Welcome New Employees

Welcome New Employees

Welcome aboard and congratulations on your new position! Thank you for choosing to work at UNCSA.

As a new employee, we're here to help you navigate through your benefits options. This page includes resources to help you.

Click here to watch the New Hire Benefits Orientation video

Benefits & Retirement Information for Permanent Employees

On behalf of The Office of Human Resources Benefits Department, we are pleased to welcome you to UNC School of the Arts. We want to allow you every opportunity to make an informed decision regarding your benefits and retirement elections. We are here to support you throughout your enrollment and ensure a smooth set-up.

Enrollment information

You will have two platforms for enrollment: Benefit Focus for your State Health Plan and Empyrean for all other Plans and Retirement. Please note that access to the Empyrean site may take up to an extra week.

You will receive an email from the benefits department that will include the deadline for submitting your plan elections. This will be explained in greater detail during your one-on-one meeting with the benefits manager.

You will not be able to enroll in any plans prior to your date of hire.

Benefits/Retirement Eligibility

Download benefits/retirement eligibility chart

Employee eligibility

  • Permanent full-time SHRA, EHRA Non-Faculty and Faculty working 30 or more hours per week are eligible for all benefits programs.
  • Permanent part-time SHRA, EHRA Non-Faculty and Faculty working 20 to 29 hours per week are eligible for all benefit programs.

Dependent eligibility

  • Dependent children up to age 26 are eligible for benefits. Disabled dependent children may be eligible for benefits beyond age 26.
  • Natural, legally adopted, foster children, children under legal guardianship and stepchildren are eligible for benefits.
  • Domestic partner coverage is available for: UNC Group Term Life and Dental Insurance.
  • Legally married spouses are eligible for benefit plans that provide spousal coverage options.

When Coverage Begins

You must enroll to be covered by a benefit plan. You will have 30-calendar days from your hire date to enroll in health insurance, or you must wait until the next annual enrollment period, typically in the fall of each year. Benefit plan coverage begins the first of the month following your date of eligibility/employment. Example: Employment/Hire date 2/1/2024 effective date of coverage 3/1/2024.

Mandatory retirement plan contributions begin on your date of eligibility. Failure to select a mandatory retirement plan within 30 calendar days from the hire date will result in automatic TSERS enrollment. The mandatory 6% retirement deduction is retroactive to the date of employment/eligibility and taken from the next available payroll, which results in a double deduction.

Enrollment Information

Reminder: You will have two platforms for enrollment. Benefit Focus for the Health Plan and Empyrean for all other Plans and Retirement. You will not be able to enroll prior to your date of hire.

Health Insurance




CLICK HERE TO ENROLL IN Empyrean benefits
  • Retirement
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Accident
  • Health Care Flexible Spending
  • Dependent Care Flexible Spending
  • Voluntary Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment
  • Cancer
  • Critical illness.
  1. This is single sign-on (SSO), therefore your username and password is the same as the UNSCA network login and password. Don't hesitate to contact HR if you have any questions.
  2. Click Enroll Now in the right-hand corner. Click on each benefit plan; if you do not want to elect it, please decline it.


Download the mandatory retirement plan guide

Mandatory Retirement

  • Click here to view the difference between the two Retirement Plans we offer.
  • If you choose ORP, register with TIAA. Choose: (The University of North Carolina Optional Retirement Program) and you also have to log onto Empyrean to elect the plan.
  • If you choose TSERS as your retirement plan, you only have to log on Empyrean and elect the plan and two weeks after your first check log onto Orbit to add your Beneficiaries.
  • If you need help deciding which Retirement Plan is best for you after Orientation and after reviewing the video, call our UNC Financial Advisor CAPTRUST at 800-967-9948.

Benefit Plan Deductions

Tax status

  • Depending on the benefit plan, the amounts that you pay may not be subject to Social Security/Medicare, federal and North Carolina state income tax or a combination thereof. We call these pre-tax deductions. Some benefit plan premiums/deductions are paid on an after-tax basis.

Timing of deductions

  • Medical plan premiums are paid one month in advance of coverage and all other benefit plan premiums/deductions are taken in the same month that coverage is effective. Mandatory retirement plan contributions begin on day one of eligibility.

NOTE: If you delay enrollment, your first benefit plan deductions could be larger than normal to catch up the amount that you owe. This will result in lower take-home pay, which is why timely enrollment is important.