Welcome to the Benefits and Retirement Resource Page 

The following information briefly describes the benefit programs of the institution available to all regularly employed staff and faculty members serving in a half-time or better capacity. Certain benefits may be continued upon your retirement, assuming you have 10 years of University System service and you meet the requirements for the associated plan of retirement.  Certain programs of insurance may be converted to private coverage upon separation. Conversion must be made during a 30-day period following the last date of employment. Contact Human Resources and Employee Development for further details.

Annual (Vacation) Leave

The rate of accumulating annual leave is based on the anniversary date of current employment. Accumulated vacation leave cannot exceed 360 hours at December 31 of each calendar year. Upon termination of employment, vacation accrued values may be paid to the staff member, not to exceed the 360 maximum.

A full-time regular employee shall be entitled to vacation/annual leave earned at the rate of:

  • One and one-fourth working days per month (10 hours) for each of the first five (5) years of continuous employment;
  • One and one-half working days per month (12 hours) for each of the next five (5) years of continuous employment; and
  • One and three-fourths working days per month (14 hours) for each year after the completion of ten (10) years of continuous employment

The accrual rate of vacation/annual leave for an hourly employee will be based upon his/her standard work commitment.

  • A regular employee who works one-half time or more but less that full-time shall accrue vacation/annual leave prorated on the basis of full-time employment. An employee who is employed less than one-half time shall not be eligible to accrue vacation/annual leave.

A full-time faculty member employed on a twelve (12) month or fiscal year basis shall be entitled to vacation/annual leave earned at the rate of one and three-fourths working days (14 hours) per month.

A temporary employee is not eligible to accrue vacation/annual leave.

Vacation/annual leave may be taken with supervisor’s approval. Requests for leave should be submitted with as much advance notice as possible, except for unforeseen emergencies. The use of approved vacation/annual leave shall be recorded on institutional leave records.

Annual leave will not be accepted from a benefited employee who moves from a State of Georgia agency to the University System of Georgia.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Annual Leave Policy

Sick Leave

Employed on a half-time or better regular basis are entitled to a monthly sick leave accrual. The maximum monthly accrual is eight hours per month for full-time staff. Other eligible staff members earn sick leave in an equivalent ratio to their percentage of employment. There is no limit on the amount of sick leave one may accrue.

Sick leave may be granted at the discretion of the institution and upon approval by the supervisor for an employee’s absence for any of the following reasons:

  1. Illness or injury of the employee;
  2. Medical and dental treatment or consultation;
  3. Quarantine due to a contagious illness in the employee’s household; or
  4. Illness, injury, or death in the employee’s immediate family requiring the employee’s presence.

Paid sick leave shall not be used until it is accrued.

If sick leave is claimed for a continuous period in excess of one week, a physician’s statement is required to permit further claim of sick leave rights by the employee-patient.

A terminating employee shall not accumulate sick leave or be entitled to receive sick pay after the last working day of his/her or her employment.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Sick Leave Policy

Sick Leave Pool

Valdosta State University participates in a Shared Sick leave ProgramThe Shared Sick Leave Program provides a means for employees to donate paid sick leave to a shared leave pool and for fellow employees who meet the eligibility provisions set forth in this policy to request leave from the pool.

Resources and Detailed Information

VSU Shared Sick Leave Program 

USG Shared Sick Leave Policy

Family Medical Leave 

Any employee (including part-time and temporary) of the University System of Georgia, who has:

  • been employed by the University System of Georgia for at least twelve months total (not necessarily the last twelve months), and
  • worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave

…is eligible to be granted family leave for conditions authorized by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Act provides that employees may be granted up to twelve work weeks of job-protected leave during a 12-month period.

Family Medical Leave is requested in OneUSG Connect under Time and Absence, Extended Absence Request. 

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Family Medical Leave

Other leave types include:

Each institution within the System shall establish twelve (12) official paid holidays each calendar year for employees at the institution. Holidays shall be awarded in addition to earned vacation time to regular employees and faculty working one-half time or more, and shall be observed in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the respective institutions. In order to receive pay for the holidays, an employee must be in active pay status the day before and the day after the holiday. A terminating employee shall not be paid for any official holidays occurring after the last working day of employment. In the case of retirement or inter-institutional transfer, employees will receive pay for holidays occurring at the end of their final month of employment if in a paid status (work time, annual leave, sick leave, or other paid leave) on the last scheduled work day of the month.

