Working at Excelsior College

The Excelsior College Employee Experience

Excelsior College is a vibrant and dynamic workplace. Here you’ll find unmatched opportunities and a supportive environment as you help the College meet its mission to provide educational opportunity to adult learners with an emphasis on those historically underrepresented in higher education.

Named among the Times Union Top Workplaces for three consecutive years, Excelsior College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/ADA employer committed to excellence and inclusion.

In addition to a robust suite of employee benefits, here are some of things that make working at Excelsior an exceptional experience:

  • Free parking at the Albany headquarters
  • A curbside mobile ATM on payday Fridays
  • An in-house cafeteria
  • Discounted movie tickets
  • Weekly local produce deliveries from Field
  • Subsidized gym memberships
  • A variety of on-site health and wellness opportunities, such as Yoga and Zumba classes.
  • Cellphone and computer purchase discounts
  • The College’s normal business hours are 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Full-time employees work 37.50 hours per week (7.5 hours/day), and payroll is issued biweekly and delivered via direct deposit. New employees are immediately on payroll; no lag period is required. Excelsior’s dress code is business casual and Fridays are designated as casual day.

Benefits Summary

Here is an overview of the many benefits you’ll receive as an Excelsior College employee. Detailed information is available in the Employee Handbook and through the Office of Human Resources.

Time Off

Eleven on-going designated holidays are observed:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving and the day after
  • Christmas Day
  • A variable floating holiday.
    One variable floating holiday is granted at the beginning of the calendar year for current employees and upon the date of hire for new employees. This floating holiday is on a -use it or lose it- basis and must be used within the calendar year that it was granted.

Time Off Policy (Vacation/Sick time/Other)

Paid Time Off (PTO) combines all types of short-term paid leave time into one bank. New employees who work full-time, will start their PTO accrual after their first two weeks at a rate of 5.50 hours bi-weekly. This will be prorated for part-time employees based on the percentage of time worked. With each pay period, employees accrue additional PTO based on their completed years of service. Staff can carry forward their PTO accrual from one year to the next. The maximum carry-over PTO limit is 300 hours (8 weeks.) Any additional hours over 300 will roll over into your Extended Illness Bank on March 1st of each year.  The PTO accrual schedule, based on years of service, is provided below:

Years of Service:

  • 0 to 1                    5.50 hours biweekly (3.80 weeks)
  • 1                            6.00 hours biweekly (4.16 weeks)
  • 2                           6.50 hours biweekly (4.50 weeks)
  • 3                           7.00 hours biweekly (4.85 weeks)
  • 4                           7.25 hours biweekly (5.03 weeks)
  • 5                           7.50 hours biweekly (5.20 weeks)
  • 6                           7.75 hours biweekly (5.37 weeks)
  • 7                           8.00 hours biweekly (5.55 weeks)
  • 8                           8.00 hours biweekly (5.55 weeks)
  • 9                           8.25 hours biweekly (5.72 weeks)
  • 10                         8.50 hours biweekly (5.89 weeks)
  • 11                         8.50 hours biweekly (5.89 weeks)
  • 12                        8.75 hours biweekly (6.00 weeks)

Note –   Staff at “8.5” Years of Service and below” (and hired before 11/1/16), will receive one additional Floating Holiday, and the additional FH will be granted in future years on a “phase-out” basis as they catch up to their former accrual schedule.

Extended Illness Bank (EIB) is accrued time that is set aside for hospitalization, long-term illness, or bereavement. Beginning with the one-year service anniversary date, and on all subsequent anniversary dates, an allocation of 37.5 hours will be added to your EIB (pro-rated for part-time employees).

Volunteer Hours (VTO): Effective January 1, 2019 if you are hired between January 1st and June 30th, you will receive 15 hours of Volunteer Time Off (VTO) on your date of hire. If you are hired July 1st or after, you will receive 7.5 hours of VTO on your date of hire. Thereafter, each calendar year you will receive 15 hours of VTO to participate in Excelsior-sponsored actives and/or external community service activities.

 New Research Time Off (ONLY for Faculty Program Directors)

Faculty Program Directors(FPDs) are eligible for Research Time Off (RTO) based on eligibility criteria that are determined by Academic Leadership. This is on a use-it or lose-it basis by the end of the calendar year (12/31). FPDs should consult with their Associate Dean for more information on this time off benefit. The RTO schedule is as follows:

After 1 year of service – 15 Hours (2 Days) per year (prorated for first year of eligibility – if hired between January 1 and June 30, get full 2 days; if hired after June 30, get 1 day)

After 3 years – 22.50 (3 Days) per year

After 5 years and up – 37.50 (5 Days) per year

Jury Duty

You may be excused from your scheduled work time and be paid at the normal base rate for a maximum of ten days per year for jury duty.

Military Leave

Military leave benefits are provided in accordance with federal and state law (consult the College’s Military Leave policy for additional information).

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

According to the Department of Labor, FMLA entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job protected leave for specified family and medical leave reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage.

Employees who have been employed for at least (1) year and for at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12-month period are eligible for FMLA leave. Regular Full-time and Part-time employees who meet the applicable time-of-service requirements, may be granted a total of twelve (12) weeks of FMLA Leave during a 12-month period, (for part time employees eligible FMLA hours will be prorated based on their part time schedule). Once the staff member has met eligibility requirements, FMLA will start immediately and will run concurrent with EIB and PTO. FMLA allows for 12 weeks of job protected leave. Any Leave of Absence (LOA) requests beyond that period must be reviewed and approved by the unit manager and Human Resources. For questions regarding eligible accommodations under FMLA, please contact Tricia Tice, Director of Payroll & Benefits at Ext: 8548.

New Parental Leave Policy:

Employees who have completed six months of service at Excelsior College are eligible for the new parental leave policy. The college will provide for a new parent (mom and/or dad), with 2 weeks of paid leave funded by EC (to run concurrent with FMLA) This will apply for:

    • The birth of the employee’s child, healing and to care for the child; or
    • The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care (max of once per year).

 Short Term Disability Gap Coverage:

EC provides reasonable income protection for employees who experience a short-term disability and do not have sufficient accrued EIB and/or PTO to cover the duration of an absence as the result of a disability. Employees that have been employed at EC for at least 6 months are eligible for Gap coverage. Gap coverage begins after EIB and PTO has been exhausted, will cover employees up to 6 months of disability period and provide employees with 60% of compensation up to $1,000 of taxable earnings per week until short-term disability ends or long-term disability begins.

NY Paid Family Leave – Effective January 1, 2018:

The New York Paid Family Leave is a new law that covers all employees who work in New York State. It provides them with income, job protection and continuation of health benefits (when applicable) for employees who take a qualified leave.  This new benefit will be funded by the employees and the contribution rate for 2019 will be 0.126% of  employee weekly wages and is capped at the current statewide average weekly wage of $1,305.92 per week.

Insurance Benefits
*Please note that all insurance plans are standalone plans.
*Please note that domestic partnerships may be subject to IRS imputed income regulations.

Health Insurance

Two plans are available, both administered by Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. For new employees, coverage is effective on the date of hire. Children/dependents are covered until age 26 (the end of the month in which they turn 26,) regardless of student status. Excelsior College recognizes both same and opposite sex domestic partnerships, with proof of eligibility. Please note that if your spouse/domestic partner has access to healthcare coverage through their employer, but you choose to have them on Excelsior’s Healthcare plan, your cost will be increased $25.00 (pre-tax) per pay period.  You will need to sign an affidavit stating they do not have access to healthcare coverage before adding them to EC’s plan at no extra cost to you.            The biweekly premiums are listed at the end of this benefits summary document.

Empire Total Blue Plan (HRA)
The HRA plan utilizes a high deductible, Health Reimbursement Account that is funded in part by the College. The individual deductible is $2,000 and the two-person or family plan is $4,000. The College will pay the first 85% of the deductible, once this has been met, the employee will be responsible for the remaining 15%. There will be no out-of-pocket cost for copayments for covered medical, physician or hospital charges until after these limits are met. After the deductible has been met, the plan has traditional copayments described in the plan document. The plan does require you to use an Empire BlueCross provider. However, this plan does give you a national provider network through the BlueCard Network. Prescriptions will have copayments beginning the first day of your eligibility date. There is a $50 (individual)/$150 (family) deductible on Tier 1 and Tier 2 prescriptions. There is no deductible on generics.

Empire Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan
This is a traditional PPO plan that provides provider-based coverage and outside the network coverage. Copayments start from day one of the plan year for all coverage including prescriptions. There is a deductible and coinsurance for out-of-network coverage which you will be required to pay, because there is no Health Reimbursement Account funding for this option. This plan also includes the BlueCard Network.

Vision Insurance

Vision coverage is offered through Empire Blue View Vision. Coverage is effective on the date of hire. Children/ dependents are covered until age 26 (the end of the month in which they turn 26,) regardless of student status.

Empire will send new enrollees one card that will be used for both their Health and Vision coverage.

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is offered through Delta Dental. Coverage is effective on the date of hire. Children/ dependents are covered until age 26 (the end of the month of which they turn 26,) regardless of student status. There is a $50 deductible for individuals and a $150 deductible for two person or family.

Other Benefits

Retirement Savings

Excelsior College Retirement Plan—401(a)

After one year of employment, you are eligible to participate in the Excelsior College Retirement Plan. The College will contribute seven (7) percent of your monthly base salary to an account that you create with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Associates (TIAA).

If your predecessor employment was an educational organization or teaching institution’s and you have worked there for 12 consecutive months, you may be eligible to participate in the Retirement Plan upon date of hire if certain criteria are met. For purposes of the Plan, a “Predecessor Employer” means any institution of higher education; provided (a) the Employee did not separate from service with the Predecessor Employer more than three months prior to commencing employment with the Employer, and (b) the Employee’s period of employment with the Predecessor Employer was at least 12 consecutive months

If you are a rehire and already met eligibility to participate in the 401(a) retirement plan, you are immediately eligible to participate again in the Plan.

