Voluntary Plan

Voluntary Disability and Paid Family Leave Benefit Plan (Voluntary Plan)

As part of PG&E’s commitment to the health and safety of our employees, PG&E is introducing a new Voluntary Disability and Paid Family Leave Benefit Plan (“Voluntary Plan”) to all eligible California union-represented, Management, Administrative, Technical and Security Utility employees – effective January 1, 2018.

California law requires that California employees participate in either the Voluntary Plan or the State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (CA PFL) Plan (collectively, “State Plan”). A Voluntary Plan must provide all the benefits of the State Plan, at least one benefit that is better, and it cannot cost employees more.

As a California Utility employee, who is eligible to contribute to the State Plan, you are automatically eligible for coverage under PG&E’s Voluntary Plan beginning January 1, 2018, unless you opt out of coverage.

Employees who elect to remain covered under the State Plan can learn more about the state benefits by visiting EDD's website.

Note:

Overview

Disability Benefits Cover Lost Earnings If: Paid Family Leave Benefits Cover Lost Earnings If:
  • You are unable to perform your regular or customary work for more than 7 days due to your own illness or injury, including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions.
  • These 7 days have to be consecutive and due to your own medical condition/disability.
  • You are under the care of a medical provider during the first 8 days of your disability and stay under a medical provider’s care while receiving VPDI benefits.
  • You are suffering a wage loss as a result of your condition (all regular sick pay or capped sick pay needs to be exhausted first).
  • You must take time off to care for a seriously ill family member, including your child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, parent-in-law, or registered domestic partner; or
  • You take time off to bond with your new child or the child of your registered domestic partner, within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement.
  • You are suffering a wage loss as a result of your leave.

Additional details about the Voluntary Plan can be found in the Summary Statement of Coverage or Voluntary Plan FAQ’s.

COMPARSION OF STATE AND VOLUNTARY PLAN BENEFITS
PLAN FEATURE 2018 STATE PLAN 2018 PG&E VOLUNTARY PLAN (VP)

Wage replacement percentage and Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount for both Disability and Paid Family Leave

  • 60%¹ of eligible base period earnings, divided by 13 for a weekly amount, for individuals who earned 1/3 or more than the state’s average quarterly wage, up to a weekly maximum of $1,216, whichever is less
  • Regular, casual, probationary and regular-intermittent California employees:
    • 60% of your weekly Basic Wage Rate on the date of Disability with NO weekly maximum
  • Hiring hall, outage, temporary additional, probationary intermittent, interns and summer hire California employees:
    • 55% of your weekly Basic Wage Rate on the date of Disability with NO weekly maximum
  • At no time will your weekly benefit amount under the VP be less than what the state would have otherwise provided
  • Disability benefits are non-taxable
  • Paid Family Leave benefits are federally taxable

Earnings used to determine weekly benefit

Base Period earnings (highest quarterly earnings during 12 months; look back as far as 18 months prior to the start of your disability/ paid family leave)

Basic Wage Rate at time of disability/paid family leave starting (current earnings generally are higher than your “Base Period” earnings)

Waiting Period

Disability: 7 consecutive calendar days

PFL: No waiting period

Disability: 7 consecutive calendar days Waived if:

  • hospital confined; or
  • treated in a hospital surgical unit/ clinic and are disabled due to the treatment for a period of at least eight days

PFL: No waiting period

Eligibility

  • Must have earned at least $300 during an eligible quarter from which SDI deductions were withheld
  • Must be employed or actively looking for work at time disability/family leave begins
  • Must have lost wages
  • Upon hire
  • Must be employed with PG&E at time disability/paid family leave begins
  • Must have lost wages

Paid Family Leave

Up to 6 weeks of benefits

Up to 8 weeks of benefits

Cost to Employees (contributions)

1.0% of first $114,967 of annual earnings (up to a maximum amount of $1,149.67)

The same cost as the State program; adjustments will be made in accordance with adjustments to the State program

Claim filing

  • Apply for leave with Sedgwick
  • Apply for disability/paid family leave benefits through the State EDD via their website or submit paper claim form
  • Benefits paid through EDD debit card
  • Apply for both leave and disability/paid family leave through Sedgwick’s website, viaOne Express, or by phone
  • Benefit payments made through PG&E’s payroll on your regular pay cycle date

Note:voluntary plan benefits will be issued on your regular pay date, just on a separate paycheck/direct deposit from other pay

1 For individuals who earned 1/3 or less than the state’s average quarterly wage, benefits are 70% of eligible base period earnings, divided by 13 for a weekly amount, up to a weekly maximum of $1,216, whichever is less—this weekly benefit is likely to apply to minimum wage earners and not likely to impact PG&E employees. Amounts are for periods of disability commencing on or after January 1, 2018, but before January 1, 2022. After which time, the weekly benefit amount is scheduled to change back to 55%.

