Work-Life Services Home Page
Work–Life Services (WLS) are six negotiated benefits programs for Executive Branch employees resulting from a collaboration between NYS and the public employee unions. These programs are designed to increase employee productivity and morale by improving the quality of work and life for employees and include: Employee Assistance Program, NYS–Balance, Worksite Child Care Centers, Flex Spending Account, NYS–Ride, and Pre–Retirement Planning. To view a short video about WLS benefits click here. 12:26
To view or print the Work-Life Services Brochure click here.
EAP: Leaving for College: Separation Anxiety – How Parents Can Help
Leaving home to go off to college can be a stressful time for students and parents alike. While it is an exciting time, there is often anxiety about the changes that are taking place. Students are leaving the security of home, family, and friends to face new social, academic, and financial challenges. They may feel anxious about the increased workload, managing their finances, getting along with roommates, making new friends, and handling increased exposure to alcohol and drugs. Even the most confident students can feel overwhelmed, stressed, and confused as they face separation from all that is familiar. These feelings are a normal part of the process of transitioning to college.
In addition to the separation anxiety your college-bound child may be feeling, don’t be surprised if you suddenly find they are easily provoked, irritable, pulling away from you, and arguing about things you never argued about before. It is appropriate for college-aged children to be separating and individuating from their parents. Arguing is one of the ways adolescents have of differentiating themselves from their parents and establishing themselves as separate individuals with their own thoughts, values, and beliefs. This can be a difficult time for parents, who want to protect their children, and for adolescents, who are struggling to become adults. However, these are normal and healthy stages of human development.
There are some things parents can do to help their child feel more secure and less anxious about going off to college:
- Listen. Let your son or daughter express their feelings without judgment. Your child needs your emotional support. Remind them what they are feeling is normal and they are not alone. Keep the lines of communication open.
- Be positive. Talk about the college experience in a positive and encouraging way - more independence, making new friends, interesting courses, etc. Negative talk only heightens your child’s anxiety.
- Let your child make more decisions. Your child is experimenting with more freedom and independence. Offer your advice only if asked, or needed, and provide constructive feedback. Letting your child practice making decisions on their own, in a safe environment, can help them make better decisions when they are on their own.
- Express confidence in your child. Your child is probably feeling insecure about their ability to handle the demands of college life. Remind them of the successes they have had in the past and let them know you have confidence in their ability to live on their own.
- Teach them some practical skills. Doing laundry, cooking a simple meal, or balancing a checkbook may seem like second nature to you, but they may not be to your child. You can help build their confidence by teaching them some practical skills.
This can also be a difficult time for parents who may be experiencing their own separation anxiety. If you are having a hard time letting go, your EAP Coordinator can provide you with a referral to a professional who can help.
New York’s 529 College Savings ProgramWhether you're a parent, grandparent, or someone with a special child in your life, New York's 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan can make saving for your child's future easier.
Flexible use of savings
- Save for a child, grandchild, friend, or even yourself.
- Use at an eligible 2 or 4-year college, vocational/technical school, or graduate school anywhere in the U.S. or abroad.
- Use for tuition, certain room-and-board expenses, books, supplies, etc.
- Earnings grow federally tax deferred.
- Qualified withdrawals are federally tax-free.
- You can contribute up to $70,000 in a single year ($140,000 for a married couple filing jointly) for each beneficiary without incurring federal gift tax as long as you don't make any other gifts to that child for five years.
- New York taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 ($10,000 for a married couple filing jointly) in contributions to the Direct Plan on their state income tax return each year.
- Open an account with just $25 ($15 if contributing through payroll deduction).
For more information
Welcome to the Family Packet
Work-Life Services introduces the "Welcome to the Family Packet". Parenting is an exciting and challenging experience. Today's parents often face unique circumstances balancing their work and family responsibilities. As a New York State Executive Branch employee parent, you are entitled to several negotiated benefits designed to assist you with balancing work and life. The "Welcome to the Family Packet" will outline these benefits programs as well as provide educational child care and parenting brochures. We invite you to request a "Welcome to the Family Packet" if you are expecting or recently added to your family through the birth or adoption of a child. Email your request along with your name and home address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Parenthood, it's not a job. It's an adventure" – –author unknown
New Free NYS–Balance Resource Materials
We are very pleased to offer a wide variety of new, free, resource materials available through the NYS–Balance program. To order materials, go to: http://www.nysbalance.ny.gov. After logging in, on the right side of the home page, in the Employee Resources section, click on the Educational Materials tab, complete the form and submit. The materials will be mailed directly to your home.
Fun at Worksite Center Summer Camps
Are you looking for a summer camp for your school-aged child? Did you know that many of the NY State Worksite Child Care Centers offer summer camp typically for children ages 5 to 12? All of the worksite summer camps are based out of the child care centers, so they are conveniently located at various state sites. The summer camps offer weekly themes to ensure your child will be entertained while gaining knowledge on a variety of topics in a caring environment. What questions should I ask when I call about enrolling my child for summer camp? Click here for more.
Retirement Planning Videos
A series of short videos — the Planning Your Successful Retirement Video Guide — highlighting key information from the popular DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars is now available. Designed for executive branch employees, the 23 videos were created in partnership with the Office of the State Comptroller, the Department of Civil Service, the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, and the Social Security Administration. Employees can view the videos along with other pre-retirement planning information on this Work-Life Services website and also on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/GOERWebServices. More
Retirement Planning Resources Workshops
The Retirement Planning Resources Workshop is a free, one-hour training, available to state agencies for their employees, regardless of years of state service. The training will not cover specific retirement information, and is not a substitute for the full-day DIRECTIONS seminars. Instead, the goal of this training program is to educate executive branch employees about the resources available so they can begin planning their retirement.
If you would like to schedule this one-hour training, you may contact Beth Brumaghim, Seminar Program Manager, at Beth.Brumaghim@goer.ny.gov or 518.473.4018.
NYS-Ride allows eligible state employees to pay up to $130 per month for certain work-related transportation expenses on a pre-tax basis. More than 8,000 participants who use public transportation to get to work currently enjoy the savings this program provides, while contributing to a greener environment by reducing carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, and dependence on foreign oil.
The NYS-Ride website provides employees with quick and easy access to all the information they would need to learn about the program, calculate their savings and impact on the environment, enroll in NYS-Ride, make changes to their elections, or view their accounts. Please visit the website at www.nysride.com.
NYS-Balance makes life less complicated by providing referrals for Child Care and Parenting, Elder Care/Adults with Disabilities, Education, Health and Wellness, Daily Life, and Legal/Financial. Many NYS executive branch employees have used the service and here's what they have to say…
“I was very surprised and impressed by the info provided and have recommended NYS-Balance to others. I was impressed with the amount of detail in the information I requested.”
“I learned a lot following the various webinar/seminars that NYS-Balance gave.”
“I am very surprised by the helpfulness of the staff and the information they provided. I don’t think other state workers know how helpful this benefit is!”
Funding is provided by the negotiated agreements between the State of New York and CSEA, PEF, UUP, GSEU, DC-37, Council 82, and NYSCOPBA, and by the NYS Governor's Office of Employee Relations for employees designated M/C.
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