Benefits Overview

We Have You Covered!

At Van Andel Institute (VAI), our employees are most valuable when not worrying about health and financial support throughout all facets of their life. Because of that, benefits are an important part of everyone’s wellbeing, as well as supporting the diverse and changing lives outside of work.

We understand that attracting the highest caliber talent means offering an exciting job and high quality, dependable benefits that meet one’s personal needs. It is our commitment to provide benefits designed to allow you that peace of mind.

We offer a highly competitive compensation package which includes a choice of medical/prescription, dental and vision coverage, life insurance, short and long-term disability insurance, a 401(k) with employer match, long-term care, flexible spending accounts, a generous vacation and paid time-off programs and more! In addition, the majority of our benefits become effective immediately on the date of hire.

“The startup package was competitive, which was a massive draw, and made it much easier to set up a lab.”
– Gerd Pfeifer, Ph.D.

Health Care Benefits

Medical Plans
Two PPO plans with prescription coverage options are offered which allow you to choose the plan that best serves the needs of your family. Employees can choose between a pre-tax, minimal contribution plan option or a no cost contribution plan option.

Dental Plan
Our comprehensive dental plan pays up to $1,500 annually for each covered individual. We even offer orthodontic coverage up to a lifetime maximum of $1,500!

Vision Plan
Our VSP Vision Insurance is easy on the eyes and wallet! Coverage includes eye exams, lenses, frames, contacts and network discounts and is available for employees and their dependents.

Flex Spending Accounts
Extend the purchasing power of your health and dependent care expenses by enrolling in one or both of our pre-tax flexible spending accounts.

Future Planning

401(k) Plan
VAI offers a comprehensive 401(k) plan on a pre-tax contribution or post-tax (Roth) bases. Employees may choose to make a contribution of up to 75% of their pay and VAI will match dollar for dollar up to 5% of eligible pay. In addition, an employer discretionary contribution on top of the matching may be considered on an annual basis.

Professional Development and Education

Continuing Education
In addition to our weekly Research-In-Progress meetings, lunch and learns and the VAI Seminar Series professional development opportunities are offered via workshops and training through Van Andel Institute’s Graduate School, professional or accredited associations, societies and on-site programming.

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The Institute also supports and contributes to employees’ education, offering eligible full-time employees up to $5,250 per year for tuition reimbursement.

We also have an on-site library, which focuses on developing collections and services that support VAI research and education initiatives and enhance the learning environment for faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows and VAI graduate students.

Work/Life Balance

Paid Holidays and Vacation
VAI provides 9 paid holidays that are recognized consistently each year. It is important to us that our employees get to spend these important times with their families and loved ones.

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Vacation is awarded on the date of hire and thereafter, on the anniversary of date of hire. The amount of vacation depends on years of eligible service. Our program includes a one-year carryover provision, providing you additional flexibility in how you use your vacation.

Time for Family
We know that family comes first, and that when employees are unable to fulfill their family obligations, their work may suffer. Because of this, we work hard to ensure that all of our staff members have the time and flexibility they need to care for themselves and their families.

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VAI offers six weeks of paid paternity leave for new parents, as well as bereavement leave of up to 3 to 5 days of paid time off for the loss of family members.

PTO (paid time off) allows employees additional time off up to the equivalent of 5 days per calendar year. These days can be used to deal with personal illness or to care for an ill family member or emergencies. As well as everyday situations such as appointments and school events. There is also a variety of flexible scheduling options.

“I greatly appreciate Van Andel Institute for giving me the opportunity to spend quality time with my newborn son. Giving employees a parental leave package allows families the ability to support one another in this important time of growth and bonding.” – Brian Nix, Physical Security Specialist I

A Positive Environment

VAI and its employees both contribute to creating a culture that is friendly and accepting, where all staff members can thrive. By placing a value on not just improving our employees’ work, but on celebrating their achievements and encouraging them to develop a strong sense of camaraderie with each other, we can all thrive in a positive workplace environment.

“All of the people at the Institute have a common interest in VAI’s mission and research. This shared goal creates a very congenial atmosphere, and I love being able to get to know my coworkers and celebrate our accomplishments with them.” – Gerry Coetzee, Ph.D.

Collaborative Culture
One of the things that all our employees share is a strong passion for their work, and a commitment to working together towards the mission of the Institute. Our labs are all open yet connected to each other, contributing to the family-like bond as well as professional collaboration between our employees.

“When I was considering VAI, I looked carefully at the faculty who were already here, and was impressed by both their quality of their staff and their focus on biomedical science.” – Huilin Li, Ph.D.

Social Activities
Much of the strength of our workplace culture comes from the various opportunities our employees have to interact with and socialize with each other. From our weekly TGIF gatherings, to working together for the community through Toys for Tots, food banks, blood drives and Purple Community events.

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The VAI community is also built up through participation in one of our many sponsored sports teams, including softball, soccer, running and volleyball. Even our location in downtown Grand Rapids makes it easy to enjoy an outing with coworkers and other Medical Mile colleagues.

We’re located in the heart of the city, but parking is easy! As a VAI employee you’ll receive access to a conveniently located parking garage.

Rewards & Recognition Program
Highlighting the hard work of all of our team members is one of the key components of our workplace culture. Employees who are recognized by their managers or peers for going above and beyond to help VAI reach its goals are eligible for various incentive programs, as well as recognition among their peers.

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Eligible employees may also choose a “service award” given to them based on the number of years that they have worked for the Institute.


Employee Assistance Program
The Institute is committed to helping our workforce improve both their physical and mental health. After all, people are an organization’s greatest resource. Our employee assistance program offers short-term, solution-focused counseling for specific life events, as well as free monthly webinars for employees, graduate students and their families on topics ranging from stress, financial education to relationships.

Health and Wellness
In addition to supporting our employee’s mental wellbeing, we offer a variety of opportunities for them to also maintain or improve their physical health. From our cafe, where a variety of breakfast and lunch options are prepared by our on-site chef, to our workout facility that can be used 24 hours a day, discounted gym memberships and sponsored sports teams, VAI makes it easy to make good choices for your physical wellness.

Lactation Rooms
VAI provides on-site lactation rooms that are private, quiet and easily accessible.

Financial Protection

Short-term and Long-term Disability
Short and long-term disability (STD and LTD) coverage provides income protection should you become disabled due to a non-work related illness, maternity or injury.

Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
Employee basic life/AD&D Insurance provides core coverage for you and optional life and AD&D coverage may be purchased for you and your dependents.

Long-term Insurance
Coverage that helps protect you and certain family members from the high costs associated with an extended nursing home stay and home health care services. VAI pays for a base policy and employees can purchase additional coverage for themselves and their spouses.

Other Benefits

Café Subsidy
Employee Celebrations and Discount Programs
Group Travel Accident Coverage
Medical Abroad Program