Benefits at VTA


Benefits at VTA vary by representation unit and employee group, and depend on collective bargaining agreements and benefit policies. In the event of discrepancies between this information and the Plan’s Certificate or Summary of Coverage, the Plan Documents prevail.


Benefits by Collective Bargaining Unit

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)

Sick Leave

96 hours per year unlimited accumulation

Vacation Leave

Employees accrue 10 days first year, 15 days fourth year, 20 days tenth year, 25 days twentieth year, 30 days twenty-fifth year. Vacation is not cumulative. It must be used during the calendar year following the year in which it is earned (unless postponed due to injury or illness).


12 days/year includes birthday holiday and five floating holidays

Assault Insurance

VTA provides a $50,000 Assault Insurance Policy, at no cost to employees, for ATU represented employees.  Accidental death or dismemberment or permanent disability is covered if death or disability occur as a result of a criminal act of violence while on duty.


ATU represented employees pay any premium in excess of the Kaiser Bay Area Family premium plus $100.00 under the CalPERS sponsored medical plan.

Life Insurance

ATU represented employees are covered by a $35,000 basic life insurance policy.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sick Leave

96 hours per year unlimited accumulation

Vacation Leave

Employees accrue 15 days first year, 17 days second year, 21 days fifth year, 23 days tenth year, 25 days fifteenth year, 27 days twentieth year. May accumulate vacation up to three times the annual accrual. Specified cash-out provisions.


12 days per year

Transportation Authority Engineers and Architects (TAEA)

Sick Leave

64 hours per year. Unlimited accumulation. First 8 hours are charged to STO; subsequent hours are charged to sick leave bank. Specified cash-out provisions.

Scheduled Time Off Program

Employees accrue 19 days first year, 21 days second year, 25 days fifth year, 27 days tenth year, 29 days fifteenth year, 31 days twentieth year. May accumulate vacation up to three times the annual accrual. Specified cash-out provisions.


11 days/year

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Sick Leave

80 hours per year. Unlimited accumulation. Specified cash-out provisions.

Scheduled Time Off Program

Employees accrue 17 days first year, 19 days second year, 23 days fifth year, 25 days tenth year, 27 days fifteenth year, 29 days twentieth year. Specified cash-out provisions and accumulation limits.


11 days/year

Executive Management and Non-Represented Management Staff

Scheduled Time Off

Employees are credited with 31 days of Scheduled Time Off (STO), and 8 days of sick leave, the first pay period in July of each year. STO may be used for any time away from work including vacation, or personal leave. The maximum accumulation for STO is 93 days. Employees appointed after the beginning of the fiscal year receive pro-rated days of STO/sick leave.


11 days/year

Executive Management

Life Insurance

Executive Management employees are covered by a $100,000 life insurance coverage at no cost to the employee.

A D & D

Executive Management employees are covered by a $100,000 A D & D policy at no cost to the employee.

Long Term Disability

Executive Management employees who become disabled and are unable to perform their duties for more than 45 continuous days receive their regular salary, less deductions for a period not to exceed 12 months, followed by a Long Term Disability insurance plan, fully paid by VTA.  The Plan covers 66.6% of salary up to a maximum monthly benefit of $6,800.


Benefits for all Administrative Employees

Administrative employees are those represented by SEIU, AFSCME, and TAEA as well as non-represented employees.

Medical Insurance

Administrative Employees pay a monthly contribution of any amount in excess of the Kaiser Bay Area Family rate under the CalPERS sponsored medical plan.

Life Insurance

Administrative employees are covered by a $50,000 basic life insurance policy.

Optional Supplemental Life

Administrative employees may purchase supplemental life insurance coverage in increments of $10,000, to a maximum benefit of $250,000. Cost depends on the coverage selected. Proof of insurability is required if the employee does not elect coverage when first eligible to participate, or if the coverage is in excess of $120,000. Employees may apply for supplemental life insurance at any time.

