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Benefits At A Glance


The University of Houston-Downtown offers a variety of fringe benefit programs as part of its employment and compensation package.  As an employee, you select benefits that may be individualized to meet your needs and those of your dependents.

Automatic state benefits include sick leave, paid holidays and a retirement program. Optional benefits include health and dental insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and supplemental retirement programs.  A summary of benefits afforded to eligible UHD employees follows*.


MEDICAL PLAN:   HealthSelect UnitedHealth Care (

Employees working 30 hours or more per week: State pays 100% of your medical premium and 50% of the dependent premium:

Member Only…………….. $0.00

Member & Children….…. $ 206.14

Member & Spouse……...$ 307.88

Member & Family………$ 514.02


Part-time employees: State pays 50% of your medical premium and 25% of the dependent premium:

Member Only…………...$268.83

Member & Children……. $578.04

Member & Spouse…..…. $730.65

Member & Family……… $1,039.86


Health coverage is subject to a 60-day waiting period except for employees transferring directly from another State agency.


Tobacco Policies

Tobacco users enrolled in a state health plan will pay higher premiums for their health insurance coverage. If you or a covered family member uses tobacco, you must certify as a tobacco user.  You will pay $30, $60 or $90 more each month in additional health insurance premiums, depending on how many tobacco users you cover. Members who do not certify their tobacco-use status will be charged a monthly user premium – even it they don’t use tobacco.


Tobacco users

Monthly fee

Member only


Spouse only


Child* only


Member + spouse


Member + child*


Spouse + child*


Member + spouse + child (Family)


*The charge for a child is the same regardless of how many children in the household use tobacco.


Opt-Out Credit

If you have other health insurance equivalent to what the State provides, you can elect not to enroll in the health insurance and receive a Health Insurance Opt-Out Credit.  You can receive up to a $60 credit permonth if you are a full-time employee and up to a $30 credit if  you are part-time to be used for specific coverage only.  The Opt-Out Credit can be applied to premiums for dental insurance or Voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D).  Waiving the health insurance plan will cancel your prescription drug coverage and the basic $5000 Term Life policy.



You have a choice of three dental plans - Humana DMO, Dental Choice or Dental Discount Plan Plans:

Employee Only Employee & Spouse Employee & Children Employee & Family
Humana DMO
Humana Dental Choice
Dental Discount Plan



You may purchase up to four times your annual salary (up to a maximum of $400,000).
The premiums per thousand of coverage for optional term life are age rated based on your age each September 1.  Also the optional term life has a coverage reduction beginning at age 70.



The premium for Dependent Term Life insurance is $1.38 per month, and includes $5,000 term life with AD&D per dependent.



If you are under 70, you can elect coverage between $10,000 and $200,000 for yourself or yourself and eligible family members.


Employee Only……………………………$0.02/$1,000 of coverage
Employee and Family…………………….$0.04/$1,000 of coverage   



This benefit provides protection from loss of income due to disability resulting from illness or accident. Benefit pays percentage of your gross salary for a designated period of time.  Short-term pays 66% for a maximum of five (5) months.  Long-term pays $60 (up to $10,000 monthly salary) up to age 65.

Short-Term Disability………………………$0.30/$100 of monthly salary
Long-Term Disability……………………….$0.63/$100 of monthly salary



Health care (HCRA) and dependent care (DCRA) reimbursement accounts allow employees to set aside, through payroll deduction funds to cover eligible expenses. Employees may contribute up to $2,496 (12/26 checks) or $2,493 (9 checks) to the HCRA and up to $5,000 to the DCRA per plan year. An optional TexFlex debit card is available for both accounts and includes an administrative fee of $15 per year.



