Composite Benefit Rates (CBR)

Overview

Composite benefit rates are developed in order to cover the costs of fringe benefits offered by the university. The rate is determined by creating a pool of benefit costs and dividing by a salary base. The rates are negotiated by UCOP with the federal government one fiscal year at a time. This rate represents the percentage that will be assessed against the employee’s salary, and this amount will post to the same department and fund to which the individual employee's salary posts.

This year there are changes to the way Composite Benefit Rates (CBR) are calculated and approved. In previous years, we worked directly with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to set the approved rates. Now that we have implemented UCPath, rather than work directly with DHHS, we followed a standard process for calculating rates led by UCOP and adopted their agreements with the federal government.

Questions

If you have questions about Composite Benefit Rates, please contact Hervé Bruckert from the Central Resource Management Team at centralresourcemanagement@berkeley.edu.

FY2019-20 Composite Benefit Rates

 

Approved Rates

 

Projections for Planning Purposes

CBR Rate Group

FY19

FY20

FY21

FY22

FY23

FY24

Academic

38%

36.5%

36.5%

36.5%

36.5%

36.5%

Staff

46%

45.5%

46.6%

46.6%

46.6%

46.6%

Limited (this includes Postdocs)

17%

17.4%

16.5%

16.5%

16.5%

16.5%

Employees with No Benefit Eligibility

0%

5.6%

5.6%

5.6%

5.6%

5.6%

Students

0%

2.4%

2.4%

2.4%

2.4%

2.4%

Please note that future year rate estimates are for planning purposes only (e.g. multi-year budgeting, financial aid planning, contract and grant proposal submissions, etc.) because rates for years beyond FY2019-20 are subject to change.

New CBR Flowchart and Logic   

The excel file at the link below has tabs with the following topics:

CBR Flow Chart and Logic

1. CBR Table

2. Employee Class Categories

3. Pre to Post UCPath CBR driver

4. Shift in CBR logic

5. Simplified CBR logic

6. Sample UCPath ledger details

7. Employee Class Table

8. Eligibility Table

9. CBR rate group

10.Summer salary Earn Codes

The graph below depicts the pre UCPath and post UCPath CBR logic starting in FY20 (see also tab 4 of file above):

What’s included in and excluded from CBR (Berkeley Fringe Benefit Components)

Benefits included in CBR

Benefits Administration, Dental Benefits, Disability Benefits, Employee Support Programs, FICA Tax, Incentive Award Programs, Life Insurance, Medical Benefits, Retiree Health Benefits, Retirement Benefits, Senior Management Supplement, Unemployment Insurance, Vision Benefits and Workers’ Compensation.

Benefits not included in CBR (which should be budgeted for separately)

The Interest portion of the UCRP Supplemental Assessment, as well as Tuition remission and Graduate Student Health Insurance and Other Employee Benefits, are excluded. Automotive & Employee Liability insurance (GAEL) is excluded as well and has a separate rate.

Updates to Composite Benefit Rates

As of FY2019-20 there are changes to the way Composite Benefit Rates (CBR) are calculated and approved. In previous years, UC Berkeley worked directly with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to set the approved rates. Now that we have implemented UCPath, rather than work directly with DHHS, we follow a standard process for calculating rates led by UCOP and will adopt their agreements with the federal government. 

Composite Benefit Rates in UCPath

Because UCPath operates system-wide, our previous CBR assessments and groupings have changed to be consistent with what is used across all UC campuses. Most notably, these changes include the following:


BELI codes are no longer available in UCPath and have been replaced with Eligibility Codes.

  • Employee Class, Eligibility Codes for the employee's primary job and Earn Codes are driving CBR assessments in UCPath.
  • CBRs are charged in a consistent method as a percentage of all components of pay except for certain bonuses, incentives.
  • UCPath’s definition of Z payments which we refer to as Earn Codes excluded from CBR assessment under UCPath. For a complete list of Earn codes and how they are assessed CBR, GAEL, and Vacation Leave review this list.

FY2019-20 Composite Benefit Rates rates are live in UCPath

UCPath now includes the FY2019-20 approved CBR rates. The December payroll reflected the new CBR structure and rates. One exception is that any off-cycle transactions from December that were processed in UCPath before December 23 were calculated using the previous rate structure.

Details on CBR in UCPath

Employee CBR Groups

UCPath predetermines the majority of the employee groups available in UCPath. The five CBR groups used in UC Berkeley are standard groups under UCPath. 

As of FY2019-20 there are two new CBR groups for UC Berkeley: Employees with No Benefit Eligibility and Student (Grad & Undergrad students). 

Employees with No Benefit Eligibility: This group includes costs associated with employees previously classified as Exempt. These are employees that are not eligible for health and retirement but have benefit costs associated with FICA or Workers’ Compensation that need to be assessed.

Student (both Grad and Undergrad students): This group includes costs associated with GSIs and work-study students. As a clarification, Postdocs are classified within the existing “Limited” group rate.

CBR Assessment

In UCPath the CBR assessment uses a different assessment base. The CBR used to be assessed to the full annual salary, however in UCPath the CBR is only assessed to productive (non-Vacation) time. Vacation leave taken, earn code VAC and Vacation leave – accrued, earn code VLA are not being assessed CBR.

Stipend: Pre UCPath, Stipends were not assessed CBR. Under UCPath, Stipends are assessed the CBR rate starting in FY2019-20 and will also be assessed vacation leave. Stipend are no longer on the list of earn codes excluded from CBR. However, if a stipend is being provided as a form of incentive pay we encourage you to review the Earn Codes excluded from CBR list and select an appropriate Earn Code to exclude this pay from these assessments.

Postdoc Fellows: Postdoc Fellows will now be assessed CBR at the Limited rate. This is a significant change and has been identified as such by other UC campuses. We will continue to partner with other UC campuses and UCOP to find a solution. There are currently no known issues with Postdoc Paid Directs or Postdoc Employee positions. Please note we are actively working on solutions regarding Academic Stipends with UCOP as this is a known system-wide issue.

Vacation Charges

Vacation Leave Assessment (VLA): In UCPath, the VLA is a federally compliant assessment rate that accrues the total amount that is funded into the liability pool by applying a standard rate across all fund sources. UCPath has three accrual rates: one for non-accruing faculty and staff, one for accruing faculty, and one for all other accruing non-faculty academics and staff.

Vacation Accruals assessed on Recall Positions: Vacation accruals are being assessed on recall positions. This is a known issue across the UC system and we are working with UCOP on a solution.

UCRP Supplemental Assessment-Interest

This supplemental interest assessment was previously included in the CBR rates, but the Federal government has determined that the interest portion of the assessment is unallowable to federal funds and must be removed from the CBR. In FY2019-20 the UCRP supplemental interest assessment is a separate assessment from the CBR.

CBR Terminology

CBR Groups: the CBR assessment rate groups’ employees are assigned to.  Each location can have up to 14 groups. The group determines what percentage of salaries are assessed.

BELI Codes: They were used pre UCPath to categorize the various types of benefit eligibility pools for Health and Welfare and Retirement plans.

Eligibility codes: They are used in UCPath to categorize the various types of benefit eligibility pools for Health and Welfare and Retirement plans.

Z – comp DOS codes: They were used pre UCPath as a list of DOS codes excluded from the CBR assessment process.

Earn codes excluded from CBR: They are used in UCPath as a list of earn codes excluded from the CBR assessment process.

Employee class: They are used in UCPath to categorizes employees under different classes (Academic, Staff, Post Doc or Student). The employee class is one of the drivers of the CBR rate.