Optional A D & D

Administrative employees may purchase accidental death and dismemberment coverage in increments of $10,000, to a maximum benefit of $250,000.  Cost depends on coverage selected.  Proof of insurability is not required.  Employees may apply for AD&D at any time.

Optional Long Term Disability

Administrative employees may choose one of three long-term disability plans.  Each plan covers 66.6% of salary, up to a monthly benefit of $1,333, $2,500, or $5,000.  Cost depends on the coverage selected.  There is a 60-day waiting period.


Administrative employees participate in the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) which is a defined benefit plan. Retirement benefits are based on the employee’s CalPERS membership status, age and years of CalPERS service credit.

As defined by California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA):

  • Classic Members’ retirement benefit formula is 2%@55
  • New Members’ retirement benefit formula is 2%@62
  • Classic Members hired before 1/9/12 pay 5% of salary toward the required employee contribution.
  • Classic Members hired after 1/9/12 pay 7% of salary toward the required employee contribution.
  • New Members are required to pay fifty percent of the total normal cost as determined by the annual CalPERS valuation.

For more detailed information regarding CalPERS retirement benefits, visit their web site at


457 Deferred Compensation Plan

​The purpose of the Deferred Compensation Plan is to help you establish an investment savings program that grows over time and from which you can withdraw money that will supplement your retirement. Deferred Compensation contributions are automatically withdrawn from your paycheck which provides a convenient way to save for retirement. The amount you defer does not reduce the earnings upon which your pension is calculated.

Any VTA employee (excluding Contractors, Extra-Help and Student Interns) is qualified to enroll in this plan.

Two Types of 457 Accounts

  • Regular 457: pre-tax Contributions to the plan and earnings on your contributions are exempt from income taxes until you begin to withdraw the money. Typically, you will be in a lower tax bracket when you begin your withdrawals.
  • Roth 457: Contributions you make to the plan are taxed before they are contributed. Earnings are exempt from income taxes and distributions are tax free if all distribution requirements are met.​​​​ 


How does the Deferred Compensation Plan work?

You invest in the plan by authorizing an amount of money that will be automatically deducted from your paycheck. When you receive your paycheck, your contributions are wired to an investment provider and invested in the specific investment vehicles that you have chosen.

​Can I increase or decrease my contribution?

Yes. You just need to complete an Enrollment/Change Form to increase or decrease your deduction from your paycheck.  Your change will take effect the first of the month following receipt of the form by the VTA Human Resources Department, unless you specify a later date. The Enrollment/Change Form can be obtained from the VTA Human Resources Department, or from your division.

What are the minimum and maximum amounts that I can invest in the plan?

You can enroll with as little as $10 (or 1% of your compensation, whichever is greater) every paycheck, or as much as 100% of your biweekly gross income. You cannot contribute more than the annual maximum contribution limit.  


  • Defer up to $19,000 or 100% of salary, whichever is less, in 2019
  • Choice of pretax and/or post-tax contributions
  • Accumulate tax-deferred savings
  • Invest in popular mutual funds including bond, stock, target date and stable value funds
  • Be eligible for loans of up to 50% of your funds (maximum $50,000) for purchasing a principal residence, paying college tuition and fees, or for unreimbursed medical expenses
  • Can begin receiving distributions, with no penalty, immediately after separation


  • A detailed quarterly investment newsletter
  • 24-hour personal on-line access to your account, including fund transfers and account statements on-demand
  • On-site educational seminars and individual meetings with a deferred compensation representative
  • Self-directed brokerage option for employees with $25,000 or more in deferred compensation
Age 50 Catch-Up

The ‘Age 50 Catch-up’ provision permits participants who are age 50 or older to contribute an additional amount each year. The ‘Age 50 Catch-Up’ limit may change each year. 

Additionally, if you have not made all the contributions you were eligible to make while employed at VTA, you may enroll in the 'Regular Catchup.' You cannot enroll any sooner than the year you will turn 52 nor any sooner than the last three calendar years prior to the year you plan to retire. The amount you can contribute under this provision usually changes each year. This allows you to contribute the missed contributions. 'Regular Catchup' allows you to contribute twice the annual maximum amount (not to exceed the amount of the missed contributions).