Benefits-eligible employees have to select one of these two retirement programs:

THE TEACHER RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF TEXAS (TRS):  A defined Benefit plan, employees contribute 6.7% of their pre-tax gross salary and the State contributes 6.8% (effective September 1, 2014) of the employee’s gross salary to a state account to pay retirement benefits. TRS anticipates rate increase in employee contributions to 7.2% for FY 16 and 7.7% for FY 17. Rights to benefits are vested upon completion of five (5) years of creditable service. Other benefits included in the TRS program for the active member is life insurance equal to twice an employee’s annual salary to a maximum of $80,000 and disability income benefits.

The 2005 79th Legislative Session resulted in some major changes in higher education employee benefits for new TRS members.  Most of the changes relate to the purchasing of service credit with TRS, eligibility for insurance at retirement, and the availability of certain distribution options.  If you are currently employed at a Texas higher education institution and plan to join UHD, you may be exempt from these changes and grandfathered under the old policies.  Grandfathered employees are TRS members who, prior to September 1, 2005, meet the following criteria:

  • Are at least 50 years old;
  • Meet the Rule of 70 (age plus years of TRS membership total 70); or
  • Have 25 years of TRS membership

For more information, please log on to the TRS website at


THE OPTIONAL RETIREMENT PROGRAM (ORP): A defined Contribution plan, ORP is available to full-time (100% FTE) benefits-eligible faculty members and certain professional/administrative staff under the provisions of State laws.  Employees contribute 6.65% of their pre-tax gross salary and the State contributes 6.6% (effective September 1, 2013) of the employee’s gross salary to the ORP account.  Employees who were members of the ORP prior to 9/01/1995 are grandfathered at 8.5% state matching. Contributions made by the university to the ORP are vested after one year and one day of participation in the program.


Participation in the ORP is a one-time option and must be made within the first 90 days of employment in an ORP eligible position.  Once vested in ORP, all future retirement participation in Texas Higher Education must be through an ORP vendor and employees may not change retirement participation to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, unless their higher education employment is interrupted by employment at a Texas Public School District which requires TRS membership. Vendors approved to offer the ORP and TDA programs are Fidelity Investments, ING Financial Services, Lincoln Financial Group, Met Life Resources, TIAA-CREF, and VALIC.



Benefits-eligible employees may enroll in Plan 457 and 403(b) Plans at any time during your employment.  Contributions to the 457 Plan are before taxes and made through payroll deduction.  The 403(b) Plan includes the Tax Deferred Annuity with before tax payroll deductions and the Roth 403(b) Plan which has after tax payroll deductions, but tax fee growth. The minimum monthly contribution is $25 and the annual maximum for calendar year 2013 is $17,500. Both plans include an age 50 catch-up provision which allows an additional $5,500 in contributions.



Regular full-time/part-time employees are eligible for paid holidays as approved by the Texas Legislature and the UH System Board of Regents.



Regular full-time employees earn paid vacation and sick leave. Faculty are not eligible for vacation pay unless they are administrative faculty on twelve month appointments.  Part-time employees earn a pro-rata share based on the percent of time worked.



Employees may be granted leave without pay with supervisory approval for sufficient reason. Request must be in writing to the supervisor with a specified return date. 



Regular, full-time non-academic employees who have a minimum of two years of service with the State of Texas are entitled to longevity pay at a rate of $20.00 for every two years of service up to and including 42 years of service.


Optional Benefits Programs

The University of Houston System (“System”) is partnering with Aflac and MetLife to sponsor several optional benefit plans for System benefits-eligible employees through payroll deduction. These supplemental benefits are in addition to the benefits currently offered by the Employee Retirement System (“ERS”); however, the cost of each product will be the employee’s sole responsibility and will not be supplemented in any way by the university or System.
The products being offered are Aflac’s Accident, Cancer, Critical Illness and Hospital Protection plans, and MetLife’s Universal Life with Long-Term Care plan.


For additional information, please contact Erica Morales, UHD Director, Compensation & Benefits, Employment Services and Operations, at 713-221-8443 or  For more details on State of Texas benefits programs, please log on to the Employees Retirement System of Texas website at or the Employment Services and Operations (ESO).


Page maintained by Tony Nguyen

Last updated or reviewed on 2/2/15

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