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About . Employee Handbook . Benefits 

6. Benefits

In order to attract and retain the very best talent, employees of the Cleveland Institute of Art receive a wide range of College benefits including health, dental, and vision insurance plans. In addition to these plans’ employees may put aside pre-tax dollars from their pay for reimbursement of expenses not covered by their healthcare plans (e.g. co-payments, deductibles, co-insurance), and for dependent care. In addition, the College provides employee group term life insurance. Statutory benefits (those required by law) such as workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance cover all employees pursuant to the provisions of these state programs.

Employees will learn about benefit programs for which they are eligible on their first day of employment. An overview of employee benefits can be found in this handbook and are further defined in the summary benefits information given to all eligible employees. Actual plan documents govern employee benefits rights. To the extent there are any inconsistencies in the general descriptions below and the actual plan documents and summary plan descriptions, the terms of the plan documents and summary plan descriptions shall govern.

The following benefit programs are currently available to eligible full-time and part-time employees, as well as their qualified dependents, where applicable, once the required waiting periods have been satisfied. Some benefit programs require contributions from the employee; however, the College pays the majority of the expenses. Employee contributions are made with pre-tax payroll deductions.

  • Healthcare Insurance
  • Dental and Vision Insurance
  • Healthcare & Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts
  • Life and AD&D Insurance 
  • Paid Time Off
  • Short-term Disability Program
  • Long-term Disability Insurance
  • Tuition Remission and Tuition Exchange
  • 403 B Retirement Plan
  • Other supplemental coverage

Eligibility for College benefits is dependent on the employee’s classification and length of service.  Unless the policy specifically states otherwise, employees in the following classifications are eligible for benefits offered through the College:

All full-time and part-time employees working a minimum of 30 hours per week for the academic year. 

All faculty employees with an annual appointment letter working a full academic year

The College reserves the right to revise, supplement, and/or terminate benefits programs and/or benefits levels at any time, including but not limited to, the right to modify plan design, employee co-pays, deductibles, co-insurance, contribution levels, eligibility effective dates, and to change care providers.

6.1 Benefits Continuation (COBRA)

The Cleveland Institute of Art complies with the requirements of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which gives employees and their qualified dependents the opportunity to continue health insurance coverage at their cost for specified periods when a “qualifying event” occurs (e.g. termination of employment, divorce, etc.)
The College provides employees with written notice of their rights under the law when they become eligible for coverage. All employees should read and retain a copy of this information. 

6.2 Retirement Annuity Plans

We help employees provide and plan for the future through the CIA Retirement Plan. Employee contributions are made through payroll deduction, on a before-tax basis, and are matched by CIA as provided in the Summary Plan Document (“SPD”). Full-time employees and part-time employees are eligible to contribute to the CIA Retirement Plan.

CIA will match a portion of the annual contribution for full-time and part time benefits eligible employees. Employees who participate may contribute any portion of their salaries up to the maximum amount allowable by law.  

Additional details, current year contribution limits and forms are available in the Human Resources Office.

CIA reserves the right to modify, discontinue and make any other types of changes to all offered benefits at its sole discretion and without advance notice to employees.

6.3 Short-term Disability Program

The Cleveland Institute of Art provides its eligible full-time employees, faculty and part-time benefits-eligible employees with short-term disability benefits for instances of their own serious health condition as determined by a qualified physician. In order to qualify for short-term disability benefits, employees must be employed with the College for at least 90 days. Employees must complete an application for the benefit and their physician must certify that the employee’s health condition necessitates their absence from work.

Benefit period
Short-term disability covers up to 12 weeks of disability during which you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your job due to your own non-work-related illness or injury. Short term disability provides full pay salary replacement during this leave. 

Waiting period
Short-term disability pay starts with the first day of an accident, surgery, or illness if hospitalized, or the 8th calendar day when hospitalization is not required. During the waiting period (i.e. 0-8 days, depending upon circumstances), employees must use any accrued and unused sick time, personal time, and accrued and unused vacation time. During short-term disability, employees are responsible for payment of the employee portion of insurance premiums in order to continue health care coverage. While on short-term disability, the accrual of sick and vacation time will cease.

Pregnancy-related disability 
Birth mothers can take up to eight weeks of short-term disability following the birth of a baby. Birth mothers may cease work two weeks prior to their due date without medical certification, but would need to use their accrued sick and vacation time.

