Benefits and Wellness


State employees are eligible for many valuable Benefits in addition to their regular pay. These benefits include the State Health Plan, DHHS Supplemental Benefits, NCFlex Benefits, Retirement, 401K/457 Prudential Savings Plans, Leave Benefits, EAP, Service Awards, and many other important Benefits options. The DHHS Supplemental Benefits are selected by the DHHS Employee Insurance Committee.

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The State Health Plan is self-insured and exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) as a government-sponsored plan.

You are eligible for coverage in the State Health Plan if you are employed in a permanent position working 30 hours or more each week. You may also participate in the State Health Plan by paying the full cost for coverage, employee premium and employer share, if you work in a permanent part-time position working 20-29 hours.

You can lower your monthly premiums in the Enhanced 80/20 Plan, and the Traditional 70/30 Plan by completing the tobacco attestation. The tobacco attestation premium credit applies only to the employee-only premium. 

DHHS also offers a number of other supplemental insurance plans as follows: legal, dental, disability, term life, and universal life. These benefits are selected by the DHHS Employee Insurance Committee. For enrollment information, please contact your Division/Facility Health Benefits Representative.

ARAG Legal Plan

ARAG is a comprehensive legal services plan that provides access to a wide range of covered legal matters. For only $17.24 per month, you receive access to experienced Network Attorneys, industry-unique online tools and trusted resources – with full-time legal protection that offers 100% paid-in-full coverage for most legal matters. It’s designed to help you plan for, prevent and resolve a wide range of legal issues, and save you valuable time – and potentially thousands of dollars in legal fees. For complete details on these legal matters, visit and enter Access Code 11246nc.

Humana Dental

The Humana Dental is one of the nation's largest dental benefits companies offering group dental insurance to employees. See the following for benefits features and cost information.

Voya (Reliastar) Term Life

Under this term life insurance, your premium is based on the amount of coverage you choose. For yourself, you may choose $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, up to $500,000 of coverage (at intervals of $10,000). You may also add coverage for your spouse or dependents based on different coverage amounts.

Colonial Disability Plan

DHHS offers a Disability Plan through Colonial Life with the following plan features:

  • Level benefits for on-the-job and off-the-job disabilities.
  • Benefits do not reduce because of worker’s compensation, sick leave, vacation leave, or any other benefits.
  • Pays in addition to any other insurance coverage the employee may have.
  • Benefits are paid directly to you unless you specify otherwise.
  • Each employee selects and builds a plan that fits their individual financial needs.
  • Benefits begin the first day, if you are hospitalized, regardless of the elimination period you select.
  • Normal pregnancy is covered the same as any other covered sickness if you become pregnant after the effective date of your policy.
  • Partial disability benefit is available after you have been paid the total disability benefit for at least one full month immediately prior to your being partially disabled.
  • One premium rate band regardless of age or gender.
  • Issue ages 17 to 69.
  • Guaranteed renewable to age 70.
  • Waiver of premium included at no additional cost.
  • Convenient payroll deduction of premiums while employed with DHHS.
  • Coverage is portable. You can keep your coverage with NO INCREASE in premiums if you change jobs or retire.
  • Guaranteed issue for new hires for 90 days from the date of hire.

Protective Life Insurance

This plan offers universal life insurance which gives you permanent life insurance protection and access to cash values that grow, tax-deferred, at competitive interest rates. The premiums of a universal life policy are split in two ways. The premiums you pay go toward covering the cost of the insurance policy, and the remaining balance is invested and earns interest on a tax-deferred basis and may increase the cash and death benefit values. Also, in a temporary cash crunch, you can pay less than the scheduled premium and let the policy's accumulated cash value pay the remainder of the monthly charges

DHHS employees can participate in NCFlex, a pre-tax program offered by the state. In addition to the health and dependent care spending accounts, the program offers vision care, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, dental insurance, group term life insurance, cancer insurance, critical illness plan, accident plan, and a TRICARE Supplement on a pre-tax basis.

Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA)

The full amount you elect to contribute to your Healthcare FSA is available in your account on the first day of the plan year or the first day your benefits become effective. Your contributions will be deducted on a pre-tax basis from your paycheck evenly over the calendar year. Eligible expenses include out-of-pocket costs for doctor visit copays, prescription drugs, prescription eyeglasses, dental copays and deductibles, braces, contacts, hearing aids, qualifying everyday health products and much more.

Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account (DDCFSA)

The DDCFSA offers you a tax-free way to pay yourself back for eligible dependent care expenses throughout the year. You can contribute to the DDCFSA to pay for dependent daycare and eldercare expenses on a pre-tax basis if both you and your spouse work, your spouse goes to school full-time or your spouse isn’t able to care for himself or herself. The IRS sets the maximum contribution each year.


Critical Illness

This insurance provides a lump-sum payment when a covered person experiences a covered condition, such as cancer, bone marrow transplant, heart attack, stroke, coronary artery bypass graft, heart transplant, major organ transplant, or kidney failure. Critical Illness Insurance is administered by Allstate Benefits and complements your existing medical coverage but does not replace it. You can choose a maximum benefit amount of $15,000 or $25,000. You can use the benefit payment as you see fit.

Vision Care from EyeMed Vision Care

NCFlex offers an excellent Vision Care Plan. The plan is administered by EyeMed Vision Care. It offers three schedules of benefits, and all three provide a comprehensive eye exam and benefits for vision materials. You may receive either eyeglasses or contact lenses in a benefit period but not both. You have the following options:

  • Core: available to employees at no cost. An annual comprehensive eye exam for a $20.00 co-pay. Discounts are available on vision materials if needed. You must enroll to receive this free benefit.
  • Basic: A plan that provides an annual comprehensive eye exam and your choice of glasses or contact lens, frame allowance and contact lens allowance.
  • Enhanced: A plan that provides an annual comprehensive eye exam and your choice of contact lens, or glasses with increased frequency, and a higher frame and contact lens allowance.


Accident Plan

The Accident Plan pays benefits for specific injuries and events resulting from a covered accident that occurs on or after your coverage effective date. The benefit amount depends on the type of injury and care received. You have the option to elect Accident Plan coverage to meet the needs of you, your spouse, and/or children.  The plan helps offset medical deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

TRICARE Supplement 

If you currently have TRICARE Select, Prime, or TRS benefits offered to the military community, you may be eligible and interested in the TRICARE Supplement Plan. This plan helps pay 100 percent of members’ TRICARE outpatient deductibles, cost shares, copayments plus 100 percent of covered excess charges.


The state offers a systematic savings program that provides income to retirees and their families. Participation in the Retirement System of North Carolina is mandatory for every permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment employee who works at least 30 hours each week. The employee contribution is 6 percent of gross salary. There are also employer contributions to TSERS which are determined each year by the North Carolina General Assembly. These contributions are not credited to a member’s individual account. Instead, they are placed in the various trust funds for the payment of specific benefits. These contributions are tax-sheltered. An employee is fully vested after five years of membership service.

Employees may retire with full benefits after:

  • Age 65 and completion of five years of service
  • Age 60 and completion of 25 years of service
  • Any age and completion of 30 years of service

Reduced benefits are offered at early retirement after:

  • Age 50 and completion of 20 years of service
  • Age 60 and completion of five years of service

The amount of an employee's retirement benefit is based on:

  • Average compensation during the four highest paid consecutive years of service
  • Length of service
  • The payment option selected by the employee



The State offers the following voluntary supplemental retirement plans to provide a way for an employee to save money and supplement state retirement benefits by making contributions through payroll reduction and postpone paying tax on these contributions until after the employee retires:

  • State of North Carolina 401K Plan (Traditional Pre-Tax and Roth After-Tax)
  • State of North Carolina 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (Traditional Pre-Tax and Roth After-Tax)

Learn more

Paid Parental Leave (PPL)

To support healthy families and strengthen our economy, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 95 on May 23, 2019, extending Paid Parental Leave to state employees in Cabinet agencies. Paid Parental Leave went into effect on September 1, 2019.

The Paid Parental Leave benefit is triggered for eligible employees by the qualifying event of becoming a parent by birth, adoption, foster care or other legal placement of a child. Eligible state employees who give birth will receive eight weeks (320 hours) of paid leave to recover from the birth and to bond with and care for their newborn. Other eligible state employees will receive four weeks (160 hours) of paid leave to bond with and care for the child (under the age of 18). Paid Parental Leave will be paid at 100 percent of the eligible employee’s regular pay, excluding overtime pay, shift premium, on-call, and callback pay.

