Employee Benefits

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is pleased to offer competitive benefits.

Our comprehensive benefits package includes: excellent low-cost medical, dental and vision insurance; generous vacation and sick leave accrual beginning as soon as you start; ten paid holidays a year; participation in one of the nation’s best state retirement systems; multiple savings plans; life insurance; wellness programs; ongoing training opportunities; and more.

For more information about state of Idaho employee benefits, see the DHW Benefits Summary Booklet or visit the Idaho Division of Human Resources' Benefits page.

DHW Benefits Summary Booklet
Find information and helpful links so that you may need as a new employee
Health insurance and employee wellness

Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance

Eligible employees can enroll themselves and their eligible dependents for medical coverage and have the choice of a Blue Cross of Idaho Traditional, PPO, or High Deductible plan. Vision coverage is included with medical rates. Our vendor for medical and dental is Blue Cross and for vision it is VSP.  Health insurance coverage is effective on the first day of the month following date of hire if you enroll within 30 days of your date of hire.  When an employee enrolls in medical, they are required to enroll in at least the self-only dental coverage.

Employee Wellness Programs
Available employee wellness programs include tobacco cessation, weight management, group fitness classes, health management, and more. Employees have online access to Health Matters, an employee newsletter and health promotion program designed to promote healthy lifestyles through a variety of programs and resources for state of Idaho employees. For more information: visit the Health Matters and Office of Group Insurance

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
Flexible Spending Accounts offer convenient and easy ways to save money for eligible medical and dependent care expenses. Employees may set pre-tax money aside in medical (max $2,750/year) and/or dependent care (max $5,000/year) accounts. New employees have a 30-day enrollment period at time of hire; current employees have open enrollment every year.

Bright Beginnings Pregnancy Program
Bright Beginnings is a prenatal program designed to promote healthy prenatal care through education to expectant mothers. Blue Cross of Idaho offers this program to any employee, or dependent spouse, who is pregnant. Program members are provided with nutrition, exercise, prenatal care and child care information to help maintain a healthy pregnancy and to deliver a healthy baby.  Upon enrollment, the expectant mother will receive a book on pregnancy care as a gift from Blue Cross of Idaho.  Upon successful program completion, the mother may choose to receive a gift.  To enroll in the program, call Bright Beginnings at (208) 387-6999 during the first 3 months of pregnancy.  

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Blue Cross of Idaho contracts with ComPsych’s GuidanceResources® Worldwide to provide the EAP benefit. Benefit eligible employees and their dependents may receive 1 to 5 visits per person per plan year with no copayment required. This benefit also includes Conflict Resolution and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing services.

Time off benefits

Vacation Leave

Eligible employees earn vacation leave for every hour worked or paid with the exception of paid compensatory leave and on-call taken. All benefited employees are entitled to vacation leave based on their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employee designation.

Sick Leave

Employees earn paid sick leave at 0.04615 per hour worked or paid (with the exception of paid compensatory leave), or 3.7 hours per pay period for full-time employment. Sick leave accrues without limit and may be used for funeral or illness of eligible family members. Upon retirement, state employees can arrange for portions of unpaid sick leave to be used to pay premiums on certain employer-maintained insurance, including Medicare Supplement, Advantage and Part D plans, Dental, Vision, Long Term Care and/or Life Insurance.

Holiday Leave

State of Idaho employees enjoy ten paid holidays throughout the year, including: New Year’s Day, Idaho Human Rights Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Other Types of Special Leave

In addition to sick and vacation leave benefits, other miscellaneous leave benefits may be available to employees. Special leave may include: military leave, organ and bone marrow donation leave, court and jury services, and Red Cross Disaster leave.

Idaho Families First Act (Paid Parental Leave)

Effective July 1, 2020, Governor Little’s Executive Order: Families First Act provides eligible employees with 8 weeks of paid parental leave due to the birth or adoption of a child (including surrogacy). Eligible employees will be compensated at 100% of their salary at the time of the leave. Eligible employees may use the 8 weeks continuously or as a pre-defined reduced work schedule as long as it is used within 12 weeks of the birth or adoption of the child. This leave runs concurrently 
with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA is a federal law that entitles eligible employees to unpaid, job protected leave, under qualifying circumstances, as follows: (1) for a qualifying health condition of the employee or a family member; (2) for the birth or adoption of a child; and (3) for specific purposes to family members of qualifying military service members. Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of FMLA leave in a 12-month period.
 
Military Duty/Veterans

Employees who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard and receive federal military orders requiring them to be absent from work, shall be entitled each calendar year to 120 hours of paid military leave. There are also situations with military where leave without pay may apply.

Retirement plans and tax shelters

Public Employees Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI) Base Plan
State of Idaho employees are automatically enrolled in the PERSI Base Plan, a defined benefits plan. When an employee retires, PERSI Base Plan will pay them every month for as long as they live; employees can also designate a contingent annuitant to receive the benefits after their death. Current contribution rates are 7.16% of gross wages for employees; the state of Idaho contributes an impressive 11.94%. Employees are vested after 60 months of employment. PERSI is a nationally-recognized state retirement system. Multiple PERSI retirement and financial management workshops and resources are available for all state employees. Retirement educators are also available to answer questions regarding a variety of retirement related topics.
 
PERSI Choice - 401(k)
The Choice 401(k) Plan is an optional PERSI account. It contains any gain sharing contributions state employees receive, any voluntary contributions employees make, any rollovers requested from other plans, and any employer contributions on an employee’s behalf, as well as the earnings on those funds. The Choice 401(k) Plan is a defined contribution plan, meaning the amount employees receive at retirement is based on the contributions and earnings in the plan.

Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) 529 Plan
Employees can participate in an IDeal 529 plan, a program that helps families save for higher education. Earnings grow tax-deferred and qualified withdrawals are tax free.
 
457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan
State employees may participate in a 457(b) deferred compensation plan, a retirement plan created to allow public employees to put aside money from each paycheck toward retirement.

Roth 457 Plan
State employees may also participate in a Roth 457 after-tax deferred compensation plan.
 
Federal Treasury Savings Bonds
Employees can set this up as a payroll deduction.

Life and disability insurance

Basic Life Insurance
The state pays the premium for this coverage; there is no cost to employees. Term life insurance is equal to 100% of an employee’s annual salary rounded up to the next $1,000 (minimum of $20,000), and includes dependent coverage at no charge. Coverage is effective at the beginning of the month following hire.
 
Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
AD&D pays a percentage of employees' annual salaries for certain serious physical losses, including loss of life, due to a covered accident. AD&D benefits are part of the basic life insurance benefits, and are in addition to any benefits paid by basic or other state life insurance plans.
 
Short-Term Disability
Benefits are equal to 60% of pre-disability salary for the first 26 weeks of disability. Waiting period is the longer of: 30 continuous days of Total Disability, or 30 continuous days of Residual Disability, or the expiration of all accrued sick leave earned at the date of disability. Coverage is included at no cost to employees.
 
Long-Term Disability
Benefits are equal to 60% of pre-disability salary when totally disabled (maximum benefit $4000 per month). Waiting period is the longer of: 26 continuous weeks of Total Disability or Residual Disability, or the exhaustion of all sick leave earned as of the date of Total Disability or Residual Disability. Coverage is included at no cost to employees.
 
Voluntary Term Life Insurance
Employees may purchase additional coverage in the amount of one, two, or three times annual salary (rounded up to the next $1,000) with a minimum benefit of $20,000 and a maximum benefit of $500,000. Premium cost is age/salary based. Coverage for spouse and children is available when coverage purchased for self. New employees have a 30-day enrollment period at time of hire. If the request is made after the 30-day enrollment period, the employee must submit Proof of Good Health.
 
Decreasing Term Life Insurance – National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS)
Employees may purchase low-cost, group decreasing term life insurance with a $16 per month premium, regardless of age. This plan has some coverage for dependents (as defined by tax code). New employees have a 90-day enrollment period at time of hire; current employees have open enrollment every year.
 
Workers Compensation
Provides financial protection for on-the-job injuries and illnesses. Employees must notify HR and see a preferred provider.
 
Unemployment Insurance
Provides financial assistance for out-of-work employees.
 
Social Security
Provides financial assistance at retirement, disability, or death.

Other state employee benefits and policies

Pay Days and Direct Deposit
All state employees are paid on a bi-weekly schedule. The state requires direct deposit; paperless pay stubs are available online. Paychecks are deposited every other Friday.
 
Employee and Supervisory Training Opportunities
DHW offers over 200 trainings for employees through our online Learning Management System and classroom settings. Classes and online courses may be required for some positions, and a variety of optional trainings are available for employees interested in learning more about themselves (self-discovery) and mastering new skills (self-improvement). CEUs are available for some courses. Supervisors participate in the DHW Supervisor Training and Resource (STAR) Program, and attend a series of courses to develop and strengthen their leadership and management skills. State employees may also apply for the Certified Public Manager® (CPM) program, a nationally recognized training and development program administered through Idaho’s Division of Professional-Technical Education.
 
State Employee Discounts
State employees are eligible for numerous discounts on participating services, including fitness centers, vision correction, and cell phone plans. Discounted tickets may be available for fun activities such as amusement parks, concerts and shows, and sporting events.