Determination of disability 
Your physician(s) will be asked to provide proof of disability to substantiate your disabling condition. This information could include office treatment notes, test results, prescription histories, specific restrictions/limitations and treatment plans from all treating physicians. MetLife case managers will conduct a review of your medical records as well as use national disability guideline to assess claims. 

MetLife will attempt to contact your physician on your behalf to obtain the information needed to make a claim determination; however, you are ultimately responsible for making sure your physician provides MetLife with this information. Your physician will need to provide information as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days, to avoid any delays in your claim determination and potential impact to your short-term disability pay. If your physician does not respond to requests, MetLife will notify you via phone and letter.

Return to work
In order to return to work, the employee must provide a return to work statement authorized by their physician. If the employee is still disabled after 12 weeks, they may qualify for long-term disability benefits.

6.4 Long-term Disability Insurance

The College provides its eligible full-time employees and part-time employees who work a minimum of 30 hours per week with long-term disability insurance for instances of their own serious health condition as determined by a qualified physician. In order to qualify for long-term disability benefits, a claim must be filed with the insurance carrier and all of the following conditions must be met:

  • Employment by the College for at least 90 days; and
  • Exceed 90 days of disability due to the same or related sickness or injury, which must be accumulated within a 180-day period

The long-term disability benefit percentage is 60% of monthly base salary up to a maximum monthly benefit of $6,000.

Disability benefit programs are intended to supplement the College’s leave of absence policy and to comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. For absences that qualify as “serious health conditions,” also refer to the Family and Medical Leave policy in section 5.5 of this handbook.

If the employee is unable to return to work after 12 weeks of active long-term disability coverage, the college retains the right to fill their position, see reasonable accommodation policy section 8.12

6.5 Parental Leave

This leave is available to full-time employees, faculty and part-time benefits-eligible employees completing one full year of service.

Eligible employees will receive up to two weeks (10 days) of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a dependent child. An employee is expected to notify in writing their immediate supervisor and the Vice President of Human Resources as early as possible, requesting paid parental leave and stating the approximate date leave is expected to begin and end.

In the event of a birth or adoption where both the primary and secondary caregivers are employed by the College, the parents will share a total of three (3) weeks of paid leave and the increment for each may be determined by the parents.

6.6 Tuition Remission

The Cleveland Institute of Art provides tuition remission benefits to all eligible employees and their qualifying immediate family members. Remission credit is applied toward the cost of tuition for any undergraduate degree program or continuing education classes offered by the College.


80% Tuition Remission Employees working a minimum of 35 hours per week for a full year.
40% Tuition Remission Part-time benefit-eligible employees working a minimum of 30 hours per week for a full academic year.


The benefit is available after one continuous year of service. Remission begins at the start of the full semester following the date of eligibility. Courses taken by employees under this program cannot interfere with regularly scheduled work hours.

The remission is for tuition charged by the College for any undergraduate degree program class offered by the College. Fees and other charges are also not subject to remission.

For purposes of tuition remission, an immediate family member is a spouse or child, stepchild, or adopted child of an eligible employee of the Cleveland Institute of Art. Children are eligible up to age 26, with the benefit ending at the end of the academic year in which the student turns 26.

Tuition remission may be considered taxable under Federal and/or State regulations. Employees should consult with their tax advisor for a determination.

The tuition remission benefit terminates on the day an employee is no longer an employee of the College. 

6.7 Tuition Exchange

Tuition Exchange Inc., a non-profit association, was established to make careers at colleges and universities more attractive and supplement the means of providing a higher education for children of eligible employees. CIA is a member of this reciprocal scholarship program. Through the program, tuition is exchanged on behalf of eligible employee’s children who attend one of
the associated colleges or universities (other than the Cleveland Institute of Art).

Eligible employees may apply for this benefit after one year of continuous service. The dollar value and availability of scholarships vary from year to year. Because the College does not administer the program, it cannot not guarantee the availability of this benefit for its employees. The College also cannot guarantee the availability of a “slot,” even if the applicant is otherwise eligible.

In addition to children of current employees, the children of retired CIA employees with ten years or more full-time service are eligible. However, children of currently employed employees shall have priority over those of qualifying former employees in any situation where the Cleveland Institute of Art cannot export all applicants.

For more information about the Tuition Exchange Program visit or contact Human Resources.