The information contained in this section is not a part of the employment contract with the University. Reference should always be made to official federal and University documents. The Human Resources Policy & Procedure sections referenced below may be viewed online.

It is the intent of the University to provide a benefits program with a broad foundation upon which employees can build for their security and well-being. The University reserves the right to seek quotations and/or competitive bids as well as modify, change, or eliminate these programs and plans as deemed appropriate and in the best interest of the University and its employees. Benefits coverage is governed by the specific contracts that are issued and provided after enrollment. The eligibility of employees for certain benefits may be based on employment status, date of employment and/or geographical location.

Employees can make changes in insurance programs during open enrollment. These time periods provide the opportunity to change plans, increase or lower the amount of coverage or enroll in a program in which you had waived coverage earlier. Open enrollment is generally in April-May for University benefits and November-December for Federal benefits.

5.1 Educational Benefits
5.2 Leave
5.3 Insurance
5.4 Tax Sheltering with Flexible Spending Account
5.5 Worker's Compensation and Disability
5.6 Retirement
5.7 Other Benefits

5.1 Educational Benefits

Employee Education Program (EEP)

The Employee Education Program (EEP) allows full-time University of Kentucky employees to take up to 6 credit hours each semester (or 8 hours if the class has a lab) tuition free.  A one-time "graduation exemption" may be granted to waive up to 9 hours in one semester.  Regular working hours missed will be made up by working extended hours.  Only 3 of the hours may be taken during the 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Monday through Friday) time frame. Employees are eligible for a maximum tuition wavier of 18 hours per year. Courses taken shall not compromise the efficiency of any University organizational unit. To receive the tuition waiver, agents must submit a copy of the UK Employee Educational Program Form to their District Director prior to the deadline (10 days prior recommended) posted each semester. UK tuition waiver forms and deadlines are available online.  The EEP tuition waiver is only available for eligible employees taking classes at the University of Kentucky.  Exception: Full-time regular employees with UK who had applied to or enrolled at another Kentucky public institution by April 26, 2018, remain eligible for a tuition assistance at that institution, taking a maximum of six (6) credit hours per term.  This exception will no longer apply after the conclusion of the Spring 2021 term.  Agents who enroll in classes at universities other than UK will still complete the UK Employee Educational Program Form and also any forms required by the institution they elect to attend. Agents are responsible for finding out what forms are needed and the deadlines that are to be followed to ensure the tuition wavier is granted.


Family Education Program (FEP)

The Family Education Program (FEP) allows the employee to transfer their education benefit to a child (up to age 25) or spouse/partner in the form of a tuition discount on undergraduate classes. The amount of discount depends on the number of years the employee has worked as follows:

  • 10% - 1 or more years
  • 20% - 2 or more years
  • 30% - 3 or more years
  • 40% - 4 or more years
  • 50% - 5 or more years

While the EEP can be used at any state-funded Kentucky college, the FEP can only be used at UK.

The EEP and the FEP cannot be used simultaneously. In other words if an employee is using the EEP to take classes, there would not be a benefit for family members until the employee is no longer using the benefit themselves. If both spouses/partners are employed by UK, the tuition discount can be combined. The FEP is only good for undergraduate coursework and for one individual at a time (ie. if two children are attending UK at the same time, only one would get the discount.)

Compensation for Master's Degree

Agents acquiring a Master's degree while on the job will receive a salary adjustment for this achievement. The exact amount awarded may be adjusted periodically as economic and budget situations warrant. Compensation for a Master's degree is predicated on an approved advanced study program having been developed. Agents requesting advanced study benefits must submit an Extension Agent Individual Study Plan: Graduate Degree Approval Form which outlines educational goals and a time table for degree completion.


5.2 Leave

Study Leave: Agent study leave is currently suspended due to budgetary considerations.

Special Leave (HRP&P #85)

Agents may be authorized for special leave for reasons other than those normally provided by policies within this handbook. The primary consideration for authorizing such special leave shall be the best interest of the University.

Special leave may include reasons such as necessary additional education, care of a relative in the immediate family (provided temporary disability leave and/or FMLA is not applicable), attendance at a professional meeting, or service temporarily with an outside agency. Other leaves may be considered as requested, whenever special circumstances exist.