VSU Holiday Schedule

VSU has access to two Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) healthcare choices through the University System of Georgia. We do not have access to the HMO plans listed on the USG website.

Consumer Choice HSA: Provides access to a Health Savings Account (HSA); BCBSGa in-network and out-of-network coverage.

Comprehensive Care: BCBSGa in-network and out-of-network coverage.


CVS Caremark Prescription Coverage

When you enroll in an Anthem healthcare plan, you are automatically enrolled in the prescription drug benefit through CVS Caremark. Your formulary offers a wide selection of clinically sound, cost-effective generic, and brand-name prescription drugs. Additionally, CVS Caremark offers many convenient and affordable options to fill your prescriptions, such as retail pharmacies, mail-order, and specialty orders. The plan includes several utilization management programs to promote safety along with appropriate and cost-effective use of prescription medications. Your cost to fill a prescription depends on the healthcare plan you are enrolled, as well as, the drug tier. 

Need more information? If you need help understanding your pharmacy benefit, terms or costs, talk to your Accolade Health Assistant. They can help you understand how to get the most out of your pharmacy benefit.

USG Pharmacy Plan

Delta Dental offers two plan options — a Base Plan and High Plan. Both plans cover preventive services, like routine checkups and cleanings. However, there are important differences to consider.

Resources and Detailed Information

The USG provides vision coverage through EyeMed, which features a large network of top national retail chains as well as local providers.

Resources and Detailed Information

Vision Plan Details

EyeMed Providers

Health Savings Account (HSA)

The HSA is available to those enrolled in the Consumer Choice Healthcare Plan. Unlike an FSA, money left in your HSA rolls over from year to year. The USG also offers a matching contribution.

Contributing to an HSA allows you to set aside money for eligible healthcare, prescription, dental and vision expenses on a pre-tax basis. An HSA is different from a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) in three key ways:

  • Unlike the Healthcare FSA, money left in your HSA at the end of the year rolls over from year to year.
  • If you contribute to an HSA, USG provides matching contributions; $375 employee only and $750 for family coverage.

If you leave USG, your HSA balance goes with you.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Health Savings Account

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

Contributions to an Optum Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for healthcare and dependent care expenses are tax-free, allowing you to save money on your federal and state income taxes and Social Security taxes. You must enroll each year in order to have one or more FSAs.

  • Healthcare FSA
    If you don’t have access to an HSA, you’re eligible to have a Healthcare FSA to cover healthcare, prescription drug, dental and vision expenses. 

  • Dependent Care FSA
    A Dependent Care FSA can help you pay dependent care expenses. These include daycare expenses and summer camps for children under age 13 and care for an elderly parent. 

  • Limited Purpose FSA
    Those enrolled in the Consumer Choice HSA healthcare plan can contribute  to a Limited Purpose FSA, which can be used for eligible dental and vision expenses only.

IRS rules require you to forfeit any balance left in your FSAs at the end of the year — the “use it or lose it” rule.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Flexible Spending Account plans

Short-term Disability (STD)

  • Provides a benefit of 60% of your weekly earnings to a maximum of $2,500 per week.
  • Benefits begin on the 15th day of a qualifying disability and continue for a maximum of 11 weeks.
  • Evidence of Insurability (EOI) is required unless you are enrolling as a newly hired employee within 30 days of employment. Note: If you are newly hired and pregnant, STD benefits are payable.
  • Cost of coverage: Refer to the Employee Premiums section.

Long-term Disability (LTD)


  • Provides a benefit of 60% of your monthly earnings to a maximum of $15,000 per month.
  • Benefits begin on the 91st day of disability or at the end of your STD benefits.
  • Benefits continue as long as you meet the definition of “disabled” under the policy or reach age 70.
  • No EOI is required.
  • Cost of coverage: Refer to the Employee Premiums section.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Disability Plans

Coverage Provided at No Cost to You

USG provides you with $25,000 in Basic Life Insurance with matching Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage at no cost to you. Coverage is guaranteed and no evidence of insurability (EOI) is required.

  • Supplemental Life with AD&D
  • Dependent Life - Spouse and Child
  • Additional AD&D

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Life Insurance Plans

Supplemental insurance complements your existing healthcare coverage to help protect you, your family and your finances in case the unexpected happens.


The USG Legal plan, underwritten by Nationwide® Insurance, provides support for personal legal issues. The plan offers access to a national network of attorneys, plus concierge-level help in navigating common individual or family legal issues.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Legal Plan

Protect Today. Thrive Tomorrow.