Supplemental Retirement Plan—403(b)

A tax-deferred 403(b) arrangement provides the opportunity to save a designated portion of your salary through payroll deduction on a pre-tax basis. You may enroll in this plan at any time after the date of employment.  Investment options are offered through TIAA. For 2019  the maximum contribution is $19,000 and we allow a catch-up contribution for any employee 50 years or older up to $6,000.

Effective September 21, 2018, the College implemented a 1% Auto Enrollment feature to our 403(b) plan which is a valuable benefit intended to help you build your savings. Please note that participation is not mandatory.   For questions, please contact Tricia Tice, Director of Payroll & Benefits at Ext: 8548.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
*Please note that you do not have to be enrolled in Excelsior’s insurance plans in order to participate.
*Please note that Flexible Spending dollars must be used for the Participant, spouse or eligible dependent.

Administered through Benefit Resources Inc., flexible spending accounts are available for both medical and dependent care expenses. You may enroll in the program on the first of the month following the date of hire.

Medical FSA. You may authorize a maximum annual deduction of $2,700 from your biweekly paycheck on a pre-tax basis to pay for a variety of health-related expenses that are otherwise not covered under the health insurance plan, except for over-the counter medications. Signing up for this benefit could save you up to 30 percent on your health, dental and vision expenses.

Dependent Care FSA
. You may authorize a maximum annual deduction $5,000 from your biweekly paycheck on a pre-tax basis to pay for dependent care expenses.  Please refer to IRS Guidelines for household limits.

Commuter Benefit Plan (CBP)

Administered through Benefit Resources Inc., the commuter benefit plan is available for both parking and mass transit expenses. You may enroll in the program the first of any month. Enrollment is on-going and can be started or stopped at any time.

CBP – Parking. You may authorize a maximum of $260 a month to be used for parking expenses occurred while working.

CBP – Mass Transit. You may authorize a maximum of $260 a month to be used for mass transit transportation to and/or from the workplace.


Group Long-Term Disability Insurance

This coverage is funded by Excelsior College and provided by CIGNA at no cost to all active employees who work a minimum of 17.5 hours/week (50 percent). After a 180-day (6 month) waiting period, a disabled employee is eligible to collect the lesser of 60 percent of their monthly earnings or the maximum disability benefit of $6,000 per month.

Life Insurance—Basic & Supplemental

A life insurance policy, valued at two times the employee’s salary (minimum of $25,000/maximum of $150,000) is available to you at no cost. Every Employee will be eligible for this Life Insurance policy free of charge.  This coverage is effective on the first day of the month following 30 days of employment.

You may also elect to purchase additional supplemental term life insurance coverage for yourself, your spouse or domestic partner, and/or children through MassMutual Life Insurance.

Tuition Assistance

All regular employees are eligible to participate in either the associate, baccalaureate, masters or credit bearing examination tuition program, after the completion of six months of satisfactory job completion. Employees are eligible to participate in the doctoral tuition program after one year of satisfactory job completion.  Part-time employees are eligible for a prorated percentage of their tuition costs.

In addition, spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children are eligible to take a limited number of Excelsior College classes, with tuition covered 100 percent. Limits and restrictions apply.  Certain tuition assistance benefits are considered taxable to the employee.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The EAP is a service to help employees and their families who are facing a problem such as marital, financial, personal, relationship, legal, alcohol, drug or any other concern that requires professional assistance and needs to be dealt with in a confidential manner. Dial 518-434-1799 at any time to access this service.

Optional Programs

Several programs are available for employee purchase and are not subsidized by the College.

Aflac Insurance Options

  • Short-Term Disability Income Insurance
  • Cancer Care Specified Disease Insurance
  • Personal Sickness Indemnity Insurance
  • 24-Hour Accident Indemnity Insurance
  • Lump Sum Critical Care

LegalShield & IDShield

LegalShield offers a variety of legal services and allows members to speak to a lawyer on any personal legal matter, no matter how trivial or traumatic. Legal advice, letters/calls made on your behalf, contract & documents reviews are only a few of the services provided. In addition, members are eligible for Member Perks with hundreds of merchants and thousands of discounts.

IDShield membership offers privacy monitoring, security monitoring, consultation and full service restoration backed by a $5 million service guarantee.

Both are standalone plans or can be combined and provided as direct bill only (not available through payroll deduction.)


This document is intended to provide highlights of certain benefit plans in which you may be eligible to participate. Complete details are found in the official plan documents, which are the complete and exclusive statement of the College’s obligations under the plan. The official plan documents shall govern in the event of a conflict between information contained in these or other documents and statements. The plan administrator retains exclusive authority and discretion to interpret the terms of the benefit plans and programs described herein.

Excelsior College reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend, change, suspend or terminate any benefit or other plan, program, practice or policy of the institution at any time. The College does not have any obligation to, and nothing contained in this document shall be construed as creating an express or implied obligation or promise on the part of Excelsior College to, maintain, continue to offer, or make available such plans, programs, practices or policies.