Employment Benefits

Excellent medical, dental and vision coverage

There are many good reasons for working at the City of Bellingham.  The work is rewarding and you have an opportunity to serve your community, as well as obtain the great benefits that the City offers its employees.

The City’s excellent and comprehensive benefit program includes medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their dependents, plus life insurance and long term disability for employees. The package includes generous paid leave provisions, including vacation, 12 holidays per year and sick leave.  

​City employees participate in the Washington State Retirement System with joint contributions by the City and the employee. The City of Bellingham also offers an Employee Assistance Program, and employees have the option of participating in a Flexible Spending Plan for health care/dependent care reimbursement, as well as deferred compensation programs.

An overview of our employment benefit programs are provided below. Please note benefits do vary depending on bargaining unit affiliation and employment status.

Health Benefits


Full-Time Regular Employees:  Health benefits for employees and their eligible family members begin the first of the month after employment starts.

Part-Time Employees:  For part-time benefited positions, the City provides health benefits for the employee only. Employees may purchase coverage for their eligible family members for medical and vision coverage through pre-tax payroll deduction.

Medical Plan

City sponsored medical coverage is provided through Regence Group Administrators (RGA) & Kaiser based on bargaining unit. See below for Benefit Guides, Employee Cost Share and Summary of Benefits & Coverage.

Regence Group Administrators – Providing in-network provider negotiated rates and historical out-of-network allowed amounts through machine-readable files for Regence Group Administrators (RGA) plans.

Non-Uniform and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)​

Uniform Police Guild Employee

Uniform Fire 106/106S

Dental Plan

Dental coverage for Non-Uniform and FOP is provided through Delta Dental. Police Guild and Fire 106/106S members have dental coverage through their specific bargaining unit.

2023 Delta Dental Plan Summary (PDF)​

Vision Plan

Vision hardware coverage for Non-Uniform and FOP is provided through VSP Vision Care. Police Guild and Fire 106/106S members have vision coverage through their specific bargaining unit.

Flexible Spending Account

The City offers a Flexible Benefits plan, based on Section 125 of the IRS regulations.  This allows employees an opportunity to annually defer pre-tax income into an account, which is then used to pay uncovered health expenses or child/elder care costs.

Life Insurance

Eligible employees are covered by fully paid life insurance.  The amount of coverage varies, depending on the bargaining unit.

Long Term Disability Insurance

Covered employees are provided with fully paid Long Term Disability Insurance with a 60% benefit and a 180-day waiting period.  Fire 106 and Police Guild members receive their Long Term Disability benefit through their respective bargaining units.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 

Employees, their immediate family and members of their household can access the confidential counseling program, legal and financial consultation assistance, work-life assistance plus online tools and resources. 

Paid Leave

Vacation, Holidays, Sick Time
The City offers generous paid leave:

  • New employees typically receive a minimum of 2 weeks vacation per year, depending on the bargaining unit. This amount increases substantially with length of service at the City.
  • Twelve paid holidays each year
  • Accrual of twelve days of sick leave per year

Retirement Benefits

The City offers a variety of plans to assist employees with saving towards retirement.   Some retirement plans, such as PERS and LEOFF, have mandatory enrollment and contributions for eligible City employees.  Participation in a 457 deferred compensation plan is optional.  Please read below for additional information.   


All eligible City employees are required to join a State of Washington’s Department of Retirement Systems pension plan.  Uniformed Police and Fire personnel become members of LEOFF, while eligible non-uniformed employees become members of PERS.  Both plans require employee and employer contributions.  

Retirement Savings Plans

Employees may elect to participate in the City’s 457 deferred compensation retirement savings plan.  Contributions to this plan are made on a pre-tax basis, with employees choosing their level of contribution.  457 deferred compensation funds are portable to and from a private sector 401(K) plan, IRA’s, and other tax-sheltered retirement plans.  Some City positions, depending on bargaining unit affiliation, provide a match to employee contributions.

In Closing

Come join us at the City of Bellingham.  Your benefits go way beyond what’s listed above, including the satisfaction that comes with serving your community.  We hope to see you soon!