The President or, the provost may grant special leave with pay for a period not to exceed 30 days. A leave of absence with pay for more than 30 days must be approved by the Board of Trustees.

The President or the provost may approve special leave without pay. Ordinarily such leave shall not be granted for a period in excess of one year.

Vacation Leave (HRP&P #80)

Agent vacation leave is accrued at the rate of 1.83 days per month or twenty-two days per year. Three months of employment are required before vacation leave can be used. Planned leave time is to be approved in advance by the Area Extension Director. Vacation leave is earned on a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year. Up to one year’s worth (22 days) of vacation leave can be carried over to the next year. Vacation leave accrued by June 30 must be taken by June 30 of the following year or it will be forfeited. NOTE- This policy has been revised for 2022 and 2023. See individual leave balances for details.

Current vacation leave (not to exceed 22 days) can be paid as terminal leave (HRP&P #81) upon resignation or retirement. Terminal vacation will not be paid if you leave employment within the first three months.

Temporary Disability (Sick) Leave TDL (HRP&P #82)

Extension employees shall be granted temporary disability (sick leave) leave for the necessary period that you suffer a temporary sickness or incapacitation making you unable to perform your assigned duties.

Paid temporary disability leave accrues at the rate of one day per month. Paid TDL allowance is earned for a month when employment commences on or before the fifteenth day of the month. No TDL accrues before the fifteenth day of the month. As a continuing employee, the one day of temporary disability leave earned each month is available for use after the fifteenth day of that month. There is no maximum amount of paid temporary disability leave which can be accumulated.

TDL can be used to care for an immediate family member if UK guidelines are met. For complete information, refer to the policy noted above.

Conversion of Temporary Disability Leave to Vacation Leave (HRP&P #87)

Regular employees who have accrued a minimum of 66 TDL days have a conversion option for extra vacation leave. An eligible employee may voluntarily convert accrued TDL days for vacation days on an annual basis. The employee must have a minimum balance of 66 TDL days after the conversion takes place. Only accrued days in excess of 66 may be converted. One vacation leave day shall be acquired for each three TDL days surrendered. A maximum of 12 TDL days may be converted in any one fiscal year. One extra day of leave can be earned for perfect attendance. The conversion can only occur during July. 

Unused Temporary Disability Leave At Retirement (HRP&P #87)

A federal employee who retires on an immediate annuity (or who dies leaving a widow or widower entitled to a survivor annuity) has his/her service time increased by the days of unused sick leave to his or her credit. For UK Extension employees (not on federal appointment and employed prior to 7/1/95), there are several choices for use of unused TD leave at retirement. Among these, employees may receive a lump sum payment for up to 22 days of unused sick leave and receive service credit for the remaining days. Employees must have a minimum of 66 days accumulated unused sick leave in order to take advantage of this policy. For UK Extension employees (not on federal appointment) hired after 7/1/95, there is no payment for unused TD leave. However, it may be used to increase service time.

Family Medical Leave (FML) (HRP&P #88)

The family medical leave policy (FMLA) provides employees with up to 12 work-weeks of job-protected leave in a 12-month period for certain family or medical reasons. To be eligible, an employee must have worked at UK for at least one year and, over the previous 12 months, have worked at least 1250 hours.

FML shall be granted for any of the following reasons:

  • to care for your child after birth;
  • for placement for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for your spouse, son or daughter, or parent who has a serious medical condition; or
  • a serious health condition that makes you unable to perform your job.

Accrued vacation and temporary disability leave must be substituted for unpaid leave in accordance with the personnel policies that are applicable to those leaves. An employee shall provide advance notice when the leave is “foreseeable”.

Holiday Leave (HRP&P #83)  

Nine holidays are designated as paid leave days. They are New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving (2 days), and Christmas. In addition, four special "bonus" leave days will be granted between Christmas and New Year's Day (Extension Offices close during this time). Presidential Election Day every four years is also granted as a holiday.

Funeral Leave (HRP&P #84)

An Extension Agent shall be allowed funeral leave with pay in accordance with University policy. The amount of leave depends on the employee’s relationship to the deceased and the required travel distance. To clarify the amount of funeral leave allowed, please refer to the University policy by clicking on the link above.