Eligibility Criteria
To qualify for PPL you must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Work in a permanent or time-limited position, 
  • Have 12 months of continuous service in the preceding 12 months, 
  • Work full time or part time (20 hours or more), and 
  • Be in pay status by working or using leave for at least 1040 hours during the preceding 12 months.


  • If both eligible parents work in DHHS or another PPL-participating agency, PPL can be taken separately or simultaneously,
  • PPL applies to DHHS Educators,
  • Pays at 100 percent of regular pay (excluding overtime pay, shift premium, on call, callback), and 
  • Can be used for one Qualifying Life Event (QLE) per rolling 12-month period from the initial use of PPL.

Learn more about Paid Parental Leave (login required). 



Employees receive 12 paid holidays each year. Separate holiday schedules may be established for 24-hour operations.


Sick Leave 

Full-time permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment employees accumulate eight hours of sick leave each month, and 96 total hours annually. Sick leave hours add up throughout the employee's career. Part-time (half-time or more) permanent, probationary, and time-limited employees are eligible for leave at a prorated amount. Sick leave can be accumulated and applied as time toward service retirement.


Vacation Leave

Full-time permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment employees are granted at least 94 hours of vacation leave each year. The rate earned is based on total number of years of state service and is earned monthly. Part-time employees who work half-time or more are granted prorated leave.  A maximum of 240 hours can be carried over to the following calendar year.


Years of Total State Service Hours Granted Each Month Hours Granted Each Year Days Granted Each Year
Less than 5 years 9 hrs. 20 mins. 112 14
5 but less than 10 years 11 hrs. 20 mins 136 17
10 but less than 15 years 13 hrs. 20 mins 160 20
15 but less than 20 years 15 hrs. 20 mins. 184 23
20 years or more 17 hrs. 20 mins 208 26


Community Service Leave

In recognition of the State’s interests in supporting its employees who wish to volunteer in schools, communities, institutions of higher education, State agencies, and not-for- profit organizations, and recognizing the commitment of State employees to engage in volunteer service, Community Service Leave, within the parameters outlined below, may be granted to:

  • Parents for child involvement in the schools;
  • Any employee for volunteer activity in the schools or
  • Any employee for volunteer activity in a not-for-profit Community Service Organization, or
  • Any employee for volunteering in a State of North Carolina Public University, Community College System or State agency provided that the service is outside of the employee’s normal scope of duties and responsibilities and that the employee is not receiving any form of compensation for the services rendered.

In addition, there are special provisions for granting Community Service Leave to:

  • Any employee for tutoring and mentoring in public or private schools, or
  • any employee to volunteer in a literacy program in any public school

Twenty-four hours (24) of paid leave is credited to each full time permanent, probationary, trainee, or time-limited employee on January 1 of each year, unless the employee chooses one of the special provision options for volunteering in a literacy program or tutoring/mentoring. The 24 hours is prorated proportionately for part-time (half time or more) permanent, probationary, trainee, or time-limited employees.

North Carolina state agencies have contracted with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), McLaughlin Young Group, to serve as a resource for helping you in times of need. Our state agencies have invested in this contractual agreement to offer you a wide range of support services and work/life options. EAP is offered at no cost to employees and family members and the service is confidential. You can contact McLaughlin Young Group at 704-717-5295 or 1-888-298-3907.

North Carolina State Government thanks employees for their long-term service through the Service Awards Program. An employee is recognized at important milestones in their career upon granting of Career Status and every five years thereafter until retirement. The value of the award increases in proportion to tenure. For more information, please see the Service Awards Policy.

After 10 years of total state service, an employee is eligible for longevity payments. The payment is a percentage of salary based on years of service.

Years of Total State Service Longevity Pay Rate
10 but less than 15 years 1.50 percent
15 but less than 20 years 2.25 percent
20 but less than 25 years 3.25 percent
25 or more years 4.50 percent

Although the Retirement System's primary purpose is to provide retirement income, it also provides death benefits. The beneficiary(ies) receive a refund of the employee's retirement contributions plus interest. If the employee dies after retirement and has chosen a beneficiary protection option, the surviving family member may continue to receive income even after the death of the employee.

DHHS promotes employee health and wellness including hosting a variety of programs to promote healthy living. It encourages cessation tobacco use, proper nutrition, increased and consistent physical activity, and healthy coping strategies and skills.