You cannot participate in 'Age 50' and 'Regular' Catchup at the same time.

Loans & Emergency Withdrawals


You may borrow up to 50% of your pre-tax balance (minimum $1,000 and maximum $50,000) for purchasing a principal residence, paying for college tuition and fees, or to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses. You cannot borrow from a ROTH 457.

Emergency Withdrawal

In the event of an unforeseeable, unbudgetable hardship situation, you may be eligible to receive an emergency withdrawal from the Deferred Compensation Plan.

  • You will be required to establish that you have exhausted your financial resources and cannot obtain a loan or other resources to cover the expense. 
  • You will be taxed on the distribution as ordinary income.
  • You will not be allowed to make contributions to the plan for one year after an emergency distribution.
  • You cannot take an emergency withdrawal from your ROTH account.

Remember that the Deferred Compensation Plan is not an ordinary savings account, but a retirement account. Accordingly, you must be certain you have sufficient money saved for a “rainy day” before you begin to participate in the Deferred Compensation Plan.

Self-Directed Brokerage Account

Employees with $25,000 or more in deferred compensation have the option of investing in a self-directed brokerage account with access to over 5,000 mutual funds. There are fees related to the self-directed brokerage account.

If You Leave VTA

You can keep the balance in the VTA plan if you so choose, provided you have $1,000 or more in your account.  You may be able to roll over your Deferred Compensation Plan funds into another type of retirement savings plan if you so choose.  Please see VTA's Deferred Compensation Analyst or the ICMA-RC Retirement Plan Specialist for specific information.


You may choose to receive distributions as soon as you retire or officially separate from service with VTA. Information regarding distributions is available in the VTA Human Resources Department.

If you are no longer employed by VTA, you must begin to receive distributions no later than April 1st of the calendar year after you turn age 70. If you are still working at age 70, you must commence distributions no later than April 1st of the year after you separate from employment.


Retiree Medical Plans

Defined Benefit Retiree Medical Plan

To be eligible for retiree medical coverage, administrative employees must retire directly from VTA, be age 50 (Classic Members) or 52 (New Members), and meet the minimum days of service requirement – 5 years (1,305 days).

Administrative employees’ spouses and registered domestic partners may continue under the retiree's medical plan at the retiree's expense.

Administrative employees’ surviving spouses or surviving domestic partners are eligible for medical coverage paid for by VTA at the same rate it paid for the retiree. Should you precede your spouse/domestic partner in death, VTA will cover the cost of your survivor’s medical up to the Kaiser Single Bay Area rate in California, and up to the Kaiser Out-of-State living outside of California, as long as your survivor is receiving a pension check.

Medical Premium Contributions

Administrative retirees enroll in the CalPERS Medical plans. VTA pays up to the Kaiser Bay area single rate for retirees in California. Retirees pay the excess above the Kaiser Bay Area single rate. VTA pays up to the Kaiser out-of-state single rate for retirees living outside of California. The retiree pays the excess above the Kaiser out-of-state rate.

Medicare Eligibility

Retirees (and spouses/registered domestic partners, if applicable) who are age 65 or disabled must enroll in Medicare Parts A & B, and in a VTA Medicare supplemental plan. Retirees are reimbursed for the cost of the Medicare Part B monthly premium. The amount of reimbursement is based on the current year's rate the retiree pays (minus any penalties). An additional amount above the standard reimbursement will be paid if the retiree provides proof from SSA of the premium paid for the current year. (Prior years are not retroactively reimbursed).

As long as retirees retain enrollment in a VTA sponsored Medicare supplemental plan, they should not enroll in Medicare Part D outside of VTA. Medicare Part D reimbursement is handled by the health plan. Enrollment is only through the health plan.

