Skip to main content

Benefits Eligibility

Cornell offers a competitive package of benefit programs for faculty, staff, and their families.

The statements below can help determine employee eligibility. Not all persons employed by or affiliated with the university qualify for enrollment in our benefit programs.

Faculty and Staff Positions

Endowed faculty or staff must hold a job or appointment with a minimum of 20 hours per week for hourly paid employees, or, the equivalent 50% effort for salaried employees for a period of 6 months or more. The rate of pay must be greater than zero and the appointment does not need to be indefinite.

Contract College faculty or staff have a different standard for New York State provided health benefits. A faculty or staff member appointed for as short a duration as 3 – 5 months position with salary may qualify for NYS benefits.

Temporary and Casual Appointments

temporary appointment is a work engagement of at least 20 hours per week with a term of employment of less than six consecutive months.

  • Temporary employees become eligible for Workers' Compensation upon employment and are eligible to receive benefits under the New York State Disability Program after four weeks of employment.
  • A temporary employee becomes "benefits eligible" at six months of employment.
    • A temporary endowed employee may be "benefits eligible" if the initial temporary appointment is for a period of six months, or if the initial appointment (under six months) is extended past six months with no break in continuous service. Effective dates of coverage vary based on the effective date of the temporary appointment(s). Temporary endowed employees who are "benefits eligible" are eligible for paid holidays and and health, life, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage, and accrue health and personal leave and vacation time.
    • Temporary contract college employees may also be eligible for health insurance benefits under certain circumstances.

Casual appointments may be made for an indefinite duration. Casual employees become eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits upon employment and New York State Disability Insurance after four weeks of employment.

Limited Benefits

A post-doctoral fellow who moves to non-pay status (paid from their fellowship rather than Cornell) is eligible for ‘limited benefits’ (referred to as LIMs coverage).  These limited benefits include endowed health, dental and vision coverage, with the post-doctoral fellow responsible for the employee-share of the premium via direct-billing, and their department responsible for the employer-share (through quarterly fringe billing).  Coverage must be coordinated through the HR Services and Transitions Center.

If you are uncertain of your eligibility status for benefits, please contact your HR representative.

While every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this Summary, in the event of any discrepancy the Summary Plan Description and Plan Document for each specific benefit plan will prevail.