As Marymount University continues to navigate through the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, its leadership team was pleased to announce last month the return of employer contributions to the University’s 403(b) Retirement Plan for all employees, effective on April 1.
In addition, the reinstatement includes benefits that retroactively date back to July 1, 2020, the beginning of the current fiscal year. This involves a one-time two percent “catch-up” contribution for all eligible employees, and a match of all eligible employee contributions.
In June 2020, the University had announced a set of actions to better position Marymount in response to the potential budgetary impacts of COVID-19. These included the temporary suspension of employer contributions to the retirement plan, and other voluntary employee offerings designed to prevent job loss, address budget shortfalls and ensure a safe workplace.
“Our ability to resume these important employee benefits this quickly speaks to the strong financial health of our University,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “In the face of unprecedented circumstances posed by a widespread pandemic, the efforts of our administration, faculty and staff have ensured operational sustainability, the maintaining of our workforce and the continued success of our academic programs.”
Over the past few months, Marymount’s Division of Financial Affairs and Office of Human Resources have strategized on ways to both remain competitive and build a sustainable financial future. In preparation for reinstating contributions to the employee retirement plan, key stakeholders sought to develop new retirement options that promote employee retirement readiness and align with other area institutions. In late March, the University’s Retirement Planning Committee voted unanimously to adopt a new plan that introduces a new matching component and eliminates a waiting period for new employees.
Throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic so far at Marymount, there have been no mandatory layoffs or salary reductions for faculty or staff. President Becerra and members of her Cabinet led by example by voluntarily accepting salary reductions to help protect the financial and operational status of the University at large.
“It has always been our goal to put ourselves in the strongest position possible to protect the mission and livelihoods of all of the members in our Marymount community,” explained Barry Harte, Vice President for Finance & Operations and Treasurer at Marymount University. “COVID-19 has certainly impacted all higher education institutions, but our decisive actions have allowed us to support our employees throughout this uncertain period while avoiding more difficult circumstances.”
Other benefit programs that are being updated include tuition assistance programs and vacation options for employees. Adjustments to Marymount’s tuition remission program involve a reduced wait period for employees and a new user-friendly submission format. Meanwhile, the Office of Human Resources is currently identifying paid time-off options to enable a high-performing culture and ensure that all Marymount employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.