public Safety 

Always secure your valuables and keys  

  • Keep your work station clean  
  • Lock your office doors when leaving or if you work after hours  
  • Dress for safety  
  • Don't take unnecessary chances  
  • Report any potential safety hazard or violation to your supervisor.

Every employee is insured under Worker's Compensation for any job-related injury or illness. If an injury or illness is incurred on the job, it should be reported immediately to the employee's supervisor and the Department of Human Resources.

Performance Evaluations

Supervisors are required to evaluate employees' job performance at the end of their initial 90-day probationary period. Subsequent evaluations will be made at regular intervals in accordance with university policy. If an employee receives a promotion or transfer, a new probationary period will be served, after which job performance will again be evaluated. Northern Kentucky University is a pay-for-performance employer.


The University encourages employees to apply for positions that would represent promotional opportunities. Vacant positions are posted on the web at

Personal Information

In order to maintain accurate personnel and payroll records, any changes in name, address, telephone number, marital status, etc., should be reported to the Department of Human Resources as soon as possible. Maximum attention is given to assuring the confidentiality of all information maintained in personnel files.

University Statement: Asserting Respect for Human Diversity

Northern Kentucky University is a multicultural community of diverse racial, ethnic and class backgrounds, national origins, religious and political beliefs, physical abilities, ages, genders and sexual orientations. Our educational activities and everyday interactions are enriched by our acceptance of one another and, as members of the university community we strive to learn from each other in an atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect.
Because of the necessity to maintain this atmosphere, bigotry will not go unchallenged within this community. We will educate each other on the existence and effects of racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, religious intolerance and other forms of invidious prejudice. When such prejudice results in harassment, intimidation or violence against persons or property, we will not tolerate such behavior.
All who work, live, study and teach in the Northern Kentucky University community should be committed to these principles, which are an integral part of Northern Kentucky University's focus, goals and mission.

Human Resources Information

  • Office: Lucas Administrative Center 708

  • Phone: (859) 572-5200

  • E-mail:

  • Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST

Emily Sumner, Director of Benefits
(859) 572-6387 /

Benefit Planning and Administration, Benefit Vendor Management, Benefit Communications and Benevolent Association.

Decca Buechel, Benefits Coordinator
(859) 572-5203 /

Benefit Enrollment and Changes.  Benefit Inquiries.

Jessica Tipton, Benefits Analyst
(859) 572-7556 /