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Benefits Continuation during Personal Leave
During continuous unpaid personal leave, you may choose to either continue or cancel your eligible benefits. Please note that benefits continuation information under personal leave also applies to professional leave as well as unpaid leave to due lack of research funding.
If You Choose to Continue Benefits
For unpaid leave of 30 days or less, your portion of benefits premiums will go into arrears* and will be deducted upon your return to work. If your unpaid leave of absence will exceed 30 days, you will be responsible to remit payment for benefits premiums directly to the university to maintain benefits coverage.
*Please note that Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) missed contributions do not arrear in the payroll system while you are not receiving a paycheck. If you will be on unpaid leave and will miss FSA contributions, you can either submit your missed contributions through Payer Express, GW’s online payment systemn or your FSA contribution amount will be adjusted when you return to paid status in order to meet your annual election amount. Post tax contributions to an HSA cannot be made directly to GW. Please see the HSA section below for more information.
Eligible benefits to continue on unpaid personal leave (with premium payment):
- Legal Resources
- Life and AD&D, for up to 12 months – if your leave will exceed 12 months, you may be eligible to port or convert your life insurance. Applications for coverage and payment for the first premium must be received by The Standard within 60 calendar days from the date your coverage ends. Questions about portability or conversion of insurance can be directed to The Standard at 1-855-554-2918.
- Universal Life (Transamerica)
- Short-Term and Long-Term Disability, for up to 12 months
- Tuition Remission and Tuition Exchange Program, Inc. benefits can continue but please note that employees who are on unpaid leave and have a taxable tuition remission benefit are required to contact Benefits Administration to make payment arrangements. Please review details in the Tuition Remission Benefits policy at https://benefits.gwu.edu/tuition-remission.
- Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts - If you choose to continue a Healthcare FSA during unpaid leave, these dollars will be contributed on a post-tax basis. If you choose to cancel this plan during your leave, claims can only be submitted which were incurred prior to the effective date of your leave.
Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Accounts - Employees who are on a paid or unpaid leave of absence for longer than 30 calendar days are not permitted to continue (or newly elect) the FSA dependent care account per our plan rules. Claims can only be submitted for eligible services through the end of your leave of absence commencement month.
If you wish to participate in the FSA dependent care account upon your return to work, you MUST re-elect the FSA dependent care benefit within 30 calendar days of your return date via the EasyEnroll System. If no re-election is made, your next opportunity to enroll will be during open enrollment or within 30 calendar days of a Qualified Life Event (QLE).
Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions through payroll deduction will continue if your leave is paid through GW Payroll Services. If your leave is unpaid and you wish to make post tax contributions to your HSA, you will need to submit those contributions directly to PayFlex. HSAs are employee-owned accounts therefore you are responsible for ensuring your contributions do not exceed the IRS limits including all HSA contributions through payroll deduction as well as any post tax contributions you or anyone else has made to the account combined. If you or anyone else makes post tax contributions your HSA during unpaid leave or at any other time, you should review your HSA election to ensure that you do not exceed the maximum annual contribution. If you exceed the maximum contributions allowable by the IRS; you will need to submit a request to PayFlex to have those excess contributions returned to you. Also note that if you choose to cancel your High Deductible Health Plan during unpaid leave, you will no longer be eligible to make contributions to your Health Savings Account until you re-enroll in a qualifying High Deductible Health Plan.
Retirement Contributions - During unpaid leave, any portion you were contributing to the Supplemental Retirement Program cannot continue since those are only done through payroll deduction. For information on withdrawals, please contact your retirement plan administrator.
The university requires employees on unpaid leave to pay for their benefits premiums through Payer Express, GW’s online payment system. Summary invoices for benefits premiums due can be accessed via Payer Express each month.
If you wish to view a detailed breakdown of your benefits premiums, you can do so by logging into the GW EasyEnroll system. If you need assistance with logging in or you have forgotten your password, please contact the Benefits Call Center at 1-888-4GWUBEN (449-8236). You can also view your current benefits premiums on your paycheck by logging into the GWeb Portal.
If applicable, Benefits Administration will provide you with instructions on how to log in and enroll in a Payer Express account in order to remit payment for benefits premiums during your unpaid leave. Please note that failure to make payments will result in cancelation of voluntary benefits effective the end of the month following the last payment or deduction.
Other Payroll Deductions
If you have other payroll deductions such as parking fees, gym membership, union dues, uniform fees, etc., you will need to contact the respective department directly that administers those deductions to determine billing information.
If You Choose to Cancel Benefits
Cancelations of benefits can be done within 30 calendar days after the start of a continuous unpaid leave via the EasyEnroll System.
Increases to Life and Disability Insurance Benefits during a Leave of Absence
Employees out on an approved personal leave (including professional and research leaves) will continue to be eligible for the level of group life, AD&D and disability insurance for up to 12 months from the leave begin date. Any increase in coverage caused by a merit increase provided by the university will become effective the first day of the calendar month coinciding with or next following the employee’s return to work. In addition, any increases in coverage following qualified life event elections to life, AD&D and disability benefits* during these leaves will not become effective until applicable Evidence of Insurability (EOI) forms are completed and approved and the employee has returned to active employment. Employees should not wait until their return to work to complete the EOI process as the EOI submission deadline may have passed.
*Child life and child AD&D coverage can be added effective the date of birth or adoption of a child, if election is made within 60 calendar days of the qualified life event.
Annual Open Enrollment
Please be aware that benefits rates change periodically. You will be notified of new premiums and given a chance to change plans at each Annual Open Enrollment. Annual Open Enrollment occurs each fall with an effective date of January 1. Any increases you make to your life, AD&D and disability benefits during a leave of absence will not become effective until applicable Evidence of Insurability (EOI) forms are completed and approved by The Standard and you have returned to active employment.