Flex Credits

Full-time UWOFA faculty members are entitled to $2,000 in flexible benefit credits per year that they may allocate either to their Professional Expense Reimbursement, Health Care Spending Account or a taxable Wellness Account. Full-time librarian and archivist members receive $1,200 in flex credits per year.

For more information about your flex credits, Health Care Spending Account, Professional Expense Reimbursement Account, and the Wellness Account, visit the university's flex credit page and choose UWOFA 2017 or UWOFA - Librarians and Archivists 2017.

Tips

Members must decide how much to allocate to each account every year. In considering the use of this valuable benefit, the UWOFA Pension & Benefits Committee offers the following reminders and suggestions:

  1. Consider what your professional or health needs might be for the upcoming year. Are you planning on attending a conference or replacing some technology? Do you need a new pair of glasses? Do you anticipate a family member requiring braces?
  2. Use income tax benefits strategically. If you pay for a professional licence/dues (e.g. professional engineers, nurses, law and similar) as a requirement of your work, these costs are tax deductible and perhaps not the best use of your professional expense reimbursement (PER) dollars. However, a membership to an academic society or organization, which is not tax deductible, would be a very legitimate cost to recover through your PER.
  3. Use of your health care spending account (HCSA) may be affected if you have a partner with benefits. Coordination of benefits will likely change (reduce) the extent to which you would rely on the HCSA.
     

Things to consider when planning how to allocate your flex credits

Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) - this account can be used for your work including, but not limited to:

  • Books, journal subscriptions
  • Membership fees (see note 3 above), association dues
  • Conference registration and associated travel expenses
  • Technology expenses for scholarly work. This includes home internet charges, for example
  • Supplies and related expenses for scholarly work
     

Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) - this account can cover the costs that the Western benefits program does not. Examples of coverage include:

  • The remaining 15% of prescription drug costs (some medications [e.g. insulin] are very expensive and the additional costs can be recovered with the HCSA)
  • The additional costs for health care practitioners such as chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists and other practitioners
  • A pair of prescription glasses is covered at $150 per year. The benefit accumulates to a maximum of two years ($300). The remainder can be covered by your HCSA
  • Regular dental services are covered to 85% so the remaining 15% can be covered by the HCSA
  • Restorative dentistry or major dental work is covered at 80% so the remaining 20% can be covered by the HCSA
  • Only the initial orthodontic consultation fee is covered by your benefits so the cost of orthodontics can be covered by the HCSA


Wellness Spending Account - this account is a taxable benefit. However, it does cover many areas that are beneficial to you:

  • Fitness, such as gym memberships, sporting equipment
  • Dental (whitening strips, toothbrushes, mouth guards)
  • Health (natural products, vitamins, heating pads)
  • Counselling (grief, addiction, weight loss programs)
  • Legal (lawyer fees, paralegal fees, accounting)
  • Personal development (personal interest courses such as cooking classes or meditation classes)
  • Renovations (air conditioners, air purifiers)
  • Environmental (composters, energy saving appliances, green home initiatives)