Note: Contributions to the State fund can be deducted as state income taxes on your federal tax return if you itemize your deductions. Contributions to the Voluntary Plan are not deductible as state income taxes on your federal tax return. For additional information on how this may impact you, please contact your tax professional.

COVERAGE CHANGES

As an eligible Utility employee working in California, you are automatically covered under the Voluntary Plan), unless you opt out (reject) coverage.

If you decide to opt out of coverage, you understand and are agreeing to:

  • Declining participation in the PG&E Voluntary Plan.
  • I understand that I am required by State law to continue to participate in the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) Plan (the “State Plan”) and to continue to pay the State Plan contribution.
  • I understand that if I decide to participate in the PG&E Voluntary Plan at a later date, coverage will begin on the first day of the second calendar quarter after the date I make the request through Mercer BenefitsCentral to participate in the Voluntary Plan (request to Opt In).

Anyone who opts out of the PG&E Voluntary Plan will need to submit claims for benefits directly to the State. A leave of absence will need to be submitted separately through Sedgwick, even for those who remain covered under the State Plan. Visit www.edd.ca.gov for more information on state benefits.

Newly Hired Employees and Newly Eligible employees

You have the option to opt out of coverage within 31 days becoming an eligible employee under the Voluntary Plan and it will be effective on your date of eligibility (i.e., date of hire, date you began working in CA, date of transfer to the Utility, return to work from Long-term Disability, etc.).

Making coverage changes in the future

If You Opt In to the Voluntary Plan If You Opt out of the Voluntary Plan
Coverage change begins on the first day of the second calendar quarter after request is made1. Coverage change begins on the first day of the next calendar quarter after request is made1.
Examples:
Requests made up to March 10 are effective on July 1
Requests made up to June 10 are effective on Oct. 1
Requests made up to Sept. 10 are effective on Jan. 1
Requests made up to Dec. 10 are effective on April 1
Examples:
Requests made up to March 10 are effective on April 1
Requests made up to June 10 are effective on July 1
Requests made up to Sept. 10 are effective on Oct. 1
Requests made up to Dec. 10 are effective on Jan 1

1 All requests need to be made by the 10th day of the third month of each quarter.

REDIRECTION OF VOLUNTARY PLAN BENEFITS

When you’re on leave, the monthly premiums that you pay for your health care benefits will not be automatically deducted from your Voluntary Plan (VP) pay. When you return to work, you’ll need to pay PG&E for the premiums that were not paid while you were on leave.

However, you may elect to continue to pay your monthly healthcare premiums using funds from PG&E’s VP. This option, also referred to as “redirecting your VP pay,” will allow you to cover all or a portion of the cost of the employee-paid benefit programs in which you are participating. This will prevent you from having to pay the full balance when you return from leave. If you do not elect to redirect your VP pay, you will be set up with a repayment plan upon your return from leave, for any premiums owed while on leave.

If you are eligible for Supplemental Pay* or other pay from PG&E (e.g., sick pay, etc.) during your leave, your current benefit and other deductions will automatically be taken from that pay. If your Supplemental Pay or other PG&E pay does not cover the full amount of your healthcare premiums, you may elect monthly deductions below that you want to pay to cover all or a portion of those costs.

*Management, A&T and ESC-Represented employees may be eligible for Supplemental Pay during periods of short-term disability and paid family leave. IBEW- and SEIU-represented employees may be eligible for Supplemental Pay during periods of paid family leave. For more information, visit mypgebenefits.com > Time off and Accommodations.

Steps to Take

Verify your current employee healthcare premium costs by:

  • Visiting PG&E@Work For Me > About Me > My Pay > Pay Statement and look in the “before-tax deductions” box

OR

If you’d like to redirect your VP pay, submit your request through:

  • PG&E@Work For Me > About Me > My Pay or My Benefits > Benefits Redirect. While on leave, your access to the portal will remain enabled, even with your other PG&E network access disabled.

OR

  • If you do not have computer access or are otherwise unable to log into the portal, email Benefits@pge.com to request a Voluntary Plan Benefits Deduction Redirect Form.

Note:

  1. 1. Benefits Redirect Deduction amounts are processed only for employees participating in the Voluntary Plan, who have filed a Voluntary Plan claim and who are eligible to receive Voluntary Plan Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave benefits.
  2. Benefits Redirect Deduction amounts that you enter below will be deducted monthly:
    1. until your leave ends;
    2. you change a benefit plan deduction amount; or
    3. you cancel a benefit plan deduction by changing the monthly deduction amount to zero.
  3. Benefits Redirect Deduction amounts, and any subsequent changes made, will begin in the next available pay processing.
  4. If you are receiving any other payments from PG&E during the month (e.g., PG&E wage continuation, sick pay, regular pay, etc.), your benefit costs will first be deducted from this pay; redirected deductions are only made from your Voluntary Plan benefits.

For questions regarding Benefits Redirect Deductions, please contact the PG&E Benefits Service Center at 1-866-271-8144. Representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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