Medical Plans for Administrative Retirees
  • Anthem Blue Cross Traditional or Select HMO, or EPO: (855) 839-4524
  • ​Blue Shield Access+ or Blue Shield NetValue: (800) 334-5847
  • Kaiser Permanente: (800) 464-4000
  • United Healthcare: (877) 359-3714
  • Health Net: (888) 926-4921
  • Western Health Advantage: (888) 942-7377
  • Sharp Health Plan: (855) 995-5004 (available in San Diego County only) 

PPO Plans

PERS Choice, PERS Select, PERSCare: (877) 737-7776


    Benefits for All Employees

    Dependent Eligibility

    Eligible dependents covered under employee health plans are:

    • Legal spouse or registered domestic partner
    • Dependent children, stepchildren, or registered domestic partner's children, up to age 26 for medical and dental coverage
    • A disabled child above age 26 who meets the disabled child requirements of the health plans
    • ATU: dependent children age 19-24 are eligible for vision coverage if they are a verified full-time student
    • TAEA/SEIU/AFSCME/Non-Represented: dependent children up to age 26 are eligible for vision coverage. Student status not required
    • Medical insurance coverage administered and provided by CalPERS Medical.  

    A dependent must be added to a health plan within 60 days of loss of other coverage, adoption, birth, legal guardianship, marriage, or establishment of registered domestic partnership. If not, dependents can be added only during Annual Open Enrollment in Mid-September – Mid-October, for coverage effective January 1 the following year.

    ​Ineligible dependents must be dropped from coverage within 60 days of a divorce, legal separation or dissolution of registered domestic partnership; or when an overage dependent is no longer eligible. Employees failing to drop ineligible dependents will be held liable for repayment of health premiums and reimbursement for medical expenses.

    Flexible Spending Account Plans

    Employees may set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for health or dependent care expenses. Annual enrollment is required during Mid-September-Mid-October Open Enrollment period for the following January.

    Health Care Spending Account

    Employees may set aside up to $2,600 on a pre-tax basis per calendar year to cover health care expenses not covered under their health plans. These expenses may include prescription medications, deductibles, co-payments, dental and orthodontia expenses, prescription sunglasses, contact lenses, and co-insurance expenses. Premiums are excluded. Administrative Employees receive $300 in an employer funded FSA account each year.

    Dependent Care Spending Account

    Employees may set aside up to $5,000 on a pre-tax basis per calendar year for eligible dependent care expenses, including childcare, care for a disabled spouse, or care for an elderly incapacitated parent.

    Transit/Parking Commuter Pre-Tax Benefit

    The parking and/or transit account enable employees to pay for work-related parking and/or transit costs with pre-tax dollars. Maximum contribution for parking is $260 per month. The maximum contribution for mass transit is $260 per month.

    Employee Assistance Program

    The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to each employee, eligible dependent, and household member, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. EAP services are confidential.

    EAP Services

    • Five counseling visits per problem, per calendar year, for each employee and eligible dependent
    • Education, counseling, and referrals
    • Unlimited telephone legal and financial consultations
    • Child and elder care referrals
    • One-hour legal consultation office visit per matter
    • Discounts on continuing legal matters

    Aetna Resources for Living

    (800) 962-1306

    Life and Disability Insurance

    All regular employees are covered by State Disability Insurance and a Basic Life Insurance Policy.

    State Disability Insurance (SDI)

    Regular employees are covered by State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits (paid for by payroll deduction).  There is a 7-day waiting period.  For additional information, access the Employment Development Department's web site at:

    Transit Passes

    All employees, retirees, spouses, surviving spouses of retirees, and dependent children under age 19 of active full-time employees and retirees are eligible for transit passes for use over VTA lines, including VTA Paratransit services.

    Dependents of ATU represented employees are eligible for a transit pass only if they are a verified full-time student up to age 24. Dependents of Administrative employees are eligible for a transit pass up to age 26.



    Employee & Retiree Health Benefits
    (408) 952-8919

    Retirement Services - Pension
    (408) 321-5808