Select FAQs are listed below. If your question is not covered in this section, please check the FAQ pdf link.

Q. Must we use the new composite rates or can we use actual rates if we have them?

A. Once Composite Benefit Rates are implemented we cannot mix between charging actual costs and composite benefit rates.

Q: If an employee has opted out of healthcare will CBR still apply?

A: Yes, CBR will still be applied. Opting out of health insurance would have no impact on the CBR rate. The rate will depend on what pool the employee is mapped to.

Q: If two employees are married, which CBR category would determine the benefit rates?

A: The employees would each be assigned to the employee class that is appropriate for the terms of their employment. The marriage would have no impact on the CBR rates applied.

Q: What if an employee is eligible for full benefits, but is not appointed at 100% time?

A: The benefit costs for an employee is the applicable rate multiplied by gross salary. If the appointment percentage is lower, the salary is lower and the benefits cost will be lower, even if the employee receives full benefits. This is considerably simpler to calculate and reduces benefit expenses for part-time employees when compared to the old method of calculating benefit costs.

Q. The composite rates seem low/high. Why?

A. The creation of employee groupings or pools has the effect of applying the calculated average benefit rate to all employees within the group. This can positively or negatively affect employees within the group whose salary is below or above average for the group.

The new rates are based on actual benefit expenses for 2016-17 projected to 2018-19. The increases in the rate in the subsequent years are the result of assumed increases in health and other benefits costs not related to the adoption of composite rates, but a reflection of increased actual costs.

Q. How will the new rate structure affect existing Contract & Grant awards?

A. We understand that many researchers have multi-year awards and proposals that were approved with different fringe benefit rates than the composite rates. The campus is developing a funding pool to cover shortfalls created by the transition to composite rates to mitigate the impact to sponsored projects. This funding pool will not mitigate the impacts of increased health insurance costs or increased contributions to UC Retirement System. Regrettably, all project budgets will be negatively affected by these actual cost increases, which are beyond the University's control. Details on the mitigation plan are forthcoming.

Q. How will the university cover the actual benefits cost if the composite rate is lower than the actual benefit cost for a particular employee?

A. At year-end, we will reconcile actual benefit costs incurred by the campus with the amount charged using the composite benefit rates. Any over- or under-recovery will be adjusted in future year rates, similar to a recharge activity.

A document containing additional FAQs is linked below. This document will be updated regularly.

Last updated 8/15/2018

Further Assistance

If after reading through the information provided above and in the linked documents, you still have unanswered questions please send an email to for assistance.

Further Reading

UCSB HR benefits website:
UCSB Academic Personnel website:
UCSB Office of Research, Sponsored Projects website:
UCSB UCPath website:
Systemwide UCPath website: