Why Choose Western?

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    To ensure the position in which you are interested is eligible for Benefits, please contact the Benefits department at benefits@wwu.edu, or call 360-650-7314.


      • WWU offers comprehensive medical plans from which you can choose. There are standard and value managed care plans, and a preferred provider organization (PPO).

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      • WWU provides dental benefits to you and your eligible dependents at no cost to you. You have the option to select from two managed care plans and one Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).

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      • Routine vision care is included as part of the medical plan benefit; coverage levels vary between each plan. There is no additional premium for vision coverage.

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      Life Insurance
      • Basic life insurance ($25,000) and accidental death and dismemberment insurance ($5,000) is offered to all eligible employees through ING company at no additional cost. Other additional plans are available. The cost of coverage for these plans is determined by your age, the amount of insurance you choose, and whether or not you or your spouse (if he/she is covered under Supplemental Spouse insurance) smokes. Additionally, voluntary accidental death and dismemberment insurance is offered in order to provide assistance when you or a dependent dies or is dismembered from a covered accident.

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      Long-Term Disability
      • The State of Washington provides a basic long-term disability (LTD) policy at no cost to you. After 90 days of total disability, or after the period of accumulated sick leave (whichever period is longer), the Standard Insurance Company will pay 60% of the first $400 (to a maximum of $240/month). Premiums rates vary according to the waiting period selected, retirement plan, and gross monthly salary.

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      Long-Term Care Insurance
      • Western offers a voluntary group long-term care insurance plan through John Hancock Group for all eligible actively-at-work employees and their eligible spouse/qualified partners, parents, and parents-in-law. The plan covers expenses such as conventional nursing homes, in-home nursing care, qualified adult day care facilities, and alternate care facilities. Your age and pan election determine your monthly premium. If you terminate employment, you will be able to continue your coverage at the same group rate.

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      Liberty Mutual Group Auto and Home Insurance
      • Liberty Mutual offers group discounts on auto, home, and renters insurance to State employees with the convenience of payroll deduction.

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      As an eligible employee, you will participate in one of the following retirement plans:

      • Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)
      • Western Washington University Retirement Plan (WWURP)
      • Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Retirement System (LEOFF)

      Supplemental Retirement Plans

      • Additionally, employees may voluntarily contribute through payroll deduction to a tax-deferred 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA) and/or the State of Washington Deferred Compensation Plan 457(g). These plans allow you to save additional dollars for retirement on a pre-tax basis and you may contribute to one or both of these plans, effectively doubling your retirement savings potential.

      For more specific retirement information, go to the Benefits webpage, or contact Kathy Thompson at 360-650-7314.

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    Medical Flexible Spending Account

      The Medical Flexible Spending Account is an IRS-approved, tax-free account that saves you money on eligible medical expenses. You authorize per-pay period deposits to your FSA from your before-tax salary (deposits are not subject to Federal, Social Security or Medicare taxes). Then, as you incur eligible expenses, you request tax-free withdrawals from your account to reimburse yourself. Your FSA may be used to cover expenses incurred by yourself, your spouse, qualifying children, and relatives. You may contribute up to $2,400 each plan year. You must re-enroll in the FSA program each year during open enrollment to be effective the following January 1st.

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    Dependent Care Assistance Program

      The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows you to pay for changes that you incur for the care of your depends so that you or, if married, you and your spouse/qualified domestic partner may work. This includes expenses for eligible dependent children (up to age 13) and may apply to a spouse or dependent who resides with you and is physically or mentally incapable of self care. Care for eligible dependents may be provided inside your home or at a day care center or family day care. Upon enrollment, you elect an amount to be withheld from your paycheck before federal and Social Security taxes are withheld. That amount is deducted from your pay in equal installments throughout the upcoming calendar year. The amounts set aside are then used to reimburse your dependent care expenses.

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    Voluntary Employee's Beneficiary Association (VEBA)

      The VEBA Medical Expense plan allows you to pay for eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis after retirement. If you are eligible to participate in VEBA, WWU will deposit your cash-out of compensable unused sick leave at retirement, tax free to a VEBA trust account. The opportunity for you to participate in VEBA at retirement is dependent upon your employee classification.

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Paid Time Off


      All permanent employees enjoy 10 paid holidays each year.

    Vacation Leave

      Permanent professional and classified staff enjoy generous vacation leave accrual plans. Unused vacation balances roll-over into the following calendar year but max out at 240 hours on the employee's anniversary date. Accrual of vacation leave begins with the first day of employment. Part-time staff leave is pro-rated based on FTE. Professional staff accrue 16 hours of vacation leave per month (4.8 weeks per year) beginning with the first day of employment.

      Classified staff accrue vacation monthly per the appropriate bargaining unit agreement. Accrued vacation leave is available for use following completion of the probation period.

      • Bargaining Unit Agreements A,B,E (See Article 22)
      • Bargaining Unit Agreement D (See Article 18)
      • Bargaining Unit Agreement PTE (See Article 16)

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    Sick Leave

      Permanent professional and classified staff also enjoy generous sick leave accrual plans. Sick leave balances carry over each year and there is no maximum accrual. Professional staff accrue 8 hours of sick leave per month beginning with the first day of employment.