Jury Duty (HRP&P #73)  

Each employee should fulfill his/her obligation as a citizen when called on to do so. An employee serving on jury duty will do so with no reduction in pay. Payment for jury duty is to be retained by the employee.

Uniformed Services Leave (Military Leave) (HRP&P #75)  

Employees who must fulfill a uniformed services obligation, either active duty or training, shall be granted Uniformed Services Leave.


5.3 Insurance

UK Health Insurance

Extension employees not on federal benefits are eligible for University of Kentucky health insurance plans. Employee premiums are deducted on a pre-tax basis.

Federal Health Insurance

Extension employees who have federal retirement have the option of choosing health coverage from several federal plans. Employee premiums are deducted on a pre-tax basis. Employees on federal benefits can also elect to sign up for UK supplemental plans such as dental and eye insurance and other voluntary benefits.

UK Life Insurance

Regular full-time employees receive basic life insurance in the amount of one times (1x) their salary at no cost. Additional life insurance may be purchased by the employee to raise the amount of coverage or for spouse or dependents. The life insurance coverage is effective the first day of employment and ends the last day of employment. (Exception: persons employed before August 1, 1965, have a $5,000 policy that continues after retirement.)

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance

Extension employees who have federal retirement are eligible for Federal Employees Government Life Insurance.

Additional Insurance

Other voluntary UK benefits are available including Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance, Long-term Care, Short-term Disability, Universal Life, Auto/home insurance, and pet insurance.


5.4 Tax Sheltering with Flexible Spending Account

Flexible Spending Account Program

This program allows employees to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses that are not paid by an insurance plan and are considered tax deductible.

Any money left in the employee’s account at the end of the plan year (June 30) must be used by September 15 or be forfeited.


5.5 Worker's Compensation and Disability

Worker's Compensation Human Resources Policy and Procedure #96.  

Employees are entitled to Workers Compensation benefits prescribed by state statue for injury, occupational disease, or death, without regard to fault, if it occurs as a result of employment. Any on-the-job injury must be reported to your supervisor immediately. This coverage is automatic with employment and is free. Coverage is effective only during the performance of job duties.


5.6 Retirement

Retirement plan participation is generally dictated by date of employment.

UK Retirement

Extension agents hired after July 1, 1987 participate exclusively in UK Retirement (unless they already had a Federal appointment when hired).  Employees contribute 5 percent of their salary to the UK Retirement Plan which is matched by the University of Kentucky's contribution of 10 percent. For employees who are at least 30 years old, participation in the retirement plan is mandatory.

Federal Employees Retirement Systems (FERS)

Extension employees hired between January 1, 1984 and June 30, 1987, became part of the new Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Employees in this classification waived the right to transfer into the University of Kentucky retirement system that was permitted during June 1987. FERS employees are covered under a three-tier retirement plan that includes Social Security, Basic Benefit Plan, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Employees in this group are not eligible for the provisions of the University of Kentucky or Federal phased retirement programs. More information on FERS retirement is available from the Agriculture Human Resources Office.

Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)

Extension employees hired before January 1, 1984 are enrolled in the Civil Service Retirement unless a transfer into Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) was made between July 1, 1987, and December 31, 1987. Employees in this group are not eligible for the provisions of the University of Kentucky or Federal phased retirement programs. More information on CSRS retirement is available from the Agriculture Human Resources Office.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

Both CSRS and FERS employees are eligible to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan. CSRS employees can contribute a maximum of five percent of salary into TSP. Contributions are not matched by the employer. FERS employees can contribute a maximum of ten percent into the TSP. The first five percent is matched by UK. All money invested by CSRS or FERS employees in the TSP is tax-deferred.

CSRS and FERS employees are eligible to participate in the UK Retirement Plan on a voluntary basis. In addition to the basic retirement plan provisions described above, employees have the option to contribute additional tax-deferred dollars to supplemental retirement annuities or to a state deferred compensation plan.


5.7 Other Benefits

Employees are encouraged to visit the UK Benefits website for a complete listing of all benefits.


Updated: 8/22/2022