Allstate Identity Protection is a proactive monitoring service that alerts you at the first sign of fraud.


Discounts and Services

Take advantage of employee-only discounts and programs, plus savings on your favorite brands. As an added benefit, employees can invite up to five family members to join for free, too. Access your account at perksatwork.com. If you are a first-time user, click “Register for Free” and follow the instructions on screen. Enroll at any time throughout the year!


Employee Discounts

The following web page provides you with information on discounts available from local company's and discount partnerships.

Resources and Detailed Information

Employee Discounts 

Purchasing Power

Purchasing Power provides you with a responsible way to fit large or unexpected purchases into your budget.

Although this program is not a discount program, Purchasing Power allows you to purchase items and pay for them through payroll deductions. Instead of using cash or credit, you can make manageable payments over a 6-to-12-month period. You’ll always know the total product cost up front, and there are no credit checks, late fees or other hidden fees.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Purchasing Power

The EAP offers face-to-face consultation with a local licensed provider and/or telephonic counseling with one of KEPRO’s Masters-level clinicians. 

Access is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. All calls are answered live by professional counselors. Counseling services are available for issues that affect you, your family and your household members.

Contact KEPRO at 1-844-243-4440 or go to the usg.mylifeexpert.com (company code: USGCares).

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Employee Assistance Program

VSU Information Page

TAP is an employee supplemental educational assistance program.

Resources and Detailed Information

Tuition Assistance Program

Mandatory Retirement Plans

If you work 20 hours or more per week, you must be enrolled in one of USG’s mandatory retirement plans: The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) Plan or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). Your eligibility for these plans depends on your employment status (exempt or nonexempt) and your past employment history. 

If you are a vested member of the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia (ERS) Plan, you can continue your participation. For additional questions regarding your enrollment in ERS, reach out to your HR/Benefits department for further assistance.

Teacher Retirement System of Georgia (TRS)

If you’re a nonexempt or hourly paid employee working 20 or more hours per week, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the TRS Plan as of your date of hire or eligibility. 

If you’re an exempt or salaried employee working 20 or more hours per week, you can choose either the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) or the TRS. Your retirement selection must be made within 60 days of eligibility or you will default into the TRS plan retroactively to your date of hire or eligibility. Retirement elections are irrevocable.

Once you’re enrolled, you’ll receive a welcome letter from TRS with instructions to visit their website to open a TRS online account and assign your beneficiary(ies).

TRS Website

Optional Retirement Plan (ORP)

If you’re an exempt or salaried employee working 20 or more hours per week, you can choose to enroll in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). 

If you don’t enroll in the ORP within your first 60 days of employment with USG, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) Plan.

How the ORP Works

The ORP is a 401(a) defined contribution plan. Your account balance is based upon contributions from you and USG, plus accumulated earnings. You select your investment elections and can manage those elections within your selected vendor’s platform. To learn more, review the following Plan at a Glance information and the ORP Retirement@Work Users Guide.

Vendor options include:

Supplemental Retirement Plans

If you want to boost your retirement savings, consider contributing to the 403(b) Plan or 457(b) Plan, or both. These plans provide options for deferring pre-tax and after-tax income for retirement saving. 

All exempt employees and nonexempt employees (except for student workers) may enroll in the 403(b) Plan and/or 457(b) Plan at any time during employment. For more information, review the Universal Availability Notice.

How the 403(b) and 457(b) Plans Work

  • The 403(b) Plan and 457(b) Plan are supplemental retirement plans that allow you to save up to the IRS limits for additional savings. The balance you’ll have at retirement is determined by your contributions, plus accumulated earnings on those amounts. The plans generally work the same; the major difference is in how the plans consider and penalize.

Georgia Defined Contribution Plan (GDCP)  

Individuals employed as temporary employees by state agencies (including Valdosta State University) are required by Georgia law to contribute 7.5% of their pay to the Georgia Defined Contribution Plan (GDCP) instead of making contributions to Social Security.

Resources and Detailed Information

USG Save More 

The Path2College 529 Plan (formerly the Georgia Higher Education Saving Plan), a college savings program offered by the State of Georgia and operated under the Georgia Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services (OTFS), selected TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) to serve as program manager for Georgia’s college savings plan. TFI is a part of TIAA-CREF, a financial services organization with 90 years of investment experience.

Path2College 529 Plan