      Classified staff accrue sick leave monthly per the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

      • Bargaining Unit Agreements A,B,E (See Article 24)
      • Bargaining Unit Agreement D (See Article 19)
      • Bargaining Unit Agreement PTE (See Article 17)

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    Personal Holidays

      All Professional Staff and Classified Staff are provided:

      • One personal holiday per year that must be used anytime during that calendar year, and
      • One winter holiday that must be used during the academic winter break

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    Shared Leave Program

      The University provides a shared leave program to eligible professional and classified staff who are in need of paid leave due to certain unfortunate circumstances.

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Employee Recreation and Wellness Programs


    Wade King Recreation Center

    • The Wade King Recreation Center offers many activities for students, faculty and staff including a rock climbing wall, three weight and cardio areas, three court gym, pool and whirlpool, wellness room and more! Take advantage of their personal trainers and fitness classes that range from aerobics to Pilates to Muay Thai kickboxing.

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    Outdoor Center

    • The Outdoor Center provides instructional tips; books, maps, magazines, and videos; rental equipment, including kayaks, rafts, backpacking, and cross-country ski packages; a do-it-yourself (with help from the staff) bicycle repair and retail facility; and excursions from the channels and bays of the San Juan Islands to the slopes of Mt. Baker and beyond. The Center is open Monday through Friday when school is in session.

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    Lakewood Watersport Facility

    • Lakewood is located on Lake Whatcom. It is a 4,000 square-foot facility with a boat house, meeting lounge, and locker rooms. The beachfront site has a sand volleyball court, picnic tables and BBQ's, hiking trails, and a Ropes Challenge Course. Equipment for sailing, kayaking and canoeing is available for rent by students, faculty, and staff.

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    Viqueen Lodge at Sinclair Island

    • Viqueen Lodge is a 800-square-foot old-growth fir lodge and is located on 12.2 acres on Sinclair Island at the gateway to the San Juan Island. The rustic atmosphere, with no electricity, is softened by propane lights, stove, and fridge, as well as an air-tight wood stove for heating. The lodge is available year-round and can be used by students, faculty, and staff of WWU.

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    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    • The EAP is a valuable resource for personal and workplace issues. The EAP is the employee assistance program for the State of Washington employees, other governmental entities, and their family members. The EAP is there to help you with personal or work-related problems that may be impacting your work performance. EAP's compassionate professionals have many years of experience in helping people clarify issues and resolve them.

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    Employee Health and Wellness

    • WWU employees are considered a valuable asset for the University and therefore, employee health is very important. The University's Environmental Health and Safety department provides information to assist employees in beginning and/or continuing the pursuit of healthy lifestyle choices that can contribute to better enjoyment of their lives.

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    Center for Healthy Living

    • The Center for Healthy Living was formed in 2002 to bring together a group of faculty and staff who were independently interested and working on health and wellness issues in the community and on the campus of Western Washington University.

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    Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic

    • The University's Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic serves Whatcom County and the University community in providing diagnosis and treatment of speech, language or hearing disorders in both children and adults. Staff employees and their families can utilize the services of this clinic for a reduced fee.

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Skills and Professional Development

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Other Perks

    Tuition Exemption

    • As a permanent, halftime or more employee, you may enroll in most of Western's academic programs, tuition-free, for the purpose of career enhancement on a space-available basis.

    Credit Union Membership

    • All employees are eligible for membership at Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU). WECU offers a Summer Savings plan which is open to all Faculty and Cyclic staff. You can set up a savings account at WECU and elect a percentage of gross income to be deposited for use during your cyclic leave.


    • Western's Associated Students Bookstore provides employees a 10% discount on eligible purchases. (Items not included in the discount are textbooks, computer hardware, software and peripherals, calculators an diploma frames.)

    Faculty Club

    • Faculty Club is open to all Faculty and Professional Staff and is a great opportunity to meet employees from other departments and colleges on campus at a weekly gathering at the Canada House from 4 - 6pm on Fridays during the fall, winter, and spring quarters.

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A Campus of Excellence

    First Among Top Master's Granting Universities

    • Consistently highly ranked by the U.S. News and World Report, Western Washington University was named the highest-ranking public, master's-granting university in the Pacific Northwest in the publication's 2013 college rankings.

    MBA Program Ranked in Top 100

    • Western Washington University's MBA Program has been ranked in the top 100 programs worldwide by Aspen Institute. WWU's program finished 87th out of approximately 600 business schools invited to participate in the survey.

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WWU Goes Green

    Office of Sustainability

    • Western Washington University strives to be a national leader in campus sustainability. From our commitment to green energy and waste reduction to WWU's sustainability committee and sustainability-minded courses, WWU incorporates sustainability into many areas of campus operations and academics. The Office of Sustainability is dedicated to furthering Western's strategic goal of campus sustainability.

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    Environmental Center

    • The Environmental Center provides various types of resources to students and other community members about local, national and international environmental issues. Speakers are brought to campus and present fun and educational programs throughout the year, including the annual Earth Day Fair in the spring. The center provides volunteer opportunities and facilitates student involvement in local environmental conferences and campaigns.

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    Recycle Center

    • In 1971, Western Washington University became one of the first universities in the United States to have a campus recycling program. The A.S. Recycle Center continues to be unique among it's kind: it's student run! Everyday the center collects 3,800 pounds of recyclables from Western's campus, continuing our commitment to reducing waste stream and lightening our burden on the environment.

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          AHA 2012 Platinum Achievement 2014 Leaders In Health Care Award Western Sustainability Office Certification
Page Updated 09.30.2014